The world keeps turning, seasons are changing but everything has stopped. I consider myself fortunate, as here in Amsterdam we did not have a strict lockdown, and I had plenty to do throughout the slowest time when businesses were shut. Having said that, all plans regarding riding were swept off the board, and preparing for the future is currently guesswork at best. Still, life goes on and shadows pass eventually.
This post was long overdue, sorry for the silence.
Turbulence and immobility
The beginning of the year started brightly, and there was a lot of riding in the pipeline. I planned to kick-off the season with mountain biking in Italy in May and training was going well. In March though it became evident that the Italian outing would not happen. Also an extensive two-month enduro expedition in central Asia with Walter Colebatch was in jeopardy. Our bikes were scheduled to be shipped out from Amsterdam June, but as the borders in the world closed one after another, it became evident that our expedition would not happen. As the riding and expeditions evaporated, so did my motivation for training. As many others I took a bit of a hit with body fat and fitness during the pandemic.
This too shall pass
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The future is obviously still hazy, But Walter and I have plans to ride out as soon as the travel restrictions are somewhat lifted. The central Asian expedition is pushed until next year, and this winter’s expedition will head to Northern Africa or the Iberian Peninsula. Time will tell.
During all this I have been thinking a lot about the equipment and bike preparation for expeditions, especially since we will be now be a bit of a mixed team split between rally and enduro styles. Secondly I’m increasingly curious about the potential of using an E-MTB for shorter expeditions. And finally, it looks likely that the Hobo ghetto rain shorts will see the light of day eventually as a more refined product.
As I mentioned earlier, I had a lot to do during the quiet time of the pandemic, as I was busy renovating our apartment in Amsterdam. But looking at myself after months of the life of a beer-fueled construction worker the reflection in the mirror was not impressive. In fact to was quite the opposite, and I decided to reboot my training and diet there and then.
It turns out a friend of mine, who is a professional paragliding pilot and mountain bike guide, is planning to start an online fitness coaching business. He was kind enough to ask me to be his first client on a test and feedback basis, to which I said yes. During the last years I have mostly been figuring out the nutrition and training cycles on my own, and while it has been somewhat successful it has always lacked sustainability. Having a little bit experience in the matter, it has been extremely fruitful to have someone with copious amounts of information to talk to.
Anyhow, I hope you’re all well and have been coping the best you can with the pandemic. Although right now the situation in Europe looks somewhat ominous, I feel there is light at the end of the tunnel and we will all be on the trails before too long.
Happy to hear from your again! I’ve been pushing that F5 since February and finally a new post :). We are all more or less in the same situation even though here in Sweden I have been able to do some shorter domestic trips. But most of the time has been spent in the garage breaking things just to be able to fix it.. 🙂
I managed to ditch the old trustworthy Montana 610 and went all in on a dedicated Android solution built on the Blackview 6100. Seems to work great on the shorter trips at least and the flexibility is top.
I go back to pushing that F5 in a week or so again 😀
Tjäna! Have you seen the Universal Navigation Clamps and the Universal Digital Bracket by Rally Moto Shop? I’ve been using the clamps since 2014 and have been really happy with them. I’m currently looking at adding and android tablet for a bigger screen and offline sat images. Would be interested in seeing your setup.
Funny that you mention the RMS UNC, that is exactly what I’m using on my 701. The setup is RMS UNC – RAM Mount X-Grip – Blackview bv6100. However, the RMS UDB was new to me, seems like a solid solution. I actually got a Samsung Galaxy Active Tab 2 that I got for the same application as the bv6100. The Active Tab 2 is quite popular. But dude, it is huge! To me it is like having a wall in front of you. I’m not using any cool rally tower or such as I feel it is limiting the sight when you leave the gravel for more offline adventures. I can easily move the RMS UNC between my 701 and 501 depending of the trip. My main map app is Locus Pro with various map images. I don’t run a SIM card in the Blackview as I easily can use the WiFi when available to transfer data or setup a hotspot from my main mobile if needed.
Thanks for the detailed info! You mean the 8” Active Tab? It does seem to have quite poor screen to body ratio. I was thinking that the max screen size should 8”. I don’t run a rally tower either, and prefer the clean enduro office. But part of the logic with a tablet was carrying a bluetooth keyboard to help with comms and the tablet would be pretty handy for backing up and editing photos during off days or evenings. Obviously this can be done on the phone as well, but the small screen is a bit of annoyance for editing.
The Blackview you mentioned looks pretty interesting, as it has a pretty large screen and still manages to keep the footprint on the handlebars pretty manageable. Do the ports have adequate protection for charging during riding?
You wouldn’t happen to have any pics of your setup? Would be interested to take a look.
Yes the 8″ Active Tab. I fully understand your need of editing photos and for that the Tab size would be much better choice compared to the smaller Blackview. I don’t have those needs and can manage with the smaller 6.88″.
Charging is a topic of concern as you mention. So far the USB-C port has been working during rain etc but there are really nice weather proof solutions for the Active Tab more similar to the Garmin fixed charging bay. I have had issues with charging regular mobile phones mounted on the bars, but so far the Blackview has managed to stay dry.
I have quite a poor pic of my setup here Blackview but can of course get you 360 deg view of the setup if you want :).
Good to hear from you!
Thanks John, likewise!
Look after yourself, hopefully you’ll be on the road soon.
Cheers James. Will be back on the trails soon. Bike is now plated and ready to go.
Excellent news, look forward to it. I have no idea where I will go next. Maybe Balkans/Eastern Europe. Bike is all taxed, insured maintained and ready to go. Stay safe and keep on going.
Sounds like an excellent choice for destination. Drop me a line if you’re in need of tracks in the area.
Nice one! Kiitos paljon.