Saturday, February 28, 2009

I want to ride my bicycle

So last year in June I caved and bought a bike.
Everyone here has one, or three.... according to some sources there are only about 750,000 residents of Amsterdam—but there are more than 600,000 bicycles. One source even puts the number of bicycles over 1 million.

4,000 are estimated to be parked by Centraal Station

Bikes at CS Amsterdam
Bikes at CS Amsterdam

The bike I got last year, was cheap, and not from a junkie.
Having not cycled for 18yrs, I was a bit nervous and didn't want to fork out for a new bike that I might not use.

That fear was unfounded, I cycled almost every day the 14km round trip to and from work until Dec 1st.
I gave up in the real winter as black ice on cobblestones, steep bridges and lunatic cyclists all make me nervous.

My old bike was a grand starter, and it earned its price in saved tram fares in a couple of weeks, however after the first month, I found crouching to be a problem, my knees and ankles ached. I hadn't heard of this as a side effect of cycling.

It seems I was cycling a death trap.

I forgave it the fact that the brakes were dodgy at best (most efficient way of stopping was jumping off) and the saddle seemed to be made of nails covered in cement (my rear looked like a permenant victim of a paint balling kamikaze attack) but I was reluctant to "just throw away" the €50 I spent on the bike. After not cycling for 2 months and living with out the ankle, knee and butt pain I swore that this year I would buy a new bike.

Valentines day saw me and my lady roaming the bike shops of the Jordan.

I get the usual look when I explain, I'd like a small bike, with gears and *gasp* handbrakes that work. Back pedal brakes, while cheaper and easier to maintain, are not for me.... cycling back ways is not my instant reaction when faced with on coming traffic, and I am likely to sail out in front of same traffic screaming and grasping my non-existent handbrakes.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that in Amsterdam with bike traffic jams being more frequent than car traffic jams, bikes would be really cheap. Let me dispel that, they are not, well especially not for pint sized, handbrake wanting foreigners. New bikes average around €600/€700. Second hand ones start at €75 but most good ones are around €200 for back pedal and €300 for handbrake.

The bike I got looks a bit like this it has brakes that work, 3 gears, a decent saddle and its so great to cycle.
I no longer feel like I'm pulling a dead cow up the road after my bike!

Azors Jersey

So I began cycling to work again, only on the first morning I realised my old route was being dug up by the Gemeete, Amsterdam's version of the Corpo, and they are about as helpful and productive as same. It seems this is budget spending month so every road is being dug up for the sheer hell of it. Fun!!

I had to devise a new route, and my mum was impressed this one doesn't take me through Dam Square or the red-light. Doped up Tourist dodging on your way home from work is not as fun as it sounds.

This is my way TO work and this is my way FROM work. The are 6.6 and 6.9km respectively and better still doing this every day will burn about 800kcls a day. (4000 a week) and I'll be travelling 67.5kms a week. Not bad! Plus saving €20 a week on transport!

The route is still lovely along the Amstel, and some morning I am going to take my camera along and get some photos!

My Spanish Colleague and I are planning a beer cycle home some evening, visiting local establishments between the office and the city! :) Photos from that are likely to be wobbly.

PS I listen to Morning Ireland (the wonders of unlimited data for €9) on my mobile so if you are listening to it between 7.30 and 8.10 (from 1st sport to 2nd reading of morning papers) think of me cycling along the Amstel :)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Desked v Desktopped

Have you seen my desk, I left it somewhere.....

Elvish Work Desk Elvish Work Desk

Cool new blog called, Desked, its a gallery of Bloggers desks...a little peek into the places that we spend our time.

Being honest, I blog mostly from home... where I am now, but I dont really have a desk here.

I use an IKEA red breakfast tray (you know the ones with legs) it has all my 'pooter crap on ... and is handy for sitting on the sofa and not suffering 3rd degree burns to the thigh!

Perhaps in a week or two I'll send the Desked folk an image of that so you can see it for yourself.

On the topic of Desks, an article in The Telegraph today about what your Desktop says about you....
:: Desktop with icons strewn across the screen - the owner is disorganised and tends to lose focus easily.

:: Even icons on each side - the owner values balance and proportion and tends to keep a cool head in tricky situations. Likely to be organised and dislike clutter.

:: Desktop with many rows of icons - reflects a person who needs everything to hand, likes to feel in control and on top of their life, while at the same time revealing a tendency to be slightly disorganised.

:: Personal photos as wallpaper - indicates the kind of person you are and what priorities you have. Often a parent will have a photograph of their child, or a keen traveller will have a photo of an exotic location. Photos of friends show popularity, which is useful in work environments where you need good people skills.

:: Plain blue wallpaper - suggests the kind of person who likes to keep their personal life private.

:: Trophy photos as wallpaper - can suggest a big ego and someone who revels in their past successes.

This is my Laptop Desktop

Laptop Desktop

So what does it say about me?

The wallpaper in question is a photo from my very cool mate Dan!

Now, as the saying goes.... I've shown you mine, you show me yours! :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tweet me this!

New Twitter webapp...

After the Twick Size war..... I'm 9inches, oooh yeah!

I twick *this* big
I twick *this* big

We bring you

Tweet O'Clock!

When's the best time to tweet me.... Thursdays @ 9am it seems!
When do you Tweet yours truly?
When do you Tweet yours truly?"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bloscars '09

(c) Donncha O Caoimh

The 4th Irish Blog Awards took place last Saturday the 21st in
Cork International Airport Hotel

(Otherwise known as "some internet thing, you know like the twatty website" - by my mum)

It was my first Blog/Twitter Event, and it wont be my last!
Its been a (lax, badly run) year since I began this blog and 7 months since I began on twitter.

I never thought I would meet anyone from it, let alone loads of very cool, lovely, funny, amazing, madcap, fantastic, charming, welcoming, sweet, sexy, gorgeous, intelligent, inspiring antos as I did at #iba09

Wow! Bloscars are amazing!

I have no words really to describe it other than Loved

loved the hotel
loved the photowalk (@fontfidler's)
loved the cocktails
loved the schwag
loved the videos
loved the sausages
loved the twister-castle
loved the ceremony
loved the awards
loved the grandparents
loved the presenter
loved the genius behind it all
loved the polaroids
loves the hair
loved the wedding dress
loved the polystyrene
loved the interviews
loved the's
loved the wine, women and song
loved meeting my daddy and baby daddy
loved all the sponsors

And Loved all the Winners!

I met so many cool people, and I know I've only remembered a tiny weeny few, but believe me you all left a huge impression on this little elf!

Bloggers Roadtrip 09 - Amsterdam!
Anyone is welcome so long as you don fly WhineAir