Try refreshing the page to ensure you are enjoying the latest version. I tend to make endless edits and corrections over time. Forgive the sometimes off-topic nature of my blog these days. Walking and enjoying the countryside are vital to my physical and psychological fitness and sense of well-being. They combine to undo the damage caused by an occasional excess of cycling. And, may even stave off another rant! Though I can't promise anything. My long-suffering wife, "The Head Gardener," refers to me as the Imelda Marcos of saddles and saddlebags. She is usually right about almost everything. So it may well be true.


27 Jul 2015

27th July 2015 Not a well boy!

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Monday 27th 56F, 13C, overcast and windy with showers or rain forecast all day.

I liked the similarities between the jumble of bales and the clouds.

After a short, but wobbly walk, all plans for today were put on hold. It started with vertigo and tinnitus and ended up with vomiting, feeling hot and cold, then sleeping for several hours. I have been deaf in one ear with severe tinnitus for over a week but the warm olive oil drops treatment didn't help. Whether the ear and food poisoning symptoms are connected I have no idea. Google says the symptoms of an inner ear infection are very similar to mine. Late afternoon and I am still weak and wobbly now with no desire to eat. Fortunately my wife was not unwell so that should rule out anything we ate. A dreadful day, sleeping when I wasn't nauseous, suffering from dizziness or actually throwing up. I have only eaten one round of toast all day. Another rest day in every sense of the word.

Tuesday 28th 62F, 17C, light wind, cloudy with bright moments. Showers forecast for most of the day. Despite sleeping for most of yesterday I managed to stay in bed until 5am. I didn't dare to eat any muesli but had a banana at 6am with a little water. Which thankfully stayed down. Splitting headache and feeling much worse so went back to bed at 7am and slept for another couple of hours. Feeling a bit better now. Going to try a piece of plain toast and cool, black tea.

An now for something completely different: I was just reading about the Gogoro:  Gogoro's first Smartscooters are now being delivered | The Verge It looks like a smart motor scooter but is battery driven. The compact batteries can be swapped in seconds and exchanged at a chain of outlets for a fixed premium of about £20 equivalent per month regardless of the number consumed. The scooter will cost just over £2000 initially, so probably just within electric bicycle target audience. Some electric bikes and very heavy "mobility" trikes cost about the same or even more. The Gogoro leaves them all for dead with its incredibly sophisticated electronics, range and speed. It adapts to maximise performance for its rider but also feeds information back to base for assessment of use and popular routes, in the mega-cities it is intended for. 10 million-plus inhabitants. Analysis of the mass data holds all sorts of useful city planning and traffic information. They do much the same sort of thing in analysing mobile phone traffic I believe.

It is hoped smart scooters will become an alternative, private, but still, mass transport vehicle. The first examples are just being released in Taipei. Hopefully the battery technology and rental-exchange method will rub off on bikes [and trikes] if they ever reach the West. Rather oddly it cannot be recharged at home or at work.

If it rids our own roads of the stinking and ridiculously slow, but noisy, 2-stroke scooters it will all have been worthwhile. Ordinary motor scooters can be bought for well under £1000 equiv. Which means that the smart electric scooters will need to offer something extra for the typically youthful [and probably impoverished] owner. Reliability might help the Gogoro cause. As will not having to mix 2-stroke fuel and smell like a petrol station.

On a  much smaller scale: My replacement battery for the Ventus GPS G730 dongle has just arrived. I just need to solder the leads and off we go. Well, perhaps, not today. I have really missed my GPS recording of my routes. Particularly the longer rides, of course. I am often amazed how poorly I understand the exact direction I take on my routes. Normally I use my previous experience of the area and the sun [when visible!] but I often waste time taking an indirect road or lane. Usually due to a lack of village name recognition and/or poor signposting. My longest routes have all tended to lengthen beyond that planned due to my poor sense of exact direction beyond my usual riding territory. I once drove half the length of Wales in completely the wrong direction while [hopefully] returning from holiday there. Deja vu, anybody?

I do carry some road maps, for absolute emergencies, but this would obviously need me to stop to get them out of the saddlebag. Firstly, I hate stopping and secondly I would need reading glasses to be able to read the village names. I tried making a list of villages from the route finders on the free online mapping services. But I would always miss an unmarked turn or some other navigational disaster. I always return safely home eventually. Just never not usually by the most direct route. I suppose that if I really cared I would be more serous about it. Or at least learn from my mistakes. Rain is hardly ever an issue on my more distant rides, so there is never any need for a bee-line home to avoid hypothermia. At least, not yet.

No doubt 'live' GPS, on a screen large enough to read without a magnifying glass, will arrive eventually. Hopefully with a touch screen to drag or swipe for greater magnification. A nice heads-up display in a smart, helmet visor? Now all it needs is for it to become cheap enough to satisfy my usual skinflint mentality before I lose my mentality altogether. So, basically, it is a technological race against time.

I should be grateful that I don't need prescription lenses for distance any more. Having worn glasses for literally decades, tricycling every day [in cheapo, supermarket, cycling sunglasses] fixed my distance vision within a year. However, lack of accommodation [natural stiffening of the eye lenses] is the real bugbear of old age. I now need two pairs of reading glasses. One weaker pair for the computer and another pair for reading the tiny print "they" plaster all over everything these days. Just because they can nano-print, product details doesn't mean they should! Don't even get me started on bread wrapper dating labels! I wouldn't mind but I'm allergic to cheap plastic glasses!

But enough about me: I hear Sky bosses are upset at the way their riders were abused during the tour de wotsit. Easily fixed: Just tell the French mental hospitals not to hand out free bus passes to their patients during le tour. What about drones with air-to-ground missiles to take out the spitters and obscene arm wavers? Where to draw the line? Anybody running alongside the riders makes them fair game in my book. If they haven't run the entire length of the day's stage, just to reach that spot, they really aren't worthy of competing on foot. Anybody wearing fancy dress? Definitely anybody more than two stones over a healthy body weight who pretends to jump up and down. [Reducing the allowable margin on an annual basis would thin the ranks nicely.] Anybody not clapping respectfully? Anybody with their Børøx in a g-string! Motorbikes running over riders. Cars pushing riders over barbed wire fences. The list is endless and [should be] so unnecessary.

Froome seems like such a nice guy. But, if he is ever found guilty of illegal doping he should be strung up by the Børrøx from the finishing line arch on a mountain top finish! Just as a warning to others. Like the Italian 'Giro' team with two doping strikes in one year. Plonkers!

Wednesday 29th 56F, 13C, bright and breezy. Risk of showers for the next two days and rather windy later. I woke very early but am feeling much better today. Yesterday I soldered the new Li-on battery to the GPS dongle using my best micro-surgery, lack of skill and a very small bit in the Weller iron. Now on battery test, the dongle has been running [naked] for over 12 hours. It is supposed to stop when stationary so must have scribbled imaginary routes all over the world map by now! It had, but only local. I had 17 hours out of a short charge on the new battery. So it can't be very old stock. It's a shame they don't date them. The originals, in the GPS dongles, weren't dated either. It looks as if a new model of the dongle is available from Canmore with silver details on the case. The GT-730-FL if memory serves.

Brooks has sent a heads-up mail on some new and old promotional videos. Well worth viewing most of them: Though the "retro" bike shop assistant really ought to be filthy. Nobody would be allowed to look that clean for more than five minutes. Cleanliness meant a skiver! Or the bosses son. There were no biological washing powders or miraculous hand cleaners back then. When I were a lad... I used to use Vim and Fairy washing up liquid with a scrubbing brush to clean my hands after a bout of "mechanicals." The mixture was probably toxic given the off-gassing of chlorine! I'm still waiting for the oil-less plastic chain after more than half a century! All they can come up with is fat, cogged belts. I'd like to seem them manage an 11 speeds cassette and a triple up front! 

http://brooksengland.us1.list-manage.com/cinema/click?

Still too weak and wobbly to go for a ride. It was hard enough work shopping briefly in the car for the absolute essentials.

Click on any image for an enlargement.
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