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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

This was probably about as close to a semi-normal weekend as we’ve had in a few years now. Plus, it was actually sunny – a change from a week of rain, snow, wind, and all of those somehow mixed together angrily.

1) Cargo Bike Ambulance:

One of our cargo bikes (yes, we have two – but no car), was due for some spring maintenance this week, including truing the rear wheel and tightening the belt. Probably a new set of brake pads too. That was set for Saturday morning, when on Thursday morning said same bike decided to have its rear tire pop at 5:30:21AM. I know the exact time because I could actually see it happen on one of our Nest Cams. It silently popped, and the rear tire squished down.

Anyways, with that appointment already set, there was no reason for me to deal with changing the tire myself. It’s not super hard, but it’s also not as easy as a road bike. Atop that, bike mechanic labor fees are silly cheap in Amsterdam – and I’d have to go to the bike shop to get a new tube for it anyways. So, I figured I’d do it all at once, and just get the flat-tire bike to the bike shop (about 2KM away) either by slow-riding it, or slow-rolling it.

That plan failed miserably.

About 200m down the street, the tube decided to depart the bike and end up wrapped around the hub. After which, the bike became incredibly hard to push on just the tire alone (plus, trying to keep the rim on rubber only). So, I gave up on that. Carrying the bike wasn’t an option. But, suckering my Dad (who was in town) into helping me lift one Urban Arrow onto another, and then walk it the 2KM to the bike shop at 10PM? Definitely an option.

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This worked surprisingly well. Once we got it up there, it managed to stay put and very solid atop the other one (the crank arm sorta nestled into one corner). And there was no meaningful resistance in terms of pushing it, it just rolled along happily. And we only ran into one signpost.

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Here’s my dad at our destination.

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I’d also point out that even having a car or SUV in this scenario wouldn’t have worked. The bike is simply too big for those. Some larger American truck beds might have had room in the back for it, hanging out the back. Getting the bike up solo would have been tricky. Not impossible, but very tricky. So having a helper made things easier for the mount/dismount.

They fixed it the next morning and we were good to go.

2) Running Buddies:

Saturday, just before dinner, I decided it was time to squeeze in a 10KM-ish run. With the three Peanuts starting to lose the plot in the early evening witching hour, I figured taking one of them with me would be the prudent thing to do. Initially I was going to take the littlest one in the running stroller (The BOB), but a split/last-second decision was offered to the middle one (4 years old) to see if she wanted to bike instead with me.

Sure enough, she was thrilled. Also, yes her face is painted. No, she is not normally a bear.

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I wanted to do about 10KM, and wasn’t super sure how well she’d handle the speed aspect. She’s usually pretty good in the ~10KM range just poking around, but I haven’t taken her out on any solo runs yet. So this would be a first.

Turns out, she did great, and we had a blast.

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The way back on the lollipop-designed farmland loop had some pretty stiff headwinds, so that slowed things down slightly. Both in terms of speed but also motivation. But we just ended up playing a game where every 5th giant tree on the tree-lined path, she’d get a couple second ‘boost’ to speed ahead. That kept her entertained.

All in a bit more than 9KM, at roughly my long-running pace. Not too shabby for a 4-year old.

3) Drone Testing Fun:

I spent a bit of time getting a new aircraft all set-up for some stuff later this week. This is a bit different than most of the drone stuff I review, in that it’s so-called FPV flying (First Person View). Generally speaking, this aspect isn’t used in follow-me sports, but the thing I’m reviewing crosses over to more of the realm of stuff I review on the YouTube side. Whereas, you do actually see FPV drones used more and more in live sporting events – such as GoPro using one in live freestyle skiing competition a few months back, and DJI doing similar with this ski film, including tons of FPV work, (and we’ve seen countless piles of FPV work in cycling films, both at the general YouTube level but also with the UCI even recently at an event).

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Anyways, I made mention on Instagram, but if anyone in the Amsterdam area is an experienced FPV pilot and wants to help me out on Tuesday morning (somewhere just outside the allowable flying area), I’m happy to have a flying helper. Shouldn’t take long, just drop a note below or using the ‘Contact’ option above.

4) Sunday Intervals

Sunday midday I went out for some intervals in the sun. I wanted to run through a structured workout (one where I downloaded what I was doing to the watch to have me iterate through it), so I set up a pile of 800s, along with a warm-up and cool-down. First up was passing by the rowing basin, where a competition was underway. Plenty of large semi-trucks full of boats off in the distance.

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After that, it was free sailing with very few people. It’s always nice and quiet once you get away from the basin.

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I ended up doing a couple rounds of the hill. This hill is only 15m high, but it’s the only hill I’ve got. And it technically trips the threshold for what I need most of the time.

Once done, the Garmin Descent G1 (which is basically a diving version of the Instinct 2 series) was upset as always with my lack of productivity. Generally speaking, the underlying reason why it gives ‘Unproductive’ is usually right. Though, this one was somewhat questionable to be honest. It said I needed rest a bit more. But I managed a 74 sleep score with an ‘Excellent’ sleep duration, though Body Battery didn’t quite nail as high as I wanted, at 68 for the night. Still seems a bit aggressive for ‘Unproductive’. Though, as I said before, in general – most of the time I find that objectively it’s right, even when we don’t like the answer (the exception is mostly high load weeks like training camps and such – where it easily fumbles).

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Either way, my intervals were largely good – so, that’s what matters. Well, actually, I got the test data I needed – so that’s really what matters.

5) Food Festival Fun

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After the run on Sunday, we brought the kids to Amstel Park, which is a giant park along the Amstel river. They’ve got everything from gardens there to cafes, even a petting farm. But for kids, the main attraction is the massive playground area.

However, this weekend the Pure market was up and running again. It was its second weekend of the year, and rotates between three different venues around Amsterdam each weekend. Normally, we visit it in the Amsterdam Bos, which is very close to the DCR Cave (and where I did my intervals above). So it was a nice surprise to see it here.

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The food is always good, and there’s tons of variety for the kids to pick which foods they want. One had fresh dumplings, another rotisserie chicken, and the last one chose Thai-chicken pot pies. The adults (including the grandparents) sampled from that set of stands, as well as others.

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Plus, a train ride around the park with the grandparents topped it off before they flew back across the pond this morning.

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After which, it was a ride home as the sun set, obligatory windmill included.

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

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29 Comments

  1. Blimey, I haven’t seen a wooden racing shell in forever.

  2. Marklemcd

    I’m amazed that anyone finds value in the Garmin performance status. I find it to be so finicky as to be worthless. My status changes ALL THE TIME.

    • GLT

      Agreed that detail level isn’t really glanceable. A variety of the measurements seem like they have the most utility when they swing hard in one particular direction and stay there.

  3. So are we getting into FPV? I’ve struggled with signing on for that kind of time commitment but I’m so tempted. Glad you had a good week buddy. 👍

    • I’ve had some stuff for a while, but kinda half-hearted in my FPV skills. Trying to ramp things up though. Less so for acro-type stuff (tricks/etc…), and more just so-called ‘cinematic FPV’ type flying.

    • C.Sco

      FPV looks like a seriously fun hobby (never tried it, my only drone experience is with Mavic Air 2 & Mini 2), but I can definitely see how it doesn’t have much overlap with the fitness world. After all, kind of hard to run/bike/swim while wearing FPV goggles.

    • I’m nowhere near Amsterdam but I’ve done my years of hardcore FPV racing at the national level (domestic US) before settling fully into triathlon as my main hobby. I could probably offer remote technical support if it came to it.

      The best tips I can offer are to put stick time in on a decent simulator (DRL sim, Velocidrone, or Liftoff being my 3 top recommendations) and it’s going to save you a lot of time and money rom crashing/repairing later.

      As for actually building/debugging hardware setups, it’s a rough learning curve the first time or two and after that the drones almost multiply themselves automatically 😀 😀

  4. Mark

    So weird to see that pink bike without a baby out front!

    • Haha…good point! Usually it’s always there. This was such a last-second hail-mary, that she didn’t even have time to contemplate the attachment of Baby out front (its actual name is just “Baby”…her stuffed monkey is named Monkey, and her stuffed bunny is named Bunny – much to the confusion of everyone).

  5. Max

    Hi Ray!
    Curious, what’s the cost of servicing a bike there in Amsterdam?
    – A regular city bike?
    – A cargo bike like yours?
    – A high end road bike ?

    Wondering if such a huge market (everyone rides bikes) would bring down bike servicing costs.

    • Only to a certain point… servicing bikes still takes time, and the bike shops need to make a living too 🙂

      High end shops can charge up to € 88/hour: link to instagram.com – while regular shops offer basic bike service starting at € 30

    • I think in general things are substantially cheaper here than in most other parts of the world, for all ranges of bike maintenance.

      The biggest difference is certainly at the regular-bike level, where things cost tens of dollars for basic bike maintenance stuff that’d cost $50-$100 in the US at a LBS.

      Cargo bike stuff is still incredibly cheap. For a tube swap only on the Urban Arrow, including labor and parts it’d be 20-25EUR. I can’t imagine it being that cheap anywhere else for a specialty cargo bike to even glance at it.

      Higher-end road bike prices are certainly pricier, but again, it’s all relative. I can bring my road bike to one of the two higher-end shops and they’ll do an incredible job for perhaps 1/3rd the cost of the same work in the US. The thing is, unlike most US shops, it doesn’t feel like the shops are to overcharge you for simple tasks on a high-end road bike. It’s just a bike task, and if it’s quick and easy, you won’t pay anymore than any other bike.

      Just my experience in Amsterdam.

  6. Man, dealing with maintenance on a box bike can be a real bear sometimes! I have a Yuba Supermarche which I (and my kids) love but right after I got it, I was trying to adjust the brakes. And never having touched disc brakes before, I of course immediately bled off the hydrolic line. This was…not great. The closest bike shop to me is probably about 3 miles, so twice as far away as yours. I rode there with the front disc just rubbing the whole way. I think they had to replace the whole pad. Lesson learned…I don’t touch the brakes anymore!

  7. Matthew

    Seeing your kids pull up alongside your workout in the bucket of your cargo bike to offer “constructive criticism” gave me a bad flashback to my days of collegiate sailing. We’d be out there grinding away like maniacs on the pedestals (think hand bikes connected to a hydraulics motor) and the coach would pull up alongside in his Boston Whaler, give us a disapproving head shake, and pull away. Stone cold demoralization!

  8. Robin

    Hi Ray – I’m interested to know how much linkage there is between things like RHR, sleep, HRV and the training metrics and the suggested workouts on Garmin devices. My view from my FR945LTE (the (likely) forgotten child) is not much.

    Great effort from your daughter coming with you on your run btw. My kids are at least twice her age and I wouldn’t contemplate taking them on run of that distance with me (or at all) due to the complaints I would receive from the first step/pedal stroke. Kudos.

  9. Andrew

    I never see any electric scooters in all your pictures like a Segway Ninebot with max speed of 25 kph.
    Are they banned in the Netherlands or everybody already has a bike for commuting?
    They have started to become popular here in Australia but the local infrastructure is not really suitable for them. i..e footpaths are for pedestrians and roads for vehicles. Fully dedicated cycle paths don’t exist like they do in the Netherlands as they are often shared with pedestrians or vehicles.

    • Marco

      We see here more and more electric scooters, which is a good thing in my opinion. Not sure about Amsterdam which is crowded anyway and I believe they have to wear a helmet even if the speed is limited to 25km/h. Also they need to drive on the road and not the bike-path. Maybe that’s the reason you won’t see them in Ray’s pictures. In the rest of the Netherlands, only the scooters which go faster then 25km/h need to wear a helmet. In the cities they need to drive on the road sometimes and on other roads they’re allowed on the bike-path. 25km/h scooters always need to drive on the bike-path.

    • Yeah, in Amsterdam they’re virtually unheard of. Maybe I’ll see one once per week? Maybe. And I live in an area packed with the target audience (teens and 20-somethings going to/from the fields/school/university).

      As noted, not being allowed on the bike paths is basically a non-starter for most people. You’d be stuck out in road-hell, especially given so much infrastructure is designed to make the bike paths blissfully quick to many locaitons.

      What’s far more common is ebikes in that target demographic, it’s really exploded in the last 1-2 years.

    • Pavel Vishnyakov

      Kickscooters are a very grey area in NL. There are a couple of models that are certified to go on public roads (but you need to wear a helmet, register it and insure it). The rest is, AFAIK, considered “toys”, so technically you aren’t allowed to go on public roads / bike lanes with those – and you’ll get a fine if you do. But given the fact that you can’t put a police officer on every corner, lots of people take the risk and ride those anyway.

  10. Richard Shepherd

    Do you think you might do a review of the Descent G1? I had one for a week. It’s a great watch with all the super useful features of the Descent 2 including triathlon. However on my first pool dive with it I found myself not able to see the small numbers (I am now 53 and getting a little long sighted) so that wouldn’t work for safety reasons. I sold it on eBay for a slight loss and bought a Suunto Vyper plus tank pod.

    • Definitely. Working on it. I was going to publish this week, but I think I’ll wait about two weeks and get some more diving squished in. I’ve got a few dives already, but at this point, I’m not in a huge rush.

    • Doug

      Have you noticed the Descent G1 Solar to be darker/dimmer than non-solar Garmin watches?

    • Richard Shepherd

      No. It’s exactly the same as the regular Descent in my opinion. I found it perfectly viewable in air. But underwater the optics are a little different and I couldn’t focus on the smaller data fields. I started to have the same problem with my Suunto D4i Novo. When I was < 50 I had no problem but now I can’t see the tank pressure which is rather crucial! I could get some varifocal lenses for my mask but I’ve opted for a bigger dive computer.

      If you have no vidual problems the G1 is a great diving watch with the exception of lacking air integration.

      To pre-emp Ray’s review…

      It’s everything the Instinct 2 is (with a different charge cable) and add the diving profiles of the Descent Mk 1. That’s it.

    • “It’s everything the Instinct 2 is (with a different charge cable) and add the diving profiles of the Descent Mk 1. That’s it.”

      Yup, that’s about it.

  11. Robert

    That last picture is just priceless.

  12. Andrzej

    Well, I blame flu, I was not checking on my favorite websites for some days.
    Ping me for anything FPV related in NL. I am close by.

  13. Tominator

    Hello Sir,

    Here’s a huge second on the feelings about status ‘unproductive’! As a recovering lazy fat guy, I was immensely proud of myself for my Saturday workout which included a long run followed almost immediately by a long bike ride, about 5 hours duration, 2,000+ calories burned, and calves seriously burning. Mr. Garmin? … Not so much. Status updated from ‘maintaining’ to ‘unproductive.’ COME ON! That word is hurtful. I’m not training for the Olympics, I’m just trying not to let the old man in, and I thought I lapped his butt, very productively!

    Thanks for the technical quality and entertainment quantity of your work. If you know who we need to send a thesaurus to at Garmin, I’ll spring for it.

  14. Dzhisov

    Hey please post photos with analog face of Descent watch, which is a twin with Instinct2!