29 Jan 2012

25th January 2012


25th 22-31F, -6-1C, still and clear. I set off about 9.00 (-5C) in bright sunshine to reach a distant supermarket. I wore heavier ski underwear but it was really too much and I sweated. My hands were warm in the 40 oz Thinsulate gloves today. As were my toes in two pairs of woolly socks and overshoes. Perhaps the thicker underwear was keeping my extremities warm? Perhaps it was the gentle tailwind?
The bike computer packed up every time I took my eye off it. Then the i-GotU GPS logger didn't record anything. Just to add to the fun the Ventus logger recorded only 35 miles!?! Which seems far too short. I'll have to check the distance on Google Earth. Not that this is particularly easy because I follow winding, minor lanes and roads across country to avoid traffic.

I punctured at halfway on a farmer's art installation of oversized rocks beside a busy main road! Who would use a tractor to rake his gravel verge and leave the cycle path completely covered in golf ball sized gravel? Answers on a postcard, please, to:

I was breaking chunks of ice out of my beard before going into the shops! On the way back there was a perishing cold, head wind. I ate only a banana and four cookies since my 7am breakfast. So I was getting rather tired towards the end.

Google, Blogspot and Firefox are all conspiring against me on the editing (again) !! I have reset the pictures and surrounding text five times and each time it reverts to the wrong spacing!!! I'll fix it in html editing when I have the patience. Make that 8 times including html editing! Ten times and now it is resizing images as it goes along!!  P'raps I've been hacked? :-)

Today's dawn captured by my wife on her old Sony P71.
The cells of light looked just like molten lava.

26th 28-33F, -2+1C, clear but windy! Forecast to hover around freezing all day with 20mph steady wind speeds and gusts to 30mph. Supposedly clouding over after early sun. Should be interesting.

It wasn't. The trees were already thrashing about before I left at 9.30. Fierce gusts from the side had me hiding under the handlebars in my balaclava and skiing goggles. (which I hadn't needed before today)

My nose felt like an ice block and the wind was coming from all directions. Though it was helping me along at other times. I had no choice where I was going because I had an appointment. The wind really picked up when I got there. With leaves and dust blowing up in swirls and whistling around the buildings.

On the way back it was pure misery. I must have had 30lbs or 15 kilos of shopping on board. It filled four large carrier bags as I unloaded it all back at home. Most of it was solid or liquid. The wind was playing harmonics in higher octaves as it whistled through my brake levers.

My quadriceps were on fire at 6mph in bottom gear on the flat some of the time! Where the few field hedges still clung to existence it was fine. I could do 10-12mph without effort. My Aesse jacket was wet inside when I took it off! At least the sun stayed out. So that's all right then.  Perhaps I need a rest day to recover my strength? Overnight snow is forecast but the amount and length of snow showers is shrinking all the while. 21 miles today.

27th 29F, -2C, still windy, 2" (50mm) of snow lying, overcast with a little more snow forecast. A rest day? I have just walked along to have a look at the road. It has been salted but the road is much narrowed with raised ridges of filthy slush. This tends to dam up puddles which would give me a nasty soaking as cars struggle to get past. My leg muscles are quite tender in places when I massage them.  As the wind is still gusting to 30mph I've probably talked myself out of going out today. My last rest day was the 28th of December. Hi, my name is Chris. I'm a trikeoholic. I haven't had a ride for 24 hours. One day at a time. :-)

28th 30F, -1C, breezy, overcast finally clearing to weak sunshine. I'm going out after coffee. Can't feel any pain in my legs now. The roads were fairly clear but it made no difference anyway. On a trike with 2WD one just continues regardless of the surface conditions. I heard a loud bang when I ran over some frozen slush on the main road  but the tyre stayed up. I stayed off the cycle path after that.

Though sunny, the wind was very cold. My fingers and toes were fine but I was overheating again due to wearing two skiing vests. I really don't think it helps. I saw a couple of bullfinches in the hedges. Chaffinches are by far the most common birds I see. Even outnumbering sparrows. With blackbirds probably third. Only 16 miles.
29th 28F, -2, overcast, snowing steadily, light breeze. Yesterday's forecast has been completely changed to snow all day. At least another inch has fallen overnight. I have to go out anyway and consider the car an inferior tool for the purpose in these conditions. It's not a lack of experience driving on snow. I used to go looking for snow-covered country roads to practice my driving skills in the UK.

The problem is always the fear that any oncoming vehicle will lose control. I have seen so many cars leave the Danish roads that I no longer trust their skills. They make absolutely no allowances for weather conditions. Fitting winter tyres is normal here. Typically drivers then assume that they are now perfectly safe under any road conditions.

They continue to drive above the legal speed limit. They still drive nose to tail. Overtake without a care in the world. Only to end up on their sides or upside down on the verge. Or in a field. A phone call to the private rescue services and the car is soon gone. Or they hit some innocent soul head-on and another family tragedy makes just a line or two in the local paper.

I had to mend a puncture before I could go out. Obviously caused by that lump of frozen slush on the cycle path yesterday! It snowed continuously until I returned home 10 miles later. I should have worn my skiing goggles to keep the snow out of my eyes but had opted for the yellow sunglasses.

It was easiest to ride on the fresh snow. As it wasn't so slippery as the compressed car tracks. No problems with traction up or down hill. Coming back on the main road is was watery slush between ridges. It threw up quite a spray from the front tyre all the way home. Oh, the luxury of proper mudguards on a day like this! A moron in a Volvo brushed past at 60mph. Giving me a free shower of filthy wet. There was nothing coming the other way. So he could have used the whole road. The I-gotU GPS logger has failed to record for two days in a row now.

These are typical road conditions at the moment. Isn't it odd how difficult to it is to capture the slopes of hills with a camera? This shot is looking down quite a steep hill. I walked some distance up the hill and used a lot of zoom to try and show the incline, but failed. Mr Higgins is actually standing well below my camera position but looks slightly higher. 

I have now added +2/3 to EV on my Panasonic Lumix TZ7 camera and am much more pleased with the results. I usually have to add gamma and contrast in PhotoFiltre to every image I use. Not any more.

I have been trying out Wordpress to see if I could move my blog over when Google invades the world next month. Wordpress is so greedy you would not believe it! It is impossible to even change background colours on the free service. Pay another $30 dollars to change minor details? Pay another $30 to rid the blog of adverts?  Buy this domain name or that. Pay to own a blog template? Pay this. Pay that. Talk about hard sell! This is the best I could do on a shoestring:


It's no wonder Google bought Blogger and Picasa. Now nobody can opt out of their global domination. At least I could delete my Facebook account. (or so I hope) It just didn't inspire me to do anything useful with it. So if anyone notices my absence (unlikely) you know where I am. Probably still blogging by candlelight in a cellar somewhere. While constantly checking over my shoulder that the jackbooted Google Gestapo aren't coming down the drive. In an armoured personnel carrier plastered in tasteless advertising. The Chinese could easily afford to buy Google and Facebook. The next thing you know it's back to the Dark Ages. What has this to do with triking? Not a lot.

"Gates" likes these found at the entrance to many Danish villages. Probably intended as a psychological narrowing of the road to try to reduce speeding. The 1056' 321m Brylle TV mast is just visible in the centre background. I deliberately stood in the middle of the road to place the mast between the trees. The Danish flag on the right shows how hard the wind is blowing. The fields "smoke" fine snowdrifts across the roads in the absence of hedges. 

Mr Higgins is further laden with two large carrier bags in addition to the large saddle/sports bag. I simply tie the plastic bags by their strong handles to the saddle frame with thick, nylon cord. Netto's large carrier bags are excellent quality and last for months of such abuse. Probably about as long as the sports/saddle bags themselves. I'm lucky to get six months of use out of a sports bag. So I usually buy them in charity shops and discard them when they wear out. 

The carrier bags are limited to light, bulky items like toilet rolls, lettuce, bread rolls and sliced loaves. Heavier items like tins, jars and the daily collection of organic milk cartons go into the sports/saddle bag. A fellow cyclist had a brand new carrier bag rupture and spill its shopping onto the car park outside a supermarket. I suggested he invest in Netto carrier bags. He looked at me as if I was insane! His loss. I've never had a Netto carrier bag fail on me yet. :-)

Many larger sports bags are far too long to fit between the rear wheels of the trike. So I carefully select shorter bags with a very deep box section to maximise my carrying capacity. One cloth handle is strapped to the rucksack frame with Ty-wraps. The free handle is lifted over the saddle to be supported by the saddle pin once the bag is loaded and zipped up. 

The free, cloth handle is lifted back over the nose of the saddle to allow easy unloading. The handle usually covers the zips of the sports bag so there is an added sense of security when the trike is left unattended. 

Daily practice over the last two years has proved my bag system works very effectively. Particularly since I fitted the cut-down rucksack frame using plumbing clips. I ought to shorten the frame to give some support to the bottom pf the bag but there aren't enough cross rails for my support clips if I raise the frame. I keep looking, in the charity shops, for another ultra-lightweight rucksack frame. One with more cross rails, but no luck so far.

My rear carrier

30th 26-31F,-3-1C, windy, clear and sunny. I organised my route to match the wind direction quite well until the last couple of miles. I was riding mostly on thin powdery stuff. The sun and salt had combined to wet the roads in places. In others there was a couple of inches of windblown snow. Always where the hedges had been removed by farmers. A steady stream of snow was being thrown forwards by the front tyre and balling around the brakes. In the thicker places the snow was flying sideways out of the front mudguard all over my overshoes and long, woolly socks.

Despite forgetting my biscuit snack (again) I kept going for 28 hilly miles in these snowy conditions. The cheapo bike computer kept stopping but both GPS loggers worked today. Toes and fingers were fine but I was too warm in the double vests. The Head Gardener will insist that I wrap up warm! She thinks that if she is could then I must be too.

The forecast is for much colder weather with more snow. My wife and I tried to finish the last yard of trench for the optical fibre broadband. We had put it off because the trench kept flooding. We found the topsoil was frozen literally as hard as rocks! We were eventually able to undermine the frozen stuff and lift it out in large clumps. Job done ready for the final installation. The frozen soil and gravel from the drive will have to wait for a thaw. So we can tidy things up afterwards. I tried using the miner's pick on it but it would not budge. The point barely marked the surface! I wonder if I'm getting enough exercise?

31st 25-29F, -4-2C, windy, clear and sunny. It's been a busy day. The fibre optic broadband installer arrived first. 35/33mBit/s. Not bad for a 30/30 service. The techician was competent, professional and polite. I had to open a new network to get my machine to recognise the new service. It was only a matter of minutes before I was live again. My old service was 4/0.4mBit/s. So I have an 8x faster download and over 60x faster upload. YouTube videos taken only a couple of minutes to upload instead of over 40 minutes!

Then I had to ride into Assens for the 2nd silo demolition. It was supposed to be at 11.30 but after several false starts it was well over an hour late. Lots of people gave up and went home. It was freezing! -3C with a 20mph wind gusting higher. Fortunately my wife had insisted I take a duvet jacket to put on or I'd have given up too. Riding home afterwards, against the cold wind, was 'orrible!

Finally I had to go and collect my car from the workshop. The rear end had been damaged by a moron in a car park shunt. His insurance had accepted full liability. 20 miles. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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