8 Apr 2011

April Foul

Ist April 2011 44-51F, 7-10C, mostly sunny periods, windy. An early, circuitous route with plenty of hills but only 13 miles. The lanes were covered in flattened toads thanks to yesterday's heavy rain. I ran over one and its entrails splattered all over my rear view mirror. Yeuk!

Open season for trikes on eBay:

 Tricycle/trike BSA 23" conversion on eBay (end time 26-Apr-11 19:27:40 BST)

Tidy conversion. 

2nd 46-52F, 7-10C, breezy, misty, overcast. A twingle or two from my knees soon passed off and I found myself cruising at an effortless 20mph with a gentle tail wind. This did not last as I had chosen a hilly route. Though I was going well enough again today. 20 miles.

Mr Higgins stops to look at a marsh drain with miles of thatching reed, on all sides. Old, timber sluice gates are just below the bridge.

3rd 48-53F, 9-11C, winds light, overcast, misty, a heavy shower. It started raining heavily almost as soon as I left. After the Belstaff jacket turned dark all over I put on my polyurethane jacket. Fortunately it quickly got bored with raining and stopped. Leaving it warm, wet and slightly humid.

I pottered on to the shops to find I was far too early for Sunday opening. So I headed for a scruffy local bay to have a look at the sea. It was far too misty to do any photography so I rode on. Tootling along through chain-built villages of timber-framed farms and cottages. 

Lots of downtrodden houses were for sale in this area. With a number of large, industrialised, pig units for company it is hardly surprising. The rain had settled the usual stench from buildings and fields for just a little while.

There is a vast stately home and farm on the marsh. Mose means marsh in Danish. This is a shot of L√łgismose taken several years ago.

I waited patiently for the tractor to move but it just sat there with the engine running. The driver was probably welded to his mobile phone. As is the tradition in these parts.

We pulled off the road, the other day, to allow a vast pigshit spreader to pass the other way on a narrow lane. The driver had his traditional "farmer's earring" welded to his ear and completely ignored us as he passed.

I cannot recall a single tractor driver not using his phone while under way. The same holds true for 90%, or more, of delivery van drivers. It is a local tradition that all van drivers, most articulate lorry drivers and large numbers of car drivers cross into the opposite lane on several corners in the village. Given that half a dozen have ended up well beyond the opposite verge one is never sure whether they will correct in time. Or head for the weeds taking me with them.

The nice irony is that the vast majority of all drivers cross the double white lines on every single corner in Denmark. So head-on collisions with those overshooting the same corners are extremely likely.

26 miles as the trike flies. (or trundles)

4th 46-50F, 8-10C, mostly overcast, light head winds, building, stinky again from fresh deposits of industrialised agricultural waste. 15 miles wandering the quiet lanes. My knees were okay today but my chest is still wet and burning slightly. A bit breathless and snotty but I'm still climbing well enough.

Time to check the Trykit 2WD. I lifted each wheel and span them to find out what an odd squeaking noise was. The left hand side isn't buzzing. It is just ticking as if only a single pawl is working. It may need some more thin grease on the pawls. I have no  idea how often it should be lubricated and haven't touched it from new. 3600 miles over the winter in salty road conditions may have taken their toll. The noise was only the front mudguard. I just need to tighten the fork fixing bolt.

The 2WD was fine. I just couldn't hear the buzz of the pawls on the left side drive out on the road. Presumably the sound is more damped by the cassette on that side than on the right.

I put the trike up on the stand and spun the back wheels fast. Then I had to put my ear very close to the cassette to hear anything at all after I stopped the right side.  Goody! It saved me some work. I didn't think it was likely that the Trykit 2WD would need attention so soon. Particularly as the pawls are safely hidden behind sealed, journal bearings.

The ticking I had heard yesterday was just the magnet light being pulled over regularly by the passing spoke magnets.  I took them all off as I don't need to ride in the dark at this time of year. It will save quite a bit of weight. I have other, much better lights now, if I ever need them. Bike lights are incredible value and power compared with yesteryear. All thanks to LEDs and better batteries and probably Chinese manufacture.

5th 46F, 8C, overcast, windy, feeling a bit cold, afternoon rain forecast. The earlier spits and spots went off and I did a short shopping trip. Wind picking up to 15m/s gusts yet again. I carried an 18 litre bag of compost home as well as a full shopping bag. Just lashed the bag onto the rack outside the bag with cord. It made the steering shimmy a bit but it stayed put. Only 11 miles total and back into a strong headwind and a darkening sky.

My TZ7 camera has developed a shadowy blob so it has had to go in for repairs under guarantee. Probably the result of having a new focussing screen fitted a while back. So no new pictures for a while. It felt very strange not having to take my camera today. Normally it goes everywhere with me. I looked at a lot of cheap, digital cameras in town yesterday but each shop had different recommendations. I decided to check some online reviews before making any decision.

6th 48-50F, 9-10C, heavy overcast, windy, stinky. Knees okay. Chest still "wet" and burning slightly. Requiring regular coughs to clear. Snotty. A meandering route to the shops and back. Saw a a large flock of wood pigeons on a field. Must have been at least 100. Geese circling noisily overhead. 16 miles so far. 53F, overcast windy later. 13 more miles after lunch. Hell of a head wind!

7th 50F, 10C, overcast, windy, the usual stench. I went out for an hour but it was blowing hard and not much fun. Passed by several pig's muck spreaders. Who/which were leaving the roads coated in mud and stones and a stink in the air. The final straw was seeing a huge sprayer out on the fields near home in such a strong wind! Perhaps they take it in turns to spray their neighbour's fields with the spray drift?

A couple of pig farm dogs ran after me but I outpaced them. It could have been worse. I might have been chased by pigs! I am seeing at least one hare per day at the moment. Today's was unmoved by my passing as he enjoyed the grass verge.

The wind is forecast to gust up to 45mph later and tomorrow! Only 11 miles. I'm not feeling very well again this afternoon so may give it a rest tomorrow.

8th 50F. Sleepless night, head swimming, headaches, chest burning, coughing. Blowing 25m/s. 50mph+. Would you go out? No, I didn't either. 0 miles.

9th. Still unwell. Ironically, it is a beautiful, sunny day with 57F and very light winds.

10th 54-57F, 12-14C, sunny, winds light but increasing. An acrid stench of pig shit from first opening the front door. Full sun and already 54F at 9am. My chest is burning and clogged up but my head is no longer spinning quite so badly. I may try a short, gentle ride later. I am already suffering from cabin fever and have to get out. :-)

Well, after coffee and rolls I headed for the shops. My upper chest is full of phlegm and hurts when I cough. (probably URI) Rather surprisingly I did not find myself particularly breathless. So my lungs aren't really affected. I felt a bit detached from the neck down but was climbing well enough. No pain in my legs at all. Still fuzzy when I turn my head too quickly though.  I was doing an effortless 20mph on the flat.

I bought a Shimano Q/R front wheel for a fiver (£5) in a flea market in a village I passed through. Modest, decal-decorated, aero rim with radial lacing at the hub. Weighs about 3.5 lbs with present 700 x 28mm, Firestone, winter tyre.  About as light as any wheels I own except for sprints and tubs. I'll see how it holds up before swapping to a Bontrager tyre. Trikes put a lot of side loads on wheels. Which they never suffer on a bike.

The bearings felt knackered and the black finish spokes were a bit rusty in places. That's why I was able to get it for a rock bottom price. That, and the fact that it didn't matter too much if I didn't get it.  So I haggled much harder than usual.

Can't take any pictures because my camera is in for repair. A couple of minutes with some tools back at home and the bearings freed up. They were just overtightened. I've left some oil to run through the hub to see how it feels afterwards.

During cleaning I discovered it was the older WH A-550. A budget wheel at best. But almost free if you ignore the half hour invested in cleaning and lubrication. It looks well up front and runs true enough. Interesting to find the radial spoke nipples on the hub instead of half lost in the rim. 16 flat, blade-type spokes.

I was not keen on the deep, silver profile of the the present front wheel. It just looks too clumsy to my eyes. I don't care what they say abut deep profiles being quicker. I'm the one doing the pedalling!

16 comfortable miles in warm sunshine. When I didn't really think I'd manage more than a mile or two during breakfast. Both GPS loggers are misbehaving. I am having to rely on my cheapo bike computer. Temperatures reached a steady 63F in the afternoon!

11th Still, warm and sunny. My head was even fuzzier today and I feel very tired and headachy. My upper chest and throat hurt badly when I cough and it feels horribly wet, bubbly and thick down there. Another rest day.

12th Windy! My chest is getting worse! Thick yellow-brown gunk and hurts like hell when I cough! 0 miles.

13th 40F, 4C, windy and wet! Chest no better. No idea if I'll be able to get out later for a bit of fresh air. I'm sick of being stuck indoors! Nope. Still too poorly to go out.

14th  36F, dead still, thick mist with the sun trying to burn through the stench of pig shit and chemical scent. I couldn't stand being indoors any more so I put my cycling shoes on and went around the block. 3 miles. Had a good cough on my return. My chest is still thick, bubbly and hurts. My clothes were soon wet with dew.

I put two powerful flashing lights on the back but still didn't trust the traffic. Small chains of cars, nose to tail in the rush hour in thick mist. Less than a car's length between them. If anything happened in front they wouldn't stand a chance. Nor would a cyclist.

I swapped the heavy tyre for a Bontrager 23mm and this made the new front wheel 2.5lbs in total. The lightest front wheel I have now.

10 miles in warm sunshine @ 53F later. I was so "out of it" I nearly tipped  over on a gentle bend! Not feeling much better but I wanted to clear my lungs. If it was possible. Sitting on the computer at home and dozing certainly wasn't helping. My head is spinning again now I am back at home.

15th April  53F, 12C, sunny, warm with light winds. As my chest hasn't improved I thought I might as well ignore it. Unfortunately I couldn't ignore the foul stench of pig shit everywhere I went. I even saw a pair of shit spreaders parked up beside the road with the engines running. The spray tracks were full of oily, black liquid.  My cycling clothes reek of the acrid stink. It is impossible to hang washing outside for as long as this taxpayer-subsidised selfishness goes on.

A BBC headline said that shit spreading is costing the EU £280 billion a year in nitrogen damage to the environment! Thank goodness for the EU gravy train then! Some lying mouthpiece said recently that the primary purpose of the common agricultural fund was maintaining the environment. Yep. The environment of greed, fraud and corruption which riddles the mountain of ordure. The pig troughs of Brussels can be smelt from the Russian border to Ireland's Atlantic coast.

It seems the birds were able to ignore the eye-watering stench and were singing their little hearts out. Billions of Wood Anemones were strewn across the verges and throughout sunlit woods in great swathes. Upturned, six petal, pure white cups were monitoring our sun as they tracked across the sky.

It was much too warm for leggings (or jacket) so my legs were sandblasted at intervals by speeding lorries and cars running over farmer-muddied roads. I was going quite well despite my blocked windpipes, fuzzy head and pain when I cough. 21 miles is not to be sniffed at! 8-|

My TZ7 camera is ready to be picked from being repaired again. I have greatly missed having a camera with me all of the time.

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