Belgium, here I come!

Belgium, here I come!

I now made some reservations for the accommodation in Belgium. Two nights in Andenne (an adjacent city of Huy) and three nights in Aywaille (near la Redoute). In all, I am sleeping 5 nights there.

I used Airbnb for the 2-night stay in Andenne to find a cozy place there. The host (owner of the property) has dogs and cats there so the property accepts my Hannah, of course. It is close to Huy so I am very happy and the price is not too much for me.

I once stayed at this camping ground at Aywaille. I don't remember how many nights but I remember it was comfortable to be there. I just hope the weather holds (at least no rain when I am leaving) and the nighttime low temperature stays above 10 degrees Celsius or higher.

Looking at the weather forecast on the weather app on my Android phone, I was very disappointed and frightened to see the nighttime lows stay around Zero degree Celsius. It's going to be cold!

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Belgium, here I come!]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2021/04/10(土) 13:12:06|
  2. Bike Races
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Off to Belgium

A new dash cam and other small purchases

I bought (ordered) a new dash cam. I am content with the one I have been using for some years and it actually saved my life (not a life and death matter but). It recorded the stupid BMW with its license plate that hit me one summer afternoon during the Tour de France trip. With this recording I visited the local police station to file a report because the woman who was responsible ran away thinking that I would not recall her license plate and would not file a report with the Police.

She was wrong and I would have given up the complaint if the dash cam (Viofo WR1) had not recorded it.

It still works. Why do I need a new dash cam? Because I want to record the other side, that is, the rear as I drive.

The new device is from DDPai. The brand seems to be new. It could be actually old but rebranded recently. Some company rename its brand for some reasons.

Anyway, DDPAI, should be pronounced "Ding, Ding Pi (as mathematical 3.1415...)" and it is from China.

The model is DDPai Mola N3 with GPS module. It is smallish device with no LCD screen just as my current Viofo WR1. That how I like my dash cams, small and minimum features.

My current Viofo WR1 is so small (a bit larger than 2 Euro coin) that it easily hides itself behind the rear view mirror. I don't see it when I am in the cockpit and just forget that it is there.

When it arrives, how do I arrange them? First I have to see how flexible the camera angle setting can be. The camera (lens) angle to the base foot (that sticks to the windshield) can be set to around 45 degrees as majority of automobiles are built with a windshield with this angle. It could be around 20 to 30 degrees as trucks, buses or vans have steeper (60 degrees) windshields.

If I install this DDPai Mola N3 on the rear wind deflector on my Mazda MX-5, the angle has to be even 0 degree as the deflector stands perpendicular. Is it possible? If not, I have to devise somehow a way to install the DDPai Mola N3 to make it aim at the rear view at the right angle.
DDPai has a dedicated app (iOS and Android) to manage the devices. It is already on my Android phone.

Mola N3 had been on my Amazon (Germany) wish list for some time until last evening when I saw it sold at a discounted price. Its price had been around 55 Euro. The discounted price was around 39 Euro so I hastily bought it before anybody snatched it as it was the last piece remaining at Amazon's storage.

L. Armstrong's son in trouble?

Yeah, I remember seeing him (in photos) hanging from his dad in yellow on the podium.

He is now fully grown up and in trouble.I found this article on cyclingnews.com and scanned it. I was not so much interested in it.

I just hope that this Luke guy won't use his dad or his dad's past as his defense claiming that his dad's fallen from grace (when his dad was dethroned of almost everything his dad had achieved in cycling) had significantly traumatized and had affected his behavior or so.

I just hope that he, Luke Armstrong, will not use his dad's past history as his defense to claim that his actions were sad consequences of his once hero dad falling from grace as he had been deeply traumatized.

It is easy to say this because his dad's so famous (or once famous) and infamous and many if not most people can sympathize with it.

Cyclingnews.com had this piece of news on the site this time but it won't follow the story (how the trial or out-of-court agreement) unless Lance Armstrong himself gets dragged into this ugly business by being forced to testify in the court room or so.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti installed

(Not that I like or approve Nvidia)

This old graphics card was NOT purchased by me but rather it was sent to me by some freak accident (or mistake on sender's part). Shortly before it left China, I bought a CPU (Intel Core 2 Duo for my Mac mini 2007 or ?) from the same ebay seller. It took a while before it actually arrived but this graphics card arrived significantly earlier than this CPU did.

Naturally when I was puzzled by this unknown package addressed to me, I notified the ebay seller of two things, one that this seemingly un-purchased item had showed up and it seems that it lawfully belonged to someone else in Italy (because the tracking number on the package showed it) and two that I was still waiting for my item for some time.

I suggested that I should send it back to the seller provided the shipping fees were reimbursed.

I got a prompt answer back. The customer service guy of the seller (seemed to be a company of sort) wrote that I should patiently wait some more. He (so I guessed) did not say anything about this used graphics card.

I assumed at that time that he would be dragged into more troubles by dealing with this mis-sent package as he had to be the one to find out what had happened (maybe the shipping department employer put the wrong address sticker on the box or ??). He decided it would be wise of him to ignore my words completely.

I assumed then that I should not further discuss the matter and wait for the Core 2 Duo chip. I assumed that I was made the lawful owner of this card under this circumstance. And the CPU did arrive a few weeks later.

I was not a fan of Nvidia by the way they treat the open source community so I neglected it totally. I even acquired a used AMD card later on ebay but it got lost during the transportation.

Anyway, I decided to give it a try. I needed a 6-pin auxiliary power cable to make it work. I ordered it a while ago but it got cancelled by Amazon Germany for a reason unknown to me (possibly the Luxembourg Post lost it or broke the package). So about a week ago I ordered it along other small items. It arrived Yesterday (April 8) and now I used it.

It worked. Now I am writing his on my old used Dell Optiplex 780. The LCD display is driven by this GTX 650 Ti and the Linux driver (Ubuntu Studio 20.10) works.

After the installation and subsequent reboot, I did not notice anything other than there is a Nvidia setting control software resides on the system now. This means that the new driver is working also well.

I noticed something. I was wondering for while why I could not play so many video files under Ubuntu Studio with the VLC player. The player exits soon after opening the files. I did not know why.

I can, indeed, play back the same video files under Kali Linux with another video player (what's the name?) so I knew the problem was not related to the files themselves (like corrupted files).

On a hunch, I played those formerly unplayable files and they are played well. I have to assume that it had something to do with shared memory thing.

Before the installation, the video chip was the one on the motherboard (Intel chipset). It does not have dedicated video memory chips but shares some of the main memory.

Now that the video playback works seamlessly I assume it had something to do with VLC's handling of shared memory. I could be wrong.

It takes some time to download the driver because of my slow Internet connection at home. It will be done and when it does, I will see how it works.

As XOrg's Nouveau driver works very well, I did not have to change it to Nvidia's proprietary driver. I was just curious.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ
[Off to Belgium]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2021/04/09(金) 21:29:31|
  2. Bike Races
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No spectators allowed on the circuit course - AGR 2021

OMG! It happened

I carefully looked for the information and found these following passages on AGR's site.

The circuit, of approximately 17 kilometres, will be closed to all spectators and the public. The organisers are calling on everyone to watch the Amstel Gold Race at home and not to travel to Limburg.

The three mayors of the specific municipalities have decided that the Amstel Gold Race can take place on April 18, but attach several conditions to it. The entire area covering the circuit will be closed hermetic to tourists and cycling public. No spectators are allowed on the circuit either, so also people staying in the region are not allowed to follow the race on the circuit. The municipalities will strictly ensure this condition and fine when necessary. The organization will ensure that the area remains accessible for residents and businesses.

So no spectators allowed to be there to see the live actions. So there's absolutely no point of traveling there.

Now I am very worried. What about other races, la Flèche Wallonnne and Liège - Bastogne - Liège? Have ASO officials already announced anything? As far as I checked, there has been no announcement of exclusion of any public spectators.

When you (and I) look into the photo that I posted in the previous post, you see sparse masked spectators along the course standing while keeping the so-called social distance. And this is one of the most crowded section of the race course. Amazing!

I am still thinking of going there but what do I expect to do and see there?

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [No spectators allowed on the circuit course - AGR 2021]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2021/04/07(水) 18:27:28|
  2. Bike Races
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2023 Tour de France departure from the Basque Country

The Basque Country! Yay!

I have been to the Basque Country back in 201? when the Tour had a stage finish just several kilometers from the border line on top of a certain ski resort in France. I parked my car not far from the finish and took my bike out for a cross-border ride that morning. I had planned it when I noticed that border on the map of Garmin BaseCamp on my MacBook Pro 13 inch Mid-2010.

Technically, I stayed in the Basque Country for around 10 minutes. This was the first time I had ever crossed the French - Spanish border in my life.

The only regret that I have is the fact I made a mega mistake, faux pas, blunder or whatever while I was there.

A quick look at the description of "faux pas" on Wikipedia, I learned that plural form of it remains the same in form but differs from it in pronunciation. In its plural form, "pas" (steps) is read with "s" as "z". How peculiar! As I live in a country where French is the predominant spoken language, this is very important piece of information.

What was my faux pas there? After passing the border line sign and, I recall, Police officers near the sign and moved forward around 100 meters, I was urged to make sure that I had crossed the border.

I saw three cyclists resting while enjoying the view from there. I asked them if I was in Spain in English. They responded with a tangible hesitation that I had been in the Basque Country, ... Spain.

I certainly offended them if not provoked them but in my defense I would like to say that I had no intention of doing so.

They (certainly local cyclists from the other side of the climb) were Basque people. I should have asked if I had the honor of stepping into their holy "Basque Country".

ASO (Amaury Sport Orniganization) or at least its cycling sport department acquired the Vuelta a Espagna organizer years ago and around that time they also had a reconciliation with the Basque Country administration (local government). I read somewhere that there was (or were) an incident (or incidents) by radical the Basque separation group that soured the relationship between them.

I wish I could go there to see the Grand Départ there.

An impossible picture to shoot several years ago now possible

I visited letour.fr site to get some information on la Flèche Wallonne race and could not help smiling when I saw the photo there. Here it is.
(resized screenshot from letour.fr)

It is a photo of riders negotiating the steepest section of the famous Huy climb. I know exactly where it is as I have been there so many many times in the past several years.

Why I describe it as a photo impossible to shoot several years ago but now easily shot?

This photo was taken by a photographer standing on a private property along the climb. I have seen the current owners of the property. It must be 4 or 5 years ago that this family saw a funeral of the woman to whom this property belonged up to then. This old woman whom I had never seen but heard hated the cycling event that took place in front of her house. She fiercely expelled anyone usually photographers and their designated motorbike drivers to trespass on her property. When the organizer (or the workers commissioned by the organizer) tried to put ad banners on the hedge belonging to this property, I heard some cries and the workers had to retreat the banners. This old woman was furious.

I knew this as I used to stay "there" for years until when (4 or 5 years ago?) I noticed ad banners on the hedge and the presence of photographers on the property. I wondered why. Soon I learned that the woman had deceased. The new owners, her posterity, were friendly to the race organizer and photographers and invited them to take photos or hang banners.

Now you know why. Normally I have to write "RIP this former property owner" but I know for sure she is not resting peacefully when her property is disturbed by the race.

Caterham Cars acquired by its Japanese importer

I saw the news. Caterham 7 is one of my favorite automobiles.

Filing down the mouthpiece

I bought a Sopranino saxophone while ago. I haven't had much time to practice it. One of the reasons was that it sounded loud as I don't live in a separated house without close neighbors. I live in a small studio apartment with close neighbors.

There was another reason. I could not blow it. It did not make proper notes. For example I could never blow lower notes. The reed did not simply vibrate. I guessed that it had greatly something to do with the mouthpiece.

It came with a non-brand mouthpiece. It seemed made of normal "hard rubber" as opposed to some metal alloy. No matter I tried, it did not make any low notes and other tones were also not consistent.

I checked the mouthpiece and guessed that the opening was too thin and the machined surface where the reed sits was not so even.

I decided to fiddle with it. I had a fine whetstone (of fine clay maybe?) and I filed the surface flat and then widened the opening.

Now I can blow the low notes and the other notes sound consistent than they were before.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [2023 Tour de France departure from the Basque Country]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2021/04/07(水) 17:19:51|
  2. Bike Races
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Wallonne area of Belgium under restrictions?

Travel Restrictions imposed?

I was looking for places to stay in Huy, Belgium area and found a camping grounds there but there was this notification on one of the sites. Since no English translation was available (only Dutch), I had to translate it into English by use of Google Translate site. Here it goes. (https://walloniebelgietoerisme.be/nl/content/chateau-de-fraiture)

COVID-19 : Travel for recreational / tourist purposes to or from Belgium is prohibited until April 18, 2021. Most tourist attractions in Wallonia will remain closed.

The museums have been open since December 1. Although we make every effort to provide you with the best possible information, it is best to contact the tourist service provider directly or consult its website for the most recent information on visits and reservations.

Original writing:

COVID-19 : Reizen voor recreatieve / toeristische doeleinden van of naar België is verboden tot 18 april 2021.

De meest toeristische attracties in Wallonië blijven gesloten. De musea zijn open sinds 1 december. Hoewel wij alles in het werk stellen om je zo goed mogelijk te informeren, neem je best rechtstreeks contact op met de toeristische dienstverlener of raadpleeg je zijn website voor de meest recente informatie over bezoeken en reserveringen.

I did not know this! Luckily the trip I am planning now is actually and miraculously from that very date.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Wallonne area of Belgium under restrictions?]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2021/04/07(水) 03:11:53|
  2. Bike Races
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