28 Oct 2011

21st October 2011


21st 37-48F, 3-9C, light winds, mostly sunny. I left the lights fitted while I took a normal, daylight  ride to see if any problems would crop up. I may bring the rear lights inboard on brackets. I tended to clip the lights with my feet when dismounting. I also knocked one light cover off on a very tight, bike path chicane. Enjoyed the quiet, morning sunshine taking pictures in another village.

I noticed the rear changer was looking very slightly odd as I rode along. The lower rear gears were being a bit silly too. Never sure which gear they wanted to be in. Which was what drew my attention to the changer alignment. So I gently loosened the hanger and reset it nice and tight with a decent ring spanner. The gear change has now improved considerably. 23 miles.

22nd  47-49F, 8-9C, sunny, breezy. Only 13 miles. Broke the 10,000km barrier but well down on last year's mileage.

23rd 49F, 10C, windy, cool and sunny. It feels cold in the wind though the temperature is not all that low. Chores all morning. A gentle but hilly 15 miles after lunch.

24th 46F, 8C, blowing a gale, cold and overcast. Very hard work into the wind so I kept today's ride to a minimum. I was mixing tile cement and angle grinding floor tiles yesterday so my chest was bunged up at first. The cold weather makes my nose run like a tap. Only 10 miles.

I was driving along a very long, very straight, gently undulating, main road early this morning. This was before it was properly light. Though no longer fully dark. It was amazing how far away I could see cyclists coming towards me with their flashing, diode, front lights. They were clearly seen probably as much as two, or more, miles away. This was even though the were on the opposite side of a very wide road with a grass bank between the road and their cycle path. The flashing was clearly visible over a wide angle as the approached. This would have considerable safety value when passing a junction or negotiating a roundabout. 

Others were using bicycle lights with a steady beam. Though still very bright, when finally recognised as a bicycle, these were very much less visible until within only a hundred yards or so. It seems obvious, to me, that if one wants to be noticed at night then a flashing light has a huge advantage. Not only is it highly visible, but the flashing catches the eye where a steady beam goes completely noticed. A steady beam could be a house number light. Or even or reflection from a shiny surface from passing cars. A flashing diode light is instantly recognisable as a bicycle even some miles away.

25th 46F, 8C, blowing a gale, cold, late sun. I made the effort but it was no fun because of the wind. It was a struggle to remain on the road with a side wind and steep camber. I've just realised that I haven't had the slightest knee pain for some time.

The tyre which I'd had problems with has now punctured.  Hardly surprising considering how much debris there is on the road. Mud, twigs, stones as big as my fist, potholes and who knows what else.  So now I'm back to hop-a-long Higgins! Only a 12 miles circle of the lanes. It took me 1 1/2 hour without a pause! The Autumn TA Gazette arrived today. IT always makes me feel inadequate when I read about tricyclists riding further in a day than I ride in a couple of weeks. Which reminds me that I haven't even noticed the Brooks saddle, at all, for quite some time. For a saddle this is glowing praise indeed.

I had a look at my blogs on an IT course laptop today. It was surprising how different they look on a much smaller screen. I usually scribble away using my Philips 23" wide screen with excellent picture quality, brightness and very natural colours. The laptop did the images no good at all. It also chopped off the left hand side of the screen completely!

Even the larger images, now offered by blogspot's latest image gallery, are not a patch on seeing the original images full size. Full screen goes some way towards capturing the size and grandeur of buildings in the landscape. Which is completely lost on smaller images. All sense of perspective and depth is lost.

26th 49F, 9C, overcast, breezy, cool. Just another wobbly circle on the map. I had to use my lights on the way back as it got dark. I'd almost forgotten about street lamps and the cyclist who tries to sprint past me every time I pass under a light. My own lights were very bright and everybody gave me a wide berth. I was feeling stronger and stronger. Hardly surprising when the wind was finally behind me on the last leg. Hop-along Bontrager is really getting on my nerves. 23 miles.

27th 46F, 8C, breezy, overcast, dusk to pitch black. Roads very quiet. Helmet and lights working well. I discovered there is a visual component to riding a trike at night. If I can't see the camber I can't allow for it. So I rode mostly nearly the centre of the lanes. With only 3 cars in about ten miles there isn't much danger. I have ordered a pair of 25mm Race Lites for the winter. Can't find 25mm in any of the shops and the online discount for two helps to pay for their P&P charges. 14 miles.

I was driving along a main road in a major town at lunchtime glancing across at the disgusting state of the cycle path. It was part of the road but rougher and marked off by a white line. There were drifts of large gravel, litter, twigs, leaves, debris and ample potholes to satisfy any hardened mountain biker.

I was just wondering how many years since it was last machine brushed. Then talk of the devil! There was a mini-tractor with a roller brush on the front. Sweeping: Cycle paths for the use of.

Was the driver sweeping the elongated pig sty? Nope. He was sitting in the middle of the cycle path having a nice chat on his mobile phone! Obviously on his way to do something much more important. Like having another telephone chat in the park. Or in a school yard. Or a public car park. Or the grounds of an old people's home.

 Which is where I have seen the last four sweeping machines sitting motionless. With their taxpayer-employed drivers chatting on their mobile phones. Makes yer weep, dunnit?

By the way, I have discovered the worst cycle lanes and road surfaces anywhere on Fyn are in Hårby. Though Nr. Åby comes a very close second. Which explains why the traffic moves at twice the legal speed limit in both villages. They are all desperately trying to get away from the place!

28th 52F, 11C, light breeze dying, mostly overcast. The tyres arrived but I wasn't there to accept them. Will have to wait until tomorrow to collect them. A huge deer just missed my bonnet as it dashed across the road in front of me while I was on the way to IT school.

I went out late afternoon and took a lot of photos in the dusk. I was quite surprised to see that I had managed to do 18 miles. It didn't seem that far at all.

29th 43-48F, 6-9C, light breeze, patchy fog, overcast, cool. I was soon "frosted" with dew and constantly wiping my glasses to be able to see the fog properly. Visibility of passing cars was down below 100 yards in places. Then they just vanished. Including their lights.

All my lights were set to flashing in case the rat runners were still legless from last night. The Danish police are always catching driving drunks who have been banned multiple times. One drunk drove home from the court hearing after being banned yet again! He was caught on his way home still drunk driving. No license, no tax, no insurance. Why aren't their cars confiscated and crushed? Preferably with them still in them!
I picked up my two new tyres. Standard Bontrager Race Lite 700x25 in blue. But I had to keep pumping up one of my old tyres just to get home!

I will have to repair a couple of inner tubes from my storage box full of wounded examples. Otherwise I shan't have any spares! But first, I have to finish the tiling in the bathroom. Only 13 miles today. I was too tired to go for a later ride after working on the bathroom floor for several hours. Tiling is a young person's game. It is hard on the knees even with knee pads. I don't want to trigger another bout of knee trouble on the trike.

I managed to repair three inner tubes and rechecked them afterwards in water. Snake bites can catch you out if you miss the smaller hole with the patch. Often the larger hole shows itself under the water test but the smaller one doesn't. At least not until the larger one is patched.

The rest of the narrow tubes were beyond help. Only suitable for tree ties now. I can hardly believe how huge those old 27 x 1.25" inner tubes seem.

I only had time to fit one new tyre. Though it certainly took some finger strength and patience it needed no tyre levers. It popped into place on the rim perfectly as I pumped.

The clocks go back tonight. Last week of my IT course next week. Evening rides really aren't the same as my usual mornings.

30th 51F, 10C, grey, becoming windy. I'm aching all over but have to ride twenty miles to get more tile cement. One 5kg bag (about 10lbs) plus shopping. Fortunately I had a tail wind back. Which helped on the hills. I fitted th second rear tyre before leaving.

The new tyres don't really feel any slower. Though they don't seem to feed back the road surface they still ride more harshly. They feel much safer from stones and potholes but the "tubular tyre sound" has gone. 20 miles. Plus seven more after coffee and rolls. Much windier than earlier.

31st 54F, 12C, hardly a breeze, overcast, light drizzle, dark and warm. Only 11miles. It must be the humidity because I was sweating in my thinnest jacket. I had to keep it on because of the drizzle. The lights kept me safe in the darkness of the rush hour. I put all three 1/W rear lights on fast, flickering, flash mode. No excuse for a "bumper sniffer" to miss seeing me. 13 miles.

I drove through thick mist this morning. Unbelievable how some people will overtake into the invisible darkness. Obviously relying on an absence of headlights approaching. Nuts! I hate commuting! Especially in the dark.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

18 Oct 2011

18th Octopber 2011


18th October 47F, 8C Forecast to blow a gale and rain all day. What a change from yesterday's cool, sunny stillness. Unless it clears up I'll probably make it a rest day. Which means I have far too much time on my hands! (According to the Head Gardener. Who is always right)

I seem to be scribbling so much and posting so many images, these days, that I shall have to be more disciplined about my post titles. So I'm just going to date them from now on. Each post will extend for as many days as I consider sensible.  Some of my posts have become foolishly long. Dating them saves me the effort of trying to be funny or clever (and failing miserably at both) with my post titles.


I had a new comment from Patrick about his recently-acquired, Rogers trike. Rather than post his images without permission I'll post a link to his latest pictures:

I spent yesterday afternoon looking for a cycling helmet in the city of Odense. (pron. like: Oo-then-sa)  I have an old helmet in the shed but never wear it. I hate the look of an oversized, oval, egg basket sitting high on top of my head. Particularly after decades of cycling bare-headed. Or with a knitted "bobble hat" when it was cold.

An old house, only a couple of doors away from the Assens bike smith's shop/workshop. The triangular decoration is unusual. Whether sign of wealth or an early form of timber framing I am not sure. This is one of the few such buildings which has jettying. The floor joists are over-length to overlap the façade. The weight of the wall above helps to balance the unsupported floor span. No doubt this allowed fewer internal structural walls. So rooms could be made larger.

I rather like the look of the Abus Lane-U helmet. The one without a visor. I liked the rubbery, tough, matt coating on the black and white models. Being matt they wouldn't blind oncoming motorists with reflected sunlight. I also liked the chopped-off back with clever, tension adjusting wheel. Chopped tail sports cars were all the rage back in the 50s. So these long tails on TT helmets are at least 60 years out of date!

No fragile, unprotected foam anywhere visible on this model. Plenty of wraparound and (hopefully) lots of ventilation for my sweaty bonce. I know already that if it is hot in use I shan't ever wear it. Which is  complete waste of a not-inconsiderable sum of money!

My favourite choice (sight unseen) was a rather "girly" pinky-purple with squiggles! Is he serious? Well, it matches my blog! (and my trike) ;-)

Tragically, i can't quite see myself being taken seriously in the Danish supermarkets wearing one of these! I have enough problems as it is without further invitation to derision!

Taking it off would be a bore. I have enough things to carry as it is! How will I prop my sunglasses on top of my head as I do now? I would have to practice for hours in front of the mirror. Poking the arms of the specs into the helmet vents. Like the professional cyclists in the T-de-France. I wonder how they find time for training?

My wife suggests I should have a dark turquoise helmet to match Mr Higgins' tasteful collar, tie and cuffs. I have carefully matched the background colour, in the image above, in PhotoFiltre. Though it certainly doesn't look like it!

I'd hoped (in vain it seems) that the purple model would be a far more sedate, plain, matt, purple/mauve. Rather more like Mr Higgins faded, riding togs.

I couldn't find one in that colour despite visiting umpteen, city bike shops! Matt black is "sexy" but seems a silly colour because of its very low visibility. White might be a bit boring and too easily marked. Like trainers!

They had a pearl-effect one and a "titanium" but I really wasn't sure. I've never had the pecs to get away with pearls and (thankfully for my wife's sake and my own) have never owned a little black dress to do them real justice.

I suppose I'm rambling on here in a desperate attempt to convince myself I really need a helmet. And a purple one at that.

I have battered my poor old skull a number of times over the years. In my distant youth I hit a car head on at 30 mph+. It had pulled out suddenly from a traffic queue with nowhere to go as I was busy pedalling downhill. I did a somersault over the top of the car and landed upside down on my head. With my bike wrapped around me and my feet still stuck fast in the toe clips, straps and shoe plates. Happy days!

Quite a few decades later I fell backwards off the roof. Straight onto my head. My feet had started off about 10 feet or 3 metres from the concrete on which I landed. The cheerful 'quack' at the A&E told me not to sleep for a week in case I didn't wake up again! He also told me it was lucky I landed on my head. Otherwise I might have been badly hurt! It didn't half hurt when I laughed! :-)

Am I an indestructible superman? Or just beyond further help? Only time will tell. My memory is so poor I'll probably forget to buy a proper cycling "hat" in the end. But if I do... I can wear it up on the roof! :-)


Well, the promised rest day turned into 44 miles. The sun came out at 2pm. I set off after a late lunch to visit a couple of bicycle shops about ten miles away to look for Abus helmets. No luck there. So I sailed onto the next. And the next. In fact I did a complete tour of all the bike shops in Odense which I had missed yesterday.

Eventually I found a purple one but it was too small. It was also just a little too 'girly' despite my ingrained, 1960s tastes. I think I remember having a shirt like that. So I rode on (and on) taking in every bike shop which I could still remember. Including the ultra-helpful and knowledgeable and the total bullshitter in a large and posh city centre shop.  It must have been the manager. The last time I was there I was treated with respect and courtesy by an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable younger, bike racer. This one told me Abus was a girl's range of helmets!

Having circled the town and crossed it several times, as I remembered other shops, I finally came to the very last shop still within easy reach before closing. They had a white one and a black one. I chose the white and rode home with it on. Like a kid with new shoes!

By which time it was beyond dusk. After the inevitable roar of the main roads, just to get out of the city, I took to the empty rural lanes to battle with the wind. With hopefully, fairer odds. The high hedges must offer shelter at times. Even if it was now far too dark to see which direction the wind turbines were facing. (My usual clue to wind direction)

As it was never my intention to stay out so long I had no food, drink or even a front light. So I stopped at a rural supermarket for some fair trade, organic bananas and a litre of low fat, organic milk. I really couldn't face the cold milk. So I stuffed a huge banana into my face and climbed back on. 

There was a strong and gusty headwind every inch of the way home. Worse, I was in a great deal of pain all down the right side of my chest. Probably cramp as the result of lifting the trike so many times. Over high kerbs and steps to park outside bike shops. It felt just like a "stitch" that wouldn't go away!

All I could do was to plod on into the darkness. It was too dark to read my cheapo computers but I doubt I was averaging more than 9-10mph.  We both know these roads very well and they had all been resurfaced this year. So Mr Higgins could probably find his own way home if necessary. With or without me! :-) 

I finally arrived home at 7.30pm @ 45F! Five hours after leaving home. The traffic was so light that the 1/2W rear light was perfectly adequate. Like an idiot I had been carrying my posh rear light in the bag but not the 1W front one. Daft really, because it weighs almost nothing and the clamp is a piece of cake to fit without tools.

The Ventour jacket was a little cool at times without actually being too cold. I could easily have put my thin windproof jacket on top but didn't want to overheat on the hills. Apart from my racing jersey and shorts I was wearing the usual thin, long, polyester underwear. I kept the neoprene overshoes on because the roads were still wet when I left home. Though I had soon changed out of the Ventour into the thin jacket. As I had warmed up in the sunshine and tail wind. The Ventour went back on as I left the last shop. The helmet box fitted easily into my saddle bag provided I stuffed all the detritus into it first. 

I wore the TA cap under the new helmet and still found it rather chilly at times. So it bodes really well for the degree of ventilation on offer. The helmet is incredibly light and fits absolutely perfectly. I was hardly aware of it. Though I/it was described as something out of Star Wars as I was welcomed home with a thorough scolding! Not another Darth Vader (thankfully) but more like one of the empire's storm troopers. Better than my old (unused and uncomfortable) egg basket any day!

After a shower and dinner, with an unusually large helping of chocolate cake to follow, the pain in my side has gone. It has still been an incredibly long day! My wife has just noticed that the white helmet finish is covering more squiggles! I'm too tired to know whether I really care. Goodnight!

The old tobacco factory in Assens.The jettying suggests timber framing.

19th 46F, 7C, windy, sunshine and heavy showers. I massaged my legs for a few seconds to search out any remaining pain from yesterday. There wasn't much and it was soon gone. I rode into the wind to the shops. It stayed dry and fairly sunny. Not too cold considering the strong head wind. Coming back with the wind it kept raining in short, sharp showers.

The new helmet was fine with and without the TA cap underneath. The helmet dripped onto my new £5 cycling sunglasses when it rained. The ventilation holes in the new roof made my hair wet but I didn't care as I was on my way home. A gutter to the brim might seem like a good idea but it would probably pour down the back of the wearer's neck!

I now need a slightly longer cord for my bike lock key to go more easily over the helmet. It is easier to leave the helmet on. Though I carried it around in the shopping basket in one supermarket. The baskets are usually filthy in Danish supermarkets. So I will just have to leave the helmet on from now on. The new sunglasses have a very pale blue coating on the lenses so don't need to be removed indoors. (fashion victim!)

I took off the Ventour jacket and put on the thin windproof one on the way back. It's better to be cool than too warm. Chilled sweat is against the skin and feels colder than a lot of rain. A ton of shopping today. Only 18 miles.

20th 40-44F, 4-7C, breezy, sunny. The helmet has become routine and unnoticeable in use. Lots of chores to do so I came back early today.  Only an 11 mile shopping trip.

It rained in fleeting heavy showers in the afternoon. I managed to have another go at the tyre with soapy water and a toothbrush. It still refused to run perfectly concentrically. I lost count of how many times I let the air out and put back in a little or a lot while rolling the tyre sideways on the rim. In the end it was better than it was. I can see a tear on the surface, side-wall, cloth cover but am undecided if it is merely cosmetic.  I wish I'd stuck to the ordinary Race Lites. They served me very well. 

I have swapped the old Olympic mudguards for new ones. Getting a nice discount for two pairs. I fitted them on the Higgins stays using the mudguards own stay brackets. Though they are quite thin they still seem well up to the job and don't rattle. I gave the Higgins fixing clamps an extra tighten. Just to stop any tendency for the mudguards to rotate bodily around the rear axle.

The three 1/2W rear lights taken from 20 metres/yards away with some zoom on my TZ7.

It is difficult to judge from this image how extraordinarily bright they are to the naked eye! The glow from the 3 rear lights is easily visible on a hedge 30 yards away when standing beside the trike! I must say that I am delighted by these diode lights! The 1W Smart front light has a long, bright beam which makes it easy to watch the road for obstacles at up to 15mph. (if only I could keep up that speed)

It was lucky I hadn't clipped them off, because the mudguard's top stay brackets provided handy fixing points for plastic, Q/R light clips. I had bought a neat pair of cheap, 1/2W rear lights for this very purpose. The intention was to mark the outboard limits of the trike to make dozy motorists aware of my extra width. The lights came with clamps to fit the seat pin but I have stored those away for a rainy day. I replaced the original screws with fatter ones and Nyloc nuts. The lights can live safely in the bag when not in use.


Photographed off-axis to avoid the bright beams. The Smart rear light on the left is reflected in the chrome of the Brooks Professional saddle frame just above. Though much more sophisticated than the cheaper ones it is not visibly brighter. The no-name supermarket light (right) is reflected in the shiny black mudguard.

I waited until it was dark to take a few photos of the lights. My Smart 1/2W rear light is still attached high on the seat pin where it is not obscured by the huge saddle bag. The Smart light can be set to flash brightly in the centre to attract attention. With the 3 diode, outboard lights set to a steady beam.

It's not as if I go out riding in the evenings or on dark mornings, very much. At least, not until now. If I do ride in the dark I think I'll feel much safer. The extra lights might make me want to go out in the late afternoons for long enough to be returning in the dark. At least I now have that option.

Giant waves breaking over Fyn.

I bought a dinky little multi-diode torch for small change in a supermarket recently. It fills a whole room with light! It would make a handy front light on a bike for a bright forward glow. 3" long x 3/4" diameter with 9 diodes it cost about £2.50. (less than $5US equiv) It runs on 3 tiny AAA batteries, weighs little and has a smart, crisply knurled, metal body in black. The light is gives out is amazing! Pure white, with a good spread to avoid narrow, spot beams.

Previous multi-diode torches which I tried were absolute crap! So I am delighted to have found such an exceptional and compact torch. It is so small it can be put in a jacket pocket and forgotten until needed. No doubt diode efficiency will keep on improving as battery energy density continues to increase.

To think of the hopeless levels of light we suffered for decades at the hands of Ever Ready and others. Eating expensive, leaky, heavy, short-lived batteries and their heavy, steel bodies constantly rusting away. Or heavy dynamos slowing us down or needing constant fiddling. The latest diodes would be like alien technology if they suddenly popped up in the past!  Thankfully the monopoly on batteries is long over. I grew sick of Duracell after decades of childish adverts in every damned TV break around the clock! Good riddance if they go broke!

Click on any image for an enlargement.

11th October 2011


I need more space again so I have started another chapter for October '11.

Through misty eyes.

The twin effects of a low sun and using an old lens cleaning cloth which had disintegrated into fluff and dust. (At least it was clean)

11th October 54F, 12C, windy, sunny periods, with heavy showers. I was later than usual today after getting the exhaust replaced on the car. Ouch! I set off wearing my mustard Ventour jacket over thin and thick long-sleeved, polyester vests. This proved to be very wind proof though I wouldn't want it to be any warmer. At around 54F, or lower, it was about right. It rained but I ignored it while I enjoyed the full rainbow against a dark sky.

Then I punctured on a sharp-edged pothole which was about an inch deep. The sun was in my eyes so I didn't even see it until I rode back later to look for the cause of the puncture. I was changing the tube when a racing cyclist called out to see if I was okay. Having given him the thumbs up he zoomed off.

Once again the Bontrager tyre didn't seat itself properly on the rim. A long flat spot produced heavy bumping at speed. Nothing I did would persuade the tyre to become concentric again.

I repaired the punctured inner tube as soon as I got home. Using a wheelbarrow full of rainwater which was a handy bath with lots of room to play. The snake bite holes were easily visible once I had found them. I applied a clothes peg exactly one thumb width to the side of the puncture point. The peg also ensured the tube was held at the correct orientation to so that rubber cement could be applied to the correct place. I shall carry a clothes peg in my tool kit from now on. I don't know why I didn't think of it before. 13 miles.

12th 64-50F, 22-10C., windy and sunny. I pumped the tyres up hard and tried to bed the wobbly tyre without success. I think I'm going to have to let the air out and even it out again. 16 miles.

Google Blogspot has released "Dynamic View" but I'm not sure how useful any of the options will be to my triking blog. I shall have to have another look. Most of them are far too "untidy" for my tastes. The only one I might use (Side Panel) offers no customization! At all! It's plain white background or nothing!

Well, having been inspired by the wider screens of Dynamic View I have now discovered much wider text bar options. Certainly wider than when I first set up my blogs. I rather like this arrangement because it greatly reduces scrolling to read the entire post. Alternating my pictures to left and right doesn't look quite so clumsy as one above the other in the middle of the page. But  now it is impossible to tell where the text will fall on the journey from the editing page. I'm now working my way slowly backwards through all my posts moving the pictures and correcting any errors I might have missed. Now the post image gallery is back again! Still against a black background. Enjoy?

 13th 48-41F, 9-5C, light northerly wind and sunny. It was nearly 5pm before I was able to get out. Going quite well today. I tried to fix the tyre flat spot but it refused to budge even when all the air was out.. I shall have to take the wheel off and start from scratch. Only 15 miles. A holiday next week so (hopefully) I shall be back to my longer, morning rides.

14th 50-40F, sunny, still. Second morning this year with the car windows covered in ice. I chased the near full moon in the car to my IT course. Mist hanging in the hollows and a blinding sun creeping up slowly from behind. I was glad I was not driving into it! I passed a lake and the mist was hanging low over the water. Just like a spooky, Hollywood movie!

Much later I set off on the trike making my own head wind. Nothing I do will remove the flat section on the Bontrager tyre. Naturally I removed the wheel to be able to work on it more easily. I have let the air out again and again and even rotated the tyre. Worked my way round half a dozen times pushing the bead away from the rim at different tyre pressures. Pumped it up so hard it would not dent with a thumb nail using as much force as I could muster. Tried rolling the tyre sideways with and without pressure.

I even used a pair of special pliers/tongs with 1.5" broad flay blades to pull at the tyre while compress the tyre beads together. All to no avail. There is still a long flat section of at least 6" along the circumference which is at least 1/4" below the rest of the tyre's average radius! As I ride along it goes bump-bump-bump. Which goes in and out of phase with my pedalling. I have just ridden 24 miles over a huge variety of road surfaces and it had no effect on the tyre. I tried all sorts again when I came home but nothing works.

I was chased by two large dogs around an industrial estate! Then overtaken by two young scooterists on a narrow and bumpy cycle path. They must have been doing well over 30mph! I believe the speed limit for cycle paths is below half of that. The speed limit for un-plated scooters is not much faster.

The barstewards frightened me to death! I heard them coming up behind and thought they were on the road alongside! The path was strewn with debris, mud and potholes so I was using a lot of the rather limited width.

After that I stopped to clear up after some moron. Somebody had dropped some rusty old screws and cheap tools all over the gutter/cycle path. Then I lifted a long branch off the road in a narrow lane. Probably left there by kids.

Going quite well today but still very short of breath. My chest is so wet at times it even wheezes on climbs. Finally I was sprayed by a farmer running on a field alongside the road. It stank rather like heating oil/paraffin. He was spraying over a field full of fresh green shoots so it may not have been a nasty weed killer. Why aren't the spray tanks clearly marked?

 15th 37-48F, 3-9C, sunny, winds light but increasing. I wasted another half hour on the tyre flat spot before giving up. The bike mechanic in town said to use slight smear of oil to get the tyre to lift straight onto the rim. Obviously one would have to avoid oil on the braking surfaces. But that hardly applies to my trike rear wheels. The flat spot wasn't so bad today.

I'll have to try the oil trick because my fingers and thumbs are sore from struggling to lift the tyre onto the rim. I thought of using a lubricant but feared chemical damage to the inner tube. Or even having the tyre lift right off the rim! I thought of trying silicone seal lubricant which I use to stop the car doors freezing solid in icy winters. 22 miles but having to go out later. 10 more miles in the afternoon.

 Sunday 16th October. 37-50F, 3-10C, still but becoming windy, sunny. A cloudless sky promised well. I was far too early for the nearest shops. So I continued in hope of anther branch being open by the time I got there. All the plans of tricyclists and men do oft but go a stray. So I tootled about a bit and took some photographs.

By the time I turned back towards home the wind had picked up considerably. It was really quite hard work making headway with the trees doing their usual acrobatics. My legs are quite achy for a change. 36 miles and I still have to go out again. I'll probably wait until after lunch to have a rest first. I can kill the time oiling my tyres. :-) 7 more miles in the afternoon.

17th 37-50F, 3-10C, winds light, ground mist and sunny. A late, cool start, but I soon warmed up. My legs were still a bit tired despite massaging them occasionally to remove any residual pain. Only 17 miles today. We are driving to the city to have a look in the bike shops.

Morning mist under a blinding sun.

One of only a few pictures which came out as well as I'd hoped. Others just looked foolishly out of focus. The "tobacco filter" effect is completely natural. The sun is "pierced" by a vapour trail. Despite the sky often being filled with vapour trails we very rarely hear any planes. They are usually far too high to be heard. 

On very rare occasions the conditions are just right for vapour trails to remain for hours. The morning sky can be completely criss-crossed by literally hundreds of trails. Only on Thursdays, and only when it is sunny, do the Danish air force practice irritating their countrymen. With fighter jet acrobatics overhead for hours on end. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

5th October 2011

5th 58F, blowing  gale, raining: Rest day. I have been learning about lots of useful things on my computer course. Weather forecast is awful for tomorrow with 40mph+ gusts and rain all day.

Thatched chic

A very strange pair of houses stand completely alone on a hillside.

Entirely surrounded in fields, the style is incongruous and highly atypical for rural Danish properties. Once a mill, judging by an attached sign, but nothing is visible now. Perhaps there was a windmill standing on the low summit behind the buildings. The other house is in a very poor state with frost damage to the rendering and the decorative brickwork. They look almost abandoned but somebody is living there. I managed to hide the car parked outside by choosing a suitable angle.

6th 50F, 10C, a day of very heavy showers and fierce gales. I nipped out for a late ride but was very short of breath. I spent a lot of time clearing my throat. I was following a stumpy double rainbow for a while. The roads were very wet with deep puddle everywhere. It didn't rain on me until I was a couple of miles from home on the way back. Then it tipped down. So  I finally had a chance to try my "new" cape.  It flapped in the gusts unless I sat on it. My wife said I looked rather like a monster rolling down the drive on my trike. Probably because the cape was inflating like a balloon. There are miles of crackly beech nuts and thumping great conkers along the lanes. 13 miles.


7th 54F, 12C, windy, very heavy showers, sunny periods. It didn't rain but it was still blowing a gale. Not so short of breath today. 19 miles.

8th 44-52F, 7-11C, gales, mostly sunny.

Not a good day! My wife dragged a complaining Mr Higgins from his stall. To put him out to graze on the lawn while I readied myself. But Mr Higgins was having none of it! The damned Sram chain had parted company yet again! The broken link had jammed in the front changer plate. Pushing the entire mechanism aside and stopping the trike from backward movement.

Rather than mend the chain again I drove into town for a new one. The bike shop still wasn't open by the time I had finished my shopping. So I went to a car spares chain store and bought a 9 speed chain there.

When I returned home I removed the Sram chain and lay it along the shed floor. This was to measure the new chain length. The moment I opened the packet I could see the new chain was 1/8" wide. Only suitable for up to 9 internal gears! Aarrgghh! Stupid packaging where the chain is invisible and the writing is a tiny, stick-on label! Idiocy!

So I removed the broken Sram link and fitted a new one in its place from the unused spare tail. Then refitted the chain to the trike. Now I could take my rubber industrial gloves off. Finally I changed back into my cycling togs and rode back the way I had just driven. I might as well get a ride out of this disaster!

My brother had recommended a KMC chain. I found a Spectra with their initials on the links. I also bought a Spectra chain link extractor with an adjustable stop for a tenner, £10 equiv. I'm hoping that I could obtain a bit more riveting rather than just pushing the pin back into the side plates.

My collection of chain link extractors. The new Spectra has obviously been enlarged to offer more leverage. The large stop screw does not inspire confidence since the thread is already sloppy. It was the only one on the rack so I had no others to try. My camera had spent the night in the car so was cold and misted up straight away. This was despite it being double cased.

I returned the incorrect chain to the other shop and swapped it for a smart pair of 1/2W rear lights and QR clamps. Only a £5 each! That was even cheaper than the supermarkets! It will be just like "Close Encounters" but I'll be travelling a little slower.

The offending Sram chain stayed in one piece for this trip. The symptoms of a broken link were the same as last time. It felt, and sounded, as if the indexing had come out of adjustment. Fixing the chain immediately solved the false indexing problem.

Now I have to decide whether to risk the Sram chain breaking again. Or just fit the Spectra and put the Sram chain down to (a very bad) experience. The bike shop chap said I shouldn't expect more than three moths or 3000 kilometres per chain. I'm hoping the cheaper KMC chains will save me money.

20 miles by trike being blown all over the place! Plus 9 more, ditto, later at 46F. That was exactly 30 degrees cooler than just last week! It's now 37F and the first overnight ground frost is possible.

I wore my lightest, long, skiing underwear for the first time this autumn. (under my usual racing jersey and shorts) It was still cold riding into the headwind gusts with only a thin, "windproof" jacket on. With a tailwind I was too warm! The wind direction seemed to be constantly rotating all day. It was far stronger than the local forecast and ended up as a northerly.

A strange, wave formation, cloud caught by my wife while I was out on my trike on Sunday morning. It was even more dramatic nearer the sun but did not take so kindly to photography.

9th 35F, +2C, still at first, with occasional sunny periods. Slight frost on the fields. First wintry morning this year! I tried my mustard yellow Ventour jacket. It proved to be transparent to the cold wind but too warm for climbs. So I'd sweat going up and then chill on the descents. Removing my hat helped to even things out.

A Stanley 60 1/2 block plane for £2! It will scrub up nicely with a gentle rub with 0000 steel wool on the bare iron. Then a little oil to stop future rust. Not their top model but still handy and a nice addition to my collection. I dreamed of owning these fine tools in my youth. They were always well beyond my pocket back then and my woodworking skills unworthy of the investment. The shiny snake-like device is for fine adjusting the throat. (after loosening the brass locking knob)

I stopped at a couple of flea markets/garage sales. The antique block plane (above) wasn't too heavy. The antique branch pruners weighed a ton! I just lashed it onto the top of the bag carrier and fortunately it stayed put. Having the pruners out of the way I was still able to stuff my bag with loads of shopping.

Forged pruners. They look almost as if they were made by a blacksmith. Another irresistible bargain for £2 equivalent.

The temperature climbed slowly to 50F, 10C as I plodded on, uphill and down. I removed the jacket and put on my fingerless track mitts at half way. I took the opportunity to sit on a bench and eat my biscuits. Though I was never comfortably warm after that. The wind suddenly arrived from nowhere at 28 miles. Quickly becoming a niggling head wind for the last few miles. I can't say that I was feeling very strong today. It felt as if I had banged the edge of my knee cap, but hadn't. I'm sure I would remember that. The Sram chain stayed together for 35 miles and counting...  

BUT, after further consideration, I may have been unfairly criticising the Sram chain. The fault lies not with the chain itself but the tools I used to break and replace links.

Here's my new, Spectra link extractor. Notice the extreme asymmetry of the Sram links at the alignment ears. The Spectra overcomes end loads with the conical end face of the large, adjustable screw on the right. It supports the face of the side plate directly around the pin hole in the side plate. The ears just arrange the links lengthwise across the tool. So that each rivet is presented accurately to the pressure pin on the left. The alignment ears should not be expected to resist any side loads at all. 

Here's a cheap-shit, chain link extractor typical of chain store fodder. The Sram chain has literally sheared off the ears. Against which the links rest when a pin is being pushed out. The tool is now completely useless! The cause was the narrowness of the Sram 9speed chain. The heavy shoulder on the right is simply too far away from the ears to take up the pressure loads applied by the rivet pin extraction.

The link side plate is stretched or bowed sideways in this outdated design. The ears are being asked to resist the enormous pressures applied to the rivet. A task for which they were never designed. Though the crap materials used on this tool didn't help. This design should not be used for modern, narrow chains like the Sram 9 and 10 speeds.

At first I was blaming the pin cut-outs for not supporting the Sram side plates properly. The cheapo on the right is worse than the older one on the left. But if the supporting shoulder cannot reach the outside plate on narrow links this becomes completely irrelevant.

Both tools here would probably work fine with the wider 1/8" chains.The one on the right provides more leverage but falls to pieces due to poor thread tolerances and crappy materials.

Ironically, I saw an identical model to the one on the right with an adjustable end stop, pressure resisting, screw. Similar to the Spectra's. This was after I had bought the Spectra. The Spectra provides even more leverage and greater comfort in use. It also feels remarkably light despite its greater size. Naturally, I will report here again if it fails to live up to expectations.

  Close-up Sram 9sp chain.

10th 55F. 13C, rain all day. Nul points. (to be read with a Eurovision accent)

The good life!

There is a new Danish rule that the postperson must be able to deliver post without ever getting out of the van. Nor dismounting from cycle or scooter. So the post box must be accessible from the road and should be between 1 and 1.2 metres high.

The silence of the deserted, and completely undeveloped, Danish coastline. 

Only a ten minute ride from quite a large town. (by Danish standards) I  suppose the lack of commercial development is due the absence of a large, working class population. Where there are beaches the tendency is to build estates of summerhouses. These can range from modest wooden "sheds" to sprawling, modern mansions. Though these two are rarely found cheek by jowl. Summer houses sold (before the recession) for more than normal homes.  

 Click on any image for an enlargement.