Wednesday 2 September 2020

Ride to Cabo de Gata

In July 2020, we went for a three day ride, the longest bike trip we been to, up to this date.

Some context.
My wife is my riding partner. I been riding since I was 17, she got her license after we got married. I bought a Vespa PX200 back in 2002 when I worked as a courier and I needed a cheap bike that was easy to maintain.
At some point, back in 2012 we started renting a second bike and going out for a ride, and since we did enjoy this time together, we do go for a ride every now and then, so in January 2019 we bought a Honda Rebel 500 as a second bike.

The planning.
Given this is 2020, and we have COVID-19 cases all around us, planning a trip is a complex task.
The problem is around the uncertain evolution of the cases, the more to the future you want to plan, the greater uncertainty you have to deal with, and you don´t want to put your money in advance for a trip you won´t be doing.

So this time the plan was different. There was no plan, we only had options.

We managed to arrange a weekend where the kids would be taken care of, then we decided that we had three places where we would like to ride. We had two nights out, and we were riding out of Valencia, Spain where we live, so...
We could try driving north to mount Tourmalet, West to the Sierra de Cuenca mountains or South to Cabo de Gata.
We also decided not to book a second bike in advance, to not put money in stake, but to just drop by the bike dealer on last Thursday and give it a try if they had anything we could rent. If we didn´t find second bike, I would do the trip on the Vespa.

The bikes.
Then, when the Thursday arrived, I went to the local Yamaha dealer. As any decent bike dealer, they have a set of test bikes you can use for a quick test ride before purchasing one. Many dealers offer this service, but Yamaha Spain went a bit further, and they also offer the chance of renting one of the demo bikes for some days.
They had a spare Tracer 700, so after the brief paperwork, we had the bikes ready.

The ride.
On Friday morning we checked the news and the healthcare information, COVID-19 cases were worse to the North, so we decided to go South.

We managed to travel 1200km in three days. We went all the way down to Cabo de Gata on our first day, then went up north to Albacete by crossing the Cazorla natural park, and the last day we went back home by riding to Requena.

Some lessons.

The Tracer700 is a great bike for travelling, it has fairing, powerful engine, wide tires... and the Honda Rebel did exactly the same trip without any of those. It's not the bike what makes the biker, it's the attitude.

Riding without a GPS is fun, but you will get lost, and by the time you're back on your track you will be tired and late.

Have a bandana on your neck, and if it get's too hot, soak it in cold water when you stop for fuel.

Get a bluetooth intercom, so you can talk with your riding partner.

If you are going to an area with plenty of accommodation, you can book a room by the time you get there. But if the hotels are scarce, you better book in advance and plan accordingly.
Our first idea was to sleep in Riópar, but by the time we went there we could only find a room in Albacete. And this added a couple of riding ours to an already long day.

Some people don't ride out of their commuting route, some people ride a lot and afar. It doesn't matter what others do. Find what kind of riding makes you happy and enjoy the ride.

Thursday 7 May 2020

My last day at Flywire

Yesterday was my last day in Flywire.

How does it feel to be laid off after 8 years working in the same company, the same project, along with the same friends?

Ah, it feels strange, yes the company has given me good exit conditions, yes there was no drama in all the process, yes we are still friends.

But I liked my job there, I liked it more than my exit process.

Looking back, we did a great job, I joined the team when we were 25, and left when we were almost touching the sky.

I got the chance to travel, to develop my career as a Software Tester and as a Product Manager above any expectation I could have when I joined the company.

I had the chance to meet awesome people, inside the company, and getting to events, conferences and trainings.

All those experiences, from sunsets in the Caribbean to sunrises in a frozen Gulf of Finland, from the San Francisco bay, to the bar close to the office.

I got the chance to grow a team, to help other teams grow, to try developing all kind of new skills.

I always saw this job as an adventure, and all adventures come to an end, so that new adventures can start.

My days at Flywire are over, some of my stories will be around for a while, the friendships will last forever.

Thursday 2 January 2020

Looking back to 2019

I like writing a year review post, it comes handy when I want to get back in my memory, Maybe I read this post in the future, maybe my kids read this post in the future, I don't know, the future is hard to guess, but the past is worth remember.

We started the year with a new bike! This nice Honda Rebel 500 is our second bike at home, since we do keep the Vespa up and running. Having a second bike means that going out for a Sunday ride my wife and I is only a matter of finding a plan for the kids. At the end of the year we passed the 6K kilometers with it, all of those were joyful.

When this 2019 started, I was busy producing videos for internal use in Flywire, one of those videos flew me to our London Office, and since I was in the City I went for a beer with Antony Marcano. As a long time follower and reader of this man, I really enjoyed his company.

European Testing Conference came to Valencia! Maaret Pyhäjärvi and her crew organized an incredible two day conference in town, bringing speakers from far away. We helped with the logistics, and with our flywire office space to host the speakers dinner and an Exploratory Testing retreat.

Just because we felt like doing so, we had a Formal Friday, a fun event to suit up and have a good time at the office.

The family went to Tenerife, such a nice place on earth. This island is a whole continent by it's own, with mountains, jungles, deserts, forests and valleys. We went up to the Teide top and down to the seaside, and marked this place as somewhere to return in the future.

And we also went to Portugal, this time on a road trip. We like going on road trips to nice places, and the southern coast of Portugal is a nice place to go.

I changed role, I moved from being a video recording product analyst to a bank statements matching and partner integration focused product owner. And I got the chance to join a team with  some of the oldest developers around.
A team where the ego game is low, where people is open to listen to suggestions and crazy ideas, where we take our jobs very seriously, and the serious matters with humor. A team that has helped me grow and learn as a Product Owner and as a storytelling fellow.

Since I moved to the product team, I started going to product related conferences, where I soon noticed that product has it's own folklore, contradicting ways of doing product development ( solutionists vs problemologists ) and a nice and supporting community.

This year, we lost our first tester, (in 8 years, it had to happen someday...), and this big guy left the company to seek fortune in another ship. I wish him the best, we still go for brunch together from time to time, but boy, do I miss this fellow metalhead.

Talking about metal, we went to Madrid to see Amon Amarth perform live. Having a night our with my wife without the kids is a rare happening, but if it is going to be like this, I can't wait for the next time. Turning married life into an adventure!

We went to visit my parents in Bilbao a couple of times, and even that it is easy nowadays to stay close with calls and video-conferences, it is nice to have some time to drink a coffee, talk and hug each other as well.

This summer we went to Scandinavia, in a two week long road trip, keeping with our summer tradition of driving somewhere. We went from Copenhagen to Bergen and then to Stockholm. We saw valleys, fjords, viking towns and overwhelming nature all along the way.

Back from an unforgettable 5 week summer break, I went to Madrid to attend Peopleware conference, where Javier Garzás and his crew are running a nice agile development-centric one day conference.

We also drove to Lisbon to join Productized conference, a two day event with talks and workshops where I learned a lot of things while my wife and kids were exploring the city.


Closing the year, the Valencia Product team went to a team lunch where we shared success and failure stories.
This 2019 has been a great year for us. We have integrated with Banks and Partners from Australia, Indonesia, VietNam, China... we have explored new ideas, automated a lot of manual processes, fixed all kind of problems, we have built a solid foundation for what our company will be in the next years.


And of course, we did a year closing party, welcoming this new twenties in old twenties style.

For this 2020, I have work to do, a family to care about, places I want to visit and people I want to meet.

Good times.

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