7 Jun 2011

June 1


A secluded, old farmhouse on a quiet lane to nowhere in particular.
A winding hill starts to rise just around the corner.

Ist June 2011 55-60F, 13-16C, breezy, full sun. Shopping in multiple supermarkets in several villages. There is a strange noise when I pedal. Like a scythe being sharpened. No sign of chain contact with the front changer. The sound stops immediately I stop pedalling. Can only be heard when it is quiet. Will put the trike up on the work stand and have a look. Perhaps the chain is dry? 24miles.

2nd  55-66F, 13-19C, breezy, sunny. Right knee complaining. It may be because I have been working on ladders again. Thankfully I've finished re-planking the gable end. I have been trying to increase my speed and distance at the same time. The I was lifting the trike on and off the workstand. So something had to give.  The chain was just very dry as I had already guessed.

Two time triallists passed me on a long hill. They were still crouched down low despite the hill. Pushing high gears with low RPM. Probably just out training. 26 miles.

3rd 68F, 20C, breezy, sunny, warm. I kept the revs up and my knees were okay. Even while climbing the biggest hills around. A beautiful day. The sweet smell of new mown grass wafted over from some of the fields. Most of the oilseed rape is gone over now so the smell has gone too.

A young woodpecker was down on one narrow road. It kept flying a few yards and chirruping every time it landed. This  went on for about half a mile before it finally flew up into a tree so I could ride on. Hare are just the same. They never think to veer off the road and will sometimes run for miles.

I mended the broken cadence wire on my bike computer. It was twin core inside the insulation. A carefully adjusted screw on a pair of old, wire-stripping pliers left 1/4" (6mm) of bare, copper wires to twist the broken ends together. Then a dab of solder to each twisted pair, a wrap of insulating tape and all was well again. My watch repairers, magnifying spectacles were handy for such fine work.

The woods by the lake.

Lack of visual accommodation is a curse as one grows older.  I can see perfectly at any distance over a meter or so in  broad daylight. But even my reading glasses are running out of steam at close quarters. At night I need distance/normal glasses or everything goes fuzzy. I know the optical theory. Just don't like the effect.

I had a joke with a pensioner who was admiring my trike outside a shop. I told him that the trike was almost as old as he was. He grinned and went off laughing. He was 67 to Mr Higgins' 57. It must have made his day! I wonder if I can still do a fairly effortless, 24 hilly miles in three more years? :-)

The water lilies are in flower. Not quite a Monet.

4th 70-72F, 21-22C, variable breeze, sunny. The first warm day this year. 22 easy miles despite a mass of shopping on the way back. Knees fine but still spinning to avoid overloading them. I saw a nice UFO on the way home. A brilliantly lit object in the far distance. It kept disappearing then coming back again. Probably a glider. Talking of flying things: I mentioned the lack of cuckoos a week or so ago Now there are lots of them about. I saw my first Blackcap in several years. It was perched on the end end of a cottage roof. Another seven miles later. Going well in almost still, warm air.

Roadside poppies with plenty of buds to follow.

5th 70-72F, 21-22C, breezy, building to windy, sunny and warm. Another delightful day for a ride. 37 miles.

A large, roadside pond glimpsed through the hedge.

6th 72F, 22C, breezy but becoming windy, sunny periods turning to black and thundery showers. My luck is is still holding because I made it home just before a really heavy shower. The cycle lanes in the villages are getting worse. They are littered with debris and shattered glass. 26 miles. 

7th 68F, 20C, overcast, humid, warm with very light winds, threat of rain. One of those very rare days when the wind turbines weren't turning. I was cruising fairly effortlessly at 17-18mph to the shops.

A kid on a scooter came to grief in the shopping high street I visited. He passed me going the other way with the throttle wide open. I could tell from the sound of the engine. He then rode straight into the back of a van which had stopped in the heavy traffic. A huge bang followed and I turned just in time to see him falling sideways.

His helmet must have smashed the van's rear window and the scooter had made a huge dent in the back door. He picked himself up after a lengthy pause as people emerged from their cars to help.  As I hadn't actually seen the crash happen I pressed on home with my shopping. There were plenty of witnesses without my confusing the issue.

You can't put a wise head on young shoulders but these kids on scooters are a menace. Often modifying their engines illegally and fitting noisy exhausts. They race about everywhere making a hell of a racket. We were much the same as kids, on motorbikes, so nothing much has changed in the last 50 years.

Still broken glass all over the village cycle lanes but at least they can still find the money to have people titivating the public flower beds all day long. If I die and go to heaven I want to be a council gardener for all eternity. :-)

I passed a yard where they make windmill towers so stopped to take some photos. Here's a tractor and trailer for the thinner sections of tower.

If you think this one is long you should see the set-up for taking the windmill blades along the roads. They are incredibly long and use the turbine blades as the trailer itself with wheels at the far end!

The TA cap I ordered arrived very quickly. It's all rather confusing because it says "Cotton" on the Impsport bag but "Polyester" on the laundry label.  Although the polyester is very light and handy to stuff in a pocket I think I would have preferred cotton on my sweaty brow. Though I do wear polyester hats in the winter and polyester clothing all year on the trike. It's probably just me being old fashioned.

The towers bolt together in sections so must be slightly conical.

I wasn't allowed to wear the new cap out without it being washed first. So will report on its functionality tomorrow. It seems to fit fine with a gently elasticated rim and a typical, deep, gored, flat-topped, cap section and small peak. In the classical racing cyclist style before they invented sweaty, insulated helmets. Only 15 miles today.

An exercise in wheel counting. The biggest sections use the tower as the trailer without any other connection to the rear wheels. (other than the hydraulics and lighting cables)

8th  71F, 21C, hazy, warm, humid, bright overcast, winds light. I wore my new TA cycling cap today when it was so warm I wouldn't normally have bothered with a hat. It felt a little bit sweaty early on but I turned up the peak. It stayed firmly in place even at 25mph going downhill into a breeze. I could hear a hum from the wind blowing over the peak as I turned my head sideways. Far better than my white baseball cap. Which would has been road kill half a dozen times by now. 27miles.

There were several lorries with towers already loaded. They were being readied before taking to the nearby motorway in convoy. They have to be low slung to clear the motorway bridges.

9th  64F, 18C, breezy, sunny, 16miles

 If they can do it with windmills then I can do it with a 2" x 8" x 20' board.

That's 6m x 45mm x 195mm in new money. Well lashed on with cord the pneumatic wheels and axle are from a sack truck which rusted away. The wheels roll nicely and follow the track of the trike perfectly. Only at sharp junctions does it need a wide sweep. The tyres roar a bit above 15mph. Fortunately the journey is mostly by quiet rural lanes. I wouldn't try this in a city!

Even when your back is to the wall and you are in corner you can still put on a brave face. The Head Gardener informs me that they are probably Hawkweed.

10th 60F, 15C, breezy, sunny periods. My knee caps have been aching for three days now. I just keep spinning as much as possible. 21miles.

I thought I had problems enough with branches, vehicle debris, litter, glass, stones, gravel, beer cans, raised and dropped manhole and drain covers in Denmark. This guy is a saint: Martyring himself in the name of cyclist's rights to free passage in the NY bike lanes:

Watch and enjoy! :-)

I may not manage a video but I can take some images of the "tank training grounds" in the local villages which are the designated cycle lanes.

They have just rebuilt a large new supermarket in one village I shop at.  Guess what? No pavement ramp and a tiny little bike rack! They also cut down two beautiful rows of mature trees in the existing car park. Then had the nerve to show trees on the Architect's sketch on a hoarding outside the building site!

I fought my way through the endless queues of impecunious, penny-pinching pensioners. All taking advantage of the opening special offers. Only to find no organic produce on the shelves! They won't see me in there again! Grrr! :-)

 11th 62-68F, 17-19C, breezy, mostly cloudy. Knees were fine today. Cruising for several miles at 20mph. Then home again. Now heavily loaded and into a headwind. Still no problem with the knees. Why does the knee pain come and go? Even on the same ride? Weird. 21 miles.

Mr Higgins admires a drift of poppies in the oilseed rape crop.

12th  62F, 17C, breezy, sunny periods. An odd wind. It tried to be a head wind even when I had it behind me. 18 miles.  I am aching a bit from getting the 20' plank 8' up on the house. Just the price of working alone. The Ventus GPS logger has fallen asleep for the the last three days despite being full charged and memory cleared.  Netto has a Ventus GPS watch for ~£40(equiv). Not sure whether I'm tempted at that price. 18 miles so far. 20 more miles after coffee.

Another chocolate box picture for Gunnar. There are many flowering shrubs in the hedges and rural gardens at this time of year.

13th 64-68f, 180C, breezy becoming windy, mostly overcast. I punctured on a rock embedded in a farmer's trail of mud on the main road. The heavily patched tube I fitted stayed up. Which was a bit of a surprise. It felt like a headwind all the way round despite my route being a circle. I was trying so hard my legs were aching towards the end. (the end of the ride not my frayed ankles) The traffic was light but I saw lots of cyclists out training. Probably because of the holiday. A surprising number of hedgehogs have suddenly joined all the dead birds as road kill.

An interesting story appeared on UK TV. A composting company has been warned it may lose its license. Allegedly due to the odour of rotting material emanating from its premises. Perhaps they should move to Denmark? We already have the industrialised pig units spreading their foul waste product right next door to countless homes.

Now the drivers of the privatised dustbin lorries take their vehicles home and park them in their drives. Can you imagine living next door to one of these? I can smell them as I pass on my trike and as they overtake me on the roads. Living next door to one must be intolerable!

It was bad enough that any lorries are taken home every night. Then started and left running for half an hour in the early hours of the morning! Or the driver uses its on-board pressure washer regularly to remove road grime outside their own homes.

Then there are the neighbours who prepare their wood-burner fuel using a chainsaw. For hour after hour after hour. They fire up their stove 365 days a year. (even in 30+ degree heatwaves) So they need a lot of fuel! Then they burn this forest-fresh wood to produce clouds of choking smoke and an acrid stench of creosote all day long. I won't mention that they burn their household rubbish on there too.

It's not all bad news: They also deliver trailer loads of firewood to their extended family. All of which has to be sawed from wet logs only a few yards from people's homes. For over 20 years now and counting!

29 miles avoiding chainsaws and dustbin lorries and industrialised pig effluent manufacturers and road kill. Oh, and glass and mud and stones in the cycle lanes. Just don't mention Marmite or vitamins in polite conversation with a Dane.

Another swathe of poppies and wild flowers but without a trike. I never tire of the wavy nature of Denmark's landscape. It is like a never ending, lush green run of sand dunes. In fact there is quite a lot of sand under some of it. All formed by the ice age. 

 A rural village lane.

14th  64F, 18C, breezy but becoming very windy, mostly overcast. The trees were thrashing about by the time I headed home. 21 miles.

Location, location, location! 
The sun peeked out for a second so I took another shot.

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


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