1 May 2012

May 2012


1st May 46-62F, 8-17C, windy, full sun. Having been inspired (deluded?) by pictures of trikes racing on the IOM I stripped everything off Mr Higgins. Just to see how it felt without all the extra weight. Then I set off towards a 20 mile-distant target. With only a tiny bag to carry my tool kit and other essentials. There was already a nagging wind off to my right. It kept it up and increased in strength all the way there.

Having completed my shopping I was faced with an ever increasing, 10-11 o'clock headwind all the way home. I had a choice of following the main road for the shortest route. Or seeking some shelter from the hedges in the lanes. The lanes won easily despite adding several miles Since I could almost guarantee a lack of traffic. And so it was. Except for one moron in a black Golf. Who was driving at over 60mph on the wrong side of the road, through a completely blind corner, in a village, with a 30mph/50kph speed limit. 

There were lots of insects about again. The warm weather produces an abundance for the nesting birds. I saw quite a few butterflies as well.

The trike was going well but my hip/buttock was aching all morning. Probably the sciatic nerve having a grumble. It would have been a superb day if it were not for the wind. Spring is definitely confirmed.

My ride was completed in the spray cloud from a moronic farmer. The wind by then was at least 30mph 15m/s! He was spraying a crop just beside the road. I could only see the tractor driver in silhouette. Dragging on a cigarette! 43 miles.

13 miles later to add to the bright pink sunburn on my arms! And to do the shopping. Which I could not without a serious shopping bag. Several "fair weather" clubmen were out training in the lanes. I hit over 30 mph several times today. All downhill with a following wind. On the last occasion I caught a fly with my left eye. Look! No hands! :-)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: I finally figured out how to lose the top bar of the rack. The rack now supports the bag underneath and doesn't get in the way of my fully straightened legs. Whereas before it would get in the way if I straightened my legs to stretch my calves. Or when cornering hard while hanging well off the saddle. I had to remove one set of retaining clips but I don't think it matters. The rack is well lashed on. So shouldn't move even if a clip does slip out of place. I'll take some photos tomorrow.

These images were taken with the bag empty. So it hasn't the usual, neater, boxy appearance. What do you expect for £4 for both bag and rack? I'm not sure whether the diagonal arrangement doesn't offer reduced drag over a squarer one.  (purely accidental!)
 I also bought another dirt cheap sports bag in a charity shop today. I needed one which would clear the wheels when I had no Higgins mudguard stays fitted. Which usually help to limit bag movement. The last (huge) bag would drag on the largest sprocket when fully loaded. So the rack wasn't doing much good anyway. Now the bag is supported well above the rear axle. Which reduces air drag because it is in my own slipstream. Frontal area is much reduced in headwinds.

It is only a matter of moments to refit the mudguards and stays using a 10mm socket wrench. (I increased the size of the original screws and used stainless steel to avoid rusting)

I regularly check the local weather forecast before a ride and on previous days. When the weather forecast is settled, well ahead, I can leave the mudguards off. This saves unnecessary weight and air drag. Denmark is not nearly as wet as the UK. It is certainly very much drier than the West and North of Britain. Copenhagen is only supposed to get a couple of inches of rain a month on average. I doubt our local weather is much different. There are no mountains to force updraughts.

The cut-down, rucksack carrier frame is simply held on with pairs of plastic pipe clips. Which are held together, back to back, with short screwed rods in the threaded brass inserts. Tie wraps/zip ties are used to secure one bag handle to the carrier frame. This offers some security against theft and lots of stability. The second handle is lifted over the saddle, after loading, to help support the weight of up to 20lbs of shopping. Without the frame the bag would just roll into the spokes on every corner. This is not a good thing in traffic! Proper carriers/racks are available from the racing trike builders. They require brazed-on threaded bosses on the trike seat stays but offer massive bag stability.

2nd 55-61F, 13-16C, breezy, bright sunshine. I had to keep my Giordano jacket on to protect yesterday's sunburn. It was windy enough to stay cool. My favourite Mature Cheddar cheese has been discontinued and all the bread was old. So I ended up going much further to find some. They have a Danish Cheddar instead but it won't be the same. The Dutch can't make proper Cheddar either. Tasteless rubber whatever English name they tack onto it. My hip/buttock is still nagging and my knees are aching. Otherwise I'm going quite well. 31 miles.

3rd 60-67F, 16-19C, sunny, warm and still. After getting sunburnt on my arms I thought I'd better buy some suntan cream. The sun was getting quite hot towards the end. I would have liked to stay out longer. Going and climbing well. Not as short of breath as usual. The bag and carrier are working well together. Perfectly stable. Only 19 miles.

 CLASSIC Ken Rogers 531 racing TRIKE 531 on eBay 

"I am selling this 22 inch KEN ROGERS Lightweight racing trike.It is used but complete and has 6  gears and 2 Mafac brakes (on front wheel) I have ridden this several times and had fun but I prefer 2 wheels.

This is a real classic and should suit a trike enthusiast so I don't know what else I can say."

The auction ended on £205 after only 4 bids.

4th 50-57F, 10-14C, breezy becoming windy, mostly overcast. It felt surprisingly chilly for 50F. So I went back in to put my Aldi jacket on over the Giordano and a scull cap under my helmet. Even my fingers felt cold and I should have taken gloves instead of mitts. The Aldi jacket came off after about 10 miles when I had turned out of the wind. As it was a bank holiday traffic was quite light. The first supermarkets were closed so I rode on. My route ended up looking like a cross or a star. I was just wandering really to put some more miles in. The headwind was getting a bit silly at the end of my ride. 35 miles.

It is difficult to capture the sheer scale of this vast sand and gravel pit. The sand was as fine as dust on top of the cliff I was standing on. Mr Higgins became bogged down even in bottom gear trying to ride over there. Presumably the lake was once solid ground but has filled the earlier excavation.



Pm: I put the trike up on the Lidl bike stand. The chain had been hopping over the largest sprocket. Not a serious problem because it could be recovered onto the cassette sprockets simply by continuing pedalling and reversing the lever movement. I fixed that little problem using the limit adjusting screw on the Tiagra rear changer.

I have noticed that the 2WD pawl clicks are becoming slightly more audible again. As one straightens up after a sharp turn a metallic "ping" can be heard sometimes. This is the sound of the pawls dropping back into the internal ratchet teeth.

So I spun the rear wheels and listened carefully with my ear close to the cassette. The right side is certainly louder than the left. In fact the left is as inaudible as when the system was brand new. It is 5k miles since I last stripped, cleaned and greased the Trykit 2WD freehub assembly. That was back in September (11th) of last year when I described it and posted some pictures. It might pay me to strip, clean and lubricate the freehub again. 

A beautiful 2-seater glider at the gliding club's airfield at Vøjstrup. (Pron: Voi-stroop) Gliders are called svævefly in Danish. Mr Higgins keeps a safe distance in the background. In case somebody thinks he's queueing for take-off and hooks him up for a tow.

Here is an excellent, four minute video of their activities on a warmer and brighter day than today:

5th 50F, 10C, windy, getting much windier and ridiculously cold. Sunny periods. I saw my first Swallows of this year. Two Oystercatchers were paddling in a puddle by the road. They seemed quite unmoved as I free-wheeled past. Lots of Plovers cartwheeling about and a few timid Hare dashing off.

I never did warm up properly with only the Giordano over my jersey and shorts. I could have done with a long sleeved vest! When I swapped to mitts at half way I quickly resented it. My fingers were quite numb with cold for a while in the nasty wind.

The supermarket staff levels and standards are getting worse. Almost every checkout has long queues these days. You hardly ever see the same face twice. As a constant stream of part time, under-16, checkout operators move quickly on. There are regular items missing from the shelves or freezer cabinets. Nobody cares. Just to add to the pain a report in the news says that over half of customers have been ripped off when they check their till receipts. Only 25 miles.

Pm: I cleaned the trike (again!) I also rubbed the rusty spokes of my £5, secondhand, Shimano A550 wheel with steel wool. When I had finished I dipped the steel wool in bicycle oil and rubbed some more. This seemed to provide a more uniform black finish on the blade style, radial spokes. The oil will also resist further rusting. (for a while at least) So, having cleaned the rim and hub I fitted the wheel back onto the trike. I'm not sure where this new interest in cleaning is coming from. I hope a spoke doesn't break and leave me with a long walk home!

I also used some wide, cotton, sticky "sports injury" tape on the handlebars. The Fyzik tape had no glue on it and slipped all over the place. So I wrapped it in a couple of layers of the black "sports" tape. Looking online, it seems the original cotton handlebar tape is still available. I'll have to see if any of the local bike shops has any. Appearance didn't matter much to me before. Now I suddenly feel as if I ought to make more of an effort.  

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