15 Jun 2011

June II

15th June 2011 64F, 18C, breezy, turning windy, rather cloudy, cool. Another day of headwinds. Knees fine. Legs a bit tired.

The patched tube went down during my ride this morning. Fortunately I had bought a new inner tube.

The original punctures had produced white bubbles under the translucent patches. One bubble had leaked to the edge of the patch along one of the inner tube's ribs. I had sanded the tube lightly as suggested in the instructions. It seems that this is not enough for the adhesion limitations of these particular patches. Park Tools Super Patches.

Getting the old patch off was hard work and left a residue of glue on the tube. I am not sure it is worth trying another patch because the raised rib is still there under the sticky glue. The irony is that it is difficult to find any other patches suitable for repairing the 19-23mm inner tubes. So far I have been replacing tubes after every puncture. They soon add up!

Now I have a whole cardboard box full of punctured tubes! The vast majority are pinch punctures or snake bites due to hitting loose pieces of slightly oversized gravel on the cycle lanes. If there was no traffic one could swerve around the problem out into the road. Sadly it is rarely possible to do so safely. Every puncture is another £5! It could be cheaper to drive the car to the shops! 29miles.

 An old thatched house in a busy shopping village.
It was heavily overcast so contrast was rather low.

16th 64-67F, 18-19C, overcast, windy, spots of rain. Torrential rain forecast for later. I hurt my knee up on the ladders yesterday so took it easy today.

I bought a better spare inner tube, repair outfit and a few extra small patches to match skinny 23mm tyres and tubes. I can't believe that one can't easily buy patches suitable for narrow HP wheels. 

My chest is bunged up, eyes watering, have a croaky voice and my nose is running from next door's stinking chimney. Until the wind turns there's not much I can do about it. At least nothing that doesn't involve an international incident. An air strike, or Cruise missile, would be nice but might cause collateral damage to our greenhouse. The annual crop of superb, cherry tomatoes still looks like flowers and a promise of wonderful things to come. Only 14 miles today.

17th 65F, 18C, blowing a gale, sunny periods, heavy showers. I waited until the rain went off and then did a quick shopping trip. Fierce gusts were blowing me all over the place. Even my new TA cap blew off as I struggled into a head wind! Knees fine on the trike but hurting off it. 15 miles.

18th 60F, 16C, breezy, overcast with almost continuous rain. I'm not having a good day. First the local shop was closed early so there was no bread. Then it rained hard and my feet were quickly soaked. Then, despite wearing a dayglo jacket I was completely nvisible in another shop and they served several fat women who came in after me. Two items were out of stock at the supermarket. Finally it rained all the way home and the psychopaths were spraying me from head to foot just to reach the back of the queue ahead. 12 irritating miles. At least my knees didn't hurt. I may put my front mudguard back on if the forecast rain doesn't change. I also need to fit a mud flap to reduce the spray onto my feet.

A beautiful old farmhouse and outbuildings. Not a straight line or a true vertical anywhere. Shame about the lopped off trees but they really were huge. The remaining trees are probably 100ft high and very broad and dense.

19th 63F, 17C, windy, sunny periods, rain forecast. It threatened a couple of times but didn't rain. It was so col in the wind that I had to put my jacket back on.

Several bunches of cyclists were out training. Despite a 10lb load of shopping I tagged along behind one group who were heading for a favourite hill. I easily overtook one of them on the steepest part of the hill but the others were much fitter and dropped me. They had to wait for the last man to reach the top before they could go on. So I had quite a bit of a lead on the descent but they eventually caught me on the flat. I was unable to match their speed after that. 

31 miles going round in circles because of a lack of stock in some of the supermarkets. Knees okay but my chest is still a bit bunged up. Making me rather breathless at times.

20th  64F, 18C, blowing a gale, mostly overcast. 20 miles of headwinds. My legs were rather tired and achy today.

  A different view across the meandering stream.

 21st 64F, 18C, windy, mostly overcast. I was overtaken by a couple of older generation blokes on racing bikes but could do nothing to match their speed. My lungs felt as if I was drowning in fluid and my legs were on fire. Ten more pounds of shopping and 21 miles later the sun came out.

22nd 69F, 20C, windy, sunny periods. Warmer today in the sunshine but very windy. 26 miles.

23rd 64F, 16C, blowing a gale, sunny periods between overcast with heavy showers. I managed to avoid the showers completely but not the wind. 14 miles so far.

Softly draped thatch and neat, dry stone walling on a quiet lane.

The strong wind produced some interesting effects on the birds. A beautiful pair of goldfinches were flying just ahead of me and unable to fly any faster. It took them half a mile before they grew tired of the game and veered off.  A pair of swallows came to a standstill right in front of me in a violent gust. It was like one of those film scenes where everything goes into slow motion. As soon as the gust stopped they shot away but it was an amazing moment. Later I saw a Moorhen on an open lawn with a baby. Probably foraging. One website suggested the Moorhen was a rat on stilts. 19 more miles.

An ancient, hilltop church resplendent against a glowering sky. 

24th 64-59F, 18-15C, windy, overcast. The forecast was sunny periods but a huge slab of dark cloud came over and the temperature dropped five degrees. The entire sky went black leaving only the bright edges on the horizon. It tried to rain but it quickly got bored and stopped.

The Ventus GPS logger had a nervous breakdown and added five miles of squiggles to Mr Higgins' route. The lanes seemed to be full of giant articulated lorries. Four passed me going in different directions within the first five miles. Why? 20 miles.

A view out over a busy shopping village from a local highpoint. There are at least a couple of dozen windmills in this view!

25th  60-62F, 16-17C, windy, sunny periods, rather cool. Headwinds whichever direction I travelled today. A good load of shopping. Legs tired today.

I have been considering changing from Bontrager Racelite 23/25mm tyres to 28mm Conti Gatorskins. I'd like a larger envelope without added weight. Not so much for more comfort but to avoid pinch punctures on oversized gravel.

If I had the patience to keep the Bontragers really rock hard, all the time, I'd probably avoid some snake bite punctures. This would involve pumping them up every single day. They seem to lose air overnight regardless of which inner tubes I am using. The Bontragers are excellent for wear and the amount of grip doesn't really matter on a trike. So I don't need heavy sidewalls or a a deeply patterned tread.

Some fast, thin, 28mm, slick, "balloon" tyres would be nice. I haven't found a bike shop where I can have a look at the Gatorskins yet. I bet they won't stock the 28mm even if I do find a shop with them. Online probing suggests good puncture resistance for most users The dimensions of the Bontrager 700 x 25 mm are identical to the 23mm except for the writing on the sidewall.

A closer view. There are lots of wind turbines off to the right out of the picture. I find the windmills attractive and can vouch for their near silence. Only in gales can one actually hear the sound of the blades passing the tower. It sounds rather like a big stick being waved in the air. It is only audible if one passes very close to the turbine. Despite my lifelong interest in very low frequencies and infrasound I have never detected low frequency noise coming from a turbine. I pass different turbines all the time in all sorts of weather conditions on my daily rides so should have heard anything unusual by now.

A rural thatched cottage with pretty front garden. Shame about the bin. The image is a bit washed out despite my best efforts with PhotoFiltre.

I discovered that I can get an email confirmation from Google-Blogspot whenever a comment appears on my blogs. You'll never guess what? The email is only sent to me after I publish the comment!! Arrrggg!!! How excruciatingly numbingly and utterly stupid is that?

I need to know I have a comment waiting before I can respond. If I publish the comment of course I know the comment is there! I have read it and published it and probably responded!! I have missed loads of comments because of this incredible idiocy!

The only way to see if a comment is sitting there unnoticed is to list all blog posts for editing. Who does that on a daily basis when they have half a dozen blogs? I don't allow automatic comments because I get spam comments from brain dead, immoral turds. Nuts!!

20 hilly miles. Perhaps I need a rest day?

Cycle path debris. I bet it sits there for weeks before it gradually disappears!

26th 63F, 18C, light breeze, overcast. It was supposed to be sunny periods.

A sunken drain in the centre of a village bike lane. The road speed limit is 30mph (50kph) but nobody sticks to it. So avoiding such completely unnecessary obstacles is both dangerous and difficult!

I am sick of supermarkets not having stock of their advertised special offers! Netto is by far the worst culprit. Though none are innocent of the practice. They are drawing people to their shops under completely false pretences! Ask the manager, or one of the staff about the item and they don't give a shit! They can't even claim that it is only one store because I visit several of their outlets each week. They have no stock at any of them during the whole week that the special offer runs. This goes on week after week without fail. I ride miles to find no stock on the shelves. If a few mistakes is sloppy management how many regular, multiple instances amounts to fraud? 16 miles.

Gravel spilling over from private drives is a constant hazard and extremely commonplace. 

Such selfish and lazy behaviour can easily cause a "snake bite" puncture at any reasonable speed on a bike with narrow tyres. Not to mention the danger and discomfort of having to cross the loose gravel when using the pavement on foot.

In Britain people sue the local council for falls associated with uneven paving slabs on pavements. I wonder how they'd cope with all this loose gravel? I imagine a law forbidding gravel avalanches would soon be passed. Or the council would be made responsible for regular clearing of cycle lanes and pavements of such unwanted debris.

A Danish birthday card with a difference.

When we first moved to Denmark a tractor with a big roller brush and vacuum cleaner used to run up and down every road at regular intervals. Smaller brushing vehicles were used for cycle lanes and pavements. Now they are a very rare sight indeed.

 Chocolate box thatch guarding the entrance to a rural church.

Ten years ago litter was almost unknown. Now it is everywhere. It didn't help that the international drinks companies forced Denmark to allow non-returnable cans to be sold. Previously beer and soft drinks were mostly sold in recyclable bottles. With recycling machines in every supermarket. Now discarded cans can be seen every few yards on some road verges. Along with the cardboard and polythene packaging so essential to the sale of fizzy shit in a can.

Graffiti is also heavily on the increase. Any brain dead, knuckle dragging moron thinks he can scribble his illegible scrawl everywhere he goes. (and does) I'd put them in leg irons and make them clear litter from the road verges for no pay and very long hours. Putting a large and clear message on their backs would be a handy deterrent against like-minded, scribbling retards.

 The old rural church has lost its top onion. It used to be a bold landmark on the nearby motorway but tree growth and the missing spire ornament have hidden it from view. There is a strange mix of bricks, stones and render suggesting repeated rebuilding.

Not your average front lawn ornament. A Goggomobil 250 Coupé.

Goggomobil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
27th 74F, 23C, breezy, warm, sunny. A pleasant day for a ride to the shops. 22 miles. Quite a few buzzards circling this morning.

The Leach/Higgins/Reynolds tandem trike is back on eBay with a starting price of £700.

LEACH/HIGGINS/REYNOLDS Touring Tandem Trike/Tricycle on eBay (end time 03-Jul-11 19:04:23 BST)


28th June 75F, 24C, windy, full sun, hot! A strong, but pleasant, smell of pine in the woods where they were thinning out the conifers. Lots of comfrey on the verges and butterflies everywhere. I followed a big dragonfly for a while before it turned off. Then it overtook me and flew ahead of me again! The landscape is lush with unripened crops and the trees are still at their best. I can hear lots of Greenfinches in the woods and hedges. A Red Kite flew across the road in front of me struggling for height in a strong headwind. They have an amazing wingspan, very high aspect ratio wings and very clear markings. So are easily recognised.

Got any poppies, Mister?

  I seem to be climbing quite well at the moment. As I climbed a very steep ramp off a tiny lane onto the main road I had the front wheel pawing the air. The trike was trying to pull gently to the left. Which is an absolute first and probably due to the way I was steering before I slowed to a crawl. I was in bottom gear which is also very unusual too. I didn't want to struggle pulling away into the traffic. 28T/28T x 28D.=28". (No calculator required) There is quite a bit of road resurfacing going on which bodes well for future rides. Some of the lanes have been getting very broken up after the last two, long winters. 28 very hilly miles with a heavy load of shopping on board.

Unusual road kill on a busy main road. Probably 3' long when straitened out. The bloody bruise suggests a small motorcycle or scooter ran over it. Snakes occasionally sunbathe on the roads in hot weather. Sometimes with tragic results. Perhaps it was simply crossing the road where it passes through deciduous woods with lots of ponds. The common grass snake is not venomous and lives on amphibians and fish.

29th 78F, 26C, windy, full sun, hot and sweaty. 26 miles. 9 more miles later.

A close-up of pretty Vetch in flower.

30th  56-60F, 13-16C, breezy become very windy, rain, overcast. It might brighten up later. It did brighten a bit and stopped raining despite the continuing overcast. So a shopping trip was inevitable in the late afternoon. A lot of traffic about compared with my usual morning rides. Particularly on the main roads. I tried to put the wind at right angles to my route but it wasn't always possible. There were some truly vicious sideways gusts at times. Requiring me to lean well over the upwind wheel to stay on track.

Now is the season for pretty Vetch to be flowering on the verges. I had a flock of Swallows flying all around me in a hedge-lined lane. 20 miles today. 

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  1. Great site.

    I have some questions about a trike conversion kit!

    I can't find it online anywhere, and am having difficulty installing it!

    I would appreciate an email at:



  2. I know the Park V.P. of sales personally.

    I'll raise hell.

  3. Isaac, You should have had mail on the 22nd.

    Gunnar, I had no idea I had friends in such high places! :-)

    A bit of research suggests that these patches were updated at some point. Not sure how to tell the M1s and Mk2s apart.

    Luckily a LBS had some small, standard, patches to suit narrow tubes. So finally I can repair some of my punctured tube collection.