Biking in the cold

So it’s possible to ride in the winter too. I rode 100+ km yesterday – the year’s first longer ride – in temperatures between -2 and 0. The day before I had shopped a softshell jacket, which is amazingly warm – I even had to take off my middle layer 20 km into the ride because I was too warm. I also bought a balaklava to protect my face from the cold wind. So now I look like this when I ride:

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Brandenburger Tor in the background – it still feels historical to casually pass through it!

I went to Potsdam on the west side of Havel, and then back over Wannsee, Zehlendorf, Lankwitz. I wanted to try out new roads, but most of those on the way back were quite bad. So it was nice to end up at Tempelhof where I changed from podcasts to music and rode five faster rounds until it got dark.

And here is the ride, as plotted on an Open Street Map. It wasn’t that easy to get it to work, and I might not be able to do it from my phone; basically you download the ride as a GPX file from Strava, upload it to your own Uploads folder, and then the OSM plugin can use it through a short code. Avoiding Google is a fun challenge!


I also experimented with geo-tagged photos. The three points on the map represent exactly where the three photos below were taken. In fact, I took them partly to be able to see afterwards exactly where I was at a certain point. The bakery for example; when you ride an expensive bike without a lock, and you’re alone, you’re on a constant lookout for places where you can buy a coffee and an apfeltasche (or water for that matter) without leaving your bike out of sight. I found the perfect such bakery, so taking a photo right there makes it easy to get the exact coordinates afterwards.

Here starts a wonderfully empty yet paved road that took me along the Havel through the little village Sacrow and back to the busy B2. I was afraid it would turn into cobblestones all of a sudden, but it never did. Will ride here again!

Here starts a wonderfully empty yet paved road that took me along the Havel through the little village Sacrow and back to the busy B2. I was afraid it would turn into cobblestones all of a sudden, but it never did. Will ride here again!

The bakery, see how perfectly situated it is: I could place my bike just outside the big window, step inside through the door (duh) and watch my bike constantly while drinking my coffee and eating the apfeltasche.

The bakery, see how perfectly situated it is: I could place my bike just outside the big window, step inside through the door (duh) and watch my bike constantly while drinking my coffee and eating the apfeltasche.

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Tempelhof by night. Or well, at 17.16. Still the gates had been closed when I left some 15 minutes later, so I had to use the oneway turnstile, which is big enough to fit my bike.

Why does Eurosport Player suck so much?

Last summer I tried Eurosport Player. I paid 5 or 6 euros for a month, but the service was so bad that I quit my subscription after that. Just a short summary of the little things that annoyed me:

  1. Eurosport only let me use their player on one (1) computer. I have two computers on my desk. I work from my laptop and use the old Imac with its big screen for entertainment. But sometimes I prefer to watch videos on the laptop, for example if I’m going to bed. So I use two computers. Which is hardly unusual nowadays. But this was not allowed. And I’m supposed to pay for this?
  2. Since it’s technically possible, and since I’m paying, it would have been great if Eurosport let me choose which geographical version of their broadcasts I preferred to watch. But they didn’t. Instead I used a VPN to get Roberto Vacchi’s Swedish commentary.
  3. Player was full of bugs and annoying bad energy, such as the volume always starting at the *middle* of the level bar (why!), and that level bar sometimes freezing on screen even when you move away the cursor.
  4. Microsoft Silverlight.
  5. Can’t watch it on my Wii U or PS3, see above. This is true for Adobe Flash too, but SVT Play’s HTML5 video works beautifully on my Wii U, so it’s not impossible.

And those were just my minor complaints! My main complaint was that the video quality sucked like I’ve never ever experienced before in the area of professional networks’ paid services.

It always started ok if I watched the video in the small window in the browser:

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When I chose full screen, it also started in ok quality for the first seconds:

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But then it quickly switched to this quality:

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And from there it just got worse. Now you would say it’s a bandwidth problem. But it worked in the small window; it’s the same amount of data that is transferred, just scaled to full screen! And look how beautifully the ZDF videos play:

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Not to mention SVT Play:

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Meanwhile, this is what I enjoyed on Eurosport Player:

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This is at 17,4 km. Or 11,8. Or something like that.

This is at 17,4 km. Or 11,8. Or something like that.

Sort of reminding of this painting by Monet:

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Look at this beautiful scenery!

Look at this beautiful scenery!

Only 800 meters to finish. This is getting exciting!

Only 800 meters to finish. This is getting exciting! (Note the frozen volume level bar down right.)

So exciting!

So exciting!

OMG I can't watch!

OMG I can’t watch!

Seriously: I CAN'T WATCH!

Seriously: I CAN’T WATCH!

This was Giro d’Italia. As for Tour de France, I watched it on Eurosport on my regular TV with DVB-T in 576 pixels interlaced. Meaning a real resolution of 288 vertical pixels. So it’s very good news that the Tour this year will come back to ARD (the public service broadcaster in Germany), which I can watch in “HD” (720p).

Note: All screenshots in this post were saved in their original size as jpegs with quality 60.

Sunny but cold

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I was planning to join my friends to the “bürgertag” at the old Stasi headquarters in Lichtenberg, but somehow ended up at Tempelhof instead!

Wonderful sunny weather but quite cold, around 3 degrees. And it’s going to get colder from now. My gloves weren’t warm enough. Otherwise perfectly dressed.

Note: This is the second test post from my phone. It’s written from the admin interface in the web browser. I think I prefer it to the app.

BBC: “Why hasn’t Europe banned caricatures of prophets?”

On the very same day as the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo, BBC published an article titled “Why hasn’t Europe banned caricatures of prophets?”. It begins like this:

Europe’s satire magazines are famous around the world. But some are shocking, featuring prophets in sexually explicit scenarios. Why has Europe decided against banning this material?

Shocking, eh? BBC suggesting, in the form of an upset question, that Europe restrict its freedom of expression. Read the whole piece here! And you’ll get my point.

Bike ride to Zehlendorf

It’s wonderful to be able to bike again! Today I could use more power than on the season premiere, and so got more exhausted. I’m really not fit, but it feels good to have started doing something about it. In general, you’re not able to get that exhausted when biking in traffic, because you have to stop at red lights all the time. Which suited me today.

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This post is a test, because I’m uploading it from my phone without letting either the gps data or the images pass the computer. It’s a preparation for future rides. And it takes ages to write on this thing!

Here are the data:

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I got 4th place on one segment:

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Very high heart rate compared to when I’m fit:

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18 minutes in the anaerobic area. I usually hit it only for a minute or so.

And here are the photos:

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Turning left into Wilmersdorf from Kudamm.

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I remember this building from when I was 14 and went to the youth disco Pop-inn nearby!

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Refilled my single bottle at an imbiss just before I reached Tempelhof.

Strava (actually tried their SHARE function!): http://app.strava.com/activities/241728064

Note: This was posted from the WordPress app. Next time I’ll try to post from the regular web admin interface but still on my phone. I think I’ll like that more.

Saisonstart!

We’ve had around 10 straight days with storm, rain and even thunder in Berlin. I’ve hardly left my apartment. But today it was sunny and 13 degrees. So I got out on my bike for the first time since the beginning of November.

I was almost too warm under my new long-sleeved pullover, but since I took it very, very easy, not wanting to shock my body or cause injury, it was a good winter setup, along with full gloves and a thin cap under the helmet.

I went to Havelchaussee, where I used to bike a lot before because it’s beautiful, a bit hilly, and relatively car-free. Topped at 48,8 km/h in the biggest downslope and was overtaken by two cars right then – despite the speed limit is 30, so I guess they probably drove fast enough to lose their licenses without thinking twice about it.

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I’ve bought a little smartphone for a number of reasons, so here are some photos that I took with it:

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When I came home and uploaded to Strava, I saw that Simon too had started the season today. Not very surprising, since it’s hard to keep a cyclist inside on a day like this!

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Panache

It’s ironic that Vincenzo Nibali, the rider credited with bringing panache back to the Tour de France in 2014, is managed by a specialist in faking it. That’s because Alexandre Vinokourov, the Sicilian’s team boss, as a rider specialised in ‘faux’ panache – that’s the kind you buy from an Italian doctor.

– Jeremy Whittle in the essay “In search of panache”, published in The Cycling Anthology, volume five (2014)

Dackelschneider

Dackel (m) = dachshund.

Was ist denn ein Dackelschneider? Leo hat das Wort nicht. Aber Wikipedia aufklärt:

Als Dackelschneider werden unter Rennradfahrern scherzhaft besonders schmale Reifen bezeichnet. Der Begriff geht möglicherweise auf eine Glosse von Jörg Spaniol in der Radzeitschrift Tour zurück, in der er berichtet, er habe einen übergewichtigen Dackel mit solchen Reifen angefahren und ihn dabei schwer verletzt.

Beispiel von Radreise-wiki, wo ich über das Wort gestolpert bin:

Radweit bietet da zwei Alternativen an, und da ich mit den Dackelschneidern unterwegs war, bin ich diejenige gefahren, die gepflasterte Straßen vermeidet.

De har sin gräns, vi har vår

Satiren är det som utmanar och testar yttrandefriheten och självcensuren hos oss alla. Satir kan vara grov, vriden, elak, oförskämd, vulgär, kränkande. Men den är lackmustestet för yttrandefriheten.

– Annika Borg i Tankar för dagen 8 januari 2015

Så sant. Det glädjer mig att så många röster nu försvarar yttrandefriheten. Nu kanske vi äntligen kan få ett brett stöd för att avkriminalisera spridande av barnporr.

Apropå yttrandefrihet dårå.

Och låt oss hålla oss till tecknad barnporr för att undvika diskussioner som inte har med yttrandefriheten att göra.

Eller är det i själva verket så att vi benhårt hävdar rätten att få publicera karikatyrteckningar, samtidigt som vi har vår egen heliga gräns för vilka slags teckningar vi tillåts publicera?

Apropå lackmustest dårå.