Mount Teine Downhill Ride

I recently visited Hokkaido for a while and on my last full day there I thought it might be nice to go for an early morning downhill ride on Mount Teine. Located in Sapporo, Japan, Mt. Teine (手稲山) is a popular spot for local riders.

As I am rather out of shape I took the easy way out and caught a ride up the hill with my friend Shin in his Land Rover. It was nice to be able to throw my bike inside without taking it apart. We hit the top of the hill before 5:30am when it was still really quiet. It was a great morning for a ride down the hill with a moderate temperature and little traffic on the road. My back tire was a bit flat after a puncture the day before but not dangerously so (I didn’t have a normal pump to bring it up to my favoured high pressure). Shin followed me down in his SUV but I don’t think I held him up too much on the descent. In fact, on Strava I came in with the 5th fastest run overall!

I will definitely try to be in shape for both ascents and descents by next spring!

My First Road Ride of 2015

This video is of my first road ride of 2015. It was quite short and on an unfamiliar course but the weather was beautiful so it was very enjoyable. It is not the most exciting piece of footage in the world, but it fairly representative of a flat land ride in this part of Japan.

I have not been able to get out for as many rides as I would like (well, nowhere near as many rides) over the last year or two. I really hope to be able to get a lot more rides in this year!

Timbuk2 100th Anniversary Tour de France Messenger

Timbuk2 Tour de France 2013 Limited Messenger BagI have a fairly long history of buying Timbuk2 bags. Although I typically use a small custom messenger as my daily bag I do have a need for a larger bag to carrying my laptop and extra gear on occasion. For quite a while I have not owned a medium-sized bag and was looking around to get a new one. While shopping with Yoko we ran across the Timbuk2 100th Anniversary Tour de France Messenger Bag in a department store here in Tokyo and it got me to thinking. Hmmm… to new messenger bag or not to new messenger bag. Yoko solved my dilemma by buying it for me as a really early birthday present! I, of course, was very happy to take it home. They actually gave it to me in the store in an even larger shopping bag (huh?) instead of asking me if I needed one, but after leaving the store I soon stuffed the shopping bag and the small messenger I was carrying into my shiny new bag and continued wandering around with Yoko.

I don’t feel that there is much I can add to the many, many reviews of this series of bags that has not already been said, but I will just run through a few main points that pop to my mind.

  • This specific bag was originally limited to a run of somewhere around 100 bags but was later expanded due to popularity (sometimes a good business practice).
  • It is still a limited edition bag and although it does not really have and specific features not available on other bags, it does have the colour stripes that move out of the typical 1/3 panel on the right side, as well as having a fun “VIVE LE TOUR” label as part of the typical Timbuk2 label/blinky light mount.
  • It is made of lined ballistic nylon that I have found to be very durable and water-resistant over many years. It also has their typical cam buckle on the shoulder strap that allows you to have two quickly accessible lengths that I have found very useful when I have used the bag for riding.
  • It includes a plain black shoulder strap, but I have never really had much discomfort without the extra shoulder padding unless I have a rather extreme amount of weight in my bag.
  • Internally it features an internal divider at the back of the bag that I find useful for holding my laptop (in my friendly Mujjo MacBook Sleeve), my iPad or just some papers as necessary.
  • It also has a horizontally accessible front pocket that is still easy to open and get into when the bag is closed, especially nice on those rainy days.
  • Along with my custom-made padded camera insert it is a great choice for going out on those friendly photo shoots as well!

Overall, I would say that it is a very nice bag for bike, train or foot commuting and seems to have the qualities that generally make Timbuk2 a good buy for the long haul.

*The large shopping bag mentioned has since been used as a paper recycling bag so it was actually useful before it got recycled.

Strava Workflow for Alfred v2

Alfred_and_strava

As I often feel a bit tired after my long rides I was looking for a way to get my rides up on Strava as easily and quickly as possible while spending as little time in front of my Mac as possible. I fairly quickly came up with building a Strava workflow for Alfred v2 that would simplify the process. My workflow makes it easy to open the Strava site in the default browser by simply typing ‘strava’ and to upload your rides/runs by typing ‘sup’. To upload rides/runs I would recommend plugging your device into your Mac or wirelessly connecting it, waiting for it to connect properly, then just type ‘sup’ (short for “Strava upload”) and then letting Strava find the data on your default device. If you only have one run or ride on the device, Strava will automatically upload it without any further input from you, giving you a few seconds to re-hydrate or towel off a bit. It is pretty easy.

You can download the workflow here.

Post-Ride Chocolate Smoothie

Today was a fairly hard riding day on the road (wind, rain and a flat tire during the rain) so I decided to cheer myself up and help my recovery with a post-ride chocolate smoothie. Not really feeling like searching for a recipe online and then going out to try to find the ingredients (a lot of which are often hard to find in Japan) I decided to concoct a smoothie with the ingredients I already had at home. It actually turned out really tasty so I thought that I would post it up here so you can give it a try if you feel so inclined.

Post-Ride Chocolate Smoothie

My Post-Ride Chocolate Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1 cup of low-fat milk
  • 2 heaping tbsp of low-fat probiotic yogurt
  • 6 almonds
  • 1 small banana
  • 2 heaping tbsp of powdered cocoa (20-24%)
  • Optional: 2 pieces of 86% cocoa or higher chocolate (softened)

Just throw it all in a blender, blend it for 45 seconds or until smooth and enjoy!

Using a recipe calculator I found out that it should have about 318 calories, 10.2g of fat, 16mg of cholesterol, 164mg of sodium, 1153mg of potassium, 7g of dietary fibre, 31g of sugars, 17g of protein and a whole lot of Vitamin B-12, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Riboflavin and other trace elements. It seems like it would be a decent recovery drink, although I am not a nutritionist.