Tag Archives: ExCel

Excel FIle – EyeCycled Faith’s Way (Caminho da Fé): Expenses, Notes and Measures (Summary)

Link to Blog Post: https://wp.me/p60ak1-1hI

This Excel file contains the statistics of the journey (as collected by my Garmin Edge 810), such as distances, Elevation, Speeds, Average Heart Beat, etc, as well as the expenses, accommodation and the notes I recorded along the way.

Use it at your own risk.

Arquivo Excel – EyeCycled Caminho da Fé, Despesas, Anotações e Medidas (resumo)

Link para o artigo no Blogue: http://eyecycled.com/pt_BR/2018/02/28/faiths-way-caminho-da-fe-introduction-day-zero/#

Este arquivo Excel contém as estatiticas da viagem (conforme registradas pelo meu Garmin Edge 810), tais como distâncias, Elevação, velocidades, batimento cardiaco médio, etc, assim como as despesas ao logo da viagem, a acomodação e as anotações que gravei ao longo do caminho.

Use por sua conta e risco.

Via Francigena: Introduction and "Day Zero"

"The perfect is the enemy of the good"

IMAG3117I’ve put off long enough, I think…

I honestly tried to publish content about my Via Francigena Pilgrimage by bike last year, but life got in the way and the ideas I had in my head for the blog posts and videos were perhaps a little out of my league.

Some time ago, as I was editing the 3rd video, I believe, I decided that I before I started the series of Via Francigena Blog posts I should publish an introduction first. I looked back into my “old” plans and realised things didn’t quite go as planned, but that they could probably have the potential of being worst if I hadn’t planned.

This introduction allows me to share my original plan with you and compare it with some of the real life post-pilgrimage information I collected. Perhaps it can be useful to other pilgrims.

In this introduction I also want to explain why I will be doing things in a certain way (by “things” I mean, the posts, the videos, etc). Call it the publishing “strategy”, if you like.

So, here it goes… the introduction to my Via Francigena Blog Series.

Click on the links below to jump directly to that section.

  1. About the Via Francigena: What is the Via Francigena?
  2. About the series of Blog Posts I am preparing.
  3. About the Route I took.
  4. About my plans, before I left (download in PDF).
  5. About the reality, when I came back (download in EXCEL)
  6. About the videos and media (pictures)
  7. About “Day Zero”, the day before the journey started.
  8. The pictures of “Day Zero” in Canterbury.

What is the Via Francigena

I could answer this with “Google is your friend“, or I could just provide a number of links to web resources such as this one, this one and this one, but they would not be my answer or at least answer what Via Francigena was to me.

In 2015 a friend and I decided to do the Camino de Santiago by bike. I had done some shorter bike trips before, but this was, at the time, the longest bike ride of my life. I loved it! Since coming back I was looking for the next challenge. For various reasons a number of ideas were raised and dropped. Some would take too long and be too expensive requiring me to take a license from work or quit my job. Not quite sure how I got to know about the Via Francigena (VF), but as a pilgrimage it is quite akin to the Camino de Santiago, so much in fact that is often also called “Camino di Roma” and it was probably during my research to write about my experiences with the Camino that I came across the details for the VF.

I really needed a challenge to get my mind off certain things that were consuming me during that period. Therapy and medication wasn’t helping much, so I started planning and the more I put my head to it, the more I was certain it was a feasible adventure, not too hard and not too easy. I found out that I was OK to spend the expected amount of money needed, but getting the approval from my company for the extended holiday period required for the trip, plus a few extra days for contingencies, wasn’t too easy.

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Blog Posts:

It took me 29 days to complete the pilgrimage end to end, so my plan is to write at least 29 posts, as short as they may be, one for each day.

To promote consistency and order to the posts, I will divide each post in the respective Lightfoot Guide stages I covered on that day. More about the Lightfoot guide stages below.

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Route:

For those old enough to understand this, it is not only Frank Sinatra that did things in his own way… I did my Via Francigena in my own way too… but, of course, like the Beatles (and Joe Cocker) with a little help from my friends.

First I bought the electronic version (PDF) of the Via Francigena Lightfoot volume set, containing 4 volumes. I do recommend them to you, but to be brutally honest, I don’t know if it was a worthwhile investment for me.

Lightfoot Via Francigena Guides, 4 Volumes

You can acquire the guides in paperback format at a cost of €67.99 or in digital PDF format at lower cost of €38.99 (at the time of writing) which comes watermarked with your name and email address to prevent misuse. I would recommend the e-book version as you honestly would not benefit from carrying 4 volumes of books, with hundreds of pages each, on your bicycle panniers (or backpack if doing by foot).

Link to the Lightfoot guides page: http://pilgrimagepublications.com/pp_2014/product/lightfoot-guide-to-the-via-francigena-4-volume-set/

Although the guides are extremely detailed, I’ve personally found the maps very confusing to follow on my bike, but, please, don’t take me as reference as I am a terrible map reader anyway. I believe they would be a much better help to those doing the pilgrimage on foot. The most useful aspect of the guides for me was to provide direction, hints and tips and the list of pilgrim accommodations.

The Lightfoot guide divides the Via Francigena into 98 stages, which are, presumably, the segments covered by Archbishop Sigeric, the Serious, on his 80 days return journey from Rome to Canterbury after receiving his Cope and Pallium (a circular band of white wool with pendants, worn by archbishops) from the Pope.

I deliberately missed some of these stages, such as the one from Calais to Wissant, and a few more during the journey because of various reasons, but I did cover most of these stages and the posts and videos will focus on them for each day of the pilgrimage.

You will be able to download the GPS files of the routes I took every day, but they include mistakes and tracks I would not recommend to you, so it would be important to read the posts for some context if you want to avoid making the same mistakes I did.

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Planning (before I left):

I am an Engineer by formation and a project manager by trade. With this in mind, how can you expect me to go into anything without at least a minimum amount of planning? It is in my nature…

So I am making available here the original planning document in PDF format. I don’t mind sharing the original Microsoft Word document, nor any of the other supporting documents (Excel Spreadsheets, Microsoft Project Plan, PowerPoints, etc), but if you want them you’ll have to message me requesting them. They might be useful to you, if you are planning on doing your own Via Francigena.

Keep in mind, they should only be used as a guide. When I did the Camino de Santiago in 2015 I heard many times that although the route might be the same, the Camino is different for each person. That is one of the truths about pilgrimages: The Camino is yours… a very individual thing. Even if you do it more than once, they will always be different. When I did the Camino de Santiago in 2015 I met pilgrims who had done it several times and confirmed to me that every time they did it, was different, even if walking or riding the exact same route. That is perhaps one of the things that make this type of adventure so appealing to many. There will be decisions to be made along the way and a variety of random things that may force you to change your plans or your route, like road closures, weather conditions, sickness, mechanical failures, little accidents and so on… (knock on wood).

I know this may sound ridiculously obvious, but I don’t think I can over-emphasize that you should not rely too much on other people’s experiences as a recipe for success, if there is such a thing as a successful pilgrimage.

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Reality (after I came back):

Now, this is not going to sound positive in terms of my planning skills, but no plan I’ve ever made worked out 100%. Other project managers might understand and accept this, however, one thing stands out with project planning: “Fail to plan is planning to fail”. At the very least a good project plan gets you thinking about what you want to achieve and how to achieve it. It is no guarantee of success, especially if you never done before, whatever you are doing, but it is better than to face the challenge completely unprepared.

I decided not to write a lengthy analysis about the things that worked and the things that didn’t. At the end of this series I may do that, but by then, if you have the intention of following the series, you’ll probably know that already.

I attempted to collect a lot of data during the journey, and that failed. I think I over-estimated my ability to do the collection while ensuring I was on the right track, got to the top of that mountain and was not run over by a truck or a car. It is a lot to take in and I had my hands full most of the time, but it wasn’t a complete disaster either.

Those that have done any amount of cycle-touring in their lives will know that at the end of the day you will be tired, dirty and hungry. The last thing on your mind would be “I need to record the stats / log for the day”. It wasn’t easy to get in front of a computer to write anything after a challenging day of riding 8 to 9 hours on a bike, yet I did it most days (feel free to leave me your kudos in the comments).

I was using multiple files as I originally thought it would be easier to separate the information, but upon my return I combined everything into a single file which I make available for download below. It contains all of the expenses, categorized by food, accommodation, repairs, transportation and extras as well as route and track information and a few other “bits and bobs” which might be useful to those attempting to do the same. I originally planned to collect information about other pilgrims, signage along the route and so on, but that was too much.

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Videos and media (photos):

Video creation is by far the most consuming task in the project. I learned that after coming back from doing the Camino de Santiago in 2015. While it took me about 2 weeks to complete that pilgrimage, it took me a year to write about it and that is alright, after all this is my hobby and not my day job.

After the “Camino” I produced at least 1 time-lapsed video for each day of the journey. Some of these videos became a bit too long and I became a bit frustrated that after all the work I had put in them, almost no one was watching them ’till the end. So, for this series of posts I decided on a different approach: I’ll create shorter videos, more specifically breaking them down by stages, the same stages defined by the Lightfoot guide I used. Although there are 98 stages in the guide, I don’t expect to produce 98 videos as I skipped some of the stages.

As the videos were recorded in time-lapse mode with a GoPRO 4 Silver, that means they are very shaky and fast (the series 4 does not have digital image stabilization built in), so I want to leave a few hints and tips on how to best use the videos. I thought the best way to do that would be in a video itself, so, here it goes…

The photos will all be in Flickr as I found media to be very difficult to handle in WordPress itself. There will be albums containing all the photos for each day of the journey and all albums in be joined in what Flickr calls a “collection”.

Unfortunately, if you want more context to the photos you’ll have to read the blog posts as I simply don’t have the time and the will power to write descriptions for each of the thousands of pictures there.

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Day Zero: The day before the journey started

I live in a small town called Bracknell in the county of Berkshire, England. The distance between my home and Canterbury is roughly 100 miles or 160 Km, so I got a good friend of mine to drive me to Canterbury the day before. I also had the company of my older son.

I had a reservation at the local Youth Hostel and after leaving the bike and gear in the hostel we all left to walk around Canterbury and find a place to eat dinner.

You can read a lot about Canterbury in Wikepidia, so I will just refrain from copy and pasting and leave you the invitation to click on the link above to learn more about this historic town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been inhabited since pre-historic times and played an important role in British history.

There isn’t actually much more to say about that day. After having dinner, my friend and my son drove back home and I spent some time in the hostel writing this blog post here.

At that point I was still deluding myself that I would be able to write one short post for each day of the journey. I did write several, but I now know better.

I don’t want to repeat in this post what I wrote on the above mentioned one, but I thought it was OK to, at least, point back to it and also share the pictures of the day.

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Pictures of Day Zero: In Canterbury.

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So that’s it, the first post of hopefully many.

Please subscribe to my Blog and/or to my YouTube channel if you don’t want to miss the next one. Please help me spread the word by liking and sharing my Facebook Page and Tweeter feed also.

Thank you for your time!

Via Francigena, Expenses, Notes, Measures and Telemetry [EXCEL File]

This is an Microsoft EXCEL document containing information about my ride to Rome, such as how much I spent for food, accommodation , etc, stages and distances, notes and a lot more.

It might be useful to others planning to do the Via Francigena Pilgrimage by bike.

This information is relatively accurate, but by no means perfect, so use it at your own risk!

The London Bike Show 2016

The London Bike Show was the place to be for Cyclists in London last weekend (11th to 14th of February 2016). It was for me a new experience since I had not been to one before. It was a bit of a Marathon to get to the ExCel, with trains, the underground and the DLR, but it was worth it. Since I was covering the show for the Brazilian Cycling Magazine “Revista Bicicleta” I manage to get a press pass to the show.

Now, with the show over, the stats I found on their website indicates that they had over 50.000 visitors and more than 300 different brands in categories such as Clothing, Bicycles, Electronics, Innovation, Performance, Charity, Components, Nutrition, Tourism, Retail, Accessories and others.

There where over 50 different bicycle brands or manufacturers exposing the best of what is available in cycling today. Among them some brands I personally had never heard of (doesn’t mean they are unknown) such as Radon, from Germany and Wilier from Italy. Of course, most of the big names were there too in the likes of Specialized, Cannondale, Cube, Giant, Scott, Boardman, Surly, Orange and many others and they have taken a lot of the space of the show. I felt, however, that there were names missing there also. For instance I don’t recall having seen booths for Fuji and Bianchi in the show, but then I could have missed them, even though I was there for 7 hours (and they are not in the list of brands I got either).

P1000322
Stealth Bike

My impression was that electric and hybrid bikes were big on this year’s show, but then I didn’t go to last year´s show to make a proper comparison. Every brand in the show had at least 1 electric or hybrid option available and there were those brands that all they do is electric bikes such as Oxigen from the UK and Stealth from Australia.

There was really a bit of everything in the show and sometimes it felt like there was too much of something as well, enough to get a bike loving person somewhat dazzled by what it was on offer, especially those with big pockets. It wasn’t hard to find bikes with £7,000 to £9,000 price tags in them.

The show also brought to stage cycling celebrities like Sir Chris Hoy, the most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time, with six gold medals in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics and 11 times track world champion. Other celebrities included Greg LeMond, 3 times Tour de France winner, and Steve Peat, a downhill MTB legend.

During the show over 40 of the best freestyle bikers competed for a € 10,000.00 price on an event called “Air to the Throne“. They competed on a purpose built course with some huge ramps that allowed the riders to showcase some mind-blowing tricks for the crowds. It was nice to watch their domain of the bike.

P1000425The ticket to the bike show gave also access to 3 more events taking place in the same area: The Triathlon Show, sponsored by Honda, the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show, sponsored by the Telegraph (a British Newspaper), with lots to see for nature loving camping people and the London International Dive Show, that enabled visitors to actually try the equipment in the big swimming pools built on site.

P1000405Although those were nice to see, the bike show was the main event, at least for me. Given that my current interest is in bike touring and long distance cycling, that is where I tried to focus my attention to.

I did look around in the outdoor and adventure area to check the options for tents and other camping equipment which I intend to use in my next long distance trip. Here the highlight goes to the Terra Nova Laser Ultra 1 tent with a total weight of less than 0.5 Kg (1.1 lb). I bought myself an all-in-one stove and cooking pot that I thought was on offer for a good price in the show (that was actually the only thing I bought during the show).

The number of items in the show were in fact so varied that a visitor that didn’t have in mind something specific to look for, could easily be visually overwhelmed by all the information available and by what was on offer.

The show had a large circular test track on one side which enabled the visitor to “test-ride” many of the bikes on display. Of the 7 hours I was there I only tested 3 bikes: 2 electric and an urban one. I didn’t find many touring bike options during the show and that was for me a bit disappointing, but I found interesting innovations in areas such as lighting and efficient use of space and weight, which for those who intend to travel long distances by bike are worth checking.

P1000345I was impressed by how far dynamo technology has come since the old days of the mechanical bottle dynamos. Exposure lights had an electromagnetic dynamo + lights kit, the “Revo Dynamo” on show and I was amazed by how little drag the dynamo produced on the wheel to keep the 800 Lumens light on full power. On the same booth they had their battery operated LED lights on display. The strongest one, the “Six Pack MK6“, with a massive 4,000 lumens of power and a battery to keep it going for 4h at full power or 31h at low power (which is actually quite strong). I liked the small OLED displays on the back to indicate their status and remaining power left in the battery. Needless to say all of these don’t come cheap, with the Dynamo kit costing around £300 and the big 4,000 lumens light at around £400. There were several other brands showing their innovations in this area.

P1000319
AQUAir from NEOS

Topeak brought to their booth some very interesting bicycle bags. From frame and tool bags to a variety of panniers. Things that captured my attention were the a combined water bottle cage with a small tool bag underneath and the air pump designed to fit into the seat post, part of their Ninja series. Another interesting product I’ve seen in this area was a behind the saddle support made by NEOS called AQUAir which allows you to have 2 water bottles, as well as 2 CO2 cartridges, an inflation tube and an extra inner tube all neatly stored behind and under your saddle.

P1000272For those that like gadgets, Kodak was showing their latest 360º, 4K action camera. In this area, I missed the presence of players such as GoPRO and Sony, which I believe are market leaders in this segment.

Another area I though was under-represented was the one for special bikes, like Recumbents and Tricycles. Yes, there were a few brands showing their products, but in relation to more conventional types of bikes (Road, MTB, etc) their presence was almost insignificant. In this area one bike that made me turn heads was a rather strange looking tandem from Circe Cycles named Morpheus Aurora. The rear cyclist seats in a conventional saddle and pilots the bike, while the front cyclist seats and pedals in a reclined (recumbent) position and holds a fake handlebar for support. A very interesting concept to say the least.

In terms of accessories I must confess this was an area I didn’t particularly focus on, but I did visit the booths of Continental and Schwalbe on the look for the ideal tyres for my future bike travel plans to Rome. I also found some interesting devices such as LiteLok’s Boa Green lock which, according to them was awarded the highest ever Secure Gold standard by Sold Secure, a British testing agency for security products.

P1000387Also worth mentioning is the Overade folding bicycle helmet, which due to its folded size might be an interesting product for those short on space on long bike journeys.

Those of us living in cold winters might also have also been interested in the Virtual Reality Cycling Simulation
game brought by Tacx to be used with their Turbo Trainers (rollers). The online game connects to servers on the internet and allows the rider to compete with other riders (that obviously have the same system) anywhere in the world.

The simulation has several types of tracks available and the resistance in the roller is controlled in accordance to the terrain displayed on the high resolution simulation in the screen in front. I do believe that depending on the size of the screen the simulation has the potential to be very immersive and it is an excellent exercise, as I could myself experience in the 2 times I had a go at it (it was fun).

P1000338In conclusion, those owners of Basic Lamborghinis will now be happy to know that they can carry their precious bikes on the roof of their vehicles through a support with special suction cups and but if they end up scratching the red paint of the car, please don’t come complaining to me.

London Bike Show 2016
Click on the image above to go to the Flickr Album with pictures of the show.