Things to do better next time

There’s a lot to be learned from this trip. Not just that it can be pretty
boring traveling alone, but also that the weather down here can be pretty
nasty. But something about equipment.

1. I don’t need a tent.
While camping is something I can still do, I just don’t wake up as
refreshed as when sleeping in a bed, and it makes a difference when I get
going in the morning. Also, free camping is not as easy down here as one
might think, because it’s pretty rocky, and there are few paths off the
road. And I hate campgrounds and the sort of people who stay there. A hotel
might cost 500 NOK, but it’s worth it And there are a few hostels along the
road, like the one I stayed in last night. Lastly, the sleeping bag + tent
+ mattress account for more than half my luggage.

2. No backpack.
This is simple if I don’t bring the tent, and makes moving about on the
bike a lot easier. Having a small bag that is easy to reach for map &
camera is pretty good, though.

3. Water in bottles
I brought my camelback, which is great for walking trips, but for a bicycle
ride, bottles are best. There are plenty of opportunities along the road to
refill the bottle, but a second bottle is still a good investment.

4. Bananas are messy
I had one explode in my backpack, and everything is sticky in There now.
Bring a container to put them in, or don’t bring bananas. Dry peaches are
good, too.

5. You need one pair of pants.
That’s in addition to a pair of cycling shorts. Something to wear in the
hotel/hostel while the cycling pants dry. In addition, a shirt and a pair
of socks for each day. Which comes to very little total weight.

6. Bring chargers.
Not only my phone will run out of juice, but my Palm, too – at least on a
longer trip it would have.

7. Bring the right music
I had one good MD with me (Flunk, Ugress) that was getting me over the
hills and had the right beat for cycling, but the others were too slow.
Also, bringing a norwegian audio book was fun, but not actually helping
with my speed.

8. Know your route
On the first day especialy, I lost a lot of time going the wrong way. The
route doesn’t always have enough signs, and going the wrong way cost me a
lot of time.

9. Bring only one book
Bring a book to read, but one that will last you a while. Give it away and
get a new one when it’s read, don’t weigh yourself down with too many books.

10. 70 km/day
70 km a day is a good distance to do over a longer period. I’m sure I could
have kept that up for a few more days, it is enough to reach the major
cities each day, and going between 17 and 20 km/h takes 3-4 hours cycling a
day. Doesn’t sound ilke a lot, but with all the hills, it still means I’m
tired at the end of the day. I also get to the end of each stage at a
decent time and was able to go to the beach, shower, watch some TV, I could
even have cooked if I’d had the nerve.

Mixed Terrain

Today’s stage had a lot of mixed terrain. I wonder if the people who planned this route (the north sea cycle route) had a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve. Sometimes it seems like they send you sightseeing, with signs pointing all the way through a city past every museum. Then the route follows a busy road with no bicycle track, only to go into a forest some time later, where you fight your way up and down the hills on gravel paths or worse.

Today I’ve had a little bit of all that, especially the gravel roads. Those slow you down tremendously, and the only thing I’m really happy about is that I didn’t go for slick tires after all. It would have been no fun on the gravel, and even less fun in the hills yesterday.

A night in a hotel definitely did me good, though. I started early and refreshed, and initially had a lot of energy and made good time. Then came first a long ferry trip, then gravel, then some really nasty hills, and at about 40 km in Valle, I was getting quite exhausted. Still, I made it to Krager?, just before the rain set in again, and in time to watch the exciting finale of today’s Tour stage. Poor Kurt-Asle, he really deserved to win this for all the work he did.

I’ve had a really good day, weather-wise. Physically, I’m not too happy with the last 20 km, and to be honest, I am getting slightly bored. I feel I’ve packed wrong, I should have left the camping gear at home and packed less clothes, washing shirts every few days instead. So my options for tomorrow are: Either go the 65 km to Arendal, the next train stop from here, and go back to Oslo from there. Or continue, if I get the spirit back again. Or take the train from Krager? tomorrow morning, if the weather is still as bad as it is right now. I don’t think another day of cycling in the rain will raise my spirits much. All in all, I’ve got 210 km on this trip (68 today), and today’s average was only 16-17 km/h, with top speed of 50.4, down some hill with good visibility and no wind.

[ media | Wizball RMX ]


This is why I started yesterday: So I could get at least one sunny day on
my tour. Today has been rainy from the minute I got on the bike to the time
I checked into a hotel in Larvik.

My speed suffers from that, between 17 and 18 km/h was my average speed. I
can’t say that it’s all because of the rain, it might just as well be the
norwegian terrain: The route has been a constant up and down today, up a
hill, down a hill, up again, … With never a flat stretch. Maximum speed:
50.6 km/h. Today’s stage: 72 km, total distance: 142 km. I’m physically in
better shape than yesterday, definitely, but I don’t want tto risk camping
someplace – Larvik has a number of hotels, and I want to avoid camping in
the rain.

Mental note for next time: Do a daytrip first to decide what kind of
equipment you really need. I have too much stuff.


Today is day one of my trip along the norwegian coast. I have reached Moss after 3.5 hours cycling time, a little over 65 km. I’ll let that be the
distance for the first day, since I am woefully untrained and have no idea
what my limits are. Clearly, I am not Tour de France material.

The geek in me has prepared for this trip not by excercising, but by
investing in gadgets. The cycling computer is great fun. Some numbers for
today: 66.67 km trip length, 47.3 km/h maximum speed. I tried keeping my
average speed between 20 and 21 km/h, there is a decaying average built
into this thing. By the end I noticed it was getting harder to stay in that
window, I’ll take that as a sign to call it a day in the future.

Thanks to Frank, I am also completely connected. My palm is email,
webbrowser and blogging tool thanks to the old GPRS phone I have. More
gadgets. Setting all this up last night seemed more important than packing,
but I realize that a little more thought could have gone into packing, and
a little less into trying to talk IMAP over SSL from the beach. Which is
where I am now, actually. The weather forecast lied about the rain, again.

Going on Vacation

I’m spending almost no time packing, but a lot of time setting up my
various devices so I can blog, read email or surf teh web from the road.

I’ll be bicycling around the coast of southern Norway. No internet
except through the mobile phone.

Retro Games Quiz #3

Some time back, I created a quiz of 40 obscure games that peolpe had a pretty tough time figuring out. I decided 40 was a bit much, so I broke them up into two quizzes. And because that alone wouldn’t qualify for news, I added 20 new questions.

How many do you remember? Again, please use ROT13 if you have to post anything that might be considerered a spoiler.

[ media | PJ Harvey-Down By the Water ]

Anarchy Online on LSD

This week, I was working on improving the AO rendering. Some of the intermediate screenshots look pretty wild:

And yes, I know I run at crazy window dimensions. Even in windowed mode, Anarchy wants you to run in one of the available fullscreen resolutions, although there’s no reason for it. And since my LCD is tilted 90 degrees, I get these tall windows. I think that’s my next project: Make the screen resolution more customizable in window mode. Or at least offer 800×600 and 1024×768 as a quickfix for myself.

So many things to do, so little time.