25 Apr 2012

25th April 2012

Gelskov gods
25th 42-57F, 6-14C, quite still at first but becoming breezy, very thick mist clearing by 10am, overcast clearing to occasional sunny periods. As I had promised myself I returned the way I came back yesterday. Revisiting Ringe's two cycle shops. I thought I was fighting a gentle headwind but it was just my forward motion. Everything was dripping wet including the hair on my legs. I couldn't keep my glasses clear enough to see the road some of the time. The cars were driven by lunatics as usual.

Neither shop could offer touring or MTB shoes in my size. Which, believe it or not, would mean EU48 in Shimano! Just to match the Tahoe 46. I usually take a 45 in smart casual shoes. Shimano should get its act in gear! The size 47 was almost impossible to get on and hurt like hell when I did! Anybody ordering shoes online would be almost bound to be disappointed unless they had previously found the right size.

 Coming back was even more painful than going! I seem to have found some new muscles which were never there before. I also seem to be sitting on some of them and it hurts!! No sign of ordinary saddle soreness with the Vetta SL so far. Though it feels completely different to the Brooks. I was hardly ever aware of the Brooks. I wish I could forget the Vetta! :-)

It was quite a struggle at times on the way back. I really need a rest day! The forecast is rain all day tomorrow. An ideal excuse. Perhaps I should take more rest days but ride further on the days when I do go out.

The Tricycle Association Spring Gazette arrived in the post. As has my order for a set of SPD cleats. £5.50 including postage with a next day service! Beat that! Full marks to Cykelpartner.dk! They wanted well over £16 (equivalent) in one shop in Ringe. I always read the TA Gazette from cover to cover. There's an interesting piece by Geoff Booker of Trykit fame on trike design and handling. Quite a number of trikes and tandems for sale as well. TA membership is only £10 per annum and includes four copies of the gazette. 46 miles today.

26th  48F, 9C, already wet and windy. Things to do. A rest day. Lunch time: Ironically, it hasn't rained for hours and now the sun is trying to come out. Rest days always seem so empty!

I was reading in the TA gazette about the mileages some quite elderly tricyclists do in training. 300 miles a week. That's 7 x 43 or 6 x 50 or 5 x 60 or 4 x 75 or 3 x 100! I have a very long way to go yet! I'll have to add a column for my weekly mileage to my records to see how I'm progressing.

Believe it or not my cadence reading computer has lost most of its digits. I'll try swapping batteries again. It worked! Simply removing and refitting the battery reset the screen. Then all I needed to do was reset all the menu items. Most importantly: Km/Hr and 1667 for wheel circumference for cadence reading.

I swapped the shoe cleats and backed off the SPD pedal tension. All the unwanted slack is taken up again. You will remember to grease the cleat fixing screws, won't you?. Yes, Chris! I also re-glued the toe caps with contact adhesive. Though I don't hold out much hope of it holding. I'm keeping the sticky surfaces apart with wood screws while the glue dries. Now it has started pouring down! Grrr.

I don't know of a single shoe repairer any more. Or I could have tried my luck with them. There are plenty of miles in the Tahoes yet if only the bumpers would stick back on. 17,000 miles over two years from new doesn't seem long enough to me. It doesn't really matter if the new cleats tap in the supermarket aisles. I get odd looks already from the rural pensioners. Hang on! I am a rural pensioner! But still without the pension.

27th 54-60F, 12-15C, full sun, windy. The wind was already roaring in the trees when I set off at about 8am. I was in the middle of Odense within an hour and a quarter. Where I found all the bike shops didn't open until 10am! So I killed time by pottering around Odense's cycle paths trying to find a shop that was open. I added a few miles and ended up a long way from the centre.

A pair of Mavic MTB shoes at £100 equiv were the first which fitted. Except that they were rather too narrow for my big feet. They were incredibly light and stiff with a clever(?) tensioning and fastening system.  I couldn't make a decision so decided to go on to the next shop. Nothing in my size there. On again, to the next shop where I had bought the Specialized Tahoes. None of the Specialized or Shimano MTB shoes were at all comfortable. They felt like boxes, the toes were too pointed and the heels slipped off.

 I decided against another pair of restyled Tahoes. The originals have served me well but they are heavy, big and very soft in the sole. Though 27,000 km or 17k miles in two years is nothing to complain about. I need to be able to walk normally in my cycling shoes in the supermarkets. So road shoes are completely out.

On to the next, several shops. Where they had nothing suitable in my size. So I took a chance and visited the Design Cykler shop in the Rosengård Centre. A truly vast shopping mall. They have their shop along the corridor. It is now tucked away in a new extension to the Blue entrance. Their other branch right in the city centre was still closed when I had passed earlier.

Here I was treated with respect, intelligence and patience despite all the customers who had suddenly arrived after me. The Bontrager Race is only an entry-level MTB shoe but they were instantly comfortable. I tried the next size up, EU47, because my feet were hot. They were also used to the sloppy fit of the well-worn Tahoes. A bit of gentle prodding discovered that my big toes were nowhere near being crushed against the toecaps. Not even in the smaller size 46.

So I bought them at 599DKK. Roughly £60 equiv. I just hope they last as well as the Tahoes. They are almost all black with three normal, Velcro straps. None of the fancy fasteners and automatic tensioners of the other shoes at higher prices. But they fitted like a pair of real shoes and instantly felt like they belonged to me.

Though not as aggressive in the sole pattern for climbing vertical muddy banks. The solid tread bodes well for long wear before the cleats start grounding. They didn't have the very low heel and tipped up toe of the other MTB shoes. So walking was much more natural. They feel very light and nicely stiff in the sole. I'll look forwards to my first ride tomorrow.

Then it was time to head back home. 25 miles straight into a 20mph head wind with higher gusts. I did some shopping at half way to have a rest from the continuous effort. Arriving home nearly six hours after leaving with only 49 miles on the computer. I decided not to wear the shoes home as I need to fit the new cleats first.

Luckily my wife had supplied me with plenty of biscuits, a cheese sandwich, a banana and a bottle of water. So I didn't run out of energy towards the end like I usually do. I am still finding new and sore muscles. Which never brought attention to themselves before with my lower daily mileages. Presumably I'm trying harder too. Or my muscles wouldn't be complaining. I am persevering with the Vetta SL saddle too. Despite it forcing me to sit on sore muscles. No pain without gain. Or words to that effect.

Nearly forgot. Lots of hare about on my way to Odense. I also saw my first Goldfinch of this year. The route right into Odense is remarkably green from the West if you avoid the main roads.

28th 42F, 6C, medium wind, heavy overcast. Rain started at half way so I nipped into the cycle shop in Assens. I wanted to check whether the new shoes would fit inside some waterproof overshoes. I couldn't find any that would easily fit over the huge Tahoes. The thin, rubbery, GripGrab XXXXL Orca overshoes fitted like a glove and weren't too expensive at 225DKK or £25 equiv. I shall avoid walking on them as much as possible to avoid damaging the webbing on and around the sole. Somebody really should regulate the sizing of cycling gear. That Orca means 'whale' and the XXXXL are supposed to be size 49 surprises me not in the slightest. 

The new Bontrager MTB shoes were fine. Comfortable but nicely stiff in the sole. Walking is no problem. Though they are rather loud when I'm walking about in the supermarkets. The soles are a rather hard material. A few people actually looked up to see who was making all the noise. Perhaps they were hoping for a blonde in high heels. Not a silver-bearded pensioner clomping about in cycling shorts. :-)

It rained hard all the way home with a turbulent 10 o'clock wind. The overshoes kept my socks bone dry. This was also the first real test of the Aldi jacket. The wrists of my long sleeved vest were wet when I reached home. Otherwise I was dry except for my sopping wet cycling shorts. The jacket's netting lining felt a bit damp. Probably condensation rather than penetrating rain. The SS "Activity" gloves stayed dry inside. Not a bad result for that amount of rain. I should have taken my TA cap to keep the rain off my yellow sunglasses! Riding in a cycling helmet but without any hat is worse than going bareheaded. Only 22 miles. My legs are still aching at times.

I refitted the Brooks Professional this afternoon. Then gave it a coat of Proofide with my bare fingers to help it soak in as it wasn't very warm. I also gave the saddle tension nut a half turn as it felt quite loose. The Vetta SL wasn't really uncomfortable. It just exaggerated the pain of sitting on sore muscles. Muscles which I had completely failed to notice previously with the Brooks. I remember I used to get exactly the same pain when I road a Unica Nitor, plastic saddle in my youth.

 29th 46-56F, 8-13C, blowing a gale, overcast clearing to occasional sunny periods. It spat with rain on and off. At first I tried to ride with the wind over my shoulder to put some distance away from home. That went on for about 10 miles of clinging on to avoid joining the scenery. Then I punctured on glass riding through the woods. Then came the long slow drag almost straight into the wind. I tacked across country seeking as much hedge shelter as I could. Then came a load of shopping in several supermarkets.  Only the last short leg was really with the wind.

Glad for the Brooks being back on again. No pain at all. The right shoe is squeaking. Almost like a chirrup when I pedal. Not sure why. The left shoe doesn't make any noise. More and more greenery in the hedges. Though the beach trees aren't in leaf yet. 31 miles.

30th 54F, 12C, lighter winds and sun promised all day. I'll go out with a vest for the first time this year. It was a little chilly but the wind was light. Later, the wind turbines stopped completely. It was a pleasant day for a ride. I went to the unspoilt coast and then on down to Assens. Where I took some pictures of some tall ships. One of which was in for repairs. Though it was hidden behind a carrier which made the hull inaccessible for photographs. New shoes still comfortable.  23 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


21 Apr 2012

Black/Gold Longstaff on eBay


George Longstaff One Wheel Drive Tricycle frame
wheels, gears & brakes

Frame tubing : Reynolds 531 Designer Select.
Frame size :    21 ½” Top Tube.      21 ¾”  Seat Tube.
Longstaff rear hubs.   Campagnolo front.
Mavic Argent 3D rear rims.   Mavic MA40 front rim
Gears: Front – Suntour Cyclone.   Rear – Shimano Deore.
Freewheel: Suntour 6 speed.
Sprockets: 13. 15. 16. 21. 25. 28.
Brakes: Campagnolo sidepull.   Shimano cantilever.
Headset: Campagnolo Record Strada/Road.
Longstaff brazed on luggage rack with lamp and pump bosses
Bottle cage bosses – 2 sets.

Also included
Chrome gear hanger and aluminium freewheel boss.

Special features
Provision for internal dynamo wireing from seat tube to top of downtube.
2 lamp bosses on each front fork.

The paintwork is in reasonable condition except at top of downtube where I used to wrap a quick release strap round the tube and front wheel to stop the trike escaping when I parked it! (See picture)

 The Campagnolo brake shoes have had their rear ends sawn off. (See picture)

The paint is missing from the end of the right front fork end. Trevor Jarvis of Flying Gate frames brazed on a new mudguard boss and I never got round to repainting.

Pickup Only 


Difficult to do justice to such excellent photography in the blog format.
I have reduced and lightened all of the original images.
Arranging them neatly with blog editing facilities is quite another matter.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

Green Longstaff trike on eBay

George Longstaff Tricycle 2wd (Trike)

"George Longstaff Trike. Trykit 2 wheel drive conversion (the single wheel drive axles are included in the sale) Shimano Ultegra 10 speed sti's and cassette, 105 front and rear mech, Campagnolo CX 46/36 chainset with shimano spd's (crank length 172.5) Carradice saddlebag and Cateye cordless computer, Saddle and saddle pack pictured are not included but I will fit a Fizik Nisene saddle. I can post in the uk but I will have to send it in 2 packages (frame in 1 and the wheels in the other) so postage cost will reflect this, any questions please ask. 21" top tube c to c and 20 1/2" seat tube c to c."

A small, well equipped (Trykit 2WD) lugless Longstaff. 
The seller is looking for £900 Buy it Now. Probably a lot cheaper than buying a scruffy wreck, repainting it and fitting all that tasty kit on it.

Amazing: It actually sold for £900! This probably means every eBay trike seller will raise their prices to match!  

17 Apr 2012

Officially a twirly-gammel prut!

17th April 2012 42F, 5C, light breeze becoming very windy, sunny periods. Where do I queue for my long service medal to CO2 reduction? ;-)

The local, industrialised, pig's diarrhoea producer is going backwards and forwards at ten minute intervals collecting mud to put on the roads. Great clouds of brown dust are drifting as every vehicle passes over it.

Did I forget to say that he's dumping vast quantities of pig's diarrhoea on the fields and urine at the same time? For literally days on end! There are black puddles in the spray tracks where they have plastered so much shit on the fields. And he's subsidised by the taxpayer to do this? I'm a taxpayer. So I'm paying his wages. How come I can't sack him for his antisocial behaviour?

Is laying down a 4" layer of mud on a main road even legal? Who would be responsible if a school bus crashes on the mud and 50 children are killed? The taxpayer? Or the mobile phone operator on the tractor? I deliberately don't eat pork but taxes are unavoidable. Unless, of course, one is rich enough not to pay any tax at all. Or a farmer. Which amounts to much the same thing.

 The Erholm grounds were laid out in the English style in the 1850s. This is only a fraction of the front lawn. The rural estate is enormous with many houses and agricultural buildings on the hills above Aarup.

I'd better fit some MTB tyres on Mr Higgins. So I can go and collect my pension. A mask and oxygen bottle might be a good idea too. For myself, not Mr Higgins. He's younger than I am. He'll have to fend for himself. I'm officially an old fart!

As I reached 20 miles it started sleeting! I was going to cross country to continue shopping but felt rather too cold for that. So it was straight home for coffee and rolls. Then out again. With my tights pulled up over my head and tied in a knot. To try and keep my cheeks warm. 24 miles so far.

You would not believe the stench! The government advises that we throw open the windows every day to keep the indoors healthy. Try doing that here and you'd need to leave home! 14 more miles later. (holding my breath all the way!) My clothes waft the stink every time I move. Definitely an early shower!

18th 42-51F, 6-11C, overcast, cold, breezy. Early showers forecast to clear. I'll go out later despite the forecast 30mph gusts. Both my wife and I are coughing continuously. Too much of a coincidence? Or ammonia poisoning from overdosing on pig shit? It was windy too! 20 miles.

Lunaria or Honesty on a roadside bank.

19th 48-56F, 9-13C, strong easterly wind, sunny. I was averaging an effortless 20-25mph going and struggling to do 10 mph coming back. A well sheltered junction had the inside wheel right off the ground. As I cleared the tall hedges I was hit by an unexpected gust through the narrow gap. With a scooter pushing me along I had no choice but to take it at speed. I was just able to put the wheel down before I hit the kerb.

Spring has finally sprung. With the first insects becoming a nuisance. Even a wasp buzzed around me outside a supermarket. A fly shot in my eye despite the wrap around sunglasses. There seem to be a lot of geese hanging around in pairs. I heard an owl in the woods. Some of the the trees are bursting into leaf and flower. Mostly willows and blackthorn. Others still look lifeless or are in bud. Daffodils in the verges for the last week. 29 miles.

20th 42-50F, 6-10C, windy, overcast, light rain. It was supposed to rain all morning but there was only a light shower. I kept going. It was a head wind all the way there. Then it turned more southerly and weakened when I should have been helped home. Grrr?  37 miles to buy a £2 pack of machine screws? That was not including all the wasted journeys to other outlets scattered around my usual area. Madness!

A restored period farmhouse.

21st 40-55F, 4-13C, misty, light winds, sunny periods promised. I lifted the trike onto the scales before adding my usual bag of detritus. It came to exactly 18 kilos. Or 40 lbs by the time I have added my biscuits and camera. I repaired a mudguard with new pop rivets after a bridge broke free on yesterday's ride. I ran a small drill through each broken rivet to weaken them enough to fall out. A fine day for a ride except for it being cold at first and the annoying headwind. Not satisfied with 20lbs of shopping. I had to add a big bag of sewing compost on top! Fortunately some of the weight was taken by the mudguards. 30 miles.

Traditional woven fences.

22nd 46-54F, 8-12C, light winds, mostly sunny. Thick overnight mist clearing to a fine day for a ride. I was searching for fresh bread. So worked my way along a chain of outlets trying to find a good sell-by date. A nuisance headwind on the way back made it more tiring than it need have been. Still managed 40 miles and have to go out again. 11 miles later. No ill effects from this morning's ride. It showered lightly going both ways.

I thought I'd try and take some of the slack out of the SPD cleats/pedals. It wasn't the Tahoe soles coming loose, as I had thought. Nothing I did in the way of pedal adjustment, with an Allen key, had any effect. More research obviously needed.

23rd 46-52F, 8-11C, windy, cool, sunny periods. My legs really felt it from yesterday. Aching all over and particularly sore around the knees. Tired too. I wore my tights again today and resented the restriction of movement. Shoe cleats now so loose they kept clipping out. I managed to remove the cleats from my shoes and then replaced them again. Ready for a swap for new cleats if I can get some tomorrow. I ran the pedal adjustment screws from one end to the other but it made no difference. The rubber toe bumpers on the Tahoes are completely detached now. I tried some contact adhesive but it would not hold. Perhaps I let the glue dry for too long? Though it said up to 2 hours. I gave it an hour in the weak sunshine with several wood screws to keep the glued surfaces apart.  

The new 9 speed KMC chains, which my brother sent me for my birthday, have arrived. Very interesting side plate forming. Thanks very much, Dave! :-)

A remarkable number of Yellowhammer birds about this year. Normally they are quite unusual. I must have seen 20 in less than three miles. They seem to like roadside hedges opposite the open fields where they forage. They are outnumbering Chaffinches at the moment. 23 miles today.

24th 46-50F, 8-10C, windy, sunny but becoming overcast with spots of rain. Before leaving I fitted the Vetta SL saddle as an experiment. The Brooks had been making me saddle sore lately. The trouble was the Vetta saddle was too high and I left the correct, Imperial-sized spanner behind. What an idiot! The Vetta felt very strange at first. As if I was rocking on two sponge pads. Now I was sitting on painful muscles which I needed to go along. There is no such feeling with the Brooks.

Here is an old image of the Higgins with Vetta SL saddle. I made sure it was dead level today.

With my Tahoe shoes disintegrating I thought I'd better do a decent ride before the forecast rain set in. So I rode down to Fåborg on the south coast. (Pron.Fawborg) The only Shimano MTB shoes in EU46 were like trying on size 40! They were agony!  As I couldn't find what I wanted there I headed North towards Odense. The climb out of Fåborg is superb! It goes on and on climbing for miles with flat bits in between. There was quite a strong side wind most of the way. I saw a few young clubmen out training. I envy them that superb road with all the hills! It must be very fast going down towards Fåborg.

A couple of keen cyclists, of my own age, pulled out onto the first part of the hill as I approached. I easily accelerated away from them. Glancing back at the first corner I saw them at least half a mile down. I must have had at least a 10 kilo (20lb) disadvantage on their lightweight racers.

I was hoping I was headed straight for Ringe but I was on the wrong main road and missed the shortest (unmarked) route. So I couldn't look in the big bike shop in Ringe. It would have added over 15 miles to my route if I had taken the only marked turning and it was already quite late. Only then did I find a public information map in a lay-by. I shall have to print out a map of Fyn for such moments.

Nothing else for it but to head home via the supermarkets to do my daily shopping. I was going remarkably well despite the wind and legs still aching from the last few day's rides. I was often in considerable pain but kept pushing hard. In fact I was stronger than I have ever been of late. Probably due to the slightly increased mileage I have been doing. Thankfully an over the shoulder tailwind helped me home. Now I have Ringe as a suitable goal for my next, slightly longer ride. I'd better check their opening hours first! 47 miles.

Later, I lowered the Vetta saddle by 1/4" and put the spanner safely in the bag. I have always wondered whether the cyclist breaks in a saddle or the saddle breaks in a cyclist. Now I shall find out.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

13 Apr 2012

Newton on eBay

Hand Built Lightweight Racing/Touring Trike.

Newton trike on eBay

 "Hand Built Lightweight Racing/Touring Trike.

I have for sale an almost mint condition tourning  C21 touring trike by Roman Road Cycles.

The C21 uses a purpose-built tricycle frame, which has been designed to meet a variety of uses.  The frame is mostly built from Reynolds or Columbus tube, and construction is by bronze welding.  The absence of the traditional top tube makes the machine easier to mount, which is especially important to those with partial disability, while the use of a specially modified large-bore tube gives ample rigidity.  The C21 shares with the Newton conversion the "Tadpole" Kendrick-style layout with centre rear wheel drive, which allows the use of almost any conventional bicycle gear set and gives unrivalled traction as the rider's weight is directly over the driven wheel.  It also has the same steering arrangement which gives excellent stability and good handling. 

The frame is made with a fixed seat tube, and head tube angles of around 72° - the head tube isn't, in fact, a head tube but it's in the same place as a bicycle head tube would be from the rider's viewpoint.  

Equipment can be specified for various cycling activities, the one shown above is a fairly small frame set up as a light touring machine.  The frame is obviously heavier than a bicycle, but the overall weight is not excessive with lightweight wheels, tyres and equipment.  The machine can be specified with almost any normal cycle equipment.  Standard front brakes are mechanical discs on Hope hubs, which are fitted with our own design of 20mm quick-release axles; this makes it much easier to get the machine into a car.   

 Prices depend  very much on equipment specified, but start at about £1750 for a good but not too expensive setup, using mostly mid-range equipment.  We don't see the point in having a custom-built frame and fitting cheap parts to it! 

23.5” Frame Reynolds tubing, 2 Front Wheels, 1 Rear wheel.
Avid BB7 Disc Breaks
700c Wheel, Mavic rims, Hope Hubs Stainless Steel Spokes
SRAM Front & Rear Mech
8 gear rear touring  block
Campag Front Twin Chainset  & Bottom Bracket

About 4yrs ago, when I realised I could no longer ride a 2 wheeler,  I had the frame, wheels with discs built for me, by Roman Road Cycles,  and put the rest together, to suit my needs. It has a touring rear block, with a campag twin chainset, giving a good spread of gears.
I have now reached the stage where I can no longer get the use out of the machine because of my disability. Hence the sale."

12 Apr 2012

Ken Rogers trike on CTC forum

KEN ROGERS TRICYCLE / TRIKE / built 1996 / very good condition

by Michael-Gruetzner » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:59 am

For sale is a Ken Rogers Tricycle made in 1996. Condition is very good. Had only very little miles (under 100). It was originally a 22" Don Farrell frame new from the 1970s. 531 frame with Campagnolo drop outs. Bicycle has been professionally converted by tricycle maker Ken Rogers in 1996 and had next to no use since. 3 very lightly used Rigida rimmed wheels (all new as part of the conversion laced on to Ken's hubs), Shimano Crane rear mech, Stronglight 49D crankset, GB 'bars in a Mavic stem, double front brake, Campagnolo seat post.

It was standing in a Garage for considerable time. A few chips here and there - but overall very good condition. Tyres have not been changed (slightly cracking) but work fine.

Traditional one-wheel-drive.

I bought it only recently but got another tricycle so this one has to go. It rides absolutely fabulous.

Looking for 410 Pounds ono.

If you have any questions, want more photos or want to view the trike, please contact me.

Cash on collection in Rickmansworth. Close to M25 or Rickmansworth train station.

10 Apr 2012

10th April 2012

10th April 43-50F, 6-10C, very windy, very wet. I'll leave it until later to see if a window opens in the weather. The forecast is rain for a week. I went out when the rain stopped mid afternoon. It started again within a few yards. I was much too warm in the Aldi jacket but stayed dry. Only 7 miles.

Site of an ancient castle. The trees form a ring. There is a dungeon pit on the left bank.  

11th 50-53F, 10-12C. Light winds clearing to sunshine after a damp start. The wind wasn't too bad. So I took off the Giordana jacket after I'd warmed up. I'd left the tights at home. On with the track mitts too. I met a fellow cyclist in a supermarket and we exchanged a few words. 17 miles.

12th 46-53F, 8-12C, almost still, sunny. An overnight frosting was quickly cleared by the sun. The bare fields were "steaming" strange clouds in spots of mist for several hours. It was rather too cold for the Giordano jacket at first but eventually it warmed up. My bare knees don't feel the cold at all. Only 14 miles.

13th Friday, 50F, 10C, just a breeze, overcast. It was supposed to rain all day but cleared up after morning coffee. Just another shopping trip. Going quite well today despite my chest being bunged up. 19 miles.

14th 48F, 9C, sunny, light winds. Cool at first but I eventually warmed up. Swapped jackets and took off my Thinsulate hat after a few miles. Went looking for hills and even found a few. To practice climbing up them! Not free-wheeling down them!

I seem to be going through a new transition. After two years of my legs shrinking steadily into well defined muscle they are now growing larger again. I don't seem to be suffering as much on the hills as I once was. Though I can't say my breathing is showing much improvement. Fortunately I do recover quite quickly.

I deliberately sought out some long hills today to test my new climbing ability. My legs just don't seem to hurt as much as they once did. It is hard to describe but they just feel strong enough to cope with the increased load of climbing. Don't get the false impression that I'm going very fast, though. 10-12mph seems about my average for a long uphill drag.

The real test, for me, is to be able to increase my rpm in the same gear on the same incline while sitting down. It sounds so easy but not for me. I am also doing a lot more of out of the saddle climbing. In the past I was lucky to manage 50 yards before the agonising pain in my legs had me quickly back in the saddle. Now I can go for several hundred yards standing on the pedals without discomfort. And, in a high enough gear to use the additional speed over twiddling from the comfort of the saddle.  I'm practising pedalling faster out of the saddle too. To make it worth the extra effort and energy use.

Not that I can pull up much on the pedals. The Tahoes are far too flexible in the soles to allow much of that. It often feels as if the soles will rip right off the uppers! Feeling like half an inch of lift before the cleat to pedal tension is finally taken up. Only breathlessness is limiting my climbing distance out of the saddle now.

I have an old pair of Shimano road shoes in the shed.  The toes have always been too pointed for my size 10½-11 plates of meat. I tried stuffing the toes hard with newspaper but they didn't change shape. I think the uppers are man made. So wetting them is unlikely to help as it would with leather. It might be fun to have more pull on the pedals when climbing now. Not that they'd manage the supermarket aisles as well as the Tahoes. Though even these are wearing down to cause tapping of the cleats with every step.

I managed 155 pedal rpm for a few seconds on the flat today. Just to see how fast I could pedal. I'm wondering whether I've been pushing higher gears at lower rpm since the cadence computer fiasco. A couple of riders were out training. Both ignored me. Probably  because I was wearing my day-glo cloaking jacket. Black is the in thing. Fluorescents so yesterday.

The air was not so stinky today. Though I could smell the chemical scent as I lifted the jersey over my head. The rain must have finally washed the shit into the ground. So I had to make do with acrid, creosote from house chimneys and smelly bonfires instead. In addition to my usual biscuits I am now eating a banana on every ride as a matter of routine. I don't get so tired physically or mentally towards the end of a ride any more. So they must be working. 28 miles.

15th 48F, 9C, breezy becoming windier, sunny periods. It never did warm up. What a difference a day makes. I felt much more tired today. I still managed the hills I went looking for but not nearly as strongly. Saw quite a few cyclists out training. A bunch of about 20 clubmen went past but I had nothing left in the tank to stay with them. Finally a girl overtook me into the wind but again I had no response when  I tried to match her speed.

Saw a few Yellowhammers foraging the verge beside a ploughed field. Being watched by a large bird of prey circling overhead. Possibly a kite judging by the long, high aspect ratio wings. Certainly not a buzzard. I was racing downhill at the time. So had little time to crane my neck in its direction. 30 miles. 

16th 42-50F, 6-10C, breezy becoming windy, sunny. Overnight frost left the grass white again.  I lost something vital in the shed yesterday. So spent hours searching yesterday evening. Then I had to get up early to look for it again before going out. It was lying on the floor behind the lathe cabinet. Having rolled over the back of the shelving. Grrr.

It's not all bad news. I found some other things I had mislaid years ago. I must have wasted man years searching for missing items over my lifetime. Why couldn't I have been born tidy and organised? Why are storage tubs always too deep? Stacking trays would be far more useful.

I left after coffee to do some shopping. A side wind going. A cold headwind coming back. By then it had doubled in strength. I twisted my knee on a step. It hurts while riding or walking. Happy days. 18 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


8 Apr 2012

1st April 2012

Ist April 38-44F, 3-7C. sunny, light breeze, stinking of pig shit. First Bramblings in the garden. Overnight frost has left a white coating. The forecast is awful after a pleasant start. Wintry showers and 40mph gusts from about 10am. I have to go out anyway so it had better be early. Thanks to yesterday's sunshine the greenhouse was warm enough to dry my shoes completely. That was after several changes of newspaper stuffing to remove the worst of the wetness. I put the front mudguard back on.

The wind soon picked up and then the cloud appeared. Making it feel 10 degrees colder. Though it was actually getting steadily warmer. I took a detour along a track and lost my cadence reading computer. It is lying somewhere along the three miles of extreme roughness. Having survived without puncturing I couldn't sum up the will to go back and look for it. It was an old cheap one which didn't fit the shoe properly.

These three machines were working noisily away right beside the road to remove the last vestiges of the old sugar silos.

The last few miles into the wind were horribly cold. The SealSkinz "Activity" gloves were making my fingers ache with cold. At 44F? What a complete waste of money these were! Only 22 miles and the promised rain didn't start until 12.00. I saw quite a large bunch out training. They must have been pushing it because they were well spread out. I was the only one with bare knees. Probably a mistake on the last leg into the wind.

2nd 33-40F, 1-4C, breezy, sunny, stinking. Only gusting to 30mph instead of 40+ later. The wind felt stronger, if anything. Hands still cold. Particularly the right one. The right glove has been feeling cold and damp since the first time I wore them. I looked in a car spares chain store at their discounted cycling and motorcycle gloves. The XXLs were obviously intended for petite Asian women. I couldn't get them on! So I climbed a tree and sulked. :-)

My mirror finally fell off. The Rawlplug fixing had lasted well this time. I'll have to trim the broken end off and screw it back on. 20 miles. 

3rd 36-42F, 2-6C, only slightly breezy, cold, mostly cloudy, stinking again. A good load of shopping. Wind turbines standing still. The gloves were okay today. It never warmed up so I kept putting on and taking off jackets and hats. I was chased at one point by some clubmen out training but turned off just as they caught me. My replacement head bearings have gone sloppy again. Leading to vicious speed wobble if I relax my grip on the bars. Very hilly 23 miles.

Re-fixed the mirror stalk pm. Gave it a good tight wrap with insulating tape to reinforce it. I was lost without my mirror. It is so useful for checking what is coming up behind. Including faster cyclists. Which one doesn't hear with the wind constantly roaring in one's ears. I know this all sounds blindingly obvious. A mirror makes a ride far more relaxing. Just for being able to regularly monitor the rear view at a glance.(and is far safer than turning round to look!)

4th 36-42F, 2-6C, gales, sunny periods, smelly. The gusts were fierce and exhausting. When I wasn't riding side saddle to stay on with a side wind. I was hiding behind the handlebar stem. Just to make forward progress into a headwind. I felt really cold as well. I wore both jackets again today. Again it did not warm up enough to take one off. I was glad to have my mirror back on. I have also run bare brake cable from eye to eye of the Higgins mudguard stays. This keeps the oversized bag out of the spokes on severe bumps.

The large Km/hr readout, on the left computer, registers 1/10 of the actual cadence (pedal rpm). (wheel circumference set to 1667) This allows the computer to register above 100(rpm). Most computers are limited to 100kmh. (~62mph) Reading the true rpm soon becomes completely automatic.

I could choose something more appropriate for the lower digits. Time or air temperature perhaps? The total rpm count is rather meaningless.

Mph and miles travelled on the right. The mileage reading is exactly 300 short of this year's running total.  The battery went flat in the cold of January. Remember to fit a new battery on January 1st if you want an accurate running total! Yes, Chris! You'll remember to do that next year won't you? Remember what? Dogh! :-)

I had a nasty shock this morning. I saw a van driver who's hand had somehow become detached from his mobile phone. I couldn't bear to see him suffering like that. So I called an ambulance. The crew told me it was very lucky I had rung them immediately despite the lack of obvious blood loss. They said the driver may recover normal functions fairly quickly provided he had emergency surgery to re-attach his phone. However, the long term psychological effects could take years to get over. There was even the possibility he might suffer symptoms of detachment for the rest of his life. 23 miles.

5th 16-44F, -6+7C, very light breeze, sunny and cloudless. A perfect day for a ride. Except that my knees were aching most of the time. Too much ladder work up trees and swinging sledge hammers and splitting axes at unwanted tree stumps!

I finally found the docking station for the matching £6 bike computer. It was put away indoors in a safe place! Grrr? 
I was determined to put some miles in so I headed out into the wilderness of fields and woods via lanes north of the motorway. Despite my knees aching I was still climbing well. There were a few club cyclists out training. I had one hilarious moment. As I was descending fast around a steep hairpin bend two cyclists were coming up. I was hanging right off the side to keep the trike in shape. We nearly met in the middle!

Lots of wildlife off the beaten track and beside the roads. Though it was  a bank holiday. So traffic was very light. Apart from the usual buzzards I disturbed a smaller, almost all white, bird of prey. With curved, sharply pointed, medium length wings and a rather small head. It floated just above me along the verge and then settled into a tree. So we could both have a good look at each other. It looked rather fierce!

I saw a medium sized bird with a raised crest and similar markings to a female chaffinch. As far as I know Skylarks don't perch. I immediately thought Waxwing but can't be sure. It looked very similar to one. Though I only caught a glimpse as I shot past. 33 miles. Now I have to go and be unkind to some more trees in the garden.

6th Rain at last! A rest day. Lazy git! It would give my knees a rest. Oh, all right then. My last rest day was the 18th of February. 48 days ago! This is not a pastime. It's OCD! :ø)

7th Started with snow, the came sunshine but the wind is gusting over 40mph. Another rest day. Waiting in all day for the telephone to ring.

8th 38-41F, 3-5C, still but picking up to a steady breeze. Rather cold but clear sunny sky. My legs were rather stiff and achy today. I was overtaken by a couple of riders as they cruised effortlessly past at 18mph. I tried to stay with them but couldn't. It was too nice a day not to make a ride of it. Most of the shops were closed for Easter Sunday. Those that were open had no milk. I still managed 31 miles.

9th 42F, 6C, breezy, continuous rain or drizzle. I had to go out on an errand. The Aldi jacket was fine. It felt wet outside but I was dry inside. Where it mattered. The SS Activity gloves were wet outside but dry inside. Only 7 miles isn't much of a test I suppose.

Click on any image for an enlargement.