1 Sep 2010

Sunny September? Not!

September 1st 2010 54-65F, light winds increasing, mostly sunny. Tour de Cornflakes. 40 miles. It was great fun having a large class of teenage school kids riding the opposite way and all calling out to me. Can you imagine the logistics of getting 40-odd, 15 year-olds onto their own bicycles for a field trip in England or the USA?

Another fun thing in Denmark are the børnehave outings. Kids too young to go to school are looked after in kindergartens while their parents are at work. It seems that most days a group of them go out either in a very large pram or attached to it by reigns. These lovely little kids are just so funny toddling along in their small groups that I can't help smiling. I have no idea why but I find most kids incredibly amusing. Sometimes I see them out walking in every village I pass through. Their  little heads turning this way and that to the sound of traffic or something happening within their group. Or whatever else impinges upon their fleeting consciousness. Tiny personalities so full of potential and energy. Still myopically unaware of the real world. Which is always waiting impatiently to sort them into winners and losers.  

2nd 56-63F, winds started light but increasing, overcast. A fox crossed a lane right in front of me. It didn't look left or right. Just did a brisk walk from one cornfield to another. There were large flocks of birds everywhere. Huge numbers of sparrows and swifts in each flock. Quite a lot of butterflies and large dragonflies around at the moment too. The back axle has become silent again but my tyres are suddenly wearing out fast! I only noticed them because I had to ride on a newly resurfaced road which left the bright blue treads completely black! (for a while anyway)  Only a 23 mile shopping trip so far. Plus 14 miles later.

The harvest is all but over. Now ploughing can begin again.

3rd 56-61F, winds light, mostly sunny. Rather cool, so I needed a jacket most of the time. Going quite well today. 23 miles. I might be allowed out again. :-)  Alas, an even higher authority sent rain this pm. I was allowed out for an hour later when the rain had stopped. 13 more miles. Just as I got out of the shower it started tipping down outside. I obviously lead a sheltered life! :-)

4th 54-59F, light winds, sunny. A late start so only time for a 22 mile loop on the quiet rural lanes. I'm still coughing up brown jelly. Probably inhaled dust from the mud-plastered lanes from the intense farming activities of the moment. Every speeding rat-runner leaves a hundred yard cloud of brown dust behind them. 18 miles later.

A hot air balloon. Rare as hen's teeth in Denmark. Common as muck in England.

Sunday 5th September 38-60F, winds light but increasing, clear blue sky. A pleasant tour down to the coast then off to buy some buddleas on an end-of-season offer. There seemed no easy way of getting the two feet high plants home on the trike. So I bought a large builder's bucket. Hung the handle from the Brooks saddle frame with a toe strap. Then lashed the ends of the handle down onto the seat stays to stop it moving about on corners. Problem solved. 34 miles. 10 of those with the bucket hanging from the back like a gypsy caravan. Poor old Mr Higgins. Plus 14 miles later on.

A still morning by an empty beach. Typical of Denmark this part of the coast has been "privatised" by the summer house residents just out of view to the right. Though access is still possible, just here, there are large signs claiming private ownership of the area further on. Many summer houses dwarf normal houses and cost far more than many can afford. The view here across the water towards Helnæs peninsula is stunning on such a beautiful morning. 

Poor old Mr Higgins had to be dragged by the scruff of his neck through a narrow, weed-infested footpath to gain access along the beach path. We were half a mile down the exit road beyond before I realised he had been surreptitiously plant collecting. I had to insist he relinquished his burden and left it all beside the road. Talking about the verge; there was a large, full grown dear lying dead in the middle of the cycle track of a main road. I wonder how much damage it did to the vehicle which hit it?

6th Sept 56-61F, light winds, sunny. Another superb morning for  a ride. I wandered (quickly) towards the huge mast at Tommerup and took some pictures.  Unfortunately the nearest access point put the sun right behind the mast.  Only 28 miles so far.

The 321m high TV mast from the other side.

I managed to get out for another 19 miles later. It was much windier but I took advantage of a tail wind to do 26mph at 115rpm for a while. I hit 29mph for about a hundred yards. The head bearings need attention (again) because it shimmied like mad when I moved my hand position on the bars at speed. All good things come to an end and eventually I had to face the wind to get home. It was that or keep going into the sea.

7th Sept. 52-59F, blowing a gale, overcast. Oh, the misery of a headwind on a tricycle! It started well enough going roughly with the wind to buy our daily, fresh, wholemeal loaf. No joy at the first supermarket so I turned back into the wind to try the next village. And so on and so forth until finally success was to be had.  But 37 miles for a loaf? In this wind? I was tired and I was starving. (figuratively speaking of course)  Don't Jays make a strange noise? We heard one in the garden yesterday but couldn't see what it was. Today one flew right over my head while I was riding through some woods.

8th 56-61F', blowing a gale, sunny periods. As the forecast showed a strong easterly gale (15-17m/s = 32-35mph)  I decided to go 20 miles north and then return. Not my brightest idea ever. I should have made it a rest day. Half the time I was hanging off the side of the trike just to stay on the road!

Coming back was worse because the often steep camber leaned towards an unprotected 20' drop into the fields and woods below the road. Fortunately the traffic was not too heavy. So I used my mirror a lot and as much road as traffic conditions would allow. At other times I was being sandblasted by dust and gravel from windswept farm yards and ploughed fields. There were shredded leaves and broken twigs everywhere. In fact it was so windy that even the McLardy's disposable shit pots were being blown out of the overgrown verges. From where they had been discarded by the typical McLardy's clientèle.  39 thoroughly exhausting miles. Am I having fun yet? :-)

9th Sept 56-62F, still blowing a gale, overcast. I have a cold or a virus. Tired, sore throat, headache, snotty nose and thick in the chest. The wind is making me push more than normal and this is hurting my knees. The enjoyment of an effortless 25mph downwind has to paid for in a headwind crawl later on. Only a 24 mile shopping trip  today. Continuous rain forecast for today and tomorrow.

How's this for an example of sheer arrogance, ignorance and bloodymindedness? The small gate, almost hidden behind the scaffolding and leaning roofing battens on the right, is a cycle and pedestrian route from top to bottom of town. (in Assens) The only other route is over very rough cobbles all the way down the high street for probably 3/4 of a  mile.  (~1km) Several large supermarkets have recently been built right at the bottom of town. Forcing pedestrians to make the long journey from where these shops used to be situated at the top of the high street.

The roofers had set their brooms to overhang the scaffolding and projecting straight into the open gateway. With obvious risk of injury to those using the gate. The skip was placed perfectly to ensure there was no way past on the left of the picture. Then they had laid their stock of roofing battens on scrap battens to block the only clear route left for cyclists and pedestrians.

Their radio was blasting the usual inane music while they wore ear defenders to use noisy nailing pistols. The road was littered with nails. I had to lift the shopping-laden trike high enough to pass above the stack of timber for their entire length. While carefully stepping over the battens on the ground. There was plenty of room for the stack of timber on the pavement. Or even on the scaffolding. That's one roofing contractor to avoid like the plague!

A new video from Warwick.  The trike race is in the middle. 0.58-2.34. There is a 720P HD  option to watch full screen. Some very nifty cornering towards the end:

 My wife, having seen the video above, remarked that hanging off the side of a trike on corners was [quote] "ungentlemanly". Little does she realise how "ungentlemanly" one can be when out of sight of the house. Suddenly, it seems to make it all worthwhile. :-))  

 A slide show of stills from Warwick: Trikes are in the middle.


10th 55F, winds light, rain. I have a bad cold. 

No miles today, the sun has gone away.

The sun has got a cob on and I'm not going out today.

First complete rest day since the 16th June.  Grr! Now I have to do even more miles to get my average back up again! 

11th Sept 60F, breezy, overcast, rain. Still have a bad cold so I'm going nowhere. Snotty, chest burning, sneezing, coughing, spinning head, slight fever? It must be a man-cold. 8-|

12th 62F, still, overcast with occasional rain. Despite wheezing and coughing I set off for a short ride. Quite amazingly I didn't seem to be any shorter of breath than normal. The exercise seems to have removed the stiffness in my calves. Only 11 miles but at least I escaped from the house for a while.

13th Sept  54-61F, still, sunny. Set off under a cloudless sky. I haven't lost my wind but still feel a bit fuzzy. Not coughing or snotting any more but still feeling rather bunged up. 30 miles.

14th 56-60F, overcast, windy, showers. After committing its vandalism the remains of my cold are trying to escape from every orifice. Coughing to try and clear my chest leaves it burning. Blowing my nose to remove whatever is still hiding up there doesn't help to clear the log jam. I'm still feeling fuzzy, detached and too warm. Only 13 miles shopping trip so far. Later I did 14 miles in that special rain which makes you very wet. I'm being serious! :-) Like heavy drizzle.

15th 48-56F. Windy. I found a sunny window in a very wet day. Bought some cheap Thinsulate cycling overshoes, hat and gloves in Aldi. My cold made me a bit short of breath. 31 miles.

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