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Minimal on Willem's Blog

Tudor Black Back 36 long-term review

Six months on the wrist

June 17, 2020
For the past six months I have been wearing the same watch, every day and night. Read along to learn what makes the Tudor Black Bay 36 the perfect every day watch.

For the past six months I have been wearing the same watch, pretty much every day and night. It's a Tudor Black Bay 36 watch in steel, with a black dial. I like minimal (yet functional) design that lasts, this watch certainly ticks the right boxes. Read along to find out how wearable a smaller watch is in daily practice.

Minimalistic road bike with Gates carbon drive

Meet your new therapist: the Schindelhauer Siegfried Road

Apr. 30, 2020
For the past few months I have been riding the Schindelhauer Siegfried Road bike with the Gates CDX Carbon Drive, read about this beautiful minimal bike in this post.

For the past few months I have been riding a special kind of bike, the minimalistic Siegfried Road from Schindelhauer. It is unlike most road bikes as it lacks a conventional chain and derailleur. It features the Gates CDX carbon drive. It's an exercise in minimal design. After riding it for nearly 1000KM, it's time to tell you all about it.

Making my own tablet OS

Installing and modifying Debian GNU/Linux on Surface Go

Mar. 9, 2020
I wondered if I could escape Windows by installing Debian GNU/Linux on a Surface Go, read along to find out how to do this!

For some years now I use a tablet as main computer, I like its versatility. But, most tablets come with a locked down operating system, like iPadOS, Windows 10S or Android. As I like things my own (weird) way, I wondered if I could escape these "software jails" by installing a free operating system on a tablet. It's possible, read along to find out how I escaped!

Whoop strap review: 24/7 wearable sensor

Beyond fitness tracking and smartwatches

Dec. 31, 2019

The past months I have been wearing the WHOOP Strap 3.0, a wearable sensor that collects health and fitness data. It's different compared to most other fitness bands as it was designed with professional athletes in mind. It is focussed on daily strain, recovery and sleep. Read along to find out how this works.

Supernova E3 Pro 2 dynamo powered headlight

Replacing my bike's headlight

Nov. 26, 2019

Earlier this month my dynamo powered headlight on my commuter bike needed replacing. One of the electrical connectors broke of, likely caused by intense daily use. I searched for the best possible light, one that would be extremely durable and bright. I found the Supernova E3 PRO 2 and decided to install it on my bike.

Creating a minimal road bike

Recombining and refinishing old parts into a new bike

Aug. 18, 2019
I wondered how hard it would be to make a bike from spare parts I had in my garage

Over the past months I have worked on different bikes, leading to an accumulation of spare parts in my garage. I wondered how hard it would be to make a new bike using these spare parts. I decided to take advantage of this moment to refinish some parts, removing excessive decals in order to create a minimal looking road bike.

The best bike computer app: Cyclemeter

Get advanced ride data with a flexible setup

Apr. 30, 2019
Collect advanced bike ride data using your smartphone connected to external Bluetooth sensors and a steer mounted display.

This month I have intensified my training to become fit for this year's Fietselfstedentocht, a 235KM bicycle ride through Friesland. Over the years I have tested different kinds of bike computer setups: from dedicated (and expensive) Garmin Edge bike computers to no data at all. Eventually I came up with a flexible setup to gather advanced ride data using my smartphone, let me explain how this works.

One year on the ultimate commuter bike

6000KM in 12 months with Gates CDN/CDX and Shimano Alfine

Feb. 27, 2019
Answering questions from one of the most popular posts of last year, I am reviewing my commuter bike after one year of extensive use through winter and summer.

A year ago I tried to create the ultimate commuter bike, a modified Sensa Cintura with the Gates CDN/CDX carbon belt drive. I received lots of messages from cyclists and commuters from all over the world. From the Swiss alps, France, Italy, Germany, United States and even "down under", Australia! You all wanted to know: how does the upgraded bike hold up?

Business in a bag

Using a waterproof backpack to fit my gear

Dec. 22, 2018
After much testing I have selected a bag and set of cases to fit my entire business, wherever I go.

Over the past few months I have been testing different bags and cases to fit everything I need to run my business. As I commute by bike, the bag needs to be waterproof. The problem with waterproof gear is that it is usually very bulky. I need my gear to be both portable and representative, a challenge worth a blog post!

Removing paint from a bike frame

Uncover the aluminium with chemicals and sanding paper

June 9, 2018
Using dichloromethane and sanding paper I removed the paint from my bike frame to create a minimal, raw aluminium look.

There is beauty in raw, unfinished material that is often hidden with superfluous layers of paint. I like things to be true to the nature of the material. My bike was painted black - not bad - but I wondered what it really looked like from a material point of view.

Creating a minimal iPhone stand

Routing oak wood for a custom fit

June 2, 2018
Today I created a minimal iPhone stand from oak wood. I used a single piece of wood to get it done.

Today I created a minimal iPhone stand from oak wood. While it's much faster to buy one online, I wanted one to fit my phone horizontally, with its case on. I like minimal design, so I opted to machine a single piece of wood to get it done.

Off the grid: Working on 100% renewable energy

Collecting, storing and using solar electricity to power my phone, computer and wearables

Apr. 30, 2018
Learning from powering my personal devices using nothing but self generated electricity using a solar panel and power banks.

For the past 10 days I have powered my personal electronic devices (phone, computer, wearables) using nothing but energy collected using a small solar panel. I disconnected all grid-connected chargers. I hoped that by going off the grid, even in such a small way, I would gain insights that enable me to save energy (and money).

Tablet as main computer

Comparing the Microsoft Surface Pro to iPad Pro

Mar. 7, 2018
I have been using a tablet as my main computer for quite some time now. In this blog post I share you my experience on using Surface Pro and iPad Pro to get my work done.

For the past few weeks I have been using the Microsoft Surface Pro as my main computer. It's a modern tablet computer that can be used as laptop with the type cover. With the Surface Pen, it's a versatile PC that works in a lot of different ways. Time to find out if it's any good and how it compares to my other tablet computer, iPad Pro.

Commuting by bike

One week (240KM) on the VanMoof Electrified S

Dec. 2, 2017
One week on the VanMoof Electrified S E-bike testing it for commuting and comparing it to a normal bike.

For a few years now, I commute to work using a bicycle. I have lost more than 15KG since I stopped using my scooter. This week I tested a VanMoof Electrified S, an electric bike with an industrial, minimal design. Is it any good? How does it compare to a normal bike? Will an electric bike make you lazy? Read along to find out!

The day I killed my LAN

Turned off my local network and went 4G only

July 31, 2017
I killed my office LAN and went 4G only. Saves a lot of clutter, energy and money.

Today I called my provider to quit my office's ADSL internet subscription, I don't need it anymore. I have turned off my local area network and switched my workflow onto mobile internet only. The simplicity and savings actually surprised me so much, that I made blog post for it.

Programming on Apple Watch

Serious about crazy experiments

Feb. 16, 2017
Programming with VIM over SSH on Apple Watch using a bluetooth keyboard

Over the past years I have been no stranger to crazy experiments, but this time I really wanted to push it into the extreme: programming on an Apple Watch. Would it be possible to actually write code on such a tiny device? Why even bother? This post is about the case for crazy experiments, and why you should try too!

iPad Pro next to my primary machine

Using it with Apple Pencil as a creative powerhouse

Jan. 30, 2017
Using iPad Pro with Apple Pencil next to my computer to form a create powerhouse

I wanted see if I can find something better than my old fashioned pencil and paper that I use for designing software as professional developer. I knew iPad Pro from my test last summer, figuring out if it could replace my primary development machine. While it may not be able to completely replace my thrustworthy ThinkPad, it turned out to be a totally different story when it comes to paper.

Harvesting boredom to let creativity flourish

using the Punkt MP01 dumb phone

Oct. 1, 2016
What does it mean for my state of mind and creativity if I am no longer be constantly connected to the Internet using a smartphone.

Smartphones are everywhere in the modern society we live in today. Through our 4G and WiFi connections the internet is just one tap away. In fact, it is so close that it feels like a natural extension. But is this wealth of information all good or does it have a downside too? It seems like an interesting experiment to go app-less for a while and solely use a dumb phone.

Cash is king, or is it?

The wallet- and cash-less experiment

July 15, 2016
Is the time right to ditch the wallet?

Very often I see men carry a wallet filled with plastic: multiple debit and credit cards plus a bunch of loyalty programs and membership cards. Then, some even top it off with stinky paper money and sticky metal coins! It made me wonder if I can free up one pocket by ditching the wallet?

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My 'bike area network': sensors (red) and displays (green) connected to the smartphone
My 'bike area network': sensors (red) and displays (green) connected to the smartphone
Surface Pro, type cover and pen - al sold seperately - because, why just one package if you can have three times as much fun!?
Surface Pro, type cover and pen - al sold seperately - because, why just one package if you can have three times as much fun!?
The seatpost clamp is integrated in the minimal AL6061-T6 aluminium, triple butted aero tubing frame
The seatpost clamp is integrated in the minimal AL6061-T6 aluminium, triple butted aero tubing frame
Big Ben tires from Schwalbe
Big Ben tires from Schwalbe
Using the customised Surface Go (right) for programming, similar to how I work using an iPad Pro (left)
Using the customised Surface Go (right) for programming, similar to how I work using an iPad Pro (left)
Most parts have torque values written on them in Newton Meter (Nm)
Most parts have torque values written on them in Newton Meter (Nm)
The 36MM size is really very comfortable
The 36MM size is really very comfortable
Dutch bike, Dutch weather: The Electrified S handles the dark, cold and wet conditions easily!
Dutch bike, Dutch weather: The Electrified S handles the dark, cold and wet conditions easily!
Charging and listening to music simultaniously using an Apple Lightning dock
Charging and listening to music simultaniously using an Apple Lightning dock
You can use another computer to create a bootable USB stick, I used my ThinkPad X1
You can use another computer to create a bootable USB stick, I used my ThinkPad X1
The wallet allows quick (and naked) access to the phone
The wallet allows quick (and naked) access to the phone
Workmate with wood router ready for action
Workmate with wood router ready for action
Rack mounted server chassis (1U), with rail kit
Rack mounted server chassis (1U), with rail kit
Finding a way to fix the panel in a way that the weather would not harm it
Finding a way to fix the panel in a way that the weather would not harm it
What matters most is the ride itself, don't forget that!
What matters most is the ride itself, don't forget that!
Ortlieb Urban daypack 15L
Ortlieb Urban daypack 15L
Garmin EDGE 1030 performance bundle (from evancycles.com)
Garmin EDGE 1030 performance bundle (from evancycles.com)
Road side servicing the bike: swapping a punctured tire
Road side servicing the bike: swapping a punctured tire

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