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.
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!
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!
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.
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.