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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

Saris Sentinel 2

Used Saris Sentinel 2 arrived

It has landed! I drove to the supermarket where local transport company who has a contract with ebay (ebay Global Shipping etc.) designates as one of the depositories for those customers who missed the delivery.

Anyway, it (the content of the box I picked up) was fine.

My first impression (just pulled out of the box) was that it was surprisingly light. I will see how it fits on my Mazda MX-5.


Hozelock Porta Shower on Amazon GB

I have been wondering why and how the price of Hozelock Porta Shower was fluctuating so often and so widely. I have seen the price go down as low as €31 and up as high as €57 on Amazon (Germany) in the last 6 months or so.

Some background facts:
Hozelock seems to be a company based in the GB. It specializes in garden equipments used for watering the plants. It also sells modified version of their garden atomizers, a outdoor / camping shower device called Porta shower. It can be also used for washing mountain bikes or any muddy / sandy objects after use before storing them in the car or garage.

I also found an Italian company who also specialized in very similar products. This company sells Freshower. The price was similar to that of Porta shower back in the fall of 2017 when I found both of them on Amazon Germany.

End of background facts:

It occurred to me that the reason for this unstable price might be contributed to the fact that it is handled by a company based in the UK and it was very likely that the products were stored in the UK, where (as of now the country still belongs to EU) British Pound is used. The exchange rate fluctuate everyday and that had been the reason for it, so I guessed.

I checked the price and the shipping fees to Luxembourg on Amazon GB and found to my relief that it was cheaper to buy a Porta shower on Amazon GB and have it sent to me (around €30). On the other hand, I found a Freshower was more expensive than a Porta shower there.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ

[Saris Sentinel 2]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. 2018/03/31(土) 15:05:23|
  2. Bikes and related things
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CarPlay, how good is it?

CarPlay by Apple and how good is it?

I have been a happy owner of a Mazda MX-5 since last July (July 24 2017 to be exact). I am quite happy with the it as it is. Since then I have done a few modifications to it.

1. I upgraded the air filter to K&N wet one.

2. I changed the antenna to a short one (cheap stubby antenna) because the genuine one is too long for my taste.

3. I removed the flat tire repair kit as I have a flat repair kit (gooey sticks), a space saving spare tire, a foot-operated air pump, a jack and a wrench to change the tires onboard.

Another modification in the wings is installation of H&R tread extenders.

Today (March 29 2018) I read an article on 9To5Mac that CarPlay was coming to new Mazda cars and would be available to older vehicles with Mazda Connect as a retrofit accessory.

First of all I don't know much about CarPlay. Secondly, if it costs a lot, I won't opt for it. For the moment I drive with the Mazda Connect screen off all the time with some music on. I don't need any distraction while driving.

By the way the music is provided by either iPod touch (4th gen.) or iPhone 4 connected to one of the USB ports. This iPhone 4 is in its retirement and serves as a kind of iPod touch with no SIM inside.

I will look into CarPlay a bit and prepare for the time when it is available here in Europe.


Recent Amazon purchases

I received from my local post office a box from Amazon.

It was not clear on the description of the item if I would receive two battery cells or just one. I was glad I got two. Now I have three cells to carry around.

I have not tried the microphone adapter yet but I will use it this coming Sunday.

I have to modify this rather hurriedly because it is does not bring the good. I don't know if I can call it defective or if it is just a matching issue.
ZeadioStabilizing.jpg

The thickness of the base mount is not sufficient so when the fixing is tightened, the object (a camera mount of so) will not sit instead it turns freely.

SMALLRIGmsmesure.jpg

In the same box (that arrived a few days ago) there were two of these mounting screws and I had hoped that these will remedy my woes (but they also let the camera mount spin). These mounting screws have the same measurements (dimensions) as the original screw on Zeaudio's stabilizer. I guess these mounting screws are made to some standardized measurements. So I started thinking that this was not a matching issue but a defect of the Zeaudio's stabilizer.

I had to thicken the base plate by 3 or 4 millimeters somehow. Inserting a washer will do.

Summer tires but no tread extenders

Everything went well.

First, it was sunny Today. It was drizzling on Wednesday and this was why I did not do it that day.

Secondly, the rubber jack adapter (that I modified) worked well.

Thirdly, the torque wrench seemed to be OK and function well.

Fourthly, the spare tire (intended for Toyota MR2, a Toyota genuine part that has the same PCD, offset or hub ring measurement as Mazda MX-5 ND) seemed to fit without any problems on my MX-5.
sparetireonmx5.jpg
As you can see there, the spare tire was on (just temporarily with only two lug nuts). It span freely meaning that the wheel did not rub against the brake caliper or anything.

sparetirecloseup.jpg
I love this yellowish tint. It is visible to other drivers who might get annoyed by me who drive too slow (up to 80 km/h) on the highway and they would tolerate me for this obvious reason.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [CarPlay, how good is it?]の続きを読む

テーマ:愛車と日常 - ジャンル:車・バイク

  1. 2018/03/29(木) 22:38:39|
  2. Mazda MX-5
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近所付き合い(Written in Japanese only)

This is written only in Japanese because the content is rather a sensitive issue.

普段の原則(英語と日本語の併記)を破って、日本語だけで書きます。内容が内容なだけに、英語では書けません。

これはオランダ人の顔見知り(自転車観戦を通して知り合った親しい連中)との雑談の内容です。

発言者の背景を書かないと、発言の意味がぼやけるので、ある程度彼女達(女性です)のことを書きます。

オランダ人で、歳は20代(の前半だろう)です。若いです。彼女達は英語がペラペラ(オランダ人ならまず例外無しに、英語はペラペラですよ)なので、英語で話をしてます。

Gent-Wevelgemの会場での会話です。彼女達はオランダから電車で来てた。「だって私たち車の免許無いし〜」という感じの話から始まった。

僕が「まず免許とって、それから車買って」と言うと、「お金も掛かるし〜」という回答。「じゃ、良いアイデアがあるぞ、フレミッシュ(ベルギーのオランダ語を話す領域)の男をレース会場で捕まえて、彼氏にしてしまえば良いじゃないか。フレミッシュには自転車レースファンが多いから、候補が多いはずだろう。言葉もオランダ語で通じるし、簡単じゃないか」

すると、「オランダ語とフレミッシュは違う、例えば(以下略)」とオランダ語とフレミッシュは違うというくだりがしばらくあった。

でも、「オランダ語とフレミッシュなら話は通じるし、ブラジル人とポルトガル人でも、同じく話は通じるだろう。もちろん、違いはあるは分かるけど」

この辺はまだまともな内容だ。この先が面白いのだ。彼女たちの話を要約するとこうなる。

オランダ人にとって、フレミッシュ地方とは、「下」の位置付けなのだ。私たちオランダ人は英語は当たり前だけど、多くの人はドイツ語を習得して話す。ドイツは私たちオランダ人の「兄」の位置付けなので、尊敬の念がある。産業、経済活動ではやはりドイツは上だ。

私(二人のうちの一人)は、ドイツ人とフレミッシュ人から選べと言われたら「ドイツ人」を選ぶけど、フレミッシュ人は無理、と断言。

例えば、フレミッシュのサッカーチームとオランダのサッカーチームが対戦して、前者が勝つと、フレミッシュ人は大喜びだ。我々はちょっと冷えた目で、「でも我々はワールドカップ常連国だし、ランクも上だし」と思うだけ。

今回の冬季オリンピッックでもフレミッシュ系はメダル2個程度で、オランダは20個以上だしね(格が違う)。

フレミッシュ系のメディアだと、合わせて22個のメダルを取った、見たいな言い方をするのを見たけど、私たちに言わせれば、私たちは20個で、あんた達はたったの2個なのよ。

このような発言でした。いやー目から鱗だった。オランダ人(若い世代)が好きに放言すると、こんな本音が聞けるですね。

これは人種差別の問題じゃ無いのですよ。これはちゃんと書いておきます。彼女たちは「金髪で青い目」系ですが、彼女たちが熱を上げてる選手は、これまでの数多くの選手のことも知ってるが、現時点では南米系(インディオの血も引いてる)の選手だったりする。人種(白人、黒人、アジア人)のことは彼女たちも気にして無いのです。

あくまで、「所属する文化圏とその地理的位置関係」がこの隣人問題の根底にあるのです。


ベルギー(フレミッシュ地方とワロンヌ地方)国内でも、おそらくフレミッシュ人がワロンヌ人を…、と思ってるだろうしね。

欧州は細かく国(国の中にさらに別の文化圏)が分かれてるので、この隣人問題は根深い。

最近だとスペインでも「英国のEU離脱問題、そしてスコットランドが連合王国から離脱したいと意思表明」に刺激された独立運動が問題になりましたよね。やはりあるんですよ、この隣人問題。

例えば、我々日本人だと、遠い地球の裏側の文化圏の人たちに特に敵意を感じないでしょう(だって普段接することがないのだから、まず知らないし)。でも近くに居る隣国の人たちとは普段から接触するので、ライバル心、敵意を感じてしまいますよね。

と、この辺で終わります。

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2018/03/26(月) 23:12:35|
  2. Things European
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Saris Sentinel 2 and other trifle things

Self car wash busnesses in Brugge, Belgium

I knew that the rain would stop in the afternoon and it would be sunny more or less on Friday. My Mazda MX-5 was dirty collecting dirt and dust for a while. Around 13:30 I decided to give a quick search for self car wash establishments a try on my Garmin nüvi. There were several “Self car washes” under “Auto Services” - “Car Wash” categories not far from where I was.

I drove to the closest one and found a quiet car wash all to myself. It was still drizzling by then.

5 welcoming booths were waiting for me with open arms (if they had ones). I was alone and the temperature was around 8.

Nice thing about this car wash was no pressure. I mean nobody was queuing after me so I could use all the time I had and do anything I wanted.

After leisurely brushing the dirty wheels, I sprayed the well-pressured water all over and under the car (€1). Then I took out the properly diluted car shampoo in a atomizer bottle that I always carried around and a car wash towel and also leisurely scrubbed the car all over. I had ample time to re-brush the wheels which I found not clean enough.

I also cleaned the recesses under the rear boot hood and under the fuel lid thoroughly. How delightful it was to be able to do so!

I used the pressurized water again (€0.5) to rinse the car and then lightly dried it off with the towel. I also took some photos as they are shown here.

No customers showed up during my stay. How nice! What a nice treat!

By the time I was through, the drizzling rain had stopped so I drove back to the hostel carefully not to drive over small pools on the side of the road.

I could find more self car wash establishments around the city of Brugge (or Bruges). Self car washes are part of culture or way of life in Belgium and many other European countries, aren’t they?

Why can’t I find one around the capital city of Luxembourg or for that matter anywhere in Luxembourg country? Is it by law forbidden?

ebay auction Saris Sentinel

A used Saris Sentinel 2-bilke rack was purchased for about €35 from GB (so I actually paid in British Pound) on ebay. So I can say it was roughly €35 including the shipping. It was a really good deal for me and sadly for the seller it was a steal.

The starting price the seller set was low and there were other bidders. Seeing that this particular model Sentinel was not so popular, I was going to set my maximum bid to 20 British Pounds. I won it at 16 British Pounds.

The seller claimed that it had been ‘Barely used“ and I am waiting for it to arrive.

Why? Why did I buy this? Because it was cheap and I thought it might be quite useful when I expect a passenger while I have a bike on my car.

I already have a Saris Bike Porter 3-bike, a Saris Solo (as the name suggests 1-bike rack), an Elite SanRemo bike rack (relatively an earlier model with no locks or anything fancy) and RockBros bike rack (1-bike system a rip-off of SeaSucker Talon?). So this would be my 5th bike rack. OMG!

I have been loosely watching Saris Bike Sentinels or Bones 3 (3-bike rack) racks for some time by now.

One flaw (maybe not really) I have found with Saris Bike Porter is that it has only one upper leg (foot). It does have a wide padded foot. This combination is much like Saris Bones 2 (2-bike rack).

They (these racks) support (and distribute) the weight of bikes by those feet. It is like a chair with three legs. 3 is the minimum number for the legs of conventional chairs or stools (unless you are talking about a thick round cut trunk type chair in this case only one leg). Or you can easily think of tripods for cameras and understand why they have three legs (but not 4 legs).

They are stable but nonetheless when you push (thrust) the chair (stool whatever you call it) in a certain direction where no legs are, it demonstrates less resistance than a four-legged chair.

My beloved (because it is so lightweight and small) Saris Solo has a minor flaw. Its four legs (feet if you focus on the part where they touch the car surface) are a bit too narrowly arranged so it may topple under a great load (and it happened to me once).

Saris Bones 3 (not Bones 2) have 4 widespread legs (and corresponding feet) and Saris Sentinel (2 or 3) may have only 2 legs technically but their feet are wide enough to be considered 4 feet.

They (the racks and their feet) can support (and more importantly distribute evenly) more load (bikes) and are more resistant to toppling forces (when the vehicle is tackling corners and negotiating the sudden jerky motions like avoiding some obstacles on the road).

This time I had luck to be able to buy a "barely used (according to the seller)" Sentinel and I am quite happy so far but I have to wait until I get it before judging if it is really good.

Between a Bones 3 and a Sentinel, I prefer a Sentinel because it looks much cheaper (a metal pipe structure) than a Bones 3 (neatly plastic coated and much more colorful look). The look will, I hope, thwart a theft.

This anti-theft factor is very important.

I am composing a comprehensive comparison chart illustrating all these bike racks above (that I own). It (chart) will be easy to look at and understand. It takes some time to finish it. Please be patient!

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ

[Saris Sentinel 2 and other trifle things]の続きを読む

テーマ:愛車と日常 - ジャンル:車・バイク

  1. 2018/03/26(月) 16:40:55|
  2. Bikes and related things
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Road bike race watch 2018 Part III

Driedaagse Brugge - De Panne

So I am just checked in the cheap hostel in Brugge and sitting on the bed and writing this. The local time is now 20:15.

To my surprise I just found out that this dorm style hosel is gender mixed hostel. A young girl just walked in the room and took the bed below me. At this hostel, the bed is also designated at the check-in so I did not intentionally chose this bed, the upper banker.

This is Belgium and this is not surprising but I did not carefully read the descriptions of the hostel rooms when I booked it. No problem on my part at least.

So I also found out at the check-in that breakfast was not included in the price that I paid. The girl at the counter told me that if I want to take the breakfast all I have to do is pay €4 in addition. She said I should just come in check out the food before I decided.

The race
I left for Brugge around 2:50 a.m. and purchased a bit of premium gasoline at the local gas station. The reason was that when I tanked on previous Monday because the nozzle was cranky or the angle of insertion of the fuel nozzle gun was not optimal, the pump stopped prematurely and I had to pump several times. I feared that I could eventually overflow the tank and I stopped after 25.93 litters.

When I turned the engine on after paying for it, I realized that the tank was not really full as the picture shows.

As the gas price is lower in Luxembourg, I wanted to tank as much as possible before leaving. This time I got it full.

Now I log them (2 tanking occasions) on the app "Road Trip" on my iPad so that I know the fuel consumption tendencies of my Mazda MX-5.

So the fuel consumption numbers for the last two "full tanking" periods are like this:
1. 14.61 km / L 530 km driven in 24 days (mostly in February)
2. 16.74 km / L 587 km driven in 21 days (mostly in March)

By the time I come home, I will be fueling once in Belgium and as soon as I get home I will tank again to prepare for the upcoming Sunday trip. On this coming Saturday I will try to change the tires to summer tires. I don't know if I can find the time to do it. If I did manage it, I would be able to compare the tire friction factors (winter / summer tires) and be able to see the difference between them in terms of fuel consumption (milage) rate.

Anyway, I drove on at around 90 km/h to save fuel by dogging a big rig, one after another (a pace maker as they always drive at around 90 km/h when possible).

It was around 150 km (?) before Brugge a warning chime rang out accompanied by the warning sign on the console. That TPMS again! I had this during my trip to Italy/Switzerland back in October 2017.

I drove for another 20 km or so before finding a proper place to stop. It was a parking along the highway. A lot of truckers were sleeping there. I took out the foot-operated air pump and checked all the tires and their air pressure. They looked alright but I pumped them so that I was really sure that I had enough air in each and every one of them. After resetting the TPMS, I drove on.

I stopped at a parking (with a gas station, bathroom facilities and 24 hour shops) along the highway about 50 km before Brugge and tried to take a nap in vain. I did rest a bit. Around 07:30 I drove on and arrived at Brugge center around 08:20.

This time frame description means nothing to the readers (if there are any out there and I know there are none at all!) but it means a lot to me as I can remember how I drove when I plan similar trips in the future.

The race is like a mini version of De Ronde van Vlaanderen in good old days. As De Ronde has changed its start city to Antwerp from Brugge since last year, I have to say that De Ronde in good old days.

They use the same Markt square as the team presentation and start venue. The difference is the audience is much more sparse than De Ronde.

I drove to Kemmelberg after the start. The area surrounding Kemmelberg is the only (as far as I know) hilly area in West Flanders region. So Gent-Wevelgem which takes place on coming Sunday also features the same climbs.

I after this I (we as I had one passenger) drove to the finish town of De Panne. It was my first time there. It is a small coastal resort town and it features a amusement park, which my experienced passenger called, a Belgian version of Disneyland. I saw water slides and some kind of roller coaster structure just as I passed it, which (roller coaster thing) my passenger also testified that just newly added.

The race was won by Elia Viviani in a bunch sprint. I did not know that this Quick-Step Floors rider could speak excellent English.

As always I am very impressed by the way local people nonchalantly speak Flemish (Dutch), English and other languages (French or German and for some others like Italian or so on top of them).

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Road bike race watch 2018 Part III]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. 2018/03/21(水) 22:17:10|
  2. Bike Races in Belgium
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Road bike race watch 2018 Part II

Wednesday through Friday: 3 days of road bike race watch

Wednesday: Driedaagse Brugge - De Panne (men)
Thursday: Driedaagse Brugge - De Panne (women)
Friday: E3 Harelbeke

I booked a cheap hostel room in Brugge for two nights. I will be sharing a room (with a bathroom) with other people but I don't stay there just to sleep so it does not really matter at all. At least staying there does not make a dent in my wallet. The description of the hostel says that there is a parking where I can park my car. I have to be careful about the parking security in Belgium. It is not so safe there.

This hostel is basically a bar (ground level and rooms to sleep upstairs) with guest rooms. Very very common buildings found in those areas (city centers).
freebreakfasthostel.jpg
(an image taken from the hostel's description: Free breakfast is intended for the staying guests, I hope)

The breakfast serving time is between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. I hope I have enough time on Thursday. It is about 58 km of drive from Brugge to Harelbeke and it will take about an hour or less. I won't be too concerned about the breakfast serving time at the hostel Friday morning as I am sure that I will get some sandwiches at the press center in Harelbeke (a I did last year).

Anyway, three race events in three days! How wonderful!

I downloaded start lists (Record Bank E3 Harelbeke's start list is still provisional status) and took a look.

Naturally as E3 Harelbeke has a higher status in UCI's category so the starting riders are much more loaded in this race.

Now (Tuesday evening) I have to pack up and rest. I will be leaving Luxembourg for Brugge early in the morning of Wednesday, 21st of March around 3 a.m. so that I can completely avoid the morning traffic jam near Brussel (it is on my route).

By the time I arrive at Brugge, it will be 7 a.m. or a bit later.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ

[Road bike race watch 2018 Part II]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. 2018/03/20(火) 19:01:59|
  2. Bike Races
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Road bike race watch 2018 Part I

Road bike race watch 2018

Wednesday, March 21: Driedaagse Brugge - De Panne (Belgium)
Friday, March 23: E3 Harelbeke (Belgium)
Sunday, March 25: Gent-Wevelgem

I kick off my bike race watching season (2018) with these Belgian races. If my memory is correct, I have never been to Driedaagse. It was as the name suggests "three days" mini stage race but it became a one day race recent years.

I have forgotten but I have been to E3 Harelbeke. I went to see the race in 2017 for the first time and it was held on Friday. Was that the race where Peter Sagan had a bad luck and came in almost last although he had been the highly anticipated winner before the race began?

If so, I have to improve on the watch plan. Last year I could not make it to the finish before the race finished. After watching the race at Paterberg (one of the climbs) we hurried to the finish but were stopped at several kilometers before the finish by the police. Even though I had a "PRESS" sticker on the car, I was a bit late to be let go on the race course.

This year I will do it better!

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ
[Road bike race watch 2018 Part I]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. 2018/03/18(日) 17:10:43|
  2. Bike Races
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Ordering a patch (or rolls) of lawn

Friends of mine who are moving to a new apartment (in transition for the moment) want to have lawn in the garden.

A short background story:
They were quite happy with their old apartment but one thing was like a splinter in their mind (as Morpheus expressed it). The old (or still current) apartment does not allow the renters to keep pets (small animals except for fleas or lice, I think) . And they have a Chihuahua. They had to keep the furry thing hidden inside the back every time they went out for a walk or came in after a walk.

So they decided to move to a new place and they recently found one and now they are moving. I am helping them move.

The new apartment has a small patch of land for each tenant and she (they are a couple) wants to convert the weed-grown abandoned ugly neglected garden into a beautiful dog run and grow some herbs if possible.

beforeaftergarden.jpg
(This is the "Before and After" image of the garden)

I guess the previous tenants (I imagine several generations) have totally neglected the land for many years. The apartment is a furniture-equipped one and it is intended for those who live there for a relatively short period. In many cases a company keeps one of those rooms and let their workers settle. In Luxembourg there are many rooms like that. For those people, a garden means nothing.


Back to the main story.

I was asked to arrange for the lawn purchase and delivery. Now the arrangement is fixed. Rolls of lawn will be delivered to the new apartment on next Tuesday.

There is a kind of benefit for me, too. I can use the storage of their apartment. I will store the tires and other things so that I have more room in my humble studio apartment room.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Ordering a patch (or rolls) of lawn]の続きを読む

テーマ:ヨーロッパ - ジャンル:海外情報

  1. 2018/03/15(木) 19:51:07|
  2. Info Luxembourg
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I left my cellular phone in the bus and ...

My phone!

Yesterday on my way home I took a bus. In the bus (actually even before getting onboard this bus) I had my mobile phone in my hand and was doing something (checking the email or so).

I put the phone on the backpack, which sat on my lap while on the bus. As my destination approached, I put the backpack on my back before getting off.

I got off and walked home. As I was inside the my small humble studio apartment, I groped for the phone in the pocket where I usually kept it. None!

I wondered for a short moment and realized I might have left it on the bus or I dropped it on the sidewalk. I walked to the bus stop looking for my phone but I did not find it.

I concluded that I had left it on the bus and that I did not notice anything as it silently slid on the seat.

Next morning I woke up early and drove to the Central Station, where bus (and domestic train) ticket office is located and asked. "... this happened and where can I go? ..."

The man at the counter told me to take a short walk to the Lost and Found counter.

I found the suggested counter and explained to the man about the incident. He asked the bus number, the time (I took the bus) and the direction the bus was heading. He clicked on the mouse button several times and glanced on the LCD screen before him. He produced a small piece of paper and marked a name of the bus operator (who ran that particular bus) with the telephone number with a highlighter among around 30 such operators.

He suggested that I call the number to see if they had it.

I did so after borrowing a mobile phone from a friend of mine who I had a rendezvous with that morning. Don't we have those good old public pay phones around here anymore? They are almost extinct these days.

A kind woman told me to my great delight (I had given up the hope of retrieving the phone already) that she got it at the office (of the operation company).

So I retrieved my Google (LG) Nexus 5X, which won't receive the next major Android OS upgrade (Android P) this coming Summer or Fall.

A happy ending story!

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [I left my cellular phone in the bus and ...]の続きを読む

テーマ:ヨーロッパ - ジャンル:海外情報

  1. 2018/03/14(水) 23:26:55|
  2. Info Luxembourg
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Emergency tire repair kit (Mazda MX-5's onboard equipment)

The emergency tire repair (flat) kit onboard my Mazda MX-5

Here is the emergency tire repair kit onboard my Mazda MX-5. Well not anymore (because I removed it)!

This one comes (with the car) as a standard tool and it is tacked neatly inside the rear boot (at least here in Luxembourg and I believe in most of the rest of European countries as well).

tirerepairkit.jpg
(image 1: the entire content)

airpump.jpg
(image 2: the backside of the pump with the hose tacked in the groove)

airpump-detail.jpg
(image 3: the pump says "Made in China")

It consists of a DC12V air pomp, some chemical, the pouring nozzle to fill the chemical inside the afflicted tire and last but not least the obligatory warning and instruction paper in a neat but curiously incongruous black bag as if no one has to notice it.

It also contains a valve core and a small plastic tool to screw and unscrew the core in a tiny plastic bag as shown in the image above.

The black bag has no markings or letters on it. The pump carries a sticker that says "genuine part" in many languages but no "Mazda" brand name anywhere. The instruction paper neither denies nor confirms that it is for Mazda.

So I can safely assumes that this item, made in China (where else?), is a "generic" genuine part produced for many automobile companies.

I downloaded English (American English to be exact) version of MX-5 owner's manual long time ago and scanned through it. I noticed that it (the manual) is for the USA, Canada and Mexico. The standard tools onboard an MX-5 are different in those countries. In some countries a jack comes onboard and others not.

Other things I noticed is that the specified oil specs are slightly different. Is it because of availability or climate (for example, Mexico is generally hotter than most of Canada and the USA)?

Here in Europe, this "air pomp/chemical" combination kit has been in wide use for many years. I used to drive a Mercedes Benz A-class in Germany (made in 1998 or ??, anyway the first generation model) and it did not have a spare tire but it came with a jack and this chemical kit.

My previous car (Ford Ka 2010) did not come with a jack nor a spare tire so I specifically ordered them as optional parts when I ordered the car at the dealership.

My current car (Mazda MX-5 2017) did not let me order a jack nor a spare tire as optional parts so I sought them and bought it on ebay. I also bought a foot-operated air pomp, which I already used in Italy after the TPMS gave me a warning while driving on a highway to Milan.

So I thought it served no purpose whatsoever to carry this emergency kit inside the rear trunk and that it was wise of me to remove it to save space and weight.

Between saving space and weight when it comes to an MX-5, saving space matters much more than weight.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Emergency tire repair kit (Mazda MX-5's onboard equipment)]の続きを読む

テーマ:愛車と日常 - ジャンル:車・バイク

  1. 2018/03/14(水) 19:37:07|
  2. Mazda MX-5
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The Tour de France 2020 starts in Nice, really? (sigh)

TdF 2020 starts in Nice in 2020?

I mean not in Copenhagen, Denmark? Really? So does Copenhagen host the Grand Départ in 2021?


Some Amazon shopping and Rakuten (Japan) shopping

I have friends (or friends of friend's) coming over to Europe almost every Spring from Japan. They all want to see some actions here, namely, road bike racing actions.

Almost every year I have also asked them to bring some items that I need but not easily acquired here in Europe from Japan.

So every year I go on a shopping spree around this time of the year. This year was no exceptions. Some items are for my friends and colleagues here.

Most of the items are related to my job.


This year I went on to shop more stuff on Amazon (Germany). I gave a lot of thought if I could be a YouTuber of modest kind and I said what a heck and decided to buy some stuff.

I bought an action cam (SJCAM SJ7 Star), a microphone and a stabilizer (not a gimbal as it is very expensive). This stabilizer is a kind of "C" shaped frame that has several mounting points for a camera, a light or a microphone.

An action cam can not zoom. A video camera can. I intend to use the camera mounted on my bike when I climb some mountains so it has to be an action cam and did not want to spend too much money by getting both of them. It (this SJ7 Star) will do the trick.

In addition to them, I bought a torque wrench as at the end of this month I will change the set of tires/wheels on my MX-5 and I will install the H&R spacers then.

So it is likely that the installation the summer tires can be filmed by this camera and then the footage may be uploaded on my YouTube account.

I bought some more stuff but they are not too important.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [The Tour de France 2020 starts in Nice, really? (sigh)]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. 2018/03/13(火) 01:09:14|
  2. Tour de France
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How to be a YouTuber?

What does it take to be a YouTuber (who makes living solely by uploading videos on YouTube)

Equipment-wise, I have to have some cameras, stands (gimbals and other stuff), microphones, lights, a good big LCD screen, a computer with a video editing software.

The most important thing is that I have to have an angle (or angles). What would be my angles?

My Mazda MX-5 is a candidate. I am planning to have a cat and when it happens, a cat is a very good candidate. I like going to see bike road races (like the Tour de France, for example) so they can be a candidate.

I am not aspiring to become economically independent by the posting videos (and thus getting fat ad income). I am just saying it is fun to create and share the creations with others.

So I am aspiring to be a hobby YouTuber with several K (a.k.a. one thousand) subscribers with comfortable ad income enough to maintain the minimum expenditures (equipments). I don't think I can be a huge successful YouTuber to live only on the ad income.

How about making a vlog documentary of the Tour de France 2018? Would it be popular?

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [How to be a YouTuber?]の続きを読む
  1. 2018/03/08(木) 23:34:06|
  2. Diary
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Have you had a frozen windshield while driving?

One possibly dangerous incident that can happen to a cabriolet?

Or tiny windows of hope

This incident can happen to any vehicles on the road but the chances of happening to non-cabriolet vehicles (or similar types) are relatively slim.

A picture tells a thousand words so I let this small video tell the story.



I was driving on a highway early (around 8:00 or earlier?) in the morning. It was not too cold as previous several days. The temperature indicator was showing "- 2" (minus 2 Celsius, which is 28 F and it is below freezing point) with the roof wide open. I let the heater on with the wind blowing to the foot and body areas at the maximum temperature (says 29) but with the wind force somewhat soft.

It was not sunny but as usual when the it is NOT raining and the soft top dry, I let the top down to enjoy the open air. By then minus 2 did not bother me at all after surviving minus 8 a few days before.

I was comfortably driving along the highway at around 90 km/h when it started to rain softly.

I knew it was going to rain at some point during the day as the weather forecast predicted and I knew that somewhat warmer and damp air was approaching above us as the weather forecast predicted the changes of daytime highs and nighttime lows for the coming days.

Rain drops instantly froze on the windshield blocking the views past it!

I could drive safely by peering through the tiny holes left among frozen rain drops. I was a few miles from the exit I was going to take.

I switched the wipers on but almost to no avail and maybe it made the situation worse. So I turned them off and waited until the hot air (below) gently loosened the ice a bit.

I did not switched the washer fluid on as I knew it would make the situation much much worse.

I switched the wind exits to "defrost," which eventually helped.

When you drive a cabriolet with the roof open, you normally let the heater blow to you foot or hands area but almost never bother to let it blow the front windshield. There was no condensation of moisture on the back of the windshield with the roof down as you can see (because it is cold inside, too). So the windshield was REALLY ICY when it happened.

As you drive a normal vehicle in such harsh climate, you let the heater on and to keep the nasty condensation on the back of the windshield at bay, you choose the "defrost." Or even when the defrost is not selected, the warm temperature inside the cabin inevitably warms the windshield either.


I definitely would have pulled over to a side if I were driving on a narrow windy (Wine-Dee not Win-Dee) road or on desolate roads with no illumination at night

Sense of camaraderie (or comradery chiefly in USA) among us

Just a few moments before the incident that I had described above, I had a pleasant moment while driving on the highway. A Mazda MX-5 RF passed me and as she/he returned to the right lane she/he turned on the hazard a few time to salute me. I had experience this kind of things in Italy and here in Luxembourg many times.

Mazda MX-5 (Miata) drivers are bound by a sense of camaraderie.



(If embedding does not work well, you may play the movie directly on YouTube)

Perhaps (and I hope so) she/he was taken aback when she/he saw me driving with the top down. As the video shows, sadly the RF was tightly shut.

These are videos originally captured by "Viofo WR1."

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Have you had a frozen windshield while driving?]の続きを読む

テーマ:愛車と日常 - ジャンル:車・バイク

  1. 2018/03/07(水) 15:28:44|
  2. Mazda MX-5
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H&R spacers are not same as IL Motorsport spacers

Currently two images are missing but I uploaded this entry anyway. Those images will be supplied soon.

H&R B5024541 and B6024541

Here are the images I took of my own H&R B5024541 and B6024541spacers.

HRB5024541-01.jpg
(front side of B5024541)

HRB5024541-02.jpg
(back side of B5024541)

HRB5024541-03.jpg
(some details of B5024541)

HRB6024541-01.jpg
(front side of B6024541)

HRB6024541-02.jpg
(back side of B6024541)

HRB6024541-03.jpg
(some details of B6024541)

Comparison between B5024541 and B6024541

HRB50-60-24541-02.jpg
(nuts from above)

HRB50-60-24541-03.jpg
(nuts side view)


HRB50-60-24541-01.jpg
(side by side)

Stacked together (to simulate the installed state on the hub)

HRB5024541-04.jpg
(two B5024541 stacked)

HRB6024541-04.jpg
(two B6024541 stacked)

Neither the stud bolts or lug nuts protrude from the hole. Although the back side of wheel (where it hugs the hub) has welcoming recesses to accommodate slightly protruding bolts or nuts, for these spacers (25 or 30 millimeters thick) they (recesses) won't be necessary provided that the stud bolts have the same measurement on both spacers and MX-5's hubs..


First I thought they could be the same sold under different names. When I got the ones from H&R and took a close look at them, I realized that they were different.

Besides the obvious visual (superficial) difference (IL Motorsport = all black anodized, H&R = bolts and nuts silver, and plus logos or letters etched), there are other fundamental differences.

These holes are about 29 millimeters in diameter so that a socket wrench (size 17-millimeter and outer measurement 28 millimeters like below) passes. I assume (from looking at the pictures) that IL Motorsport's ones have 30 millimeter holes and (if so) a bigger socket wrench (size 17 or 19-millimeter and outer measurement 29 millimeters like below) might pass.

(image of slimmer socket: missing)
(image of thicker socket: missing)


The genuine (factory) lug nuts of the Mazda MX-5 (ND) are of size 21- millimeters.



Custom license plates in Luxembourg

Currently, the license plates that Luxembourg's authority issues is like this. Two alphabets followed by 4 digit numbers.

In the early age of motorization in Luxembourg, people thought that 4 digits were enough. Theoretically, they are from 0000 to 9999 and that means 10,000 cars can have a plate of their own. It turned out that 10,000 plates were not enough. Then they got smarter (sarcasm intended) and (so it seems) started issuing 5 digit number license plates.

They still exist. Once I read an article (www.wort.lu and it is now luxtimes.lu) that people who own those 4 digit numbers felt that those plates were prized asset. Obviously the authority won't issue new 4 or 5 digit number license plates anymore but only renew them if the owners (users) of the plates wish to use them.

They (plates) can be renewed for sure and that is why I see them (4/5 digit number license plates) in brand new format.

In Belgium I see old license plates on old cars and new cars because the plates belong to the owner of the car not to the car whereas in the Netherlands the license plates belong to the car but not to the users (owners). The difference is when you sell your car in the Netherlands, the plates remain on the car and the next user (who buys the car) get the car with the plates. In Belgium, you take the license plates and sell the car.

In Belgium I don't think that the authority won't renew those old format license plates as I only see old format plates in antiquated (battered) state.

I still see now and then those 4 or 5 digit number license plates. If a user likes to keep the license plate, he/she can do so by paying the fees. That is what I did when I bought my Mazda MX-5. The alphabet number combination belongs to me now.

Anyway, you can choose your own license plates if they are no yet taken by someone.

The other I saw a Mazda MX-5 (ND) with a license plate MX 52** (** means that I masked them because it is not my business to expose the numbers of an innocent owner).

It is safe to say that this plate is a custom license plate. Who is the proud owner of MX 5000 or MX 0005 in Luxembourg?

The other different day I saw a BMW (1 Series) with a license plate MX 5***. I guess this happened just unintendedly.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [H&R spacers are not same as IL Motorsport spacers]の続きを読む

テーマ:愛車と日常 - ジャンル:車・バイク

  1. 2018/03/07(水) 02:17:29|
  2. Mazda MX-5
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Map data on TomTom Go Mobile (on iPad) update

Map data update - TomTom a.k.a. TeleAtlas data

I opened the app (TomTom Go Mobile) after some time (I haven't touched it for 2 weeks or so?) and it gave me a notice that there was an update (the map data) was available. And soon after I also noticed that an update for the app itself was also available from App Store.

The app's update is available from Apple's App Store but the map update is downloadable through the app on the iPad (or one of your iDevices).

I have "European West" map on my iPad. I have three years until my subscription runs out. I have been a TomTom Western Europe app user since (maybe) 2010. As TomTom changed the way they distribute their software (they stopped distributing the regional apps in favor of one app with subscription based map data distribution), I automatically got this three year moratorium for free.

TomTom's map data are normally (as far as I know) more up-to-date than those of Garmin's. This I have written about from time to time on my blog (TeleAtlas v.s. Navteq) so I won't mention it this time.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Map data on TomTom Go Mobile (on iPad) update]の続きを読む

テーマ:Mac - ジャンル:コンピュータ

  1. 2018/03/06(火) 21:36:42|
  2. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch
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iMovie: I need to learn how to use it quickly

Learning to use iMovie

I have to learn it quickly so that I can finish some entries that I have already written up. All they (blog entries) need is movies that would make the entries more attractive (to whom? I know that nobody is expecting me to upload movies or update my blog entries anyway).

I have been using a so-called dash cam for a while and I have some interesting clips that I want to share with the readers (who? anybody out there?).

As a starter, I will just cut out the unnecessary part and give minimum subtitle to them.

It won't be too difficult to do it. Apple's iMovie will be a nice tool for me. I will eventually add sounds, music or other effect and start uploading some clips to my YouTube account or here.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [iMovie: I need to learn how to use it quickly]の続きを読む

テーマ:Mac - ジャンル:コンピュータ

  1. 2018/03/06(火) 16:42:12|
  2. MacBooks and Macs
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