16 May 2010

Half empty.

16th May 2010. 46F, rain all morning, overcast, blowing a gale with heavy gusts. I spent most of the ride tacking across the wind and seeking as much shelter as possible. Anything to avoid a head on confrontation with the wind. Not always possible, of course. On the few occasions when I faced a headwind my cycling shorts were inflating as the wind got under the elastic in the legs! My wife blames my shrinking legs! At times my jacket was rattling like a tent on Everest. When the wind was on my left, aided and abetted by the steep, opposite camber, I was in danger of being blown right off the road! I was hanging right over the left wheel as if I was cornering on a continuous hairpin.

The i-gotU GT-120 missed a mile through not waking up (yet again). The Ventus G730 is getting better at measuring distance but crashed my computer twice more! I'm getting really fed up with this obnoxious behaviour! The Brooks Pro saddle seems to be settling down at last. My knee has recovered. 28 miles as the trike flies.

17th. 48F and rising to 54F. Winds light, mostly sunny. Back to town to visit the office which was closed on Friday. Called at a couple of shops on my route.  Two people chatted about the trike. GPS loggers still varied on mileage but at least the G730 didn't crash my computer today. The GT-120 took half a mile to wake up despite being turned on five minutes before I left. Most of this time was spent outside loading my trike bag and chatting to my wife. 23.5, 25 or 25.6 miles depending which device you trust.  I have 104 trips logged and mapped now from the i-gotU GT-120.

18th. 48-58F. Mostly overcast, breezy. I needed to visit a distant office. So I took the opportunity for a decent ride rather than just pop the papers in the post or drive over there.

A headwind all the way made the long, uphill drags seem like hard work. One of my favourite lanes has just been resurfaced with 5 times as much gravel as necessary and 1/5 the necessary amount of tar! I was getting lots of wheelspin! At my destination I took 5 minutes rest for a chat and a quick coffee then rode back again.

The Ventus G730 lost its way a couple of times and missed the first couple of miles altogether because it didn't get a fix. (I downloaded the driver direct from Prolific to see if it helped to stop the computer crashing)

The i-gotU GT-120 failed to get a fix for one a half hours and 22 miles! This despite it being turned on as normal and the blue LED flashing as normal. (but no flashing red LED!) Without being touched it then measured the entire route back but didn't register one yard going!  The GT-120 is supposed to get its best signal when lying on its back. Perhaps I should leave it on top of the car until it gets a fix before hanging it around my neck? The problem is, with my awful memory, I shall probably leave it on top of the car!  44 miles by bike computer and/or 2 x GT-120 one way measurement. +10 miles to the shops later. GT-120 behaved itself this time.

I saw a lot of racing cyclists out evening training in five different groups. It's very intimidating to have a huge bunch coming fast the other way spread out right across a narrow road! There must have been at least 50 of them really bombing along. Luckily they missed me. The other groups were smaller and keeping to their own side of the road. Legs feel fine. Saddle okay. Quite a good day really.

Mr Higgins strips off on the lawn to catch some UVs. 

19th. 52-60F. It reached 70F later! Sunny periods, breezy and becoming windy. I was much too warm in my windproof jacket and vest. Legs a bit tired today. I was nearly wiped off the road by a very old women driving on the wrong side of the road on a long straight! Obviously unfit to drive but nobody will force her to stop until she finally kills somebody! It just proves that anybody can drive a car badly and get away with it. 

I saw a couple  of hares boxing in a field. They were so taken up with their scrap that they didn't notice me sitting on my trike only a few yards away. No chance to get the camera out without frightening them so I just watched their antics. 25 miles today.

Isn't it odd how human power output closely matches the requirements for cycling? If the human bod was weaker or stronger it probably wouldn't be worth cycling compared with walking or running. If the air was more dense it would be much harder work pushing our way through it. If we could easily go much faster then cycling would be much more dangerous than it is. Thank goodness air resistance rises as the cube or we'd need motorways for cyclists. Even so a cyclist can travel at four times the average speed of an average walker. Or travel four times as far in the same time which is often far more important. This is a valuable addition to one's radius of mobility. One only has to consider walking back from a cycle ride to understand the huge difference in speed.

No wonder bikes were once the principle means of transport before the advertiser's lies that cars were faster took firm hold. Even as far back as the 1960s I was able to commute between two cities, fifteen miles apart, faster than those who travelled by car. I would see the same cars overtake me as I left one town only to overtake them as they sat in long traffic queues in the next. Had the road been clearly marked with cycle lanes back then I could have been even faster. Instead of which my way was constantly blocked by cars standing still. Had I been fitter and owned a decent racing bike I could probably have been another 15 minutes faster than the traffic.

This was when Britain was only just beginning to be told that their motorbikes and bicycles were only worth their weight in scrap! Today's traffic is much heavier and very much slower. Thousands of historical town centres have been ripped apart to make way for a slower form of transport than the bicycle it replaced! The only thing the car offers the rush hour, city commuter is shelter from the weather, a comfy seat, obesity, heart problems, stress, massive bills and convenience. Out of town is often a similar procession with only the illusion that it makes any difference which car one owns.

One wonders how the bicycle would have developed if there had been no daft rules for racing bikes. The surprise is that we aren't all riding steel-shod, wooden wheels with treadles and having a man walking in front with a red flag! The irony is that their arbitrary rules were supposed to make the rider the most important part of winning at cycle racing. Instead of which competitive racing bikes are obscenely expensive and the entry level for budding racing cyclists is cripplingly expensive. Anybody with pretensions to serious cycling competition must invest several months of wages in a new machine. Fortunately there is a thriving secondhand market.

They still haven't solved the problem of punctures with lightweight tyres. You can go off the front in a massed start race and give your all for 100 miles. Only to lose the race through a puncture in the last half mile. When you compete you aren't all riding on a level road. Half the field (or more) will be cheating by drug taking or using medical conjuring tricks. These are supposed to be elite athletes where fitness and strength count the most. Instead of which you are a nobody without a £15k bike a bloodstream full of life-shortening crap.

"Serious" Cyclists even have names for those who ride mass-produced, racing bikes! Freds! What utter snobbery! They probably sneer at those who ride ordinary racing bikes in time  trials too. Only to set up their own multi-thousand pound specialist machines in the same riding position as a sit up and beg roadster! Less than one in ten of the riders in club time trials adopt a low drag riding position judging by the videos on YouTube. They buy expensive low drag helmets and then ride around with the streamlined "tail" pointing straight up at the sky while they stare down at their gears!

As racing tyres grow narrower the rims become much less elastic through deep, supposedly-streamlined forms. Meanwhile the roads get worse every year. All bikes should have suspension by now to cope with the awful roads and the lack of air suspension in the skinny tyres! A simple, tubular, girder-type fork, made of the right materials, need weigh practically nothing and have a travel of 7". Rubber band suspension is so cheap as to be disposable. Instead of which mountain bikes have foolishly expensive telescopic forks which have no place on road racing machines or even tourers. They wouldn't be allowed anyway by the self-anointed dictators of such whims as rear bumpers on handicapped racing tricycles. Nuts!

More nuts:


Mr Higgins surveys the stairway to heaven.

20th. 60-64F, sunny, light winds. Absolutely perfect conditions for cycling. I had great fun climbing the biggest hills I could find. Then onto the twisting, hilly lanes amid stunning woodland scenery. Swathes of wild flowers competed with dandelions everywhere I went. A jackdaw chased a hare in zig-zags across a farmer's  lawn. Cats padded about their business with hardly a glance in my direction. Ponies showed more interest, as usual. Chewing cattle and sheep were too sleepy to bother. But ducks too tired to get up from the path?!?  I had to wend my way gently through them as they sunbathed with an occasional complaining quack! Cuckoos pretended to be broken clocks which never stop. 

The road surfaces on these undulating  lanes were almost perfect and even devoid of mud today. Without the slightest traffic to disturb the peace, I could hear no sound except birdsong and the roar of  my own tyres. Later, I almost fell off the trike when I noticed that one hundred yard stretch of a roadside cycle path had been brushed on one hill in a village which I pass though regularly. Wonders will never cease! The council will probably send somebody out later to make a mess.

Naked saddles! The Brooks Professional gets an all over tan in the spring sunshine.

Even the GPS devices behaved themselves and agreed on my distance to within a fraction of a mile! I gave the GT-120 a chance to wake from its slumbers by letting it rest on my saddle while I stuffed my bag. No rattling, windproof jacket needed today! Though it went into the bag as insurance against a sudden change in the weather. I even had back pockets in my cycle jersey for my phone and the Ventus G730. What luxury! Not sure I would trust these pockets with my camera though. The TZ7 is a bit lumpen in its case. Though most of its weight would be resting on my lower back. My last Canon was much smaller and lighter. (though not nearly so useful)

I didn't even need to mention the saddle today! 34.5 thoroughly enjoyable miles. Then home for toasted rolls with thick marmalade and milky coffee. A cuckoo followed me home and sat calling in one of  our birch trees for a while. Perhaps it thought I should have carried on triking instead of coming home?

I did a shopping run of 13miles later. A chap on a mountain bike took a photo of me with his mobile phone. A couple of people in cars honked and waved but I haven't a clue who they were. Probably just cyclists who have seen me out and about. My daily mileage is certainly rising but not yet above a 30 mile average. (which is my next goal) The fine weather and quieter winds have certainly helped. Being able to wear one of my cycling jerseys, at last, is so much more comfortable than wind-proofs, jumpers and winter gloves and hats. Smarter too. My newly skinny arms are getting tanned despite being covered for most of the last few months. My legs, which have been constantly exposed since temperatures rose above freezing, are still white except for the knees. Which just look a bit grubby! Hang on though! For some reason the backs of my calves have turned slightly brown!  :-)

21st. 48-58F. Cool, overcast with light winds. Left too late to get in a good mileage today. It was 10.30 before the sun burnt through the mist and low cloud as promised. The i-gotU GPS GT-120 went to sleep half way round! The Ventus G730 behaved impeccably today.The new driver seems to have cured the Windows crashes.

After about 15 miles I was overtaken by a young cyclist cruising past me on a racing bike. As usual I tried to see if I could catch or even stay with them. But I had absolutely no response to his speed'! His leg muscles were the most developed I'd ever seen! His calves looked like an anatomical, moving picture! His cadence was incredibly low and he got out of the saddle, for much of the time, in a big gear. He must have been doing an effortless 20mph at 30-40rpm to my 80 rpm and 16mph up a gentle incline into the light breeze. I just couldn't go any faster despite my legs burning. As I turned (almost gratefully) into the supermarket car park (after a mile of painful effort) he was still standing up and pulling away uphill. Only 22 miles today. (unless I get to go out again later) 

I like to use other cyclists as a rough measure of my own fitness and speed. Ordinary cyclists are usually travelling much slower than I am. The more serious cyclists, out training on racing bikes, seem to manage much higher speeds than I can manage on the trike. I can still just remember the last time I rode a racing bike (last spring?) and it was certainly much easier going than either trike. Of course I wasn't very fit then compared with now. It seems I still have a very long way to go before I can match the speed of real cyclists even over a short distance. My average mileage is probably still far too low even though I try to push hard all the time I am out. I am always deliberately just on the brink of muscle pain and slight breathlessness. The moment a hill eases off I go up a gear or two. No pain. No gain. It seems I need to suffer even more if my speed is to increase markedly. I need the speed to increase my daily mileage without staying out all day. Unless I stay out all day my fitness and speed won't increase! Perhaps I'm just too old and expecting far too much? 

Mr Higgins pauses in the shade to to admire the scenery. Islands of trees in an ocean of oil seed rape. The new agricultural gold following on from the demise of sugar beat. Which was known as black gold from the heavy EU agricultural subsidies. 

22nd. Saturday.  56-60F. Overcast, light winds. I managed to get 40 miles in before coffee time. Apart from a moronic kid riding straight across my path, without looking, not much to report. The sun didn't manage to burn through today despite an optimistic forecast. My average speed on my bike computer has risen to 13mph! So I'm right back where I was when I was doing only 10 miles a day!

The GPS devices are getting better each day. Close agreement on my distance today but the highest speeds registered were too low by four and five mph. (the average speeds includes stops in shops when the device continues to log) The bike computer stops when I do. So it should read higher. The G730 continues to quote crazy climbs and descents. 5000ft today. Both up and back down again! 10 miles to the shops in bright sunshine and 68F (20C) later for 50 miles total. It all helps.

Mt Higgins spots a water mill right beside the road and peers curiously through the railings. Any excuse for a break!

23rd. 52-61F. Mostly overcast. I started with a pleasantly quick, 20 mile ride down to a coastal town. With a gentle tail breeze to help me all the way. Five minutes worth of shopping and then I turned into the wind to return home by quite a hilly, inland route. There is a nice hill out of FĂ„borg (pronounced Fawborg) rather spoilt by an extreme camber. I was unable to sit upright on the trike to maximise my climbing power but still managed a decent speed. I quickly caught up with a gaggle of touring cyclists and overtook them just in time to to turn off the main road.

Then the wind picked up steadily to 15m/s (30mph) gusts which slowed me considerably. It took me twice as long to get back as it did going even though there was only a 5 mile difference in the routes. I was really struggling when a combination of uphill and head wind combined.

I'm home now and really tired. My legs are aching and the saddle was most uncomfortable at times. It really felt like torture some of the time and I was becoming exhausted and depressed. I had to keep reminding myself I was dong this for fun! I am not a victim! 15 mph going for a total of 12mph average for only 45 miles total today. It speaks volumes about my lack of speed and stamina. I thought I'd be much fitter by now considering my present mileage total and the effort I always put into my rides.

A headwind against a bicycle is really like climbing a very long hill. If one could work out the total drag  for particular wind speeds, allowing for the bike's forward velocity, one could calculate the equivalent incline. Not easy given the constantly changing incline of the road itself. Right now I feel as if I've been climbing for the last twenty five miles! I was even on the 26T inner chainring at times when I met a steep incline and the wind was gusting really hard. I crossed one wide open area at only 8 mph riding on the drops in a low gear on the 36T middle ring. It was followed by a couple of long, uphill drags. It seemed to go on forever! I was late back for morning coffee by half an hour! Whoops!

In retrospect I should really have had something to nibble on the ride. I was already depleting my food energy intake within two hours of breakfast. I sipped a little water now and then but this provides little or no extra energy. Though I can't say that I enjoy it very much as I'm usually slightly breathless when riding.  I consider that if I'm not at a little breathless then I'm not riding nearly hard enough! Which sometimes means avoiding drowning on a mouthful of water. Don't laugh! ;-) I've had a couple of moments where I have inadvertently inhaled water while panting uphill. Then spent the rest of the ride trying to cough it back up again! Definitely not recommended.

My daily rides of an hour and a half to two and a half following a good bowl of organic muesli, with low fat milk, feels about right. I usually browse or blog, for an hour after breakfast, so that breakfast has time to "go down" before I leave. I have wholemeal rolls, with high fruit density marmalade and milky coffee when I arrive home. This helps to replenish the food energy consumed on the ride. On longer rides I probably have a severe blood glucose deficit! No wonder I'm always gesticulating at driving idiots! The cyclists "bonk" (hypoglycaemia) is supposed to lead to abnormal aggression. Been there. Done that. :-)

I have spent so many years feeling constantly full that my increased appetite is difficult to judge properly. I must be burning lots of energy on the trike but have no experience of what to do about it. We never have sugar with our hot drinks at home. In fact there is never any bagged sugar in our home. I usually drink tea and coffee black and severely limit how many of those I consume each day. Even the biscuits I eat, sparsely, are plain with chocolate chips. Or, even plainer, "digestives". I tried taking a packet of chocolate chip cookies on one near-50 mile ride but only ate two or three. ("Because they are bad for you!") Saturated fat, refined sugar, etc. 

Perhaps I should be eating fruit while I'm out on the bike? Apples are far too "busy" to eat while cycling along. Bananas? What do I do with the skin? Hurl it over the hedge? Dried fruit? The latter don't seem very hygienic for a bike rider. Particularly one who has his hands in grubby track mitts resting on years-old, sweaty handlebar tape after regularly checking his tyre pressures by hand. Not to mention the toilet breaks for a quick pee behind any handy, rural hedge. There seems to be a strange lack of hand washing facilities "out there".

I'll have to do some online research to see what other people nibble along the way. It was over four hours, of almost continuous, hard exercise, from finishing my muesli today until I was able to sit down to morning coffee. I ate nothing after the cup of black, watery tea washed the muesli down at 7 am.. No wonder I felt tired out and hungry by 11.30!

I just found this website:

Cycling Nutrition: Eating on the Bike « Tuned In To Cycling

It seems to cover everything.  I am eating the right things but not in sufficient quantities to keep me going.  Conversion of carbohydrates to glycogen to provide blood glucose for the muscles (and brain function) seems to be the basic story. No wonder I'm still losing weight and feeling tired and hungry after longer rides. I am riding every day too and constantly trying to push my mileages higher. Which means a regular need for carbohydrates before, during and after every ride. I'm going to try carrying tasty cookies and ensure I eat them with regular sips of water to ensure they get digested rapidly.

There is a good chapter on cycling clothing on that blog. It doesn't lecture but shares valuable experience in a direct and intelligent way. I'm still not convinced by the need for a helmet though. I'd like to try an old-fashioned, leather-strapped, track helmet for its excellent ventilation and only slightly better protection than a Thinsulate hat. I have a couple of the modern foam and plastic helmets in the shed but hate them.  

24th. 50F, cold, windy, heavy overcast with continuous rain. I'm hoping the promised sun turns up later so I can get a ride in before lunch. The forecast is rain every day for the rest of the week and much cooler.

Still overcast and only 54F when I finally left after lunch. No ill effects from yesterday's ride. I found a big bag of cheap biscuits in the supermarket and ate two (biscuits, not bags!) at about 20 minute intervals during the ride. This seemed to work well so I'm going to take a few with me every day in a zipped poly bag. This can go in one of my cycling jersey pockets for easy access.

The wind picked up throughout my ride today. The crops were thrashing about and the trees bending to vicious gusts. I just bent lower over the handlebars and kept pedalling. 39 miles but my average speed dropped to only 10mph. It must have been all those biscuit stops! :-)

The GPS devices seem to like being in my back pockets. I just make sure they are facing outwards and they get a better signal than they do when swinging, like pendulums, on lanyards around my neck.

I broke the plastic stalk of my rear-view mirror on the shed door as I was lifting the trike up the step when I was tired. A ride without the mirror felt very odd. Though I am very unhappy with the tiny image in these steeply curved convex mirrors! In fact, I consider them ridiculously dangerous and strongly suggest they should be banned! There is absolutely no need to make them so strongly curved. So I'm going to start looking for something safer. Flat mirrors are available but they are heavily built out of steel and have very long, solid steel arms. Which adds considerable weight and completely unwanted and unnecessary protrusion. They also look completely naff on a racing bike or trike! Unless very stiffly mounted flat mirrors will tend to seriously magnify vibration. Flat mirrors were once used to magnify microscopic vibrations on seismometers before sensitive electronics came along!
I didn't get remotely enough warning of fast approaching cars in the two curved mirrors I have tried. In fact, despite the wind roaring in my ears,  I can usually hear vehicles long before I see their headlights in the mirror. (dipped headlights are mandatory even during daylight hours in Denmark) I feel blind without the mirror because I have so many obstacles to avoid. I need the freedom to move quickly out from the verge when it is safe to do so. A glance over my shoulder is rarely practical as I approach a rough bit of road at speed. My reactions have slowed considerably with age. So I no longer trust my ability to spot the danger of vehicles coming up fast from behind from a quick glance over my shoulder.

A more gently curved mirror will provide a much larger, reflected image allowing me to see cars when they are very much further away. The  two bigger mirrors I have now give a very wide angle "fish-eye lens" field of view which is completely pointless on a bike!  Or any other road going vehicle. Next time you are considering buying a mirror go outside the bike shop and look carefully in the mirror at the parked cars on the road. Those bike mirrors I have now make a car parked only twenty feet away invisibly small! What possible chance has the user to see a fast moving vehicle approaching from behind?

A mirror stalk of about 4" length is essential to be able to see past my left arm and hip when riding on the drops. I need a simple clamp to go on the vertical portion of my racing style handle bars. This "no man's hand" position ensures that the mirror fixing never obstructs my hand when moving quickly from one position to another on the handlebars. With bar-end, gear shifters I can't use mirrors with bar-end fixings. They wouldn't work anyway unless a decent length of stalk is provided. They are intended for mountain bikes with wide bars.

Very high quality, gently curved, silvered glass, rear view mirrors are standard on hundreds of millions of cars right around the globe. They work superbly well. Why make them different for bicycles? The task is exactly the same. To allow the user to instantly spot danger from behind under a wide range of circumstances, speeds and distances. Why reinvent the wheel and make a complete mess of it? Have they never tried using one of their own products on a real bike on the road? Had they done so they would have dumped them into the nearest bin and gone straight back to the drawing board! The three bicycle mirrors I have tried so far are are just very dangerous, complete and utter crap! It is no wonder racing cyclists don't bother with handlebar mounted mirrors! When they could be really valuable, standard accessories.    

25th.. 50-54F. Sunny periods. Blowing a gale! Gusting to 20m/s = 40+mph.  I chose a route to a distant shop which would take me straight into the wind while I was still feeling strong. This supposed strength only lasted for about five miles against a real wind! I was expecting an easy ride back but it was so windy it was sometimes difficult to tell which direction it was blowing from. I stuffed my face with biscuits on the way back and felt suitably revived.

The Brooks saddle was hurting again today. I am almost tempted to try the Vetta SL again to see whether my nether regions or the saddle is at fault. The discomfort comes and goes. Perhaps suggesting that certain muscles or tendons, in the pressure areas, are being stressed by hard pedalling. With no fat left to offer any padding my sit bones are exposed to any local pressure.

The Ventus G730 GPS device forgot to wake up for the first ten miles. Which is odd because it has proved very reliable at getting a fix from a cold start until now. To be fair I was wearing a windproof jacket over my jersey and the device was in my back pocket. I shall make sure it has woken up from now on. 34 rather tiring and difficult miles today.

Just staying on the road when there was such a gusty side wind was hard work and quite dangerous with fast moving, heavy traffic overtaking. It is bad enough when continental, articulated lorries are brushing past but there are a lot of large lorries with matching trailers travelling the minor roads. Most are delivery contractors carrying gravel from the local sand and gravel quarries. Or grain and crops for the farmers after the harvests. Quite a lot of soil transport goes on when new roads are being built or sites levelled for building. Industrial estates often require considerable levelling due to the undulating nature of the Danish countryside.

There was once a massive demand for local transport of sugar beats but the vast sugar refinery in Assens closed in 2006. The huge buildings on the site are now being converted into luxury flats. The refinery once dominated the town and harbour. Both physically, because of its huge scale and employment opportunities but also because of its rather unpleasant smell. There was a time when the roads and roundabouts were littered with sugar beats fallen from the overloaded wagons and trailers.

Railways once delivered the beats but lorries must have proved more economical at some stage. There are still lots of disused level crossings on roads and lanes for miles around. Many of them are quite difficult to cross on a trike! The railway's only traffic these days is an occasional pedal driven trolley called a "skinnecykel" (rail trolley cycle) for tourists and locals.

In Britain cycling enthusiasts would probably be volunteering to pave these disused tracks with compacted gravel. To make perfect cycle paths completely away from the traffic. Such routes often had entirely their own character in Britain. Being much used by locals for walking their dogs, horses, prams, pushchairs and children as well as catering for cyclists. The freedom from noisy traffic made most of them an absolute delight to use. The gentle inclines demanded by railway traffic were also ideal for cycling. On busy days the poor cyclist was often in the minority. Having to weave in and out of countless families escaping from the noise and dangers of the roads and the endless traffic. In Denmark traffic loads are very much lighter, than in the UK, but few roads and lanes are really ideal for relaxed walking or cycling.

Here's a page, in English, dealing with the skinnecykler from a Danish brick and tile museum website: A browser search for skinnecykler will produce lots of pictures of these pedal driven trolleys.


The entire area around Tommerup St, (ST=station) where the museum lies, is uniquely beautiful and relatively unspoilt. With narrow, twisting and undulating lanes and roads through deciduous woods and small, steeply-sloping fields. These are usually grazed by ponies or a few pet sheep or unusual cattle. Highland cattle are popular. The countryside is delightfully decorated, at intervals, with thatched, timber-framed houses and farms with natural ponds usually still extant. The ponds are still valued to provide reserve water supplies for the local fire service. Fires are unfortunately rather commonplace in the original housing stock. Usually as a result of electrical problems. Rats like to nest in the cosy roofs and will often chew the hidden cables completely unnoticed until tragedy strikes.

26th. 50-52F. Cold, rather breezy, sunny periods. Only 24 miles according to the bike computer. Hope I can go out later. Both GPS loggers stopped recording halfway around! Both were in the back pockets of my jersey. I was also wearing a windproof jacket over the top but it didn't cover the pockets.  It seems these devices can't always manage a fix when covered. Not even in thin polyester. I was very careful to ensure they were properly orientated in my pockets with the buttons upwards and outwards. Both are fully recharged every day until the charge indicators go out. This problem is becoming a nuisance.

The saddle was okay today. I snacked on biscuits at halfway when I started feeling tired from ploughing into the headwind.  Before leaving my picnic spot I rode up a steep, heavily rutted, tractor track to get a better shot of this windmill. I hope you consider the wheelspin, effort and serious risk of a tumble worthwhile. The sun was right behind the mill adding to the sense of drama.

27th 54F light winds. Cool with sunny periods. The i -gotU GT-120 failed to record anything despite flashing and hanging from a cord round my neck! The Ventus G730 was fine despite riding in my back pocket. 26 miles.

28th 52-58F. Cool start, light breeze increasing steadily with sunny periods.  Saddle okay. The G730 went to sleep for a few miles in the woods. The GT-120 was okay today. A few biscuits every half hour seems to keep me going. I'm still learning how to eat and drink while pedalling along. Inhalation of crumbs, or water, is not a pleasant option.  An easy 35 miles by bike computer. 34 by GT120. I covered some of the same ground where I suffered riding into the wind the other day. It wasn't easier. Just a lot faster in a much higher gear.And, I still had a lot more miles left in my legs. I have no sensation in my legs of having just ridden 35 miles and feel I could easily go out and do it again. I try to get back for morning coffee so I am time limited to whatever distance I can cover. Only leaving earlier, or going faster, will help to push my mileage up.

Four miles later on to test the new chainset and wide ratio block: I was totally sick of the chain falling off whenever I sprinted on the 46T chainring! The teeth are so worn on all three chainrings they look like circular saws running backwards!

The makeover: Shimano 52/37T 500EX Biopace. 13-30T 8-speed, sprocket block. I have another, rather smarter, 500EX chainset with round chainrings but the pedals are stuck fast! Probably no grease was used when when they were fitted. I ruined a decent spanner and rounded the flats on the pedals trying to loosen them.

Some of the chainring fixing bolts are rusted on both chainsets so I couldn't swap the rings over either. Grrr. I might try some penetrating oil and leave it to soak in. The trike looks a bit smarter than with the dinky, little 46-36-26 Allez triple chainset. The gears  feel completely different with higher ratios available now.

No chain clearance!  I have discovered that the Higgins doesn't like more than 28 tooth sprockets. It will just about work on 30 teeth (shown) but the chain rubs the paint away on the reinforcing loops. No doubt this will lead to damage to the metalwork eventually. Not happy about this (at all) but all my spare cassettes are wide ratio MTB with a 30 or 32T bottom gear. Pushing the block over would solve the problem. I could put a thick spacer ring behind the fixed, axle bearing cup. (just behind the sprocket block) The big sprocket should move away from the metalwork by just enough to achieve clearance.

I'll see how it goes on a proper ride tomorrow. If I'm still not happy after a few miles I'll have to find a new 46 or 48T chainring 'to match the old Allez triple crankset. (it has a rather small PCD)  Or try to find a smaller round ring for the Shimano cranks. The 52T  provides such high gears that I am very unlikely to be able to turn them except downhill. I'm trying to remember which LBS has lots of loose chainrings in boxes.With complete chainsets at give away prices at Chain Reaction I don't want to be spending silly money on new rings for old crank sets.

29th. 54-58F. Sunny periods, cool and breezy. I dropped the nose of the saddle because it looked so silly pointing upwards. All this did was to throw my weight onto my arms and meant I had to keep pushing myself back on the seat. I did more harm squatting to work on the trike yesterday than all the miles I have ridden it. I have an ache in my left quadriceps, right calf and glutes. My right wrist also went numb today from trying to dismantle the cassette yesterday with a short chain wrench. I shall have to raise the trike to my standing position like they do in the bike repair workshops. Some even have electric motors to lift the bikes by ceiling mounted pulleys to save time.

I found the new gears okay provided I stayed on the large 52T chainwheel and just changed gear on the back sprockets. Even on the 37T inner ring I have lost my granny gears. These were handy for the steep ramps into many supermarket car parks. I still think I prefer triple chainwheels. I managed 34 miles fairly effortlessly again today. (apart from the saddle problem)  So I'm still reaching my goal to comfortably manage 30 miles a day.

30th. 54F, breezy, raining. Just a gentle, meandering ride to the shops in the rain. It was forecast dry and bright this afternoon but the rain never stopped all day. The jacket I wear for this weather is fine for this sort of thing. It still breathes when wet. Stays dry inside too. Unlike polyurethane proofed nylon. Which is no better than a mobile sauna on a bike! This jacket is really windproof but a bit noisy flapping in high winds. Perhaps because it was sold as a jogging jacket rather than as pure cyclists wear. So the fit is probably a bit looser. A handy vent across the shoulders probably helps me to stay cool. Side pockets too though I don't trust them. The jacket appears in my IMAX mirror picture.  Saddle okay today. I'm going to try and get used to it with it set perfectly level. It's a bit harder on the arms but not too bad. 16 easy miles.

31st May 2010. 48-61F. Breezy. A tour to several supermarkets in several villages. The Ventus G730 went to sleep in my back pocket again. 28 miles on the bike computer and the GT-120.

I finished the month on an average of 27.3 miles per day. 30 mile trips are now very comfortable with no sensation of tiredness or pain anywhere provided there are no headwind gales. The saddle comes and goes. Some of the time I don't even notice it's there. The cycling jerseys are proving very comfortable though the windproof jackets are usually still necessary until it goes over 60F. Which hasn't been often this month. May in Denmark has been cooler than normal and rather windy. With a daily wind cycle closely matching the temperature. Peaking at around 15m/s most days. (30mph) Fine as a tail wind but every circle around the countryside needs to be joined up eventually or I'd never get home. I'm quite pleased with my progress and will be happy if I can average over 30 miles per day by the end of the month. Listing my mileages was an excellent incentive to keep going. I haven't had a single day where I didn't want to go out. It has become a habit which is hard to break.


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