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.

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