Balaclava to the rescue?

It is Friday today. It was around 1 degree Celsius, which is 34 F. Someone I know tweeted that she had trouble finding the right clothes for riding at 65 F, which is around 18 C. What? 18 C??? It is very warm! What is she complaining about? Well, I am just making fun of someone who lives in a far far warmer place than Luxembourg.

Anyway, it is sunny for the moment. That is why tonight and tomorrow morning it is going to be very cold. According to the not-so-accurate weather forecast, it is going to be MINUS 3 C tomorrow morning, which is roughly 27 F, in other words, below freezing point.

I have experienced a snowfall during a prologue stage of Paris-Nice near Paris. I have been to the Flanders Tour (de Ronde) where riders had snow. I have been to a race in Cologne where a sudden snowfall in the morning cancelled the race. The riders stayed in a hotel where their team cars parked outside had more than 15cm of snow on the roof!!!

If I could borrow the famous phrase by Jens Voigt, I would tell her to say to her knees, "Shut up knees!" Oh, she tweeted something like, at 65 F and sunny = too warm for knee warmers but too cool without.

This spring (March? I guess), I bought a balaclava (face mask) by Gore bike wear. It is a kind of balaclava but it covers half your face, ears and below. May be this will help. You don't feel so cold on the cheeks or chin but ears have to be protected.

I have seen fallen leaves cleaning crew along the Alzette more than several times on my way to work during the last three weeks. Almost all the trees are bald by now (of course save for those evergreen ones).

I have seen baby deers numerous times (three brothers and sisters?) and a fox along the Alzette streamlet. There are (family? brothers and sisters? or ???) small creatures, seemingly mammals, that I can not figure out. I encoutered them on many occasions but always dark at night. They were there past residential areas so there were no street lights.

What are they? Here is the short description of them as scanned by my eyes.

They are all 40 cm to 50 cm?? in height at the shoulders.
They are fat or are covered with fluffy fur so that they look chubby.
They didn't howl or cry (at least when I encoutered them).
They have (I guess) four legs.
They stay together (four or so?).
They seemed to have short legs (I could barely see their legs).

Could it be that they are wild boars? Do wild boars live in Luxmebourg? Possible?

It is cold for the moment. Saturday, I used this face mask (balaclava) by Gore Bike Wear that I bought this Spring. It was the first time I tried it on on my bike.

Here is the impression.

It certainly keeps cheeks, chin and ear lobes warm.

It does not sit comfortably on my face; it presses down my nose.
Breathing is slightly hampered.

Because the adjusting velcro straps are located at the back of your neck, all the force against the gravity rests on your nose. If you strap it loosely to minimize the pressure on your nose, it will slip down.

Verdict: You may opt for other balaclavas. Full-face masks would sit on your head instead of your nose. I will certainly try another if my budget allows it.

In Japanese:






再度、さて、防寒具ですが、春のバーゲンセールでフェイスマスクを買いました。Gore Bike Wear製のBalaclavaです。耳から下の部分を覆うマスクです。今回はこれの使用インプレッションです。









  1. 2012/11/30(金) 16:12:06|
  2. Bikes and related things
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Cold weather forecast over the weekend

It is Wednesday today.

According to the ever-changing-not-so-accurate weather forecast, the temperature will fall over the weekend. Snowfall is expected on Saturday and Sunday.

Daytime high will be around 2 degrees Celsius and nightime low will be minus 1 degrees Celsius.

I don't mind cold temperatures but I don't want ice on the road. A bicycle, by definition, has only two wheels and the balace on a bike is very precarious on icy roads.

According to Wort.lu, a man was found in possession of 1.5 million euros by the German Customs officials. This man was coming from Luxembourg, where else?

I wonder if this was just a coincidence that the German Customs stopped him or if there was anything suspicious about him (or his car). Has the man been known to the customs officials as a potential carrier of money as part of money laundering operation ring?

Or they spotted his car and thought suspicious because the car's suspension was so heavily sunk and the car was swerving as it was so LOADED with some big dough. Most of the 1.5 million euros consisted of 500 euro bills. How much do they weigh? Several kilos?

Is it his (the driver's) anxiety that made his driving so suspicous? Was he overspeeding or going too slow? Couldn't he drive more casually? What was he driving and when?

I believe the man had been being watched by the police, at least the car's license plate number has been flagged by the officials.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with me. I wish it did (if it did have something to do with me, it means that I have much money). The sad fact is that I have never touched 500 euro banknotes in my life.

This article particularly got me curious because I also had this experience (No, I have never owned that much money, hahaha). Some years ago, I was on my way home (Germany at that time) from a race in Belgium (maybe, LBL?). It was maybe past midnight or so. I just drove into Germany when a police car followed me for a while before they drove past me. They switched on an illuminated sign saying "Follow" or "Stop" (in German, I think). I don't remember what the sign said now.

They asked for my ID and asked the nature of my business in Belgium. I gave my passport and said that I watched a bicycle race in Belgium and I was on my way home. I had my bike inside my car. They also asked if I had some excess amount of alcohol or tobacco products (if I did, I have to pay some tax on them). I said I did not, which was true. They let me go instantly. No car search.

I remember one officer joking to the other officer in German like "He is a bike athlete. So no doping, hahaha."

Just maybe this man was stopped by the police purely by accident. Maybe the man's answer was not consistent.

In Japanese:










  1. 2012/11/28(水) 08:41:52|
  2. Bikes and related things
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K&N 33-2984 for Ford Ka (RU8) and B&M Pufferakku

I bought an air filter for my Ford Ka. To be exact, I just ordered it on eBay. The seller is from United Kingdom. Strange that this particular filter is not found from eBay sellers in Germany. Ford Ka is also sold in Germany.

Anyway, the K&N filter is well known among car enthusiasts. I like this brand because what they make is reusable air filters. Their products are not disposable filters. ECO? I don't plan to drive my Ka for a while so changing the air filter is not an urgent task. I ride my bike to work and I enjoy it. My Ka is resting at home.

Monday, it is going to rain in the morning when I am supposed to be riding to work. I don't care. I am used to it by now. Come rain or shine.

I decided to treat (spoil) myself on Christmas. I am going to buy myself Christmas present. Most of them are spare parts and maintenance parts. I also want to buy Busch & Mueller Pufferakku to accompany E-Werk.
They are like horse and carriage? They stick together.
(Picture from www.bumm.de)

I am buying it at a discount price! In Spring, when the weather is good, I want to go on a long ride with my Garmin Edge on all the time to log the ride. For this purpose, E-Werk and Pufferakku are essential.

In Japanese:








テーマ:整備 - ジャンル:車・バイク

  1. 2012/11/26(月) 01:36:12|
  2. Ford Ka
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Wednesday, Thursday, Friday in Luxembourg

Wednesday, it rained a bit. It meant that the air was moving. Wednesday night I saw the Moon and some stars in the sky.

Thursday, it was back to where it was in Monday and Tuesday; Foggy, misty or hazy morning and through evening. It was damp all day. In the evening the mist (fog) was not so thick that I could drive my way home safely without switching MiNewt Mimi.300 on.

Thursday night on my way home: I noticed that rear wheel was squeaking. My Negative-G (Titanium made by Ciamillo) was the cause; the brake pad was touching the rim. I loosened the fixing bolt and retightened the bolt to make it work right. It did not help. I ignored the noise and rode home.

I made a brief inspection when I came home. Grains of fine sand stuck in the pivot parts and prevented the arms from moving freely. I cleaned it lightly and re-installed N-G. It was fine. You can conclude that they are NOT for cyclo-cross use (of course N-G is not intended for cyclo-cross in the first place).

Riding in the rain inevitably causes this kind of trouble. I have to do some cleaning maintenance in December, I think. I need some degreaser. A bottle of pure alcohol (for camping, burner, cleaning) would do. I usually keep a bottle (as I use Trangia to cook my meals during a camping tour) but for the moment I am out.

By the way, I don't mean to endorse Ciamillo products. They are freaky and only for those who don't mind occasional (or frequent) maintenance work. I have to admit that they look good on your bike if you are looking for a mean lean look. I had written something in Japanese and/or in English about my N-G in the past. If someone is interested, please search the blog for its name.

Friday, today, it is just a cloudy day. It looks like starting to rain this evening. I don't mind it.

I use an ISIS crankset (because it was cheap). How do you pronouce ISIS anyway? Eye-sys? I have an FSA ISIS bottom bracket. Though there is nothing wrong with it, it is tad heavy (260 grams?). I want a light ISIS bottom bracket. It is on my Christmas shopping list.
  1. 2012/11/23(金) 08:52:32|
  2. Bikes and related things
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Christmas is just around the corner, so to speak

Christmas is nearing. In December, I remember the time when I lived in the USA, when you go to a mall, you hear these Christmas songs over and over until your brain absorbs the melody so that you can hear it even long after leaving the mall.

"I wish a Merry Christmas, I wish a Merry Christmas, I wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! And a Happy Hanukah, too!" I used to hear this all December. Sweet memories.

Anyway, I am NOT dreaming of a White Christmas! Huh, another Christmas song! Seriously, I am not wishing a White Christmas but I am hoping a dry sunny Christmas so that I can ride my bike during the holidays.

I am also wishing a nice Christmas present from, who else? but me!! Yes I am buying something for me. I have already started getting things to put under the tree (figuratively speaking) although I don't plan to decolate my desolate room with a Christmas tree nor do I intend to bother to wrap them up.

A while ago, I bought something at eBay (bike parts) and the package is on its way to me.

I am going to get Magnic light (www.magniclight.com) soon, I hope. They are not officially sold at the retail stores but will be available soon, I hope.

I am putting some bike parts in the shopping cart at my favorite on-line shop and plan to click on "buy" button before Christmas.
1) Brake and Shift wires
2) SRAM QuickView Computer Mount (Edge Adapter) (see below)
3) Schwalbe inner tubes
4) Shimano CN7801
6) Handle bar tape
(Picture borrowed from www.sram.com I am buying this item so don't be mad at me, SRAM!)

These (except maybe item 5) will be indispensable spare parts as I plan a thorough maintenance sometime this coming spring. I ride regulary now come rain or shine. That means the parts on my bike are being subjected to harsh elements (water, sand, mud, etc).

I have to be careful: Just last Sunday, I dismembered the head parts. Sandpapered off the rust on the bearing, removed the seals of the bearing to clean inside and packed some new grease again and put them back.

In Japanese:







火曜日の夜は内職。Garmin MapSource上での地道な作業。幸いネット上には親切なサイトがあるので、助かります。2013年のルートの既にASOから発表されてる資料を元にガーミンのGPXファイル形式で峠の詳細を公開してるサイトがありました。そのGPXファイルを利用するとあっという間にマップソース上で詳細が分かるのです。


iPhoneアプリで、McDo Franceというのをご存知ですか?同様のソフトは各国版があるのですが、McDo Franceは名前の通り、フランス国内のマクドナルドの情報が入ったソフトです。情報自体はオンライン状態でネットから持ってくる必要があるのですが、ある店ではWifiがあるかとか、それが知りたいためにインストールしてます。

GPXファイル自体はガーミン的に云うと、トラック(A地点からB地点までを点と線でつないだもの)ファイル形式です。これをGarmin Edgeでどう利用できるかをちょっと模索する必要があります。
  1. 2012/11/20(火) 23:20:38|
  2. Bikes and related things
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Foggy Monday and Tuesday

It is foggy in Luxembourg. Last Sunday it rained a bit and the moisture brought by this precipitation stayed. The air is stale and there is almost no wind blowing here.

Last night on my way home, the visibility level was already low where the streets were lit. When I rode along the Alzette (a streamlet), there were no street lights past residential areas, the extra moisture in the air from the streamlet left me with no choice but to switch on Niterider MiNewt 300 USB on top of Shimano LP-R900. I could ride safely home. Chance favors the prepared mind.

I could feel moisture building up on my eye lashes. It was that damp!

Today, Tuesday, 20th November the weather is much like that of the previous day. Maybe the fog is more intense. The temperature stays between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.

This was shot around 16:30 (30 minutes before sunset). It was hazy all day and it will be hazier when it gets colder later in the evening.

I wandered in this area for the first time. You find a cow farm just several kilometers from Luxembourg city. In the field I found something interesting. A curiously conspicuous steaming mound. It is a pile of cow manure and the fermentation process also produces heat.

I was always curious about this steep slope. I ride by it every time I ride to work and back home. This was shot back in March.

I studied it on the map at OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org) long time ago and found this switchback section drawn in a dotted line. It tells that the path is narrow and not for automobiles.

I used OpenStreetMap to preview the slope since Google map does not have this detail. On the Google map, there is no switchbacks but just a loose curve.

Today, I had the time to investigate the mysterious climb. I did not dare to climb up this scary road. I climbed up another path nearby and came down this path. Here are the pictures (in descending order).


This is the first turn from the top. As you can see, it is a narrow path only for pedestrians (and maybe downhill mountain bikers). I noticed bike tire tracks there but I doubt any of them were made by ascending bikes.

From the same spot, I took these pictures.

For those who know, I say it is like Mur de Huy - only one-fifth in scale.
The switchback section.

Further down, there was this stretch with wet fallen leaves. These leaves are halfway decomposed and they are like banana peels! So slippery. You can not climb up or climb down without the wheels going out of control. I walked down of course.

And this!

Wow, so steep.

I don't think I will be able to climb up this path on my bike. If I have a mountain bike, maybe I can climb up and down.
  1. 2012/11/20(火) 06:40:29|
  2. Info Luxembourg
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Garmin Support and other electric gadgets Part II

This is about a Busch & Mueller product. E-Werk. Werk is a German word for Work (or factory, plant.. as in BMW) so it means E(lectric)-Work, in other words, it is an electric power plant.

First of all, I like ECO stuff. Being kind to our home, the Earth, is nothing wrong, isn't it? I own a Shimano hub-dynamo wheel (WH-3N71 with 20 spokes). I bought it when I was living in Germany. It was dropped from the product line soon after I got it (and that was why I had a nice bargain deal). I would like to generate enough power to propel myself and light my way safely without having to rely on outer power sources. This is ECO.

I have friends coming (from Japan) over to Europe to watch road bike races almost every year. Once I asked one of them to purchase Shimano LP-R900 (a front light for dynamo-electric source) and bring it to me.

Now I use WH-3N71 and LP-R900 together on my bike (to work and back home). I don't have to care about recharging a battery for lights. I do have another light (Niterider MiNewt USB 300) on my bike just in case this LP-R900 suddenly broke or I ran into really dark places.

I purchased Busch & Mueller E-Werk a while ago and tested it briefly. I am not using it for the moment but this is going to change soon!!!

A note: B&M now offers E-Werk's small brother, USB-Werk. E-Werk can output various DC voltages and currents (Ampere). There are two dials on it. Now, the new USB-Werk, as the name suggests, only does 5V USB output.

Q: Why did I purchase E-Werk? What was the intended use of it?
A: I wanted to power my iPhone with GPS enabled and the backlight on on a long ride.

iPhone's battery life is significantly shortened when (see above) blah blah. You can not use your iPhone more than 3-4 hours??? in such situations. Buying a portable external battery (or batteries) is another solution but I already have a hub-dynamo wheel.

Q: What was my experience with E-Werk like?
A: I tested E-Werk with my iPhone and it worked but not without a major drawback.

E-Werk works surprisingly well. When I hook up my iPhone to E-Werk and push my bike before hopping on it, my iPhone makes a peep sound and indicates that it is being charged. I am impressed as E-Werk's USB voltage/current is very stable even at a walking speed.

Here is the bad news. When your wheel comes to a standstill or slows down (a traffic light, a rest, making a U-turn, etc.), the dynamo ceases to generate power. When the wheel starts rolling again (and the dynamo powers up again), iPhone gives an error message saying this cable is not supported (although it is a genuine Apple cable). After this however hard you may pedal, iPhone refuses to be charged. You have to physically unplug it and re-plug it. Bummer!!

Obviously, iPhone does not take kindly to a short external power outage (or more precisely to a staggering or unstable voltage after an outage).

I know that B&M also knows this predicament. I am sure they realized this glitch because in their description of the product Pufferakku, they explain that some devices may not react well to a short power outage.

I have not tested E-Werk with my Garmin Edge. I know it works but is there any glitch?

Q: Is E-Werk worth the money (I purchased it at a discount price)?
A: Maybe yes but you need this Pufferakku, too. Without this Pufferakku, you may experience some inconvenience.

I am getting the Magnic light (a contactless dynamo light). When I get this Magnic light, I can dedicate the WH-3N71 as a power source for gadgets like iPhone and Garmin Edge.
  1. 2012/11/19(月) 16:05:24|
  2. GPS Navigation
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Garmin Support and other electric gadgets Part I

Wow! Garmin support e-mailed me back! And that was quick. I am impressed. Now I will send them the details about the police report. When the theft of the Garmin device is verified by Garmin Europe, they will let me re-assign Garmin City Navigator Europe NT 2012 to my new device (hopefully).

I don't think I wrote about this incident in English (perhaps I did? but..) so I give a brief description of how it happened.

That was a day (unforgettable because it was a very important day) when the Team Presentation of Tour de France took place in Liege Belgium 2012. Thursday, June 28 to be exact.

I was in Liege early in the morning. It was only a relaxed 2-hour drive from Luxembourg. I arrived early in the morning since I intended to secure the front row in front of the stage where riders were going to be presented later in the evening. I am sure I was the first person to show up at the site. There was nobody except for three security people (two guys and one woman) on the stage looking after the AV equipments.

The problem was that the 'row (in other words, the barriers)' never materialized until 15:30 or 16:00 (I forgot but just 30 minutes before the show kicked off). The front row line was going to be in the middle of the street where a lot of cars passed.

So, my car was parked on a street next to an elementary school near the youth hostel in Liege for a long long long time. I had lots of stuff in the car since I was not going to go home but continue to follow the Tour. This was the mistake that I really regret having made. You fall prey to thieves when they can spot stuff inside the car.

"This is Liege" (I mean, the police officers actually said this phrase to me in French later on. Belgian cities are dangerous!!).

When I returned to my car after the presentation around 20:00 (?), a police car was parked directly next to my car and two officers were on my car. I saw the smashed window on the passenger's side. I was dumbfounded.

They (officers) said, "Oh, we were trying to reach you." That's enough details, I guess. Later, these kind officers drove in front of me so I can follow them to a Carglass shop (the big ubiquitous famous car glass repair chain) and made sure I could have the smashed window replaced quickly. My insurance company picked up the bill for reparing the glass.

There, in the parking lot of the Carglass shop, the officers told me that I should report to the police in Luxembourg. We shock hands and parted. I went to the Lux Police next day and reported the incident. The kind officer (Luxembourg Police Force) wondered why they (Belgian Police Force) told me to go to the police in Luxembourg for a crime committed in Belgium.

I guess the answer is that the Belgian Police have more than enough crime reports than they can handle.

By the way, on my way home from Liege that night the weather was spectacular: thunderbolts flying, the sky flashing like a big white screen and pouring rain as if they were echoes of what was going in my mind. True story!

I had several things stolen. A notebook PC, Garmin device, USB sticks, USB external HDD or so. I had to use my iPhone (I have TomTom Western Europe navigation software on it) to follow the rest of the Tour de France.

This (using iPhone to follow the Tour) is kinda becoming a tradition. In 2011, this very Garmin device (nuvi 245) suddenly ceased to function one day before Luxembourg National Championship (ITT, end of June). Since this was so close to the Tour, I did not have the time to bring it to the shop I bought from and had it repaired (it was still under the warranty at that time). I used my iPhone to navigate me through France for one month.

Anyway, Saturday, 30 June I was once again in Liege. The Prologue, where my dear Fabian Cancellara blazed the trail to intimidate his rivals.

The lesson you (readers) have to learn is that you should never let your guard down when it comes to protecting yourselves against crimes.

I had close to 1,000 waypoints on Garmin Mapsource/GPS device. These waypoints (road race related cities, climbs, camping sites, mountain peaks, cobble stone sectors, etc.) collected over the last several years were my treasure, prized asset. Now they were gone!

If the thief demanded a ransom for those stolen things, I would not pay a cent for those gadgets as they are replaceable. However, I would be willing to pay some money for the computer file (less than 1MB!) containing the waypoints information.

In Japanese:

  1. 2012/11/19(月) 14:58:28|
  2. GPS Navigation
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Garmin MapSource and Google Earth

I like Garmin products because they offer MapSource. I don't love them because they don't offer Linux versions of their software.

Today, I installed City Navigator Europe NT V9 on my ENVY 4-1000. It is an old software that came with Garmin StreetPilot 550c, which I purchased in 2006.

I purchased Garmin City Navigator Europe NT 2012 this year. I used it on my PC which was stolen in June 2012. Since the PC is now lost, I wanted to install it on my ENVY. I cannot. When I installed on the old PC, I paired the software with the Garmin device which was also stolen along the PC.

When I try to install the software on ENVY connected to nuvi2340 LMT, the installation program gives an error message that this product code is assigned to another device. Of, course, "was" assigned to the stolen device.

I sent an e-mail to Garmin support to ask if they can let me use the software on a new PC paired with another device. I hope they respond but maybe they don't.

Why do they force the user to pair this software to one device? A device can be broken or stolen. Perhaps Garmin has a line in the EULA (end user license agreement) that a user can only use this software on one pair of PC and a Garmin device. I paid a lot of money to use this software on my PC.

I installed Google Earth, too. This is helpful program to find the places that are vaguely suggested in documents provided by various race organizers. I wish, for example, ASO could give more detailed info like geographic coordinates so that I can easily find the right spots.

As you may not notice, sometimes finding the feed zone is not so easy, especially when it is located out in nowhere. Race organizers' documents don't come with street numbers but only street names.

Sometimes they (race organizers) are very helpful. For example, the PDF document kindly tells me that the feed zone of Circuit Franco-Belge's last stage between Mons and Tournai begins in front of the Land Rover dealer.

In Japanese:

今年購入したCity Navigator NT Europeの新しいDVDがあります。これを使って地図(PC上にインストールする地図)を新しくしたいのですが、問題が発生。








そして、Google Earthもインストールしました。
  1. 2012/11/18(日) 22:28:10|
  2. GPS Navigation
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Friday and Saturday

I read a very intriguing article on the net at Cyclismas. (www.cyclismas.com)

Armstrongs filed class action suit against Lance Armstrong.

In essence, celebrities filed a class action lawsuit that their "name"was tainted by an individual Mr. Lance Edward Armstrong (Nee Gunderson) so they want him to change his name.

I did not know his bio so I did not know his original name, either. Did his mom married an Armstrong later or he changed to his first wife's nane? Or neither?

Anyway, I did not know there could be such an angle, a class action lawsuit to it (the whole USADA initiated stir)!

Since this is a class action, everybody whose name is Armstrong could be the plaintiff.

In Luxembourg, the weather is acceptable. Not too cold and dry with no wind.

In Japanese:




普通、犯罪を犯すと裁かれるのは個人で、それを告訴するのは検察だ。検察は一般の市民を代表してるので、米国風に言うと、Poeple VS. 誰々となる。一般に地方検事は選挙で選ばれるのだ。あくまでも市民の意向を得て、選ばれた人が地方検事なのだ。ある特定の場合とかに、最高裁まで行くと、その裁判はユナイテドステーツVS誰々とかになるのはないか?。このあたりは確かではない。機会があれば、米国人の友人に確認してみたい。

  1. 2012/11/17(土) 12:02:38|
  2. Bike Races
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A cold Wednesday/Thursday in Luxembourg

Wednesday, 14th November, it was cold in the morning. At the time I left home, it was zero Celsius (freezing point). At least it was dry and there was no wind. I took my bike to work as usual.

I have lost some body fat on the side of my stomach. I could pinch a pumped 28mm tire there but now I could only pinch a flat inner tube there. Yes, the fat is gone.

Losing weight was not my first priority. Losing fat was intended. I don't know how much I weigh right now as I don't have a scale for the moment.

Thursday, 15th November it is mildly cold in the morning. At the time I left home, it was around 4 degerees Celsius. It was dry and no wind. I took my bike to work as usual.

According to Wort.lu, Frank Schleck's verdict was not ready and he has to wait for some time.

Today, 15th, my ordered items arrived. They had to stay at the post office for while since they arrived at the post box.

Garmin nuvi 2340LMT and LG Slim Portable DVD Writer GP30.

This is the third Garmin GPS device for the automobile and the fourth GPS device from Garmin if I include Edge 800, which is for cycling. My second was stolen and the first one is too old, hence I needed this one.

I used to (before the PC, which had Garmin MapSource installed on it, was stolen) manage close to 1,000 waypoints and a lot of tracks (tracks like last half of Paris-Roubaix parcours featuring cobble stone sectors or la Fleche-Wallonne circuit in Huy). The first Garmin device I bought could handle only up to 500 waypoints.

Yesterday, on my way home on my bike, I stopped at a traffic light and looked up. I found the brightly lit sign of "Arcelor-Mittal." I knew the name but did not recognize their office building until now. I have stopped at this T-section for more than 200 times, I guess but this was the first time I saw the sign. Only a few days ago, I saw an aritcle appeared on Wort.lu that Arcelor-Mittal was not doing so well.

In Japanese:




水曜日は摂氏0度の中、自転車通勤で仕事先まできた。毛糸の帽子(Team CSC)を深く被って耳をカバーしないと耳が痛くなる気温だった。乾いた空気で、風もなかったので、寒くは感じなかった。帰り道は摂氏4度くらいだった。



  1. 2012/11/15(木) 15:55:50|
  2. Bikes and related things
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A sunny/cloudy Tuesday in Luxembourg

It is partly cloudy but relatively nice weather here in Luxembourg.

Wort.lu, a local news source on the internet with an English edition, is my favorite news site for local news.

Today it tell a story about Amazon.eu, an Amazon organization. A while ago, someone told me that he or she (who was it?) saw a company office displaying an Amazon logo plate here in Luxembourg. I did not take much interest in that at that time.

Obviously, a Luxembourg-based company of the Amazon group (share holding company) is making a stir in the news. French tax authorities are accusing Amazon Europe for evading the due tax.

From what I read and understood, French authorities want more money from Amazon. If Amazon operates in France and pay the corporate tax, it should pay 33% of the profit it makes. Since Amazon has a company in Luxembourg and declares corporate tax as non-domestic profit tax, it pays only 11%.

Wow, I did not know that you can save a lot of money (if you own a multinational company operating in Europe and set up a cover company, or a head quarter, in Luxembourg).

Of course, tax authorities in other European countries would keep a close eye on such compay but it is legal, right?

I don't know about corporate tax at all so my comments can be wrong.

I changed the chain. Shimano CN7801 was on my bike and now it has a new CN7801. Rohloff Caliber 2 helped me decide to change it. The old one was getting longer. In other words, it was getting worn out.

In Japanese:

この銀行、デクシア(Dexia)なのですが、例のギリシャ・イタリア等の国債等への過剰な投資で、事実上倒産しましたね。フランスとベルギーが主な地盤の銀行でした。ルクセンブルクにも基盤がありました。倒産しかけた際に(日曜日なのに)、フランス、ベルギー、ルクセンブルクのトップの政治家が集合して、自分の国のデクシアの焦げ付いた負債を買い取ることで合意しました。その後は、ルクセンブルク・デクシアは、看板を変えました。現在はBILという看板を掲げてます。デクシア時代もルクセンブルクのデクシアはDexia Bank International Luxembourg(本当はフランス語なので、綴りが違うが)を名乗ってました。その最後のBILをそのまま使ってます。銀行から届く手紙にはデクシアと云う表示もあったりもします。













テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2012/11/13(火) 23:38:52|
  2. Bikes and related things
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A sunny Monday in Luxembourg

WTF? Didn't the weather forecast tell me that (it would be) rainy for some day? The wearher forecast in this part of Europe is NOT accurate at all for reasons. Because nobody cares! (if it is correct or incorrect)

Well almost nobody dies because of mis-forecast. Back in my home country Japan, the weather forecast is a science in the same way predicting earthquakes, volcano erruptions or tsunamis. Because people die as a result of mis-forecast!

If telling a wrong weather forecast is a kind of murder, wouldn't people take a closer look at the meteorologic data before predicting anything?

Anyway, this morning riding a bike was easier thanks to the weather.

It is going to be cold this evening according to the forecast.

In Japanese:




で、今回古いチェーン(同一製品)と新しいチェーンを並べて長さを比べた。もちろん、リンク数を同じにして余分なリンクを切り取るためだ。すると、あることに気づく。古いチェーンが長い。もちろん、少し前に専用工具(RohloffのCaliber 2)で測定したら、1コマ当たりの摩耗が0.075の摩耗ポイントを過ぎ、0.1mmの摩耗ポイントに迫っていた。だから急遽チェーン交換を思い立った訳です。チェーン全体では1m以上あります。よって、上記の工具の測定通り、100コマ以上あるので、新旧チェーンを並べて、端を見ると差が1cm程度になります。この光景には愕然とします。

(Picture from www.bike-components.de. I borrowed the picture but they won't be mad at me because I am a good customer and I think I bought it from them! I bought a lot of things from them, I swear.)



  1. 2012/11/12(月) 10:11:17|
  2. Bikes and related things
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A rainy Saturday in Luxembourg

It seems that the rain which started last night will continue until God knows when. In the afternoon, despite the rain, I took out my bike and rode to work. My beanie, gloves, shoe covers, long bib pants are mildly soaked while shoes are wet. I saw joggers, dog-walkers, trekkers, bikers and a double-blade-roller (what are they called?) along Alzette. Some people are determined to go out and exercise even in the rain.

What shall I do tomorrow? Stay home and pedal the roller trainer? Clean my bike and work on it? Do some net-shopping for some bike parts? Catch up on Tweets, I guess.

I haven't installed Garmin MapSouce on my ENVY yet. I wanted but some technical issues (namely Garmin's server authentication problems) haunted me and the installation did not come through. I am now waiting for USB external DVD drive for my ENVY.

As soon as I have MapSource on my PC, I start working on the plan to follow TdF 2013. This will keep me busy for a while.

In the meantime, a quick search in iTunes app store has shown the following. iPhone is ANT+ capable through ANT+ adapter. I don't think I will buy one, though since iPhone when backlit and GPS enabled consumes the juice (battery) so fast.

1) MapMyride.com

There is an app for iPhone. It is not free. You can log your activities on iPhone and later post it on MapMyride.com if you brag. Since it is not free and I have Garmin Edge 800, I don't intend to purchase this. You have to have an account at MapMyride.com.

2) TrainingPeaks

This app is free. It seems to log your ride and analyse it. I don't intend to use it so I have done no further research.

3) CycleOps

I installed this on my iPhone. It is free. I don't have iPhone ANT+ adapter for the moment. I am interested in PowerCal by CycleOps and that is why I installed this.

4) Wahoo Fitness

Wahoo Fitness is free. It emphasizes its sharing feature. You can log your activities and post them on various sites including GarminConnect. If I do it with my Garmin Edge, I need a PC to do it. This apps can directly connect GarminConnect from iPhone.


Sharing is its strong point.

5) Qalvin (Quarq)

SRAM now owns Quarq. I guess this app can act as Quarq's console. Since Quarq is very expensive, I don't intend to buy a Quraq so using this app is highly unlikely.

6) Strava

Strava also has its own app.

In Japanese:



1) MapMyride.com

2) TrainingPeaks

3) CycleOps

4) Wahoo Fitness
無料。ここもハード(ANT+関連の機器やら)も売ってる会社だ。このソフトの特徴はデータ共有サイトをこのソフトから多く使えることだろう。ガーミンコネクトにも対応してる。僕はGarmin Edgeを持ってるが、このデータをアップロードするには別途PCが必要となる。このソフトだとiPhoneから直接(ログを取れば)できるようだ。

5) Qalvin (Quarq)

6) Strava
  1. 2012/11/11(日) 01:30:19|
  2. Bikes and related things
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What shall I do this Sunday?

The weather will be not so promising; cloudy and chilly. Maybe I should give my Cervélo a rest, a pit service and hop on the roller.

I bought a Birdy (Riese & Müller) just several months before leaving Japan (not knowing that I was going to leave my country for a city in Germany, where R&M's head quarter was only 60-70 km away).

In Japan Birdy's are sold under the name of BD-(number) like BD-1 because Suzuki, I remember reading it somewhere, used to sell motorbikes with that name. I think they stopped selling them long time ago but did not want give the right to the name (or R&M did not want to pay the demanded ransom).

Anyway, I wanted to do some sport activities in Summer but could not find anyone who played tennis around me. So I got a bike. At that time, I barely knew about bike road race. In dact, I don't think I knew the Tour de France at all.

Riding a bike was a long forgotten recreation. As a kid, riding a bike was a daily habit. After school, I would go playing baseball or fishing on my bike. The ocean was just ten-minute ride from home.

In Japan as a boy, however, as he grows up, one would learn to dislike (or dispise) a bike. I mean, we have tons of motorbike and automobile manufacturers in Japan. "If it is not a motored vehicle, it is inteded only for kids." I can summerize the sentiment of most boys like this. Of course, I got my driver's license at the earliest occasion (for an automobile license, age 18).

When I lived in the States (California), I had a California Drivers' license. All through my adult life, I drove cars.

So I had completely forgotten the joy of riding a bike until I rediscovered it after almost 20 years (??).

Birdy was fun. After purchasing it, I would go to bookstores and look for bike mentainance or bike customizing magazines. That was 'then' I accidentally found other magazines stack next to the ones I sought, magazines that had road bike race articles.

It was sometime in April that I found them. Giro d'Italia, Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastogne-Liege??? Wow, what are they? Grown-up adults racing on a bike and it is not Keirin?

I would like to go to Europe and see those races live!, I began to think. In Japan at that time road bike races were not on TV, at least not frequently. I watched condensed highlight recording of Tour de France 2003 in July (end of July or beggining of August). Tyler Hamilton finished 4th overall despite the broken collarbone. That sealed it.

Around this time, I had a call from someone from Germany, who I used work with. He knew that I always wanted to live abroad. He said that I could get a job in Germany. I said, "Alright, I come" without any hesitation. I arrived in Germany at the end of September.

I had already decided that I would support Team CSC. I was a hardcore fan of Team CSC even before I arrived in Europe. As you can see, I dropped everything for cycling sport. The first issue of "Tour Magazin" (No, it is not a spelling mistake, German word for magazine) I ever read and bought had a big picutre of Cervelo Soloist with Tyler Hamilton soloing his way to LBL finish on the back of its cover (of course, my eyes were glued to the picture and later I bought Soloist) but only several pages down the magagine there was an ad by BMC claiming that BMC bike is Tyler Hamilton's new work place. What!!!!! Paaaaaaardon me??

I remember this ironical twist. I was shocked to find out that Tyler Hamilton had left Team CSC. The guy who got me in this sport had left the very team that I decided to support. I still have this issue of "Tour Magazin".

Anyway, I guess in June 2003 I bought a roller trainer for Birdy and the likes. A trainer that can attach to 16 to 20 inch wheels. I did not want leave them (Birdy and roller trainer) in Japan so I brought them to Germany. In Japan you can specify the shipping methods. You can choose to send it by ship, which method is way cheaper (although slow) than shipping by plane. I sent the trainer by ship and I took Birdy on board the plane.

In Japanse: Short (since I had already written most part of the story in Japanese)



  1. 2012/11/09(金) 16:12:19|
  2. Bikes and related things
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A ghost of notification-daemon?

I am currently using 2 laptops (or notebooks). Both of them are running Lubuntu Linux 12.10. I clean installed Lubuntu 12.04 and then later did the "Upgrade". OK, the installation was easy and my PCs are doing really great (compared to Ubuntu, they are now far quicker and far more responsive). I did not like that "Dock" feature of Ubuntu anyway.

I had occasional annoying minor problems with "notification" features. One of the above-mentioned PC almost always gives an error message at boot, complaining that notification daemon can not run because another notification daemon is already running.

I first ignored them (this message everytime it popped up) but it was getting really annoying. It turned out that another "notification daemon" was really running. I uninstalled it via 'Synaptic Package Manager' and since then, no ghost has annoyed me.

I know that between version 12.04 and 12.10 there was a change in the choice of notification daemon. Notifications (like, your battery is now fully charged, a wireless network is available or you are now disconnected) have definitely changed and I could see them. The newer style, in my opinion, is better.

And somehow on one of my PCs, the old daemon failed to be uninstalled. I don't know if the old one should have been uninstalled or daemon starting scripts should have been replaced or whatever.

I am not sure if the other notebook that has not ever complained about this ghost has the old daemon removed or still has it. I have to check it later.

This is a minor annoyance but someone at Lubuntu development team should take care of it.

On a very separate note, my Garmin GPS device and USB interface DVD drive have entered Luxembourg according to the tracking information. They will arrive tomorrow or next week.

In Japnese: N/A (since no one would read it)

テーマ:Linux - ジャンル:コンピュータ

  1. 2012/11/08(木) 17:01:02|
  2. Linux
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Strava, MapMyride.com, Garmin Connect etc.





或いは、今欲しい機器のPowerCal(CycleOps社製)関連だとPowerAgentというソフトもある。Javaベースらしいが、Linuxバージョンは(使う人が少ないので)打ち切った、という記述を発見した。このソフトはMyTourbookと似たものだと思われる。またCylceOpsは共有サービスではMapMyride.comを使うことを勧めてるようだ。また同サイトにはTrainingpeaks.com へのリンクもある。とりあえず、CycleOpsが配布してるiPhone用のアプリはインストールした。これでPowerCalを買って、iPhone用のANT+受信装置を買えば、iPhoneで出力表示もできる。

Garminもやはり、同様の共有サービスがあって、 Garmin Connectと呼ばれてる。ガーミンの強みは、サポートしてるチームのGarmin-Sharpの選手が実際にレースで走行した際のデータがアップロードされてたりする。








テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2012/11/08(木) 15:17:32|
  2. GPS Navigation
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Garmin Nuvi 2340 LMT

I ordered Garmin Nuvi2340LMT yesterday and it is already on my way to Luxembourg from Germany. I bought it on-line, of course.

For me, Garmin GPS device is the only choice except for the TomTom navigation software on my iPhone (it was an exception because at that time of the purchase, Garmin iPod/iPhone software program was of an "on-demand" map downloading program, meaning that you have to be almost all the time on-line to use it. Later the Garmin software became an off-line program).

Since both of programs (TomTom and Garmin) on iPhone/iPod/iPad cannnot interact with MapSource (or similar programs) on a PC (here, interaction means swapping waypoints) over USB cable or over Wifi connection, it does NOT matter to me whether I have TomTom or Garmin on my iPhone despite the fact that I am a very avid Garmin user.

Some might suggest that "Yes, you can" to me. Yes, I know. Only if I can magically convert the waypoints info on my PC to address book info on my iPhone effortlessly. Yes, it is a fact that TomTom (I assume Garmin App, too) can navigate to an address inside the address book on the iPhone. Most (if not all) of the MY waypoints have no address at all. They are just points somewhere in the mountains or somewhere between cities because they are places on race courses. They only have GPS co-ordinates, nothing more.

...... I choose Garmin because:

First of all, I use Garmin MapSource on my PC to plan my trips and then transfer the waypoints on to Garmin GPS device(s) to navigate me. Pretty simple, I have no other choice but use a Garmin device on board my Ka.

Second, Garmin is a title-sponsor of Team Garmin-Sharp and TomTom does not support any Cycling teams that I am aware of.

Anyway, it was not too expensive and has the features enough to be useful. I don't need Bluetooth handfree call function or anything. I paid extra for the "LMT" feature. LMT stands for, I judge, Lifetime Map and Traffic info updates. As long as I keep using this device, I get the map updates for the next 30 years. It is highly unlikely that I am still using this device in 30 years but you never know.

I could buy other Garmin device for less without the "LMT" feature.

Yesterday, I updated the BIOS software on my HP ENVY4 1000. Now the BIOS version is F13 (previous version was F0A). HP does not give the description of the improvement made over the previous version in writing. I thought that it is unnoticeable. Surprise! I noticed the improvement.

I don't think the update was intended for Linux but the behavior of ENVY4 was noticeably different.

It used to boot in Linux (Lubuntu) with a black-out log-in screen. It boots normally until it is about to show the log-in screen when the LCD screen blacks out. I had to press F3 key (which is to put the illumination level up) whenever I want to use it under Linux.

After the BIOS update, however, it shows the log-in screen. I never had this problem under Windows 7. I wonder what the update was intended for but I welcome it anyway.

There are some news on the net and many of them are sad stories. Tyler Hamilton accusing Jens Voigt for doping and Joost Posthuma announced retirement. UCI's ProTour point system is really screwing things up.

In Japanese:
ガーミンのGPSをネットで注文しました。ドイツのショップ(いつも利用してるショップで、このコンピューターも買った)からです。発送の準備ができたというメールが来ました。発送されたかもしれません。買ったのはnuvi2340 LMTという機種です。LMTはライフタイム・マップ・トラフィックという意味で、この機器を使いつづける限りは今後30年間地図のアップデートが無料というものです。トラフィック情報はあまり必要ないのですが(通勤に使うわけでも無いし)、マップのアップデートはやはり役に立ちます。高速道路の新規路線ができるとかの情報は大事です。LMTの分多少高価です。差額だと30ユーロとかそれくらいの価格が上乗せされてます。まあ妥当でしょう。


昨日HP ENVY4 1000のBIOSのソフトをアップデートしてみました。HPの情報だと改良点が明記されてないので、これまでアップデートしてませんでした。つい出来心でアップデートしてみました。何が改良されたのかは気づかないままだろうと思ってました。



BIOSアップデート後は、ちゃんとログイン画面が自動的に出ます。つまり輝度設定がLinuxでも問題無くなりました。果たしてこれがBIOSアップデートの内容(PRAM初期化問題?)だっかは分かりません。でも歓迎です。もちろんWindows 7上では何も問題無かったのです。



  1. 2012/11/07(水) 00:57:13|
  2. GPS Navigation
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PowerCal by CycleOps on my Christmas wish list

I recently found this product on the internet. It is available on one of the shops I use on the internet. It is not expensive as one of those "real" power measurement devices like SRM, PowerTap or Quarq.

I read some of the reviews of the product on the internet and found most of them favorable. Should I try? And part of me asking why? Why should I try it?

There are many ways to measure your power output. It is intended not for a short effort but for a long consistent effort. It seems that it is not intended to measure the sprint output, which is OK because I never sprint anyway. Does climbing Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux qualify as a long consistent effort? If so, I really want it.

There are many items related to cycling that I intend to buy before the TdF 2013. Some of them are necessary and others are optional.

Items required:
1) Spare tubular tires (for Zipp 404), tufo or vittoria?
2) Spare chanin
3) Garmin GPS navigation (used in a car) --- purchased

Items optional:
1) CycleOps PowerCal
2) 3T Integra Team (less expensive version of Integra)
3) Garmin Edge Stem Mount (yes, it is required, sold separately)

I just ordered a Garmin device. It will arrive in a couple of days.

In Japanese:

このPowerCalは全く簡易な出力計測装置です。見た目は胸に巻く一般的な心拍センサーです。心拍を監視し、あるアルゴリズム(心拍が増える時は頑張って漕いでるが、下がると休んでるという単純なものから、さらに複雑な計算式)で出力を予想し、ANT+で出力を送信できるというものです。表示器はANT+に対応してれば良いのです。もちろんGarmin EdgeでOKです。ANT+受信機(40ユーロ程度)を買えば、iPhoneのGPS・バイクトレーニングソフト上でも表示できます。価格は単体で$99(ユーロでも同じ位)。安くは無いが、本当の出力測定器とは桁が確実に二つ違う。





Garmin Edgeを装着してチラチラ見ながら走行することは僕みたいな素人でも利益がある。ケイデンスが落ちすぎじゃないかとか、傾斜が何パーセントになるとケイデンスがどこまで落ちてしまうかとかは知っておく必要がある。

来年の夏にはアルプデュエズやらモン・ヴァントゥーを上る。その時までにトレーニングするにしても、劇的に身体能力が上がるわけじゃないから、準備が必要だ。例えば(フロントはとっくの昔にコンパクトになってるが)、リヤのカセット(後輪に付いてるギヤ)が今のままで良いのか?という疑問がある。練習用の安いホイールにはシマノのアルテグラ6600(確か)の11-27が装着されてる。一方おでかけ用のZIPP 404にはDura Ace7800の11-25が装着されてる。つまり予定では、この11-25でアルプスやらピレネーを上る予定なのだ。アルプス・ピレネー仕様で、SRAMのWiFLiを導入しちゃうか、とも考えてます。


どの辺りが心肺能力の限界なのかを知るためには、心拍計(Garmin Edge 800を買った時には、HRMとスピード・ケイデンス検出センサーつきのセットで購入しましたから)を使うのが一番です。今は使ってません。もう少し暖かくなる春先から使おうと思ってました。





  1. 2012/11/05(月) 20:12:49|
  2. Bikes and related things
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I want 3T alloy Integra Team Stem

I have been riding my bicycle almost everyday for the last 3 weeks, well not so much but a bit more than 30km everyday. I intend to ride more by taking a long way home. It is Winter here in Europe.

Garmin Edge 800 is my pal on the way most of the time. It sits on the stem. When you buy an Edge, this "Quarter Turn Bike Mount" comes in the box. It can sit on your handle bar, too. I believe most of the people use it on the stem and so do I.
(Picture 1 from http://www.garmin.com/)

It has come to my attention that if you take a look at the device screen often, you strain your neck. Professionals also set the device on the stem but they don't rely on the device for knowing their cadence, speed or gradient percent of the climbs. I guess they don't have any problem with the position of their Edge.

I, on the other hand, stare at the screen frequently. I have to make sure that my cadence is not too low. I want to know how steep the climb is.

There are products out there to help bring the Edge to a more natural position.
The Bar Fly by Tate lab (http://www.tatelabs.com/)
Picture from Bike Components (http://www.bikecomponents.de)

K-Edge Computer Mount for Garmin Edge (http://www.acecosportgroup.com/)

The genuine Garmin version
(Picture 2)

One of the sponsors (and of course material suppliers) for Team Garmin-Sharp, 3T has its own interpretation of the situation. It was this expensive Integra stem. It was made of carbon reinforced resin material. It looked good but expensive. Carbon stems are expensive and Integra has additional parts. In Europe 300 Euros.

Good news is that 3T recently announced that aluminium alloy version of Integra is coming in December. It is supposed to be half as expensive as its carbon version.
(Picture 3)

I am not saying that I will buy it but tempted to do so. I may decide to buy one of the mounts instead of Integra stem.

In Japanese:
最近は(ほぼ)毎日自転車乗ってます。Garmin Edgeは毎日つけてるわけではありませんが、頻繁に装着してます。

(上のPicture 1)


(上のPicture 2)


(Picture 3)
  1. 2012/11/01(木) 13:23:55|
  2. Bikes and related things
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