Uglify* your bike (*decorate)

My silver colored Trek mountain bike was stolen a week ago. It wasn’t the most expensive bike in the rack. Actually, it was parked right next to a discrete, custom black mountainbike with nice expensive breaks and shifters. But only my bike was stolen. A piece of green paper was taped to the rack, meaning the thief probably scouted first, and then came back in the middle of the night to cut the lock.

I guess my bike looked shiny and clean, and I was stupid enough to use a cable lock…

Anyway, bye bye old bike!

And hello, new bike that looks exactly like the old one, but with three extra kilos of locks:

Because I had a big fat U-lock on the back wheel, I suspect the theft was a professional job. Now I want to make my bike a little harder to sell second hand. I googled ‘uglify your bike’ and found out that some people go to extreme measures to keep their bikes. Like drizzling the whole frame with cocoa powder and painting over it. Ripping up the seat is not an option in Copenhagen, because it rains every other day in winter. Besides, I think that if a bike looks like a rusted piece of crap, people are more likely to strip it for parts, thinking it’s abandoned.

So i just started with a few simple upgrades. It’s a work in progress: Some brown paint on handlebards, fork and seat makes the bike look dirty or rusty, and I’ve given the bike a feminine touch, with hearts stars and glitter. And it’s now a genuine Star-Trek bike!

It’s not really ugly, but it’s also not the easiest bike to resell on the whole street. Next up is a few well-placed stickers! Not cool skate stickers of course, but fairies and lady bugs from my daughter’s magazines.

Edit: I’ve added a few more stickers. From now on, I’ll just smear it with a bit of whatever I’m eating; soft ice or kebop. And then I can probably safely say “I did what I could”. I now officially ride a silly clown-bike.


Running a marathon without training.

So I just finished the “Hamburger Marathon” (that’s the one in Hamburg, Germany), and I did it with very little training. What do i mean by little training? Well, I took a five hour mountain bike ride in November, that’s six months ago. Since then i have exercised five times. My longest run was 12km. That was about a month ago. I have run a few half marathons in the past, and I have run training runs up to 39 km (about 24 miles), so I’m not new to running at all.

So how did it go? First of all, let me describe my goals:

  1. Do not get injured
  2. Finish the race if you can

As for a time goal I had none, not even the cutoff-time. (I still had to get my sweater at the drop off.) And I managed to finish in about five hours.

I had my wife along with me most of the way, and that made the first 30 km surprisingly enjoyable. The sun was shining, and a cool breeze kept me dry and comfy. The route went through peaceful streets with trees and villas, industrial areas and old harbour, and a huge park in the outskirts of town. The audience worked a lot harder than me, playing drums and cheering and there were plenty of bananas and electrolytes. Almost too good to be true. We started in a pace just above fast walking, and we managed to keep that “wog” going at a steady pace until about 34 km.After that I was on my own, because unlike me, my wife has actually prepared for this thing, and wanted to get a decent time. Because of my goal number one, I couldn’t run any faster. At this time my running was a little bit slower than a fast walk, but unfortunately I could no longer walk fast. I think I hit km 37 or 38 when I had to start taking breaks from walking, just to stand and stretch and rest my thighs. That was a bit of a low point.

It got a little better and I ran and walked the last 3km, and even managed a crazy fast 200m sprint at the end, which put me in a better mood.

One of the guys who came in after me celebrated like crazy at the finish line. That also really helped boost my confidence. I will try to do that next time.

Which leads me to the next big question: Will I do it again? Without training, definitely not! I managed not to hurt myself, and I had fun, but I still feel like it’s a waste of a good race to show up unprepared. And even though it’s hard to tell, there is a big risk of injury as well. I saw plenty of people passing out or cramping and going away in ambulances on the way. I bonked pretty hard, but I’ve had worse, even in half marathons. But I think that if I’d started out at my usual pace i would have done some damage to my legs. It was also very nice to have someone to chat with along the way. My wife beat me by fifteen minutes and finished with a spring in her step, which seems like a huge payoff for a a few long runs.

I think running a marathon without training is only doable if you have done some running in the past, and that it’s best to have the mindset that a running injury is a lot more embarassing than a DNF.

Next up is Copenhagen Half! Now that suddenly seems like a short race. And I will prepare this time!

Mittens conclusion

I’ve now tried three different ways of sewing mittens.

1: The famous pattern used by MYOGers everywhere. It works, but I got some annoying extra fabric flapping around the inside of my thumb. I checked all the mass marked mittens we had around the house, and every single one had a round seam where the thumb is attached.

2: So i tried to make that! This one is as above, but with a round seam between thumb and palm. The pieces below replace the piece to the right in the above picture! (It needs to be a little bit longer, so that where the thumb starts is the same point) This worked out well, with less ekstra fabric bunching up.

3: And then same as above, but simplified to one piece. Next time sewing mittens I’ll just go for that. Note that this pattern is just for the “hand part” of the glove, the cuff needs to be added.

I used this for the inner lining in my glove, and it works. The thumb is about three thumbs wide, and the main compartment is the width of a hand plus two thumbs.

The advantage to this design over the classic MYOG mitten…

… is that you get a nicer shape around the thumb. The downside is you use a tiny bit more fabric. (Small difference)

Anyway my second try at mittens is done. The lining is a thin layer of polyester, and then a middle layer of knit wool.

I’m happy with the look, and they were practically free, but they are a bit stiff and heavy. I used a thick Cordura-type material, mainly for bags and kneepads. I might invest in thinner fabric and some good old polar fleece next time…

PS: sorry for the TP. It’s new, I promise!

Mittens update

According to my sewing rules, I’m making the best of the ones I’ve sewn. The thought of having half finished projects lying around makes me sick! The fake leather has excellent grip. It’s a real pain to sew on the “leather” patches after making the mittens, so I recommend doing that part first. The yellow thread is really decorative, but i suspect any repairs will be done with glue.

Tightening straps on the wrists are nearly done. All that is left is an elastic wristband and wool liners, and I can grab my snowboard in style (or at least I could if I had a snowboard and could do tricks).


Windproof Mitts, known in Norway as “overtrekksvanter”, can be pretty pricey. If you can find some sort of grippy rubber fabric for the palms, and some windproof fabric, then you can make equally good ones for almost no money!

First I tried to make my own pattern, but the square angles around the thumb were hard to work with (as the green one above). Luckily i found this awesome pattern online. As you can see there are no gnarly angles to sew. The genius of this pattern is the cut angles beside the thumb which makes it easy to align your fabric. Size medium is pretty big, since these are made for wearing on top of wool or fleece gloves.  I recommend modifying the shape a little bit, to give a bit more space around the thumb and knuckles. Any tightness here will tear at the seams and limit your movement. But all that depends on the shape of your hands. Most people make a few test mittens before sewing the real fabric.

I’ll be using pieces of a raincoat of the old, heavy type as material in the palm, because it’s grippy, waterproof and durable. For the rest I have a thin Cordura rainproof material. You can seal them with special PU glue or seam tape, if you like. I won’t bother because I’m going to line them with wool, which is warm even when whet. The traditional type in Norway were made from just cotton and leather, probably treated with wax in the olden days.

Will post finished result!


I chose a heavy polycotton simular to Fjällrävens heavy duty G1000 instead of cordura and rubber. It’s not completely waterproof, but close enough, and very quick to dry. But I’m having a problem with this pattern. Some extra fabric keeps bunching up between the thumb and palm:

That’s not great if you’re skiing or bicycling. I’m trying again to make my own improvement, for next time. The thumb on all my store bought gloves have a round seam towards the palm. I think the thumb should be at a steeper angle, like 45 degrees. Something like this:

Then I can “round” that fold in my rubber fabric (marked with a needle), so they basically look like real mittens.

It’s against my Sewing Commandments to throw out something useful, so I’ll keep working on the ones I have. Next up is adding a wool liner and a strap at the wrist. I will also have to make the opening wider, by adding a triangular piece.

New Bike

I’ve got a new mountainbike. It’s my primary means if transportation, and also my new hobby. I’ve taken it for a few trips to the MTB single tracks in Hareskoven, and it’s really fun! It’s close to Copenhagen. The tracks are more challenging than I thought, the builders have been really creative in finding the steepest possible routes. Denmark is, if you didn’t know, one of the flattest countries on earth. You can bring the bike for free on the subway (s-tog), and they even have special bike stands for MTB. So pretty nice for a country without mountains.

I bought the cheapest bike I could find with disk breakes, the Trek Marlin 5, on sale because it’s from 2017! The fork is just with coil springs and weighs a ton, so if I get serious about mountainbiking I might want a better one. But I’m pretty sure I won’t bother. Maybe when it’s worn out?

The wheels are 29″, which means they roll pretty well on the road as well. Suddenly I feel like everybody else is really slow!

It works equally well in the forest and when I just take it to the local bakery!

Trek Marlin 5 (2017)

The Red Track at Hareskoven

First time on a mountainbike!

Signed up for the Hamburg Marathon


The Wife talked me in to signing up for the Hamburg Marathon. It’s supposedly a very nice marathon, which seems like an oxymoron to me, but hey: at least the name rocks! I’m sure with proper training and low ambitions it will be a tolerable experience, and then I can impress non-joggers for the rest of my life.

Of course I’m running in my mininal running shoes. In the videos above you can see it looks a lot like regular running, only with soft shoes that don’t have all that… stuff which regular running shoes have. I’ve been doing this for over six years, so it just seems like the natural way to run for me. My innov8 shoes look normal enough so I don’t get the questions and advice from fellow runners. They are also crazy comfortable, even if they are a little long and narrow for my feet. I just went up one size. My wife has also crossed over to the dark side of forefoot running, and seems to be doing OK. It’s going to be an adventure!

I forgot to follow up on my backpack post. It turned out great, and it’s now my most loved travel bag. Will post pictures.

Happy trails, everybody!

Kids’ backpack


Made this one for my daughter, on request. I am making a backpack for myself. My backpack is going to have an opening on the side facing my back, like a gym bag, but otherwise just be a plain 40l backpack. I discovered a few years ago that soft bags are practical when flying with handluggage only, beacause you can cram it in under the seat if the plane is full. It only takes up the space your packed luggage does. I also prefer backpacks to trolleys because they give more freedom of movement. Inspiration:


My daughter loved the moss green fabric that I bought, and she hates her Kånken Mini backpack so much, because it’s uncomfortable and small. So I made her one based on the Eastpak Padded Pakr and JanSport Right Pack. It’s a bit longer in the back, and I’m adding a chest strap so it stays on.

The hardest part was doing all the seams on the front pocket from the inside. I had to bend the stiff fabric to get in through the opening with my sewing machine. Basting by hand first really helps. The Kånken/EastPak style zipper placement is also difficult to align with the bottom part of the backpack, because you have to add in the width of the zipper. The maths is simple, but the chance of ending up with crooked seams at the ends of the zipper is big. If you do the opening in the style of the Right Pack, it’s a lot easier to sew. (It’s the way that is shown in the video below.) It makes it a bit less waterproof at the top, that’s why I still bothered. You can see the different zipper placements here:

I don’t sew well, so I need to think about construction more than more talented seamsters and seamstresses. The backpack is done apart from the chest strap, which is required equipment in kindergarten.

It’s also my first attempt at machine embroidery. I used regular paper and printed out a drawing of a unicorn. (Turns out regular paper is water soluble too.) Then I just followed the lines as well as I could with my regular foot. Embroidering was boring, but my daughter likes the result. Now she wants butterflies swarming around the unicorn. No way I’m doing those. She can add them herself in a few years.

I’ve used these sources for tips and hints:

And BTW, I’m still running around in minimal shoes. My wife has become a bigger running geek than me, and we are going to run a marathon next spring.

DIY jeans update

More blurry pictures of my self made jeans. My phone has the crappiest camera ever, but it refuses to die.

They’ve been hand washed a couple of times. I’m very happy with how they turned out. I modified them a bit, but it’s easy to tell they were modeled on 501.

I am planning to make a light backpack which fits as handluggage on planes, and I’ve bought some heavy polycotton for a winter parka. Right now the fabric just takes up space in our tiny apartment. Somehow it’s easier to buy fabric than to actually start cutting and sewing.


H&M jeans, 2007, repaired

Bought some very dark jeans from h&m eight years ago. Have used them a lot for the last two years. They’re not my favourite pair, but they fit me well and I’ve worn them since they were perfectly dark blue. I have repaired the crotch, both front pockets, one back pocket, right thigh, left knee. I am experimenting a bit with mending techniques. One of the great things about sewing is you can always rip it up and try again.

The short rise looks very out of style in 2016, almost like women’s jeans. They used to be straight, but I’ve tapered them. The old look was almost like a slim bootcut, but now they are more like regular 80’s jeans.

Not worth the work I’ve put into it, but I like the fact that they’re so worn out.

Factory distressed jeans look ridiculous to me, and I’ve always felt this way. I bought a pair of designer jeans from the Red Cross thrift store with fake wear on the knees, and I’m going to give them to my brother, because I just can’t wear them.

I’ve ordered some olive colored cotton canvas to make a parka, so someday I will post how that goes.

But first I will post an image of Marty McFly’s inside out jeans. The movie is set in 2015. Somehow that never caught on. Even though G star tried.

Sustainable fashion – an oxymoron?

Just learned from a very interesting newsweek article that there’s a global crisis in second hand clothing. Fast fashion is leaving so much low quality second hand clothing that even the African market is getting picky, and 80% of what we give to charity is just burned or discarded.

Too much of what we buy is too impractical, or not durable enough, even for some of the world’s poorest. It really gives a refreshing view on the window displays at H&M and Zara.

Whenever my wife buys something from the Swedish brand Monki, it typically breaks after a few weeks. Which makes me think that these clothes aren’t really clothes, they’re just fashion. You have the textile industry, and the fashion industry, and their products are fashion textiles, but are they clothes? Some of these clothes are simply trash, and too bad to be of any use to anyone in the world. To me that makes them less pretty.

Maybe fashion, at it’s very core, is impractical, vain and wasteful? Maybe fashion can never be sustainable, because the idea of style implies you discard something perfectly usable, just because it’s out of style.

On the other hand I know a few old baby boomers who wear the same parka and Wrangler jeans for 20 years, and I don’t strive for that look either…

I think fashion can be sustainable, but it has to be slow fashion. Also we shouldn’t let the high street brands confuse us as to what fashion is. If you get a camouflage three-piece suit, a shirt with flamingos, or a big hat, wear it twice and then sell it, that’s fashion. It’s silly, it’s wasteful, but at least it’s fun. But you don’t need 6 boring grey shirts from a chain store, that you might never wear. That is not fashion; that’s just clothes. And it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity, so treat it as such. Which means basically, you buy something nice and new, wear it until it’s become a little less trendy, and then wear it some more, and then you treat yourself to something nice and new again when it’s worn out.

I know it sounds like preaching, but I’m just thinking out loud here…

On a side note I think that any clothes bought second hand are far more sustainable than sustainable fashion can ever be.

I’m not sure about recycling. If I read this article in the Guardian correctly, it’s still some time before it’s actually effective… The thought that my polyester parka could be around for hundreds of years after I’m dead makes me think that maybe it’s worth a try.

I could probably get by for the rest of my life just on clothes discarded by family members. After I started not throwing clothes out, I cant even get rid of the stuff I get for Christmas or inherit.

Jeans done

And here are the honest pictures. I’m not big on selfies, so excuse the blurry pictures. To sum it up they are a pair of size 34 Levi’s 501’s, but I’ve omitted rivets, yoke, watch pocket, and contrast top stiching. The hem is not done yet, but as they are so long I will just wear them folded up, and hem later. Can’t wait to see what a bit of wear will do to these. The fact that I have made the waist a couple of inches smaller means they look more Cowboy and less slacker, but that might not last, as I suspect they will give a little. I didn’t wash the fabric before cutting, so I need to wear them for a long time before eventually washing them very carefully. Will definitely make my own pants in the future! But I won’t use french seams on the inside legs like in the picture below. French seams are for thin fabrics IMO.





I forgot to write last time: I’m omitting rivets. I don’t like them. I just tried to replace the pockets on an old pair of jeans, and it became a mess because of rivets. They make repairing and refitting jeans harder. I’m sure they made sense in 1871, but they don’t any more.

Anyways. When I read about sewing I just want pictures pictures pictures, so here they are:

I’m very happy with the front pockets. They are railroad pattern twill from a jacket I bought second hand to use as scraps. Should last forever. (And if they don’t I can easily replace them because there are no rivets.) I did a French seam on the back first, but I have since unravelled that seam and just zigzagged and topstiched. It became bulky, and I’d traced the 501’s too faithfully. In the future I’ll straighten the lines of my pattern a bit more before cutting. Now they look nice, and I like the look with no yoke.

Buttons are on the way in the mail. I’m not putting shitty jeans buttons on my nice jeans. YKK makes some without a logo, which goes well with my minimalistic design. More pics soon!!!

Blue Jeans DIY

20161013_111028I got my blue rigid denim in the mail, and I’ve started cutting and sewing my jeans. The basic idea is to make Jeans Without Unnecessary Stuff. I’m copying a pair of well fitting 501’s which where covered in paint. I cut them up and copied all the parts. Here’s what I’m omitting from the standard 5 pocket 501 design:

  1. Contrast topstitching
  2. Coin pocket
  3. Yoke

I’m not a denim purist, and in my opinion they still look like jeans, only better. I already have jeans with blue topstiching, but I’m curious about how omitting the yoke will work. What I like most about jeans is the fabric and the pocket design. Chino pockets always spill coins.

I won’t go into detail about the construction, but here are a few links I have watched MANY TIMES.

  1. – “DIY: Instructions for sewing a pair of RAW Denim Jeans. Step by Step and easy to follow tutorial, for Beginners and Megalomaniacs.”
  2. Angela Kane – Sewing blue jeans
  3. Youtube – Paul Kruize – Jeans in progress
  4. Youtube – Roman Lemeschko – Designer jeans men’s style

I’m heavily inspired by the first link. The other are not for aesthetics, but more about learning the techniques. I have discovered that taste and sewing skills are two separate things, and I enjoy videos of good sewers even when they make ugly stuff. Not that any of the jeans in the links are ugly, just generally.


Is this ugly or beautiful? I walk past it every day, and it always makes me happy and angry at the same time..

Aloha, fellow humans.

20161014_171619Haven’t been blogging for years, but WordPress seems to just leave things online forever, so I’ll just pick up where I left… I have been blogging at for a while after I quit this blog, but I’m just going to leave that and go back to my original blog again.

First off: I’m still running around in minimal shoes, although I feel like I don’t have much more to say about it. It’s great, it’s the natural way to run, and that’s fine. Haven’t been in a race for a couple of years, and I’m still not planning to run a marathon. I would rather like to rock the 800m distance, but I mostly just run for fun and to keep back pain away.

I’ve been freelancing as a musician for seven years now, and I’m in a bit of a rut, career-wise. I’m still making money, but I’m not having as much fun, and my ambitions have sort of faded. My friends are performing at Glyndebourne and the Met, and I’m still singing Bach in Copenhagen for symbolic wages. This year I started working part time as a life guard at my local pool, which means I can afford to say no to the singing jobs that pay the least. I also like the regularity of the job. I can tell you that as a life guard I spend most of the time cleaning tiles and windows. I never let my daughter touch shop windows anymore.

the-lifeguardBut ultimately, being a life guard is like a symbol a midlife crisis. I would call many of those who work there drifters, and I don’t mean in a bad way, more like they have found Zen. But I would rather do something that pays more, and something I can do until I’m old, since I’m probably going to have to work until 73 with the new Danish pension reforms. I’m seriously contemplating getting some kind of degree in marketing and communication. Time will tell how that goes. Then maybe I can make people like renaissance music!

One great thing about having a normal job (beside from regular hours and a pension saving), is that my voice is fresh afterwards, unlike a lot of the choir/ensemble work I’ve been doing these last years. It’s nice and all, but I sound like a vacuum cleaner afterwards. Now I can go out and rock “Torna a surriento” at someone’s 60th birthday and have fun with it. I also feel the joy of making music slowly coming back to me.

This blog will be very eclectic from now on. I’ll just write about anything that goes on. I’m quite into sustainable fashion at the moment. I bought a bright red Burton Jacket last year, but other than that I haven’t really shopped new clothes in several years. I’ve sewn wool underwear for my daughter from a second hand sweater (see above), I plan to make my own jeans, and I want to sew a good looking denim jacket from old scraps. My goal is to save a little bit of money, but mostly to keep my wardrobe small but exclusive, while using second hand or organic fabrics.

I have had this idea for years that I want to get better at using my stuff until it’s almost disintegrated. Repairing when possible. I had a friend in high school who had absolutely no money, and he would always buy nice, expensive clothes and wear them every day. I’m inspired by that, but I also want to buy stuff that lasts. SO that Burton jacket might be the last piece of synthetic clothing I’ll buy in a long time.

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Flat soles?

I’m tired of the title of this blog, so I’m simply renaming it to Flat Soles, and moving to a fitting WordPress subdomain.

Trying to keep the singularity of thematics, or whatever it’s called. I’m not really writing about opera anyway. So, flat soles it is.

The benefit of having 0.199 readers is nobody cares if you move blogs. 😉

But you are all more than welcome to follow me at if you want to hear more of my endeavors running in old school sneakers.

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Too little sleep

Too little sleep.

Too many muffins.

Nice long run.

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It’s good to have a weekly goal. If I feel uninspired I can focus on reaching my weekly goal of 16km. And this week I overshot it by two km again. Might need to up the ante. 18 kilometers it is!

22,5 km left to beat my monthly record.

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Spontaneous run

Was supposed to just do a couple of easy km’s and I ended up running 10.

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Easy does it.

Today I achieved my most important goal: Totally carefree and easy running. After 5.3 km I ran home for dinner. Then I ran another 3.6 km, burping vietnamese food all the way.

Not fast, but more enjoyable than ever. If it continues in this direction, I’ll be able to skip my way through the half marathon in April. While whistling.

Edit: Maybe the reason it felt so good was the temperature. A comfortable +5°C (41°F)!
Spring is here.

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Fatherhood and intervals

Since my last post I’ve become father of a beautiful daughter who enjoys milk a lot. She hasn’t got a name yet, but we call her “Lanugo” after the little baby-hairs on her shoulders. She makes life a lot more enjoyable and that includes my interval running. Also, a few days without running makes running more enjoyable.

Interval work: Second km 4:15, fourth 04:13.

(Short term-goal: 3 1km laps under 4:10. This earns me new shoes.)

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