Moving… on on hold & about also… but moving

19. April 2009

Well, after no improvements on my career path or any other sort, I am at least going to move into my own 4 walls – a luxury I haven’t had for the last 10 years. Thus, my present room is over crowded with boxes of things I haven’t seen for ages and which are going to fill my new home, sweet home.

Moving on will have to wait for a while but at least it’s only put on hold! And about… well, that too…


items… new ones…

25. July 2008

as working life sucks at the moment (tendency to be so at the fading end)… other sides have to brighten up – and what makes any gear freak more happy than looking at new shiny gear?! Getting new shiny gear – exactly!

The first item that popped up on the list was mentioned earlier but will be the last one arriving – a new waterproof jacket. It’s funny, what would be perfectly suitable as alpine summer jacket is so completely not the thing one wants to wear during Scottish summers… After long discussions deep into the nights I came to the conclusion that as much I would love a Rab Latok (not Alpine!), the time when this jacket would actually be affordable without taking ransom would not come soon… The need however is there.

So I went onto another excessive search and came across a super special offer of a Marmot Exum – and without any longer discussion I am now waiting in awe for this item to arrive. The defence for this buy:

  • can deal with Scottish weather (rain, snow, hail, wind, storm, or all at the same time)
  • supposingly even very robust
  • very light despite all the above – 400g
  • pockets reachable when in harness or with backpack – I have no clue, why there are still jackets on the market for this area, which have the pockets on the hips. These developing guys seem not to wear any backpacks or harness… oh, they should be glued in by storm & hail, with gloves on and then try and reach these pockets…
  • and if I finally manage to get out again climbing (I am still beginner… and haven’t been practising for some time… hmpf) I can fit my helmet underneath
  • well, and yes, for this price I would never get such or any similar jacket… so….

So, I am finally sorted for that.

The next two items arrived this morning.

  1. The Tardis Bike bag, which needs still testing but looked pretty sturdy in terms of material. The two side pockets for the wheels have extra padding on the outside, which seemed to be good idea. There is only one extra pocket in there for pedals et al. Thought, there would be more but that’s fine with me – will use little bags for other stuff. Not sure yet, if I will manage to squeeze my trailer in there as well. Need to check that. But overall, just by looking at it, it looked like the item that is doing what it is promising on the can.
  2. Ticket to the Moon hammock – and already tested! After getting cabin fever in my room and escaping permanently into internet land, I had to come up with a solution. And somehow it bit me two nights ago that I had seen this hammock at some point, which is lightweight, easy to transport and reasonably robust. So, had a look, and thought, I try that. 500g, with attachment ropes, made out of parachute fabric, it arrived this morning (+ a bag of skittles… I like Backpackinglight – they know how to make friends :o)) – And after a very frustrating morning, I simply escaped on my bike to the next park with trees and tested the item. First I was very suspicious. The fabric is very thin and has a bit the appearance of silk… Now, who would throw themselves on a silk like fabric, not expecting to hear a loud nasty sound and find themselves quicker on the ground than expected? So, I carefully tested it – fine, then I sat properly down – still no nasty “ratsh”… lie in it – perfect… so, spend the afternoon slightly swinging side to side under a green roof and got my work done.

The next item is supposed to arrive tomorrow or on Saturday – a new bicycle saddle. Mine came with the bike, is for guys and is painful, if more than two hours are spent on it. And the idea of cycling through Denmark, even if flat – was a thought I did not want to ponder on any longer… so, again, after doing some research and asking a few people – the decision was made. Funnily enough – I guess, this might be one of those decisions, where a number of people might either scratch their head or strongly disagree with.

I ordered a Brooks B17 standard saddle (femaly version). And somehow I am looking forward to this little piece of equipment as little kids look excited forward to their first bicycle for Christmas… The company, I ordered it from run out of them and had to reorder them… I actually called them up to find out… when Christmas will be… no, but when I might get it… Vegetarians might shoot me now, as the good piece is made of leather. However, organically thinking – it keeps longer, if well cared for – it is better for nature, when falling apart and I need no gel cushiony things that might burst. So, overall, it might actually be better (just not for that individual cow, I am afraid). So, the first trip I will make with the new saddle is to cycle for 2 1/2h to a shop to get leather caring products to make it water proof and break it in. And then cycle all the way back again, rubbing the stuff in … It’s my main project for the weekend :o). May it not rain until that piece has been treated properly!

So, after this rather excessive shopping spree, I guess there will be a long, very long break… On the other hand, I have been checking prices in other countries to find out, if it might be better to wait until I am in one of the other surrounding nations to get any of these items cheaper there… But no! Despite the bad price reputation, I had to find out that if I don’t buy the stuff here and now, I will pay far more, after leaving this country – Ouch!

So – time will tell, how silly I have been…


and now?

19. July 2008

In the meantime I have finally come up with a plan, what the new moving route might be:
taking the train to the German/Danish border – get on the bike & cycle all the way till Frederikshavn (as they closed down the ferry between Hirthals & Oslo, as well – seems to be really a crap year for ferries), hop onto the Stena line ferry and move to Norway :o).

This and the moving first by car brought up a clear problem – what to do with the bicycle – how to transport it? As many trains suffer “bike-allergy” and people working at check-ins in airports distrust their customers as basic instinct – I need some camouflage – pretending, my bike is not a bike… just luggage.
Hence, as a partial Doctor Who fan (full ones can actually recite Doctor Who, I can’t), I ordered the Tardis today! Yes, Tardis :o). This fantastic piece of bike bag equipment should arrive in a week or so from New Zealand. Very excited because I might even be able to place the trailer in there, which not only would provide some extra stability but also “disguises” it as “luggage”. More about this when it has arrived and I have tested it. It’s first function will be keeping the bike out of trouble when moving by car & ferry to the continent … (Still wearing a big grin on my face due to excitement – travelling!!! soon!!!)

Tried today my luck on ebay but yeap, being logged in might help, when bidding on an item… so, I missed the big peep. Maybe better luck next time…

feels a bit like:

Funny Pictures
more cat pictures


And now?

11. July 2008

So, the moving by bicycle has been postponed and will have a highly modified route. End point so far is still Norway – only the starting point will be the European continent – after Superfast has decided to close their route to the continent as well and I therefore hop on one of the last available ferries to make my life easier.

But besides trying to finish here off, handing in, moving place, and trying to find a job – I came across some new things, I thought might be worth looking into.

In terms of tours:

  • Tatra: the natural border between Slovakia and Poland and the highest mountain range of the
  • Carpathians: a crescent going across five countries
  • Rumanian mountains

and the great thing is – it could be done in combination with cycling, depending on the season.

The pictures are amazing – the landscape and villages.

In terms of equipment – did I mention I love my Ortlieb panniers – have been using them consistently and enjoy every minute – particularly the wet ones. Also, I need to gear up for myself – just getting too wet ;o).

And I need a new jacket – my old Berghaus is starting to wear off. Thus, I have started to have a look into what would be a good idea but help… that’s going to be costly, if I get what I want… better wait with this:

  • Mountain Equipment Kongur Jacket
  • Rab Latok Alpine Jacket
  • Rab Latok Jacket (being my favourite)

Well, let’s see and wait – maybe there is a special offer coming up.


They close the ferry line(s)

4. June 2008

ahhh… people – use ferries!!! at least 2 ferry lines are closing down this September – one being the Rosyth-Zeebrugge one with Superfast and the other one is the Newcastle-Norway route with DFDS:


And they close it down with the 31st August – i.e. I cannot go by ferry from the UK to Norway – need to change my plans… Not funny!!!


TV transport

15. May 2008

Finally got rid of my TV by transporting it with the trailer to a friend. Another good excuse for testing the trailer for its workings. And also, what it is like to cycle down a road with something in the back you really don’t want to break, fall off, or crack by hitting the next hole in the street.
Result: If you want to have attention being drawn to you – that’s the way forward. I live in a town where you can walk around in the oddest clothes ever, carry a huge teddy bear under your arm and nobody will bother looking at you – get a trailer with a TV on it and the heads start turning…
Ok – but that wasn’t the reason for me doing that, only an odd side effect…
The TV worked on arrival – so, no damage taken by getting there. I had to fix it with my climbing rope because the ribbons that come with it don’t do the trick at all.
What I wasn’t to happy about during the transport was the jumpiness of the trailer and the rattling noises. Might have something to do with the trailer being not completely balanced. TV was further to the back – should maybe have been more to the front. Did not have that when having my flatmates on there or on the way back, thus empty.
The other thing is the surface of the trailer is really rough – similar to one of these errr… callus files – it really takes off the surfaces. Got the cable stuck underneath the TV – just pulling it out would not have been a good idea – would have taken off all the plastic coating…


We did it!

13. May 2008

Experiment 1

attach the trailer to the bicycle and have a test round on your own… checking if you lose the back wheel

Experiment 2

put a cushion on the trailer platform, put one of your flatmates on it & cycle another one, two, three rounds – if possible at higher speed and smaller radius around other people’s cars and past the curb.

Experiment 3

choose the other flatmate for the same experiment above and check for screaming noises

Experiment 4

put one flatmate on the trailer platform and the other one on the rack and repeat experiment 2 & 3 in one go

Avoid any uneven ground or random youngsters, who try to crash into you purposely (yes! wrong neighbourhood)

If all of the above worked out fine & your flatmates still talk to you – call it a success!
And I do :o)! Particularly as I was able to move them around and I know, I will carry less luggage with me on tour. The trailer responds really well. I just have to remember when going around the corner that I have an attachment behind me that is a bit bulkier – just give it a few more centimetres but I am more than happy with my test results. Would not have thought it would be that good. Just need to practise now & also take better care of my bike… spotted rust…


The trailer has arrived!

13. May 2008

Yeap! My little CarryFreedom Large Y-Frame got here yesterday – set it up last night. Still need to fix the bicycle setting.

Will be tested tonight with my flatmates as luggage ;o). Also, had already a dry test, what type of luggage I could put on. Again, excited! It’s clearly not the type of trailer, I wanted to use for the backs of Nordmarka… wouldn’t get very far. But for transporting stuff around town or even longer distances – just by the plain look of it – any time.

I also found out that Google Maps have an new feature! Called Terrain:

View Map

Shows even contour lines when moving in close! Brilliant new feature!

And now an update on the typical life of a PhD student… or I guess, any student…

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11. May 2008

Today was the second day of testing my Ortlieb bags for carrying weight. And they were great! I know, not really a particularly good but subjective description. But the fact that suddenly the weather decided to get rid of some water by opening the gates for rain left me “cold” despite the fact that I was transporting my computer et al. Got fed up sitting in my room – hence went for my typical ride to change the scenery and get also some fresh air. Will do that again. The luggage had a weight of roughly 13kg and I was amazed by the ease to transport it. At times it felt even easier to cycle with this weight in the back than what it is like without it.

The trailer is ordered as well. Should arrive during the next week. I have decided on a CarryFreedom large Y-Frame. More to that once it has arrived.

Otherwise, I have to practise cycling now with luggage… also up & down hills, what I have been avoiding so far. Less because of the hills but more because of the concept of British car drivers that only a hit & dead cyclist is a good cyclist…


the first few days with my Ortlieb bags

28. April 2008

or… How could I have ever lived without any??? I am still puzzled that we never had any, not even when I grew up. This is one of the best things ever. But then – I have come across the little dilemma with me & bags, when my flatmate passed me, swinging her Prada et al. imitation.  You just cannot get me excited about a Gucci bag – what shall I do with it? Not only look they horrendously annoying with all this stuff dangling down from them, they are highly impractical, too. Latest, by the next rain shower, the leather or imitation of such goes down the drain. When you cycle, you can neither put it on your back nor on the side. Who would squash a “Channel” bag under the bungee straps on the back rack???

Yes, my mother has a slight fearful look in her eyes, when something comes up, where one is supposed to look not just fallen out of the forest or off the mountain (or as in my present moment appeared out of the hiding of a computer dominated cave, feed on popcorn, tea & coffee). I am working on it… But these two Ortlieb bags are just anything I always wanted for my little bike. I have been using them to transport material from the office home, been to the big supermarket at the other end of town, bring things to Oxfam, and in a few cases I was suddenly confronted by rain (as it so happens). And every time, it didn’t matter because my things would stay dry!

Once set up properly – they are easy to attach and to remove. The logic and simplicity behind those bags strucks me as genial! It should become more fashionable to walk around with Ortlieb bags (in between cycling obviously!) The taking off is the other thing besides being water proof – I sometimes pity a bit the other cyclists, whose panniers are kind of permanently attached (keeping the rain also in mind) – I on the other hand – take my bags off, go into the supermarket – fill them – and attach them again (and roll them down & close them, before going out again…)

I had a few concerns because of the Tubus Cargo back rack. The lower clip of the bags didn’t seem to fit and hence stretch the clip over the normal extend. To put this into different words – the middle carrier of the rack, that comes up from the wheel, tilts towards the wheel and thus does not provide the same 90° angle as the other two carriers. Due to this tilt, the clip of the pannier is pressed away from the bag and does not keep its own 90° position in relation to its own fixing. (god – if anybody understands what I am talking about, respect!). I choose now the most bottom part of the last carrier by turning the clip downwards into a 6 o’clock position. I rather would have it pointing in opposite to the direction of travelling but that was not possible (I am going to have another look at that – as this affects also the loading possibilities with and without cycling (& speed, & ground, & etc).

Ok… I seriously need to get some work done … besides watching the opening gala of the new Oslo Opera house… can’t wait to go there – I miss opera – it’s ages that I have been.