Bangkok booty

After, for me, a record breaking 4 nights at the ultra deluxe Windsor Suites Hotel I’m moving  south towards Singapore  tomorrow.

New spectaclesThe long delay was due to V.Siam Optical  waiting for my replacement prescription glasses which after 4 days duly arrived today, not particularly cheap at  £163 for varifocal adaptive glasses but wow are they lightweight in a titanium frame & ultrathin plastic with Crizal Alize coating. Suddenly I can see again :-) Must remember after snoozing that I still have them on!

My other ‘major’ purchase was a new bike mount for my iPhone. The Topeak performs well in wetter cooler climes. However, here it acts as a mini cloche causing the iPhone to overheat and switch off, even with no direct sunlight, :-( not so good for navigation.

iPhone bike mountIn Loft they had a Capdace Uniconcept  Asia Ltd Racer Bike mount holder,  HR00-BC01  for £13 which would be useless in the wet but maybe good in the dry as the iPhone is exposed to the wind directly, all it needs now is a little brolly  for shade so I can read it in the sun.

Geoff's flash silk sleeping bagI also had one of the tailors here, Zerutti, modify my beloved Chinese  blue silk sleeping bag so it now has a  bright red silk pillow holder for when I return to my down market establishments that have no sheets..

Other than that I haven’t bought anything here, except a few too many Starbucks Frappuccinos  :-( In fact Bangkok is not really my type of place although I did get a decentish massage at the hotel today (although they need to buy their oils from Sally)  and just maybe my left heel fasciitis has eased of a little.

Tomorrow I’m booked into Baansuanphidchamika in Amphawa  so I should get to see the floating markets etc.

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Starting the next stage of my mega bike ride

Zurich RouteTomorrow I’m reluctantly moving on from my lovely apartment in Les Gets towards Zurich so that I can meet my big brother & nephew next weekend for a 70th birthday bash (and I’ve heard a whisper it’s his wife’s birthday too :-) )

I’m fully recovered from the ride here and the excellent Thierry has fitted the bike with new chain, rear gear cassette and brake pads. The dreaded rear pannier’s have been despatched home with my neighbour, as I’ve been assured by Sally after speaking to Pete that a tent isn’t necessary :-)

I’ve spent the last few days trying to sort out my Etrex 20 with maps and in a moment of sheer stupidity lost my OSX application library – which interestingly broke all my Chrome extensions in a very nasty way, the dangers of using an offline backup service. :-(

NB: All that follows is for Mac OSX users.

What I’ve learnt about Garmin maps is that you can fill your Garmin Etrex up with highly detailed Open Street Maps, essentially for free by visiting Velomap and downloading the desired country(s). Installing Garmin Basecamo & Garmin MapInstall. Unzipping the maps using The Unarchiver, setting the destination to the Application Library/Garmin /Maps folder (be careful here!).

Then using Mapinstall pop them into the Garmin. I now have all of France, Germany, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary & Romania installed on my recently purchased 4GB micro SD (€8 from GITEM in Morzine).

To work out the routes I’ve been using Bikemap to create a track. A tip here if you want to modify someones existing track, download the gpx file to the desktop, create a new track in Bikemap and upload the gpx file, then you can edit it. To make the track into a route I used the cool JavaWa tools. I then used Basecamp to stuff the route into the Etrex. Tomorrow is the test :-)

However, that’s only the backup sorted :-). What I really will use is the iPhone and the Gaia app, I’ve uploaded the tracks to the iPhone via email. Then used the neat Gaia utility to auto download the relevant Open Street Map tiles to the iPhone that cover the tracks, so in theory it all works offline.

Apologies to anyone tracking me but my SFR MiFi unit has used all it’s 2GB of data so I’m off air until I can reach a SIM shop in Switzerland…

 

 

 

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Instrument bar for an Altus bar bag.

One of the annoyances on the ride down to Les Gets from Cambridge was that at every cafe stop (of which there were many)  I had to struggle to disengage the GPS & iPhone from their handlebar mounts plus the iPhone couldn’t be used in landscape mode due to there been no space left on the handlebars.

So on the way I was thinking of schemes to overcome the problem. If  somehow I could attach the GPS & iPhone to my Altura Dryline Bar Bag then with one click of the Klickfix quick release I could remove the Altura bar bag, GPS & iPhone in one swift easy movement and head straight to the cafe with all my valuables.

Obviously any system shouldn’t affect the bag water proofing, map case use or ease of access to the bag for taking quick shots with my camera.

Altura bar bag with iPhone & GPS mount

Altura bar bag with iPhone & GPS mount

As all good design the answer was cheap & simple :-) Take an old aluminium broom handle from the scrap bin. Hacksaw it to the right length, then crunch the ends into a flat using a vice, bend to right angles (very slowly & carefully). Put a hole in each end then attach to the sides of the Altura lid using penny washers and M4 bolts.

The map case slides underneath allowing space for The Bikeline books, even better the broom handle bar keeps the map case  firmly in place.

The Topeak iPhone 5 case fits perfectly and can be used in landscape or portrait mode and as a bonus can have the power cable in place with the auxiliary battery pack in the Altura bar bag. (Use an IKEA plastic bag clip to hold the cable in place and seal the iPhone in anything but the worst conditions.). The Garmin handlebar mount fits on well.

Now to give it the 2000 mile test and to work out how to fix the Silva wind gauge……

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