Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Kindle Oasis 2 (2017)

I am a relatively long user of the Kindle. I got my first Kindle Keyboard in November 2010 and had to replace it twice, once for theft and once because a broken display.

I liked it so much that I was never tempted to switch to one of the newer versions. Most of them come with better displays, back-light, are smaller and lighter, but at the same time remove one feature that I especially like: the page turning buttons.

Last year's Oasis changed that, but the weird charging case turned me off.

Kindle Oasis 2 2017
The 2017 version finally convinced me to upgrade. I like the idea of waterproofed devices, slightly larger display, good back-light and mainly page turning buttons.

I ordered it straight away and received it on the day it was released. It arrived in the usual simple packaging, half charged and nothing in the box besides a micro USB cable.

I read my first book on it already, so I can have a quick review.

So lets start with the good things:

The size is pretty much perfect, even though it has a bigger display it is much smaller and lighter than my previous very old one.

The display is brilliant, including the back-light. Even though I never complained about my old Kindle's display, the new one is obviously better and I can finally read in the dark.

I guess the waterproofing is nice, though I haven't tested it.

The software is much faster and has more features. The goodreads integration that I know from the Android Kindle App is nice. The setup was much faster and it is easy to join WiFi networks.

I have the WiFi + 3G version, which is convenient if you are traveling and want to buy a book at some location without WiFi.

Now the bad stuff:

Micro-USB? In 2017? Really? Not a big problem though, it is still probably used in 95% of the places. Just annoying to switch sides three times every time to align it correctly.

My main gripe: the ergonomics of the device. I know the flush display and metal back look nice, but it just doesn't feel nice. I blame Apple for the obsession with aluminium and glass backs. They feel cold in the hand and the corners are sharp. Compare this to the nicely rounded corners of the Kindle Keyboard, which allows for a nice grip without cutting in your hand or making them cold.
Oasis Case and Kindle Keyboard

I thought I also buy the leather case to make the whole device feel nicer, but besides being ridiculous expensive it also makes the whole thing heavier and doesn't solve the problem of the sharp corners on the front of the device.

My hope is that someone will create a nice silicone case that wraps around the corners and gives a good grip. It will probably be silly cheap too, if it isn't from Amazon.

It still feels better than a lot of books though.

The Oasis is also not cheap.


+ size & weight
+ display
+ waterproofed
+ software

- Micro-USB
- ergonomics
- case
- expensive

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Cycling in the Pyrenees

Last week I went on my first supported cycling trip.

Supported means that there are cars carrying your luggage from one hotel to the next one. They provide you with food on the tour, space for spare clothes and help out when needed.
They also take pictures and sort out random stuff that comes up.

It was quite a spontaneous decision on my side and I had fixed dates for the holiday, so the choice of providers of these trips was limited. My first idea for a destination were the Dolomites, but this would have required flights and more organization on my side. In the end I went with Canigou Cycling, who conveniently provide a Barcelona Airport pick up service - or for me a pick up from home.

The tour started in Sort, stayed a bit on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees west of Andorra. There was a rest day after three days and then we continued on the French side until returning to Spain on the last day. We hit some famous climbs: Col d'Aubisque, Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Aspin and Col de Peyresourde. You can see the Strava activities below.

The group consisted of ten riders and three support staff with two cars. We were mostly Germans plus two Americans. Amazingly I was nearly the youngest rider, not so amazingly I was not the fastest. In fact I took it quite easy over the days and enjoyed the scenery. We were quite lucky with the weather, having only one rainy day and the temperature was also perfect. 

The hotel selection was pretty good. Because I was traveling alone I always had a single room, which did cost a bit more. Dirk from Canigou Cycling did a good job and was always really friendly and helpful. The only thing I would improve would be the communication. If you spend this kind of money upfront, you really want to be more informed and see something happening on their facebook page and fast response to emails.

I would do it again, though the next time I really would like to see the Dolomites and maybe go with Velodrom Bike Tours, who are based in Barcelona and I know already from their shop.

I probably forgot something, just ask in the comment section.


  1. Sort - Taüll
  2. Taüll - Aínsa
  3. Aínsa - Sabiñánigo
  4. Sabiñánigo - Argelès-Gazost
  5. Argelès-Gazost - Arreau
  6. Arreau - Vielha



Cycling Pyrenees 2017

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

London Ride 100

Last weekend I travelled to London for the Prudential RideLondon 100. It is a 100 miles (160km) sportive going through London and the Surrey Hills. This one is held on completely closed roads and is also the biggest sportive I have ever attended, with around 30000 cyclists on the road.

I stayed in an Airbnb in Homerton, which I mainly choose because it was near the Olympic Park, where the start was. And it was good to be close, because I had there by 6:40 latest. You are assigned a colour and a starting wave. They stagger the waves to avoid congestion on the road. I think faster riders will also be in the earlier waves. I guess I was somewhere in the middle.
It rained all night, so the roads were pretty wet, but the sun came out a bit later.

The route went through London, past the sight seeing attraction like London Tower, the Thames, Richmond Park (saw one deer), Parliament, Big Ben and so on. I don't have many photos, because I really didn't stop a lot. This one is from the Surrey Hills at a food stop.

Talking about food stops: they were very well organized and stocked. The whole sportive was organized well. The route was marked with big signs, all dangerous or difficult areas were marked and often stewards were there to warn people. There were food, water and toilet stops all over the route. Start and finish were equally well done.

I saw four accidents and at each one there was already a mobile ambulance helping out.

I felt totally safe riding, the amount of people was never a problem and there was also no aggressive riding.

Support of the crowd on the route was also great. Every village / town had something going on. Live music, cheering, food and small festivities. I guess some of them didn't have anything better to do, because their only road was blocked.

I finished in around 5 hours 30 minutes, which is pretty good for me on that kind of distance. I didn't really do many 100+ km rides this year. My main strategy was to keep on eating my energy gels and stock up on water around the 80km mark. I didn't drink enough water as usual. Bicycle behaved too, no puncture and no problems at all.

I can highly recommend this to everyone who wants to enjoy a bit of cycling in and around London without having to worry about cars misbehaving.

I should also mention that I flew with Norwegian from Barcelona and they were brilliant as always. Very friendly, helpful and nice to my bike bag too (as far as I could see). Here is a photo of one of their ground personal making sure my bike doesn't drop of the conveyor belt on the flight back.