Friday, May 30, 2008

Matching shoes and bike

I didn't have on a matching watch and I am afraid that the yellow swoosh is a bit of clash, but last night I hit the trails to try out my new mountain biking shoes and blow out some cobwebs.

The new shoes are very nice although I need to move the cleats a little. I was very happy with them and am becoming of the opinion that Specialized should start making normal everyday shoes, because their shoes are the most comfortable ones that I own, period. (As the Americans say)

I stopped for a pee and was impressed to see this termite mound, there was a column of ants about 20 wide going up and down the tree as high as I could see.

Tonight I took J swimming so there was no cycling, but last night reminded me that I have not been riding off road much recently and need to get back into some sort of practice before the coming 24 hour race in mid June. Not long now...

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I have mentioned several times that we are selling some crud out of the basement. There are several ways of selling this sort of stuff and some things are easier to get rid of than others.
I have posted the bike bits on eBay which will almost certainly sell, the worst that can happen is that I lose a couple of quid on the postage. The fridge I got rid of over dinner on Sunday which has left the saddle and some bikes.
The saddle is a total mystery to me so MK has to find out what it is worth and then we'll put it in the paper, but the bikes are my domain and so I decided to post them on Den Blå Avis (literally the blue paper) which is like exchange and mart.

You can see my adverts here and here

Given that I am familiar with Craig's list and that posting my items on eBay cost a pound or so each I was expecting to pay something around £5 for the dba adverts.


One of them cost £15 and the other was over £20 for reasons that I really can't understand. I just hope that they both sell! I don't understand why Craig's list is not more popular here, there is a Copenhagen listing now but as there are 7 bikes listed in total I can't imagine that there is a great chance of selling one of these minority interest items.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Commuting by bike

Oh yes the bike related posts continue.

I had a lovely commute to the office on my bike today. The bike is for sale which made riding it nicer than usual as I have never really got comfortable on this one. The sun was shining, there was plenty of pollen in the air and I got a healthy dose of intellectual Radio 4 documentary podcasts to occupy my mind.

There was a slight increase in stress levels when I realised that I had left my keys at home. I called MK (whilst riding - is this legal?) and asked her to bring them with her and meet me en-route, but then changed my mind as it was a big detour for her and a waste of time. In the end I had to ask my boss to meet me and let me in in my cycling gear so that I could shower and change. The next issues was that I had to hide my bike somewhere since I can't lock it up. It is under some stairs and well out of sight so I think it will be OK in this trust worthy country...

The final annoyances came when i realised that I have forgotten my wallet so I will have to borrow some cash for lunch and my watch battery died on the way to work.

OK that is a lot of complaining, but I really enjoy riding to work, I feel good when I do it - almost light on my feet and I enjoy my lunch more than usual. Now I have to get better at packing and find out about that new bike...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The bike - another boring bike post

I think I love bicycles more than I love riding them. My (apparently sad in this respect) mind is often consumed in an endless effort to define the perfect bicycle. The problem is of course that there is no such thing as the perfect bike, just as there is no perfect car. Whilst our horrible van may be undesirable in the extreme, if a bloke who owns a Porsche 911 needs to transport anything larger than his brief case, then he'll be happy to borrow it, although there is no guarantee that he'd let me use the Porsche. I digress.

What I am really yearning for is a bike that is good for a lot of slightly different purposes and the problem is that I of course have a slightly different list of requirements than most bike manufacturers take into account.

Single speed is nice, but inconvenient with strange dropouts and complexity with disc brakes and mudguards, it may also end up being too much like hard work if I ever end up living near some hills. I think I want some gears, but only a single chain ring at the front. I want big road wheels with disc breaks because they work better, last longer and make less mess in the wet. I would like to be able to fit mudguards as well and finally I don't want it to weigh a ton and look ass ugly. To be honest, this last part is the hardest to fulfil, but assuming that custom titanium is out of the question, I suspect the result will end up looking something like this but with flat bars.

Ultimately that is a disc only cyclocross bike. These should be more common, but the UCI banned disc brakes in cyclocross races so the market is a little more limited than it already would be.

In other news, the sun is shining again after 24 hours of rain, good for the garden apparently, but getting soaked twice in a day is not good for the soul.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sorry for the break

I have been very busy working today (shock horror) and posting things on eBay this evening. MK and I even managed to advertise a couple of bikes on Den Blå Avis to sell them in Denmark.

To make up for the delay, here is a photo of J's gift from the weekend...

Friday, May 23, 2008

The junk's gotta go

We have a lot of bikes in our basement, some of which rarely see the light of day and many of which do not really work as well as they ought.

I began collecting bits to sell on eBay last night and quickly collected a set of carbon triathlon bars, a carbon rimmed tubular wheel, a titanium railed saddle and a stem or two. The have been photographed and will be flogged in due course.

Last night I swapped the wheel on my blue Pompino for another wheel that I have had for a while and it just won't work since it is narrower than the frame and doesn't sit in the middle of the frame. This came to a head this morning when I set out to ride to work, I got about 5 metres up the road before carrying it back to the house and rebuilding my road bike to ride to work.

As a result of this fiasco I have decided to sell my Cannondale mountain bike that I am not riding anymore since I got the Salsa, the On-one In-bred frame and forks and the Pompino. The Pompino was one of the first (if not the first) single speed road bike available in the UK before this whole fixed gear thing took off and it is a great idea. Unfortunately it was very badly executed, the 135mm spacing at the rear makes is incompatible with just about any other bike, the frame geometry is not good and made worse by the fork steerer tube being cut down so far that I can't fit any spacers to get comfortable. The final nail in it's coffin is that the wheels are horridly badly built and are literally falling apart. It's going!

I am hoping to build a replacement that will be my ultimate do anything commuter bike: comfy position, 1 chain ring, mountain bike rear mech, disc brakes and 700c wheels. It will probably look very much like this in the end.

If anyone wants any of these bikes or bits then let me know.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Merchant of Venice

We don't get much high brow culture these days, but when G called to ask if we wanted free tickets to the Merchant of Venice in Stratford on Tuesday night we leaped at the chance. The larger Swan theatre is being refurbished at the moment so we were in the smaller theatre up the road which has seating along the sides of the stage as well as in front of it. We sat on the right hand side and had a pretty good view of most of the action.

It wasn't long before I remembered that it is good to get an idea of what the story is before getting to the theatre when Shakespeare is involved, and the general absence of scenery or props didn't help too much with context. I was happy to realise that I could follow what was going on and happily didn't fall asleep and snore loudly like the guy in front.

On the whole it was very nice to have a night out and I enjoyed the play although I couldn't help feeling that the play itself had more to offer than this performance delivered, but what do I know?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Last Days

I had my eyes tested yesterday and there has not been much change since I got my glasses. That is not much change in my prescription so I would ordinarily not have bothered changing the lenses. However, the hand of my mother intervened and now I need new lenses since there are rather a lot of scratches on the old ones since she dropped them out of the back door.

"I bought them into the house to be safe"

So I am getting new lenses and some prescription sunglasses as well. I estimate that I am saving about £400 by not buying them at home so all is well. Whilst online I have also contributed to Fatty's fund for helping his wife and family by treating myself to a 2008 fat cyclist jersey.

It appears that we are going to see the Merchant of Venice in Stratford tonight which should be great.

Stocking up

We had a great time at Tim's birthday party and you can see how close to the ceiling that J got over at Gill's Elevenses.

We have been stocking up ready for the summer: Hay fever remedies, cold cures, socks, pants, kids clothes and shoes. The list goes on.

I also managed a really nice bike ride this evening with an old friend before having the other meal that we have to eat when in England. Fish and Chips with mushy peas, this time with a glass of white wine. On the whole I am not sure it isn't better with a cup of tea!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Down on the farm

We had a trip to see the animal yesterday before the rain set in. It has rained more or less ever since :-(

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Safe and sound

All went well with our travels this morning, everything checked in on time, car parked and security passed. The worst part of the journey was the charge of 110kr for a coffee, croissant and orange juice and then 35 kr for 2 bottles of water. I guess we'll survive especially as we were fed and watered for free on the plane unexpectedly.

I decided to bring my bike with me and that has arrived intact so all in all, the day has been successful. Our flight with Sterling was early and the weather was even good for us when we arrived.

Hopefully I'll get some pictures over the next couple of days...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back to the motherland

We're off to the UK for a little break, of course this coincides with having a ton to do at work, but that is life.

We had a wonderful relaxed weekend with a trip to the beach, barbecues and a nice 100km bike ride in the sun on the bank holiday Monday.
Here is J trying out a fire engine (not well I must admit) in a new furniture shop on Saturday and a well camouflaged hot air balloon taking off as I rode past on Friday evening.

Hopefully I will manage to post from the other side of the North Sea as well...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Heston Blumenthal

I have been watching Heston Blumenthal on the BBC Food channel for the last few weeks "in search of perfection" and the he has amazed me with his astonishing attention to detail. When he says perfection, he really means it.

A couple of weeks ago he set out to make the perfect pizza and determined from a visit to a pizzeria in Naples that the pizza had to cook in 90 seconds meaning that the oven had to be at approximately 500 degrees. The only was he could achieve this in a domestic kitchen was to cook the pizza on the base of a grill pan under the grill, both of which had to have been on full for at least 20 minutes!

This week he turned to another of my favourite things: Fish and chips. The chips were cooked and dried out in the fridge twice before their final cooking and the quest to find the best batter recipe was lengthy and complex. In the end he created this recipe:
  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g Doves Farm white rice flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 300ml vodka
  • 300ml lager (Kronenbourg 1664 works well)
  • 2-3 litres groundnut (peanut) oil
  • 4 large turbot fillets, 2–3cm thick
  • Table salt and freshly ground black pepper

Then challenge was to get enough moisture out of it and as much air as possible during the cooking. The honey adds colour, the vodka evaporates very quickly making ti dry and crisp, the beer adds flavour, colour and importantly carbon dioxide. He actually puts the batter in a soda siphon to add as much carbon dioxide as possible before the final frying. The final touch to the dish was the vinegar from a jar of pickled onions that he put into an atomiser to either spray onto the chips as you eat them or just to spray into the air as "essence of fish and chip shop" as he called it.

The lengths he goes to to, the amount of trial and error involved in order to achieve perfection really amaze me, I'd love to experience his cooking in person and eat in his restaurant The Fat Duck

At least the fish mongers at Reersø should now be open for our good local fish.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The big bed

It has taken us a long time to work up the courage to move J from his old cot to a proper bed. He has been happy in the cot and generally chooses to sleep in a ball or across it in such a way that size has not been an issue. He had a good few inches before he was touching both ends. One thing that did keep growing however was MK's tummy. She could no longer reach down and put J in or take him out of the cot.

I got duped into buying a varnished pine bed from the mighty Ikea and then having to paint it twice so that it matched something. I am not sure what it was supposed to match as there is not really anything white in the room whilst the floor is pine, but that is another issue (meaning argument in consultant-eese).

Anyway the bed was completed last weekend and J was immediately taken with the fact that he can climb onto it himself and have a good bounce around and jump down onto the floor. So far even the sleeping has been no worse than usual. This means that most nights MK (or very very rarely me) has to go in and see him most nights but thankfully he is staying put even when he wants some attention. The next steps are:
  1. Learn to sleep through the night
  2. Sleep later in the mornings
  3. Learn to get up quietly and play or watch Fireman Sam or whatever on his own...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Flap jack to museli

On Friday J and I made some flapjack to take to the race at the weekend. This is the kind of put it all in a bowl and mix it up cooking that suits J perfectly and he could have eaten some before it was cooked if he hadn't lost interest. The idea of making cake was exciting, but in reality he is not often very interested in eating cake so he went to play with something else instead.

I was tarting up the recipe I found in Leith's by adding stuff like sunflower seeds, raisins, sesame seeds and honey. I decided to reduce the amount of syrup I added a little because I thought the honey would hold it all together. I was wrong.

When it came out of the oven I let it cool but when I tried to cut it up, it crumbled rather too much to be able to take out of the house. We ate some, but then I had a great idea - turn it into breakfast cereal. I crumbled it onto a baking tray and added some more oats to soak up some of the buttery sugaryness. Mix it all up and put it back in the oven to brown.

The result: Some of the best crunchy sweet breakfast topping I have ever eaten, it seems that half a packet of butter, honey, sugar and syrup make for a great addition to the oats, even better than the previous favourites Cafe Fanny and Fiona's granola. I am going to have another go at this but try to make the recipe a little more healthy.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I am happy to say that my recovery from the weekends exertions is going well and I think I may be back on my bike this evening for a little spin if I can arrange it.
Last night I decided to have an evening of indulgence to celebrate not feeling any guilt about not training so we had a barbecue. Our old barbecue bit the dust at the end of last summer having been very cheap and living outside in the wet Danish summer were not a good combination. MK had an appointment with the midwife so she was home early and went out to get us a new grill and here it is.

We have gone up in the world and are now proud owners of the smallest and cheapest Weber grill money can buy. A full 37cm or 14½ inches of grilling pleasure.

Given the cost of the next model up and the massive cost of the super deluxe outdoor kitchen things, this is like buying a BMW kids bike and then claiming to have a BMW.

Anyway, it worked well, I burned the sausages, didn't overcook the steak and thoroughly enjoyed my first beer in as long as I can remember. Well I enjoyed all three of the, really!
Firemen don't sit on sofas apparently becuase the back of the hat gets in the way...

Monday, May 05, 2008


Looking rather voluptuous!

Rivette SRAM H12

That was the name of the race that has occupied my mind and body for most of the weekend. On Friday J and I had a good day at home playing, eating and going to the swimming pool. J now asks for the arm bands and enjoys "swimming" on his own. He can in fact sort of point himself in the right direction, kick a bit and make some progress so I am happy that he is making some progress in the water. Friday night I packed a ton of stuff into the car, cleaned and oiled my bike and made a load of food and energy drinks for Saturdays 12 hour race.

I left home shortly after 6 and was at the race site, wheels stuck in some mud shortly after 7, thankfully next to some nice Aussie guys who provided some good humoured companionship during the day.

The race started at 9 under clear blue skies that thankfully stayed the entire day and kept the course dry and ridable the whole day. As planned I started steadily and planned to keep going steadily for the duration of the race. The laps took around 40 minutes and I did the first 3 without much of a stop but after that I decided to top up on drinks and have a bite to eat. Unfortunately I didn't make myself drink enough and by the time we were 3 hours into the race I was very dehydrated, felt sick and was cramping a lot. I must admit that I was considering stopping and going home...

I stopped for an hour or so, ate what I could (a cheese and ham sandwich), drank a lot of water and some energy drink and took it easy for a while. After talking to MK on the phone I decided to have another go and gradually things got better. I was taking it one lap at a time and making sure that I drank 1 or 2 bottles of water between laps and tried to eat something too. I could tell that things were getting better as I started to sweat again and even had to pee a few times! (I am third back in this picture with the pink sleeves, there should be more photos to follow.)

I kept plodding around, occasionally seeing the Aussie guys and having a rest in the pits between laps and was entertained later in the afternoon looking for MK and J who were supposed to turn up at about 6. Finally they were there and it was great to see them. I stopped mid lap to have a hug and hear about J shouting "Daddy" at everyone on a bike before they finally found me (that was a few hundred people!)

I did a couple more laps after they arrived, the rules are that you cannot start another lap after 12 hours are up, I imposed a new limit of 11 hours and stopped at 7 deciding that I couldn't face getting my lights out and I was frankly knackered. I also got really bad crap on my last lap that left me nearly in tears and walking for 100m or so.

After a quick shower in the rowing club we were off home and in bed fairly early although I had trouble sleeping. I ended up 44th out of 67 I think and I guess that is OK for my first attempt at completing an endurance mountain bike event, but I know deep down that I could have done a few more laps - at least one more at the end and some of the rests I had during the day were just laziness when I couldn't quite push myself to get back out on the bike.

Now I have a better idea of what the 24 hour race will really be like in June though and it is a little more frightening as a result...