15 May 2012

15th May 2012

15th 55F, 13C, breezy, overcast with showers. Leaving after morning coffee in the hope of a clear window between showers. The promised continuous rain did not turn up! It was mild and breezy becoming more windy. I forced myself to ride a third of a greater distance almost straight into the wind. Otherwise it would have been a straight ride home again after shopping.

Buyer beware! Not all is rosy with this idyllic, historical property.

The new rack clips were hopeless. The rack kept moving. So I removed the clips. I shall have to make a flat alloy strip to rest on the chainstays. Probably pop riveted to the rack with inner tube sleeves to protect the stays. I may hang the top bar of the rack on a strip of alloy too. To get rid of most of the nylon cord.

The sad result of not renewing a thatch. Not only have the original timbers disintegrated but the dried mud bricks have suffered catastrophically from the constant exposure to rain. This is the back of the building on the left in the image above.

I have resolved to try and ride 100 miles in a day. I have studied lots of route options on Krak. (The excellent, free, Danish, mapping, aerial photography and route service) Initially, I was tempted to ride a big square route of exactly 100 miles. The much greater distance from home would make it more likely for me to finish the ride successfully. Rather than just give up when I was tired. Then I thought I might get stuck a long way from home with no chance of a lift home. (except in an incredibly expensive Danish taxi)

The old house overlooks the lake-sized pond at Sønderby near Ebberup, Assens.

So I tried several routes which would add up to three or four laps to make 100 miles in total. I know all the roads well and would never be more than 10 or 12 miles from home if I really had to walk. There would always be short-cuts to get home if I was forced to leave my route through exhaustion. This offers valuable security. But puts far more pressure on me to continue when I am very tired but still quite near home. It may become more of a psychological battle rather than merely physical. My longest trip in one go has been 60 miles in each of the last two years. I don't think I was quite as fit back then.

I haven't had any real mechanical breakdowns in two years. Punctures are only a matter of carrying spare tubes, a pump and levers. Probably over 90% of my punctures have been pinch flats. Only very rarely penetration by thorns or glass. So keeping tyre pressures high and avoiding going off-road should avoid any nasty surprises.

The final problem is time. If I average 10mph with my usual bag load of shopping I shall take 10 hours to compete 100 miles! I could strip off the rack and bag and carry only the bare minimum tools and tubes, in a tiny bag. That would probably save over ten pounds of weight Which I usually drag around with me like a snail's shell and comfort blanket combined.

I'm not sure it is worth the effort of adding clamp-on TT bars or a full set of tri-bars. I would certainly need food and drink though. My wife could hand something over if I passed close by home several times. I could call ahead on the phone to save her hanging about at the end of the drive.

I can't find any circular route which avoids lots of fairly serious hills yet remains within easy reach of home. Saying Denmark is flat is a joke around here! Though the wind would probably be the worst factor psychologically. It is becoming difficult to find a single day when the wind isn't gusting to over 30mph! 34 miles today. My cadence computer screen went blank again. Removing and replacing the old battery obviously isn't working for long enough. It didn't rain until 5pm.

pm. Riveted an alloy strap, with the bottom stay clips screwed firmly in place, to the rack. Tomorrow's forecast is wet all day with over 40mph gusts for the next two days!

The rack can only be freed by removing the blue cords and then taking the saddle pin out. It can then be lifted off the four, white, plastic, pipe clips gripping the seat stays at top and bottom. The zip ties hold one cloth handle to the rack. All the paint damage to the seat stays has been caused by the various shopping bags. I bought some mauve Humbrol paint to retouch the paintwork but it's another roundtoit job. 

It is difficult to believe, now, but many of my bags hung so low that they were often cut by the largest, gear sprocket. I hope I have finally fixed the bag support problem. From the very first I had bags swinging into the wheels on bumps and supermarket pavement ramps. Particularly the latter when taken diagonally at high speed! Which was not only dangerous but highly embarrassing as I was often brought to a complete and sudden stop. Only reversing would extract the bag from between the wheel and stays.

I could have stumped up £150 for a new rack and brazed on my own screw bosses, I suppose. I'm not sure my rack isn't lighter than most of the commercial offerings out there. Being made almost entirely of light alloy, it is also perfectly rust proof.    

 16th 44F, 7C, windy, overcast. Back to a winter jacket! The rain turned up early today but wasn't a problem. Apart from not being able to see through my sunglasses. I enjoyed the climb from Tommerup St. to Skallebølle today. It's no mountain pass but is good fun as it snakes and undulates out of the valley bottom. One corner has the most evil camber I've ever come across. (while going down the other day) The inside line is definitely one to avoid on a trike!  A bunch of riders were coming down as I went up. I got a shout and wave from them. Fortunately I was going well and holding a high cadence at the time. There was another bunch later as I was fighting the increasingly gusty, westerly wind along the main road at the top.

The rack was fine today. The new alloy strip and clips stayed put as did the very full and very heavy bag. Suddenly there are lots of Goldfinches about. I also saw a bright orange, immaculate, Karmann Ghia sports car. Some of the cars of the 60s(?) had the strangest colours imaginable. There was a greenish-gold E-type on a trailer outside a specialist, classic car garage. Very odd looking, but presumably original. I wouldn't like the fuel bill at today's prices! 30 miles.

Our hero at 45 miles. What on earth do I look like?!? I am all hunched up trying to smile into the mirror and take a photo, at full zoom,  at the same time. 

The winter jacket fits like a glove but looks like an old sack! 

The sun's shadow of my (apparently) huge, white nose is giving me a Hitler moustache! 

Finally, the trike looks far too small thanks to off-axis, convex mirror distortion. 

This is serious! Stop laughing at the back! :-)

17th 44F, 7C, windy, sunny periods. Showers forecast all morning. I wiped the trike down with an oily rag and changed the battery in the cadence computer. The sky went very dark just now then brightened up without raining. Will he or won't he go out? It's a Bank Holiday but most of the supermarkets are probably open. I finally left at 8:45.

With the gales blowing from the west I decided to head north. A spur of the moment decision eventually found me on the north coast of Fyn at Bogense. 25 miles in an hour and a half battling with the wind all the way with lots of climbing. I was treated to a couple of showers too. A 5 mile section of road had been resurfaced without gravel. So it was like the fountains of Rome! Bright arcs of spray from my wheels were catching the sunlight against the jet black road. Most of the cars gave me plenty of room. Except for one moron. Who brushed past and gave me be a free bath. There were no other cars in sight! So he could have used the full width of the road.  A fair number of cyclists out training today.

After buying some battered, but cheap, organic bananas in Bogense I turned east towards Otterup. Just cruising with the wind. Enjoying an effortless 20-25mph for about 10 miles along the undulating north coast road. Before finally turning back in the general direction of home at Nørre Nærå. (Pron: Nurruh nerroh) Signposting in Denmark is absolutely hopeless!

I had no map so was guessing my route at this point. The other problem was that I had also put myself well down wind. So had to fight more of a headwind all the way back towards the south west. It really was blowing hard at times so my (I'm lost again!) detours didn't help! I was actually going back north at one point! I was using my shadow on the road to guide me most of the time.

One can never tell which direction an unknown lane will turn just a few yards after entering it. I certainly found some winding beauties today. I was studiously watched by sheep and lambs, ponies, horses with young foals, Jersey cattle with babes, and long horned shaggy coated cattle with newborn calves as I passed. Animals seems to sense trikes where they would completely ignore a bike. It's true! 

At one point I was riding along with the headwind roaring loudly in my ears when I heard a plane flying low overhead. I turned to look up just as some young idiots came blasting past at high speed in their car! The passenger shouted something out of the window but it was lost on me. I'm 65 you know! ;-)

I was tiring towards the end of my ride but still had some miles left in my legs. 60 miles in exactly five hours including stops for shopping, bag rummaging for biscuits, bananas, drinks and photography. Four and half hours of constant pedalling according to the converted cadence computer. The journey timer only starts when I pedal and stops instantly when I don't. I don't freewheel much, at all. Not even downhill. An interesting insight to actual travel time. And time wasted when I should be pedalling!

Without the exhausting wind it would probably have been more miles in less time. 100 miles in a day doesn't seem completely beyond reach any more. I will wait for still, dry weather and for it to be much warmer to avoid overdressing and carrying unnecessary gear. I shall also avoid riding slowly to avoid the "fountain" effect on very wet roads. I knew I should have put the mudguards back on! :-)

Moated, rural, stately home with very photogenic outbuildings.

And finally, just in case anybody is still reading this nonsense: My legs have gone completely lopsided in the last week or two! My right calf is a good half inch bigger than my left. The left calf muscles are always extremely supple and well defined. The right calf is becoming bigger, rather stiff when squeezed and almost shapeless in comparison with the left!

 Can you imagine if I took this "problem" to my GP? He'd probably tell me to take my silly "triker" action pictures from the other side! Oh the awful shame of it! LOL. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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