15 Dec 2010

More of the same


1st December 2010  23-27F, -5-3C, strong easterly gusts, snowing, occasional sunny periods. Snow coming down at about an inch per hour or more. No problems despite a lot more drifting. The snow. Not the trike. A hill which defeated me last year, because of wheel spin, was a doddle with 2WD.

I wore my fleece, foreign legion hat with ear flaps and neck protection. My face was still really stinging at times in crosswinds. I have a rather short, lightweight, Belstaff jacket which is windproof but breathes well. Some sort of special fabric called Tactel. I wear it over the Aesse cycling jacket for extra protection from the wind, snow and traffic spray. Only 11 miles.

2nd 26-30F, -3-1C, windy, overcast. The main roads were better today but there were still stripes of slush and drifts in places. On a minor road I hit a patch of crumbly white stuff and it was like slamming on the brakes. I ended up in bottom gear and was still struggling. So I turned back before I was committed to miles of the stuff. No problem maintaining grip and a straight line with the 2WD. It was just that the packed snow was so stiff it resisted my wheel movement cutting through it.

I wore two pairs of leggings today and was much too hot. I wore a couple of extra vests too instead of a waistcoat and was hot/cold and sweaty almost from the start.  Once chilled there is no way to take anything off to cool down. The thicker vests were quite damp when I got home. Better to be cold and warm up than too hot and then chilled.

I was nearly wiped off the road by a little old woman in a red car., She had obviously forgotten her reading glasses. After brushing past me she lost it completely and ended up on the verge. Then she over-corrected and shot across the road into the other lane. Obviously satisfied with her wonderful driving skills she put her foot down and went through the speed sign at 67kph in the middle of a 50kph village. Just after the speed indicator board is a lethal crossroads. Where I saw the immediate aftermath of an awful accident involving several vehicles. One of which was sliced in half lengthways. With an ashen faced young women still sitting in it. With nowhere for her legs to be. A Volkswagen mini-bus was lying on its roof nearby.  No sign of the police of ambulances yet so it must have jut happened as we approached. Not bad for a 30mph village consisting of wide, straight roads and perfect visibility.

More than half of drivers today were exceeding the local speed limits despite the difficult conditions. No traffic police or speed cameras = no road crime. 19 miles and I still survived! Whoopee! :-)

3rd 20-26F, -7-3C, almost still, mostly sunny. All the roads had been snow ploughed. Not necessarily down to the tarmac but it didn't  seem to matter too much.  I could always keep going thanks to the 2WD.

I was self-disciplined today and took off the lightweight, Belstaff jacket and my scarf as soon as I warmed up. I was completely comfortable from then on despite the cold. The Easse jacket is fine over just a racing jersey and poly vest when it isn't blowing hard. Racing shorts over poly skiing tights were perfectly warm enough. I wore the skiing goggles again to avoid being blinded by watery eyes. Even the best of  my cycling sunglasses let in too much cold air at these temperatures. I'm wearing the fragile, BBB Hardwear overshoes until they shred and become completely useless.What a waste of money!

 It was such a nice day I rode a normal route despite the mostly white roads. Keeping my speed down to 20mph seemed sensible on the descents. The brakes were crap hidden deep inside a football-sized mass of snow around the forks. Often with a spray of dry snow shooting out of the front of the mudguard. The chainrings and sprocket were completely lost in fluffy white stuff for most of the time. I'm giving the chain, gear changers and gears a long squirt of liquid grease before each ride to combat salt and rust.

Climbing was safe thanks  to a total lack of wheel spin. I could even climb out of the saddle on the steepest bits in 3-4" of powdery snow without the rear end losing traction. Impressive for dead smooth, rock hard, 23x700Cs.  Like an idiot I left my camera at home for the first time in years. There were lots of wintry views to capture and I couldn't do anything about it!

Going through one village I came upon a huge, articulated lorry which had jack-knifed and crushed a car against a house. The lorry was broadside right across the road. The driver was probably taking a short cut through the village to get to the motorway. Rather than taking the slightly longer main road route. They often don't give a damn about speed limits as they blast through the 30mph villages. I have no idea of the injuries to the car occupants. The air bags were completely blocking the view of the interior as I pedalled past the mayhem. A couple of policemen were waving the traffic through the remaining gap. No sign of ambulance or fire brigade yet so it must have just happened. Car drivers were putting their foot down as soon as they managed to push past the wreckage. Totally ignoring the 50kph (30mph) speed limit as always. Otherwise a pleasant enough ride of 21 miles.

Winter, direct ascent.

4th 28-30F, -2-1C, breezy, bitterly cold wind, mostly sunny.  I went out determined to find some hills to test the Trykit 2WD system. The image above shows how well it copes with about 4" of crumbly snow on a long incline. Click the image to enlarge it so you can see how long the hill really is. There is a cottage right at the bottom with a snow covered roof. My hands were freezing in seconds in the strong wind blowing across the hill as I took a couple of quick snaps. I had already removed my lightweight Belstaff jacket and scarf before the climb. I was out for hours ploughing three lonely furrows with hardly any traffic. Only 15 miles.

5th 30F.-1C, still after overnight gales caused drifting. About 5" of snow fell this morning. I rode through over 6" of fresh snow to reach the road without difficulty. The main roads were almost clear from regular snow ploughing. I pulled off to allow a couple of lorries to pass with huge plough blades on the front and salt spraying off the back. They left three lanes of brown slush with arcs flying up from my wheels as I rode on.

Most of the light traffic gave me lots of room. Except for one retard. Who sprayed me from head to foot with slush with his people carrier. Forgiveable, I suppose, as he was driving to the bakers with his spherical wife. No words of mine can make his life any more unpleasant than decades of having to provide emergency sacks of cakes, on a daily basis, for his pet pig. Only 8 rather slushy miles. I hadn't the energy to fight the deep snow on the hilly back lanes.

It seems a drugged-up waster has killed at least eight cyclists who were out training in Italy. The killer was driving without a license having had it taken from him some months earlier for dangerous driving. He attempted to overtake another car and was speeding while under the influence of marijuana. Some overpaid ambulance chaser will plead some tear-jerking garbage. The waster will be given another chance and be released after spending a fortnight on remand watching TV and smoking pot in some cushy jail.

6th 25F, -4C, still, misty, sunny. Main roads almost clear. Side roads freezing crumbly snow and very hard work in places. 19 miles.

7th 32F, 0C, light winds, overcast. Roads variable with slush and snow. Mist down to 50 yards in places. Not that it affected driving behaviour. I was showered a few times by selfish bastards not slowing down in narrow lanes. They say one can recognise people's real psychology by their driving. If this is true then a large proportion of the driving population is either retarded or are dangerous sociopaths. 23 miles.

On a more cheerful note Alan Schmidt has been recognised for his contribution to triking by being awarded the Hans Just Sports Prize for 2010. He won two bronze medals at the World Championships this year and has won lots of other events over the last couple of years. Outstanding! Well done, Alan!

Hans Just Idrætspris 2010

Dansk Handicap Idræts-Forbund

8th 25-28F, -4-2C, misty, still and overcast. Just another shopping trip. Rear changer frozen. One tooth of my Shimano, steel, middle chainring has snapped off into a hook! 15 miles.

9th 25-27F, -4-2C, light winds, sunny. Just a gentle rural shopping trip in the sunshine.  The very first car I met overshot a blind bend and was 100% in the wrong lane as she approached me. How am I supposed to know if she will correct  safely and get back on her own side before she hits me? This is the same village where over 80% of drivers cut every single corner! Many are on their mobile phone as they pass me. Over 6o vehicles have fallen off this stretch of road since I have lived here. Those are just the ones I have seen for myself. Most are probably towed away before I see them. Hardly a month passes without seeing a car on its roof. Or a lorry on its side. Or nose down in the verge. I saw two crashed motorcyclists lying very still in the fields this year alone.  Doesn't anybody care? 16 miles.

10th 18-32F, -8-0C, overcast, almost still. Busier roads mostly clear. I had a headache this morning for the third day in a row. I don't usually get headaches. Once I had reached my first shop I was feeling better and decided to do a detour to add a few more miles. It started snowing, then raining, towards the end. 5 shops. 24 miles.

11th 41F, 5C, gusts to 27m/s, more than 50mph! Mostly overcast. I rode into the wind going and then back with the wind. Crawling at 6-8mph in bottom gear and hiding under the crossbar in places and hanging on for dear life when the wind came from the side. Cruising at an effortless 20mph coming home. A sudden thaw and overnight rain had almost removed the lying snow. Only the compacted stuff was hanging around on the verges. The roads were very wet and littered with small branches. With the wind roaring in my ears, sometimes literally moving like a passing train, I was rather wary of falling trees. There were lots of hunters out in the woods and fields. 16 miles.

I did 12 miles later and watched the golden sun sink behind the trees just after 3.30. The wind had subsided a little but I was still standing up in a low gear to maintain forward motion at times.

12th 29F, -2C, sunny periods, blowing a gale. It was hell out there! At times it was blowing so hard my upwind wheel was lifting! When I hit the frozen run-off from the fields the front wheel was being pushed sideways on the skating rink. My snot was a kite string hanging in the wind. It was so cold my face felt frozen and stung by burning needles by turn. I have no idea why, under these awful conditions, but the sun made me want to take a detour. I managed only 17 miles before limping back home again. Sometimes I was crawling at 6-7mph going downhill. Why do I do it? 

13th 28F, -2C, snow, winds light, sunny periods. It started snowing around 9 am and dumped 4" in about an hour. I set off without any problems onto untreated roads. Using the car tracks where possible to save ploughing my own furrows. No problems govce.ing uphill but I got a bit sideways on the steeper descents. Straightening the front wheel up saved me a few times before I lost the plot completely. The problem seemed to be the front tyre building up snow. So I was essentially floating with no adhesion at all. Only 11 hilly miles today.

I see Google Street View has finally updated where I have seen the camera car, from my trike, but I'm not there! A bit disappointing after waiting months to see the alien out on his trike.  Bwah! :-)

Google Earth 6 is the latest update but it's incredibly slow. Taking about 20 seconds minimum to sharpen a single Street View. Move the camera and it starts all over again! The "bubbles" were much quicker and vastly more useful for scanning for bikes because a sharp scene was visible in the bubbles if one wanted to zip along a whole road very quickly. Hopefully they'll sort themselves out.

They have tidied away all the camera symbols. Now one has to double click on any road and hope they have been along it. I know all those cameras were getting very untidy but they haven't been along many minor Danish roads yet. Some sort of stripe along the virtual road, where they have been, would be useful at this point to save wasting time. Ground View on an un-recorded roads is absolutely dire! I know, I'm a moaning minny.  :-)

14th Out all day. 0 miles.

15th 23-25F, -5C, winds light, weak sunny periods. It felt  bitterly cold in the wind with my face and hands aching from the cold. I tried to tie a scarf around my face but I was getting cold as I struggled with it in the wind. With the scarf flapping all over the place I had to tie it in the front and swivel it around my neck.

The same old problem of hedges and no hedges. There was much deeper snow on the roads where it drifted off the fields in the gaps in the hedges. Where there were hedges the snow was lying in long thinner stripes along the road with stripes of tarmac just visible. Where I was sheltered by a hedge it was as if there was no frost at all.

No real problems on the way back apart from my beard freezing solid from the condensation of my breath.  There's no way to rescue my average mileage in this weather. I followed a Segway for  a while before overtaking him. He was averaging 8mph on big fat, knobbly tyres with a big dog loping alongside. While I wanted to do 10-12mph under the same hard packed, crumbly snow and ice conditions. The i-Got GPS logger failed to get a fix today and had no data to download. 13 hilly miles.

16th 23-30F, -5-1C, windy, heavy, wet snow. A complete waste of time trying to get out today. After a 11F, -12C frost last night we had heavy, wet snow all day with gales. The roads were appalling with thick, icy slush and ridged up snow. The traffic was crawling. Another rest day!

17th 12-21F, -11-6C. Overcast, calm. Dogh! The road was awful.  Covered in thick lumpy ice lying on top of thick black ice where slush had refrozen. I couldn't even go out in the car to do any Christmas shopping. Riding on that mess would have been impossible on a trike. If anyone had braked, because of me, they would not have been able to stop. Another forced rest day. 0 miles.

18th  22F, -5C. still, overcast. Roads atrocious. Christmas shopping out in the car all day. 0 Miles.

19th 12-8F, -11-8C, sunny, almost still. A beautiful day, but rather cold. The roads were covered in hard packed, powdery snow and solid ice. Very rough in places.  No problem with adhesion thanks to 2WD. I left it too late to go very far. Only 11 miles.

A little too late for a perfect Christmas present but a new racing trike has turned up on eBay.


Probably a hand built frame with a Higgins axle? 21.5" One size fits all? Though advertised as a frame and forks it does include rear wheels.

This trike made only, a very affordable, £142. 

20th December  21F, -6C, sunny at times, still. Christmas shopping all day. O miles.

Fed up with the cold weather? Here's some barmy pictures from balmy Shanghai from the 3Wielweb website:

Trike Use


  1. I am continually surprised at how awful your weather is. I never pictured Denmark as so snowy. I guess "awful weather" is relative. Right now I would consider ours as unrideable, though there are always a few stalwart souls who are out as soon as the roads are passable. The windchill has been down to -25 (about -30 C?). Anyway, however you measure it it's dangerously cold.

  2. Hi Gunnar

    Wind chill is an even more serious problem with cycling due to the forward velocity. I'd rather have it much colder with no wind. Than well above freezing with a gale. The latter feels very much colder. The wind finds all the weaknesses in one's protective clothing and chills the exposed skin. The lowest I've seen it here is -22C or about -5F. Fortunately it was dead still but I only lasted half an hour outside despite all my layers of down filled clothing.

    You'd be absolutely amazed how many Danes still ride to work (and to school and the shops) on their bicycles, every day, regardless of the weather. From little kids of 3 to people in their 80s.

  3. Just contemplating returning to the world of trikes after a 9 year absence. How would you compare longstaff, trykit etc? I live in south staffs

  4. Hate Longstaff. Love Trykit. Is that enough? ;-)

    Geoff Booker at Trykit is a fine engineer and making some very sophisticated trikes. I am delighted with the wheels, axles and 2WD system he has supplied me with so far. I wouldn't hesitate to order a trike from Geoff if I needed one.

    Longstaff are rude to a fault and no longer push trikes on their website. I have no idea who makes their trikes now. The master's touch may be as absent from the product as it is from Longstaff Cycle's customer service.