6 Sep 2011

September already?


1st September 2011 54-60F, 12-15C, overcast, quite windy. The Danish summer of 2011 proved to be the second wettest since records began in the late 1870s. Many places had cloudbursts. With major cities suffering flooding.

The new chain kept jumping on the sprocket block (cassette) in most gears. The cassette must be knackered. I took it from a used wheel to save funds because the cassette looked brand new. This, despite the usual advice to change the cassette at the same time as the chain. I remember the same thing happening when I changed the chain last time. I'll have to start looking around for a replacement. With 9 gears this time. Max 27T to clear the Higgins axle loops.

Lots of the village bike shops have formed a chain (sic) and are selling online as well. This is a good idea if it means the local bike shops can survive.  With the continuing recession I imagine they are all struggling.

My legs were a bit tired today. Only 20 miles but a ton of shopping.

Look at this monster! Denuding the countryside of hedges and trees!

I know they grow back eventually but it takes years to replace what takes only minutes to destroy. Now the shelter belt on my favourite country lane is no more. I feel completely exposed. (even if I can see the distant sea for the first time)

The cabin is well steamed up. Which shows how cool 50F is at 8am. The driver was incredibly skilful. Cutting and placing the trees and bushes neatly in one smooth movement. The multiple, wide tyres provide low ground pressure. Which avoids damaging the structure of the soil as the machine works slowly and steadily along the hedges. I noticed the few oaks were being spared.

Village pond in a gale. It looks overgrown enough to walk on.
The resident ducks have leg muscles like Arnie's!

2nd  50-63F, 10-17C, rather cloudy, almost still, quite chilly at the start.  My legs were hurting even before I left the house. Probably thanks to an hour, or more, working on the roof yesterday. The still conditions inspired me to enjoy a slightly longer ride than usual.

It makes such a difference not having the wind roaring in my ears. It was perfectly quiet for much of the way. With occasional stints on the main roads to punctuate the peace. There is no way of avoiding busier roads if one wants to ride a loop. Even the birds were quiet with only a raucous Jay interrupting the silence. I saw what I took to be a Goshawk gliding over. Mostly white underneath with shortish but pointed wings.

I even found a quiet new lane snaking through hilly woods. The crumbling, Hesbjerg house was almost lost in the trees across the fields. It was odd how my legs only hurt when I climbed off. I hardly noticed anything while pedalling. As the wind slowly picked up I tried to maintain a constant 100rpm. This helped, slightly, to stop the chain hopping over the rear sprockets.

A sweeping bend in the woods marks the lowest point between two hills. 

The road surface was fast and perfectly smooth. It is always difficult to capture the atmosphere of a situation like this. I took half a dozen shots, trying different aspect ratios and zoom settings, but this one was probably the best IMO. 'I suppose you had to be there. The height of the picture is a vital part of tree-scapes. Yet the eye sees a much wider and taller view and can "zoom-in" to examine details. Which a camera cannot do without cropping out the whole scene. Perhaps I should try taking a video next time?

A special place which was very difficult to capture well.

The low, tree-covered mound on the right looked ancient. With a mysterious, clear space behind it drawing one into the scene. The woods on the left rear up at a steep angle. Letting the light in more than the camera can manage to portray.

A closer view. I tried to add a little more light to show the transparency of the scene as my eye saw  it. A timeless, magical moment. The flat, even light is very beautiful and avoids burning out the foreground. (well almost)

No luck with the 9 speed cassettes in the two bike shops I tried. Plenty more shops to try. The bike mechanic, in the last one, agreed that one should always change both cassette and chain at the same time. An expensive option if they last only six months. That's about £100 per year minimum! 34 miles and 15lbs of shopping.

I just remembered that I saw a couple in their 60s on well laden, touring bikes in Vissenbjerg. The gentleman's bike had seat stays which crossed the seat tube well below the seat clamp.  I keep thinking "Thanet" and I was right! A quick picture search for Thanet and it came up with the same unusual frame design. 

Now the sun has come out. Another 9 mile "errand" later on.


I seem to be slowly attracting more followers to my blog as the total number of page views approaches 60,000. It is difficult to know what will interest visitors. The technical pages always enjoy the most page views according to the Statcounter website. Presumably most other visitors are just lost. Or looking for motorised trikes. Or adults riding children's trikes. 

Gentrified farmhouse up for sale.
Not easy to capture even with a wide angle lens. 

Meanwhile I am busy scribbling away at my daily ride diary. With absolutely no idea if anyone enjoys my clumsy pictures. Or hearing about my (apparently) endless suffering as I ply the empty Danish lanes between rural supermarkets.

Timber-framed village house. Probably an ex-smithy or garage.
Which has grown into a farmer's supplies.

No doubt I come across as an angry old fart as I moan about this or that triviality. It is all so frustrating, to me at least, because the tiresome problems I meet every day are usually so unnecessary. Perhaps I am just using the blog to let off steam about the day's minor irritations? Well, it works for me. :-)

Thatched cottage beside the village church.
Most churches are ancient. Often with original field stone giving way to later brick. 13th century is not all that unusual. Though most would be considerably smaller than they appear today.

There is often a good deal of hidden humour. Even if I don't always convey that message clearly enough. I lack the skill to be a deliberately funny writer. Neither can I put a smiley at the end of every sentence or paragraph.

A 3-lengths thatched farm on Love Lane.
(Danish: Kaerlihedstigen = Lit. trans: The love lane or path)

At school I would write pages and pages of essays. Only to have them thrown back at me as illegible. Which was true enough. Now I can write legibly I still haven't learnt the art of précis. What you see is what you get, I'm afraid. Warts and all. For those who enjoy my blog, on a regular basis, I am grateful for your support and interest. I'll try not to let my tiny, but loyal, audience down. Nor, hopefully, produce too much of a head wind. :)


3rd 57-67F,  14-19C, bright overcast clearing to sunny periods, breezy becoming  windy. I rode to Odense to find a new 9sp cassette. I rode quite hard going there despite the aches and pains in my legs. Which soon went off. Again I was trying to stay above 100rpm. I had only one low gear which I could rely on and even that hopped noisily when I pedalled harder. I wanted to overtake some cyclists at one point and had to do 125rpm just to get past them! No other gears would let me pedal smoothly without the chain jerking!

A peek through the arch at the farmhouse beyond. 
B&B sign in blue. What a charming portal to another world!

At the fourth bike shop  I found a cheerful and knowledgeable young chap who had exactly what I needed. An Sram 9sp 12--26 with new chain included for about £50 equiv. The bike paths are all a bit narrow for a trike to overtake on and with the gears messing about it was a bit fraught at times. So I was delighted I didn't have to go right into the centre of town.

Pretty as a picture.
Note hand pump for the well.
Most rural houses had/have their own wells.
Now considered far too unsafe for drinking.
There was a long tradition in highly decorative front doors.

I think I'd better have a look at the condition of the Trykit 2WD pawls while I'm dismantling the rear axle. Just to check whether I need to worry about a re-lube or rust.

39 miles so far. I took some biscuits and a banana. With a box of apple juice to supplement the water bottle. So I really had no excuse for being a bit tired on the way back.

Later, I swapped the cassette, checked the Trykit 2WD freehub and pawls. Then set off for a test ride. 7 more miles with Mr Higgins stripped. The hills felt easy and I was doing 18-20mph both ways.

See the separate chapter on the dismantling and rebuild with pictures:


Gunnar has very kindly forwarded this link to a series of pictures of a Bertram trike and some classic bikes: I wonder if the trike is Peter's? There can't be that many Bertram trikes about.


BTW: I can be reached at triker [at] nypost.dk if anyone wants to make a note of it.

Quiet reflection on past times.
Note the slender glazing bars in the windows.
Pine windows made from quality timber would last for centuries.
Today's tat is rotting inside ten years despite empty claims to heartwood.

4th  70-74F, 21-23C, overcast, windy. I removed one link from the chain but it is still hopping on the back sprockets when I try to sprint. Probably not enough chain tension. Gear changes are now very smooth and positive. I'll remove another link before I go out again.

The same old story with the wind. I cruise at 20-25mph going and then crawl back into the wind in a fairly low gear. It is "sticky" again. (high humidity)

Removed yet another link and then went shopping again in spitting rain. Chain still jumping. I weighed the shopping to see how much I was carrying on the second trip. 24 lbs! 26 miles total today.

PS. Our hero really really earned his environmental credentials today! On the inside of a sharp, blind corner, on a busy main road, an 18" long brown snake had decided it liked the look of the other side of the road. In no particular hurry, the snake was slithering across the tarmac towards the central white lines. I quickly jumped off the trike and parked it on the verge. Then stood in the middle of the road waving my arms to force traffic to avoid the snake.

Luckily there were only a few cars. The drivers looked surprised but amused by my presence in their traffic lane. I was rather wary that the snake was a poisonous adder/viper due to the clear zigzags on its back.  I was holding a bright yellow supermarket carrier bag as warning flag but I had nothing flat with which to quickly scoop up the snake. So I laid the carrier bag over it and picked it up very carefully to avoid crushing it. I then deposited its squirming carcase into the grass on the opposite verge. It promptly disappeared without a backward glance. Or even a nod of thanks. So? Where do I queue for my wildlife rescue medal? :)

Steve on his Higgins by the Thames


Steve, the owner of a splendid Higgins trike, (shown above) has kindly sent me the URL for an eBay auction of another Higgins trike:

I think it is supposed to be ultramarine but looks slightly green in this shot.

Higgins head badge.
The seller has mentioned the frame size as being 25".
Which is a bit of a surprise and limits its interest to very tall riders.

5th 60-65F, 15-18C, overcast, light winds. Chain still jumping when I stand up on the pedals! Grr! The chain can't be shortened any further. I had a nice chat with a women who was interested in the trike. 18lbs of shopping, 24 miles of heavy haulage up hill and down dale.

6th 55F, 13C, trees thrashing in 35 mph+ gusts, rather cloudy. Rain forecast.
It stayed dry but it was very windy. I almost managed to avoid a direct headwind but it was at 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock a lot of the time. The hedges were helpful where they existed but headway was a slow 8 mph at times on the small chainring. Another great load of shopping for 24 miles. I have now been told to stop weighing the shopping. Having been informed that a medal is not likely to be forthcoming. At least, not in the foreseeable future.  :-) 

7th 55-60F, 13-15C, overcast and blowing a gale. Heavy winds and overnight rain have given way to showers and more gales. I might sneak out after morning coffee.

Later it was still blowing so hard that I was literally hanging off the side just to stay in a straight line. As if was taking a continuous hairpin bend! Not easy on a main road with articulated lorries and cars passing at speed! Only an idiot would have gone out in such winds. The gusts were ferocious with trees bending double. Quite large branches and twigs were littering the roads and lanes! It was so exhausting I limited myself to just 15 miles. At least it stayed dry until I climbed off. Just grateful for having survived to arrive back at home unscathed. :-)

8th 50-56F, 10-13C, overcast, windy, pouring down. After thunder in the night and torrential downpours I was going to have a rest day. Eventually it stopped raining hard and our intrepid hero threw optimism to the wind. Setting off into big spitting drops. The bright arcs of spray from the back wheels can never be relied on to avoid the trike rider. It doesn't take much of a side wind to soak my shorts under such conditions! It kept raining for most of the next 10 miles. Where yet another supermarket had no stock (at all) of a special (one day) offer illustrated in their own weekly ads comic.

If there is a minister of consumer affairs in Denmark I'd be very surprised. Decades ago, in Britain, shops were heavily fined for having the wrong bar code price relative to the displayed shelf price. It happens all the time over here. Even special offers still have the old price shown. Presumably to limit interest to those who actually know about the offer. 

Swiping items repeatedly is commonplace and probably a nice little earner because many customers don't ever take the receipt. One has to check the receipt and change carefully before leaving the shop. Or be robbed blind.

I set off for another branch of the same chain 10 more miles away and found the shelf stock was out of date! Fortunately there was more stock hidden below the shelf. When something uniquely British comes up one has to stock up. Because quite often one may never see it again.
It rained on and off all the time I was out. With the roads saturated and streams and standing water in many places. Until I finally turned for home and stripped off in warm, 55F sunshine. Soon it was coming down like stair rods again! The Belstaff jacket did well considering all things. It kept me warm even though it was trying to soak through on the arms and shoulders towards the end. I was going quite well but not particularly fast. The chain is still jumping on steep hills and when pulling away! 24 miles.

 Click on any image for an enlargement.


  1. You'll have to pardon this as I do not have an email address for you. This(and the next few photos) were taken at the Heartland Velo Show last weekend in Madison, Wisconsin:


  2. Hi Gunnar

    Thanks for the link.


    triker [at] nypost.dk