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欧州自転車レース追っかけ日記

欧州在住者が自転車レースを追い掛けてる日記とか

Chute! (I fell)

This morning, somewhat damp and lukewarm dingy (for it rained slightly yesterday), I fell off my bike while taking a left corner. I was not in a hurry and I thought I was going slow enough.

Perhaps it is time that I change the tires from summer slick tires to all-weather deep-pattern Halo Couriers.

Damage report:
1) my Shimano rain-proof windbreaker got a small hole on the left wrist area
2) I have an abrasion wound (small) on the area slightly down my left elbow
3) I have an abrasion wound on the area slightly down my left hip
4) I have slightly sore muscles on the neck and the back area

The shifter got slightly askew but it was corrected after a couple of light knocks. I am happy that my bike is OK.

The muscle soreness will be likely to grow tomorrow. Those wounds will be likely grow scabs by tomorrow.



About the promise that I would post some pictures I took in Serbia. It is Apple's fault that I am not on time to do it. Apple frequently (every time they upgrade iOS version or iTunes version) change the iPhone USB protocols so that I can not access the pictures on my iPhone from Linux (Lubuntu). I have to use Windows to do it and I don't use Windows too often (nor I want to do so).

Last night I did some research on the net. The cars I was talking about were Yugo (Zastava) Skala series. You can find them easily on Wikipedia. Based on a Fiat model and manufactured in Serbia. They were cute.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Chute! (I fell)]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/29(金) 15:51:00|
  2. Diary
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Sh*t does not come in two but three!

It is a Japanese saying. I don't have the right way to translate it but it is something like this (the title).

When something bad happens twice (in a row), you should expect a third one. That is what they say in Japan. It is very well-known.

This morning I took my bike to work. It is about 16 km to the work place. I was about 6 km on the way when I noticed something. The rear tire felt a bit too bumpy. I dismounted and checked the tire. It was soft. I thought to myself that OK I would pump it up when I got to work. Soon after that the ride became bumpier. I dismounted and realized that the air was slowly leaking. I pumped it up and rode on.

After 3 km or so, the ride was bumpy again. I pumped it up and rode on. The air was leaking and after 2 km or so I had to pump it up again. Now the air leak was getting quicker.

After less than 1 km after this, the tire was already flat. I rode on slowly with flat rear tire. The last 500 meter to work I had to walk pushing my bike.

In the break, I took the inner tube out and found a hole in it. I replaced it with a new one (kept in my saddle bag) and pumped it up. Before mounting the inner tube, I checked the inside of the tire to see if any sharp objects were still stuck on the tire. I did not find any.

After work, I thought I could go home by bike. I checked the rear tire and found it soft (flat!). OMG.

I thought there were no sharp objects inside the tire but obviously there was/were something.

A colleague took me home by car. Tomorrow I will take a bus to work. I will bring repair patches to repair those TWO tubes. This time I will be more careful to remove something that still stuck inside the tire.

Back to the title. So today, the first sh*t was this puncture. The second was that I burnt the tips of my fingers slightly. When this burn took place, I thought of this Japanese saying and was a bit afraid of the coming third one. Sure enough, the third sh*t happened to me, the second puncture. OK, now I can put the series of bad luck behind me and sleep.

Oh, today I successfully purchased bike parts by using PayPal. Yes, my new VISA card is working now.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Sh*t does not come in two but three!]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/27(水) 15:38:22|
  2. Diary
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Cards arrived at last

This morning around 08:50 (before the post man comes to me), I peered into my mailbox and found 4 briefs. I knew what they were. They were expected. I took them inside my bib tights and rode on to work. Yes, I rode to work this morning without any glasses or contact lenses. Wow! I am free from putting on those things and also free from removing them before going to bed. Simple!

Two cards and their respective confirmation letter (with PINs) arrived at the same time. Maybe they had arrived separately during last week but I was not there.

Now I live normally like other people.

A shopping spree?? Well, I was already planning to buy some things before I lost my (to be more accurate, the post lost my brief containing the cards) cards.



Today is Tuesday, 26th November. 7 days have passed since I had the eye operation (LASIK). My eyes are fine. Today is the last day I drop antibiotics eye drop. The other one (I don't know what it is) needs to be dropped into my eyes for another 7 days.

I took more pictures in Serbia. Some old cars drew my attention. They are old. Some seemed to be based on some Volkswagen models. I am not sure about their origin or background.

They were cute. I like young classic cars.

I will try to post them here later.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Cards arrived at last]の続きを読む

テーマ:ヨーロッパ - ジャンル:海外情報

  1. 2013/11/26(火) 16:20:28|
  2. Things European
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Home sweet home!

I am home. Luxembourg.

It was a smooth flight and nice bus ride home.

Let me start from the beginning. This morning I got off the bed around 8:30 AM. I took a shower. I was told by the doctor when taking shower I had to be careful not to let the (tap) water into my eye. Washing hair carelessly is forbidden. Luckily, my hair is really short so I don't really have to use shampoo to clean it. And almost no trickling water running down my forehead.

I have to use four kinds of eye drops according to the instruction given by the doctor. The antibiotics eye drop for one week (already 5 days gone) 4 times a day and so on.

After checking out the hotel, I went to a cafe (where light meals are served) and spent an hour before going to the clinic for the last check-up. I had the appointment around noon and the flight was scheduled to take off at 13:40. I wanted to be at the airport around 12:40. After the brief check-up, I got on a taxi in front of the clinic and arrived at the departure area around 12:50. I was not relaxed.

I asked a police officer where my carrier's check-in counter was. I found the Wizz air counter and checked in. After this I hurriedly went through the passport control point and then the usual metal detector at the boarding gate.

I made in time of course. The rest is already history.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Home sweet home!]の続きを読む

テーマ:ヨーロッパ - ジャンル:海外情報

  1. 2013/11/25(月) 22:29:57|
  2. Things European
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Belgrade Diary IV

This is the last night I spend here in Serbia before flying back to Luxembourg. It is Sunday, 24th November.

As I expected small supermarkets were open. It was expected. I did not go to the shopping area of this area (Zemun) so naturally I don't know if other shops and stores were open.

I am going to pack up for tomorrow. I bought really small amount of souvenirs. I have enough Serbian Dinar for the taxi ride from here to the airport. I have the boarding pass. I am set to go. I just have to go to see the doctor for the last brief checkup.

I don't know and am not sure if I will ever come back here to this country in the future. I realized after browsing through Wikipedia that Serbia was not part of EU as of now yet. I thought it was already in. I was wrong. Serbia is a candidate but if they want to be part of it, it has to balance the budget. Really difficult task for any governments.

I remember before I went to the terminal where my plane was leaving from, I had to go through the passport check and I had my passport stamped. I had another stamp on my passport when I enter the country. Of course, I am now outside of EU. I should have known.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Belgrade Diary IV]の続きを読む

テーマ:ヨーロッパ - ジャンル:海外情報

  1. 2013/11/24(日) 21:44:06|
  2. Things European
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Belgrade Diary III

I walked to the river bank of the Danube, where people walk/jog/bike/socialize. Winter time does not attract too many people and there were more birds relaxing. It was chilly and a drizzle met me afterwards, just a bid.



There would be more people, more small shops and places to eat and drink if it were, of course, summer.





I found a post office and mailed a picture post card to Japan. It cost 53 Dinar.

I also encountered an area in Zemun where small merchants gather. Maybe most of them are local farmers. I walked about and enjoyed myself.







It was a long walk today.

I bought this bread that seems to be the local traditional one. Here is the picture.



Outside it is slightly hard and soft inside.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Belgrade Diary III]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/24(日) 01:24:57|
  2. Things European
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Belgrade Diary II

First, I went to "Student" (actual name of the business) to have my boarding pass printed. Done. It was a photo/printing service shop.

Then I took a bus to the center of the city. It was a sunny day. According to the locals, this weather is very unusual. It is supposed to be cold and wet, perhaps chances of snow just like in Luxembourg right now. Oh well I welcome the warm weather while I'm here as the weather forecast tells that starting Monday it gets colder.

From Zemun, where I am staying, 83 is the bus line number I should take. Anyway, the bus passes the center of Zemun and then crosses the Danube finally arriving at the center of Belgrade.


I got off at the central station and then wandered about. After gooing to the south east area from the station, I finally what seemed to be the center (shopping/touristic) of the city. I bought some souvenirs and changed some Euro to Dinar. I bought some eye drops at a pharmacy and then came back.



This is a weird building halfway demolished and abandoned. There's more on the other side of the street.


I took some pictures on the way. They are not good.



Tomorrow I plan to go see the Danube nearby.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Belgrade Diary II]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/22(金) 10:16:20|
  2. Things European
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Belgrade Diary

Today I went to see the doctor for the first checkup after the operation. My eyesight is great. No blurriness at all. My vision is clear.

The next checkup is a brief one on Monday and after this I will fly back home.

Tomorrow I'll drop in on a nearby shop where I can print out a couple of documents. One is the boarding pass on my way home.

After that I intend wander about the town. I'll be visiting the cafe/pub/restaurant area on the Danube nearby and probably the center of Belgrade. I'll have to ask how to use the public bus at the front.

Today I went to a supermaket. It was named 'InterEX' and it reminded me of Intermarche chain in France. Are they related?


The stuff being sold were the same as in other countries. Some had English on them or German or French, others had Serbian. Local bread interested me. They are not baguettes. They are of local tradition of sorts, I guessed.

I want to find some small thing as souvenirs. Perhaps I can find some in the touristic area in the center tomorrow.

I was wondering why the local airport, the one I landed on, was Nicola Tesla Airport. I belatedly found out why by looking his name up on Wikipedia. He is from the region. He is a Serbian descent. He emigrated to US and made a name for his electric engineering work. The most envied automobile for the moment in US is a Tesla, the electric vehicle.

In Japanese; 続きをどうぞ [Belgrade Diary]の続きを読む

テーマ:ヨーロッパ - ジャンル:海外情報

  1. 2013/11/21(木) 04:11:55|
  2. Things European
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i'm Tom Cruise now

Well not exactly. I am like a character he played in "Minority Report" as I'm now lying on a bed consuming fluid and resisting the urge to scratch my eyes. The laser operation went well and I see better now.

Now I have to take it easy and rest. I have to regularly drop eye-drops (antibiotics and so on).

I could see what was going on during the operation and that was weird. I could see the doctor peel off the tip surface of my eyes and laid it aside just like opening a can with a pull-tag. Weird! It was transparent! I saw it with my own eyes.

In Japanese; 続きをどうぞ [i'm Tom Cruise now]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/20(水) 00:31:55|
  2. Things European
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My eyes are TOO dry

I'm here in Belgrade to have my eyes operated. Today, Tuesday, was the day for the first exam/diagnosis.

Results are in! My eyes are too dry for the safety of operation. Now I'm back at the hotel and lying on the bed dropping eye drops every 30 minutes! I'm not lying, I mean, I'm not joking. I have to feed my eyes with the liquid to make them moist enough for operation for (hopefully) tomorrow. I have to even set the alarm just to wake up during the night twice to drop gel eye drop.

I had used soft contact lenses for many years before coming here and this left me with extremely dry eyes.

I came here for the operation and I would like to have it done.

On my way to the hotel, I bought some bread and paid 260 dinar. I bought a lot. They cost only about 3 euros! I mean I bought a lot. It would be at least 6 euros in Luxembourg.

I did not take any pictures today. I'll try to take some tomorrow.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [My eyes are TOO dry]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/19(火) 22:32:20|
  2. Things European
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I'm in Belgrade, Serbia now

I am lying on a bed in a hotel room Belgrade, Serbia as I write this.

Wizz air took me from Charleroi (Brussel South) Airport to Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade. Airbus A320 with pink painting on it.

The Hotel is OK for the price. It has free Wifi. It is very close to the hospital I am going to be treated at.
fc2blog_2013111908530614e.jpg


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [I'm in Belgrade, Serbia now]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/19(火) 00:53:19|
  2. はじめに
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Belgrade, Serbia one week holidays coming soon

It is not exactly a vacation but I have one week off from work.

Eye operation in Belgrade, Serbia.

Unfortunately, I don't have my credit card for the moment due to mail mishaps and also due to the mishandling of my claim (that I did not get the card in mail) by the bank personnel at BIL (reads former Dexia Banque International à Luxembourg). I am not too happy about this mishandling but it happens.

Fortunately and very luckily, I have a very kind friend, who is from Serbia, who helped me with the doctor appointment, flight tickets, but tickets (Lux to Charleroi, Bel) and hotel reservation. He even made sure that I know the right price for the taxi (from the airport to the hotel) not to be swindled by rogue taxi drivers.

Everything is set. All I have to do is not to miss the time for bus and so on.

I am taking my notebook PC with me for printing the return boarding pass. I have to borrow someone's (hotel's front has a printer?) printer to do it.



In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Belgrade, Serbia one week holidays coming soon]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/15(金) 10:15:19|
  2. Things European
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These are just for me or what?

Sometimes you see a thing or things that you think just made for you. I've been looking for a thing just like it! Have you ever said that before?


It happened to me two days ago. While looking for something on a internet site.

Let me explain.

I have two pairs of cycling shoes; one for casual/training and the other for other occasions (like Tour de France).

The training shoes are Shimano ones. I bought these years ago in Germany. They were the cheapest ones available at that time. I wear them during the winter.


shimano-my-shoes.jpg
(image of my shoes with shoe covers on)

The construction of the shoes: They are just like "normal" casual shoes as they are equipped with strings to tie up. Loose strings' ends could interfere with pedaling if they are jammed into the chainrings and chain. This is dangerous.

As you can see, there are "velcro" straps to cover the tying knots/loose ends. This structure works. The only problem is that it takes time to get in and get out of the shoes.

It has been bothering me since I bought them. Well,... they were cheap!


I saw this product and shouted in my mind, "that is exactly what I've been looking for!"

http://www.zlokz.co.jp/index.html

I am sorry that they don't have English version.

This URL will give you the idea what they were good for.

http://www.zlokz.co.jp/demo.html

In essence, you say goodbye to tying knots. There are no dangling loose ends.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [These are just for me or what?]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車(スポーツ用) - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2013/11/15(金) 06:37:30|
  2. Bikes and related things
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A lot of rain (and the possibility of flooding) here

A lot of rainfall has been seen in recent weeks here in Luxembourg (and neighboring areas). Consequently, the water level in the area is rising.

According to wort.lu (my English source of news), a warning has been issued in the area along the Moselle river. I live near the capital (city of Luxembourg), which is far from the Moselle so there is no danger as far as I am concerned. I ride regularly, however, along the Alzette river (streamlet) for 6 to 8 km (I guess).

The water level of the Alzette has been up (to the rim) for the last 2 weeks. This river is small and narrow and looks harmless most of the time. I will keep my eyes on it just in case (it keeps raining and) the banks get flooded.

This morning I rode to work. The weather was foggy and chilly. The temperature was around 1 to 2 degrees Celsius (33 to 34 F). There was no sign of ice anywhere. The daytime high and nighttime low will be rising a bit. There is no sign of snowfall yet.

My tires on my bike are still slick tires. I will change them to deep-patterned grippy non-foldable tires when the time comes.



In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [A lot of rain (and the possibility of flooding) here]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. 2013/11/12(火) 16:30:07|
  2. Tour de France
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Baby Boom?

According to worl.lu, the Schlecks are expecting a lot of babies, 3 to be exact. Andy and Jil are expecting a baby. Now they say that Fränk and Steve are also expecting babies.
And I am making a slow progress on "Tour de France 2014 Itinerary". It takes some time to complete it.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Baby Boom?]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/12(火) 00:02:43|
  2. Bike Races in Luxembourg
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TdF 2014 itinerary report

I did not know before reading the article at Wortl.lu that Belgium was also planning to introduce the vignette system (toll collecting) starting 2016. If introduced, I will certainly buy one. Driving the Belgian motorway is essential to driving to and from so many road bike races. How much would it cost per year?


Long time ago I had better knowledge of HTML language. At that time (I mean long time ago), HTML was simpler than that of today's advanced version.

I am writing something in HTML. It is not a fancy web site. It is just the itinerary of Tour de France 2014 with lots of image files and URL links. It is making a slow progress.

Most of the URL links will be directed to Wikipedia. There, you will find detailed information of "Col de ...." (mountain passes).

My fellow (potential) travel mates will get the files in e-mail (hopefully) by the end of November, I think.

Some of the included images will be of those images on ASO's TdF (www.letour.fr) site. Those stage profiles and others. Others are the screen shot clips from my Garmin MapSource.

Day by day activities and transfers during the Tour are described in the report.

There are things to do everyday. Driving, waiting for the peloton to pass and sleeping will be the three major activities. Eating (cooking) and shopping for food will follow.

There are not much other things to do fortunately or unfortunately.

While waiting for the peloton to come, you may ride your bike, paint on the road, watch the TV, set up the flags or banners or get to know your neighbors for the day.

stage05-poststtransfer.jpg

The image above is a Garmin MapSource screen shot clip. It is a simulation of a route from one of the cobblestone sector of Stage 5 to Stage 6's interim feed zone. If you take a close look, you may notice an icon that looks like this:
caravan-towed.jpg
It is the rest area on the motorway with camper service facilities. That means we may do the service of the camper on the way when we have the time and the need.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [TdF 2014 itinerary report]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/09(土) 01:47:32|
  2. Tour de France
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Interim Feed Zones and Camper Service areas

The course information released on 23rd October lacks some specific locations. It does not show the sprint points, mountain categories, passing cities and feed zones.

A feed zone is located around the middle of the course. A typical course is about 200 km long and its feed zone is at between 90 to 110 km (usually).

The map (provided by Google) on the ASO's site (below) lacks details. It vaguely suggests where the peloton will be passing. As (I trust) you know that magnifying the map does not help at all.
2014-google-map-tdf-course.jpg

By staring at these meandering lines on the map and the actual roads on Garmin MapSource (by NAVTEQ), I am trying to figure out the places where the feed zones could be at.

They (FD) won't be in the middle of big cities. They won't be on a descent. They won't be along narrow winding roads.

A typical FD will be a quiet road connecting two small villages.

I plotted some "interim feed zones" on the MapSource. I am also plotting Camper service areas along the French tollways. There are sites on the net or books listing such locations. For example, my old Michelin campers' guide book shows them on the map.

You have a lot of "Aire de ..." on the French tollways. Some are equipped with restaurants, convenience stores, gas stations, hotels and others. Some have only parking place with bathroom (toilet) facilities. Some have extra facilities for campers. You can refill your upper water (for washing and shower) and drain the used water. You can dump the on-board toilet tank there.


Anyway, why interim feed zones? Are they important? Yes, they are.

Where are you going to be at when a stage is flat and has no highlights? Would you to to the start or finish where there are so many people? If you don't have a VIP pass on you, you can get close to the riders.

I would, instead, go to the feed zone and relax for a moment. The peloton passes the FD around 14:30 to 15:00 for a snack. The important point is that the riders have to slow down at the feed zone. The slower they ride, the bigger chance you have to spot your favorite riders or for your favorite riders to spot you.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Interim Feed Zones and Camper Service areas]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. 2013/11/06(水) 15:58:13|
  2. Tour de France
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Autobahn going to be NOT free!

There was a bit of concerning news piece coming from Germany.

German highway (Autobahn) stands for a freeway but soon to be a toll way (perhaps).

For the moment, the motorways (highways) in Luxembourg (not much), Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany are free. You don't pay for it directly but indirectly.

In France and Italy, you pay as you go. The toll is in proportion to the distance you drive (in general).

In Austria, you can choose the way you pay for the Autobahn. For foreigners (short time visitors) there are choices. The one-year vignette, two-month vignette and ten-day vignette. This is convenient for a short time visitor.

In Switzerland you can only choose the one-year (with in the year January-December) vignette. It cost about 40 euros, I guess. In fact, I have 2013 Swiss vignette on the back of the windshield of my Ka. A souvenir from the Tour de Suisse 2013.

Poeple in Europe like the Austria or Switzerland system.

Anyway, the they (German lawmakers) are discussing the possibility to charge those who drive through Germany some money. I think that big trucks and rigs have to pay for some amount since some time ago??

They (lawmakers) are thinking about issuing 100-euro vignette (for cars under 3.5 tons, I imagine). People in Germany are so used to not paying for the Autobahn and they (voters) are not for the idea.

Lawmakers first tried to make the Autobahn not-free-of-charge for foreigners (not German residents) but found out that that was against EU regulations. They (German lawmakers) now want to have everybody pay despite the strong oppositions from the public.

They (lawmakers) say German residents (those who are paying tax in Germany) can get some of the money back through some tax exemptions or other perks. People are not buying it, though.

Lawmakers are now seeking a way to persuade the people. They are considering the Austrian system. I am sure that in near future the German Autobahn is going to be tollways.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ

[Autobahn going to be NOT free!]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/04(月) 21:29:46|
  2. Things European
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