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. 


  1. The Blogger Template Designer/Advanced is really pretty straightforward and doesn't require any advanced computer skills. It's not as if you can actually break anything.

  2. Hi Gunnar, You underestimate my power to fix what ain't broke. The problem is the wide variation in customisation facilities from one template to another. It is not what is provided so much as what is not. ;-)

  3. The "Simple" format seems to be the most open and modifiable. On my blog I just clipped a photo of the "Tour de France 1948: André Brulé, Apo Lazarides, Louison Bobet and Gino Bartali on the Tourmalet" from an old bicycle magazine which was posted online, faded it down, posted it as my background. I then converted most of the colors of the blog itself to transparent, thereby creating an overlay. Old champions. I like it a lot. At least for this week.

  4. Hi Gunnar, I like your background image a lot. I have now added your blog to my links page.

    My particular blogging problem is changing the degree of transparency/opacity of the post (text area) background. I have been searching online for advice and experimentally modified the x value of rgba (html colour codes) throughout one of my blogs but it had no visible effect at all. Probably because I have modified the template with my own image. There is no mention of "filter" or "outer wrapper" or "opacity" in the template html so I can't just drop new code into place. I may need to find another template with suitable customisation possibilities and add my image to that. (Starting from scratch)

  5. Thanks for the kind comments Chris


    As I said in the the description for the photo not many folks race trikes in Scotland. Peter Duncan of Vegetarian CC who was the previous 12hr record holder set his record in 1957 which was a 34 year gap till I came along.

    What was great was Peter unbidden was waiting at the first roundabout at just after 6am to tell me "I'm going to support you today as it's about time my record was broken!" He even brought his own tirke on the roof of his car in case I had a mechanical, you can't do better than that to give your own pride and joy to a stranger to break your own record.

  6. Graeme, You are much too modest. You broke Peter's record so you must have been doing something right! :-)

    I'm afraid your tiny link is broken. I tried it in three different browsers without luck.


  7. Hmm dunno what happened with the link works for me but then it would :)

    Seems my trike photo is getting around. A pal just pointed out it is on this blog


  8. Hi Graeme, You've gone viral! :-)

    I managed to find my way to that forum and left a little message of my own. ;-)

    The earlier link works fine as a printed and activated link. It just wasn't recognised as a browser search term. I have added it just below your photo so people can read about your exploits.