10 Jan 2012

10th Jan 2012


10th 40-43F, 4-6C, breezy becoming windy, weak sunshine becoming cloudy.  Because it was warmer, I wore the Ventour jacket again. It just wasn't warm enough. Certainly not as warm as my Belstaff Cyclone. I could feel the cold air on my chest and arms blowing right through it. (plus my racing jersey and long-sleeved, poly vest, of course) The thinnest day-glo jacket was in the bag so I could have worn it too but I couldn't be bothered to put it on. I feared I might overheat on the hills. So I plodded on. I warmed up eventually but it was a lesson learned. I'll only wear it when it is safely over 45F. 

I spent an hour running all over some steep, wet and very muddy fields at a large, specialist tree nursery. My Tahoe shoes were literally caked in mud! It was good fun riding the tracks between the fields though. The roughest I've ever attempted. The secret is to be prepared to get out of the saddle when things get too laterally vertiginous. 2WD makes an awful lot of difference to keeping going. Coming to a standstill on a steep, heavily cambered, tractor-rutted track, with one's feet firmly clipped in, is not a good idea!  

I saw quite a number of older cyclists out training solo today. Probably the sun bringing them out. All of them gave me a wave and/or a greeting. I have no idea what they think of me on my trike. No doubt the pukka cycling clothing and high cadence gets them thoroughly confused.

My wife insisted on washing my (Abus) helmet for me. Probably because I was going to do it myself. It's daft the way the helmet is designed. It is impossible to remove most of the dangly bits to wash them separately. It looks as if the black strap anchors should lift out but they don't. The helmet didn't smell, or anything like that. I just thought I'd better give it a spring clean. To freshen up the straps and the very thin, foam pads.

 The theme seems to be houses hiding behind their shrubbery. I'm using up some images I haven't posted.

Shame I never had any instructions with it. Couldn't find any online either. They have a website but no cleaning or maintenance instructions? A bit silly. I might send them an email. :-) The Lane-U is a great helmet BTW. Incredibly light and comfortable. I often forget to put it on when I'm already wearing a Thinsulate hat. I had to ride back a whole mile the last time I forgot it. It all helps to keep up the mileage. Why do I so resent repeating a leg of the journey? 23 miles.

11th 44F, 7C, weak sunshine, breezy. Wasn't feeling at all energetic today. It must have been all that rough walking yesterday. Left after morning coffee. The light inspired me to do some landscape photography. Which didn't leave me much time for shenanigans. So only 14 miles. Lazy git! :-) 

A strangely deep-cut, ancient track down to a small lake. Quite inexplicable, because it is in the middle of nowhere without any obvious habitation. The low lying area is far too wet and marshy to build on, I would imagine.

Village pond

12th 43F, 6C, gales, horizontal rain, overcast. Steady winds building to over 30mph with gusts over 50mph. Should decrease and brighten up this afternoon. I'll wait. Left at 3pm. Wore my Easse jacket on my wife's advice: Wind chill factor in the strong winds. I stayed comfortable despite being blown about by a 4 o'clock wind on the way.

A member of the electrician's Mafia overtook me in the high street of a village. Then jammed his breaks on with a swerve to the right to ensure I couldn't get past. I was doing 17 mph and the speed limit is only 25. El-Price-Fixing Ltd knew he was turning sharp left into his yard. What a stupid plonker! I had to brake hard not to hit him!

Mr Higgins admires the scenery.
The plastic post with reflectors marks the edge of the road. Handy when snow is too deep to see the correct route. These posts are a familiar sight on most Danish roads, large and small. In the UK they have cats-eyes to serve a similar purpose.There are none, that I know of, over here. I would imagine cats-eyes have a slight traffic calming effect. 

After shopping it was much worse on the way back. The wind seemed to have more than doubled its strength and was now at 10 o'clock. After more shopping the last leg was head on as the wind had suddenly veered north. I had to put my lights on as it was dark by then. Fortunately it stayed dry. 15 miles.

Swans, geese and ducks on an unspoilt lake.

13th 36-38F, 2-3C, blowing a gale, sunny periods. A cold headwind had me struggling to reach 10mph.  The wind did not make me want to go far. I did my shopping and then headed home. 13 miles on Friday the 13th? What can possibly go wrong? :-)

A bit sweaty in the Aesse jacket despite the cold wind. Gloves too cold at first but my hands soon warmed up. I'm not sure if there is some drag somewhere. Or I'm just getting tired. I don't seem to be moving very fast recently. Not even with a tail wind. No obvious pain in my leg muscles. I just feel slow. I'll check to see if there's some bearing stiffness. The brakes and mudguards are certainly not dragging. I barely hit 30mph on a big hill and couldn't maintain it on the flat. The tyres are as hard as usual. Perhaps the chain is getting stiff despite frequent oiling. The gear pulleys are well oiled too.

An electric bicycle and vehicle showroom in Assens. Only open on Saturday mornings. The white, "futuristic" suspended electric/pedal bike costs 14,000DKK in the dealer's sale. About £1570GBP or $2400US! 

Electric drive does not seem to be generating the excitement of early infernal combustion motorbikes and vehicles. Where are the myriad makers tinkering in every shed and garage across Europe and the US? Perhaps they are all on You Tube. Though most seem to be using available commercial technology rather than building from scratch. I saw a TV advert for an electric car by one of the existing car companies. Pretending that such technology was completely without environmental impact. But what do you expect from car manufacturers and their corrupt TV advertisers?

14th 29-37F, -2C+3C, bright, winds light. A frost! I left rather late because I'd lost my 5 year-old mobile phone. The cheapest Nokia, half paving slab. I only use it for emergencies when out on the trike. Don't have any use for a mobile phone otherwise. Fortunately my wife thought to ring the number while I was out. It was in the jacket I had worn yesterday. In the pocket we had both checked several times in the search! Talk about parallel universes!

 A beautiful day for a ride but a bit chilly at first. I found I could draw my toes back in the shoes slightly when they felt cold. This was despite having neoprene overshoes and thick socks on. Started with thick Thinsulate gloves but changed to thinner ones at the half way mark. The thick ones are far too stiff and bulky. The Aesse jacket was fine at first but became a teensy bit sweaty with the tail wind.

I managed to raise my speed a bit today. Probably because I oiled the chain well before leaving. Found nothing untoward or causing drag. Apart from the rear changer being a bit noisy in low gears. I oiled the pulleys again and it seemed to help. I still managed 26 miles despite not having a phone. ;-)

A tumbling landscape of deep valleys and wooded hills.

15th 26F, -3C, still, full sun promised. The grass and the car are white with frost. The blinding sun won't get above 14 degrees altitude here at 55N. A slightly corpulent, half moon ducked for cover behind the trees at the clamour of church bells. Few will answer the call on a day of icy roads and glassy ponds.

I wore the thin, day-glo jacket over the Aesse and stayed comfortable for a couple of hours. Then I took off the thinner jacket when I started warming up on a long drag.

The thicker Thinsulate gloves kept my hands warm but were wet inside. I tried the thinner gloves but my fingers started aching with cold. So it was back to the heavy pair again. They are far too stiff for comfort on a bike.

Punk willows cheer on Mr Higgins as he climbs bravely, but foolishly, into the unknown. The iced-up stream was an accident of a single car tyre track at the top of the hill. Somebody had damaged the verge and re-routed the entire watercourse away from the natural ditch on the right.

It was a gorgeous day, despite the cold. So still, even the wind turbines forgot to wake up. Lots of geese complaining overhead as I ploughed my lonely furrow between fields off rooks and crows. They rose and fell like oily rags. With their rough voices carrying across the jumbled landscape. I think I glimpsed a Bullfinch in a hedge. It was too bright to have been anything else. A superb red with a hint of orange. A few buzzards moved lazily away from the verges as I passed. Or glared back from a safe distance.

A swollen beck meanders along a rare, flat valley.
This takes me back to my childhood in the Lake District in north west England.
Trout could often be seen resting under the muddy banks of tiny, roadside streams.

There were more walkers and joggers than cyclists until getting on for mid day. A few waved or called. All of them were going the other way. I'm glad I don't live near the galloping railways. I couldn't be doing with their racket every few minutes. A lot of my journey was within earshot. Without the roar of the wind to drown them out they seemed amplified. Perhaps there was an inversion layer. Chainsaws, shooting and shouting could be heard for miles.

Mr Higgins enjoys the play of light and shade.

My cheap bike computer failed to record anything and then went blank. Probably a half-flat battery and the cold. I hate not knowing how far I've been. You don't miss these things until they are gone. My head was full of things to talk about as I rode along. All have been wiped clean now. 30 miles as the GPS flies.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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