16 Feb 2011

February Part 2

16th February 2011 28F, -2C, overcast, wind strong but very slowly reducing. Four inches of new snow overnight driven into drifts by the strong winds. I seem to have spent hours clearing snow today. The roads were much narrowed by the snow banks and wet with salty water. I decided that common sense was better than foolhardiness. 0 miles.

           Wind sculpted snow (again!)      

17th 28-30F, -1C, windy, overcast, clearing to sunny periods. It was bitterly cold on my hands as I tried  to take a photograph. The road was much worse than this further on. Two to four inches of crumbly, packed snow was a real struggle in combination with the roaring head wind and rising incline. As soon as I turned out of the wind I had to take off my second jacket. I was getting quite a bit sideways on descents as I hit deeper stuff. Provided the handlebars are pointed straight ahead it seems completely safe. The trike seems to correct itself. Perhaps I am just becoming too used to riding on snow.

I spent an hour just wending my way along winding lanes without any particular goal. Just clearing away the cobwebs and testing my knee. It hurt on the stairs just before I left but I didn't feel a thing while out on the trike. I really don't think there is anything to be gained by lowering my saddle any further. It worked like a miracle cure on my knees to lower it last spring. No harm in trying another centimetre (1/2") I suppose. 

The wind made it too unpleasant to go very far today despite the sun struggling through towards the end. I made the effort to climb a long, local hill but only to avoid an uphill head wind on the usual leg home. Despite the front mudguard my legs were plastered with snow from knee to toe from the front wheel. Only 10 miles.

The bike shed had lots of spindrift inside it this morning. Hardly surprising with the constant, high wind and the air full of fine snow. I spent a lot of time sealing the ridge and eaves last year but the fine stuff can pass through the eye of a needle!

It would take roofing under-felt to seal it completely. That would mean removal of the corrugated, roofing material. (Onduline) As this product is nailed onto the roofing battens this is not going to happen. Trying to get the special nails out would destroy these rather soft and fragile boards. I know, because I have tried using all sorts of packing pieces, crowbars and claw hammers without success.

I could staple building paper inside the rafters... Anybody out there seriously considering Onduline should use a roof lining. The same with any corrugated roofing material. Whatever the manufacturers may claim!

18th 28-29F. -2-1C, winds lighter, overcast. Drifting in places onto the main road. 12 miles.

19th  20-28F, -7--2C, light winds, sunny. A cold start, under a cloudless sky with the wind. I was feeling quite strong and cruising at up to 25mph on the first leg. Then it was mostly into the wind all the way back with a load of shopping. Once the saddle bag was full to the brim I loaded a carrier bag right up to the top. It was tied onto the saddle frame and fortunately it stayed there.

The main roads were clear, though narrowed by snow banks on the verges. The minor roads were rather mixed with lots of hard-packed or crumbly snow. The ease of going varied enormously. My knee didn't give me any problems today.

Disaster strikes! Metal fatigue in the most stressed bend of my computer bracket. I should have used a softer radius but chose to make a smarter, sharp bend. It took only ten minutes to drill a new hole and make a new bend in the same strip so I could put everything back on the crossbar again. I shall have to remake the bracket later because the computer heads are now rather too near my gloved fingers when I'm on the centre of the bars. It is very likely that I shall touch the buttons accidentally.

Later I pottered into a bitterly raw wind at 25F, -4C, to finish the shopping. My knee started hurting straight away so I lowered the saddle slightly. It didn't feel any different. The lanes were still snowed over in quite a few places but caused me no problems. A bunch of joggers were using a lot of road at the same time as motorists wanted to get past. Just the usual mayhem on a narrow route  of outstanding natural beauty. (or rather a race track for impatient rat runners) 14 more miles.

20th 24F, -4C, sunny, easterly breeze. Brrr! Another raw day. I dropped the saddle another half inch before leaving. I felt like a kid paddling his kiddies trike all flat footed along the pavement. My knee was still aching a bit so I took it easy. Keeping it in the 90s rpm. I still managed one big, long hill I have never climbed before. I'm usually descending it at 30+mph pedalling hard. I saw a shopping trike for sale for £50 but wasn't tempted. It was too crude and heavy for my tastes. I didn't even bother to stop and take a photo.  Only 20 miles.

21st 22F, -6C, overcast, breezy. I had to work different hours today so no morning ride. By the time I reached home it was bitterly cold and getting dark. So I'm taking another rest day. I spent the morning repairing the kid's recumbent, banana trikes for a school. I have updated the Higgins axle removal chapter with images of the Higgins sprocket carrier.


22nd 24F, -4C, overcast, light easterly wind. Late, cold, afternoon ride. Surprising amount of snow sill lying on minor roads in the towns and villages. Both knees aching now! Though not too badly. My nose felt so cold it was like holding a lump of ice to it. 17 miles.

23rd, 23F, -5C, blowing a gale, heavy overcast. Bitterly cold into the wind with hands and feet freezing. Knee still aching. Drifting on the back lanes from lying snow. I was on the 28T chainwheel a lot of the time. Only 10 miles.

24th 29F, -2C, partly sunny, easterly wind. Late afternoon ride again. I found a pair of leather, Thinsulate gloves reduced to a fiver. They worked well on the way home too. Despite it hovering just below freezing it was another cold day thanks to the wind. Right knee still aching on the inside. Kept the revs as high as possible. 14 miles.

25th 29F,-1C, blowing, sunny periods. With my knee aching, the cold and strong wind I couldn't summon the will drag myself out today. 0 miles.

26th 33F, +1C, overcast, cold, easterly wind bending the trees again.

I was just going to get ready to go out and my copy of "A history of the Tricycle" has arrived in the post. Authored by Roger Alma., Cyril J Hancock and Derek Roberts. Copiously illustrated with pictures of countless machines in 116 B&W, glossy, printed pages. Leading up to a very full and technically competent description of the work of more recent, lightweight trike builders. All wonderful stuff and a "must have" for upright trike fans everywhere. Available through The Veteran Cycle Club. Here's the cover for a taster.


The VCC Order form:


Well, that's enough recalcitrance and procrastination for now: There's no putting it off. I have to go out shopping.

A mostly white buzzard flew parallel to me for quite a while. Probably hoping I would fall off and provide an early lunch. Fat chance! :-)

I was ripped off by two supermarkets who had raised their prices before the expiry date of their offers. (Sunday to Saturday inclusive according to their weekly, company newspapers) A crook is a crook is a crook! You ether are or you are not. You can't be a semi-crook. Dishonesty is not a gradation of immorality. A petty thief is not somehow better than a bank robber or a crooked banker.

My knee felt a bit better provided I changed down early and kept the revs up on hills. It still can't cope with pushing. I do not like the lower saddle position, at all! It puts more of my weight on the saddle. And, I'm getting pains in the backs of my thighs from using different muscles. 14 hilly miles. Time, now, to get back to my trike history book.

27th Around freezing and still blowing a gale. The promised sunshine never broke through the overcast. I have a cold so didn't see any point in going out. 0 miles.

28th More of the same. Coughing, sore throat, snotty nose, blowing a gale and freezing. What's not to like? Null point! (to be read in a French accent)

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