Thursday, 28 May 2009

History repeating ...

This is a song by the Propellerheads with Shirley Bassey, but also the feeling that I have currently. Today heard for the third time that my thesis wasn't good enough, still hasn't got the level that is required for graduation. Apparently I am missing clarity in the structure and logics throughout my thesis, while I thought it was clear ...

So, my travelplans are once again in danger of changes ... what once was planned at the start of the year is now almost touching the start of next year (figuratively speaking). Will have to discuss this at work, I just don't want to cancel the entire trip. It would not only mean that I would lose quite a lot of money, but also a great opportunity to explore the world on a bicycle. Will update you guys sometime next week about this.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Tough bike

My bike w/ new tyres and w/o fendersYesterday was quite some fun, sometime in the afternoon I got a call from Mark Burgers (A.C.E. Ligfietsen) that my order for tyres had come in ... pretty quick! A friend of mine was in the shop at that moment, and offered to take the tyres back to Enschede for me. How great was that, it meant that I didn't have to go to Winterswijk to get them.

And of course, my bike is now equiped with two Schwalbe Marathon XRs (57-559). Unfortunately one of the fenders didn't actually fit anymore, not because of the width of the tyre but the increased height. The front fender couldn't fit between the tyre and the fork-crown without hitting the rubber. So it meant it had to go, and I will try to figure out another solution for riding in NZ. As this looked bad in comparison to the rearfender that miraculously did fit, I removed the rear SKS fender and replaced it with an old MTB fender that I had initially on the bike. The result can be seen in the image within this post. I think the bike looks now really tough!
However, now back to writing my thesis ... deadline on monday!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Mark Beaumont going on another epic adventure

Apart from working on my thesis, last weekend I also had some time to go over a number of blogposts that I had missed out on in the past time. Through one of those blogs I came across a reference to a guy -Mark Beaumont- who had cycled the world in a record-pace, it took him 194 days and 17 hours! Not something I will be attempting, at least not in that timespan ... a round-the-world trip is still somewhere in my mind, NZ is a nice step up.
On Marks site and his wiki I found out that he has made a TV-series together with the BBC about that trip, so I'll have to find it somewhere. And this week also his book, "The man who cycled the world" is introduced in the UK.

His site also said that he was going for another epic journey, riding from Alaska down to Patagonia. And again, a TV-series is made of this event ... starts to look like the "Long way down/round" series of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, except that Mark is travelling by bicycle and solo :)!
Mark will be updating his blog regularly from the road. I will be following Mark!

And yes, my own trip to New Zealand is again coming up quite fast, and as it is planned now I do not have that much time to prepare once I am graduated (current planning: June 19th). Therefore I am currently trying to find out what to take, and what I still need to get from the store. There is still quite a list of items for me to go through, deciding on taking it or not, meaning for some that it has to be purchased.

I would like to take a tripod with me for some good photos, however most tripods are either heavy and bulky or way too expensive (made of carbon). This weekend I found a nice tripod: the Trek-Tech T'Pod that packs quite small and can handle a DSLR. Most small tripods do not really go together with larger cameras, so a nice point. The disadvantage is that it is a table-tripod, thus not actually high and might call for some creativity. Though, this company also makes some nice monopods with tripod-legs, the Trek-Tech Trekpod series. One of these would also do the trick for me I guess, will have to try one of these sometime soon.

Another item I am considering is an imagebank, for backing up my CompactFlash cards once every while on the road. OK, CF-cards can handle quite a lot, but have lost holiday photos once already due to user-error (pressing the wrong button). And I would like to keep my photos. A candidate might be the Nexto Extreme ND2700, simple but fast and reliable; with a 160GB HDD it would have storage enough to backup the CF-capacity (approx. 22GB).

My bike is now almost fully prepared, as new handlebars were mounted a while ago and new tyres are on order (Schwalbe Marathon XR 57-559, foldable). I got the remark that my fenders most likely would no longer fit with these tyres, but as the fenders are already 60mm wide I think it'll be alright. A couple other points of action that need to be taken here are an oil-change for my Rohloff and shortening the Magura brakelines. Oh yeah, the Pioneer also needs to be cleaned thoroughly ... but as I will be riding it this will be done somewhere in the last days.