26 Nov 2011

23rd November 2011

23rd 37-38F, 3-4C, heavy overcast, early rain, light breeze, wet roads. I was a bit cold in the Belstaff Cyclone jacket and then too warm on the leg into the wind. I wore the overshoes to keep my feet warm. The warm hat didn't last five minutes before I was sweating. I really need an intermediate windproof hat. One without added warmth to go underneath the helmet and cover my ears. Just another shopping loop today. 19 miles.

This immaculate farm is up for sale.
I quite like the strikingly untraditional colour scheme. 
My wife thought the down-turned nameplate above the door made the place look rather unhappy.

I have just moved the two 1/2W diode rear lights to the unused holes in the Higgins mudguard stays at the very rear. They now take up the position of reflectors on the original mudguards. I was catching the previously protruding lights on the bars on cycle path barriers. There just wasn't enough room at any speed to clear the bars. Now the lights are well out of the way but still indicate my extra width over a bike. They are a bit lower than before. Though this may be an advantage because it makes me appear more bike-like (slow) at night. I'll post a picture tomorrow to show what I've done.

How to carry a 5' tree, ten miles home with only four feet of rope. The root ball was so heavy the nose went light when I climbed off! I had to throw my leg over the handlebars to get on and off too. It is a (rare) garden conifer with creamy-white foliage. Yet to be positively identified but possibly a Chamaecyparis obtusa cultivar. Or possibly a white variant on Thuja plicata "Zebrina". Though I still haven't found an example online despite hours of searching. The tree came from a planteskole (nursery) with a reputation for having the rarest of plants.The owner had an encyclopaedic memory but died recently. Leaving some of his stock unlabelled.

Note how the lights are now safely,  just within the trike's footprint. They cost only £5 equiv. each at THansen, a chain of car spares superstores. These lights have an incredibly bright, asymmetric flash option which is very eye-catching. Far more useful than a steady beam. Which can easily be lost in the visual complexity of long, moving traffic queues and umpteen, vehicle rear lights. My 1/2W Smart rear light remains safely attached higher up on its saddle pin clamp. Providing further reinforcement of my deliberately attention-seeking, lighting display.

Without Steve's generosity in providing these original, Higgins mudguard stays I would nowhere secure to hang any lights. Before the stays were fitted it was a constant struggle trying to find somewhere to fit lights which were not masked by my oversized shopping bag. Or masked by the wheels themselves.

It is only fair on drivers that I am well lit at night or in the remarkably regular misty, Danish weather. My extra width demands a little more care than just brushing past a normal bike rider. Though in reality the wheels aren't much wider than my shoulders. No driver should come close enough to any cyclist to make the width a serious problem anyway.

The 1/2W diode lights have their tubular clamps removed and the quick-release, locking bayonets are simply held by an oversized bolt and locking nut to the Higgins stays. I am using the inner bolt holes for my mudguards. Which leaves a spare hole for the lights on each stay. The powerful, central diode is red, despite appearances.

24th  47F, 8C, light winds building, very heavy overcast. A tour to Assens and back. Too warm for the Belstaff Cyclone. Luckily the wind was behind me on the way back. 20 miles.

25th 37-44F, 3-7C, very heavy overcast, nasty wind, spitting with rain towards the end. Left quite early and had to put the lights on. I had it almost right for the first two legs but hit the head wind on the last leg. Worse still, most of it was uphill. 22 miles.

The "corrugated" lanes of the Danish rural landscape.

26th 42-46F, 6-8C, windy, becoming heavy overcast. I rode to a 15 mile distant garden centre to look for more unusual conifers. Then rode 15 miles back with another 5' tree with a massive root ball! I could barely lift it let alone carry it out to the trike!

I lashed the root ball securely onto the carrier having taken a lot more cord with me this time. The tree in its enclosing bag was left to take care of itself. One can't tie the trunk or branches without risking damage.

A superb range of farm outbuildings on a large estate. 
Image taken some time ago before sunshine was cancelled.

It felt 10 degrees colder turning around and riding back into the wind. It was a very hilly route both ways with a 45 degree headwind most of the way home. I spent more time on the 28T small chainring than on the 38T middle ring.  It was spitting with rain on and off too.

The roads and cycle paths were littered with twigs from last night's wind and rain. A real storm is forecast for tomorrow so I may finally take a rest day. My legs are feeling a bit stale and tired.  I have to go out later to do some shopping. With whole trees already swaying about I wont go too far. It was horrible later. So I went in the car. Only 30 miles then.

Steve's Higgins trike is looking very smart beneath a plaque commemorating a certain Mr. O'Higgins. Any relation? Does anybody know? 

Sunday 27th 50F, 10C, heavy overcast, already gales, storm forecast pm. I'm not allowed out on my trike! Rest day. 0 miles.

28th 44F, 6C, almost still, sunny leading to overcast. My hip is hurting and I have to dig a trench for the new fibre optic broadband. Only 7 miles. (on the trike. Not the trench!) :-)

List of links in Bertin753's comment below.

Wool Caps with Ear Flaps

Wabi Woolens - Quality Wool Cycling Jerseys

Acequia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedi

BIKES, MISCELLANEA - Patrick Moore - Picasa Web Album

 Here's Patrick's beautiful Ken Rogers trike.   

Unashamedly "borrowed" and cropped from the link above so that I have it recorded on my blog. Links can disappear. Images last forever.
29th 40F, 4C, breezy, cold, heavy overcast. Went looking for a long, narrow trench spade to reduce the amount of material which needs to be removed. After picking away at the drive hardcore for a few hours my back was aching. It's crazy that a deep trench is required for a 1/4" plastic conduit pipe to protect a tiny optical fibre. It would have been much simpler to run the conduit in galvanised steel water pipe along the surface. Our 100 metre run of drive now looks like a tank training ground! It will have to be re-gravelled once it has settled. I've been promised a guaranteed 30/30Mbit/s service. For slightly less than I'm paying for 4/0.4 via copper. Only 16 miles today. My handlebar mirror stalk has suddenly gone all floppy. Grr.

30th 40-46F, 4-8C, breezy becoming windy, clear start but quickly becoming cloudy. The storm has stripped the trees and hedges of leaves. It lets the light in but it isn't pretty. Nor as sheltering from the cold wind! The roads are filthy and so is Mr Higgins. I must remember to oil the chain and fix the mirror stalk. 18 miles.

Just passed 7k miles on the trike since Jan 1st 2011. Well down on last year but still an average of 20 miles per day over the last 11 months. If the weather doesn't turn foul I might just get another 500 miles in December.

As soon as I started digging the trench again today it started raining. So I fixed the handlebar mirror instead. I found an old, solid, plastic, wall plug to fit in place of the long, flexible plastic stalk. The stalk was never very successful. It was often difficult to see anything in the mirror due to severe vibration. I hope to find that the mirror's resonant frequency has risen above the normal road vibration excitation. The sense of security from having a rear view mirror is most noticeable by its sudden absence! I had been meaning to replace the stalk for ages but it was on another of my roundtoit lists.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


  1. Chris: During yesterday’s 27 mile ride (Rio Grande recreational trail, Albuquerque, NM, USA) in the low 40’s F with gusty wind, my Swobo wool hat -- http://shop.synapticcycles.com/?p=658 -- was just right. Traditional, short-brim cycling cap made of thickish wool with 2” ear cover encircling the ¾ rearmost part of the head and keeping the ears warm. It would have been comfortable at 10*F lower.

    In fact, I’ve largely abandoned synthetics over the last eight years or so and now ride, in cold weather, largely in wool. Yesterday, at about 43F and windy, I was almost too warm in a thin, merino base layer with zip up collar and a Wabi Woolen -- http://wabiwoolens.com/ -- ls jersey. This was complemented by the Swobo cap, wool, plain weave cycling plus fours (doubled fabric in front, home made from quality, wool dress trousers), Bicycle Fixations -- http://www.living-room.org/ -- plus-four cycling socks and knit gloves. Again, this ensemble would have been good down to the mid ‘30s. Below freezing I add a synthetic balaclava under the Swobo, use progessively warmer gloves, add a second pair of thin wool socks over the long socks, then a plastic bread bags – very cold, Lake winter boots but not until well below 30F – and more layers of thin merino wool plus a wool/lycra vest; sub 20F a plastic windbreaker over it all. Neck muffs (synthetic; wool chafes) help a great deal. And of course lycra tights under the plus-fours and socks keep me warm in very cold weather.

    I also discovered yesterday that our “goatheads” -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribulus_terrestris – have had a bonanza year in 2011 and came away from a 27 mile ride with fully 4 punctures; fortunately I carry 3 tubes and a full size frame pump (Zefal HPx) and, also, the fourth puncture was a slow leak that allowed me to get home by pumping up the right rear tire every three miles or so.

    Apart from the flats, no drama except that I almost took a header over the bar when I had a left bend on the path with a right-side camber and discovered that the right tire was almost flat; I slammed on the Syncrhon caliper and Shimano wide-profile cantis as the trike went straight (while the path bent to the left) and plowed to a stop in the dirt just short of catapulting into the “acequia” -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acequia -- that follows the trail.

    I hope to take another ride on the Ken Rogers -- https://picasaweb.google.com/BERTIN753/BIKESMISCELLANEA#5665987116273041874 tomorrow; temps forecast for the low 50s with less wind. Must fix four punctures first, though.

  2. Great story and very useful information on natural winter clothing! I still miss my knitted wool shorts of my youth! Happy days!

    I'll try to make your links workable tomorrow. Though I'm not sure whether I can edit your comment directly. If not, I'll try and list them in another comment below. Or failing that, in the blog post.

    Were the punctures pinch flats or sharp objects?

    Let's be careful out there. We can't afford to lose any tricyclists into the scenery! ;-)


  3. Hi

    Now I see. Goatheads are prickly plants which cause punctures. Acequia are irrigation canals.

    Active links from your comment have now been added to the post above.

    Have you considered a puncture resistant "slime" in your inner tubes? I haven't tried it myself but others have recommended it.