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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

This was a relatively calm and relaxing weekend, as we come up on a few busy weeks worth of goodness (actually, about 8 weeks of busy). So, here’s what we were up to!

1) Ride with The Girl

Friday evening before picking up the kiddos from daycare, The Girl and I headed out for a ride. A loop of the popular Ronde Hoep, which depending on where you start from in Amsterdam is about 40KM round-trip. Nothing complex or hard, just lots of cows, canals, and empty roads/paths.

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It’s without question my most favorite riding loop here, mostly because it’s so convenient for me/us. I can be along the river in under 10 minutes, where it’s nice and quiet…and there are windmills.

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I will note the ‘farm smell’ on this ride was the strongest I’ve smelt it since moving here back in April. It’s not all bad though, I’ll take farm smell over many other smells I suppose.

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And yes, The Girl still needs to get the stem on her new bike lopped off. That’s gonna happen tomorrow. The bike shop is closed today. Typically you don’t do that though till you’ve had a few rides with it, just to ensure you’ve got some play on the fit of it, since once you chop that off, you can’t attach it back with Elmer’s glue.

2) More sandbags

Yes, my quest for pizza oven greatness is getting closer. Albeit, slowly. And in this case I brought along The Peanut to help with the efforts. Given a single sandbag is heavier than her, her lifting powers were null but she did sing the entire way, so it was great entertainment. When I say “all the way’, she in fact sang all of the all the ways, being four round-trips worth in both directions, inclusive of inside the hardware store.

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I picked up another 24 sandbags, totaling some 600kg (1,320lbs) of sand. Good news is, I think that’s finally enough. Turns out sand doesn’t quite go as far as you think it would when you’re trying to level ground, and provide good drainage in a country that basically rains for a national pastime.

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But, that’s done. Now just to figure out how to cut the artificial turf that’s been lying rolled up all summer long next to it, and I’m donezo with that item. Usual measure 98 times and cut once thing. Hopefully.

3) Out for a 21.8KM Run

I headed out Sunday around lunch for a bit of a run. I didn’t have a specific distance in mind. But figured about 90 minutes worth would be good. I roughly translated that in my head to about 12 miles, give or take. Depending on the winds and all.

I had done a loop south around the lake a few weeks prior that had been about 11 miles, so I figured I’d tweak that a bit. I started by doing a short loop north first, merely to add on some buffer mileage in case the south-extension bit didn’t work. I don’t know about you, but I hate having to add on mileage/time at the end of a run near the front door by doing loops. Worst kind of running.

In the process of doing that I found some old tram cars operating on the tram lines:

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I’d read about these before, but never managed to see one. I know they’re operating on a bit of a reduced schedule/route due to some track work elsewhere. And, they only run on certain days of the week. Still, cool to see them.

From there I just ran south a long ways. One could say far enough to find cows and horses, but honestly, those are pretty easy to find even in Amsterdam proper:

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After that I followed the river a ways, and kept trying to cross. But each time this large river cruise boat kept requiring bridges be opened, thus I kept running to avoid having to wait.

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I was running slightly faster than the boat, but the trail would occasionally jut out away from the river, costing me time/distance.  One could say I was getting constantly cross-blocked.

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Eventually I just did a bunch of loops and such, as I really did need to cross in order to ensure my run wasn’t going to be 2hrs long.

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After that I simply ran back home. Of course, as I approached the door I was around 12.75mi, and certainly you can’t end a run at that mileage. So I topped it off to 13.1mi – aka – half-marathon distance.

4) Prepping for a NYC Trip

I’m headed to NYC in the middle of this week for an incredibly packed 29 hours. Yes, just 29 hours from landing till take-off again. There’s a few different product launches I’m going for, and luckily, they’re all happening in NYC in a very short timespan.  But even outside of those product launches, I’m still cramming in about 2-3 other company/product things into this time period.

Somehow.

So I spent some time this weekend getting everything I need set logistically (flights/hotel/etc…), physically (extra devices ready/on-hand for comparison, handing some devices back to companies in-person to save on shipping, etc…), and virtually (figuring out the exact photos/video shots I need for various products and their respective videos/photos/posts).  Also, booking places to shoot videos at too.

I signed up for WeWork, a co-working space, (and found a coupon code online, woot!). I can use those spaces there, as well as even here in Amsterdam if I wanted. Then I figured out which specific conference rooms would look good for unboxing videos (they have some more trendy looking ones). The base membership includes roughly an hours worth of conference room time in it, and then I can book extra for about $25. That’s not bad for controlled space. My membership is only month to month, so I’d be surprised if I keep it beyond the first trial month.

As to why not do it in a hotel room? Having tried to shoot unboxing videos in hotels before – it never works out. Hotel lighting is either abnormally dark for video, or too yellow-ish. More importantly, it’s just not dependable enough of a scenario to know for certain.

I also spent considerable time getting all the paperwork/online classes required to utilize YouTube’s space in NYC, which has far more paperwork than the Paris/London offices do. Like, massive amounts of paperwork (London had none when I visited last fall).  They’ve got some great options to film, and tons of gear you can borrow. All for free.

Realistically though, I don’t think I’ll be able to utilize that space for most of the products this week. Specifically due to YouTube’s rules that require ‘clearance’ for all videos that are shot there, which can take at least 48hrs.  That’s where they validate that you don’t have anything in the video that’s problematic. And we’re not talking about the kinda stuff you think. Rather, we’re talking about ensuring there are no corporate trademarks, or logos, or even artwork inside YouTube’s space shown. It’s kinda nuts.

I think the space might work for one device that’s not going live this week that I’ll have. But not for the others that are basically same-day turns.  In any case, gonna be packed mid-week festivus!

5) Exploring town with the family

Sunday late afternoon we packed up the kids and the dog and dumped them into the cargo bike for a loop around town. We find the bike is a great option to keep the kids entertained, especially when we’re lacking much creativity to figure out something better to do.

We did a simple loop through Vondelpark, then the city, and then off to Amsterdam Central Station.

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I had planned to take the quick bike/pedestrian free ferry across and back again, since The Peanut loves going on the boats.

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But, Peanut #2 expressed her displeasure at that idea. She was trying to sleep and just wanted to be rockin’ and rollin’ along, not stopped and listening to boat sounds.

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So, back to riding we went.  All was then well in the universe again.

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Oh, and on the return through Vondelpark there was this gentleman riding no-hands, no-shirt, no-pants through the park. He was wearing…well…I don’t know what you call that.

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Just thought I’d share.

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

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45 Comments

  1. David

    Hmmm. New product launches worth traveling to New York for? You’ve hinted at more trainers coming. And maybe the Wahoo Rival’s long-awaited arrival? I know you will neither confirm nor deny, but that’s what the comments section is for, right?

  2. Bikeman

    I’m guessing DJI is one of the new product launches. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the new drone. I’ll wait for the field test before I get too excited.

  3. Mark

    Is there a Amsterdam S/B/R locations post coming sometime soon (within 6 months)?
    We just decided we’re vacationing in the Netherlands for 10 days next summer 😉

  4. Dr_LHA

    In the UK that guy’s attire would be called “Budgie Smuggers”.

  5. John B

    I lived in a place where there was a known personality called “Speedo Bob.” All he wore while riding the local trails was his sunglasses and a Speedo.

  6. Nemo

    I must have missed it (and can’t seem to find it by using your “search” box), but did you ever do a post that actually details out which Cargo Bike you ultimately purchased? It certainly looks like it’s been getting lots of use!

  7. John

    Next time you feel the urge to share please run it by the girl. I trust her judgement on these matters more!

    I am now going to watch some Tour De France footage to get that image out of my mind!

    As always Great post!

  8. Kevin

    That’s goldmember!

  9. David

    Any recommendations for bike hire for Amsterdam? Will be spending a week in Paris before heading up to Amsterdam in December and was disappointed with how the Velib system had fallen apart as that was going to be the main mode of transport in Paris, so hoping for something more reliable once we head north.

    • Yeah, poor Velib. It was so good…and now such a crap-show.

      As for Amsterdam, almost everything is done via private companies. They are pretty much everywhere and more or less are the same.

      I only have experience with one company, when I rented a cargo bike in the first week or two. No issues with them, and it appears they have a pile of locations: link to black-bikes.com

      I don’t know how prices and such compare to others, but I’d use them again.

  10. Wouter

    Hi Ray,

    Apparently you made the same move as I did, from Paris to Amsterdam! Excellent choice!!
    If you want to hook up with an awesome social running group –> check out Running Junkies Amsterdam!

    See you around in Mokum!

    Cheers
    Wouter

  11. Claus Jacobsen

    2 things.

    1. The market you bought the sand – they didn’t have door to door delivery? – I know – it would tuin the party and training, but it might have saved some trouble – and probably for a reasonable price.
    2. Thought about Casey Neistats new 368 offices? – Some of the officespace he has is inteded to be used
    for exactly what you had in mind with the youtube space. And considering he’s also in the “drone” and lifestile appliances reviewing business as well (i think he just ran 4 marathons or something like that), maybe a collab could be made? – (i might be wrong, but you might actually find him at the DJI reveal as well 🙂 )

    • They might do door to door delivery, not sure (just a major hardware store – Gamma). I can rent a delivery van though. But my round-trip time is 15 minutes (home to hardware store and back, including checkout and loading/offloading). And I can do 6 bags per trip before things get sketchy. Or basically in an hour I can do 24 bags.

      The challenge with the van is twofold:

      A) Getting it checked out just always takes forever. Seems like you burn 20-30 minutes on each side of the equation. The entire time to load things.
      B) Parking is tricky. I can usually block the lane in front of our door for a short bit, but not long.
      C) Actually, three items – the van isn’t always available.

      I did think of it though – and would do it for larger things like lumber.

      Hadn’t though of the 368 offices. I’m not sure what state they’re currently in (a bit hard to tell day to day, seems to still be under construction).

      I suspect there are also better options than WeWork, but in my case it was what I’d call the ‘Easy button’. I could sign-up online, look at photos of the conference rooms online for ones that were visually appealing, and then book online. It falls into the ‘known good’ camp, as well as the ‘I don’t have to interact with a human’ much camp. Given my schedule is super tight, I’m always trying to minimize how much time I spend in churn (aka: Waiting on someone).

      People have asked about collabs in the past, but I’m sure he’s jam packed. He’s in a bit of a different realm than I.

    • Claus Jacobsen

      I think You’re right about the construction situation, but in some of the videos (the one where Will Smith is in the office fx) it actually looks pretty usable though.

      About the collab thing – well isn’t that the whole idea? to break out of the box once in a while? 😉 But I’ve seen a few collabs from him, he does tend to notice callouts on his YT channel or instagram DM’s – like the one where the CEO of Patreon did a video callout to get his attention. – and he definately uses DJI equipment – and their drones.

      Here in Denmark pretty much all construction markets and store’s have delivery with a truck. It may take a bit longer to get, or a bit more expensive (usually you arrange the day of delivey with them), but if you buy pretty much a pallet of sand, getting it delivered to your door would save a lot of time “thinking” about coordination and the time you spend in transport. And usually you will get that many bags of sand directly on a pallet, and the offloading would take like 3min from the truck. But of course – you wouldn’t get those 1:1 times with P1 in the same way. 🙂

  12. AndiT

    Maybe he saw this video, but didn’t quite understand the ‘not’ part?

    link to youtube.com

  13. Michael

    Ray – have noticed this in the headshots from last week and this weeks post, and have yet to see a post from anyone else, so what are those ‘pods’ attached to the helmet straps in you and the girls riding selfie?
    (re: link to media.dcrainmaker.com)

  14. Robert

    I looked at the Strava file of that 13.x mile run, did a min/mile to min/km conversion (I have zero references in miles-based measures), and then – rolled my eyes to the ceiling. That average pace is faster than my short intervals pace. Oh well.

  15. I LOVE having the dog on the bike with y’all. Warms me all over.

  16. João

    Hi Rey, I’m thinking in upgrading my Tacx Flow Smart to the Elite Directo. Do you think that i should wait one or two months or there’s nothing new coming from that Trainer price range?

    Thanks

    • Patrick Utrecht

      Regardless of what you choose, if you’re willing to wait 2 months I would recommend waiting for at least the black friday sales.

    • While many companies tried very hard to make the earlier Eurobike dates this season (early July instead of usually next week), most ultimately failed to launch all their products at that event.

      As such, I expect more going into early fall.

  17. Tom

    I’m an Australian who grew up just south of Amsterdam – really loving the latest series of posts. The guy in hotpants on the bike is nothing next to the guy who used rollerblade around Amsterdam wearing nothing but a sequinned thong…

  18. Martin

    Veeery quiet here this week … 🙁
    Hope it will change soon 😉

    Giant Power Pro powermeter – do/will you test it? Is it Giant’s own design from scratch or just re-label?

    • I’m still trying to figure that out (whether it’s re-label or native). Giant is saying native to others, which honestly doesn’t help their case. Once at Interbike in a few weeks I’ll be able to dig into it a bit more with some industry contacts/peeps and see what I can find out.

      At present it’s not on my radar to test, but certainly open to it if one floats my way.

  19. Martin

    Are you going to test Polar Vantage?;)

  20. Chris

    Hey Ray. Just wondering if those busy 8 week’s include a new set of Garmin running watches? Have found a pretty good deal on a Garmin 35, present for my wife, not sure if I should go ahead or hold off for three or four weeks? I know they normally launch around September. Any sage advice? Thanks

  21. Graham Wynde

    I have to say I am very impressed with the size (and colour) of the old gent’s…bell

  22. Olly

    Well, did you also secure your load/sandbags and not only The Peanut?
    I’d be scared that in case of an accident she might be hurt by one or more of them.

    • Sige Goevaerts

      Also, put the peanuts a helmet on? It’s mandatory in many/most European countries…
      Being an influencer; just saying.