13 Jun 2010

Flamin' June


 1st June 2010: 63F. Sunny periods. Breezy: 13m/s = 25mph. Two trips today for a total of 37 miles. I saw an elderly chap carrying his shopping home in a tilting side-car called a "Packy"..

I also  found a used Shimano triple chainset in a LBS which I want to try. I hate the 52/37 Biopace rings. I'm not even convinced they have any useful effect except for making the chain misbehave. If I rotate the chainwheel the rear changer cage ought to move back and forth to show the variation in wheel radius due to changing tension. It doesn't. Suggesting that only a single lobed, eccentric chainwheel would have any effect. An oval or  double lobed chainwheel, like a Biopace, cannot have any effect because the chain is wrapped around half of the chainwheel at all times.

This used Shimano triple is 28-38-48 which is ideal except for the steel rings. Though the difference in weight compared with alloy rings isn't very noticeable. I couldn't find a spring balance, so I hung both chainsets from each end of a bar and the fulcrum wasn't very far off centre. The old (worn out) Allez ring set was 26-36-46. So I shall have a slightly higher set of gears, similar to the last lot, but raised to match my increased strength and fitness.

The only problem now is the time involved in removing the wide ratio cassette and refitting the old one. It means loosening the outer, trike axle bearing to be able to drop the block out on its freehub and Trykit adaptor set. Then the cassette has to be unlocked and removed before the next one can be fitted to the freehub. It ought to take no time at all with practice. I wasted a lot of time trying to remove rusted-in pedals and ring fixing screws last time in  just trying to make a useful chainset.

Mission accomplished! It's definitely a Shimano but I haven't discovered which model yet. It's tidy enough to look the part and the (steel) rings haven't had much exercise at all. An interesting design in the way the rings are held together. It was cheap enough to use without making me hungry for something better. The problem is the very low price of (some) new chainsets online. One could go on spending money forever and none of it makes the pedals go around any faster except the poor old sod on the saddle.

At this time of year it is still broad daylight at 10pm so I had plenty of time. Unfortunately the front changer isn't really suitable for a wide triple. It runs out of outward movement to reach top gear with plenty of cage clearance. The present bottom bracket axle may simply be too long, of course. I should look at my recycled mountain bikes to see if there are any better changers on those. Or even axles. It's not as if I'll ever ride them and they owe me practically nothing. Note to self: Don't use your forearm as a brake when spinning the back wheel fast in top gear! Ow-ow-ow! It burns!!

For the moment I have 13-24T  x 48-38-28. Offering 21 (potential) gears from 100" down to 32". I haven't counted the intermediate sprockets on the 7 gear, Shimano cassette so no real point in guessing ratios until I do.

Here is an excellent gear calculator website:


2nd 54-66F. Breezy, sunny periods. 20 miles before coffee to test the new gears. Chain slipping like mad! Ground more metal from the stop step on the Trykit gear hanger. Added a couple of extra links of chain. This helped a lot. With only an occasional jump. Happier with the triple. Another 30 mile loop before lunch. Wore both GPS devices around my neck. The Ventus G730 still went to sleep again half way around!

I just discovered this Dutch trike conversion:
altena trike conversion Opus3

3rd 58-62F Sunny and rather breezy. Feeling a bit tired today. 39 miles before coffee. The Ventus G730 GPS logger went to sleep again in my pocket! It spends hours every day plugged into a USB port to recharge it. I saw a red kite floating just above a crop. It didn't seem to mind me crawling past uphill at 12mph.

I went out again for a quick shopping trip in the afternoon for another 12 miles. Both GPS devices failed to start from cold.  Neither registered the first couple of miles. I had a mild case of hypoglycaemia on the way back. Unbelievable considering how I seem to be eating from morning to night trying to keep up with my energy consumption. It must be worth it because my knees have finally turned brown instead of pink. ;-) 

Mr Higgins admires a hamlet of idyllic, thatched,  timber-framed houses in a perfect rural setting.  Complete silence reigns except for the Chaffinches, Blackbirds and Skylarks. And the crunching of shoe plates on the gravelled road. The only downside are the clouds of flies brought out by the warm weather.

The lilac bushes are a common sight on Fyn. There must be many hundreds if not thousands of miles of lilac hedges. With blooms of many different shades. From pure white to darkest purple. Though most are lighter. The council trims them back from the roadsides each year with tractor mounted flails but the lilacs just keep getting taller.

Lilacs in flower on a 70F warm, early summer's day.

I saw a very odd bird as I was riding back through the woods. Grey, all over, about twice the size of a wood pigeon and with "loose and untidy" plumage rather like a vulture. It flew over me and landed in a tree beside the road with a resentful look back in my direction. I couldn't see any beak. Too untidy for a peregrine or gyr falcon. The face was too pointed for an owl.  

A new video on YouTube from MECcyclingUK: Shows two trikers competing in a 10 mile TT.  Adrian Perkin @ 0.47s is shown pulling away on his Longstaff and later @ 1.10-13. Martin Badham is seen @ 2:18 negotiating the roundabout on his shiny new Trykit trike. Adrian Perkin appeared in another, earlier, YouTube video by the same talented film maker. I have linked to that video in another chapter.


Here are some stills from the Tricycle Association showing the "regulars" competing in another TT:


4th. 58-64F. Sunny with light winds. Took a meandering route along the coast to a village about 20 miles away to do some shopping. It was one of those days when the wind seems to blow head-on whichever way I went. In fact the windmills were all standing still until later on. I swapped saddles for the Vetta SL. It was more comfortable to sit on but sticky and sweaty as hell compared with the Brooks. The Brooks is gong back on! The chain is still slipping in some gears. I think it may be the cheap chain I bought.. I'll try going back to the last one after giving it a bath in petrol.

The alien perches gingerly on a rather poor copy of Mr Higgins. That Salvador Dali has a lot to answer for! :-)

A psychopath in a black car crossed the double white lines, today. He was trying to run me over at high speed in a 30mph zone. No idea why. He was coming towards me downhill and swerved away just before he reached me. Drunks behind the wheel are a common problem. No doubt even more are affected by drugs these days and harder to check than breath stinking of booze. How many of those driving well over the speed limit in, built up areas, are psychopaths?  Or drunks? 

Both GPS devices behaved themselves today. 40 rather tiring miles. If I don't feel more comfortable at 40-50 miles per day soon I'll just have to drop back to 30 miles a day, for a while, to recover.

I took out a link from the chain to see if it helped with the chain slipping in certain gears. It seemed to help on a three mile tour around the  block. The Brooks Professional has gone back on again. The shopping bag has rubbed a lot of the purple paint off the seat stays. But the pale green has stayed put. This suggests that the trike may have been pale green as sold and was resprayed lilac, later, over the top.

I think it might be fun to find a ten mile route to test my progress by solo time trialling. Avoiding steep hills and left turns would be useful. There are a couple of main roads which could be considered suitable "drag strips". One is north-south and the other east-west. (or visa versa)  A suitable distance from home would allow a decent warm up. Nothing dramatic. Just a rolling measure of my increasing speed. (if any)  Provided I don't cheat on myself I can compare my times with others of my own age group. I will almost certainly start with farcical times but it will give me a further goal to aim for. In the meantime I could time myself riding four times around the block. If only I could trust the timekeeper!  :-)

Mr Higgins pauses to admire the geometry of the folded, rural  landscape. This is a high point with a good view out over the landscape, the sea and Jutland (Jylland) beyond that away to the West.
5th 56-58F.64-72F.  It was supposed to be full sun but it was misty and the sun didn't burn through until 11am. I kept my windproof jacket on.  Legs still feeling tired and heavy. Saddle mostly okay despite being set level. Gears mostly okay. 30 miles before morning coffee. Will probably go out again later. There was a time when doing 30 miles would have put me in bed to recover. The pain would have been excruciating and have lasted for two or more days. Now my legs feel normal half an hour after getting home.

Swapped saddle pins for something more "micro-adjust". The Higgins takes a 27.2mm seat pin if it matters to anyone. Added another 20 miles later in bright sunshine. After a couple of days of sun my upper arms are bright red. I have slightly tanned knees and the backs of my calves are brown. A bit patchy really.

The Ventus G731 GPS device fell asleep half way round. Twice in one day? Despite being charged until the green light went out? Its days are definitely numbered!

6th 58-62F. Light winds and sunny periods. 40 miles in 3 hours before coffee including three supermarket stops. 2 kilos of organic potatoes had a 30 mile ride. Saw lots of cyclists out training.  At 35 miles I caught up with three club cyclists on smart racing bikes. I overtook them on a hill and ended up having a chat with the fittest of them. I have to go out later so should be able to add to today's mileage. Saddle okay today. I gave it a coating of Brook's own finest Proofide and let it soak in in the hot sunshine. Not sure about the correct saddle height since changing the saddle pin. The Ventus G730 stopped logging 3 miles from home!

Knees complaining a bit but I'm sure the saddle is lower than before. The gears are still jumping so I'm going to have to try the last chain to eliminate the new one as the problem. Legs still feeing tired both during and after a ride.  Determined to keep going until a rest day is forced on me by external circumstances. The biscuit snacks are becoming a  habit and seem to be beneficial in restoring my strength (of will) when I start feeling tired. I should eat before I get to that point but resent having to stop and get off to dig around in a bag full of shopping. A sensible person would start with the bag of goodies in the back pocket. But then the few chocolate ones in the mix might melt! :-)

Talking of junk food; it is amazing how easily one can recognise a fat person by the contents of their shopping trolley. (they never use a basket) A huge chap behind me in one queue had ten litres of coke! Trolley piled high with huge bags of every kind of crisps, biscuits, cakes, snacks, chocolates and sweets... Any junk will do. A near spherical couple were picking from the sweet display by the checkout like two kids let loose in in a toyshop. In one supermarket everybody I saw outside, inside and in the queue were grossly overweight. So was the checkout girl! I felt like an alien standing there like a stick in my cycling togs. Clutching my small bag of organic bananas and a nice, fresh cauliflower. 8-)

Added another 12 miles in a late shopping trip. My right leg hurts.

7th. 53F and pouring with rain. Cabin fever is setting in already! :-) The rain didn't clear until after 2pm. I was nursing my right leg as much as possible. It still hurts now and then. It ended in a rest day with only 25 miles added. Not too bad so I don't have to make up too many miles to rebuild my average. The Ventus G730 never fails to miss part of the route. I'm going to try clearing the memory to see if it helps.

8th 58-61F Breezy. My calves don't so much hurt as feel stiff behind the knees. It doesn't seem to slow me down but I'm not trying as hard as usual to avoid more serious problems cropping up. Only 25 miles but I may be allowed out later.

Another timber-framed farmhouse in the Empty Quarter. The lane is typical of the beautiful countryside I enjoy every day. A short distance away from the cities Denmark is remarkably unspoilt. Naturally the fields are constantly changing depending on the crop and the season.

mic's suggestion (comments) that the memory could be the problem on the Ventus G731 prompted me to clear the logger. It seemed to work too! A perfect log of today's route. Managed another 25 miles later on. 65F. winds lighter. The GT-120 fell asleep halfway (around my neck) while the G730 worked perfectly in my pocket. Legs okay. Saddle still hurting on and off. Raised the saddle 1/2" (12mm) because it felt as if my knees were too bent since I changed the saddle pin. Suntan building slowly but surely. Chain still jumping. 

9th 58-65F. Light winds with light rain on and off.. I rode 35 miles to buy a special packet of organic cornflakes for the Head Gardener. It poured for about quarter of an hour at my destination but as it was warm and humid I just put on my windproof jacket and rode on. Despite riding more strongly, than ever before, my legs are showing sign of dis-stress. With odd muscular aches coming and going. The same with the saddle. Previously I would ride through any discomfort. Usually being rewarded by the pain disappearing.

The problem is that if I take a day off to rest then my daily average will collapse. Getting the average back up will require even longer rides! I am already riding for up to 5 hours on some days. Despite my best efforts and often cruising at 18-20 mph my average speed is still stuck at just 13.2 mph over 1300 miles on the latest bike computer.

I added another 15 miles late afternoon. Still overcast and humid and spitting with rain. It felt much warmer than the 65F on the thermometer. The dog which used to chase me in the lane is no longer chained up. It has netting across the entire garage entrance where it usually sits. It's a tragedy that it wasn't taught to behave itself while it was still young. I doubt it has had a proper day's training in its whole life. Taught a little self discipline it would still have the freedom of the entire area and provide far better security for its owner. 

I just found another website with some excellent images of trike riders in action:

Googles billedresultat for http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2631/3804553942_00c753d686_o.jpg

10th 55F, started with gusty winds and roads very wet from overnight rain. Spitting rain throughout my ride until it turned really wet towards the end. I wore a baseball cap to keep the rain off my sunglasses after yesterday's farce when I couldn't see where I was going. Or worse, all the potholes and drains  I changed to red lenses today as dark glasses are rather depressing in such grey, overcast conditions. I wore the more waterproof windproof jacket but found it lacked ultimate resistance to real rain. It is amazing how rarely I have had to ride in rain over the last year.

Still getting pain in my right calf and left quad and feeling rather tired at times despite still making strong progress. The increased mileage is giving me a level of stamina I haven't enjoyed for years. I constantly surprise myself as I overcome hills and slopes which would have had me crawling in bottom gear only 8-9 months ago. 28 rather soggy miles. The Brooks saddle was fine today. Very odd!  Isn't it strange how quickly the miles fly by when you're having fun? :-)

The rain made Mr Higgins feel homesick. So he sneaked over to the left hand side to pretend he was still in Blighty. (if only for five minutes) The vegetation is looking very lush in this village today. I had to wait for speeding (rat-run) cars and vans to pass in between taking pictures from the middle of the road. The taller 4:3 picture format suited the gorgeous trees but removed a lot of foliage and blooms to my left and right.

Mr Higgins goes continental.

A van driver killed a young mother on her bike yesterday in town. He hit the child trailer first but didn't manage to kill the kiddy inside. He had more luck with the mother. Claimed he didn't see them. So that's alright then.

I wonder if the police checked his mobile phone for recent activity? It can be difficult to spot vans and heavy goods vehicle drivers NOT using their mobile phones behind the wheel these days. It is commonplace to see the drivers of six axle, heavy goods vehicles (including huge petrol tankers) using the whole width of the road.  While one hand is welding their phone to their ear.  I can't believe the number of times I've seen lorry drivers using their elbows to steer while using their mobile phones. With the other hand to other ear to blot out the noise of the cab. No police presence? No laws apply. Accidents don't just happen. They are caused by fools, drunks, drug addicts and psychopaths.

11th 58F no wind. Rain clearing with occasional showers. More rain forecast for the rest of the day. Did a quick 20 miles before coffee after waiting for the rain to go off. Will have to go out again to do some shopping. Still odd pains in my legs but feeling quite strong. Saddle okay. GT-120 missed five miles. G730 okay. Clearing both their memories daily now. 20 more miles after coffee.

12th 55F, blowing a gale, showers and feeling rather cool. Forecast was 20m/s (45mph) winds later. I decided to face the wind first while I still had some strength left. It felt like a wall of wind at times. Being battered by solid air. I was still managing 12-16mph  and more where there was shelter from hedges. Out between the open fields I was down to 9mph on the drops. I did a circular route for 34 miles (55km) .When the wind was at right angles to me I was hanging on for dear life with my nose on the handlebar stem as gusts tried to lift me onto the verge. Not a lot of fun with cars racing past.

Mr Higgins stands in awe at the sheer scale of the old Assens sugar factory. Now an empty shell with the office buildings being slowly turned into flats. (apartments) It once employed hundreds in an area almost devoid of any kind of  industry. Many local farmers relied on production of sugar beets to give them an income. The beets were known as "Black Gold". Harvesting always made a terrible mess of the roads!

Today I was cruising at 28mph on the flat with the tail wind. When I stopped at a supermarket a motorist told me he was very impressed with my speed! He had been following me into town. When I think  that 28mph is slower than the average sped for TTs and road races it makes me feel like a very old man.  There is still a huge gap between my average speed and racing speeds. I'm not sure I can even be described as a fast tourist yet.

My left calf muscle is still hurting just below the knee when I try to twiddle fast. But otherwise doesn't seem to slow me down any  more than my usual pace. Saddle okay today. I checked with a 2' long spirit level and it is less than an 1/8" (3mm) higher at the nose. It's odd how one can get used to things. It used to feel as if all my weight was on my arms and I had to keep pushing backwards on the saddle.. Not now though.

If the wind drops later I might get a few more miles in to keep my average up. It didn't and I spent the afternoon lopping small trees on our boundaries to make them bush out for better wind protection. They had been getting very tall and spindly. I was using a hand bow saw on tree trunks 5" diameter while up a ladder. With the strong wind I couldn't tell which way they'd fall! Some were well over 30' high.

I'm cracking walnuts now to try and reduce my appetite between meals. The biscuits were a good stop-gap on the road but my teeth are beginning to ache from the high sugar content. (despite cleaning my teeth when I return from a ride)  I'm also eating dried apricots with the biscuits but they are very chewy. Not ideal when I'm panting uphill. Then I worry about inhaling biscuit crumbs! So I haven't quite found the idea snack for when I'm out yet. I may try honey sandwiches but will probably have to stop to eat them properly. My weight has settled on 11st 4lbs for the last couple of weeks. (158 lbs or 70 kilos)  My wife tells me I look like a concentration camp inmate. Though my legs are still slowly bulking up they are the only part of me which is. I have ribs! :-)

The road goes on and on. Red lenses in my sunglasses bring out an intense beauty in all foliage. I tried to capture the effect in this image with a little extra gamma and contrast in PhotoFiltre.

13th. 55-59F. Grey with fleeting, watery sun. Blowing a gale again! So cold at first that I put a fleece jacket on with a windproof jacket over that. After about 15 miles I saw a patch of bare soil beside the road. So I thought I'd stop to take off the fleece jacket. It turned out the soil was from tree-felling and was as soft as sponge! The front wheel instantly sank deep and I was way off balance with nowhere to go. I went arse-over-tit onto the ground with the trike on top of me! I knew I was going to fall over but couldn't un-clip my feet from the pedals in time. I landed on the soft stuff on my hands but hurt my knee on the handlebar stem. I also strained my shoulder and chest breaking my fall. No skin broken and no point in going home to moan to my wife about it. So I continued on my intended route to the shops.

Then I couldn't buy what I wanted when I got there. So I had to add another 10 miles to reach another supermarket. Oddly enough I didn't feel too bad as time passed. Arrived home late after fighting the wind for over three hours. Just 31 miles when I was hoping to lift my average back up again today. Saddle surprisingly comfortable most of the time. Legs still hurting a bit but nothing terminal. Saw only two cyclists out training today and a few pensioners pottering along on their bikes.

I make a point of greeting everybody I pass on a bike. Not over the top with arms flailing or silly shouting. Just a quiet, friendly greeting to show I'm not weird just because I employ an extra wheel just for the sheer fun of it. Many older people reply but most cyclists on racing bikes seem to ignore me. Even when I'm going faster than they are. Though not all. A few grin and wave. Some probably just fear the unknown.

Racing trikes are rarer than hen's teeth in Denmark. I see myself as a low key ambassador for the pastime of trike riding. I am always patient and polite with anybody who wants to chat about the trike. Emphasising the fun aspect rather than bombarding them with facts helps. People are just slightly curious rather than seeking a higher education on the subject. I have to remember that people will judge all trikers by my own behaviour. So I try to ride sensibly, with an eye for other road users and with as  much speed, polish and skill as I can muster at any particular moment.

I have been getting some handlebar shimmy over the last couple of days. Every time I sat up to munch a biscuit the handlebars would shake quite viciously. I was surprised to discover the head bearing had worked quite loose. Tightening helped but did not completely cure the problem. I tried the old trick of pressing my knee against the top tube. This works instantly and is worth knowing if things get really nasty at speed. Leaning forward really helps too. I shall fine adjust the head bearings to ensure the shaking is an unpleasant memory. I remember I had similar problems with the Longstaff conversion when I had a steep head angle on the donor bike. Adjusting the head bearings more carefully solved that one too.

14th June 2010  54F, light winds with occasional sunny periods. I rode to a nearby town to the shops.

 Mr Higgins needs a 3 car garage? But how in the devil did they know in advance exactly what size to make the bike rack? Isn't that an amazing coincidence? The first rack I've ever found that matched the trike. In case you think I'm being selfish in taking up so much space the parking space was completely empty and the supermarket doors opened just as I arrived. I was the first customer.

I always lock the trike to something to avoid a casual thief taking it. Though a cable lock is no match for bolt cutters or even a junior hacksaw. I know this because I have had to remove locks from recycled bikes. I sometimes wonder what would happen if a thief actually tried to ride away in Mr Higgins. Probably kill themselves and Mr Higgins under the first car as they wove totally out of control into the nearest road!

Mr Higgins stands on the rusting railway lines which once fed this coastal town. In the background two of the silos of the old sugar factory. Apparently it is now being converted into a new police station and not the apartments I had originally thought. Sending the "prisoner to the tower" takes on a whole new meaning! :-)

Mr Higgins followed the peaceful coastal lanes south on the way home. Long strips of natural islands are placed decoratively across the placid sea. Like protective breakwaters against threatening storms. A quiet place peopled only by an amazing variety of fledgling birds standing on the roads as they wait for their parents to feed them. Sadly some of them succumb to the occasional traffic.

It is interesting how each bird species arrives in sufficient numbers to be noticed. Skylarks are always first and continue right through the seasons. Chaffinches are around in huge numbers outnumbered only by the wagtails. The shyer Greenfinches had their day with their whistling snore in the hedges. Cuckoos are having a good year with calls coming from all directions. Woodpeckers have finally fallen quiet. Warblers have arrived in all their variety and with their wildly different songs. Starlings are latecomers to the grazing fields and lawns. The more "exotic" Yellowhammers and Goldfinches are becoming more noticeable now. The background "chorus" of blackbirds, sparrows, pheasants, rooks, jackdaws, crows and gulls go about their business seemingly not bothered by the hares which are so numerous and so absurdly daft. I haven't heard a single fox so far this year.

Somebody had left a large, robot lawnmower running in their smart garden near the sea. I suppose the casing was about the size of a modest suitcase with hints of dark, metallic BMW. Out of curiosity I stopped to watch its antics. Which immediately caused it to become shy and thoroughly confused! It started going a couple of feet in all directions without getting anywhere at all. So I moved on and hoped it would sort itself out when there was nobody looking. I didn't want to be blamed for it having a nervous breakdown!

BTW: The road sign in the image above is not for a village with the name "Ah" nor even long "Ay" but for one pronounced "Oh!" Double "A" is pronounced "Oh!" in Danish and means river. It is also a letter of the Danish alphabet. Usually written Å or å these days but still means Aa or aa. As can be seen on the road sign. Which roughly means "Beach Road to Oh!" The Danish language was modernised a few decades ago. Danish text once had seemingly random capitals scattered throughout but these were swept away. Note the blue cycle route sign at a lower level. These are very commonplace in the Danish countryside.

Right beside the road, near the Aa (Oh!) sign, is a war memorial to two Canadian and one English flyer. One wonders if they were hit over the sea by a German fighter and trying to make landfall? Or heading north from a bombing raid over Germany and ran into the steeply sloping coast just there? There are a few very similar memorials dotted about the Fynsk landscape. Simple, granite boulders, carved with the names of the Allied aircrew who gave their lives for freedom and justice. "For frihed og ret!"  (as it says on the stone)  "og" is also pronounced "oh" and just means "and".

Sometimes I pass another, even simpler memorial, by the road. With a much longer list of names of an American crew who had crashed and died. Presumably from a large Fortress bomber judging by the number of casualties. I read in the paper that a WW2 Avro Lancaster was supposed to fly over all the Danish war memorials, this spring, but that it had been grounded with mechanical problems.

I was allowed out later to do some more shopping and (rather naughtily) detoured back through the Empty Quarter for another 26 miles. Actually, the Empty Quarter is the opposite direction from home but don't tell my wife. On my way I saw a small bird of prey with very long, narrow wings flying over very fast. Rather like a very big swallow. As there are swallows flying everywhere at this time of year I am well aware of the difference in scale. There were buzzards circling in updraughts over the woods.

Shelducks flapped slowly over some fields beside the road searching for their offspring amongst the 2' tall grass-like crops. A snow-white, dead chick lay splattered in blood on the road. Another small tragedy for nature to endure.It is difficult to imagine the sheer numbers of victims of traffic. Blackbirds, pheasants, ducks, jackdaws, cats, frogs, toads... I saw three, dead pygmy shrews on the roads today alone. Polecats are also a common victim on the roads.

The Higgins shopping trolley was stuffed to the gills by the time I left the last supermarket. It's odd how I don't notice all the extra weight. What I did notice was mud all over the road near home. A tractor with a sprayer was going back the way I had come. My wife told me I had been cycling into his spray drift for the last couple of miles as I pedalled into a stiff headwind. No idea what he was spraying of course.

How did farming get into such a position of power that the taxpayer pays to be poisoned and then pays again for poisoned food? How do they get away with not putting a big notice on the tank so we know exactly which symptoms to look out for? I'm sure the international, farming poisons industry would be happy to provide big product labels to hang on the sides of the tanks. Then at least we'd know what was making our skin sticky as we walked or cycled through the spray drift in a howling gale. 

We buy as much organic food as we can. If there's a choice we always buy the organic choice.  Organic milk, cream, butter, eggs, bananas, potatoes, carrots, liver paté and minced beef are all readily available in the supermarkets and so naturally are on our shopping lists. Since I do all the shopping on my trike now there isn't even the petrol to add to the burden of production. Why eat nasty white bread when wholemeal, multi-grain is available? Why eat sugar and salt laced breakfast cereal when you can make your own muesli with organic oats and add your own nuts and fruit to taste? Organic rice makes an amazingly tasty, textured and filling addition to fish and curry dishes.

My wife used to grow her own vegetables. Though she eventually stopped when we reached Denmark and saw how much spraying was going on in the fields all around us. Fortunately we lived in an animal production area on poor, mountainous soil in the UK. With only grass in the fields. So there were literally no crops to spray. My wife only grows strawberries outside and cherry tomatoes under glass now.

Her energies mostly go into growing masses of (mainly) red oak and a variety of willow trees and a whole range of  flowers known to be good for the bees. Only the red oak seems resistant to fungus/mildew in our climate and is a gorgeous tree with large, sharply pointed leaves which turn colourful in autumn.

We do miss the tame Robins, Dunnocks, Treecreepers and Goldcrests of our last garden. Though we do have a big male pheasant who calls our garden his own. And he brings his harem on guided tours in winter. We have our own flock of sparrows in our mixed hedges. Great tits, blue tits and wagtails snatch spiders from the corners of fly-netted windows in our dormers.

My right calf still hurts but at least I cured the trike's shimmying with a gentle tightening of the head bearings. I deliberately tried to make it shimmy afterwards but it rapidly damped itself out. I certainly don't feel as if I've ridden over 50 miles today. Even if it hardly affected my daily average. At least I'm staying above 40 miles a day so far this month. That's real progress over last month.

The minor calf injury is a nuisance because it takes the edge off my usual way of riding. Of constantly pushing myself hard. Though its not enough to slow me much. Just one more hindrance on the endless road to greater fitness and strength. Reducing my rides by ten miles a day and taking it easier for a few days did not seem to change anything. So I might as well try and ride through the problem to see if goes away naturally. Pushing doesn't usually hurt. Only a very high cadence does and then not all the time. As if the muscle is complaining about its own inertial mass and rapid changes in the direction of the forces involved. So I'm trying all sorts of pedalling speeds and levels of effort to avoid provoking a form of frequency-related RSI. Pressing and probing the muscle locally with my fingers produces no pain at all at the moment.

15th  Only 24 miles. Leg hurting again so it's not getting any better. It seems to be the tendons behind and below the knee. I'll try a rest day tomorrow to see if it helps. No point in carrying on just to get the mileage in. It hurts more off the trike than on. I was crouched beside the trike and couldn't straighten my knee to stand up again. It hurt like hell! When I stand and lift my foot backwards, by bending my knee, it hurts and feels tight at the top of the calf muscles of the right leg. There is also a sore spot on the outer edge of the back of my knee. I obviously wasn't as ready for bigger mileages and hard climbing as I thought I was. Perhaps it was changing the saddle pin, the saddle height or the saddle itself? I would keep chasing cyclists out training no matter how much it hurt to try and keep up.



  1. I noticed that Ventus GPS logger sometimes "hangs up" and does not want to start logging from cold start. Happened to me 2-4 times. Check your logger before you depart and if the LED isn't flashing - just "restart the bastard". Helps :)

  2. Hi mic

    I normally check that the blue LED is flashing before setting off each day. The more irritating problem is when it "switches off" half way through a ride. I don't get any notice of this happening and can't monitor for it. I may have to fix both loggers to the handlebars. Then the problem is remembering to remove them while shopping to avoid theft. I just wish they'd both behave themselves faultlessly every time.

  3. Aaaa... this way. Well, the only things I noticed is that especially in the city the logger can go waaaay out of control - but I wasn't sure if that's because of the proximity of my two mobile phones or because the signal was really poor there (buildings and so on).

    I only experienced problems with cold start - never in the middle. My logger always sits in the rack bag.

  4. I am riding out in open countryside. Only occasionally underneath trees. It has just missed the last three miles again. It was in the back pocket of my thin polyester cycling jersey. The damned thing is just too unreliable to be trusted! I'll see if Netto still has stock and swap it if they have. Lives could depend on one of these devices out in the mountains or the wilds!

  5. Strange - during our latest trip around the airport I kept the logger next to my two nokias. You can verify the result yourself (before Flyvergrillen I had it on my chest, then I moved it to the bag next to my mobile phones). No difference. Seems like yours might be faulty (even if the receiver is ok the flash part could fail, because if you are always missing "some parts" of the trip, that could mean some parts of flash memory cannot be written any more --> just a guess).

  6. That's interesting. I miss part of every trip despite the blue light continuing to flash. I'll try clearing the memory.