new saddle

I needed a new saddle for my Bullitt. The old one was made of plastic and because of the cracks in the deck I often got a wet butt from the rainwater that remained in the plastic foam for days on end.

On the old Batavus I still have an old “Lepper” saddle that suits me well. I know a leather saddle is best. This saddle is great for the Batavus because the relaxed posture gets good support while cycling. I can therefore keep cycling for a long time.

I used to ride a “Brooks” saddle for years. I also know from experience that you have to “ride in” a leather saddle. Only after a few hundred kilometers of intensive use in all kinds of weather does a leather saddle sit on your body. The first months it is therefore lousy. After that, you will be the first to transfer the saddle when you buy a new bike …

A different model of saddle is needed for the Bullitt, because the cycling posture is completely different. The sportier posture and the aging body require different support. Because I am used to the luxury and comfort of a velomobile, I have therefore decided not to make any concessions.

So it became a Brooks with “holes and tension wires”.

So today I started greasing the new leather. Much at the bottom and very little on top. This will last for years and years …

Vorden

I was back in my native village for a while and then I can not resist taking a few pictures.

First some impressions from the ever-changing village center

I got a warm feeling when I saw that the old forge / workshop of van Ark is still standing proudly, in the same condition as when I played there as a little boy. In my view this is a general heritage that must be maintained and preserved in its old state!


I am grateful to the people who have seemingly left it untouched so far. Beautiful single-brick wall, single glass in original windows, original hinges, no modernization whatsoever!

Around Hackfort Castle

Around the Wildenborch castle

Fluid dynamics

If you live in Zeeland, people often look at the shape of a velomobile with the eyes of a sailor.

But the fluid dynamics for water is fundamentally different from that for air.

The shape of a velomobile suggests that it has a high speed … and I think that is the big disadvantage of these bikes !


I’ve been riding a Quest for many years and I find it very annoying when the first question people ask me is “how fast is that thing going?”
The question is posed from the paradigm that those people have.
Then I tend to look at their shoes and ask the question back; “How fast are those shoes running?”


And then, if the situation permits, I try to explain that I am an old lazy man who finds it important to be able to ride a bike comfortably. Protected against rain, storm and bright sun rays, in short, against all bad weather conditions, while listening to a nice podcast or good music.

Traveling under my own power, with food, drinks and sweets at your fingertips, the Garmin with a planned route on the handlebars and if I want to take a break, I just stop in a safe place and rest in the same posture as I do at home on the couch …


Despite the cocoon that protects me reasonably against the weather and possibly pushy drivers, I feel free to move in the natural environment.
So it’s not the speed … but the comfortably cycling (with a smile on your face) is the goal!

Therefore, I regret that the majority of velomobilists just do their best to race as fast as possible and forget to realize how comfortable cycling with a velomobile is, compared to a time trial bike as prescribed by the UCI.

The old water pump has become a museum piece.

The old hand cranck pump wasn’t complete, so I decided to just clean it and hang it in our garden just for fun.

I like seeing the old handmade wooden piston, which still had the original non-return valve leather on it. The leather that belongs to the seal around the piston had disappeared.

I painted everything with clear varnish and hope to enjoy it for a long time just by looking at it …

Who knows, maybe birds will nest in it as often happened in the past at the old water pump of the Boy Scout group in Vorden.

The bloom and an old pump …

The almond tree is in bloom …

and I’m working on an old water pump that I like very much but with which I can’t think of what to do with it …

only women bleed

sung with the right feeling … I can’t get the song out of my head due to all the attacks of the past time.

good factual photographers ?

In the Netherlands are political elections next week. The photographers who made the portraits for these election posters made my day!

The photos are taken like mugshots are made. With a frontal flash light, drop shadow on the white background and the harsh shadows not hidden … There is no compassion or empathy in the faces. Just a forced smile.

Does anyone know why the campaign teams of these two political parties opted for such bad pictures? Or is it the case that potential voters for these parties like to vote for criminals?

Portrait photography is a very difficult and underappreciated form of art … these portraits are an insult to all portrait photographers.

Or is it the case that the photographers secretly express their own (opposite) political color in their portraits … Than the photographers probably believed that this prime minister and minister of finance could only be depicted as criminals.

second ride this year …

It is clear that my condition has deteriorated rapidly. I have to do a lot more mileage with my velomobile … So I started today again with good intentions 😉

But as always I bring my camera … the sun was shining, but it was a bit foggy and cold and you can clearly see that from the gradient effect in the sky.

The people of Zeeland like neat, tidy and straight lines. Natural diversity actually does not exist here.

https://ridewithgps.com/trips/63147119

my first velomobile-ride in 2021

… and making photos of what (I think) is typical Zeeland. 😉

https://ridewithgps.com/trips/63083109https://ridewithgps.com/trips/63083109

Usually heavy work, but in between always time for a chat and a newspaper …

People who perform heavy work know it … you have to know exactly what is your weakest link and ensure that it does not break.

So it is important to eat and drink on time and take a pause. Only in this way will you be able to “survive” until your retirement.

What we did not know at the time was that the tamping mass we used to form the gutters (with which liquid iron and slag is removed) contained an enormous amount of Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.

I and many colleagues thought it smelled nice when the first liquid iron flowed through the freshly crushed gutters and the tamping mass started to “bake” … a nice tar smell. Of course I realized many years later why it is called “aromatic” …

But always take time for a chat and a newspaper …

And make time for some food and drink …

Of course times have changed and especially working conditions have been adapted and improved! Yet I often think back with pleasant thoughts to the days when production methods were harsh on employees and disastrous for the natural environment.

Comradeship, humor, conviviality, group spirit, a social employer and cooperation make up for a lot, but the late realization that a lot has gone wrong with regard to the environment is important.


With our hands we have contributed a small part to the current prosperity of Western Europe, so that the richest 10% of the 1980s became the richest 1% in 2021.


Now is the time to make sure that mistakes are recognized and the natural environment is allowed to recover.
We did that after the recognition of “acid rain” and also once after the recognition of the “hole” in the ozone layer in the 90’s and we can do it again …

Operators on the photos : Roel Wolters, Peter Floresse, Kees Hoogesteeger, Ton Witte, Simon Mosselman, Karel Duys en Erik v Veen.

A typically tough and hard-working laborer

Jaap Bosman was always called “Lange Jaap” (tall Jaap) by colleagues at the Hoechst-site in Vlissingen, because in our shift there were 3 operators with the same Christian name …

and Jaap was indeed as tall and strong as a bear, always wore the largest size overalls and shoes and his helmet always seemed too small for his head.

In 1987 he had reached the age at which people could start enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

A few weeks earlier I was asked if I could take some pictures of him, to use for a kind of farewell book he would get as a present.

Of course, “official” photos would also be taken, but I gladly complied with the request, because I liked Jaap a lot … and for me he was a caricature of the typically tough and hard-working laborer from Zeeland.

Jaap was always honest and straightforward, never pushed the boundaries and was averse to hypocrisy.

So I did my best to photograph him in his natural way.

Jaap worked hard for many years at the phosphorus furnaces of Hoechst in Vlissingen, under poor working conditions (which were considered “normal” at the time).

Fortunately, he also was able to enjoy his retirement for many years …

Night shift Hoechst Vlissingen, 1983.

Back then it was strictly forbidden to take pictures … (it was the time when it was not even allowed to use a transistor radio in the control room) … so I took pictures illegally, to capture the atmosphere in the control room where colleagues also came for a cup of coffee and a short rest from the heavy physical work in the phosphorus factory.

Apparently Michel Eggers is concentrating on starting up oven 3 after a maintenance shutdown.

Furthermore, Theo Bubberman, Ton Witte, Jan van Ochten, Bas Raas, Ewout Sichterman, Wim Harwig and Willem Tissink are clearly recognizable in the photos (and for the acquaintances also Seger Leclerc).

The pneumatic vane / nozzle controls built into the wall of the control room today would be called hopelessly outdated and unreliable. But I thought they were just fine, because you could clearly hear the whistle or hiss when a controller suddenly moved out of its normal control range.

The night shift also did the simple chores for which there was no time during the day. In the eighties it was the maintenance and updating of all registration equipment, which mainly consisted of analog printers whose ink had to be refilled and which had to be date stamped.

And of course the control room was cleaned!

The pictures only show the work in the control room … in the rest of the factory about 20 more operators are at work!

Vlissingen, 1982.

It was 1982 and I lived in the center of Vlissingen. It was cozy, simple and always busy with tourists who came to the coastal town and port city for the many cultural events. Many pubs, restaurants and terraces and along the beach many beach bars …

Boulevard in 2012

There was a lot of employment, fair earnings and spending was made in Zeeland, the natural environment was beautiful and used responsibly. The city dwellers maintained the city themselves and helped each other.

In the seventies there was always a building somewhere that was being renovated …

In the eighties, Vlissingen lost its cultural soul to the modern “efficient” managers.

The use of the boulevard has been “sold” to external project developers, the patronage of the shops in the city center has been lured away by large shopping centers outside the city.

From a cozy, messy port town full of people, but without debts, Vlissingen has now become an empty, clean city that is financially dependent on the national government.


The money that comes in through the rental of houses, shops and hotels disappears to shareholders who have nothing to do with Vlissingen.


Due to the current COVID-19 measures, many retail properties are vacant and if the owners do not carry out maintenance, the city center will soon become impoverished again, as it was in the 1930s.

In the current new building, maintenance by the owner himself has not been taken into account. Due to the choice of materials and height of the buildings, buildings are called “maintenance free”.

An saying in Sweden : “If the manufacturer says it´s maintenance free then that means it is not possible to maintain”


My experience is that modern efficient managers do not have “maintenance” in their vocabulary …

Snow

Our German Shepherd likes the snow to clean his coat.

Every now and then it is good to take pictures in the snow again. It makes me aware of how easy digital technology has made it.

In the old days, it used to require a lot more craftsmanship from the photographers …

Stay safe & healthy !

Cycle Vision in Lelystad, 2003

Cycle Vision, the annual recumbent bike event organized by the Dutch recumbent association, took place in 2003 in Lelystad.

Because of the COVID-19 measures I now started to rummage through my old negatives albums, I came across the photo reports that I made back then.

I immediately recognized a few well-known celebrities among Dutch recumbent cyclists!


The first photos were taken during the 3-hour race

The 3-hour race started with a classic “Le Mans start”! So the participants who drove with a fairing started with about 3 laps behind before they were well on their way … but after that they had just under 3 hours to go with nothing but advantages

At the time I was experimenting with Kodak Tri-X and Ilford HP5 black / white film and with different exposures and development times … The aim was to use faster shutter speeds and the result turned out to be a much coarser grain. Nowadays, the cheaper scanners don’t really handle the beautiful sharp silver grains that the Tri-X has become so famous for.

Cycle Vision is known worldwide among recumbent cyclists.
Many come from all over Europe with tents and campers to be present and it was always full and pleasant at the campsite Het Oppertje in Lelystad.