Our Life in Denmark

Our Life in Denmark

Closed Loop

Family issuesPosted by Hans 24 Jan, 2017 08:48:55
Intrigued and inspired by Jakob Stoustrups closed-loop weight-loss strategy I have tried myself to see if it really is as simple as it looks.

My result looks a bit more erratic than Stoustrups. This is due to some changes I have introduced in the scheme as well as the timing of recorded measurements.
I make two measurements per day: Drained weight after getting out of bed, and drained weight just before getting into bed. Usually the morning measurement is a low compared to the evening before.
I have also decided to ignore the weight of water in my intake since I expect my water balance to be more or less constant and since I do not want to risk dehydration. In any case water is not something that I expect will accumulate in my body over time.
It is clear that intake of alcohol has a significant negative impact on the progress. On January 28 we had wine, and on February 3-5 we were at a major family anniversary with lots of great food, wine and beer.

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Flatlanders in the mountains - RATA on Bromptons

Bike-lifePosted by Hans 23 Oct, 2015 22:44:34

This is a posting centered around our Brompton bikes...
Our family obviously have a thing about bicycles, but we mostly just use them as means of transport.

Christine bought our first Brompton, a M3R Racing Green, back in 2008. It was intended to cut her 1h15 commute down by 10-15 minutes and save her some walking, but she found that she could get through faster by skipping bus rides and ride the Brompton instead. This further reduced her commuting time and provided physical exercise at the same time.

A few years later Christine found an alternative for her commute and the Brompton was left in the shed. Around 2013 I began using the Brompton as a backup when my own recumbent had a failure. It then caught on. The satisfaction of keeping up with and overtaking fellow commuters - especially race bikes - was much better on the Brompton than on the recumbent.

In early 2014 I bought a new M6L (+8%) Apple Green for my daily commute and later on in the season I took it along for weekend rides from the local fitness center.It raised a few eyebrows, but since I could keep up on the road it was fine. Christine joined in on the Saturday rides as well later on.

In September 2014 we celebrated our anniversary with a one week gourmet B&B trip to Tuscany. For that trip we took our Bromptons along on the flight to Florence and used them to ride downtown from the airport and for sightseeing. Riding to town along the river is a highly recommended way to enter Florence. Later on we used them for our sightseeing day trips between beautiful mountaintop villages. This also gave a healthy appetite and served as an excuse to indulge in fabulous Italian food and wine every evening.

Back home in Denmark we noticed a poster in the fitness center about a cycling tour to the Alps. The catch for us was a mention of good food and wine in between rides in the mountains. It was a 6-day tour taking place in September 2015. More Italian food and wine sounded good so we signed up for the trip...

This tour was called RATA which stands for "Race Across The Alps". It is actually a 1-day extreme sports event starting in the Austrian village of Nauders. The 535 km route is epic in every sense, crossing into Italy and Switzerland to scale a host of truly iconic mountains including the Stelvio, Gavia, Mortirolo, Aprica, Bernina, Albula, Flüela, Fuorn and Umbrail with a combined climb of nearly 14,000 m.

These figures didn’t really mean much to us at the time, but we realized that we would have 6 days instead of just one and that there would be good food and wine, so how hard could it be!

Our chief guide for the tour Claus Robl who had completed the real RATA in 2013 spend some time during the winter training sessions describing the challenges ahead and it then slowly dawned on us that this "vacation" might require more than our usual daily commuting as preparation. Initially we had not discussed how to do the trip but, at some point Christine was asked whether we were going to ride the Bromptons (ha ha) - and she said yes...

That meant that our stakes were now upped a bit since we not just had to complete the ride, but also to prove that that a Brompton would be a perfectly good choice for doing so! We were then more or less on a quest for our bikes!

So in order to be well prepared we build a pair of new Competition Grade Bromptons and scheduled some increasingly challenging rides over the 2015 cycling season. Unfortunately, right before the first ride in the season we learned that the Brompton ordering system had lost our new bikes! Outrage! Luckily, Yoann and André from the local Brompton importer did some wizardry and managed to configure two bikes according to our specs! Great service! Christine got a Red/Titanium S6E (+8%) and Hans got an Orange S6E (+8%).

Riding at high speed would not be a goal for us in the mountains, but since the Danish landscape is flat as a football field we just had to trade hill climbs for high speed during our practice. We had signed up for a couple of medium length races of around 110 - 130 km and we managed average speeds close to 30 kmh which we found to be reasonable when comparing with other participants.

Next up we had to face the challenge of riding hard, then get up and do the same next morning for several days. For this we had signed up for the "Laholm 6-day exercise ride" in Sweden. This turned out to be probably the best part of our preparation. The event consist of 6 days; 3 with rides in a moderately hilly terrain, approximately 130 km per day followed by one day for recovery. After the recovery there would be another three days of hilly routes with up to 1200 m height gain per ride.

We found the whole event to be extremely well organised by the local cycling club in Laholm and the routes were through beautiful landscapes with views of forests, lakes and farmland. There were sufficient participants to ensure that everyone could ride with a group almost no matter what speed they did. We were of course the only ones riding Bromptons but we felt welcome and are very likely to be back there next time.

We also participated in the Danish Brompton World Championship (BWC), and as it happened, Christine won in the women's category. Her price was a ticket to participate in the BWC in London on August 1st. It was a really great experience and the race itself was intense - not least due to the number of participants. Christine ended up 6th out of 110 women which wasn’t really too bad. We also used the opportunity and enjoyed a one week vacation in London with our sons after the race.

In the Alps
On August 28 in the morning we set out from Nauders, Austria with a group of 20 cyclists. Eighteen race bikes (mostly carbon) and two Bromptons

The main challenge on the first day was the Stelvio pass. Getting to the top is a 27 km ride for a gain of 1850 m through 48 hairpins.

The fine weather with temperatures around 26 C had also attracted lots of motorcycles and convertibles, so the road was packed.

Just before setting out from Nauders we had changed the gearing on Christine's bike from +8% to the Brompton standard gearing (50 tooth chainring). This turned out to be a good choice. For my part, I found out the hard way that a +8% ratio was not the right choice for a just marginally fit person when riding up real mountains. I made it half ways up and then had to struggle with cramps in both legs for the rest of the climb.

After a break and some food at the top of the pass we were ready to face the challenge of the long ride downhill. This had actually been our greatest worry: Would we be able to safely control the bikes at high speed on bad roads and without overheating the rims? Our worries turned out to be unfounded and the Bromptons handled the ride without problems.

After a fine dinner and a good night's sleep in the Italian town of Bormio we set out for 102 km across the Gavia and Aprica passes and for another 2190 m gain. This time both bikes had the standard Brompton gearing and my cramp were mostly gone.

Four days later on September 4 in the afternoon we arrive back in Nauders, Austria after covering 534 km and a combined climb of nearly 14000 m. Our aim had been focused on completing the ride and we had done that without being an embarrassment to neither our-self nor our bikes.

We find that our RATA-tour goes a long way to demonstrate that your Brompton is capable of going where ever you chose to go. Unless you ride off-road or through deep snow you really just need one bike.

Grand Prix Båstad

It turned out that the toughest part of our 2015 season was yet to come. Early in the year when we were looking for cycling events in preparation for the RATA-tour, we stumbled upon "Grand Prix Baastad" taking place Sept. 20. 2015. This would obviously be taking place after the RATA-event, but we had signed up for it anyway thinking that we would be fit for such a stroll after the Alps...

There was one quite important thing that set it apart from our RATA experience: "Grand Prix Båstad" was organised as a race as opposed to the tour we had done in the Alps.

The Gran Prix is a yearly event that is all about a 124 km ride with a total height gain of 2500 m. It route takes you 8 times around a 15.5 km loop with two rather steep climbs - one of them up to 19% - and the time limit to finish is 6 hours...

Long story short: Grand Prix Båstad was really, really hard.

Contrary to a lot of other participants we both completed within the time limit and we have now concluded our cycling season. Next year will be different but it will surely involve Bromptons. The best bike for most things on two wheels!

During this season we have of course heard many comments and questions about our bikes. One of the most common questions has been: "Why don't you use a race bike (for a race)?"

Having thought a bit about it I now think that the best reply goes like

"I can ride about as fast as you on your race bike, I can carry about as much luggage as you can on your city bike and on top of that I can take my bike along on the bus or train and store it under my desk or in the wardrobe. My bike matches yours in most ways that really matters for an amateur- and it is probably cheaper as well. So, why are you not riding a Brompton?"

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House ProjectPosted by Hans 02 Mar, 2014 23:46:40
This is just a short notice to follow up on the previous post.

In case you want to follow progress on the building project in Horsens, you can do so at the gallery (kraghsvej.wennerbergs.com)

Demolition of the old house was delayed when we found out that it had to be screened for PCB, and further when PCB was actually found in the house. In addition to the 3-4 month delay, it also added a significant extra amount to the project.

Which reminds me to add a couple of additional links:
Should you feel for some original pieces of artwork you could have a look at Judys.dk, and in case you are in the marked for a very nice house in a beautiful setting right next to the forrest and close to a fjord, - take a look at this house.

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Active Holiday

House ProjectPosted by Hans 22 Aug, 2013 23:33:11
This year our holiday was split in two. First part was spend together with Leonie and her parents Elizabeth and Anton. We were all very touristic and the weather was rather excellent for the purpose.
After a few weeks back at the thread mill, the remaining two weeks of our holiday was spend around Horsens (http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=14/55.8583/9.8766) preparing our new property for demolishing and deciding on what type and layout a new house should have.

What we found behind the bushes now looks like this:
Before April next year we should have a fine new house ready there for Judy and Steen to enjoy.

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Missing Pictograms

Positive linksPosted by Hans 23 Jan, 2012 21:13:05
While half the world already can manage it, the other half apparently need a hint: Sitting down is more tidy!

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Bike-lifePosted by Hans 25 Oct, 2011 23:55:40
Having spend a significant amount of my spare time/online-time reading interesting blogs (and comments), I suddenly felt an urge to catch up on a much delayed posting on this site.

Last year(! 2010) we spend our summer vacation in NE USA which for everyone, except Christine and Sofus and Thien, was a first time experience. It was a great trip, and being a 3 week tour to some extend reduces the CO2 and otherwise non-sustainable element of the vacation smiley

This clearly does not cover our means of transportation outside of Manhattan, but then again...

Somewhere along our round tour from Manhattan-Adirondacks-Ithaa-Frederick-Washington-Brooklyn, we came across Mt. Airy Bikes and the owner Larry Black. This is quite a place for bikes - classic as well as the more comfy ones that we subscribe to. Thing is: After buying a few items, (and receiving a characteristic pair of Mt. Airy socks) we sort of promised to show of some of our (exotic European) bikes...

Now! - the pictures were made a long time ago, but getting to this posting... well lots of other issues took precedence along the way.

Our fleet as of fall 2010 was something like this:

Not included in the group photo is a classic Ostrad (currently for sale (negotiable) here) and one beautiful GoCycle bike (for sale as well)

I hope this somehow qualifies as a posting aside for the one year delay...

As of this fall, we actually also operate one high-tech Single Occupant Fully Enclosed Electrical Vehicle. Christine, having spend 1-2 hour to and from work for the past couple of years using public transport and her trustworthy Brompton bike, is now blazing along in her CityEl electrical thingy while spending less than 1 hour each way.

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Wedding in Jutland

Family issuesPosted by Hans 04 Aug, 2009 20:57:40
We spend the weekend in Jutland, finally celebrating the wedding of Mikkel to Susanne.

The wedding was performed at a middle age castle "Spøttrup Castle" which provided a very fine setting with just the right atmosphere.

The songs at the wedding ceremony were accompanied by middle age type instruments, and the dinner in the evening was inspired by middle age menu which appeared to be delicious and quite healthy!

This occasion also offered a rare opportunity for a group photo of the three siblings in their Sunday finest:

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House ProjectPosted by Hans 03 Jun, 2009 21:58:55
Efter at have studeret et nyt lokalplanforslag fra Hillerød Kommune der omhandler etablering af et nyt mega indkøbscenter midt i byen, og midt i "Den Grønne Kile" har en gruppe beboere her i Torsvang startet en lille gruppe der går ind for en mindre dominerende løsning.

Til det formål har vi lavet en hjemmeside: Møllebro.dk, og der er oprettet en støttegruppe på Facebook.

Støtte for sagen er velkommen, f.eks. med en underskrift her!

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Sofus 2009-10

Positive linksPosted by Hans 24 May, 2009 11:46:30
We now have confirmation about the exchange program that Sofus will partake in during the next school year. He will be attending school in Toure in France, and he will be living with a family of 4, just 15 km outside the city.

On an unrelated subject, He has decided to release the action movie trilogy "The Cleaner" onto the unsuspecting world. The short action movie was shot 2008, and features Thien and his friend from Ghana: Sebastian.

For the time being, only the first is available, but that is probably only a matter of time.

(As it turned out, Sofus had to migrate a bit within France before finally finding shelter somewhere near Tuffé...)

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Finally done

House ProjectPosted by Hans 14 Nov, 2008 22:59:36
- or at least just about done.

We have moved back into our house, and all the major work is actually almost done. Some of the few things remaining are things we'll have to take of ourselves, and most of it concern organizing our inventory.

Blog ImageHere is how it looked during the process, and below we have another section after completion. We are pleased with the end result, and especially pleased with the first floor where we have removed most of the interior walls, and now have a very nice and spacious home with great lights.
Blog ImageNot easy to show without a wide angle lens, but here is a Gimp-stitched version.

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Three Wheels anyone?

Positive linksPosted by Hans 20 May, 2008 23:01:01
Last Sunday we went to check out a three wheeled recumbent bicycle (a trike) in Copenhagen. It had been advertised on dba.dk, and I had been checking it out on the net.
It was surprisingly neat as you can see on this clip. Only thing that should probably be improved would be the organization of the breaks.

Something new to start saving up for...smiley

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Wheels of change

Positive linksPosted by Hans 26 Mar, 2008 14:41:07
Finally it has arrived: Blog Image
The new Grasshopper recumbent bike. Here Christine is giving it a spin over the Easter holidays after Hans picked it up from the dealer.

It is a really nice ride even over rough ground. Now we just need a recumbent bike for Thien, and the whole family will be riding in comfort.

Let the summer begin!

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