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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

There was a time when I met a wise Dutch man...

For the record, I am not writing about my opinion but just writing what I once heard from a Dutch man who, with his wife, was managing a camping ground in France.

He told me that he had worked in many countries as an international business man (Scandinavian countries and other Western European countries).

He had earned enough money to retire and decided to buy a piece of land in France to operate a camping site. Naturally many of the customers were Dutch. I, quite by accident (I just wanted to check in a camping site in the middle of nowhere during Tour de France), checked in his champing ground. I think I was driving close to next day's feed zone. I happened to spot a sign saying that there was a camping site. I followed the sign. It took me a long time until I finally arrived at the reception office. The sign was on a main road and the narrow path leading to the camping site was long.

The camping site was crowded and I recognized many Dutch license plates on the vehicles staying there. The place was densely forested. There was a small streamlet flowing there.

Anyway, I just stayed there one night. I talked to the man the morning before I left. He was very friendly and was curious about me, of course, a Japanese following the Tour. As you can imagine, a typical "Tour fan" would be an European (dominantly so-called Caucasian).

He told me that he (of course with his wife) had a daughter and a son, who (both of them) finished their education in France. They first worked for French companies but at that moment they were either working for a foreign company or in foreign countries. They (his children) swore that they would never work for a French company.

He told me the reason based on his experience.

Please, please don't be offended if your nationality is accidentally mentioned below. I don't want to offend anybody. I am just writing this as I heard it. If you are offended, please search for this camping site in France that is operated by a Dutch couple and send a letter of you discontent. I don't want to be responsible for anything.

He told me that the traditional French system of a typical work environment was like; if the boss says black is white, then black is white and there is no space for discussion. His/her subordinate has to accept that black is white. Period!

Obviously, this Dutch guys daughter and son grew up in many countries (, where he worked, eventually finishing their university education in France) in a Dutch family where everybody was open to discussion if there was a rift in their opinion. They (his children) could not stand the French system.

He also told me that in Germany and in Alsace area (formerly Germany) discussion is very important. As part of WWII lesson, German education system puts an emphasis on solving problems by means of discussion not by tyrannic domination by one who has a louder voice.

In Netherlands, the situation is the same as in Germany and people are open to discussion.

He continued on to say that the Swedes are proud people as they never lost a war. In Norway you find yourself often alone on your own as they (Norwegians) are very independent and don't be bothered.

I would like to re-visit this camping site but I don't remember where it was. I am very sorry.


I think one year or two years later I had an experience that firmly confirmed what this Dutch man said to me about the French. I will write about this episode later.



In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [There was a time when I met a wise Dutch man...]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/12/28(土) 09:50:32|
  2. Things European
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My boom for the moment is Javascript

I was writing the itinerary (Tour de France 2014) in the HTML format for my next planned vacation for a while. It was almost complete. It can not be complete as ASO has not released the detailed information on the course to the public yet.

Anyway, my knowledge of HTML is very primitive. At that time when I first learned (by reading books) HTML, there were these <blink>...</blink> tags in use. This HTML does not depend on the platform (Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPhone and etc.) and any normal web browser will decipher the documents written in HTML.

I was planning to send this itinerary to some of my friends and I did not know what were their platforms.

While writing the itinerary, I had to refer to HTML5 rules. I soon learned that "blink" feature had been removed.

Back then (I did some web page maintenance for the company I worked for), I played with Javascript a bit.

Now I am reading books on Javascript. Javascript is interesting. It is not too complicated and I can learn it without much headache.



In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [My boom for the moment is Javascript]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/12/28(土) 00:45:10|
  2. Diary
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No Camper tour of TdF 2014 after all?

Well, I am not sure any more. One (or two) of the potential participants had backed out. This person said that this person could take only one week of holidays toward the end of TdF 2014.

This camper tour materialized only when four (4) people participate in full-time (3 weeks minimum). Otherwise, the cost of renting the camper will be too high.

I will keep looking for the "replacement" participants to make up for the "loss" but the situation is not looking well.

I have ("almost" because the course information provided by ASO is not sketchy at this moement) completed the itinerary for the camper tour. I can still use this itinerary as a basis for non-camper tour.

To convert this itinerary to non-camper itinerary, I have to do additional work on Garmin MapSrouce by plotting camping sites on the way and making plans for stopping at those places.



On a separate note, I ordered Ciamillo Micro cam arms for my old Negative-G caliper brakes. They were not so cheap but rather expensive. I wanted to be free from adjusting the distance between the brake pads and rim surfaces.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [No Camper tour of TdF 2014 after all?]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. 2013/12/20(金) 01:35:52|
  2. Tour de France
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Today was Friday, thirteenth after all

I did not know that today was Friday, the thirteenth until somebody at work told me so in the morning. Really? I thought at that time I heard this.

I don't believe in this kind of thing that Friday 13th brings a bad luck.

Well, I had some surprise today. So I have to say that Friday 13th really brings something after all.

I have to add that this something was not bad. Now I like Friday 13th.

I received e-mail from a online shop in UK that one of the items that I had ordered were dispatched. It is a cap worn under the helmet in winter. I am waiting for this cap.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Today was Friday, thirteenth after all]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/12/14(土) 02:38:15|
  2. Diary
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Tour Guide - TdF 2014 is almost completed

I was preparing this itinerary for the next year's Tour de France. This primitive itinerary is intended to illustrate the day by day activities during the Tour.

Where to be at, where to go next, when to sleep, how long to drive and when to eat are the described in a primitive HTML style.

I usually do this on Garmin MapSource and just jot it down for my own references.

Next year, however, I invited some of my friends to join me on a camper tour. I don't know yet if this camper tour will materialize at all.

A camper tour has definitely advantages.
1. You don't check in anywhere to sleep (hotel, camping ground, inn etc.)

It also has disadvantages.
1. The vehicle is big.
2. The rental fee is high.


The camper (the one I intend to rent) sleeps up to 6 people. It is like a small youth hostel room on wheels. If you share the rental fee, it costs almost like a youth hostel does. The sharing among participants is the key. 4 would be the minimum number. If I have four people (including me), I will be happy.

The camper is big. I will have hard time finding a parking spot in the mountains. I am sure. This is the only thing that worries me (a bit).

I have been doing a lot of work on Garmin MapSource. I have to plot locations on it.

Locations: Cities, towns, mountain passes, projected feed zones, everything that we already know about the Tour 2014. ASO has made some selected info public. We already know which mountains will be climbed.

There are many camper service spots in France. Most of them either at the parking areas on the motorway or at some camping grounds. We have to make a regular visit to those to dump what has to be dumped and replenish water for shower or washing. I plotted these spots, too.

Once these plotting is done, I connect them. Stage by stage. I let Garmin Mapsource find routes among these plotted locations. Sometime I find them satisfactory, other times I find them inappropriate. Inappropriate routes are the ones that shortcut mountains passes.

It will be faster to go A to B by driving a long way on motorways than driving a shorter way through the mountains.

I used to have less time in preparation for the Tour. I would just fowllow the routes that my GPS navigation device told me. I would grind my teeth in the mountains cursing the shorter but slower route I was driving.

It is not so easy. It is not so easy driving through France following the stages.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Tour Guide - TdF 2014 is almost completed]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. 2013/12/11(水) 00:32:18|
  2. Tour de France
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New Year's Presents needed

I have said to myself that I had been done with Christmas shopping so I am done with Christmas gift shopping. Now I need some New Year's gifts. As I wish for something.

Ciamillo, known for its Zero Gravity series or Negative-G series brakes, has a new line of products for 2014. It is an improved Negative-GSL. Its features is (among others like still lighter etc.) the new improved cam arms.

The cam arm has an adjuster built into it. This mechanism allows the distance between the rim and the brake pad adjusted as needed. The advent of wider aero-rims on the market in recent years made Ciamillo produce low profile brake shoes first. Now they came up with a better idea.

I found out that this cam arm can retrofit into my old Negative-G caliper brakes. Nice!

ciamillo-micro-cam-arms.jpg

I want to buy these but the price is not so nice. I remember that the price of Ciamillo high or low profile brake shoe set (4 of them) used to be around the same. So it makes sense.

My old Netative-G has arms that belong to older generation. When I upgrade the arms, I get the newer generation of brake wire fixing mechanism.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [New Year's Presents needed]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. 2013/12/08(日) 17:00:45|
  2. Bikes and related things
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No storm at all here in Luxembourg

I did not notice anything at all as I was not outside while the ripple of the storm was supposedly raging. Sure it rained lightly and I saw scattered twigs on my way home late at night on the road. They were not plenty but tiny twigs here and there. That was it!

Last night on arriving home I checked the mailbox and there was an envelope with the product logo on it. It came from Sweden. Christmas gift No. 2!

It traveled surprisingly quickly. I thought I got the notice of shipment via e-mail on Tuesday?


Christmas gifts (for myself) update

1. German on-line shop
2. Sweden on-line shop
3. another German on-line shop
4. ebay auction item from USA
5. UK on-line shop

I ordered some Christmas presents for myself on 4 separate purchases.

1. arrived on December 5.
2. arrived Friday, December 5 in post
3. on the way
4. on the way
5. part of the items arrived December 6.


RIP Nelson Mandela.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [No storm at all here in Luxembourg]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/12/06(金) 22:16:38|
  2. Info Luxembourg
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Storm of the Century (no but in 30 years) is coming

A Storm (biggest in 30 years) is coming to Europe, according to various news sources. The storm mainly hits northern Europe but the effect of the storm reaches here in Luxembourg.

Wow! The storm is named Xavier.

As Luxembourg is located a couple hundred kilometers from the coast, the wind does not blow too hard here. Still I expect some fallen trees and other minor accidents.

I have to go home by bike. Or should I stay here at work or take a bus instead?

I think I can just take my bike and ride slowly in the light rain.

1. German on-line shop
2. Sweden on-line shop
3. ebay auction item from USA
4. UK on-line shop

I ordered some Christmas presents for myself on 4 separate purchases.

1. arrived this afternoon.
2. has been mailed.
3. has been shipped.
4. part of the items has been shipped.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Storm of the Century (no but in 30 years) is coming]の続きを読む

テーマ:ヨーロッパ - ジャンル:海外情報

  1. 2013/12/05(木) 17:12:58|
  2. Info Luxembourg
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Bike sales on the rise in EU

According to an article on Wort.lu, bike sales in EU is rising and more bikes are being sold than cars in number (of course not in the sales figures) .... except in Luxembourg and Belgium.

Of course EXCEPT in Luxembourg.

Out of 28 EU countries, 26 of them saw their residents purchase more bikes than cars. People are turning to bikes as an economic option for commuting. Like I do during winter.

The article speculates the reason for the weak sales of bikes in Luxembourg and concludes that the reason is that cross-border commuters (75% of all workers in Luxembourg are foreigners and more than 50 %? of them are cross-border commuters) do not use bikes.

Interesting statistics, don't you think?




On a serapate note, I paid for the item (SRAM RED 2013 Shifters) that I won via ebay. I did not expect to get it. They (shifters) are being sold (on on-line discout shops) for 380 to 410 Euro for the moment in Europe. I paid (including the shipping) a lot less than that.

I belatedly found out that Ciamillo (known for Zero Gravity or Negative-G brake calipers) had a Black Monday sale. New Negative-G (2014) "Micro" was being sold a lot cheaper... too late. I don't want to spend too much for bike parts now.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Bike sales on the rise in EU]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. 2013/12/04(水) 10:19:28|
  2. Things European
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Oleg Tinkoff (Tinkov) and Sojasun

The off-season news: Riders' transfers, Sponsor changes, Retirement and ect.

Mr. Oleg Tinkov has finally acquired what he wanted: the total control of WorldTour team. Saxo-Tinkoff is now Tinkoff-Saxo. I did not see Mr. Tinkov during 2013 season but I may be able to catch a glimpse of the tycoon himself during 2014. I know some people at Tinkoff-Saxo and I frequently visit their team bus or sometimes the hotels.

One thing is sure (or not sure?). I will see more of Mr. Bjarne Riis. He can now be with the riders as he is relieved of business side of the team (looking for sponsors).


Sojasun? They folded their professional continental team at the end of the season for the lack of money (to maintain the team as a sole sponsor). Now they want to be co-sponsor of Cannondale team. There is no official announcement so I have to wait a bit.

Obviously, it was not a lack of money. The reason they stopped the sponsorship was the lack of PR effectiveness. They wanted to step up a notch or a few notches.

They may be spending more money in 2014 than they did in 2013. The difference is that their name will be more exposed and reach more people if they sponsor one of the WorldTour teams, which are guarantied to be able to take part in major races.

In 2012, for example, during Tour de France Sojasun had a big PR/Promotion trailer following the stages. They gave us (general public) their product for free to taste. I remember tasting the soy based drink at the foot of Plateau de Beille (and some other places I don't remember).

If they become a co-sponsor of the team, I am sure they are going to use that show trailer again, which I wholeheartedly welcome.



In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Oleg Tinkoff (Tinkov) and Sojasun]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. 2013/12/03(火) 15:58:25|
  2. Bike Races
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Christmas shopping spree! Yay!

December is the time for going nuts about shopping for gifts. I am currently on a shopping spree for Christmas gifts for myself.

I have already ordered some bike parts from an on-line shop based in Germany a week ago. I am not sure if they will arrive before Christmas as some of the goods were not in stock at that time.

I purchased some bike parts from an shop based in Sweden? They will arrive before Christmas.

Yesterday I ordered some more bike parts from another on-line shop based in Germany.

I would like to purchase some more bike parts from an on-line shop in Great Britain this week.

One-stop shopping would be convenient but they (shops) don't have the same products line so I have to shop around.


Some are practical winter-must-have items. A thin cap covering the ears worn under the helmet, water-proof shoe covers or mudguard for the rear tire, for example. Luckily we (in Luxembourg) haven't had any measurable amount of snow around the capital yet but we expect some in near future.

Some are for the next overhaul planned next Spring. Nokon Teflon-coated inner liners, dry lubricant, bartapes (Selle Italia's smooth bartapes were on sale!) and such.

Others are a bit fancy items like SRAM Force RD or a 3T stem.


Ooooops! I just now won an ebay auction item; SRAM RED Shifters! I have to list these shifters on my Christmas gift list. They were (I don't know but) fairly prices and were brand new.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Christmas shopping spree! Yay!]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. 2013/12/02(月) 10:08:52|
  2. Bikes and related things
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December has arrived

First of all, my eyes are OK. There is no complication or infection. My eye sight is very clear.

I am writing the "TdF 2014 Report". I thought it would be finished by the end of November. I was wrong.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [December has arrived]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/12/01(日) 20:22:15|
  2. Diary
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ロード自転車レースが好きでロードレースを追いかけてます

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