24 May 2012

24th May 2012



I have been waiting for years to capture this old farm in the village of Strandby. Only this morning was the permanently parked car finally absent. Then I didn't seem to get the picture perfectly upright. So Mr Higgins was lost off the edge of the image in the subsequent crop. This was full wide angle, 24mm equiv. 16:9 on the TZ7. My back is already against the front of the cottage opposite. I'm not even sure I like the stark lighting from the bright, early sun. (I'll keep trying) :-)

24th 66-72F, 19-22C, breezy, warm sunshine. Just another perfect day. I took the tiny DV video camera back because it has never recharged properly. They had no new stock so I accepted a refund. I'm still considering whether to buy another one from another branch. £20 isn't a fortune but the picture quality is very dependent on a fast MicroSD card. I'd bought a Silicone Power 8GB Class 6. Reviews don't look exactly spectacular.

Sitting in perfect silence except for the birdsong and buzz of insects. Only a stone's throw from the sea. 
I took a closer shot but felt the surroundings were a large part of its gentle charm.

Still can't make my mind up about a new tyre choice. I thought Michelin Pro3 might be worth a try. My favourite (but distant) shop had no stock of Bontrager Race Lite last time. Which is why I ended up with the XLs instead. 31 miles.

Pm: Pulled the axles out and stripped the Trykit 2WD freehub. No sign of any problems. Still plenty of grease in there. So just wiped it off and applied more grease.

Pretty as a picture in the morning light.

Silly boy forgot to pass the chain over the cassette when reassembling! Grrr? Well, it was hot in the late afternoon sunshine at 72F. The pin and brass bush fell out of the new link extractor into the grass. Luckily the Head Gardener was able to spot the missing parts. I would never have seen them. Crappy factory tolerances. The link extractor. Not me! I tapped the pin and bush back in gently with a hammer. It seemed to help the retention. Forewarned is forearmed.

A skilled thatcher [tækkemanden] puts the finishing touches to his perfect work.

25th 66-75F, 19-24C, breezy, hot sunshine. I decided to go to Odense to look for new tyres. I intended to buy three folding tyres and was hoping for blue. 700x25C would have been a nice bonus. I could have bought a new set of Bontrager Racelite, in red or blue. But not in 700x25C. The 25s have proved much more reliable and more comfy than the 23s. Without loss of speed. I can easily get them online but resent the freight charges because they deny me a ride. Not to mention the pleasure of actually handing over the money. Then being able to take the toys home with me.

All the alternatives were unknown quantities except for the blue GP4000. Which are drop-dead gorgeous, have an enviable reputation but are a teeny  bit pricey for this particular pensioner. How long would they last? The shop would not move on their asking price even if I bought three. Which is fair enough except that they lost the sale.

I'm not usually a hard bargainer but this shop really gets on my nerves. The manager(?) spends all of his time talking loudly on his mobile phone as he struts the store. This has occurred on every previous visit too. So it must be a chronic habit. Thereby making real customers feel completely invisible. I was not alone in the perpetual queue for service in this spacious emporium of high end, cycling goodliness. They know who they are.

 I covered miles, criss-crossing the city, looking for more bike shops. Rather oddly, three different shops said they were expecting stock this pm. Not much help to me when their shelves were empty. Two shops told me that nobody buys coloured tyres any more. Thereby undermining a potential customer's near-£100 purchase. My taste in coloured tyres is not something I defend. Nor apologise for! I was stuck for decades with plain black tyres. I know what I like!

So I came back empty handed. Well not quite. One of the chaps at one bike shop had very kindly remembered I was looking for traditional cycling mitts. He had gone to the trouble of digging out some beauties from their stock room. Two pairs of crocheted perfection were tragically too small for my huge hands. So I was sold a pair of black, all-leather, track mitts in XL for under a tenner. Given a good soak they should ride up with wear. I'm sure Arnie would be jealous as hell. His mitts were secondhand!

 52 Miles. I'll be back! :-)

26th 66-76F, 19-25C, light breeze, hot sunshine. I decided to go window shopping for tyres in Middelfart and Fredericia. It was a good job I didn't have to rely on their stock. Because there wasn't much on offer. The cycle paths in the above mentioned towns are truly dreadful! One sunken drain was so deep there was a caving expedition camped around it with tents and ropes. They were holding a minutes silence for the three skeletons. Which they had already found at the bottom. Resting on the iron grill.

Loads of cyclists out enjoying the warm weather today. (sunken drains permitting) Most acknowledged me with a wave or a grin.  I was bit tired towards the end. Probably because I hadn't taken any extra food for a longer ride. I was able to refill my bottle at half way but it was soon gone again.

I had raised my saddle 1/4" to see if it helped my knees. It didn't and I had pain in the outer knee. Then the inner knee later. So it is probably too high now. I'm going to try a plumb bob to see if my position of the trike is all wrong. I always feel too stretched out on the hoods. I spend far too much time on the tops. The YouTube videos show how it should be done. I think my stem is too long and my handlebars too low. Goodness knows where the saddle is supposed to be for and aft. 63 miles. My new personal best for one ride in the last three years. Stop laughing at the back! :-)

It's 78.4F and sticky now, late afternoon, with thin, high cloud. I have to fix my mirror back on. My arms are sunburnt. Again.

27th 64-71F, 18-22C, breezy, full sun. Just a run before morning coffee to buy a loaf. 26 miles. Plus 11 more miles after coffee. My legs are a bit tired today despite the growing tan. My arms and legs were covered in tiny dead flies. I wonder how many I breathed in?

Having returned the saddle to its normal height I have been playing with the saddle for and aft adjustment. I read an interesting article online. I'm finding myself in agreement with his theory of balancing the torso. Moving the saddle fully forwards solved the reach issue but over loaded my hands and wrists. So I'm moving the saddle backwards in small steps. Half an inch from fully forwards feels more comfortable on the drops. There must be an optimal position where I can reach the hoods without strain and without pain. I may have to raise the bars from their fully down position. The boring part is adjusting the brake cables. The tend to take a "set" after being used at a shorter length.  

My rear view mirror is broken.  None of those I have is flat enough to be safe in traffic. Only the gentlest curve is desirable. Cost is peanuts from Biltema but I'm going to look into helmet mirrors next. The reviews are very mixed.

The bag is driving me mad! It is too wide for the space between the wheels. Any bulge in the pockets catches on the spokes. It has hurled itself into the spokes several times on rough, tight corners. Completely locking the wheel! This is despite having a load of ugly hooked bungees practically flattening it against the cut-down rucksack frame. It looks hideous too!

28th 75F, 24C, windy, full sun. Already hot at 8am. Another bank holiday so the traffic should be light. With it being so windy I used the hedges and forest for shelter to put some distance upwind. Then I used the wind to cruise for miles at 20mph. Back in the lanes, a bunch of clubmen passed me at a junction. So I tried to match their speed for a while but it was hopeless. They were averaging 18-20mph into the wind. I couldn't manage more than 17mph. I gave up and returned to my intended route via a short cut.  

I spent most of my time on the hoods until about 30 miles. Probably thanks to raising the handlebars by ½". Then my hands started creeping back up the bends towards the tops. As I was experiencing some tiredness in my hands and wrists. So I moved the saddle backwards slightly. It didn't help. My legs were also tired again today. With a pain in my left calf. Though I was climbing well enough on the long drags. Which I had deliberately sought out. My tan is improving. 40 miles.

29th 62-59F, 17-15C, gales, overcast with occasional sunny periods. A hard, rough wind. Both going and coming back. I bought a new MiniDV video camera from Netto. Then found everything inside the pack had already been opened when I got home. So I had been palmed off with a secondhand, faulty return! Thank you Netto!! Too windy to return it today. 18 miles. Another 10 miles pm. Still blowing hard. My position on the trike has improved.

Mr Higgins shows his feminine side? Does my cerise pink bag look big in these shoes? It all clashes horribly, but note how the accessories match the tyres? (Bell and rack) Continental GP4000 tyres, all round, in bright blue. I wonder how Mr Higgins would feel about a respray? To make him more in keeping with the "trending" colour scheme?  A bright blue saddle would set it all off nicely. I wonder whether Fablon would stick to waxed hide? :-)) 

30th 48-61F, 9-16C, windy, sunny periods. The temperature has dropped 15F/10C compared with a few days ago. I took off the oversized bag and put a much smaller one on to see how I would manage. The tiny pink bag is the same size as Carradice's largest: The "Camper Longsleeve." Despite the strong wind I went to Odense again. It stayed rather grey and almost cold with very little sunshine. I had to make a detour for road surfacing. The last time I tried to run their messy gauntlet I ruined a jacket! Droplets of black solvent were thrown up by the tyres.

I bought a set of cheap, bike cleaning brushes and a replacement mirror in Biltema. I plan to keep Mr Higgins much cleaner than in the past. Meanwhile, my parcel from Cykelpartner arrived in the post. Flawless service and amazing prices! I didn't feel so guilty about buying online when I couldn't get the tyres anywhere for a decent price. Cykelpartner has free delivery in Denmark if you spend more than their set minimum. So I saved easily more than enough for a new set of inner tubes all round! 52 miles today. I have just reached 6000km this year. I feel much more comfortable on the hoods now.

31st 48-59F, 9-15C, windy, cold and overcast. The wind was blowing straight through me until I turned for home. I was freezing in the Giordano jacket. My favourite lanes have been resurfaced with 2" of large, loose gravel! It is horrible to ride on and very slow.

The GP4000s are amazing. Light and quick. They feel just like having suspension! I rode down the cobbled high street in Assens. The difference between the Race Lite and Continentals was unbelievable. The Bontragers rattled my eyeballs and the trike shook as if it were about to come apart. On the GPs I was hardly aware of the cobbles. Even the stretch of house-brick sized cobbles in the middle were incredibly easy to ride over. I used to avoid it on the Bontrager Race Lites. Not feeling at all strong today. Not even with a tail wind home. 24 miles.

Pm. I gave the trike a full wash with car shampoo and my new (cheap) Biltema bike cleaning brushes. Within seconds the rubber tip had fallen from one side of the forked brush. Giving the paint quite a decent scratch with the bare, twisted wire core! Grr! Apart from the new scratch the trike didn't look any different (at all) afterwards. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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