Thursday, August 20, 2015

National Geographic Skater Crash Investigation Results

Thursday, 20-August-2015 - Veghel - Ronald came by for a visit, and we inspected my skate wheels together.  He had never seen any thing like this before.  This is a report of what we found.
History.  Wheels installed three years ago--3000 km of use.  Wheels routinely rotated to even the wear.  Bearing cleaning and was performed as needed.  Along with general condition of skates and brake pad, wheels visually and physically checked for security and roll before every skate ride.

Findings:  One wheel was removed due to failure on 18-August-2015.  Of the seven remaining wheels, five were unserviceable due to cracks (see pics 16).  Bearings turned freely.  

Problem:  Front skate outer wheel broke loose from its bearing hub, causing wheel to lock in frame during operation at 20 km per hour.

Cause:  Wheel spokes cracked during normal use, and not detected prior to a weekly skate ride.  Although the skater performed a visual and physical check of skates before each ride, reading glasses were not used.  A specific inspection for cracks was not performed.

Impact:  Skater incurred bruised ribs, sports activities suspended for six weeks.

Corrective action:  After each ride and using corrective lenses or other magnification if needed, inspect wheels for cracks in spokes and hubs, replacing wheels if necessary before the next ride.

No Broken Ribs

Thursday, 20-August-2015 - Uden - The X-ray this morning showed no broken ribs from last Tuesday's crash.  I went to my family doctor yesterday--it will take six weeks to recover from bruised or broken ribs. No sports for me until then.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

National Geographic Skater Crash Investigation Called into Action

Tuesday, 18-August-2015 - Boekel - It was a cool summer evening.  Jan picked me up and we headed to Boekel for the weekly Tuesday evening skate tour.  We were just outside of Boekel, when for no readily apparent reason, I tripped, fell, rotated with legs elongated, and landed hard on my left-side back ribs on the concrete bicycle path.  I wasn't able to roll to break the fall.  I could hardly breathe or talk.  It hurt so much.  I was trying to determine if I had any broken ribs and a punctured lung.  The group huddled around me, checking to see if I was alright.  "Did you black out?" "Can you stand up?" "Maybe it's a good idea to try to continue skate slowly at your own pace so your muscles don't tighten up." Theo stayed behind me.  It was a mystery how it happened, until I tried to skate.  There was something interfering with the wheels on my left skate.  I sat down in the grassy shoulder, and saw that the all of the spokes of my front left wheel had broken free of the outer rim (photo)!  It was time for National Geographic Skater Crash Investigation.  How did this happen?  Could I have prevented this crash?  I needed to find answers before I'd do any more skating after I recovered.  Bart removed the broken wheel and move the second wheel to the front position.  I'd be skating with three wheels on my left frame.  We looked at the right skate.  The right front wheel was also ready to blow, so he moved it to the second position.  We made it to the coffee break at D'n Brabander in Elsendorp, where everyone got to look at my broken wheel.  It was a slow start back to Boekel.  Bart kept the pace slow.  Ten skaters--good for 20 km. (pics 20).

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tonnie Keeps Turning the Wrench

Wednesday, 12-Aug-2015 - Uden - Next month, skater friend and bicycle mechanic Tonnie Smits (photo Udens Weekblad) will officially retire after 47 years of service.  Here link to yesterday's newspaper article.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Summertime Skating Oirschot-Postel-Oirschot--105 km

Saturday, 8-August-2015 - Oirschot - Our first stop was at the Gouden Leeuw in Vessem (photo).  Thanks to our guide Pieter for hosting this wonderful day.  Also, thanks to Jan for helping me catch up to the group when I fell behind.  Twenty-two skaters, two bicyclists, and one moped rider--good for 105 km.  pics (189)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

European Championship Womens Fast Pitch Softball--Day 7

Saturday, 25-July-2015 - Rosmalen - NL vs CZ.  The rain subsided enough to start (photo). I totally underestimated the ability of the Gryphon's ground crew and the determination of the European Softball Technical Leadership.  I never thought the field would become playable after stopping play in the fourth inning.  I didn't realize that the Dutch and Czech teams went to the locker room.  I thought they went back to their respective hotels.  I thought the tournament was over.  I said goodbye to Rob, Marjo, Charissa, Sabrina, Miquel, and Stefan, before heading home.  At 1830, back in Veghel after a shower, I logged into  At first, I thought I was looking at a previous game; but then I realized it was live!  It was the 5th inning--play had resumed. Marij came home from work.  We had pizza and watched the grand final NL-IT together.  Italy won the final, the Netherlands won silver.  Respect to all participants and spectators.  pics (191)
Play-by-Play & Stats

Friday, July 24, 2015

European Championship Womens Fast Pitch Softball--Day 6

Friday, 24-July-2015 - Rosmalen - NL and GB were just finishing game 81 when I arrived. I watched game 84 FR-GR with 1B Sylwia and coach Radim of the Polish team. pics (96)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

European Championship Womens Fast Pitch Softball--Day 5

Thursday, 23-July-2015 - Rosmalen - I joined Marjo and Charissa, sitting behind the backstop, left of the announcers booth. Game 69 NL-CZ was about to begin.  Here Chantal Versluis (photo) at bat.  pics (151)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

European Championship Womens Fast Pitch Softball--Day 4

Wednesday, 22-July-2015 - Rosmalen - Friend Marjo Soumeru had been reporting progress for the past couple of days on facebook.  I didn't realize that she was talking about European Championship Womens Fast Pitch Softball in Rosmalen (only 35 km from Veghel) and the Dutch National Team--her daughter Rebecca's team. I arrived at the Griffon's playing fields just as Rebecca was warming up (photo).  I had Rebecca's father Rob, my friend and volleyball teammate of 40 years ago, on the phone.  He saw me walking up to him as we spoke.  It was great to see each other again.  pics (74)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fun-on-Wheels Veluwe Weekend

Sunday, 28-June-2015 - Nieuw Millingen - This was a weekend we won't forget.  Thanks to Adriaan (photo) for organizing this year's Fun-on-Wheels "in-country" skating weekend.   He showed us the beautiful Veluwe countryside--the area where he grew up.  See links below for photos and gps-routes by day.  Twenty-two skaters and two moped riders were good for 130 km.
day 1
day 2
day 3 

Veluwe Weekend--Day 3

Sunday, 28-June-2015 - Nieuw Millingen - We were good for 43 km. pics (90)
gps-tracked route part 1
gps-tracked route part 2

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Veluwe Weekend--Day 2

Saturday, 27-June-2015 - Nieuw Millingen - Today's route took us by the Staverden Castle (photo).  At the 40-km point, we split up into two groups.  the first group went straight back to the starting point.  the rest headed for Palace het Loo, about 9 km away.  Just two kilometers from the palace, I was surprised by a down-hill grade.  My brake just slid over the smooth asphalt without slowing me down enough.  I remembered the scary downhill rides last year in Limburg, and I didn't want to get my speed up.  I rolled into the grassy shoulder to stop.  I headed for a big tree, hoping to use my arms to absorb the impact.  I forgot that my wrist protectors were designed to slide over asphalt.  My arms spread apart, and my face ran into the tree at around 10 km/hr--I dropped to the ground.  My neck took a jolt.  I stayed there for a few minutes to recuperate.  Luckily, my teeth and nose were intact, and I could move my neck from side to side without pain.  It could have been a lot worse.  Frans watched out for me as we skated back to our starting point.  Seventeen skaters, three bicyclists, and two moped riders--good for 60 km. pics (180) gps-tracked route part 2

Friday, June 26, 2015

Veluwe Weekend--Day 1

Friday, 26-June-2015 - Nieuw Millingen - A beautiful tour, but not without incident.  A fall and crash just before we got back to the starting point.  A fellow skater was taken to the Harderwijk St Jansdal Hospital. Twenty skaters and two moped riders--good for 28 km.  pics (159) gps-tracked route

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Maas River Skating

Thursday, 11-June-2015 - Oss - A warm summer evening.  We drove to our starting point just north of Oss.  We wanted to take the ferry at Lith, but it was temporarily closed due to an open-air theater presentation of "Dorp aan de Rivier" (Village on the River). We had to back track and hurry to catch the ferry at Oijen (photo) before the last crossing at 2100.  Five skaters and one bicycle rider were good for 40 km.  pics (68)  gps-tracked route

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Boekel Evening Skating

Tuesday, 9-June-2015 - Boekel - We headed for Aarle-Rixel, and took a coffee break at de Brabantse Kluis. Fourteen skaters and one bicycle rider were good for 30 km.  pics (42)  gps-tracked route

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Eten en Skaten 2015

Sunday, 7-June-2015 - Oirschot - In addition to my grandson Logan's 4th birthday, today was the annual Eten en Skaten tour.  This year we had twenty-two skaters, two bicyclists, one scooter rider, and fantastic weather.  We were good for 64 km. Many thanks to our host and guide Pieter. pics (115)
gps-route between soup and main course


11.30 u                 verzamelen in Oirschot.
11.45 u                 koffie met gebak
12.15 u                 opruimen en gereed maken voor vertrek
12.30 u                 vertrek voor 19 km skaten.
13.45 u                 soep
14.30 u                 vertrek voor 24 km skaten
16.00 u                 hoofdgerecht
17.30 u                 vertrek voor 22 km skaten
19.00 u                 nagerecht.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

De Toren Skaters Red Bull Surprise

Thursday, 21-May-2015 - Dinther/Den Bosch - We were suprised by the Red Bull promotion team.  We stopped at the Verkadefabriek for a coffee break before heading back to our starting point. Nine skaters, good for 29 km. pics (71) gps-tracking

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Vat-Oe-fiets 2015

Thursday, 14-May-2015 - Veghel - In addition to my daughter Katherine's 35th birthday, today is the annual bike tour Vat-Oe-Fiets.  I rode to Dinther to pickup Chris, then we rode together to the starting point in the center of Veghel.  We chose the 25 km route, because Chris wanted to get back in time to help set up for 7th Sunday.  We saw familiar faces once again.  At Post 2, we were treated to a Morgan drive-by (photo).  A great day--a great tradition! Including the trips to Dinther, we were for 41 and 56 km, respectively. pics (40) gps-tracked route vat-oe-fiets 25 km

Monday, May 4, 2015

Remembrance Day

Monday, 4-May-2015 - Veghel - Freedom isn't free.  The Dutch Flag is flying at half-mast today to remember that.  At 2000, everyone in the Netherlands will observe two minutes of silence.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Carnaval 2015

Sunday, 15-February-2015 - Veghel - Went to see the Carnaval parade.  Met up with Marij, Chris, Marit and friends at Abbey Road.
pics (330)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fun-on-Wheels New Year Walk in the Woods

Sunday, 11-January-2015 - Oirschot - Pieter and Jennie once again hosted this year's Fun-on-Wheels New Year Toast at their home.  We walked in the nearby woods and meadows. pics (58)