27 March 2008


It took some time, but finally I could coordinate a good design with F2P in Singapore for the Positivo Espresso team jersey. As (almost) all members had confirmed their required sizes, I finally informed F2P today that they can start the manufacturing. If everything goes to plan, we should have the jerseys available by mid May, just in time for the Itoigawa fast run event.

I really hope that everybody is satisfied with the final design; some modifications became necessary to adopt to the production process. If there is really something important you would like to change, please let me know ASAP, so that I can get in contact with F2P. But it should be really important - as this might endanger our mid May deadline.

25 March 2008

Build your own Carbon C-Thru Road Frame

The structure of the frame is completely made from solid carbon fiber rods, except for titanium rear dropouts and 7075 aluminum alloy inserts for the BB and the headset cups. During construction, all the beams were bonded together in the frame jig, with systematic and precise control of the position and alignment in the structure and the overall geometry of the frame. Once all carbon beams were bonded together with special epoxy resin, each joint was lashed with carbon fibers to ensure their strength. This was almost surgical work, really requiring a lot of patience. The critical parts of this frame were the connections of the "main tubes", mainly head tube and BB area. Then, each joint was softly sanded to have a smooth shape. On the frame, there are more than 300 joints, this painstaking work took about 300 hours.


Thirteen and a Gold Medal

At 5ft 2in and 7st 7lb, 13 year old Tom Daley was a diminutive stick of dynamite among much older and bigger rivals. On average nine years younger, seven inches shorter and 40lb lighter than the other 11 finalists in the ten-metre platform final, Daley outperformed the world champion and the World Cup winner to claim an historic victory four months before he heads to Beijing as the youngest member of the Britain Olympic team and now the youngest European diving champion on record. “It's amazing to be European champion ahead of that kind of field,” Daley said. “It's totally unexpected. It's thrilling, like being on a theme-park ride.” As hysteria built around him in the pool last night, Daley remained calm, just as he had in the competition. In contrast to his unsettled opponents, he looked unruffled throughout his six dives. How? “There's a lot of work gone into it back home,” he said. “That gives you confidence. Daley will return to school at Eggbuckland Community College, Plymouth, tomorrow. “Thomas learnt a reverse 3 only a month ago. That's incredible for a 13-year-old. He got scores of ten for it at the World Cup last month. He's amazing.”


24 March 2008

Someone sitting on someone elses bike

There is a famous man in Tokyo who owns a bike.

Lately, a not-so-famous guy in the same town had the chance to ride on his bike.
Here is the result.[provided courtesy of Juliane].

23 March 2008

Cervelo Inaugural Ride

Yesterday night I went to Nagai-San to collect my new Cervelo bike. The bike looked just great and Nagai-San really did an awesome job. I was close to tears.I went there with my both kids to show them what really matters in life.

Just like you do not introduce your new girlfriend to your family on the first date, I decided to go solo with my new bike today on Sunday. After all, her name is "Soloist". I also wanted to do some quite of special ride, so I was pondering whether to go over Yabitsu, Tomin no Mori, Matsuhime or some other place. In the end I decided on Tomin no Mori which used to be a ride I did maybe two times during one season, this year I have been up there already three times, today included. I was also in need of some elevation as I am going to start in Shunzenji next week, D-class = 3 laps, never ever I attempted to do three laps in a row in Shuzenji.

The weather was good and the bike felt just great. I do not want to become this a bike to look at, or to treat it special. This is my new bike and I will ride it just as I rode my Cannondale, it is not an addition, it is the long awaited replacement.

Nagai-San adjusted the bike so that the position is more or less exactly as my Cannondale was, so I felt immediately good on the bike. However the clamp which keeps the saddle post in place does not. So while I was riding I constantly lost height. I put really some torque on the clamp to fix the position of the saddle post and it worked out - then the upper fixation started to get loosen and the saddle started rotating. Small things, Nagai-san will sort them out for me.

If anything, the bike feels very precise. I realize now that it was a mistake to use my Ultegra shifters for seven years and more - the new shifters shift effortless and precise. The frame feels not very much different compared to the Cannondale.

I rode a slow pace to the 7-eleven at Itsukaichi, had a break (lots of riders there) and then continued to Honjuku. I was eager to go up fast, but on the other hand I also wanted to try to stay at a high cadence and keep my heartbeat under control. That went very well. Just after Honjuku there eas the first speed trap by the police - no problem for me as I was going up. I continued to climb steady and with not so much effort until elevation 700 or so. One rider passed me (one of the riders I saw at the 7-eleven), but he wasn't that much faster than I was and the more we climbed the slower he got. I was able to stay on his wheel.

Together we passed another guy who was only a little bit slower than we were. But this guy was not on a bike - this guy was running up the road towards Tomin no Mori. Very impressive, I guess he was running around 10 km/hr.

Basically I felt ok and much better than two week before. I continued without a break and made it up to Tomin no Mori. At the deserted gatehouse at elv. 800 m my companion made a break and I continued to climb in a little bit less than 1:12 hours. I guess I wasn't riding that much faster than last week, but I managed to go up without breaks.

I had some family obligations, so I started the descent early and rode home in one long stretch from Tomin no Mori. It took me close to four hours to go up and a little bit less than three hours to return to base.

A nice spring day in love.

Hey, who would say here "Hana yori dango" ?

22 March 2008

Tour de Kyushu [Day 6] : Mount Aso - Beppu [Tour completed]

This ride was actually quite enjoyable. After I made enough failed attempts to find short cuts, I decided not to test my luck again and took the main road from Aso to Beppu (Road 11). The traffic wasnt too bad after all. This length of this stage was 95 km and it included three proper climbs. The first one was less than 10 km away from the start, the second one 30 km. The second climb was the more enjoyable one, with me getting a reward when I reached the summit : a beautiful, indescribable view onto Aso and its surrounding valley(s).

About 40 km outside of Beppu I crossed paths with another (touring) cyclist. Since i was descending fast I only noticed at the last second that it was a foreigner like me. The last climb of the day was just after I passed through Yufuin town. The rest was a nice 15 km descend into Beppu town. There, I did not waste any time and got on with sightseeing. I did the famous "Jigoku" Tour, visiting the famous Onsen / Spa's. namely Onnishibouzo (to see: mud bubbles), Umi-Jigoku (pond of hot, blue water), Yama-Jigoku (steaming mountain), Shiraike (pond of hot, white water) and Chinoike Jigoku (pond of hot, red water).

After checking into my hostel (Khao San Beppu), I took of to find some dinner, after which I had a bath in the well known (if not best known) Onsen in Beppu : Takegawara Onsen.

This is the official end of my "Tour de Kyushu" as I wont be riding / cycling any more around here. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain and i will take the opportunity to  hop on the train to relocate to another city I yet have not been : Hiroshima.

Including the rides within the cities I visited I cycled just over 500 km in 5 days [on the bicycle].

Tour de Kyushu [Day 5] : Kumamoto - Mount Aso

my legs were very tired and the wind just as strong as yesterday. i rode the entire 70 km against the wind, which drained every little bit of energy out of my body. i wanted to take a short cut up mount aso, which turned out to be a big mistake as the road that i wanted to take did not exist any longer causing me to ride an additional 15 km (half ot it uphill).

Eventually i found the road taking me up Mount Aso. However the headwind during my climb was so strong, that i had wanted to give up on several occasions. This climb had been the toughest physical challenge so far for me. And the mountain didnt seem to have a summit. I kept climbing and climbing. Finally, I arrived at the top to be told to go back down. the statement: its too dangerous up here, the wind is too strong! i had no choice but to leave.

After I checked into the Youth Hostel in Aso, I got back on my bike to witness the fire festival at the Aso shrine. It started off with taiko drummers, the continued with people swinging burning straw coils around. Anybody was allowed to participate with the occasional coil flying into the masses. I am glad i was able to see it.

21 March 2008

Tour de Kyushu [Day 4] : Nagasaki - Kumamoto

The rain finally had stopped and was replaced by strong winds ... which overshadowed an otherwise very nice ride ! after i gave my farewell to the owners of the hostel (Akari International Hostel in Nagasaki), whom i had known from my early days in Tokyo, I was headed towards Unzen. The road I took led along the coastline, the course being an constant up- and downhill. I was very surprised when I bumped into another cyclist on my way. We stayed together from then on, him making adjustments to his orginal plans to go the same course as me. I had decided to take a side road up to Unzen mountain, which he declared to be a very tough climb. Nevertheless, I didnt mind and we both enjoyed each other company, which we both got to appreciate when we had to climb for 8 km straight up.

After we arrived at the top of the mountain I was pretty exhausted, but not exhausted enough to explore Unzen. But all I saw was steam from the boiling sulfuric water, that seemed to be everywhere. It stank, but one can get used to it. Afterwards, we parted way, him returning to Nagasaki, while i continued on to Shimabara. There I visited the castle, and then got on the ferry to Kumamoto, where I arrived at around 5pm. I just had enough time to get a good view at the castle and to explore the central part (Shimotori).

Tomorrow I will go to Aso-san, another active volcano about 40 km away from Kumamoto.

18 March 2008

Tour de Kyushu [Day 2] : Fukuoka - Nagasaki

my second day was one way ... up ! climbing , climbing and more climbing ! what would be a dream for any hobby cyclist was a pain for me ... a) i am not in shape and b) i was carrying additional weight was made a huge difference ! i chose to go avoid the main roads which meant i had to take huge diversions - which turned out to be a good idea as the road i was going on were totally deserted ... a dream for any cyclist. fukuoka was a pain to get out ... but the further i got away to better it was getting ... i did roughly 20 km of pure climbing before I got to Takeo Onsen ... i took my lunch break here [about 1,5 hours later than anticipated] ... the sign there read 79 km left to nagasaki, while my clock read 2pm, which meant i had to hurry up in order to make it.

i was doing well going along the main road floating with the traffic until i made a decision to turn left after i passed Ureshino Onsen, to take a much quiter road through the mountains to get away from the traffic [along road 6] ... this turned out to be another "crazy" climb which didnt seem to end [it stretched for 10 km ] .. however there was literally no traffic and the landscape looked amazing .. finally i got to the top and i found out why there had been no traffic .. the road was all closed and i was mad (!!!) as it would mean i had to go back .. in my desperation i skipped the road barrier and tried to get past the road construction work which was all about building a connecting bridge ... it looked completed but wasnt ... however the was an old road bypassing it (lucky me) .. i got back on my bike to head down to Oomura, when it started to rain ... damn ! it was only another 30 km to Nagasaki and enough time left to reach it before sunset ... however the rain was too strong and i was soaked in no time, which caused me to head for the next train station.. my tachometer read 141km when i finally got off. tomorrow will be a day without cycling as its supposed to rain all day .. i will use the time to do sightseeing in Nagasaki.

Tour de Kyushu [ Day 1] : Hataka - Fukuoka - Dazaifu

My flight was gonna leave at 6.25 am - so  i thought i give it enough time at leave my house 5 am .. i calculated 30 minutes for my ride to Haneda Airport, which would just be straight down Kampachi dori. It turned out to be much longer than i thought (of course !!!) ^ my speedometer showing 17 km when the terminal came into sight - but then i had like 30 minutes left (enough ?) .. with 1,5 km left to go the unexpected happened ... a puncture ... i had no words left - i just had to laugh ;) ... there were 15 minutes left when i turned up at the check in counter - i knew it was too late - but i had to try ;) the clerk then asked me if it was OK if i took the next plane instead ... as if she was apologizing for this inconvenience ... an hour later i sat on the plane headed for fukuoka.

after reassembling my bike i took off to do as much sightseeing as possible starting with the Hataka - side before continuing on to the
Fukuoka - side. Within the next 4 hours i had seen most of the sights, so i decided to head down to Dazaifu - an traditional town about 15 km south. I had no real clue how to get there until i finally found a map in one of them convenience stores, which seemed to be everywhere. The traffic was heavy and the temperatures pretty high (for a march afternoon), which caused my head to ache. Anyways, I finally made it to this pretty little town, which seemed to accommodate more sights than the Hataka and Fukuoka together.

When I got off the bike my computer read 75 km - not bad considering that i pretty much stayed in the same city (area). Tomorrow, I am planning to go to Nagasaki, which will be pure cycling, with only 2 planned sightseeing stops - in Takeo and Arita. Lets see how far I get.



16 March 2008

JRCRC / Tour de Japan Kawagoe Race

... to cut a long story short: 30st out of 38 in D class. But hey, this was a very fast race with lap times of slightly more than 2 minutes for 1.5 km = 45 km/hr average. The course was flat, only 2 sharp corners. I could stay with the headgroup for the first three out of 10 laps, after that I fell back into the next group of five. Still felt a lack of endurance power. Interesting sprint at the finish in the group with then six riders, managed to start the sprint almost timely and ended in third place.

My kids did better: Henri finished 15th in the older age group of the primary school kids. Karen made an unofficial 13th place in the Milky Race.

But the effort for this race is rather small: One hour drive, one hour training before the race, 30 minutes racing time and then one hour back.

A complete shock although was the choice of this year's race entertainment by Nikkan Sports. One Manzai group - almost not funny and then a modern female Enka duo : The stripped nothingness. Hey Nikkan Sports, bring our P-cup idol Fuko back!

14 March 2008


I guess that most of our hardcore members have kids who are already too old or none, but nevertheless, with the addition of the Cervelo to my bike line-up I am going to sell my MTB and slipstream. If you know somebody who is interested, please give him my contact details.

This weekend's ride - Sunday morning?

Tom ... are you around? interested in a "recovery" ride on Sunday, after your usual 200km plus Saturday ride?
Michael ... is off in Kawagoe racing.
Jerome ... where are you?
Marek ... would you be interested in stretching your legs on Sunday morning, or are you off to Kyushu?
David J. ... blog access blocked by major bank's firewall software -- good risk management since you would not want to take your eyes off the trading screen in times like this!
James Knott (a/k/a jimmy from shinagawa) ... thanks for your many contributions to the blog. Are you riding these days, interested in heading out on Sunday? I think we passed you headed the other direction last month on the Tamagawa bike path -- a blinding flash of light.

13 March 2008

12 March 2008

Kurt Stoepel

One more interesting article from the Spiegel about Kurl Stoepel [in German], the first German ever to win a stage at the Tour de France in 1932. Could be a David Marx look-a-like.

Bonanza Nostalgia

A very interesting article about Bonanza (Stingray?) bicycles of the seventies from Spiegel. Unfortunately in German.

11 March 2008

Where was my bike made?

Or, who actually made my bike? Click here

10 March 2008

Marek's "Tour de Kyushu" (17th March - End of March)

This will be the first time for me doing a bicycle tour thats lasts longer than 2 days, which will pose new challenge and create new experience. I have always been wanting to do it - even on a bigger scale - but have never pursuited it properly - but now the time has come to do it - on a smaller scale.

My "Tour de Kyushu" will start of in Fukuoka on 17th March. From there I will head down to Nagasaki, from where i will continue on to Kumamoto. After visiting the famous Mount Aso, I will cycle down to Oita and Beppu, where I will hopefully be healthy enough to enjoy one of the famous natural onsen. All depending on how things go I might head back up to Fukuaoka, or go to Kita-Kyushu from where I could take a train back to Tokyo.

Below is a map of the intended route :

View Larger Map

My means of transportation : my Felt F70

Please come and visit my travel blog for updates on my journey.

07 March 2008

Tomin-no-mori TT on Sunday?

Hoping Mob's suitcase was found, all the Shimano parts got recovered and Nagai-san can finish the assembling job in time, how about doing a short TT of Tomin-no-mori this Sunday? I'll be trying to break my previous record and finish in less than 1 hour.