5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Here’s what we’ve been up to the last few days. While normally for US folk this past weekend would have been part of the larger Thanksgiving weekend (usually spanning up to four days, inclusive of Thanksgiving), living overseas means that you tend to celebrate holidays in slightly different ways and often on different days. It’s tough to convince a bunch of friends to take off work on a Thursday to cook food all day.  So, many expats celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday instead, and treat Thursday/Friday as normal. Which, is what we did.  In any case, here’s what I was up to.

1) Making myself a workbench

Despite doing lots of bike mechanic type stuff, and lots of DIY project type stuff, I actually don’t have a workbench of any sort. Neither here, nor previously in Paris or even DC.

Instead, tools were mostly kept in either horribly small toolboxes or in Ikea bags. Seriously. You’d have to reach your hand down into an Ikea bag full of random tools. Be it hammers, rotating saw blades, or a wide assortment of loose drill bits. But really, the blades and such were most special.

As we started unpacking all the tools I realized it was definitely time for a work bench. Mostly just to organize all these tools.  I was getting tired of re-buying tools/bits because I can’t find the right tools.  Again, most of that was due to the incredibly cramped space in Paris. I couldn’t have had a bench there if I wanted it (and I did).  So off to the hardware store I went. I bought it online ahead of time, used a little car sharing scheme, and drove the 15 or so minutes to try and figure out how to fit it all in the car.

2018-11-23 16.48.05

Thankfully, my car fitting skills are on point. I think The Girl often doubts how I’ll fit things into a car. But somehow it always works, no matter the size of the car. I take a very American attitude of ‘We will make this work’. And I’ve yet to have to leave something behind. Usually.

2018-11-23 16.50.17

Once back at the studio I started building it. I did the quick math and discovered I had over 150 screws to put in, plus also drill the holes in the wood top to put the screws. Kinda lazy on their part not to do that.

2018-11-23 22.55.09

I did the entire base and top, and then The Girl finished up making the drawers for it yesterday.

2018-11-26 16.14.48

Not too shabby.

2) Yes, more sorting bins

Less you think the story of bins and sorting is over, let me tell you – we’re just getting started.  The Girl was sorting through watches. She actually kept a tally by brand (also including bike computers too). It’s into the hundreds, and I think she’s going to share it in her weekly newsletter this week.  We kinda ebb and flow when it comes to sorting and cleaning.

As mentioned last week, each watch, sensor, battery, etc… has to be individually cleaned by hand to get all the concrete dust off of it. Thankfully, we’re almost done doing that for the moving boxes that had been opened/active.

2018-11-23 14.32.37

In fact, the above photo is now somewhat outdated and we’re mostly just down to dealing with closed moving boxes, which means we can skip the time-consuming cleaning step and just simply toss in the right bin.


I then picked up one of those label printer things. I tweeted about that fun last night. Though, as of this morning, I’m off to the races printing labels like nobodies business!

3) Thanksgiving

With Thursday not super viable for Thanksgiving, ours was moved to Saturday. We went over to a friend’s house to indulge in turkey and all the trimmings.  While I have lots of pictures of the kiddos, I was slacking on photos of the food and such.

In fact, one of the items that The Girl made was a twist on a pecan pie tart. While the insides are fairly traditional (though, really damn good), she went with doing it in a tart pan using a graham cracker style crust. Similar to the deep chocolate salted caramel tart she’s made before.

2018-11-24 20.12.43

It turned out really really really good. Our friends were from The South and noted it was the best pecan pie they’ve ever had. Super gooey on the inside, and of course, very rich.

Oh, and Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all!

4) Back to the hardware store

No, we’re never done at the hardware store folks.

Like when doing any home renovation project, there’s always something silly and small at the hardware store you need. Well, your wallet hopes it is/was silly and small.  In my case I went Sunday to get a handful of small parts. Some to hang up some drones, and some to ensure that the two giant pallets I have in the lower portion of the cave don’t fall over. It’s these two:


Given we’ve got the DCR Open House this Saturday, I didn’t want these pallets to get bumped and then take out half a dozen DCR readers. That’d be less than ideal. Also, the bikes and trainer could get scratched. Nobody wants scratched bikes.

So Peanut 2 and I headed for a quick trip to the hardware store:

2018-11-25 14.58.54

Oh, we actually first stopped by the DCR Cave to double-check a few things with the construction guys wrapping up odds and ends. Then it was hardware store time.

2018-11-25 15.45.23

We only ended up getting like 8EUR in parts. Oh, and waffles:

2018-11-25 16.06.13

The hardware store has a giant cargo bike they stock with waffles. So obviously we got waffles.  And a bit later today I’ll secure up the pallets so no trainers or bikes are injured. After all, that CLIMB would have to be renamed ‘FLATS’ if so.

5) So much Black Friday Sports Tech Deals

And then I spent every last minute of the weekend scouring the web for sweet sports tech deals to add to the Black Friday deals. And you all definitely snapped them up. Overall across the entire weekend the most popular deals you guys grabbed were (in alphabetical order):

Anker BT Headphones
Fitbit Charge 3
Garmin Edge 520 Plus
Garmin Fenix 5
Garmin Vivoactive 3
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music
PowerTap P1 Pedals
Tacx Neo 1 Trainer
Wahoo KICKR 2018

While there are still some of the Garmin and Suunto deals remaining, most of the major ones (except the Fenix 5/5 Plus) have wrapped up. Typically these last few days are the best deals you’ll see all year. Though, we usually see some brief returns of wearable sales mid-December, but never to the sale levels of this past weekend.

With that – stay tuned for some good sports tech posts dropping tomorrow for some unannounced products. Plus of course the DCR Open House this weekend – looking forward to it! See ya there!


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  1. Marc Simkin

    Totally unrelated, but! My DCR Kit from Pedal Mafia shipped last night/this morning. I’m confused due to the time zones. Supposedly, I will have it by weeks end.

  2. Carole

    OMG, I am so looking forward for The Girl newletter this Friyay!! My favourite person in the world atm!

    • The Girl


      If I were the boss, I’d make sure you magically won something on the next giveaway :) You just made my day! Thanks. And sorry, I don’t have any power to rig the giveaways! Haha

      ~The Girl

  3. Craig

    I am confused by the Assioma Duo pricing. They are $645 from Assioma directly, but at Clever Training even with my 10% VIP discount they are more expensive. Ditto from Amazon ($739) BTW. I saw the Nov 23 comment on the Black Friday post that updated CT price should be reflected within hours, but it is still listed as $739. Any sense that the CT price will be the same as just buying from Assioma directly?

    • Just got off another call with CT on it.

      In general, it’s a complete mess. Not just from CT’s standpoint, but other retailers as well. Favero is putting in place some weird requirements that are making it difficult for retailers to just keep things as normal.

      They’ll be tweaking the price again here today, but the end resultant will be that once you apply the DCR discount it should match the direct from Favero price. That gets you free fast shipping, and no dealing with international exchange rates/shipments.

    • Craig

      Thanks Ray- still want to support CT so have been sitting tight. No worries. No doubt this time of the year is characterized by both great deals and plenty of confusion!

  4. Gryphon

    Ray, what’s the platform your trainer/Climb is setup on? If I missed a post describing that, anyone please point me in the correct direction and I’ll read it. Thank you.

    • Gryphon

      Thank you. Yep, totally missed that in the flurry of posts over the summer. And I tend to read your posts rather than watch videos (sorry!), so I never took notice of it. BTW, please pass along to Cyclops that although I’d be an interested customer, the overall width would ideally come down some. Not all of us have the kind of space that your new Cave has!!!

    • Yeah, I don’t know if the width will change (I’ll ask), but I know the length definitely. The current plan is a folding platform that they noted should actually fit quite small and more importantly, be rather light.

  5. Keith

    Remove the feet from the workbench and put on locking casters instead. You’ ll be amazed how much you will want to move it

  6. Ou Boet

    Hi Ray, looks like you got the Hyundai IONIQ Electric. Great choice, love mine. Glad to see that you managed to get that giant box into the back :-)


    • It’s actually a nice little car. But, we didn’t buy one (or even lease one).

      Here in Amsterdam they have a program run by Hyundai simply called Ioniq (the same as the car). It’s like Zipcar, but just Ioniq’s. Costs about $12/hr to use (but you pay less), and you tap in/out using Bluetooth on your phone. You use an app to find a car, can reserve it up to 30 minutes in advance, and then off ya go.

      The car itself is great, and there’s tons of charging stations in Amsterdam. But the program as a whole can be frustrating:

      A) There simply aren’t enough cars. They need 2-3 times what they have right now. A lot of times I have to ride about 10 minutes to get a car. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s important when we get to the next point.
      B) They’ve got a little tap card tethered to the car so you can use any charging station in Amsterdam for free. There are tons of these stations, roughly one every other block. That sounds great, until you actually try and get a spot at a station. While there’s an app to look for stations, the vast majority of time people just park in the stations without plugging in. So the app doesn’t know the spot is taken. Most times it takes me 4-6 stations until I find a spot.
      C) So why does that matter for the bike in item A? Well, because even though I can return the car anywhere I want, I basically need to return it to a station to be ‘safe’ from additional fees. So now I almost always end up going to a different station than where i left my bike, meaning another 5-15 minute walk to get back to my bike when I’m done, then the 10+ minute ride back home/office.

      Still, we really do like it, but ultimately, it just needs more cars and the whole charging system in Amsterdam while well meaning, is basically a non-enforced cluster. :)

    • ekutter

      I’ll add a plug for electric cars. We now have a fully electric Chevy Bolt and a Plug-in hybrid Volvo XC60. Will never buy a purely gas car again. Hopefully never even a partially gas car. Those that haven’t tried electric, really should take one for a test drive.

  7. Benedikt

    I just got a book with a DVD in it, its like the CD, but the content (video, its a technical book with supplementary video files) is only available via DVD, not like the printer setup files.

  8. Stephen Fitzgerald

    As I follow the work being done at the Cave I can’t help but think with all that work what if you move again soon. Can I assume you are staying in Amsterdam for quite a while?

  9. Dan Gaz

    What is that carrier you’re using with your daughter? We found our little girl (15 months) to not like the Burley.

    • It’s the Yepp Maxi. I believe Yepp is a European brand (though I believe Thule bought them out), but like 80%* of people seem to have them on their bikes. Same goes for France, where we originally picked it up last December. The products are way less expensive than in the US. For example:

      Amazon France: 99EUR (link to amzn.to)
      Amazon US: $160-$255 (link to amzn.to)

      Both kids like them a lot though. And we also have the Yepp mini seat for inside the cargo bike for the littlest one, though we just retired that and now she sits on the bench. So we’ll put the second Yepp seat on the front handlebars of one of our regular bikes.

      *Totally made up but probably accurate number

    • Dan Gaz

      Do you feel them to be safe? Clearly – you’re using it :)

    • Definitely. The number of locks that are required for example to detach the system is nuts. So many redundancies so that even if you screwed up like twice, it’d still hold on.

  10. Ooooh. Nearly the weekend. Looking forward to meeting you guys!.. and you have planned the activities perfectly so that I have time to head back to haarlem for my daughter’s hockey game between events. See you soon!

  11. Mike

    Come on Ray…. you can’t post a pie picture without the recipe, please ask the girl for the recipe…. please….. pretty please

    • I did ask her…on the way home.

      Her response?

      “Yeah, I should probably try and remember and write it down.” ?‍♂️

    • Matt H

      That’s my wife’s common response too.

      Her recipes are normally along the lines of… “Put some X and a bit of Y in, add some Z then cook in the oven until its done”.

      That’s about as accurate as it comes, I then have to quantify “some” and “a bit” in to measurable quantities for general release.

  12. Gareth

    You must have loved Bunnings when you lived in Oz.

    • So much!

      I love the hardware stores. Gamma (the one I went to with Peanut 2 above), is smaller, but I was somewhat also killing time to give The Girl a bit of a reprieve for an hour or so. So we went up and down every aisle just for fun, mostly as I enjoy seeing all the things they have.

      Whereas Hornbach (the store I got the workbench at), is massive, on-par with a large Home Depot in the US or a large Bunnings in Oz. If I wasn’t so rushed that day, I would have happily spent hours just looking at all the things. It’s just nice to know what’s there, so the next time I realize I need something I have a mental note about random things I can get there, versus having to order online.

      Obviously I’m not memorizing the entire store, but usually I have a rough idea of upcoming projects. Like I was looking at some metal wire for a permanent cable-cam in the studio, so sorting out fixture options and such.

  13. Karl

    love the label on peanut 2’s helmet. likely applies to a lot of us. :)

    • Haha…that’s actually the brand. :)

      link to amzn.to

      We’ve got Nutcase helmets for both kiddos, they love them. They also make adult helmets as well, and The Girl has an around town helmet from them (I was trying to find one of their urban helmets this past spring but it wasn’t in stock when I was in the US).

  14. Mr. T

    I’m really surprised you (or your readers) can’t think of a better use for the old watches than collecting dust in the cave.

    I know many have older tech, but I can’t believe there isn’t some way to donate them to some group (not all of course) or dispose of in another way.

    But then again, I have 3-5 old watches lying around my house .

    • Yep. It is a really interesting issue.
      There is a fine line I suspect for Ray in keeping the old tech for his work in firmware updates/ questions from readers/product comparisons and that of properly retiring his tech via recycling it or passing on via reselling (if he signs it it, might be worth more money!).
      And of course he is in a different space to us in that it is his business so in future months/years he would wanna line up the tech for a historic review. Maybe even a museum in the future… Hmm. Thinking about it I suspect for those reasons alone he is one of the few people who should never get rid of tech ???
      As for us regular consumers (I am exactly the same as you in that I have loads of old tech lying around).. there is a lot of interesting discussions on the old technology gold mine (literally!.. as shown in the Tokyo 2020 medal project).. but for now I try and resell on to help fund the next gadget or simply recycle.. but I personally could do so much better and would really love to donate my tech to charity..

      .. like my running shoes: I stop using them way before someone else would and so when I put in the local running store’s recycle bin, there is still a lot of life in them for others.

      Really interesting question!

    • Amsterdam already has some of the weirdest museums around so that would probably fit right in :)

    • Yeah, it’s always a tricky balance. I’ve never sold any of it before. Things roughly fit into four categories:

      A) Stuff I actively use: This is mostly things made in the last two years. Be it watches, head units, or even just grabbing a bike light set off the shelf like last night.
      B) Stuff I use sparingly: This is stuff extending back to slightly more than two years ago, but that pops up every now and then (perhaps once a quarter).
      C) Stuff I use in photos/comparison shots, or to validate something old on: These are things I don’t often power on, but need perhaps a couple times a year at most, or when the next version of a new product comes out. For example, the Polar V800 is nearly 5 years old. But I do need it for both comparison stuff (photo and usage). Otherwise, I never use it.
      D) Stuff that’s too old: I suppose this could be divided into two buckets. One is device that are so old I’d never use because their either technically useless (company has gone out of biz), or because it’s just not relevant. For the first piece, I wouldn’t resell it because it’s functionally not useful anymore. So it makes more of a historic piece at this point. No point in selling it when it might make for an interesitng art/museum display down the road. I have some ideas there. And the second is something like the FR305 that people do actually still use and I’d love to do some more ‘Was your FR305 [or fill in the blank nostalgic product] actually as good as you think it was?’ type posts in the new year.

      Obviously, this extends to more than just watches. And certainly as The Girl pointed out, I probably don’t need 50+ sets of Garmin quarter-turn rubber band mounts or GoPro screws/mounts. But it’s also nice not having to worry about having that kinda small accessory junk on-hand. I know it’s there, and I know I have plenty of it to setup extra bikes, mount to anything I want and not worry about having to buy extras, etc…

      It also goes a bit towards not wasting money on throwing away things only to re-buy them. I found in Paris I was always re-buying stupid stuff simply because I couldn’t find it. Not because I didn’t have it. I’m hoping to eliminate that budget line item, so I can spend it on cookies. :)

    • I think Ray is an exception, because he has a legitimate reason to hoard old sports tech gadgets. But I think it’s worth the hassle for most people to either resell their old gadgets or find people who will use them and give them to away. While the idea of blindly donating these things sounds nice, it’s only a good option if the gadgets actually get used.

      I had a bunch of stuff in a closet that I dedicated time to selling on eBay earlier this year. My old Garmin 220 was one of the things I sold. I didn’t make much money at all. In fact, the amount of time and effort it took to sell them on eBay was a net loss. But I can’t tell you how good it feels that the gadgets I sold are now out there being used. I was able to get them to people who actually wanted them. They’re not in a landfill, they’re not collecting dust with batteries and electronics that are slowly corroding. They’re actively being used by people who desired them.

      Ray gets a pass on old sports tech hardware, but it sure seems there is plenty of non-sports-tech hoarding going on in that big cave of his. ?

    • Mr T

      Well I disagree on the donations. I mean do we apply the same scrutiny for any other kind of donations? I know most don’t. I was thinking more along the lines of school running programs – where maybe the kids don’t have access to any technology. I grew up pretty poor and received a pair of new asics that were donated to the school. I loved those shoes. I’d imagine some disadvantaged kid – in the US or abroad would feel the same about an older Garmin. But then the Tech companies don’t support the older product either so any donee would br left high and dry in the evening of an issue.

      I get that Ray might need to answer the odd question. And that it’s easier to keep a ton of stuff rather than keep buying. But I dont give anyone a pass.

      I think it presents a dilemma especially since garmin seems to pump out new tech on a yearly basis.

      Ive done the selling on Ebay route but it’s just a pain.

  15. Aaron Todd

    Thanks for all the great info and reviews of all the cycling electronics. You ar the first site I visit for info. Trying to decide if I want to stay with my Garmin 1000 or give the Wahoo Elemnt a go. I had the Bolt for a couple weeks. It was too small for my liking. I like being able to download trail maps from Trailforks onto my 1000. Send me your email and I will try to send you some of my Bike Nerd stickers.

  16. JJS

    Ray, what a huge collection of wrist gadgets! I think in summary you’ve spent roundabout 1 million dollars for it!!! Just think of founding a wrist gadget museum… ;-)

  17. Aldo

    Any updates on trainers review or the companies are still working on the bugs you mentioned last month?

  18. Stuart T

    With those car luggage fitting skills you could make a tidy (not really) sum saving folks from those wonderful Ikea car park arguments. “Did you measure it?” You said this bookcase would fit no issues!!”

  19. Robin

    I don’t suppose The Girl wants to give up the recipe to that Deep Chocolate Salted Caramel tart, does she? That’s exactly the sort of motivation that I need to pedal harder on my trainer, over the winter. In fact, I’m sure that dessert would inspire not just all of your readers but also untold numbers of cyclists, triathletes, runners, and swimmers around the world to exercise harder over the winter months. In that light, it would be a public service–nay, the greatest possible public service for an ailing world.