12 Feb 2012

12th Feb 2012


Ice in Assens harbour.

12th 30-35F, -1+2C, breezy, overcast but clearing. Above freezing for first time in ages! The roads were very wet. The ridges of frozen slush has been replaced by wet slush. The wind had driven snow back onto the roads from the fields. Only 14 miles.

Down at the beach the sea looked inviting for a quick dip.
Mr Higgins retorted that he'd seen quite enough salt for one year.

13th 20-32F, -7-0C, almost still, patchy cloud clearing to sunny. Cold at first. So I wore the thin, Giordano day-glo jacket over the Aesse. It came off after ten miles.   I joined a road just as a cyclist passed. As we both free-wheeled downhill she left me behind. I had to pedal quite hard to catch up again. Then I overtook on the following climb. She was riding a fat tired, modern roadster. Mr Higgins was heavily laden. There must be some drag somewhere. I was too warm later. My back was quite wet. The pretty hoar frost was beginning to burn off by the time I reached home again. 21 miles.

14th 31-35F, 0+2C, still, heavy overcast, misty, wet. Light, new snow frozen to the ground. It wasn't raining except from the overhanging trees. My glasses kept getting wet. The roads were wet and slushy in places. A thoroughly depressing day. The Aesse jacket was too warm even on on its own. Back to the Belstaff tomorrow.

I had an email from the helpful cycle dealer I visited on Saturday. His rep recommended the Sealskinz kj301 "Activity" gloves. At £60 a pair that's a hell of a risk if they don't work completely reliably down to -15C. Plus waterproofing, breathability and windproofing all taken as a given. They also lack any cycling padding in the palm.

I think these were similar to the ones I tried at another cycle shop. Nicely made, roomy but felt oddly thin compared with my bulky Thinsulate 40gr ski gloves. Without any temperature range suggestion I wasn't going to spend that kind of serious money. Luckily it is much warmer now. So the pressure is off to find better gloves. So I can continue my research. Probably for next year now judging by the rising temperatures. 13 miles.

15th 34-40F, 1-4C, windy, full sun. Yesterday's thaw followed by overnight frost had left the roads covered in black ice. Sheets of bumpy water ice from snow melt added to the fun. No problem on a trike but drivers weren't altering their behaviour to match. The wind was forecast northerly, base 20 mph with gusts to 40mph. It certainly wasn't remotely that bad. At least not yet. Too warm in the Aesse jacket again despite the cold wind. Fingers and toes no problem today. 23 miles.

I while back I had a go at the Danish government for raising fines for cycling offences. Amongst these was an £80 fine for riding on the pavement. By sheer coincidence the Danish Post Office also had the law changed. To force all home owners to put their postboxes on the edge of their property. So that they were easily accessible from a van window or scooter. It said so in the instructions sent out to all home owners. They hope to reduce costs by making delivery more efficient.

Guess what? The Postpersons, on their official PO scooters, are now riding the entire length of many village roads and streets on the pavement! Often travelling at high speed from one detached house to the next. All along the pavement! Often obscured from those leaving their homes by high hedges. Many village residents are elderly.

One rule for the Post Office and another for ordinary cyclists? It would seem so.  It certainly offers a get-out clause for any cyclist caught riding on the pavement. Perhaps I should make a citizens arrest of a token postperson. In the interests of public order and road safety of course? ;o))

The crew of a downed British bomber are commemorated by a stone.
It stands midway between Gamtofte church and the vicarage near Assens.
The large church, shown below, dates from the 1100s. Though not in its present form. 

16th 28-35F, -2+2C, light breeze, sunny, turning to cloud with rain forecast for later. Despite the warning for icy roads an early start would be sensible. The Head Gardener insisted I wear the Aesse jacket and was right as usual. It was one of those raw days despite the positive temperatures. I had a real struggle to find any decent rice in any of the shops. So I ended going to four shopping villages instead of one. Talk about riding round in circles!

It became darker and darker until it started raining around 11.30am as promised. Then it started persisting down for the last 7 mile leg. So I put on my cape just for a change. It was hard to keep a deep puddle from forming in the cloth sagging between the brake levers. I was soon fairly damp and getting slowly colder. The price of wearing non-breathable nylon. The ground was still treacherous back at home. With water lying over ice and the soil still rock hard with permafrost.

 At least it washed some of the mud off my Tahoe shoes. I'm sure Mr Higgins was also grateful for a rinse to remove some of the road salt from his nether regions. The chain has suddenly started jumping in some gears!  26 miles by i-gotU logger. Or 28 miles by Ventus GPS. Take your pick.

I tidied the bike shed this afternoon! Only a few more man-years and it will be lovely! The worst thing you can ever do is to take a picture of an untidy shed. You see things in the picture which the eye has cheerfully learned to ignore! Aaargghhh! :-)

The sea is still frozen. A white reef marks the rougher ice where stronger currents run.

17th 36-43F, 2-6C, light winds, sunny periods. The thaw is under-way. Lots of puddles on the roads. I punctured on rocks hidden in the mud dragged off the fields by farmers. They have started to spread their stinking pig shit. I visited lots of shops looking for a clear case or bottle for the MD80 video camera. Still no luck. 25 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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