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June 26th, 2007 | categorizilation: all categories,Switzerland

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I was a guest speaker at the International School of Lausanne today. Heidi arranged for me to come in at lunch time to speak to students interested in my journey. The small room was packed with about 50 students, many of whom had come to know of me from the reports of other students who had been part of the Village Camps week in Leysin. The presentation was well received.
I left them with this quote:

If you had one shot, one opportunity, to sieze everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or let it slip. – Eminem

I had a very productive day logistics wise also. I figured out a shoe-saving strategy for the big hills, and connected up a speedo to measure my speed, average speed, max speed, distance etc.

The shoe saver in Lausanne, Switzerland The shoe saver in Lausanne, Switzerland

The big shoe saving idea was inspired by a fellow Village Camps colleague, Julian. He suggested I duct-tape a bit of bicycle tyre to my shoe. That would work also, but using a car tyre inner tube seems to be the way to go at the moment. Easy to put on and take off, and doesn’t require any major taping up.

The obvious drawback is that it looks rediculous. No, I won’t be wearing it all the time. It’ll only make an appearance if I am doing any really long downhill stretches. Plus, the ‘parachute’ works very well in keeping my speed down enough that I can jump off the board if neccessary.

Speedo on the skateboard in Lausanne, Switzerland

Speedo on the skateboard in Lausanne, Switzerland Speedo on the skateboard in Lausanne, Switzerland

Now this is the thing I’m most excited about. I have hooked up a standard cycle computer to read the speed of my skateboard. The wheel size is accurately set to 305mm – the circumfrence of my skateboard wheels. I will update this size regularly as the wheel wears down. The magnet that is usually attached to the spokes on a bicycle wheel is screwed into the solid rubber wheel. The sensor which is usually attached to the forks of a bike is attached to the axle of the skateboard. My trucks (the name for the axle part of a skateboard) has very convenient holes in them, which allows me to easily attach the sensor in just the right spot.

I had to buy a new speedo for this. The US$5 one that I bought in Uzbekistan was going strong, but the mount didn’t hold up to the vibrations of the skateboard.

Last but not least today is some exciting news on the sponsor front. Skateboarding protective equipment manufacturer TSG, who are based in Switzerland, have agreed to supply me with a superlight skateboarding specific helmet and some lightweight knee pads. Big thanks to TSG , and I look forward to wearing their gear.

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    Permanent Link     Comments (11)

Comment by Aunty Les — June 27, 2007 @ 2:21 pm | post a comment

Well, your skateboard and gear are certainly a big advance on what you fell off and in way back that Christmas in Oamaru.

An interesting quote, but if everything you want comes in one moment what are you going to do for the rest of your life? I think what you want in life never comes in one moment but in a series of moments over a life time.

Comment by Lee — June 27, 2007 @ 2:34 pm | post a comment

Hey, that's all great news! Good idea with the car tyre overshoes – I think they make some sort of sandal with a tyre sole in PNG, though that could be urban legend :-)

Did you go 29km/h?! That's pretty fast for a skateboard. (Unless I'm way behind on such things)

Also great about TSG's sponsorship. They clearly are a wise, benevolent and visionary bunch :-)

Comment by Mike C — June 27, 2007 @ 3:47 pm | post a comment

I'm stoked you're back on the road Rob. Keep up the great posts!

(by the way, how did you get the magnet to stick to the skateboard wheel?)

Comment by Ferran — June 28, 2007 @ 1:39 am | post a comment

About tyre soles: I don't know where PNG is, but in Spain I know at least 2 kinds of "almost-folkloric" sandals whose sole is made from used tyres (tyres, not inner tubes). They are remainings of the after civil war "technologies", when people had to recycle things.

One type is this one:

The other type (like this one, but with tyre sole):

Comment by Rob Thomson — June 28, 2007 @ 5:03 am | post a comment

@ Aunty Les – I agree about the quote. Every moment there are opportunities. But for many people, including myslef, letting those opportunities slip is so easy to do. If we could all capture just a few of those opportunities, or at least open our eyes to them, then we could all achieve, love, dream, and live beyond our wildest dreams.

@ Lee – I wasn't wearing a helmet, so was taking it weasy…

@ Mike – The magnet is a type that has a threaded thing on the back that I can screw straight into the wheel. I hasn't come out yet, so all is well.

Comment by Mikael — June 28, 2007 @ 8:14 am | post a comment

As a kid I grew up in Tanganyika, East Africa. The locals used to make flip-flop sandals out of discarded car tyres. Terrific milage.

Comment by Aunty Lyn — June 28, 2007 @ 11:06 pm | post a comment

Well, Rob, I agreee the journey is the key thing, not the transport. I like the shoes – reminds me of the days we wore galoshes over our shoes on wet days when we were kids!!

Comment by Andy McC — June 29, 2007 @ 5:47 am | post a comment

This is the first day I have come across the website and I have to say you are an inspiration! I will certainly continue to make a daily visit to this blog.

And could you tell me what the make and model the speedo is, I love to travel mile on my longboard but I'm yet to find a speedo which goes down to the small wheel sizes.

Comment by Murdo — June 29, 2007 @ 9:25 am | post a comment


It has given your trip a new lease of life, I am loving the skateboard idea!! Ride carefully! We don't want any wipeouts!

Comment by rob Luxton — June 29, 2007 @ 9:29 am | post a comment

The attaching a sail plan is taking shape… quite possibly a sheet flapping around on a bamboo pole, but if I can pull it off then a full on spinnaker setup powering me across the Gobi.

We shall see. First things first. I need to be reunited with Wheelie and Ditch.

Comment by mirjam — July 3, 2007 @ 4:45 am | post a comment

Walt Whitman must have written this poem for Rob:

"Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,

Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

Strong and content I travel the open road.


Thank you for leaving some of that 'good fortune glitter' behind. Mirjam

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