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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

It’s once again hot and steamy in Amsterdam, but thankfully this weekend wasn’t too bad. Here’s what I was up to in the DCR realm.

1) Testing out The Girl’s New Bike

The weekend was kick-started by going for a ride with The Girl and her new bike. Of course, you’ll have to wait to read all about the bike itself from her, which will likely be delivered in tomorrow’s DCR Newsletter (you can sign-up here if you’ve been missing out somehow).  She writes that piece of literary genius each week, summing up the DCR arena as a whole (seriously, she’s on like more than a dozen consecutive weeks!).

In any case, we went for a bit of a wander together on our respective road bikes. Nothing super far, just enough to break in the bike and sort through any fit issues that might come up when spending 45 or so minutes in the saddle (versus inside a bike shop). Here’s a pic from her Instagram feed from the day prior.

All in all, everything was good!

In case you’re wondering on the tech side – I outfitted her bike with a spare pair of Favero Assioma pedals. She had her Fenix 5S on her wrist, but wanted a head-unit as well, so I placed an Edge 520 Plus on there for now.  She broadcasted HR from the Fenix 5S to the Edge 520 Plus via ANT+.

2) Afternoon on the river

After our ride The Girl had a conference call to attend to, and then following that we headed back out on bikes. Err…bike. She was in the basket and I was driving. We went to a secret spot alongside the river to relax and swim for a couple hours.

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It’s not terribly far from the DCR Studio – perhaps a 5-7 minute pedal.  Though, the trick is navigating the cows. Which also can have big horns. I’m not sure on the exact breed of cows, but I wouldn’t want to pick a fight. Thankfully, none were around today.  So it was just us and the river…and the boats passing by occasionally.

Did I mention how much we love living in Amsterdam?

3) Off to the all the windmills!

Saturday morning we packed up the clan and headed out of town. This included both Peanuts and Lucy….all in one bike.  I had wanted to visit this small town about 25KM outside of Amsterdam for a while now, as it has a boatload of windmills. A bit touristy, perhaps, but that’s OK. By road bike it isn’t very far, but by a packed cargo bike into a headwind that seemingly has to stop every 12 minutes to sort out a Cheerio or toy overboard incident? That’s a bit different.

No prob-Llama, we’ve got this!

Actually, first, we navigated through the streets of Amsterdam just ahead of the Canal Pride parade. While we’d loved to have watched it, doing so with the little ones…they’d have lost it. Big crowds are not The Peanut 1’s idea of a fun day. Peanut 2 however, she loves everything about crowds. Correction she just loves everything.

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We made it to Central Station and then boarded one of the free bike/passenger ferries. They leave about every 3-4 minutes, and only take about 2-3 minutes to cross the waterway.  Quick and efficient!

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Within a few minutes of pedaling off the boat, we were out in farmland – enjoying the ride!  I’ve now logged about 700KM pedaling this cargo bike, and definitely love it.  But it’s a very different type of pedaling than a road bike, especially with e-assist.  In my case, I was using a blend of no-assist and the lowest assist mode. Partially because of battery life problems (it wouldn’t make the road trip in the higher settings), and partially because for sustained pedaling I find it a bit easier to have no-assist once up to speed.  Just feels smoother sometimes.

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In any case, 18 stops on the side of the farm paths later, we arrived:

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We stayed for a bit to grab some pie…and beer…because why not?

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Then we peddled on back. This time we had the rare tail-wind and were flying along! Not only that, both the kiddos fell asleep, so this was essentially a non-stop flight home. It was fantastic, I did the vast majority of it sans-assist, since I could actually go faster that way (as otherwise the motor cuts out at 25KPH and you lose some of the gearing to go faster than it once enabled).

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Good times in the countryside for sure.

4) Saturday Night Date night!

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Later on that night The Girl and I had date-night. Usually this is on a weekday, but our babysitter cancelled on us at the last minute. So it got shifted to Saturday.  We had walked to one of our favorite local spots – Ron’s Gastrobar – but lacking a reservation it was all full.  So instead we went another hundred meters away to a BBQ place we’ve been meaning to try – Carnivore – and gave it a whirl.

That was a bad idea.

I don’t usually write bad food reviews here. Nor do I bother with TripAdvisor or Yelp or whatever, but man…there was so much fail here it was astounding.  They only serve BBQ, in what’s ostensibly designed to emulate the American South. Things like BBQ ribs, cornbread, mac & cheese, etc… The décor is upscale – a touch trendy. All’s fine there.  Both of us got the beef ribs, as the server noted they’d “be falling off the bone”. The plate was ~23EUR each, plus we got a side of Mac & Cheese.  For Amsterdam, these are expensive prices (for American BBQ standards, they’re astronomical…but we’re not in America, so it is what it is).

Anyway…the food. I didn’t even take a picture it was so disappointing.

1) The Beef: The portion of ribs (two singular ribs) was approximately the size a small phone in width/length. Like, iPhone 5 sized, not the Plus of today.  It did not fall off the bone, and in fact required significant knife pressure to remove from the bone. It was dry and only had decent flavor near the edges.

2) The Coleslaw: While the taste was fine – the portion of coleslaw should NOT exceed that of the size of the ribs. I had twice as much coleslaw as ribs. No kidding, two iPhone’s worth. What am I supposed to do with this much coleslaw?

3) The Cornbread: It was a tiny mini-cupcake sized (not regular cupcake sized) piece of cornbread that had been re-microwaved 18 times.  Mind you, we waited 42 minutes from ordering to receiving our food. There was only one other couple in there that had already received their food. It was thick, dry, flavorless, and chewy. In that 42 minutes one could easily have tossed batter in a pan and made fresh cornbread, or simply cut the cornbread from a sheet pan of it made sometime this week.  I frankly have never had cornbread screwed up this badly, even by school cafeterias in the US.

4) The Mac & Cheese: What da fuq? Here, let me explain. Take a bowl of fully functional mac and cheese. Now, put it in a blender. Then turn it on, and then blend it up. You’ll get something that’s roughly akin to nacho cheese sauce in texture. That’s what I got. Just a bowl of mush. I can’t even say that it had been re-microwaved 18 times, because I think we were closer to 24 or 26 times.  As The Girl will attest to, I can normally eat anything if I’m hungry. I had half a spoon full of this gross mush and pushed it aside.

I was so sad. The Girl was soooo sad.

We had hoped for amazing BBQ just a few blocks away, but all I got was a pile of disappointment in the form of sloppy-seconds mac & cheese.

On the bright side, we drank a bunch of beer to drown away the sorrows…and then went up atop a roof to watch a movie:

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The Post was the movie – very solid!

5) Sandbagging it

Finally, I wrapped up my Sunday with moving a crapton of sand. 450KG of it to be precise. 6 times. As part of my pizza-oven to-do list, getting a pile of sand for a portion of the kids’ area (under some artificial grass) was on the list.

So me and the cargo bike got to work making the approximate 2KM journey each direction to the hardware store, loading up 25KG (55lbs) sand-bags onto a cart, then paying a whopping 6.70EUR (total, for 6 bags) before unloading them into the bike, pedaling home, unloading them to the front door. Then moving them to the backyard…then moving them again in the backyard.  Then repeating the entire process again twice more for two more loads for a total of 18 sandbags.

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I’m not entirely sure the bike was designed to handle 150KG of cargo weight per load (plus my weight). I didn’t ask questions I may not have wanted answers to. Certainly getting up to speed was a bit slower, and the wheels were feeling pretty low-rider-esque.

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Unfortunately, I still need to do some more trips. It wasn’t enough sand. Sigh.

///

P.S. – Pizza Oven Update: For those that were wondering after last week’s edition, The Girl gave ‘her side’ of the story in the newsletter last week – in case you missed it. You can hit it up in the archives here.

With that – thanks for reading and have a great week ahead!

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43 Comments

  1. Brian Faure

    Good thing it is flat over there….I would hate to see your breaks on a hill with all that sand 🙂

  2. Nemo

    “She broadcasted HR from the Fenix 5S to the Edge 520 Plus via ANT+.”

    Wait, it can do that???? See, I always learn something new. New trick to add to my toolbox (after I go sort out how it is done). Thanks!

    • Yup, all but the earliest Garmin optical-HR watches can do it (and I think some of those even got it added in firmware later). I generally recommend just setting the watch to broadcast in workout mode only, and then basically double-recording and discarding the one you don’t like at the end.

      Sure, it takes up more battery, but I find it a simpler for whatever reason.

    • Martin

      Vivoactive 3 also allows that. Had to resort to that as my Wahoo Bolt decided that it doesn’t want to connect with my TICKRX through ANT+ and keeps fighting with my phone for BTLE connectivity

    • Nemo

      This tip has already saved me. Once again, forgot to put on the HRM as I headed downstairs for a ride on the trainer. Didn’t realize it until I was ready to start the ride. No more changing shoes and running back upstairs to get the strap! Easily a 5 min time saver

    • Nemo

      This tip has already saved me. Once again, forgot to put on the HRM as I headed downstairs for a ride on the trainer. Didn’t realize it until I was ready to start the ride. No more changing shoes and running back upstairs to get the strap! Easily a 5 min time saver

    • Harald

      actually my F5 broadcasts for a while during activity to my 820, then the connection drops.

      Too bad!

      Since then I take my HRM-Run for HR

    • M@rtin

      That’s how I used it on my VAHR – seems odd that there isn’t a “HR broadcast” activity for quick access, rather than diving into the settings to enable/disable it.

  3. Dave

    So where/when will the kits be for sale?

  4. Steven P Ingwersen

    Come visit Augusta, Georgia. We’ll make sure you get proper baby back beef ribs, mac-n-cheese, cornbread, slaw, and sweet tea…and we’ll do it for free! Then we’ll hit the micro brewery.

  5. Rene

    Rainmaker cycling kit!

  6. Greg

    Nice kit!

    Was just in Amsterdam (from Canada) and as our super plans came apart we ended up at Taqueria Tacobar. Was pretty skeptical, but it was excellent… so when you need a bit of Americana other than bbq….

    • That does look excellent!!!

    • Benjamin

      Cannibale royale is decent too. A bit loud, but I tend to find everything loud so might just be me.

    • Jan

      Can’t really judge whether it’s up to American standards, but the meats, including spare ribs, are pretty good at Café Carbon. For a more Dutch type steak experience you can go to Loetje, world famous in Amsterdam (generally busy and not very cheap). The’ve opened up a lot of locations in recent years.

  7. Dave Lusty

    Dude strike while the foodie is disappointed. She’ll love the Ooni pizza and it’ll make up for the appalling bbq. You’d be crazy not to get your pizza on asap!

  8. Alex

    Nothing made the locals mock my Aussie accent more than me trying to pronounce “Zaanse Schans”.

  9. Kenneth

    If you want spareribs in Amsterdam, Go to “De Nachtwacht”. Excellent food and cocktails!

  10. Tyler Loewens

    The Girls Newsletter response about the pizza oven was fantastic! Truly enjoyed that :).

  11. John B

    I always liked The Girl’s contribution to the podcast. What? Too soon?

  12. Carl

    If you get the oven, will you do a review? I know it’s outside your purview…

  13. Justin Bandoro

    Love your posts! Just became a paid supporter; which I hope can help support your future posts 🙂

  14. Thijs Rieken

    It’s awesome to see you’re doing so much by bike! I do have the desire to go carless, but unfortunately I don’t live in the perfect hub of public transport and conveniently placed shops and places that is Amsterdam.

    Here’s the answer you don’t want to know:
    Loading weight: Up to 85 kg, maximum 230 kg including rider and bicycle (roller-brakes maximum 200 kg)

    😉

  15. Michal

    As a fellow expat in Amsterdam I feel you on the BBQ fail … that said, we have found one good BBQ joint we can recommend: Pendergast up by Westerpark … it’s the best BBQ we’ve had in Ams.

    • Tripadvisor does look promising – if for no other reason than the mac and cheese appears to have objects that actually look like macaroni, as opposed to the baby-food we ate.

  16. Laird M.

    We ate at Ron’s Gastrobar for my wife’s birthday when we were there in June (which was on a Monday, so we were able to get a res). Loved it. We walked by that BBQ place and wondered about it. Glad we skipped it and know to avoid it in the future!

  17. Tosin M. Akinmusuru

    I look at your pictures and your posts, and I have to figure your kids will be so cultured. All this travel, and foreign languages, AND they aren’t military brats!!! Keep living your best life.

  18. Brett

    If you’re looking for an excellent BBQ place in downtown AMS, I HIGHLY recommend Cafe de Klos. It’s not really American style (I don’t think they had pulled pork), but they have amazing smoked meats. I got the mixed ribs and my girlfriend got the lamb shoulder and they were both delicious; I’m sure whatever you get there won’t disappoint. Also, I checked out Carnivore on Google maps and it’s a 12 minute bike from there to Cafe de Klos, going through Vondelpark. BTW, don’t expect to be seated immediately.