31 Jan 2011

January thaw?


Still playing with colours and blog formats. Unfortunately some of the provided templates have very limited scope for customisation. I'm not really into playing with html so am stuck with what is on offer. Though a template which doesn't even allow a choice of text colour or size is rather lacking IMO. The lilac and turquoise theme is roughly based on the colours of my Higgins trike. I'm not sure how well it works but we'll see if I can live with it long term.

15th January 2011. 37F, +3C, overcast, light breeze. We seem to be stuck in a run of depressing, heavy cloud cover. I suppose one should be grateful it isn't freezing, blowing, snowing or wet. The snow is gradually going with the thaw but there is still lots about. Only 11 miles.

Here are some pictures of a braze-on front gear hanger for Chris on YouTube. He is the new owner of a Gillott trike. Mention was made that only one chainring can be fitted.I wondered whether it was something to do with the frame not taking a standard clamp-on front  changer. Though I'm probably showing my ignorance of Gillott trikes. The one on the TA website looks normal enough.

Not the best pictures in the world but I hope they show what's involved. The Cinelli Proxima on which this (half chromed) hanger is brazed is very inaccessible at the moment. I had to use flash and a lot of zoom to reach it. The changer fitted here is an inexpensive Centaur. I hadn't heard of them either but beggars can't be choosers. I should really sell this Cinelli frame because it is a bit too big for me. Probably a 24"? It is not as if I ride bikes any more either.

Blogger is having a nervous breakdown and is rotating these images by 90 degrees CCW. So I had to rotate them 90 degrees CW before uploading just to make them appear normal! The trials and tribulations of the long-suffering blogger, eh? I bet Gunnar doesn't have these problems!  :-)

16th 41F! 5C. Windy, heavy overcast. Gusting to 15m/s is over 30mph. I'm waiting until after coffee or I'll need lights just to see where I'm going! Talk about "The Road"! They must have filmed it here! Still pitch black at 8.15 this morning! It's no wonder all my neighbours are so afraid of the dark. They need dozens of security lights burning all night (and day!) just to feel safe in bed. And at work.

The regulations say that a qualified electrician must install outside lights. Because they charge so much no ordinary Dane can afford to fit a day and night movement sensor! I think Denmark relies on the constantly burning security lights as a sink for unwanted generated electricity at night. Much as the UK relies on street lights as a sink for unwanted, night time generated, nuclear power. The Danes aren't all that keen on useless street lamps. Or even lighting road signs, for that matter. It must be the cost of hiring electricians!

I must stop rambling and get out on my trike. Well, I braved a headwind to put some distance from home and then circled round the unspoilt coast. Despite being a bit breathless on climbs I seemed to be going quite well again. There is something about this weather which makes me both snotty and chesty. Once I had the wind behind me it was fun to cruise at 18-20mph.

I travelled the lanes in a new area, which  I rarely visit, and enjoyed the wildlife. Large flocks of crows, rooks, a few buzzards and even two small flocks of Whooper swans. The latter were making noises like kid's plastic trumpets but were rather distant for a good shot.

The Aesse jacket was too warm again. I really must try the Belstaff jacket on its own as temperatures rise. Though it isn't remotely so eye-catching (safety wise) as the Aesse. Nor does the Belstaff have secure, but easily accessible, zipped pockets for my phone and cards. I worry about getting cold and having no reserve jacket when I'm a long way from home. Yet I do not want to carry more bulk or weight if it interferes with my shopping activities.

Conditions change rapidly as one turns in or out of the wind. An exposed stretch of road an make all the difference between being too warm from a climb and very considerable discomfort. Putting on a PU rain jacket can quickly produce a mobile sauna. Once damp next to the skin it is very difficult to regain comfort levels. I seem to overheat all too easily. Even my choice of hat, or bare legs, can make a huge difference to my comfort levels on a ride.

I much prefer bare legs for the freedom and heat loss over even my thinnest skiing tights. The problem is the sympathy this generates in elderly ladies on cooler days. It's a great ice-breaker outside the supermarket but has its limitations for stimulating conversation. 30 miles.

17th 38F, 3C, damp, heavy overcast, very misty, breezy. The permafrost is melting. Turning gravel drives into a quagmire. The drainage streams in the marshes were rushing torrents, I added extra rear lights to cope with the heavy fog and careless drivers. I missed the views of the countryside despite everything looking at its worst at the moment. Winter makes everything look so scruffy. 24 miles.

 A trifle damp underfoot.

18th 37F, +3C, calm, heavy overcast. I intend to take advantage of the lack of wind. Well, the forecast was wrong. There was a constant breeze opposing me on the way. I wasn't feeling very strong today and actually felt tired most of the time.  The sun hasn't come out yet but I can see small patches of blue sky for the first time in days.

My cheapo Lidl's cycling gloves were not remotely warm enough today. Some of the time they felt like cold, wet rubber. I wore the Belstaff jacket on its own again and adjusted my warmth by opening the zip. In case you're wondering I wasn't naked under my jacket. In addition to the jacket my standard winter kit  is long skiing underwear, racing shorts and a short sleeved racing jersey. As well as thick socks and neoprene overshoes.

I glimpsed a small flock of crested birds on top of a hedge as I passed. Smooth grey/buff without obvious markings. Just a backward facing crest. Didn't recognise them and can't find them in my books. Possibly female waxwings in dull, winter plumage?

34 miles should have been easy but it certainly didn't feel like it.

I found this image while browsing. "Fuzzy" on his Alves trike during a 50 mile TT.  Reading between the lines, from comments on his Flickr page, Fuzzy still holds the Scottish 12 hour TT trike record set in 1991. A little online homework suggests that Fuzzy must be Graeme Mair. 20 years is an amazing length of time for a record to remain unbroken.



An interesting study in geometry.

19th 36F, +2C, heavy overcast, light breeze. Some sunshine forecast but nothing yet.I decided to take advantage of the light winds and good weather to ride to the city. Going was okay but  I hit a headwind all the way back. As usual I got lost in the suburbs and made several detours. I shall have to print out a map next time. There are no direct routes but I'm sure I can improve on complete chaos. I was a bit tired coming home and my right knee started aching again. Though not to badly. It had been fine for quite a while. The sun came out later to blind me. 42 miles.

20th 28F, -2C, bright sunshine, and cold, northerly wind. Just 11 hilly miles. Almost a rest day.  Though I didn't feel I needed one. I have already done 100 more miles than I managed for the whole of  January last year. I just hope we don't get a repeat of  last year with snow still lying at the end of March. The weather right around the globe seems to be broken. With records being broken every season. I tried a new jacket today and it seemed fine. The poor old roads are cracked to hell already with potholes sure to follow. Much worse than I remember from last spring. It took months to get most of them repaired last year.

A Holdsworth trike conversion on a Harry Hall bike frame is up for sale on eBay:


A cheap(er) way of getting onto three wheels? Not if somebody badly wants a Harry Hall frame!

Smart finish, with new bearings 27 x 1 1/4 HP alloy wheels and a head badge.

I'm never sure whether a loose trike conversion is a better buy than when attached to a hand built, road  frame. The frame may not fit you. Or you have a more desirable, donor bike frame. If there is much competition from other bidders the unwanted "assembly" may push the price up into the regions of a Higgins 'Ultralite' trike. Or at least one in need of a little TLC. Though the axle conversion could be brazed onto the donor bike frame after purchase. This would save the weight of the bike's seat stays and would look much tidier. This would require considerable skill in achieving correct axle alignment on the bike frame. Probably involving a jig being built. Poor brazing skills would make the trike weak and potentially lethal! So the work might be much better carried out by an experienced frame builder. Repainting would become necessary, of course. It's all swings and roundabouts. (on a trike)  ;-)

21st 28F,-2C, calm, bright sunshine then thick fog! I headed off into a bright cold morning only to have the mist clamp down in minutes. It felt as if the temperature had dropped ten degrees. I curtailed my planned ride and only did 20 miles. The scenery is a large part of the enjoyment of a ride. With visibility down to a hundred yards frost was forming in stripes and patches all over my trike and clothes.I might as well have been sitting at home on a trainer for all I could see. It thinned and the sun came again out about halfway but then I rode back into it.

Rare Ken Rogers Trike/ Tricycle on eBay (end time 19-Feb-11 16:56:36 GMT)

A new video from MECcycling showing trikers time trialling:


Showing John Dupen at 30 seconds and Adrian Perkin hiding behind the shrubbery at 1.30.

22nd 31F, 0C, light breeze, heavy overcast, thick mist. Lawn and drive covered in black ice. Set off for a supermarket but found they had no stock. Rode onto the next with stops at various weekend flea markets. Nothing interesting to buy. Lots of ice and puddles on the minor roads. 25 miles.

I've probably posted this link before. Superb collection of trike pictures:


23rd Around freezing. Almost still. My original post disappeared overnight! 25 miles.

24th 37F, 3C, overcast, light winds building. Right knee aching. 24miles.

Here's a fascinating collection! Several trikes, Dursley Pedersens, amongst many others:

Transport Collector Auctions - 13 November (browse catalogue - page 7 of 8)

25th 34F, +1C, light winds building, overcast. Light, continuous rain. My Belstaff Cyclone jacket was put through the wet test today. Despite being saturated on the outside I stayed warm and dry. I sensed my shoulders were getting cooler at one stage but the sensation went away. My cycling jersey was bone dry when I got home as was my poly vest. I'm not sure I would trust the jacket in heavy rain though. Just seeing where I was going was a problem without wipers on my yellow cycling glasses. My right hip and knee are nagging me slightly.

I badly need a rack on the trike to keep the hanging carrier bags off the chain. I was unintentionally slicing a French loaf today! Requiring considerable surgery to remove the orange stains before I could enjoy a nice bit of mature Cheddar! I can just imagine Gromit raising his eyes. 20 rather wet miles.

26th January 28F,-3C, windy and getting windier, overcast, snow flurries. I got so cold half way round I had to put on my waterproof jacket to protect myself from the wind. I was literally shivering in the Belstaff jacket. My wife told me to put on something warmer but our hero thought he knew better. He was wrong.

I was looking for more and bigger pipe clips. To allow me to fit and remove a cut down rucksack frame to use as a carrier. No luck so far on the clips. The frame was dirt cheap, ultralight and perfect to keep the bag off my heels and the chain. These clips are a stroke of genius (not mine) because they are strong and have a threaded brass insert. So pairs of different sizes can be screwed together back to back. Then just clipped onto the trike's seat stays and rucksack frame. I was hoping to sneak out again this afternoon but was grounded. 23 miles.

 27th 19-28F, -7-2C, almost still, sunny, cold. I wore two jackets today and was glad for both until I headed home and took one off. The heaviest Thinsulate gloves were not warm enough again until later when it had warmed up a bit.

My right buttock is hurting from lifting a load of 10kg bags (20lbs) of stove fuel in and out of the car. It's making it quite hard to walk and lift my leg over the saddle. I thought the cycling had cured this problem! I had it just before I was made redundant and it was crippling. I thought it was sciatica at the time. My right knee is still complaining on hills but not too badly. Poor old devil! :-)

The chain is suddenly jumping again , like it did last spring, when I started messing about with gear hangers. So I bought a new, cheap, "rustfree" chain. Yet to fit it. No pipe clips for the carrier anywhere in town. Will have to keep looking. 21miles.

 I put on the new chain and finished the rack. The chain grease I had been spraying was glued all over the frame and components. It took an hour and spray-on engine cleaner to make any impact on the gooey mess. I even cleaned the wheels! Then I was kept awake much of the night with aches and pains. 

28th 18-29F, -8C-1C, light breeze increasing, clear and bright. Hard overnight frost. I took some pictures of the rack and scribbled while I waited for early coffee and toast.

When I set off after coffee I quickly discovered I had terrible chain slip. This was a brand new chain which had been carefully measured to match the last. Since I could use at least one gear I decided to press onto see if the chain would break in. After a lot of clonking and losing speed on the hills it began to behave a bit better. I adjusted the rear changer cable slightly and this helped a bit more. It said on the packet that the chain was suitable for up to 24 gears. 

A small bird of prey flew across the road right in front of my wheel. There were lots of buzzards about today too and a couple of hundred ducks on a village pond with a clear spot for bathing. A vast flock of crows were having a meeting out on the fields. A daily occurrence at the moment. Though never so many as I saw today. They were making a dark, moving cloud like starlings and were audible from a great distance. Great crowds of Rooks are also numerous on the bare fields and very tame. Remaining feeding as as I pedal past within a few short feet. 

I was wearing two jackets again today but it felt very cold on my face. After the first stop for shopping I took off the thicker jacket and kept the Belstaff on. The wind was behind me and I was climbing at 20mph and 115rpm for a while. The middle leg across the wind was okay but then I had to ride about 12 miles into the wind. I was getting tired, cold and hungry towards the end but hadn't taken anything to eat. It would have been quite a detour to reach a shop and buy a snack. So I plodded on to fill my face when I finally reached home. 34 miles.

29th 28-34F, -2+2C, light breeze, sunny becoming overcast. Chain still misbehaving but better. I went off-road for a couple of miles today. Followed a lane which petered out into the most horrendous, rutted mess you've ever seen. The trike was leaning all over the place and so was I as I snaked between isolated farms up hill and down dale. I ended up almost back where I started! Good fun but I won't need to do it again now I've been along there! :-)

My right knee is still slightly painful. So I'm trying to protect it with high revs even if it means crawling uphill. The glut pain has gone away for the moment. Note to self: Avoid weight lifting. The new bag is really capacious but is still prone to diving into the spokes on pavement ramps despite tying it to the carrier. 26 miles.

30th 28-35F, -2+2C, still, sunny. A glorious day for a ride. The sun made it feel warmer than it was. I was comfortable in the Belstaff jacket and middle weight Thinsulate gloves. I was climbing better than ever before on some long drags.  Not fast, but almost effortless at times despite and heavy load of shopping.

I think I have solved the bag swinging problem by triangulating the chords from the carrier to the shoulder strap eyelets and the saddle pin. Tipping the trike over on its side proved that the bag would not move.

I have replaced the front centre pull with another deeper model. I also trimmed the brake blocks to allow clearance between the pairs of blocks on each side. The braking is now much more positive. The chain is behaving itself better on each ride. I presume it is stretching over a worn cassette or chainwheels. Odd, because the old Sram chain didn't start jumping until the last couple of days.  26 miles. Plus 6 more pm.

31st January, 28-32F, -1-0C. Light winds building, overcast. Thick hoar frost on every twig and branch. I wore the thicker jacket. It felt much colder than it read on the thermometer. Just another shopping trip. 20 miles. Several miles off-road. Following farm tracks to get away from the main road traffic.

Click on any image for an enlargement. Back click to return to the text. 

Bob Jackson Trike

Trike Racing Trike BOB JACKSON Bicycle RARE Trike on eBay (end time 24-Nov-10 22:06:50 GMT)

I have just come across the bookmark and realised I did not post the images of this trike at the time. Just for completeness I shall post them now. This trike fetched £361 after 20 bids despite obvious cosmetic problems. Somebody wanted it badly enough to pay for it.

 Overall view. 21.5" seat and top tube will suit the smaller rider. Crisp red and white paintwork. Rear rack.

7 speed gears on one wheel drive.

Bottom bracket with original lining to lug shell. Some cosmetic rust but, with careful restoration, should not need a complete respray. The chainwheel and cranks look tidy enough.

Bob Jackson seat tube transfer.

 Steel hub showing a bit of rust.

Ditto the other side.

Mavic MA2 rims.

Handlebar grip and brake lever.


Click on any image for an enlargement. Back slick to return to the text.

28 Jan 2011

Rear carrier

28th Jan 2010.  I had put on the new chain and finished the rack the previous evening. The chain grease I had been spraying was glued all over the frame and components. It took an hour and spray-on engine cleaner to make any impact on the gooey mess. I even cleaned the wheels! Then I was kept awake much of the night with aches and pains.

The carrier has six point support and is simply clipped into place. The entire things weighs only a couple of ounces. The rucksack frame had the two top horns cut off where they supported the original rucksack. Now I have a bar to lift the trike out of the shed. Normally I would lift the trike by grasping the rear wheels.  By raising the rear end and walking backwards the front wheel follows true. If the trike is simply pulled backwards, on all three wheels, then the wheel castors from side to side.

I would have liked another crossbar to protect the gears and chain but I may lace a cord if it proves necessary. The latest sports bag is much larger than before. In the picture above it has been lifted temporarily out of the way to expose the carrier frame. I could never get away with such a wide bag before because there was no proper support. The bag would swing into the spokes on vicious pavement ramps when taken at speed!

A better view of the doubled, pipe clips. I sawed the heads off short machine screws to hold the pipe clips together in pairs by their threaded, brass inserts. The top two clips are for 12mm copper pipes and fit the short taper at the top of the Higgins stays. The rucksack frame uses 15mm clips on the crossbars. The larger main tube at the bottom of the carrier uses 22mm but are slightly oversized. The Higgins seat stays are mostly 15mm diameter below the short taper. The pairs of clips are self aligning to take care of the odd angles.

The cord at the top will probably be replaced by a strap for neatness. It ensures that the carrier does not slip downwards when loaded. One, cloth, bag handle is supported by the carrier. The free handle is supported by a toe strap from the saddle frame. In the past the carrying handles would slowly part from the bag requiring inevitable replacement. My wife now calls me a "bag lady" (amongst other things) because of my constant search for the perfect shopping bag. :-)

I'll take another picture when the bag is full of shopping. It probably has twice the capacity of the last one. The great advantage of the frame is that the bag is held well away from my feet. With some bags my heels would strike the bag on every turn of the pedals. It would be better if the rucksack frame had straight rails, for even more clearance, but beggars can't be choosers. The entire thing cost me only small change. The charity shops have lots of cheap rucksacks so I shall keep an eye out for a new donor frame.

The top corners of the frame don't get in the way until I hang right off the side on fast corners. It isn't a problem but more clearance at the top will obviously help. A straight top tube will provide the necessary clearance for my acrobatics. I used the frame yesterday with only two clips and some cord and it stayed firmly in place for over 20 miles. Today is the real test with the bigger bag and a full compliment of clips.

Well, the carrier was fine and stayed fixed. However the bag hopped into the spokes a few times so it still needs proper restraint. I could shorten the frame some more and lower it out of the way for cornering. I will see how it goes. I may find a tapered or triangular frame on my travels.

I have now applied a hooked bungee cord and the bag is completely safe from leaping into the spokes.

Note: Further experience suggested the forward, sports bag handle be fixed with Ty-wraps to the rucksack frame top tube. This finally stopped all lateral bag movement. This procedure has been carried out with all subsequent bags.

The free bag handle is simply dropped over the nose of the saddle to rest against the seat pin. This helps to support the weight of the loaded bag.

I have also used short lengths of cord to fasten the rucksack frame to the trike stays.  Otherwise the carrier frame tended to unclip from the trike seat stays if the trike was lifted by the carrier.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

23 Jan 2011

A Gillott Trike

Chris, the owner of this Gillott trike, has very kindly forwarded some superb images.

(Note: I have cropped, reworked and resized the original images to suit the smaller blog picture format: Even perfect images, like these, tend to appear darker and softer in a smaller size. The cropping is merely to make the details of the trike itself more visible in a smaller picture. If you click on the images for enlargements they vary between 200kB and 400kB) 

I believe this is a 25" frame. The condition is so fine I feel deeply embarrassed by my begrimed, rusting and scruffy Higgins.

The colour of the Gillott is my favourite deep purple but with a sumptuous metallic finish. This has a timeless quality which suits a period trike to perfection.

Nicely equipped too! I wonder where those neat rear mudguards and stays came from? My former belief that one didn't really need rear mudguards has been sorely tried this winter. My long suffering wife is fed up with washing road splashes from my cycling jackets!

I think we can safely assume the new owner is not vertically challenged. There is a wonderful airiness about a tall trike which is completely missed by the smaller sizes. One immediately thinks of elegant, long-legged race horses or greyhounds, upon sighting such a gentleman's trike.

Careful observation of the (enlarged) images show superb lugwork. With wonderfully extended points and fine detail. The understated Gillott transfers and head badge look well against such a beautiful finish. One to be very proud of. 

General view of the drive side. It all looks very smart and in excellent condition.

Rear end showing rack, reflectors and lights.

Trikes need more room on the road so anything which draws attention to your presence is keeping you safe. Particularly after dark! Remember that you are competing for the river's attention against conversation, mobile phone, eating, smoking, drug taking, alcohol abuse, adjusting the music system, reading business papers, newspaper and maps, turning to scold children in the back of the vehicle, playing with their GPS and ogling pedestrians. You come very low indeed on the list of priorities. As is witnessed by the number of cyclists deaths.

 Bottle dynamo to drive the big front and probably rear lights as well.

Gillott's signature on the down tube has an interesting font. It's nice to have the signature. A repaint often means the loss of such details unless  new transfers can be obtained.

 The single, front, side-pull brake is matched by the hub brake on the rear axle.

The bottom bracket with beautifully lined out lugs.

The cranks are interesting. They remind me of a period in the 60s when TA had similar shaped cotterless cranks.  Only later did cranks become shallower and wider.

The complex rear axle. With hub brake, differential and deraileur sprocket block all in line.

The pedals, toe-clips and rear changer are safely within the correct period and appearance for this classical, hand-built trike.
It is interesting to see the brass Higgins badge. Confirming the source of the rear end. The widened, axle reinforcing hoops are typical of Higgins differential axles.
A general view showing the shapely chainstays. More slender than typical Higgins stays.

Head tube, showing tastefully lined out lugs and top tube gear changer. Quite a handy position for a touring trike. (or any other trike for that matter)

The decoration on the fork crown seems to be quite typical. I have seen this ornamentation on several different trikes including on my own Higgins. On some fork crowns the shape is actually raised in the metal. On others it is merely painted on.
Seat tube cluster and Longstaff cantilevered rack. This hand-built frame shows typical attention to fine details in the brazed-on brake and gear cable stops and bosses. Such details tend to make the paintwork last longer because the cables are restrained from rubbing against the frame.

It will take some time to organise the pictures and text properly.

I am most grateful to Chris for sharing these images of his beautiful Gillott trike.

If you would like to share some images of an upright trike on this blog please feel free to get in touch: triker (at) nypost.dk

Click on any image for an enlargement. Back click to return to the text.

Pat Kenny RIP


It is with great sadness that the death of Pat Kenny is reported. He died following a collision with a car whilst out cycling near his home on Friday, 21st January. Pat was a former tricycle End to Ender, and a multiple Record Breaker. In 47 years he had completed over ½ million miles on his tricycles. His total mileage was in the region of 910,000 miles. The Association’s deepest sympathy is extended to Pat’s wife, Hazel, his three daughters, and all the family.


From the Tricycle Association website 22nd January 2011.

21 Jan 2011

24" Higgins on eBay:

24" Restored Higgins Ultralight 531 Tricycle / Trike on eBay (end time 30-Jan-11 20:17:24 GM

Sellers text:

 "I bought this trike as a rusty heap which I stripped and had the frame blasted to remove the rust. It was then repainted in two pack in a British Racing Green. I had three wheels built for it by Trykit, which cost around the initial asking price of this auction i.e £500. I applied a Shimano 10 speed 105 groupset with modern bars and stem on a quill Ahead conversion.

I built the trike with the intention of racing it in Tricycle Association events but due to one thing and another it has never happened and now I need to release some of the cash. I know I will never get my money back for this labour of love. The reality is that I never going to use it. I have ridden it a mile since the restoration. It could do with some transfers which I believe are available from Chris Hewitt. I know it is 531 but the sticker got blasted  and painted over. I think it is quite an early Higgins frame - it had a hand change front deraileur on the wreck."

A 24" restored Higgins Ultralite. Suit riders over 6'.(?) Some tasty kit has been fitted by the seller.

The head badge has lost its colour. Chris Hewitt may be able to help here. Also with the missing transfers. No doubt about the maker though.

The seller has confirmed that a Trykit freehub adaptor kit is fitted. Allowing a free choice of cassettes up to 10 speed. These adaptors ensure the sprockets run true and allow multi-gear, indexed gearing on a Higgins machine of any age. I used one for about a year and highly recommend them over the original adaptors.   

Smart, alloy, front hub brake avoids the usual duplicate brake complications around the head of the forks.

Cockpit with smart, combined gear/brake levers.

Modern  chainset.

Trykit hubs fitted to black, Mavic aero profile rims with stainless spokes. I have the silver version of these rims on Trykit hubs and can confirm they make light and strong trike wheels. My Trykit built wheels have survived a daily pounding on some awful road surfaces for what must be 18 months and over 10k miles by now.

The £500 auction starting price may seem like quite a lot of money but most of the hard work has been done on this machine. The asking price has to be balanced against the cost of new parts.  Putting all this modern kit on a bare Higgins frameset would cost a great deal more. The wheels alone have cost the asking price. 
This trike sold for £541 after three bids.

Click on any image for an enlargement. Back click to return to the text.


11 Jan 2011

Happy 2011!


Mr Higgins goes on a Weight Watchers course.

I ought to have some new year's resolutions. I failed miserably last year. I didn't ride 100 miles in one day. I didn't beat 10,000 miles. So, they'll have to do as targets for this year as well. :-)

January 1st 2011. 35-36F, +2C! Strong overnight winds dying down slowly. Trees still thrashing about first thing. Sun forecast for all day. The ground where we'd cleared the snow is treacherously icy! I hope I can get out for a ride after morning coffee.

I have completely changed the blog format to mark the new year. I'm still not sure about certain details but I think it works for the moment. I would have liked a purple theme to match my trike, clothing and assorted saddle bags. Sadly, nothing seemed to work. It all looked much too "girly" or miserably drab and dreary.

Last year the joke was that the brown background matched the Danish roads after the farmers had done their worst. It ended up looking like a desert. The weather now seems to dominate the news so clouds are more appropriate. Since I am out in all weathers on my trike I like the different clouds in this background. The summery and the slightly threatening alike.

Using a background image throws up all sorts of difficult choices to ensure text legibility. My love of photography and posting images forces special requirements for the post backgrounds. I am trying to avoid clashes. Or pictures appearing completely washed out. I am still looking for a way to add borders to images. Then I may be able to change the post background tone and strength.  Both of which I am presently slightly unhappy with.

Last year I rode 9,360 miles or 15,070 km on my trike. I struggled for months with a recalcitrant Brooks 'Professional' saddle and an inadequate cycling wardrobe. I suffered from seemingly endless knee and  saddle comfort problems which often limited my daily mileage.

When I started the year I was not nearly as fit as I am now. Not merely the considerable muscular changes but I no longer pant from climbing a few stairs. I have changed my pedalling rates considerably thanks to a cadence computer and sensible advice from other cyclists. Had I continued to push hard in the 70-80 rpm range I would probably not even be riding today. Shifting to much lower gears and 90+ rpm has kept me fit and riding comfortably. The recent shift to index gears has smoothed gear changes, given me closer ratios and avoids knee shock on hills. 

My weight has dropped by about two stones in the last 18 months and stabilised at just over 11 stone. My diet has changed to match my greatly increased energy requirements. We never ate junk food very much. Nor consumed sugary drinks. But I have added two daily dishes of fresh fruit and organic yoghurt or cream to my meals. My morning bowl of home made, organic muesli with organic, low fat milk has doubled in volume. I am still addicted to biscuits and chocolate but limit myself to a biscuit snack on my rides to avoid hunger knock. The regular, sickly sweet and greasy, Danish pastries enjoyed at work are now a very distant memory.

Well, when I finally decided to leave, it was safer to ride across the yard than walk on the polished ice. It was exactly the same with the minor roads. They had thawed but refrozen to leave wet, crumbly, sheet ice from verge to verge. The trike proved remarkably safe yet again. Never putting a wheel wrong regardless of the extremely slippery conditions.  16 miles isn't a bad start to the year considering the strong wind on the last leg. 

Sunday 2nd January 18-29F, -8-2C. Almost still with bright sunshine. Main roads largely clear but minor roads still covered in thick ice. Traffic fairly light. I was climbing quite well despite my right knee hurting. Which was just as well considering I climbed two of the longest hills in the area. 25 miles.

Mon 3rd 12F, -11C overnight, with hoar frost. still and sunny. 26F, -3C. The shelves were empty of bread in the supermarkets. Main roads clear, minor roads thick, dusty ice. 20 miles.

Tuesday 4th.  Deep grey overcast, windy and hovering just below freezing. The wind is knocking the hoar frost off the trees.  I'll go out after morning coffee. Roads improving. Blowing and threatening snow. Only 10 miles.

5th 28F, -2C, overcast, very windy overnight with new snow and drifting. Main roads fairly clear but smaller roads very poor.  Very hard work pedalling through the crumbly stuff. Better though, than risking the main roads and drivers on auto pilot at 20mph over the speed limit. A few brushed past me far too close for comfort! 15 miles.

6th 30-34F, -1+1C, quite windy, very dark overcast. Spent an hour and a half clearing 4" of new snow from 400 yards of drive. Well, I needed the exercise more than the lazy neighbours. Then I did a quick shopping trip for 14 miles. The roads were very wet with lots of puddles and standing water trapped by the snow and slush. With the wind blowing the spray off the rear wheels I was getting rather wet.
So rear mudguards are useful sometimes. Not that mudguards protect the rider from speeding motorists and lorry drivers. If they fitted speed cameras in every village they could repay the entire, European, national debt within a week. Nobody keeps to the speed limit.

7th 34F+1C, sunny, light winds. Main roads wet but mostly clear. Minor roads: Brown, rock hard, rutted and very bumpy ice with a salt dressing. 21 miles.

8th 39F! +4C. Heavy overcast, wind picking up. The thaw is causing a skating rink! It is almost impossible to cross the yard or walk down the drive. The trike was sliding sideways with zero friction on the slightest incline while I was pushing it. I climbed on and the font wheel was being pushed all over the place. The roads were saturated. With long lanes of standing water trapped by the banks of snow on each verge. I was given a good drenching by a couple of morons speeding through the deep water oblivious top all that goes on around them. I'm going to fit a rocket launcher to the handlebars if this goes on! Only 7, rather wet miles.

9th 30-34F, -1+1C, breezy, sunny. Roads much improved today with snow banks on either sides yet to melt. Patches of grass visible in the garden where yesterday was polished ice. The drive is still icy though. A short ride to the shops for 11 miles. I may go out again after coffee.

20 miles later on. I was feeling quite strong at first despite the wind. However, the price of a tail wind cruise at 20mph is repaid with interest struggling into it later. It felt rather cold despite being above freezing. It's quite amazing how even watery sunshine can cut through ice. Take away the sun and nothing changes much even at higher temperatures. The ice was still lying in the woods where the sun couldn't reach. It was colder too. I could still feel the wind even through a mile of dense beech and  mixed conifers.

10th 30-33F, -1+1C, heavy overcast, misty, wind building. I decided to ride to the city to shop rather than take the car. The main roads were okay apart form the snow bank overlapping the cycle lanes. The raised cycle paths were clear but the minor paths were solid ice. The journey back became miserable as I was heading into the wind. My clothes were covered in white dew, the wind was cutting my face and my toes ached with the cold.  Like an idiot I had left my overshoes behind. I was fooled by a glimpse of sunshine before I left and a forecast of several degrees above freezing. Visibility was right down to 100 yards in places. Not that this affected the lunatic behaviour of the countless driving sociopaths. 40 miles in four hours including stops.

11th 30F,-1C, overcast, breezy. Just a short ride to the shops. The wind is stronger today and from the opposite direction from yesterday. Lucky I didn't leave it until today to ride into the city. It would have been much harder going but probably easier on the way home. 11 miles.

12th 30-36F, -1+2C, blustery breeze, overcast. We had about 3" more snow overnight. I cleared the drive then went out shopping after coffee. The main roads were saturated. With long ridges of wet slush retaining long runs of standing water. Not much fun when idiots overtake at high speed and run over the slush! If only I'd taken my snorkel and flippers! Despite being over freezing the wind was horribly cold. I avoided the snow-covered lanes today. Only 14 miles. Winds forecast light tomorrow but it will be foggy. Rain is also on its way.

13th 32-35F, 0+2C, light winds, heavy overcast. Some of the conditions I experienced today were the slipperiest in decades. The wet, compressed ice on the lanes had a very low coefficient of friction. My front wheel was sliding effortlessly to follow ridges and indentations regardless what I did with the handlebars. I could only point straight ahead and keep pedalling. Touching the brakes produced instant lock-up.

I found one road which was covered in smooth, wet ice and had a bit of fun riding in circles. Turning the handlebars at the slightest angle produced violent wheelspin. While the front wheel ignored all commands and slid violently away from the intended direction. The horrors of 1WD writ large! Simply straightening the handlebars soon brought everything back under control and the grip came back. Despite the roads being horribly wet again I still managed 20 miles fairly effortlessly.

Typical conditions on the minor roads at the moment.

14th 36-38F, 2+3C, almost still, heavy overcast with thick mist. Continuous rain forecast for later. Roads still improving but still very wet. Minor roads almost clear of lying ice and snow leaving a heavy residue of sandy salt. I was going quite well today though not particularly quickly. Climbing seemed easier than usual. I am trying very hard to avoid describing other road users in derogatory terms.

The picture above missed the bright red flashing lights. The yellow, supermarket carrier bag may not be pretty but it easily carries a large sliced wholemeal loaf and lettuce without crushing. Leaving more room in the other bag for heavier objects. It doesn't hurt that the yellow is high visibility and the bag has very strong handles. A pair of them usually last me six months despite being used daily.

It is very difficult to capture hills with a camera and do them proper justice.  Too much zoom and they become foreshortened.  Too little and the slope just disappears. This one is quite hard work and climbs for about a mile. Getting much narrower in places as it winds between the trees and high hedges. 22 hilly miles today.

Click on any image for an enlargement. Back click to return to the text.

9 Jan 2011

Cycling Links:


It has belatedly occurred to me that I have no cycling links page:

The absence of your blog or website is not an oversight. It just means I haven't discovered you yet.

If anyone has an interesting cycling website or blog link, which you think I should list, do please get in touch:

triker (at) nypost.dk

If you hover over a link the work line right at the bottom of the page will probably give you a better idea of where it will lead you.  If you do follow a link then just keep back-clicking until you return to these links. Closing a linked web page will probably just close your browser. If I was really clever (and patient) I would put suitable text against the links. Most destinations are obvious enough.

Let's start with triking:


The Tricycle Association - Higgins Spares







Nostalgic cycling:





1410 OakWooD


If you do follow a link keep back clicking until your return here.

7 Jan 2011

Lady Higgins may yet ride again.

Higgins Tricycle on eBay (end time 14-Jan-11 15:39:02 GMT

 From the eBay auction: "1 Higgins Tricycle, it still has the Higgins badge on the front although it is a bit faded it is still visible. It has been well used and is in need of some TLC. The seat has been repaired by a previous owner, the gearbox is also not working at the moment. Selling this on behalf of the Thames Valley Adventure Playground reg. charity 278336 www.tvap.co.uk"

A lady's Higgins has come up on eBay. In need of some TLC, as the seller clearly states. Sold on behalf of a charitable cause. This would scrub up nicely to provide an authentic, period tricycle. It seems to have been red at one stage but has been crudely, over-painted with black. Not really a bad thing if it protected the thin steel frame tubes from damaging rust.

A general view. A handy rear carrier is provided. Original steel front mudguard.

Seen from the drive side. Alloy, side-pull front brake and rear hub brake on the other handlebar lever.

 The "Lady with scales" head badge is badly faded. No doubt restorable with a steady hand. Very gentle cleaning will be rewarded. Chris Hewitt would be the one to advise on restoration.

Chain guard, steel chainset and probably 26" low pressure tyres. Hub brake on the right side wheel.

Higgins Sturmey-Archer in-line axle with hub gears. The Higgins Register states that this was first introduced in 1953 so we do have an age limit. Odd to think it might be the same age as my own "Ultralite" trike. It must be the black paint!

 The chrome on the front Dyno-hub is prettier from this side.

Front wheel and gently raked forks with some surface rust on the Dyno-hub.


The saddle is poorly but easily replaced.

The auction ended on a very low winning bid of £88.66p after 10 bids. While it certainly needs some work to bring it up to a high standard I am surprised at the low price it sold for. Given the very high price of "handicap" tricycles this Higgins would have made a much more useful machine at a very much lower weight.

 Click on any image for an enlargement. Back click to return to the text.