7 Mar 2012

7th March 2012


7th 33-36F, 1-2C, very windy, heavy overcast. I had a mid-morning appointment so was short of time for a decent ride. Despite this I rode across country via farm tracks to reach my goal. It was very rough going but still saved some time. The farmers have sprung into action. With spraying in gales, pig shit and chemicals and laying down mud on the roads. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they don't claim EU agricultural support for the roads they mess up. The freeze dried mud makes huge clouds of brown dust when lorries and cars run over it. 14 miles.

8th 34-48F, 1-9C, breezy, sun promised. Thin overnight snow. It was much windier than I would have liked. The crosswinds were icy cold even at 48F on the way home. Meanwhile I was sweating like a pig in the Aesse jacket. I tried to help an old chap whose chain had come off his electric invalid trike. Luckily it had front wheel hub drive and he was determined to go to the bike shops for repairs. So I didn't need to get involved after all. 23 miles.

9th 40-46F, 4-8C, grey, windy. I don't know how I managed it but there was a headwind both ways. I went back to the Aldi jacket and it was fine. The latest sports bag gave up when the zip broke. Bought a huge replacement in a charity shop. I'm hoping the Higgins mudguard stays will keep it all tidy. Masses of shopping. Nearly 15 kilos. Only 15 miles.

10th 40-43F, 4-6C, windy, dark grey, spitting with rain, misty, miserable. Just a tootle to the shops. I hate the wind! The new big bag is staying still thanks to the mudguard stays. It has enormous capacity! But it only rests on the rack when open. Which is better than nothing but puts all the load on the straps/handles when hooked over the saddle.

The Aldi jacket is still my daily wear. It has all the advantages of a windproof shell but with decent ventilation. It still hasn't been tested in the wet. Hardly a drop has fallen on me since I bought it. Cheap insurance against bad weather!

The woods and hedges are still being cleared everywhere I go. I was almost caught by a group of cyclists out training but turned the other way just before they reached me. Only 14 miles.

11th 40-48F, 4-8C, windy, dark grey overcast. I found the warm level of the Aldi jacket and put on the Giordano instead. It was a bit cool but better than sweating. Yet again, it felt too dark, grey and miserable for photography. 30 miles.

12th 42-48F, 6-9C, very windy, overcast. I have been blown about, cruised at 25mph, climbed at 20mph and crawled at 7mph today. Am I having fun yet? The huge bag was stuffed with shopping and I had to hang a carrier bag off the back as well. 25 miles.

 A silly picture but I couldn't find a clear spot to capture this old farmhouse.

13th 42-49F, 6-10C, very windy, overcast with few sunny periods. The sun came out when I arrived home. Over 10kg (22lbs) of shopping.

What the hell has happened to the British Post Office? We sent a registered letter to the UK. It left Denmark overnight and then took 5 days to get there! 6 days to update that it was finally delivered yesterday. £8 quid extra on top of postage. What a rip-off! Given £8 worth of biscuits I could have pedalled there in 6 days! I wonder if Mr Higgins can swim?

I was fighting the wind again today. I was too warm in the Aldi jacket so put on the Giordano. Then it felt as if it was blowing straight through me. The SealSkinz 'Activity' gloves are now far too sweaty! What a waste of money! I'm going back to my £5 supermarket cycling gloves tomorrow! They are on their second year and as good as new. 20 miles.

14th 42-50F, 6-10C, windy, mostly sunny. Not so windy as the last two days.  Feeling a bit weird today. Sweaty, odd headaches and feeling tired. I was overtaken by a kid on an MTB but had no energy to chase him. Just wandering from one supermarket to the next looking for stock. My average is still above 20 miles per day for the year so far. Better than last year but the weather has been less wintry. 27 miles.

15th 41F, 5C, dark grey, windy and cold. Yesterday was warm enough for fingerless gloves. Today the cheap gloves were very cold! My huge bag keeps sticking a corner into the spokes. So I ran a tight cord from the carrier frame to the Higgins mudguard stays. This seems to work well. I need to do something rather more permanent to allow me to use these big sports bags reliably. Feeling better today but still not very strong. Perhaps I need another rest day? If it turns wet, as promised, I will use that as an excuse. 25 miles.

 16th 36-51F, 2-11C, still, forecast very windy with bright sunshine. I tootled off earlier than usual to get some miles in before I started shopping. I soon warmed up and the Aldi jacket was swapped for the Giordano after only 3  miles of mostly climbing. Without any particular route in mind I followed each new side turning which I hadn't explored before. I travelled miles along narrow lanes without seeing a living soul or any vehicle.

Later I was sprayed by a farmer in a strong headwind. So I was exposed for quite a while with no alternative route to avoid the illegal moron. I have no idea what was in the big spray tank.

Then I travelled past a huge, pig shit spreader doing its worst for the environment. My clothes stink of pig shit now I am back at home. Sadly my wife had already put some sheets on the washing line. She can forget all about doing that again. For at least two months in this area! It even stinks of pig shit indoors with all the windows closed! Taxpayer subsides and profit comes first! Human rights to enjoy one's property do not.

A '59 Chevy 'Apache' at the supermarket.
 Five years younger than Mr Higgins!  
Original paintwork too!

I had to fight the last 10 miles into the wind. My quads felt sore when I tried to pedal fast towards the end of my ride. I was also close to getting the knock after such an early breakfast. I felt completely hollow over the last five miles. The i-gotU GPS logger is showing 650 rides recorded. 40 miles.

17th The all-pervading, pig shit stench gets worse! 41-50F, 5-10C, heavy overcast, misty, wind forecast later. How can it be a headwind going and and a headwind coming back by the same route? The wind was at 1 o'clock on the way and 10 o'clock coming back. It was cold too! Fortunately I was able to gain some shelter from the bare, lilac hedges. Definitely an Aldi jacket and SS gloves day. Sans hat to stay cool. No obvious ill effects from yesterday's mileage or being sprayed. 

Quite a few tractors passed me on the muddy roads. Which reminded me why a trike is safer. Although I am slightly wider than a bike I don't need to weave to stay upright. I just continue on my chosen route while they roar past. Their mobile phone hand sutured permanently to their ear. 20 miles.   

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