5 PM, Lleida, a city I’ve only heard of the day before. The place my cycling trip was about to start from. I went south, aiming for a camp site in Mequinenza I had previously looked into on-line. I started fairly late in the day and have progressed rather slower than expected, with lots of stops to check position, direction, occasionally going back, trying out a gravel road too difficult for my bike…and at about half past 8 I realised there was no way I would reach Mequinenza before well after nightfall. Another stop to look at the map and I found another camp site some 10 km closer, in the village of Massalcoreig. I turned from the main road onto a side road, than to a smaller and poorly maintained one with a few rabbits and myself the only animal life around. As I progressed I grew more and more uneasy. I was supposedly just a few km from the camp site, but there was absolutely no sign of the camp site at any intersection and it was almost night. I finally entered Massalcoreig and as I reached the point of the supposed camp site just outside of the village, it was completely dark. I was in a forest, swarmed by a million mosquitoes and as I pointed my light to the left, the only thing I could see was a large gate with a single sign – camping prohibited. And as if that wasn’t enough, Read the rest of this entry »
I’m back. Actually, I’m writing this on the day I was supposed to come back. I’ve been back for over a week and as “real life” gushes back in, I’d like to round off this trip of mine. Read the rest of this entry »
Getting going is always a pain. You stumble out with your bike through the narrow train door, hurry back in for your bags, get out, close the door and before you turn around, the train is already on its way. The air outside is different and your dreamy, hazy mind can’t tell if it’s chilly because you’re sleepy or because it really is cold, what it’s going to be like riding, what kind of terrain awaits you, so you guesstimate how to dress. You hang your bags on the bike, set up the lights, camera and cycling computer, turn left and right for the 3rd time checking where the exit from the station is and push off…for about 20 metres or so, until you realise you haven’t put your hose clamp on. Then again after 50 metres, stopping to eat a few bites of the first of the sandwiches, to have something to go on for the next hour. And so you start again, only to realise shortly that your gloves are too thin, so you stop again to dig out warmer ones, to check once more the order of villages you plan to pass through, count the number of times the road will cross the train tracks before you take the shortcut you had in mind…it occurs to you it’d be a good idea to stop at a petrol station somewhere to check your tire pressure, but it’s no good: it’s pitch black, not even 5 AM, nothing will open for hours, the tyres’ll have to wait. Probably for the best, too: Read the rest of this entry »
Great news, everyone! Almost completely out of the blue (if you’ll pardon the pun), Air France workers have decided to take a radical step to preserve our environment and energy resources. Apparently, 20-30% of all Air France flights will not be flying today! The pretext is a mundane one – unions fighting for better working conditions, yada, yada, yada… – but there’s no fooling us and the actual, direct, hard consequences clearly show the main effects of the strike. Given a couple of numbers (Air France operates 1500 flights per day with approximately 100 passengers per flight, loosely assuming an average medium haul flight to be 3000 km, some 40 kWh of energy used per passenger per 100 km and 15 kWh of electric energy per day per household), we can conclude that Air France pilots’ grand gesture saved approximately 50 GWh of energy by keeping their planes on the ground. How much is that? Approximately sufficient for an entire month of electricity for all households in a city like Rijeka, home to about 130.000 inhabitants!
And let’s not forget the effect on climate change! Assuming Read the rest of this entry »
That Far East megalopolises like Beijing, Shanghai and New Delhi suffer under extreme pollution for years and that millions die as a results is, sadly, no news. In contrast, Europe has always somehow acted as if it is “more civilised than that”, but this is proving to be just a façade and one that is rapidly falling apart.
In those warm summer afternoons, when it’s 35 °C+ outside, a failed PSU is a treasure, not junk: a silent, 12V fan and a mouldable metal case which easily turns into a fan stand. 😀