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14 April 2015

How to Go From Naxos to Athens - With a Broken Leg

It's actually quite well organized

Last January I broke my leg (I guess I've mentioned it before). This happened on the island of Naxos, in fact somewhere in the mountains of that island, but that is another story. At some point in that story I had arrived in the "health center" of the island, what used to be the islands hospital. The orthopedic there spoke that I would need surgery, which could only be done in Athens. Which means I had to get to Athens...

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Posted by betabug at 12:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 April 2015

Going Nowhere Fast

Getting and using a static bike trainer

Did I mention I broke my leg in January? Right, I did. Well, I'm still in the process of recovery, and (as I also mentioned already) to help with that, I bought a bike trainer (aka "turbo trainer"). This is a device you enter your bicycle into, to turn it into a static bike. When I went out to buy this thing, I spent an awefull long time to consider all the options. There are a lot of options, at least in theory.

There are bike trainers with different mechanisms to produce the resistance to your wheel (magnetic, fluid, air/ventilator), each with their own advantages and disadvantages. There are very simple systems that do not allow to vary the resistance, some that you vary it in a mechanical way, and some that do it electronically (and the fluid trainers vary it with the speed of your wheel. And then there are those that vary it electronically, while being connected to a computer (or tablet computer), which gives way to all kind of funny games, like showing a video that will change speed as you pedal faster, and increase the resistance if you're going uphill in the video.

OK to buying one, but... buying one in Greece?

So what should I buy? I had another problem to that: Since I am living in a far, far away place, on the end of the map (so to speak), in Greece where shops have only a limited choice of products, and often these products are more expensive and a bit outdated... a lot of the stuff reviewed on the Interwebz is not available. It is a tiny bit understandable, given the good weather here, a trainer is not that useful.

So my choices came down to buy something simple here and now, or order something fancy over the Internet. A trainer is a heavy and big item though, so ordering it would have taken a long time. I went for the simple and as-cheap-as-possible choice. I got the cheapest magnetic trainer I could find readily in a shop near me. The result is that I have a trainer that not even the company that made it lists on their website. In Greek there is an expression "not even its mother knows it", pretty fitting here.

It does the job so far. For now, all I'm doing is 30 minutes of riding two or three times a week. I tried watching some cycling videos on the laptop, but most of the time it doesn't inspire me. It detracts from the riding and it detracts from the cycling video. Maybe if I would be doing 2 hour rides I would be more tempted to try something that works like a game. Right now spinning away on the bike and feeling my legs move is entertaining enough.

Posted by betabug at 19:45 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
21 April 2015

Endlich Frühling!

Langer, nasser Winter
Frühlingsblumen, aber noch kein Mohn

Endlich ist es Frühling, der Winter war dieses Jahr lang und nass. Auf Naxos hat es drei mal geschneit - was sonst nur so alle 6-10 Jahre vorkommt. Gut für die Insel, die Wasser-Reservoire sind voll, die Erde hat viel Wasser gespeichert, die Insel ist grün.

Diesen Winter war der Plan eigentlich so oft und lange wie möglich auf Naxos zu bleiben. Athen geht mir momentan auf den Keks. Das Problem dabei war einerseits, dass unsere Unterkunft nicht geheizt ist (und es zieht), also ist das ganze vom Wetter abhängig. Das andere Problem war dann natürlich der Beinbruch.

Also waren wir lange nicht so oft hier wie wir wollten. Und als wir Ende März hier ankamen, war es noch sehr winterlich: Windig, regnerisch, kalt. Vielleicht nicht "Winter in der Schweiz"-kalt, aber kalt genug wenn das Haus nicht geheizt ist. Noch am (griechischen) Karfreitag stürmte es so stark, dass der Schiffsverkehr eingestellt wurde.

Am Oster-Sonntag war dann alles anders: Wir sassen mit Freunden beim Mittagessen und bevorzugt im Schatten, in der Sonne war es schon zu heiss. Für ein paar Tage war es richtig warm. Die Insulaner beschwerten sich schon wieder, "vom Winter gleich zum Sommer, wo ist unser Frühling?" Der Frühling ist schon da, es ist wieder etwas kühler geworden und überall blüht es. Für mich gibt es da keinen Grund zu jammern.

Posted by betabug at 15:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 April 2015

Bazar des Tierschutzvereins Naxos

Helfen mit Kaufen

Letzte Woche Samstag/Sonntag veranstaltete der Tierschutzverein Naxos (Website, Partner-Website auf Deutsch), einen Bazar, bei dem alle Einnahmen der Tierschutzarbeit zugute kamen. In einem kleinen Laden gab es auf zwei Stockwerken, Bücher, CDs, DVDs, Spielzeug, Kleidung, und noch viel mehr. Die Preise zeichneten sich durch absoluten Minimalismus aus: Fast alles kostet einfach einen Euro. Wir haben vor allem bei Büchern und Kleidung zugeschlagen. Da mir die Preise etwas gar niedrig vorkamen, haben wir ordentlich aufgerundet.

Am Schluss haben wir uns noch darüber unterhalten, was wir bei uns in der direkten Umgebung machen könnten, um die Situation der Katzenpopulation etwas zu stabilisieren. Wir haben noch nicht alle Vorraussetzungen, aber vielleicht fällt uns da ja noch etwas sein. Der Tierschutzverein würde uns "Katzenfallen" ausleihen, so dass wir die Strassentiger zum Impfen und Sterilisieren bringen können. Das Problem ist, dass wir einen Raum brauchen, in dem die weiblichen Tiere nach der Operation Ruhe haben können.

Posted by betabug at 13:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 April 2015

No more Captain Ahab

Getting rid of the crutches

So, starting on last Thursday (2 days ago now), I got rid of the crutches. Actually, 3 weeks ago already, the doctor had instructed me to jettison the one crutch, and walk only with one, opposite from the weak leg. That was already an improvement, as I had one hand free: At least now I could carry a glass of water to the table!

Now without crutches, life is sooo much nicer. No more walking with tack-tack-tack sounds. Those sounds had prompted me to call myself "Captain Ahab". I still walk pretty weird, the body tries to shift the weight to the other leg. I'm practicing walking straight up and not swerving wildly all the time. Each time I get up from sitting and notice that I don't have to fetch around for the crutches, I sigh a breath of relief. This is so nice.

Posted by betabug at 10:50 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 April 2015

What I've missed in cycling these months

Can't have it all
Actually here it wasn't so bad, this is autumn, with just a few clouds

There is something about cycling that I missed those last 3 months. I'm not prone to complain in this "broken leg" story. Things are going fine and they could have been a lot worse in all this. Since the broken leg is from a fall in cycling, the first few days I was very reluctant to even think about cycling again. Then it slowly came back, and I contemplated cycling again, taking it easy, no stress. I have nothing to win, and nothing to hurry. I started doing indoor trainer rides, which I'm enjoying a lot. I'll be probably out there on the roads again in two more months. I will indeed take it slowly, especially going downhill.

"Para el que quiera condiciones meteorológicas perfectas ya existe el ciclismo en pista"

—Juan Antonio Flecha

As Juan Antonio Flecha puts it, for those who want perfect meterological conditions, there is track cycling. For me, when I think about it now, there is one thing I actually miss from this winter/spring without cycling: I really enjoy being out there in "not so nice" weather. When it's grey and cold and drizzling. When the wind is freezing a bit as it gets dark out there. When there are large clouds over the mountains, and you're heading just that way.

Hubris, I know, since evening fog in the mountains is just the thing that brought me down. Also since I would be the first to complain if I had to cycle all year long in those conditions. But here in Greece, I'll miss those short few months of having had the pleasure to show off what a hard man I can be.

Posted by betabug at 10:46 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)