Monatsarchiv: Juni 2008

Open edifice of raw, steaming talent that is David Hasselhoff

As we all know, David Hasselhoff, aka Knight Rider is not only a very talented actor and singer, but also an avid bike rider. No I am making that up. But I can find no other excuse to include these brilliant Amazon customer reviews about his „best-of“ album. Every word that David H. sings [yet another brillant David by the way, how many are still out there we don’t know yet about?] is true. Yes „Je t’aime means I love you“. This is true, I can vouch for this. And „Hot Shot City“ is particulary good in case you don’t noticed yet.

I want to leave the office now and buy it. Or I do zero wedding with no loan.
So many choices. Anyway, god save the turks.

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Swiss Military Bike

An interesting article from Spiegel Online [in German] about the Swiss military bicycle. 22,5 kg of high precision built without major design modifications in more than 68.000 numbers between
1904 and 1988. The Ordonanzrad 05.

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le grimpeur

Really good blog.. le grimpeur lots of good reading.

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In a triumph of optimism over satellite weather forecasting technology… does anyone fancy a ride Saturday morning. Say 8.30 at FutakoTamagawa bridge… Ride out to a family restaurant in the vicinity of Mt. Takao??

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Miyakejima [Ladies & Gentlemen, please wear your gas mask]

When you arrive at your destination at 5 AM after a sleepless night on the vinyl covered board of the second class E deck, including a nice hangover, your first impression of the new shores has a tendency to be rather negative. In case of Miyakejima, add a level 3 gas alarm, the penetrating smell of sulphur in the air and a completely deserted port with dilapidated house left and right. This feels like the morning after the night of the living dead.

Is this the Japan of „Uebergestern“? Did we see already what the country is facing, in thirty years from now when the population becomes less and less and older and older so that whole areas will be deserted and bare of human beings?

The Positivo Espresso Team checking in at the lobby of the Miyakejima hotel.

The arrival at our hotel room did little to dilute our first impression. This hotel has seen better days and there was little attention to the details. The rooms smelled of mould and the alternative would have been to open the windows – and let the sulphur gas in. But hey, after some hours of sleep, the distribution of gas masks and a trip to the beach everything looks different. The beach was full of black pebbles (resent research has calculated the number of pebbles as 8,601,767,493 in the top 10 cm layer). The water was just warm enough (for Brits and Germans) and we re-enacted a famous scene from a James Bond movie. Just wonderful.

And our impression of Miyakejima started to soften. The day then continued with the first race of the weekend, a 3.6 km 150 m elevation difference „hill climb“. After successfully conquering Fuji, Wada Toge and Jerome’s hill this year, that seemed to be a piece of cake. I met Stephen at the start who stayed and slept at the hotel. David and Juliane didn’t make it back in time to the start (David because I told him a wrong starting time and Juliane wasn’t interested too much) so we were the only Positivo members to attend.

The start was by class and race number and in 15 second intervals, so I was the first starter in the D class field and Stephen the last one. Miyakejima is somehow hilly. There are no big heights to conquer but there is constant up and down. The hill climb started with a flat piece of road, wonderful to accelerate and I almost made up the distance to the last starter of the C class field. I was soooo fast. Hey, that’s how hill climbing is supposed to be, I said to myself. Unfortunately I got immediately very much slower once the slope started. I never saw the C class rider again. The next 1.6 km consisted of a 8 – 10% slope which brought me almost to my knees. I was never in danger of giving up, but my speed dropped to 10 – 15 km/hr. There was a flat part after that where I could accelerate and the remaining portion was 4 – 6% thereafter, so I could go faster. But I had no orientation where I was in relation to the goal, so I could not make an all-out attack towards the goal line on the last meters as the goal was behind a curve. One more D class rider overtook me.

At the goal I waited for Stephen to arrive and also Juliane and david just made it back from the beach to watch the last groups of riders coming up. In the end I made a respectable 77th place out of 110 riders in the overall standing and an excellent 8th place in the D class. There was even an Irish rider finishing behind me. Later I checked my CICLO data, I had an average speed of more than 20 km/hr, was running at constantly more than 300 Watt and rode up at 14 m/min. This is pretty good, compared to Fuji HC ad other tours, even faster than Jerome hill which is a similar ride.

Anyway, as usual, I could have done better but overall I wasn’t too unhappy. Sometimes I feel like Mario Basler (aka as Mr. 85%), a German soccer player who constantly said over the full 15 years of his entire professional career and after virtually every game: „I am still only at 85% of my potential performance.“
On top of the hill a group of unfriendly policemen, fully equipped with ceremonial riot sticks („Gewabo“ = Gewalt [German for brute force] + Bo [Stick]) rounded the unruly pack of riders and forced them to descent in one big group. Being the uncooperative foreigners, Juliane managed to have a mechanical on which grounds we successfully managed to escape.

Enjoying mechanical problems

It took four adults considerable time and effort to fix a front wheel flat. This time we had a) a pump b) spare cartridges c) offered prayers to the various deities of the roadside. But we manged to rip off a valve from the first exchange tube. And luckily d) we had another exchange tube.

We skipped all of the official entertainment program, although „Le girl“ Enka singing and „360 degree monkeys“ comedy shows are not only events which should definitely be missed but also to be listed in the appropriate annex of the Geneva convention. Instead we opted for the local Onsen which was still empty of riders, followed by a very tasty dinner at hotel mildew. David was excited all day long whether it would be possible to get some dishes of fish and rice and believe it or not, that was exactly what was being served.

While Juliane and David fought with giant anacondas and mothers in cars full of dogs in their sleep respectively, Stephen and me went to the local bar where the local misfits gathered and were being served by a girl having the approximate body shape of sponge bob plus half visible tattoos at various locations.

After a good night of sleep, all Positivo members went to the race track where we checked out the course and made some training laps. The track has not too many flat parts. There is an ascent after the start, followed by a long and more or less straight descent followed by a crazy ascent to the start line again, all in all 2.5 km long. We were pretty impressed that such course is possible, having expected something more nicely flat. So while we were previously discussing our race strategies, for example when to break away from the field, we were now quietly considering our options how to get out without loosing face. One proposal was to raise hands in victory one lap before the actual finish, getting congratulated by Juliane and quickly leaving the place before the real winners arrive.
Anyway, we didn’t had to think too long, because before too long an announcement was made and the race was cancelled. Too much poison gas was coming from the volcano and we were kindly asked to wear our gas masks during training. Sad. Despite what we have thought previously we were all very disappointed not being able to race.

But the Positivo Espresso team is always good for new ideas. So we started immediately to compensate for the loss of cycling time by making one tour around the island. Actually this is a lot of nasty up and down and as we were going very fast, we were pretty exhausted when we arrived at the black pebble beach again. In total it took us 1:14 hr to make one full circle around the island, which is about 32 km.

After that we had another splash in the local Onsen, packed our bags and left for the port. I have to say I was quite moved by the departure ceremony as we threw long paper ribbons from the ship towards the pier which tangled up in a big colorful mess. Suddenly everybody seemed so friendly and warm-hearted. Even the policemen waved us good bye.
So when we arrived back in Tokyo after spending the whole ship journey on the upperdeck (meaning, no bulkheads in our way and no deckheads above our heads) looking at the seascape on star, after, port and foreboard, our opinion of Miyakejima has significantly changed.

When we arrived in the first place we were excepting a group of zombies trying to stop our bus or at least giant mutant mango turtles hunting after us. When we departed we all had respect for the island and its inhabitants facing the fate that has been dictated by natural forces. It’s not an easy life down there, but nevertheless we encountered many friendly and helpful people. This memories will stay, while those of zombies, anacondas, mildew and cars full of dogs will vanish like the smell of sulphur is earased by the inshore winds of the sea.

david pointing in the direction of starport or so.
Julianes legs after sulphuric mutation.My shoes in the appropriate place.Checking for survivors.
David after his right leg has accidentially been exposed to sulphur gas.

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NFCC Article on the website of the French Chamber of Trade and Commerce in Japan

For those of us who are able to understand French, an article about the NFCC team has been released on the website of the French Chamber, including a photo from the recent photo session at the Peugeot dealership in Meguro.

Mais aussi…
NFCC, l’équipe de cyclisme franco-japonaise
Team NFCC – Peugeot – Calyon

Le club NFCC joue la carte des relations franco-japonaises. Force est de constater que les équipiers enchaînent les places sur le podium. La structure se professionalise. Vous trouverez ci-dessous la carte d’identité de cette équipe soutenue par Peugeot Citroën Japon et Calyon Japan

Calyon Japan et Peugeot Citroën Japon suivent le projet avec intérêt :

Patrice Couvegnes
Senior Country Officer and General Manager

« En l’année du 150e anniversaire des relations Franco-japonaises, la filiale du Groupe Crédit Agricole au Japon CALYON a décidé de sponsoriser la jeune équipe franco-japonaise de cyclistes et de triathlètes du NFCC Peugeot-Calyon. Un certain nombre de collaborateurs Français et Japonais du groupe ont d’ailleurs participé ensemble à différents événements sportifs cette année et les résultats sont très déjà encourageants. En plus des médailles et podiums déjà remportés par l’équipe, il s’est crée une dynamique très positive autour de ce projet. »

Philippe-Jean Lafond,
Directeur Marketing de

« Notre partenariat est dû au fait que la marque et les vélos Peugeot sont très connus au Japon. Il nous a donc semble naturel de soutenir une équipe cycliste franco-japonaise dont le projet coincide avec le 150e anniversaire des relations entre la France et le Japon. »

Le club est divisé en plusieurs sections :
- Section Cyclistes Elite qui participe à la JBCF (All Japan Businessman Cycling Federation)
- Section Cyclistes Hill Climb et autres courses
- Section Triathlon

Les 3 meilleurs résultats engrangés par les équipiers :
Mai 2008 :
- Course de montée de Aizu, Fukushima – Victoire en catégorie C
- Course d’attente du Tour of Japan – Victoire et troisième place en catégorie B

Plusieurs places dans les 10 premiers ont été récoltées par dans l’ensemble des trois sections depuis le mois de février.

La répartition de l’effectif est de 65% de Francais – Francophone, 30% de Japonais et 5% d’autre nationalité.

[Note: „65% of the team members are French, 30% are Japanese and 5% are from other nationalities. I would like to point out however, that the town where I was born has been frequently occupied by French troops during the recent 1.000 years or so]

Présentation de 3 membres :

- Coureur JBCF Elite :
Kenichi Akitsu, Japonais, 33 ans, postier A couru en Italie pendant 2 ans et en France pendant 4 ans au niveau national et régional.

- Coureur Cycliste « Hill Climb » :
Goro Akiyama, Japonais, 31 ans, salarié Il est le premier Japonais à avoir rejoint l’équipe en Janvier 2007 et ses talents de grimpeur ont permis à l’équipe de décrocher trois podium depuis le début de la saison.

- Coureur Triathlon : Eric Hermand, Français, 32 ans, instituteur Il est un des triathlètes disposant d’un potentiel de performance important. Actuellement, il prépare la course d’élite Ironman d’Allemagne qui se déroule en juillet.

Projet de l’équipe pour 2009

En 2009, une équipe élite de 8 – 10 coureurs va être mise en place avec l’arrivée de nouveaux coureurs francophones notamment un québécois déjà champion du Canada sur piste – 4 kms poursuite par équipe en 2002 et 2e au championnat du Canada sur route en classe Master, et de nouveaux coureurs Japonais, avec pour but de participer à toutes les manches de cuircuit japonais, de participer à deux courses UCI notamment le Tour de Kumano en mai 2009 et de présenter un coureur japonais au Championnat national du Japon sur route en 2009. Les autres sections de club représenteront le club dans l’ensemble des épreuves cycliste et triathlon au Japon.

SITE INTERNET : Contact : Stephan FOREST,

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Spot the difference [from Daily Miyake Post]

Out of the above four photos only two are screen shots from James Bond movies. The other two are from cheap German/French agent flicks from the zeroes. Can you spot the difference?

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Positivo Espresso Volcanic Island Tours Presents… Hachijojima (no gas-mask required)

The next in the growing tradition of Positivo Espresso summer island tours is planned for the weekend of 5th, 6th July.

Plan A: Overnight ferry from Tokyo at 10:30pm on Friday 4th July; arriving 9:30am (offering remarkable views of the many Landmark Towers along the Japanese coast); return Sunday or Monday 5:25pm on NH830 arriving Haneda at 6:10pm; Ferry costs about 7,000 yen, flight about 10,000 yen (bike transportation needs to be considered…)

Inbetween… free camping (with own typhoon shelter) and sleep, eat, drink, ride your bike (not too much sleeping ‚tho!) – and we can add a little swimming, hiking, stretching etc.
I’m happy to make bookings if anyone wants to come – let me know soon.

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“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”
John F. Kennedy

“I thought of that while riding my bike.”
Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity

“At that age, it’s one of the worse things in the world to wake up and not see your bike where you left it.”
Hip-hop star 50 Cent, real name Curtis Jackson, on the theft of his childhood bike

“The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.”
Iris Murdoch, ‘The Red and the Green’

“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”
H.G. Wells

“If you brake, you don’t win.”
Former racer Mario Cipollini

“I relax by taking my bicycle apart and putting it back together again.”
Michelle Pfeiffer

“Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again, so is a bicycle repair kit.”
Billy Connolly

lots more

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Be careful out there

driven to crime

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