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When To Not Be Super Frugal?

— When flying on low-cost carriers (LCC).

 At first this is contradicting since people usually fly LCC for the low fares. These flights are for most of the time relatively cheap. As a young student with an itch to travel, my eyes sparkle with joy, my pupils dilating mad. Europe is teeming with LCC and there is an impressive list of operators here. If your travel preferrence is to get from point to point quick, hassle-free and not left tired from the journey then air travel is the right choice for you since it cuts a great amount of travel time.

LCC however comes without the frills of “normal” commercial airliners. Generally, insurance, meals, and checked baggage does not come as standard. They are not very flexible in terms of re-booking, connecting flights and VERY strict about cabin baggage dimensions and weight. LCC airports are also usually in the middle of nowhere so getting to the nearest city will cost extra. There is though an instance of an LCC airport being right smack in the city like Bremen, Germany, which is very cool.

To be stranded, is not cool. LCC is not all bad. On the bright side, you can choose what you want and what fits your budget. Some argue travel insurance isn’t that important. I’m not so sure about that since there is a thing called Murphy’s Law and of course that volcano in Iceland that erupted in 2010 which cancelled all flights in continental Europe. It’s good to have a peace of mind by paying a small fee when things like sickness or baggage lost happens during the travel.

Get checked baggage. During the travel you might pick up something nice or interesting at the airport to bring back home. These can add weight to your cabin baggage. LCC have a strict cabin baggage policy which limits size, weight and types of items that can be brought onboard like sharp objects and liquids. If it is overweight  you either have to repack or pay a penalty fee and the bag will be put in the cargo hold. So again for a peace of mind, get the checked baggage.

Pretty winglets on Ryanair B738 at Stansted Airport

It should also be noted that LCC runs on low operating costs and the departure gate is almost all the time located at the furthest region of an airport without using a skybridge. Arrive early at the airport to: 1. beat the queue 2. make it to the gate on-time (try to do this without sprinting lol).

To travel with the littlest cost, needs good planning. A hiccup in it could end up costing you more, you might be better off flying on non-LCC. By opting for the “additional options” you allow yourself more freedom and less restrictions. Now, you can worry less.

Happy happy travels,
Afifi

Velo Challenge Hannover 2011

Velo Challenge Hannover 2011 Helmet Cam from Afifi

It was more like an enjoying festive sunday ride than a race, well at least for me. I think i could’ve done better if i didn’t make those unnecessary stops in between and stayed within the fast group. Oh well, time to hit the books! (again)

Today I Whacked Some Balls!

This post contains information about removing and installing the ball bearings off the Fulcrum Racing 7 front wheel hub. Use this information at your own risk.

After the winter pause, I took the road bike out for a spin. A few hundred meters in, there was a considerable amount of resistance building up in the front wheel and then the hub gave a high-pitched shriek LOL. That gave a fright to an old lady passing-by. I know I might be too. After all the Lycra shorts were too damn sexy. Flustered i was, in the midst of this confusion.

It appeared that i need to change the ball-bearings of the Fulcrum Racing 7. There are dozens of cycling forums with people asking about how to remove/dismantle the hub of the wheel. I could not find any instructions in the English forums since most of them end up sending the wheel to the shop.  IMO having a qualified person to do the job is the best way to deal with this problem. But I want to learn how to service my machine, hence this post. I found a few German forums with very useful instructions. A poster even regarded this as child’s play and will take around 15min. That’s quite impressive.

Wheel without quick release.

The exploded view of the front hub in Technical Document in Fulcrum’s website does not indicate a circlip ring. There is actually one on each end to fasten the bearing cover. There is a dedicated circlip plier for removal but I used a needle-nose plier. Wear protective eyewear! The ring can fly.

Circlip ring removed.

Bearing cover removed.

Hitting the axle.

Hit the axle (preferably with a rubber mallet, I had a pestle wrapped in layers of cloth) to eventually knock off the axle and the bearing on the other side.

Bearing without axle.

Use axle to knock the other bearing out.

This is only a rough walk-through of what I did. Remember, it is always important TO NOT damage the wheel Okay.

Here’s a link to the said forum at Tour Magazin (in German): http://forum.tour-magazin.de/showthread.php?t=151126

Will update this post once my ball bearings arrive by mail. My ball bearings?

***UPDATE***

  • Still waiting for the standard sealed cartridge bearing 6001-2RS. They should arrive soon.
  • Bought 10 flat washer. They are the Kotflügelscheiben kind (fender washers?) 13,0 x 30 mm (1,2mm thick) and fit through the axle nicely covering the bearings.
  • The plan is to take the quick release skewer with the washers and use it as a clamp, to press the bearings into the hub. The washers will act as spacers and (well, i guess) exert equal amount of force on the bearings so that they uniformly enter the hub. These were 0,92EUR from the hardware store. Online prices are ridiculously high unless you’re looking to buy more than a thousand pieces which does bring the unit price down. There is also a tool for this job called the bearing press if I’m not mistaken which costs around 50EUR. Wait. What? That is almost the price of a new wheel lol so no I’ll just have to improvise.

***INSTALLING THE BEARINGS***

The ball bearings finally came in the mail. I bought these SKF 6001-2RS for 4,50EUR a pop incl. shipping.

 

Ze ball-bearing.

To put the wheel back together, insert the axle through the hub along with the bearings on both sides. Insert the skewer and ‘clamp’ with the washers, hub cap and then screw the nut in.

Ball-bearing, washers, cap, skewer nut

As the skewer is tighten the bearing will be pulled in. Tighten the nut and continue closing the lever. Since the washers are a tiny to wide to fit into the hub (the bearings should be slightly lodged in the hub), i changed the order so that the hub cap is next to the bearing, then washers, then nut. My attempt managed to pull in one bearing on one side. So i took out the skewer and placed the cam on the other side and pulled the other bearing in.

So both bearings are now in. Job finish? Not yet. Check the axle for play. If there is play, the bearings still need to be pulled in. Put in the bearing covers and secure with the circlips.

Checking for play

So that’s about it. Hope this would be some sort of help to you.

Happy riding!
Afifi

I went rebellious, skipped breakfast, lunch and tea, …

and all that trouble ended up making me happy.

Also for the fact that the meal costs 2,50EUR, impresses me still.

Instructions:

  • heat up skillet until very hot
  • season meat with
    • salt
    • pepper
    • rosemary
    • olive oil
  • toss it into the pan searing each sides until brown
  • then either put it in the oven, or cover with a lid and let it cook (instinctively? lol)
  • pan is now left with brown residues which IMHO contains the most amazing flavours (Oh!), deglaze it with some sliced onions, with a tiny bit of water
  • Serve. Guten Apetit!

Unpleasant

She was obsessed with her beauty.
The beauty that melts the iron cores of the hearts of men.
Now many would woo her
but no love would overcome her pride to be one with her beauty.
Not so surprisingly one day, she took her life.

She never aged.

Lamb Tagine & Couscous (OH SO EASY)

After watching An Idiot Abroad Episode 3 in Jordan, we decided to eat something Maghreb-ish, reminiscing the time we had with the Berber in the Sahara.

It’s a stew. Really.

Ingredients:

  • 500g lamb, gulasch
  • 3 carrots, cut a la freestyle
  • 5 potatoes, cut a la freestyle
  • 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • olive oil
  • 250g tomato sauce (not ketchup)
  • chicken stock
  • dried apricots

Sweat the onions in the olive oil. Some would prefer browning the lamb first. I didn’t. I would too. But I forgot.

Now, add EVERYTHING. Bring to simmer, put a lid on, lower heat, wait until cooked. EASY.

Couscous. Follow instructions on the box. Ours needed 7minutes to make with only salted boiling water and some butter. EASY.

This is THE most full-filling food i ever made. (also fool proof)

This does not make you go bloated rolling on the floor FML upset like after eating a barrel of fried chicken. You know what i am talking about.

 

BONUS MATERIAL

Our overnight in the Sahara desert with the Berber who were very friendly. We ate camel tagine and couscous. The lady who cooked for us smiled all evening. She prepared everything without a chopping board in a separate small shed of hers. Memang legend. Photos were taken with the Olympus Trip 35 on AGFA APX 400.

Tozeur, Tunisia. Entrance to Sahara. Not really since you can enter the desert from anywhere.


Berber tent façade with Rahiza and Ube


Author and Besut looking our best to look classy. Mehehe.

Char Koay Teow

Char Koay Teow is super fast to cook.

Ingredients:

  • Flat rice noodles (thats enough for two?)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, chopped finely
  • Magic Concoction, ground/crushed ((shallots, belacan, bird’s eye chili) can’t really help on the exact amount, its an arbitrary thing you know..)
  • Heck, everything here is arbitrary!
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Sweet soy sauce
  • Salty soy sauce
  • An egg of a bird. I use chicken.
  • Chives, cut in small strips
  • Bean Sprouts

Preparations: If you have dried noodles, soak them in water until al dente. Since i dont have a wok, i use a pot. Wash the chives and bean sprouts.

Heat oil in pot at high until hot. Add garlic and within 10-15 sec add the magic concoction. If you forgot to open the windows, you’re toast. The smell of frying belacan is so incredible, the very clothes you’re wearing will smell of fermented shrimp for hours long. Add in the chives, bean sprouts and all the sauces. After a minute or two add the noodles. I am guessing after 3 minutes, create a crater, and put the egg there. Try to create chunks of eggs that is not scrambled tiny. Add some hawker-style action wok noise, and thats it!

Note #1: Al dente is like soft but somehow raw. The noodles will be cooked later with the liquids in the pot, so it is kinda important not to over soften the noodles beforehand e.g. in warm/boiling water of else the end product will me mushy, unless if, you prefer it mushy mushy, sticky sticky.

Note #2: This is really not a serious recipe blog.

Note #3: I didn’t have any prawns or chicken at hand which would be so much AWESOME to have. Just fry these before adding in the garlic step. Just note that chicken will take a longer time to cook than prawns.

Guten Appetit!

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