As every year, this entry is a longer retro for 2022 with more than just TWIKE-related topics.
It has taken long to create this entry as I’ve been mostly living and working in Singapore since October 2022 and at times only travelling back to Switzerland for a few days before returning to Asia again. My days are unfortunately are quite busy and I’ve nothing TWIKE-related to report as my TWIKE and I are separated by continents and the tragedy going on in Ukraine.
The good news is that TW560 didn’t have any major technical issues throughout 2022.
Following maintenance was required during 2022:
- New rear tyres pre-TDE2022
- Balancing and testing of TW560’s battery pack
- Address 25yrs+ of wear and tear on TW560’s main display
- Replacing a MOSFET on TW560’s AK rail
- Replacing the fan on TW560’s Inverter
Trip-wise, there were much less activities to report than usual:
TDE2022 was a great trip – the tried-and-tested combination of me having some days on my own (especially the first few days to decompress) and me then meeting up with my family somewhere in Europe where my wife then joins me on some memorable and relaxing days of travel in the TWIKE before heading back home with the car and the kids, leaving me to have some days on my own on my way back.
If you own a TWIKE, please try to venture out past your battery capacity – there is so much fun to be had out there!
Here are some photos to motivate you!
France is another great place to drive with a TWIKE!
Driving along the Côte d’Azur is just where a TWIKE makes most sense!
Alpine settings work as well as the sea!
And now to something completely different –
Whilst we were aware of what was going on in the world – specifically the disastrous invasion of Ukraine by Russia, somehow, we didn’t link this to any shortages at all in early 2022 – our 130+ year-old house’s main heating source is wood.
In a typical year in the past, we would call the farmer who takes care of our village’s forest sometime in June and order the 5-7 m3 required to get through the winter. He then would deliver the wood in Oct-Nov in time for our heating season. Giving him the flexibility to work on cutting and preparing our wood when there is less to do for him.
This year, however, in June, when we tried to order some wood he told us that there was basically no wood available. In the early months of 2022 he had been inundated with calls by people who had a normal fireplace in their homes (and typically never used it) and they had ordered cube metres on cube metres to be ‘ready’ for a winter without electricity or heating oil.
ah…so no wood for us long-term customers?
We had to be very insistent until he agreed to sell the less dry wood to new customers and cut some dry wood for us.
Some years ago, I read a book called ‘Blackout – morgen ist es zu spät’ (Blackout, it’s going to be too late tomorrow) by Mark Elsberg.
Whilst the book is an interesting take on how mass deployment of smart meters isn’t a good idea (…who knew?) the main message is around what happens to society and how social norms crumble quickly when main pillars of this norm disappear – this is what we experienced here, as our farmer complained about wood being stolen wholesale by Romanian gangs.
One fine Friday, we got our delivery:
Anyway, we got our wood delivery and started stacking the wood behind my TWIKE’s normal parking space.
This is a workout in itself – we all were pretty tired after we were done!
Life is always full of surprises – especially with the world being in turmoil… Our main person in Singapore resigned after being poached with a massive pay-raise.
I am the only one of our management team with adult kids, experience living in Asia and the ability to conduct commercial negotiations.
This meant that I was to relocate to Singapore until further notice in order to lead the APAC business whilst finding and recruiting our next APAC head.
The weekend before I left, we went on the Rhine river with some friends to enjoy a great day on the river just north of Schaffhausen.
Since my wife and I lived in Schaffhausen, this is a place we both hold very dear in our hearts – the lower Rhine is just magical. See for yourself!
Navigating with just a few kW of (devil’s juice-derived) power, we traveled north-east until we decided to enjoy our white wine and floating back to Schaffhausen.
End of October, it finally was time to leave Switzerland… But not without enjoying some last drinks with my wife!
Having made it to the lounge in Zurich Airport’s Terminal E, I spy the aircraft that will take me to Singapore.
Also, please note that I’m flying the worst kind of economy possible: 3 rows from the back!
Looking at the projected route, I’m quite sure I’m not going to be flying the projected route. This is why the flight itself takes much longer as we have to fly via Ankara and then avoid Russian and Iranian airspace.
I’m one of the very small group of people in Economy who just closes their eyes and can sleep throughout most of the flight. I do like to be woken for food, though 🙂
On approach, I get to take a picture of all of Singapore – it’s crazy how small the territory is!
I’m not complaining – it’s pretty cold in Switzerland and I’m enjoying the warm weather…when not wearing my business suit.
If you stay somewhere weeks on end, you don’t want to be staying at a hotel. The constant stream of 1-2 day stay-over tourists are no fun and there is never any peace at a hotel bar, where everyone is trying to have a great time on vacation.
I chose to stay in a pretty special place that is geared towards my requirements when wanting to stay longer term but not rent an apartment – co-living at Hmlet Cantonment.
Just outside the Central Business District (CBD…which makes me smile every time I see this acronym), Hmlet is located in an old school building that has been converted. No high rise and loads of green spaces around the building itself.
With a minimum stay of one week and a maximum of three months, this place has a really interesting mix of people: relaxed tourists, people like me and digital nomads. Complete with a very nice co-working space, spacious kitchens and a great crew running the place this is one place I can recommend whole-heartedly after staying here multiple months in total. Should you book here, say hello to the crew from me!
Singapore is always worth a trip – such a diverse, safe and nice place. For me as a foodie this is as close to Nirvana as you can get.
Well, last year, one of my most memorable events was the multi-day madness of the Singapore Fintech Festival. 50k visitors interacting with the biggest banks and service providers all the way down to the young FinTech startup.
My company was such a pre-seed startup in 2017 – we made it all the way to the main stage then and were able to present our tech to 3500 attendees during this session! (ah, those were the days…when we were 7 people in our company. Now we’re present in 5 countries and are going towards 100 employees!)
If you like salted egg, this is the stuff you will need. Forget drugs! This stuff is indeeed ‘dangerously addictive’!
It’s not all fun and games, though. Most of my days are spent in meeting rooms in the many banks in Singapore. At least here, the views are usually great.
Here for example, after a meeting, the person I was speaking to suggested to see the sky garden on the top floors. I got to visit outside of the hours available to the public and …unsurprisingly… was the only one there. Impressive.
One thing, however, I look forward to every day is … food. I go for maximum diversity. Chinese, Singaporean, Malay, Indian, Indonesian…whatever: it’s as it should be and tastes just perfect – yum!
I get back to Switzerland in December to be with my family for Christmas and new year whilst enjoying some gray fog, freezing temperatures and darkness.
As you might recall, driving a vehicle with a soft plexiglass windscreen in winter in Switzeland will result in a very scratched plexi glass very quickly. As per usual, I will have to apply some plexi vodoo and hey, presto, my screen is back to being close to brand new – something I’ll be taking care of very soon during the few days off between christmas and new year.
During the last few days of 2023, I take the opportunity to escape the endless gray and fog by driving to higher grounds and enjoy some sun and views.
Very cold weather has it’s challenges when driving a TWIKE. Such as water flash-freezing water on the windscreen as the plexiglass does not store much energy and certain wind/water temperature combinations make it possible for the water to freeze instantly on the screen, regardless of how much I activate the defrosters. The only thing one can do in this case is to stop for a few minutes and let the defrosters do their work without any wind and additional water hitting the windscreen.
Always trying to better understand the world I’m living in, I found this booklet a very stimulating read. You should definitely read it before you buy your next car – EV or not.
Coming to think of it – just read the book, regardless of your next purchase. It is a humbling read for any sustainability-minded person.
On the last day of 2022 I head back up above the clouds – this is starting to become a tradition – and nature does not disappoint.
Now to the usual stats for 2022. A fair amount of distance covered, especially given the fact that I’ve been outside of the country for quite a while and I’m not commuting to the office anymore!
On January 2nd, I then decided to apply some of the previously-mentioned plexi vodoo with the usual surprising effect given the limited amount of effort involved!
With this, TW560 is nearly ready for 2023 – only thing missing is the new toll sticker. This will probably be the very last physical sticker I’m affixing to my TWIKE as from 2023 onwards, Switzerland follows most countries that had physical toll stickers towards digital toll collection via license plate recognition.
This is a good thing as in Switzerland multiple cars can share the same license plate on the same insurance. For the motorway toll, however, every car needed one. Now, the toll sticker is linked to the plate i.e. the car actually using the motorway. I digress to discuss all the downsides with regards to tracking and loss of privacy, keeping this data safe etc.
With this – thank you for reading this blog and stay safe in 2023!