26 Jun 2012

26th June 2012


26th 60F, 15C, blowing a westerly gale, overcast but dry. The i-gotU GPS logger is still misbehaving. I wonder whether the internal battery is dying? There were very strange, loud noises coming from the woods. No idea what they were. There were no obvious engine noises. Just a loud repeated roar at very short intervals. Hundreds of swallows were showing off their flying skills. Hedgehopping the verges and swooping all around me. The British Post Office is broken again. We sent a registered letter which arrived there on Friday. It wasn't delivered until today (Tuesday) Only 25 miles.

27th 57F, 14C, breezy, becoming cloudy but dry. Power cut due this morning. My wife and I both seem to have a touch of flu'. Or perhaps it is hay fever? It was blowing a gale (again). The forecast was for lighter winds today but the trees were bending. I had an appointment mid-morning so could not go too far in case of mishap. So I tootled around. Rediscovering the lanes I don't normally use. I had to go off-road on one of the roughest tracks I've tried so far. In fact I put the chain onto the smallest chainring for the first time since fitting the new chainset. The track leads to a superbly smooth, very narrow lane which climbs out of a valley. Having reached the tarmac and ridden down, I turned round and rode all the way back up again. Then completed the second descent with rather more daring. There is no room for mistakes on the sharp corners. 26 miles.

28th 63-75F, 17-24C,(?) warm, sunny becoming overcast, lighter winds from odd directions.  My new temperature sensor position is showing silly high temperatures. It must be picking up some heat from the dormer roof.

The wind turbines are all standing still. Should be a good day for a ride.

I decided to ride to Odense along the lanes and cycle paths. There seemed to be a light headwind wherever I went. I must be doing something wrong. ;-)

I took my massive 'Granit' U-lock in case I had to leave the trike anywhere. It weighed a ton but offered a nice, false sense of security. Denmark is plagued by organised, Eastern European, cycle thieves in lorries.

The tomatoes I bought in Fakta were all rotten! I couldn't see that until I opened the packaging at home. They tasted earthy! Yeuk! Do I want to ride another 14 more miles to take them back? Nope. I'm not allowed out again today.

The Continental GP4000 tyres are still going well at 90psi and holding their air. 40 rather effortless miles today. Not so long ago a ride to Odense was a major struggle and quite exhausting if it was windy.

It is not as if I ever dawdle. I am pedalling hard all the time at 90-105rpm. Only racing cyclists, out training, overtake me occasionally. I overtake ordinary cyclists all the time. It doesn't help that I am still just as competitive as I was at 17. Seeing any cyclist up the road was always a trigger to catch and overtake them. Some people do intervals. I chase other cyclists. With me on a heavy and usually well-laden trike. Well, it would be no fun if it was too easy! :-)

BTW: I had to move the outdoor temperature sensor away from the hot, dormer roof. The sensor is now in the shade with only wood around it but open to the air. It's readings are now more sensible again. Though the sun isn't out. Ill have to monitor for sudden changes in sunny periods. 

29th 60-66F, 16-19C, windy, heavy overcast with very heavy rain showers and thunder and lightning. A thunder storm is passing over Denmark. Already dropping over 2" (60mm) of rain in parts of Jylland. (Jutland) This 'low' had already caused severe flooding in Britain. There may be a lull mid-morning. We shall see. I ended up going out at 3pm. Going well apart form my chest being bunged up. I kept thinking it was going to rain but it stayed dry until five minutes after I came home. Then it tipped down. Only 22 miles.

30th 70-73F,21-23C, windy, some sun, some cloud, some light rain. I rode over to Fredericia to try and find some clips to fit the seat stays. Lots of cyclists out and about today. Including quite a few tourists. Most gave me a wave or a grin. I started to tire after 50 miles due to a lack of food. At 60 I was struggling to maintain my revs. I think 70 miles is my best distance in three years. Stop laughing at the back! :-)

My Carradice Camper Longflap saddlebag has arrived. In incredibly quick time! It is a belated birthday present from my wife thanks to a modest tax rebate. After stuffing some much needed food down I started on the new bag fixing. The details and lots of pictures follow in the next post.

Pm. My arms are sunburnt as are newly exposed bits of thigh. I had no idea it was so sunny this morning. Otherwise, my legs seems fine after such a long ride. (by my standards)

I am reducing the average size of my posted images to avoid long download times for viewers. With a 30/30mMBit/s optical fibre connection I sometimes forget that others are not quite so fortunate. 

Cool, windy and wet June is over. Roll on July? 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

20 Jun 2012

20th June 2012


20th 66F, 19C, breezy becoming windier, overcast with odd sunny periods. I pumped the tyres to 90psi before leaving. Not ideal for the rough lanes. To which I had returned today after becoming lost yesterday. I hoped to enjoy the narrow lanes and shady woods in a more leisurely fashion and perhaps take some photographs. The Skelstrupskov area is very pleasant. With winding, very hilly lanes through brimming fields and mature Beech woods. Farms and cottages are dotted about in isolation as well as in tiny hamlets. There are places here where the sound of traffic never reaches. Despite the geographical proximity of the motorway. There were birds and cats and horses everywhere I went.

Raising the saddle by 1/4" (6mm) must have worked. I had no knee problems at all today.

As I climbed out of the village of Tommerup Station (pron: stashone) on Kirkevej (Church Road) I caught up and overtook a cyclist, of about my own age, on his bike fitted with panniers. He was obviously a keen cyclist judging by his remarkable leg muscle development and definition. I soon left him completely out of sight as I continued to climb hard and race down the few hills. My lungs seemed to be full of glue. Though I wasn't really fighting for breath I had to keep clearing my throat noisily. Perhaps it was the fly I had inhaled yesterday?

Then I turned off towards Radby on an even steeper climb. I braked to halt on a narrow, twisting descent  to take a photograph of the cottage on the left. Where he soon passed me descending at considerable speed. He rapidly moved into the distance. His bright yellow jacket just visible above the snaking hedges.  Having stowed my camera, all my efforts to catch him again were without reward. I can only assume he turned off somewhere. I was a little afraid of being hit by a car on some of the blind bends as I bombed downhill. There was hardly room to pass in most place and I was using all of the road to avoid the potholes and surface roughness.

Later, I became aware of a cyclist in florescent green following me along cycle path on the main road to Vissenbjerg. Nothing I did could put any serious distance between us. I finally had to wait for the traffic at a village junction. The cyclist was a middle-aged lady. She sailed effortlessly past me, going uphill, on her electrically-assisted bike. She was completely relaxed and her legs were hardly moving! Grrr! :-) 40 miles.

21st 67F, 19C, full sun, warm, breezy. First time I can leave home this year without any jacket! Going quite well until I met the vicious dog from the farming machine station on Thinggyden. (I have even spelt it correctly this time!)

The dog was wandering loose on the road and would not let me pass. Not until its moronic owner finally came out and shouted at it. I was waiting there for several minutes!

You might say that I ought to avoid this route. Well, you try riding along the main road into the prevailing wind. Where over 90% of vehicles are travelling at well over the legal speed limit. Including the heavy lorries and buses. Where the cycle lane is unswept and full of holes. Where the edge is crumbling away to large drops. Where the left tyre is bouncing like a pneumatic drill on the huge dashed, demarcation lines! I have been brushed closely, several times by psychopaths/drunks/the blind along this main road!

Now compare that with riding gently downhill. Along a narrow and very pretty country lane. One with only a few cottages and almost zero traffic. With unspoilt views across the landscape between hedges and trees. Where birdsong can actually be heard instead of the constant roar of traffic.

This lane saves me a couple of miles of very unpleasant cycling. Unless I am forced to go the long way around. The lane cuts off the large triangle of the main roads and leads straight down to the village. Where I visit the village supermarket with its post office counter. With their unusually polite and friendly staff. Or I can even travel on to other, equally attractive, destinations. There are no other sensible routes except the main roads or this shortcut lane. I try to avoid going this way as much as possible already. But, why, on earth, should I have to?

I have taken pictures of the dog with its gesticulating owner. The next time the dog threatens me I am going to post pictures of the owner as well as his dog. I am the victim here. It is the owner's responsibility to keep his dog under control on a public highway. Perhaps I should share an HD video with the animal loving members of YouTube?

Meanwhile, back in another world: A few cyclists, who were out training in the sunshine, grinned or waved. Traffic was light, away from the main roads. I saw a Marsh Harrier turning very tight circles. It was struggling with the wind as it tried to glide but had to keep flapping to remain stable. Presumably it was watching some tasty prey on the ground. 37 miles.

22nd 55F, 13C, breezy, very heavy overcast with continuous rain. A rest day at last! I'm using the rain as an excuse not to go out. Though it is supposed to clear up later.... Be sensible now! It is six weeks and 1470 miles since my last rest day! Only 7 rest days so far this year! It can't (possibly) go on like this! I wonder if I've caught a nasty dose of that OCD. :-)

It was a beautiful afternoon (for a ride) but I resisted the temptation. Nul points. (in a French accent)

The TA's gallery of the recent TT and Road race for the Tricycle World Championships in Belgium: 

Tricycle Association: World Championships Gallery 2012

23rd 56-62F, 13-17C, breezy, overcast with sunny periods. Despite yesterday's rest day I felt rather lacking in energy today. It stayed dry until mid morning. Then showered a couple of times. I got fed up with putting the Aldi jacket on and taking it off again. It was racing jersey warm when the sun came out. Towards the end it rained as heavily as I have ever seen it fall. Huge drops turned the air into solid water.  Fortunately I was in a supermarket at the time. So I joined the queue in the entrance, waiting to escape, while I chatted to a former colleague. Every outdoor surface was soon awash to a depth of two inches. The supermarket car park was one huge, moving puddle.

As I left the shops I was climbing through a road-wide, brown stream. Morons in cars were still exceeding the speed limit through the village despite the dreadful conditions. I discovered my carrying capacity limitations and its almost complete lack of waterproofing today. I was scolded for bringing home wet shopping!  It's time to stop messing about with old rucksack frames and secondhand sports bags. As soon as I can afford a proper saddle bag I shall buy a Carradice Camper Longflap. Rather wisely, the Head Gardener has put a stop on all unnecessary expenditure on tricycling accessories for the moment. 28 miles.

Plus 14 more miles later. It was blowing a gale! Gusting to over 35mph. Forecast to be very wet all day tomorrow.

The H.R.Morris trike is back on eBay:


H.R.Morris trike September 2011

24th 54F, 12C, very windy, heavy overcast with continuous rain. I have to go out on an errand but will wait for a window. I ended up going in the car. Another rest day. Tomorrow should be better.

25th 54F, 12C, heavy overcast, windy. Showers forecast and falling heavily as I scribble!

As it is raining and being a complete pedant, I decided to move my outdoor temperature sensor out of the sunshine. The little, white, plastic blob, on the end of the long cable, was fixed deliberately hanging in free space. Well outside a north-facing dormer window. The idea was to avoid any heating effects from the roof. This didn't work as well as I'd hoped in strong, morning sunshine.

Now the sensor is raised into the shade of the wooden dormer canopy. To put it out of the direct sunshine and weather. But still nowhere near the sun-baked roof. So my temperatures should be slightly less optimistic in fine weather from now on.

You might question the relevance of all this to tricycling. Well I find small differences in outdoor temperatures mean a complete change of wardrobe for my rides. So I check the temperature every morning before setting out. I also check the DMI website for the forecast.

The final test is crossing to the cycle shed to feel the wind and temperature on the (usually) half naked, but smartly clad, tricycle-ready, MkI bod.

The wind is almost constant here and makes a huge difference to perceived temperature. This is due to wind chill. One's forward motion greatly increases the cooling effect. Particularly when one's skin is damp or wet. (Evaporative cooling was once used on meat safes to achieve a sort of 'fridge' effect)  

With limited capacity for spare clothing one doesn't want wet (or dry) jackets in with the shopping. Retrieving the jacket from under the shopping, to cope with a sudden shower, is an even bigger nuisance. Being too warm, or too cold, is no fun at all on a bike, or trike. Both make you miserable. 

Clothing choice allows considerable variation in personal tolerance to the day's changing temperatures and conditions. Fortunately, specialist, modern, cycling clothing is incredibly light and thin. While still maintaining wind and waterproofing and breathability. Albeit at a high price if all three, or more, qualities are desired.

Breathability, with high levels of windproofing, is incredibly important for cycling comfort. So forget all about polyurethane proofed, nylon casual or "outdoor" wear. You might as well carry a mobile sauna around with you! Once drenched in sweat you can never take these stupid jackets off. Or you will instantly freeze even on a warm day. You will have to wait until you are safely back home and standing in a warm shower. Before struggling out of the clingy, wet horror masquerading as a waterproof garment.

This 100% waterproof clothing is equally useless for energetic "outdoor" activities. Like climbing and walking. Particularly while laden with a rucksack. . Coarse fishing is fairly inactive. So this 100% waterproof clothing might just work for that. But stand up, to replace the bait and you will break into an instant sweat! ;-)

I'll probably delete most of this ramble. If it ever stops raining.

 Carradice Factory Tour

This a great blog with lots of interesting stuff:


 I really must discipline myself to add a proper blogroll.

It took ages for the heavy showers to die out. I left just after 3am with a tailwind. Very gusty it was too. At one point I climbed up through Magtenbølle to Vissenbjerg. Which is always good fun. It also put me on a much better course for the last leg. With the wind mostly at 90 degrees. Rather than a head wind. Only a 25 miles shopping trip today. It stayed dry too.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

19 Jun 2012

Black Higgins trike on eBay

 Higgins Trike
Beautifully crafted lugless frame No. 9797, check the Higgins register, I think about mid fifties could be a little later. It is fitted with the famous Higgins differential and incorporates a rear hub brake. Also with eccentric bottom bracket, original Higgins hubs front and rear laced with stainless steel spokes around period alloy rims.
Frame size c-c 22 1/2"
Top tube length 22 1/2"
Cranks 170mm
GB stem 60mm(to suit me)
Fiamme bars
Mafac. canti brakes and levers
MKS pedals and toe clips
Campag down tube shifters, Campag front mech Shimano 600 rear mech with 5 speed block with 50T&34T double chain ring. There is a slight dink in the top tube hardly noticeable and a few minor scratches and blemishes otherwise paint work is very good. The trike set up as in the photos is fine for me although I would normally ride a bike the next size down , trikes are very forgiving you don't need the stand over height. Must go to finance purchase of motorbike also I do have another trike so how many do I need? Collection only and cash only please.

A tidy, repainted, lugless machine with Higgins differential, eccentric bottom bracket and rear hub brake
Nicely photographed too.

9797 is not listed in the Higgins register but 9793/5 & 6 are all listed as being made in January 1961.

The blogspot editing software cannot cope with all these illustrations.
So I have kept them small and arranged them one above the other for neatness.
Which I then had to correct in HTML to remove all the false spacing from the poor standard editing.

This auction closed on £454 after 6 bids! 
A good price for a Higgins!

Click on any image for an enlargement.

18 Jun 2012

15th June 2012


The gatehouse to Weddelsborg Slot A stately home on its own long drive with a vast, private estate. One of the decorative shields on the gatehouse façade is dated 1675. I'm not sure if this is the date of the building itself. I believe the wavy gable decoration is supposed to show Dutch influence.

 15th 55-66F, 13-19C, a light breeze but becoming windy, sunny periods. A bully in a hearse (my nickname for a black, oversized people carrier with an obese driver) tried to push me off the road at a junction! No indication either. So I undertook and then pulled out in front to hold him up as I waited to turn left across the traffic. That'll teach the barsteward! ;-)

Eventually I set off up the narrow coastal lanes towards Nr.Åby. With a very gentle tailwind helping me up the rises. I passed a field full of Romanians working on a low crop. Just in case you are wondering where I get my inside information: Their number plates are clearly marked RO.

I also saw a real cycle tourist! A girl with her bike completely laden with bags and panniers. I did some shopping at Nr.Åby and then headed north east towards Bogense on the north coast.

Mr Higgins poses pauses to admire the view from above Husby Strand. (Pron: Hoosebew. Strand = Beach) A vast  factory at Kolding is visible. (white on the left) The Middelfart-Fredericia motorway suspension bridge is sticking up either side of the white building over on the right in the distance. (Click on the picture for an enlargement. Then repeatedly on Ctrl and + together to view full screen)

The non-standard-issue water bottle is a nuisance because it rattles constantly and needs two hands to unscrew the top. My last 'proper' water bottle grew algae. So was deemed unfit! Or was it me SWMBO was talking about?

Just short of Bogense I turned a right angle and headed south towards Aarup. Just as a nasty headwind picked up. It was a real struggle making headway at times. Not least when a number of large lorries caught me on a series of violent switchbacks. I could only manage about 10mph pedalling my heart out on the steep ascents of our roller coaster ride! The main road was narrow and twisting just there and marked with continuous, double white lines. The lorries just would not overtake me! So I had to pull off three times to let them past. 53 rather tiring miles and I forgot some shopping. Now I'm grounded for the rest of the day! I could sneak out and break my daily mileage record... if I dared. :-)

BTW: The Bontrager MTB shoes are proving superbly comfortable. They are still just as noisy, off the trike, but who cares? 

Another memorial to a crashed RAF bomber crew. 
 This one is at Tanderup.
The inscription ends: "They died also for Denmark"

16th 55-65F, 13-19C, strong gusty wind, overcast with only a few sunny periods. I rode to Assens for a loaf of bread. It was strange to see so few people about. Not even at 10am. Though the high street was closed off and taken up by a couple of dozen, secondhand toy stalls. Manned by a lot of kids and a few parents. There weren't many customers though. 22 miles.

Going out again after coffee. Rain forecast pm with a countrywide cloudburst warning from the DMI. So I'd better get going! Plus 10 more miles before lunch. Have I mentioned I don't like the rough gravel resurfacing on the lanes? It takes forever to smooth itself out! Grrr. Or should that be G-g-g-g-r-r? It never did rain, at all, today.

On leg massage: I massage my legs several times a day now. Usually at idle  moments while I'm sitting in my computer chair. I found recently, quite by accident, that one sitting position for the legs does not find all the centres of pain. Particularly in the quads. I just happened to try massaging my quads while sitting on another, lower chair while watching TV. So then I tried it while standing up and found yet more painful "knots" of which I hadn't been aware. Then again while sitting on the floor with my legs out straight. So it pays to try different seat heights and leg positions to find where your legs are still painful after a hard ride. Massage certainly seems to help if you want to ride hard again the next day. The massage hurts  but the pain and lingering heaviness soon goes away.

17th 54F, 12C, blowing a gale, overcast, continuous rain. The rain was supposed to be much lighter than yesterday's. G-g-g-g-r-r! :-) All the plans of Tricyklists and men(?) do oft but go awry. 1pm and still periodically inclement. I'm still hoping to get a ride in without needing an umbrella and waders. The trees are still thrashing about. 1.30pm, lunch over and it is finally brightening up. Though the sky looks just as cloudy as before. I finally escaped about 2pm. It was blowing hard but stayed dry. A rip roaring wind! I made no effort to go fast today. I noticed some front of knee pain now and then. The experts say this means that the saddle is too low. Or it could just mean I'm tired from doing 1300 more miles since my last rest day five weeks ago. 28 miles.

18th 70-63F, 21-17C, windy, sunny becoming overcast. A pleasant day for a ride and I was feeling quite fit. The first ten hilly miles seemed almost effortless thanks to a gentle tailwind. The next ten were with a crosswind but no problem at all.

It turned very dark and breezy at 12am, just as the DMI had promised. Thunder started at 12.30 with heavy rain forecast this pm. So perfect timing to arrive home. I had taken a waterproof jacket, overshoes, cap etc but (fortunately) they only enjoyed a free ride. I'm getting quite used to the hard tyres now except for the cobbles.

I see the TA has just published the annual mileage figures to the end of September 2011. It was listed under Activities on the TA website for those who sent them in. (by snail mail!)

http://www.tricycleassociation.org.uk/Activities.html  (Scroll down)

I managed only 7825 miles. Two trikers recorded over 10k miles. One chap did 17k! So I was definitely slacking in (virtual) 4th place out of the 23 riders listed. 24 if you count me in. I prefer to measure my mileage from Jan 1st so didn't bother to send in my own mileage. I did 7319 in only nine months the previous year to the end of September 2010. I kept no proper records prior to that. Or I would probably have come close to 10k myself. Albeit in the wrong year! I must be getting lazier in my old age! Poor old devil. :-) 35 miles today.

19th 62-66F, 17-19C, breezy, sunny periods. Where shall we go today? Bogense!  On the north coast of Fyn. What again?!?

Having arrived at Bogense I discovered they had moved the infamous mermaid sculpture. From the busy, town end of the harbour. Right onto the very end of an almost inaccessible breakwater. It was quite good fun riding the narrow, very rough tarmac path along the very top of the breakwater. On the completely wrong side of the water! But I took a picture of the naughty lady anyway. Using lots of zoom. It was heavily overcast at the time as well. Though I think that I still caught her best side. :-)

After pottering about Bogense, for a while, I rode east along the main road through Særslev to Søndersø. The Dansk Autohjælp driver thoughtfully avoided trying to kill me this time. Simply by not being there at the same time as I was.

On my last ride through Særslev my blog nearly came to an abrupt and unexpected end. Was the driver drunk out of his tiny skull? Clinically insane? Registered blind? All of the above? Who can possibly say?

He certainly frightened the hell out of the poor oncoming driver. As he attempted to push us both right off the road in his haste to overtake me at high speed in a built up area. While simultaneously carrying two vehicles on his breakdown truck.

It seemed that today all was calm. Until I turned south at Søndersø and into the wind. Only to became very lost somewhere around Padesø. I had taken a wrong turning! After literally miles and miles of narrow, hilly lanes. With absolutely no landmarks or helpful signs. I eventually found myself again. Just time to do some shopping before finally heading home. To be met by some quite unnecessary accusations about the extreme length of my absence. I'm an old fart. I ride a 58-year old old trike. I shop. Therefore I am. Deal with it! ;-)

It's not all bad news! Now I have a completely new and unspoilt area to explore. One which is not a million miles from home for Mr Higgins. (strictly in the Danish sense of course) This time I shall finally remember to carry a map!

An impressively large, timber-framed (merchant's?) house in Bogense. 
Now a retailer of designer furniture and carpets in the enclosed yard.
Difficult to photograph uphill. Though I held the camera as high as possible. Ideally it needs a shift lens (or a tall stepladder) to do it proper justice. I suppose I could have climbed the nearest lamppost...? 

My knees were hurting, every now and then, but otherwise my legs were fine. I must be getting more used to these slightly higher mileages. Should I raise the saddle slightly to see if it helps the knees? I should have remembered earlier and also forgot to take the correct spanner. Which had been foolishly discarded in my mobile workshop clear out.

The spanner/wrench also fits the wheel nuts. So should really be considered essential and stored somewhere underneath the kitchen sink. In the cerise pink "saddle" bag. Having seriously overspent a non-existent income, of late, I am not even allowed to mention Carradice. Nor anything about a real saddle bag. The Danish pension office moves in mysterious ways. Its functions to perform.

Disused, old mill house at Harritslev Slot. It reeks of age. Note the thin, original bricks. The heavy, weathered timbers, in front, presumably supported a platform for loading sacks of flour onto horse-drawn carts. If they changed a thing it would never be the same again! The contrast is a bit excessive. So I have darkened it slightly. I have also dubbed out a hideous white postbox on the left. There was a large dog in the house which wanted me for breakfast. I waved and it was so shocked it became quiet. :-)

Unspoilt Harritslev Slot is hidden by trees. The white painted house on the right leans heavily away from the main building. There isn't any tarmac anywhere. The rough gravel drives, steep inclines (and no parked vehicles) give it all a wonderful sense of period. Like stepping back in time. There are several other beautiful, timber-framed buildings and barns off to the left. The house and grounds are open to the paying public.

 The i-gotU GPS logger fell asleep in the shops (again.) Then didn't wake up again all the way home. 57 (mostly uphill) miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

17 Jun 2012

Black Rogers trike on eBay


"A really fantastic Ken Rogers racing tricycle. Not for the faint of heart  - this thing flys. It has been fully refurbished with new tyres and bar tape, all bearings are sound. Running 10 speed Shimano 600 gears shift smoothly with great power delivery to the one wheel drive. Jib out for the corners which is fun and slightly dangerous at speed. The frame is 22.5" and will fit people between say 5ft 8 and 6ft 2. I am 5 ft 10, slightly long in the leg and it is fine as pictured. It is on 700cs all round. The rear wheels are out of Longstaff hubs."

A tidy machine and well photographed. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

The auction closed on £378 after four bids.


10 Jun 2012

10th June 2012

10th 52F, 11C, frequent rain and still blowing a gale! An ideal rest day but I still have to shop today. Probably this afternoon now.

Given the forecast I have refitted the mudguards. They add about 3lbs to the trike's weight but offer a level of comfort and security, in the wet, which is not easily ignored. Leaning over on the very first corner, on wet roads, is fraught with the risk of a very wet bum! Staying out for another couple of hours, with soaking wet shorts, is absolutely no fun at all.

 I also cut off the spare tabs on the mudguard stay "bridges." I tended to catch my feet on them while swinging my leg over the trike while getting on or off. Being polished stainless steel these tabs were extremely tough. My tin snips wouldn't even touch them. So I (carefully) used an angle grinder with a very thin, diamond coated, cut-off wheel.

Fitting a trike with rear mudguards stays is much easier using oversized, stainless steel screws and nyloc nuts. A larger drill has to be run through the stay camps to open out the holes. A socket wrench makes light work of tightening the screws from below. The screws have to be fed in from the bottom of the clamps.

An undersized windmill on the drive to a farm. 
Alan, my local mill historian and fellow tricyclist tells me that many farms built these small mills when the corn grinding monopoly was broken. Many of these small mills were lost over time. So this may be the last of its kind on Fyn.

Nyloc nuts offer a very high level of security from vibrating loose. They originally gained popularity from being used on racing cars and motorbikes. Now they are much more readily available than in the past. Stainless steel nylocs are still much more difficult to find than the common, rust-prone, plated steel variety.

This time I laid a short length of inner tube on the axle casings where the Higgins clamps would fit. This helps to protect the paint from damage. It also increases the friction at the clamp as well. Well worth doing IMO. The stays now spring slightly and return to their original position. Without the rubber there was a tendency to rotate around the axle casing. Regardless of how tightly the screws were fastened.

Being a pedant I weighed my travelling tool kit. 3 lbs! Good grief! There must be some redundancy in there somewhere! 11 miles in the afternoon.

This pretty lane has a whole series of thatched cottages, watermills and farms. 
Pictures of some of them have appeared in the last two posts of my blog.

11th 55-65F,13-18C, winds light, overcast, warm. I was soon stripped down to jersey and shorts. It must be the humidity making it feel so warm. My legs are rather tired today. I saw a class of 40-50 children on their bikes riding through a busy village. One teacher leading on the front and another riding at the back of the long thin line.

It would take several years of planning, special insurance, a police escort with air support, road closures, parental signatures, months of intensive cycle training and probably lottery funding to organise so many kids on their bikes in the UK. Here, it is simply routine. Disciplined riding and behaviour with all the skills which come from accumulated years of practice. 24 miles today.

I'm not sure whether this cottage has been abandoned. 
It is only a couple of feet from quite a busy country road.

12th 66-56F, 19-13C, light winds, sunny turning to overcast. An oddly negative day. One of my new tires had gone down overnight and the tube had to be mended.  I can only think the tube picked up some debris from the shed floor as I was fitting the new tyres. Careless of me.

Later, I could smell something foul while riding through some woods. A farmer had driven in his pick-up to a clearing beside the public road to burn some rubbish! God knows what he was burning! It stank!

Yesterday the Coop ripped me off twice on an organic oil, special offer. The sell-by date was only a week away making it unusable! Then they charged me for three bottles when I had only bought two. Never refuse or discard your receipts!

As soon as I had received my refund the manageress put the same old stock back on the shelf! I rode some miles back the way I had come and bought two more dated 2013 from another branch. No stock of the advertised items I wanted in the next two supermarkets. Cherry tomatoes and cucumbers anyone?

It started spitting on the way home. Then tipped down for a couple of minutes just after I came home. 35 miles.

13th 55-60F, 13-16C, windy, sunny periods. Rather chilly to start with and highly variable wind. I explored the lanes down around Snave, Strandby and Jordløse until the shops opened. Almost no traffic but quite hilly. With glimpses of pleasant views out over the sea to Helnæs and South Jylland beyond. 30 miles.

14th 55-60F, 13-16C, windy, overcast. The offending tyre went down to 25psi again overnight. I'm going to have to change tubes and check the inside of the tyre carefully. It is so easy riding with the wind. Until one has to return into it. Unless one can arrange a roundtoit. It looked like rain but only a sprinkle before it went off again. I had to put my thin jacket back on because it was so cold on the way back into the wind. 42 miles.

Pm. I checked the inflated tube in water but there was no sign of a leak! I changed to another tube anyway and will retire the leaky one as a reserve. The GP4000 tyres lift nicely onto the bead as they are inflated over about 45psi. So don't bother fighting with any low spots. Not unless the tyre doesn't lift onto the rim by itself.

Getting a new tyre on is much more difficult than after a few miles. It is just possible with the bare fingers on the Mavic CXP22 rim when new. Though it takes a lot of patience and finger strength. The temptation is to use a tyre lever to end the struggle. Which almost guarantees local pinching of the inner tube. The tube should have enough air to keep its shape. This avoids it escaping over the edge of the rim all too easily. Once the tyre is almost on, one can slide something blunt under the edge of the tyre bead. Which is stretched tight across the braking surface of the rim. Just to ensure the tube is safely out of the way inside the tyre. I used the curve of a plastic coated bungee hook.

Brand new Continental GP4000 700x23C pretty in blue.

I am finding that 85-90psi works well on the trike. I'm not sure there is any point in pushing pressures any higher for normal triking use. If one were racing, or time trialling on smooth surfaces, then the lower rolling resistance from 110psi may be well worthwhile. 100+psi feels very hard indeed on a trike on normal, poorly maintained roads and cycle paths. The tyres feel (almost literally) rock hard at these pressures. At 90psi much less so until I hit some really rough surfaces.

I find the rear tyre on a bike is much more sensitive to inflation pressure than the twin rear tyres on a trike. The latter share the load more or less equally between them. The difference in weight between the two machines is much less than that between a light and heavy rider. I'm still hovering at around 12 stone or 75 kilos in shorts and t-shirt. (not enough beer but far too many biscuits!)

Riding position is obviously important to the balance of loads between front and back tyres. A crouched, racing position will share the load more equally between front and back tyres. A TT machine emphasising the front loading even more so than (say) riding on the hoods on a road racing machine.

An upright, touring position will unload the front tyre considerably and put it all onto the back tyre. (or tyres in the case of a trike) So a wider rear tyre, or tyres, would be much more useful for touring or commuting than riding skinny 23s.

Close up of rear Continental GP4000 after 420 very mixed, triking miles. Showing manufacturer's wear indicators. I think one can already see subtle signs of a flat surface forming in the centre of the tread. The shadowy edges of which are just outboard of the indicator dimples.

Riding on farm tracks or potholed roads will require higher pressures to avoid pinch flats. Though at the cost of greatly reduced comfort. Cobbles are a real test of rider stamina on hard, narrow, racing tyres. Particularly on a trike. Where the rear end rocks viciously from side to side on every bump as well as for and aft.

It helps to stand up on the pedals. Preferably with knees bent. This unloads one's (unsprung) body weight from the much more supportive saddle. It also allows the machine to rock laterally much more freely. Instead of being restrained by the top-heavy rider clamping the saddle to his nether regions. Or between his thighs if he stands up with his knees together.

The saddle is raised well above the rest of the machine so lateral movements are magnified compared with lower down. This is just simple geometry. The saddle acts as a long lever. Sitting like a pudding will hold the machine upright. Despite the trike wanting to rock from side to side. So each rear tyre, in turn, suffers all the loads instead of almost floating over the obstacles in their path. These lateral movements don't exist on a bike. The machine can only rock up and down.

Where the road or cycle path looks rough ahead I usually lift off the saddle and bend my elbows. This allows my legs and arms to provide some compliant suspension for my body weight. There isn't much one can do for the trike itself. It just bucks like a bronco between one's thighs without coming to much harm. (so far) The worst thing to do on the rough stuff is to lock your arms and remain firmly seated. This may easily lead to a pinch puncture as well as rattling your teeth!

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8 Jun 2012

5th June 2012


 5th 54F, 12C, windy with a few sunny periods. Possible light showers. I was caught in a short shower but nothing to worry about. My left quadriceps were fine until about 25 miles. The it started nagging again. Just like yesterday. I managed the wind direction quite well. With a pleasant tailwind helping me home.

I was watching the stripes on the tyres again. Narrow, but gradually widening until I rode a couple of miles of thick gravel. This "cleaned" the tyres. The narrow stripe returned as son as I hit normal tarmac. Then spread again as I continued. I checked the pressures again before leaving. About 73-75psi all round. This pressure feels very hard.

There was a cuckoo in the garden today. I hear them everywhere I go. There must be tens of thousands of them. Lots of birds of prey about at the moment too. 42 miles.

6th 62F, 17C, windy, sunny periods. I was up in the middle of the night for the Venus transit. Pain in my right knee. So there were no tricycling heroics today. 10kilos of shopping. 10 miles.

7th 53F, 12C, windy, heavy grey overcast. My Topeak Sport II pump arrived just before I left. The pump was more diminutive than I had imagined. The GLS driver was pleasant and friendly. Not to mention having the competence to have overcome the portcullis, razor wire and machine gun towers to have even reached our door. It would have been rather churlish to have released the hounds from hell at that point. :-)

I thought I'd better put some more air in the tyres. Well, you have to try new toys, don't you? The twin head was superb. No effort at all to fit and lock. No air loss at all! The overall size of the pump proved quite sensible after I discovered how high the handle lifted. I was so used to the cheap pump that I was not using the full stroke on the new pump!

I do like the hose. Just the right degree of stiffness and "rubberiness" without flopping about like silicone. Nice and long too after the meanness of the cheapo pump. I used to have to rotate the wheels to put the valve low down when using the Aldi/Lidl pump. The Topeak's handles feel comfortable in use. The pump base is a hardened steel pressing and very stable. The Aldi/Lidl pump would fall over every single time it was parked!

Though the pumping on the Topeak was fairly effortless, the reaction on the manometer was not immediate. But at least it held its latest pressure from the last stroke. Which is more than you can say for the cheap pump. It usually went back to zero!

Two or three more strokes and the tyres were quickly up to 100psi on the dial. Not bad considering the enormous effort required on the Aldi/Lidl pump just to reach a measly 70psi. I whipped out the Topeak pressure gauge to check whether they agreed. 94psi all round. Close enough considering I hadn't tried for an exact pressure on the Sport II dial. Note the handy rotatable bezel with the red marker on the dial. I wasn't brave enough to try riding the trike on 110psi. Not yet anyway. ;-)

I even had a go at a car tyre later on. Just to see how the new pump coped. Again no problem at all. It just needed more strokes to make any real impact. Which is exactly what you'd expect given the huge air volume of a car tyre relative to a skinny 23mm bicycle tyre.

Overall I'm very pleased with the Sport II pump. I can see why it gets so many good reviews online. It does exactly what it says on the packet without any fuss. Thanks must go to ChainReaction for making it a pleasant and considerably more affordable purchase. The free P&P even included tracking. It was quick too, if you deduct the long weekend and bank holidays. Poor timing on my ordering as usual! 

Only a short ride to the shops again today. Rather oddly, the GP4000 tyres were no more uncomfortable at 94psi than they were at 73psi. In other words they felt rock solid but without the harshness of solid tyres! Difficult to explain simply. "Rubbery" is a good term. They did feel a bit faster than at 73psi. Though it was mainly free-wheeling downhill that they seemed particularly free running now.

My legs felt fine on the trike today. Though my knee was quite painful when I was hobbling around earlier. Perhaps the elastic bandage, which I wore for a couple of hours, helped? Only 15 miles. I'm slacking and it's forecast wet tomorrow! They keep doing that and no rain arrives. The farmers are irrigating all over the place. Even on the roads.

Pm: I tested the new pump to 110psi on a spare wheel. No effort at all. Checking with the pressure gauge showed only a very small discrepancy. A couple of psi difference at most. The earlier, slight lag between pumping and showing pressure readings on the dial must be due to the volume of the hose. The dial can only read the pressure fed to it. There are a couple of strange knobs on the pump with springs inside. No explanation on the packaging as to their exact purpose. Safety valves? Over-pressure release? I'll have to think about it. They could explain why the needle shot up to the correct pressure without hesitation on my later tests. I bounced my test wheel on a concrete slab and found the rock hard tyre was very _er_ bouncy indeed! BTW: The yellow locking lever can be turned 90 degrees in either direction. It locks both sides simultaneously. So can be turned whichever way is easiest or most convenient. Reviewers have expressed concern over using the head on very small wheels. Where's the Head Gardener's wheelbarrow? I must have a try.

What is surprising is how small a loss of air there is on disconnection of the smart twin head. The Aldi/Lidl pump sounded like a boiler safety valve blowing and the head would literally fly off. The Topeak twin head works extremely well. Better in fact than the Topeak pressure gauge. Which loses more air than the pump on both connection and release. Though it's easy to add a couple of extra pounds if one wants to be pedantic on exact pressures. No doubt a little practice will help reduce pressure loss when using the gauge. It's still nice to have both items to cross check there are no nasty hidden errors anywhere.

If I get really bored I can watch the stripes on the tyres growing steadily wider. The darker stripes started at only about 6-7mm wide on 95psi. Then spread to over half an inch wide as the ride progressed. (on all three tyres) There was no loss of pressure during the ride. (I checked with the Topeak gauge both before and after)

What is surprising is that it has taken me 50 years to finally have any idea (at all) of my actual tyres pressures! I think I can say, with 100% total confidence, that I have been running my tyres at well below optimum pressures. That is an awful lot of totally unnecessary snake bite punctures! Not to mention the wasted energy.

The question remains whether the tyres will now wear rapidly on the crown. The Bontrager Race Lites wore very evenly at the rather low pressures I was using. Trikes don't spread the wear like bikes do. Since trikes don't lean on corners. At least I don't have rear brakes to scrub off the tread on lightly loaded tyres.

Overall: 5 stars for the Topeak Sport II pump. Four stars for the Topeak Smart Head II pressure gauge. I find the latter irritating because it switches itself off too soon! Then one has to wait for it to wake up gain.

If only I was up to maximising the potential extra speed the higher pressures might bring. All I need now is a rubber gum shield to stop my teeth chattering! :-)

 8th 56F, 13C, breezy, continuous rain from 9am, heavy overcast. Which explains why my pump review is growing longer and longer. Hopefully, there should be a launch window after lunch.

I tootled off all wrapped up and protected from any rain. Soon I was trying to find space in my bag for spare jackets as it became sunny and warm. Going well. No pains in the legs today. It started to thunder and rain just as I arrived home. What a perfect coincidence! I bought lighter tyres with higher pressure requirements. Just as they resurface the roads with thick layers of huge gravel! On deep gravel the tyres feel like bacon slicers. 21 miles.

New thatch

9th 60-57F, 16-14C, windy, occasional sunny periods. Just a wobbly shopping circle. Quite a few hare and birds on the rural roads. Mostly Wagtails, Yellowhammers and Chaffinches. Traffic very light again. A few cyclists were out training. I'm getting used to the hard tyres. They are certainly quicker but rougher roads are quite hard work. The trike sounds very different on corners. I'm not sure what I am hearing. It could be end thrust on the axle bearings.

I deliberately sought out as many hills as possible to test my strength. Even taking detours off my intended route. My legs seem okay now. The supermarkets aren't maintaining stocks of essentials again! So I had to retrace my route to try and find other sources. 31 miles. Just passed 4000 miles for this year so far.

Click on any image for an enlargement.