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The city itself, big, fat, loud, stinking, sitting in the middle of Attica and growing. Athens, Greece, to be sure.
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26 March 2013

Freeday, not Critical Mass

Yepp, I'm still here

In other news, Kosta informs me that in fact the Friday evening ride in Athens is the "FreeDay", while the Critical Mass is on the first Monday of each month and lives on

I've been slacking pretty hard on putting something on the weblog here, but I haven't been slacking in riding my bicycle. Been to the FreeDay 3 or 4 times now, went on a niiiiiice ride with a local bike group to Lagonisi on a sunny sunday morning. Also coming and going to the office about 3 times a a week.

I'm enjoying it. It took me a while to get over the traffic. It used to make me a bit aggressive, but at one point I decided that I'm having a good time, so I might as well ignore anything that annoys me, and enjoy the ride instead. Now when the light turns red just as I was passing through, I consider it as a chance for catching my breath. I'm going for speed only when the streets are empty. I'm logging speed and kilometers (got 470km so far this month), but not going to fuss about it.

Posted by betabug at 09:55 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
27 September 2013

Back in the city

Crowded life

So I'm back in the big city since a few days. Yesterday in a crowded subway train, I thought that I should write a few lines about the experience. I've been away for almost 3 months. While during August the island was "full", that is no comparison to how many people there are around me in Athens now. And the few last weeks, it was quiet in the little village on the island. I happened frequently that I would bring out the garbage at night and not see a single person, not even in a car passing by.

Coming back was a bit... not of a shock, but stressy. Moving around by bus and metro, in droves of people. Lots of noise. Lots of time spent going from here to there. The feeling of being in this heap of people is sometimes difficult to stomach after all that quiet. I will go back to moving around by bicycle soon (which is faster than public transport), but then it will be another contrast to riding on the quiet island streets.

On the upside, seeing friends, talking with friends face to face. Working together in a cafe. Seeing neighbors and my neighborhood. Too bad my usual lunch place is closed for some works, but hey, we're in the big city so we were able to go to a restaurant around the corner.

Posted by betabug at 14:41 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
10 November 2013

Morgens in der Stadt

Sonnenstrahlen helfen

Eigentlich habe ich die Stadt im Moment etwas über. Aber früh am morgen gefällt es mir immer noch in der Stadt zu sein. Am besten natürlich an einem sonnigen Tag, von denen haben wir ja glücklicherweise genug hier. Früh morgens aus dem Haus gehen, um eine Bougatsa zum Frühstück zu holen. Das Sonnenlicht auf den Häusern, Menschen, die zur Arbeit gehen oder im Quartier einkaufen.

Posted by betabug at 11:33 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 October 2014

Mini Glas-Container

Es sammelt sich
Ein Mini-Recyclingcontainer für Glas in Athen

Nachdem ich vor Jahren schon über die ersten Schritte im Recycling in Athen berichtet hatte, lief ich heute wieder mal einer interessanten, neuen Entwicklung über den Weg. Ein Container für Glas-Recycling. Mit Ôsen, mit denen der Container gleich komplett abtransportiert werden kann, aber in Mini-Ausführung. Zum Grössenvergleich der übliche "blaue" Recycling-Container daneben.

Ich denke, dass das eine gute Idee ist. Die blauen Container (Marke "der Grüne Punkt") werden nicht überall gleich qualitativ befüllt - sprich, es landet auch viel Müll drin. Die Verarbeitungskette dahinter ist meines Wissens in Griechenland unvollständig, aber ich kann mich da täuschen, ich habe schon länger nicht mehr nachgeschaut. Vor ein paar Jahren wurde das Recyclinggut getrennt und dann deponiert. Mit Glas gibt es eine klarere Recyclingstory.

Posted by betabug at 11:08 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
06 December 2014

Athens Group Ride Culture

Come and ride along
Starting to a group ride

Since restarting my cycling life early last year, I've come to appreciate some of the aspects of the group ride culture here in Athens. What I take part in has changed a lot, but I think all of these things are worth a try and can be good fun, and a way to explore Athens on a bike. Athens is not very bike friendly, so a group ride can make these things safer and more enjoyable.

I started with a commuter bike, and at first I went to the "Freeday" massive group rides on Friday evening, starting from Thisio. The first few times there were between hundred and a few hundred cyclists there, because it was winter. As soon as the weather got warmer, numbers increased, and when it got to close to a thousand, that group ride got to unwieldy and slow for me. Being in such a large group means having to stop and wait a lot. Still it's a fun experience, being in that sea of cyclists, having all the road for you (and the other thousand of you).

Next I found a little neighborhood, "casual" group ride. We're not talking about "dudes in latex on racing bikes" here. These are small groups of normal cyclists, usually on commuting bikes (city bikes, some mountain bikes, some people even on racing bikes), who make tours typically in the range of 30-40km, in an easy speed and waiting for all the members of the group. Usually there is a stop at the "endpoint", but I guess most of them don't stop at a cafe, first for economic reasons, second probably because greek coffee culture takes more time. In winter the stop probably is reduced to 10 minutes of rest.

I don't ride very often with the local group, since my schedule does not always allow it, but there are some people who are always there. On there is a calendar and a map helping you to find a group (in greek). Still I like to join in from time to time, to have an easy ride with company. There are some people who have prepared a route, and there are people who check that everybody stays together and nobody gets lost on a traffic light.

After getting a "fast bike", I started looking at more "sportive" group rides. Here there is also a range of options, but I don't know of any website listing them all (some are appearing also on the site). There are some well known "chain gangs" starting in Kalamaki at the parking space of the "Ble" club (where Alimou and Poseidonos avenues meet), and these groups usually follow the coast road in direction to Sounion. Wednesday evenings, and Saturday/Sunday mornings are typical times.

I've been about 4 times out with some of those groups. Sometimes I like it for getting an easier way to get a lot of kilometers done (drafting in a big group makes a huge difference), but other times I prefer to be out there on my own instead of having to concentrate on the wheel in front of me. I guess each thing has their advantage. One day when I was out alone on the coast road and hit a headwind on the way back, I was passed by a cycling club from Nea Ionia and was invited to sit in at the end... free shelter from the wind, getting me almost all the way home quickly!

Posted by betabug at 15:34 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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