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! :ΓΈ)

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.


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