24 Jul 2012

24th July 2012

24th 64F, 17C, breezy, full sun. The forecast is southerly winds, gusting to (only) 18-20mph and warm. Promising 73F, 23C. Plastered myself in suntan cream, as usual. I'm not allowed out without it. The Head Gardener says I'll end up looking like a prune. I thought I was already! As an experiment I raised the tyre pressure to 100psi to see if it helped.

I decided to ride down to Fåborg. This would put me into the headwind while it was still light. Then I could have the benefit of the tailwind going home. Well, it was a good theory.

In a downhill village I was overtaken by a beanpole on a pretty Bianchi. He ignored my greeting so I sprinted up behind him and sat there until he turned off. We hit 27mph at one stage on the flat but I clung on.

Once free of hares to chase I tackled the long climb out of Hårby up to Jordløse. That went well enough but the headwind had picked upon the long descent down to Faldsled. I couldn't get above 25mph even pedalling hard downhill!

My knees were hurting at this  point so I stopped for a mature cheddar, cheese sandwich on whole grain bread. The Brooks was lifted by 1/8" (3mm) and my knees were fine after that. I stopped to photograph Grubbe Mølle. (Originally Wind and water) Though only the windmill is still highly visible and still workable judging by the superb condition of the sails.

An old Ford was sitting in the mill yard. The owners pottered about taking pictures of the car against old houses. I doubt the car was that old. Probably 1930s. Open topped and beautifully kept without any silly bling. They gave me a klaxon toot as they passed.

When I reached Fåborg I browsed the charity shops for cycling gear as usual. Finally climbing out of Fåborg on Svanninge Bakke at around 10mph @ 95rpm. It was hot work climbing in the sunshine and I kept getting thirsty. The first real summer day, this year, was making serious inroads into my water bottle. Normally I return with it almost untouched.

My speed built up as I climbed until I took the side turning to Vester Hæsinge at 25mph. Then came another mill demanding to be photographed. Though this one was without sails and gently converted to habitable accommodation, I think. Window cleaning from that ladder looks decidedly "iffy!"

When I was within reach of Brobyværk I was overtaken on a long uphill drag by another beanpole. Not a youngster this time, but an old fart like myself. Except that he had decades of hard riding in his calves. He kept climbing out of the saddle on the hills. While I just sat there twiddling like a lunatic. I did my best but just couldn't catch him in the end. I know, I know. I'm completely crackers! Chasing cyclists is my intervals training. Or perhaps I'm just a recycled mongrel who habitually chases racing cyclists? 46 miles and a heavy load of shopping. Am I nearly there yet? ;-)

The problem with warmer weather is the little flies. I don't mind them landing on my newly stick-like arms. So they can die a quick death stuck to the glistening, sweaty, suntan cream. It's the ones which insist on landing on my face. Or get tangled in the helmet straps. Or find their way behind my sunglasses.

Whenever I stop I seem to be surrounded by hover flies. Pretend little wasps in stripy jumpers. They are harmless, beneficial but rather persistent. I thought they'd go for yesterday's yellow jersey in tribute to Wiggo. But they seemed even more enamoured by the blues and greens of today's Shimano jersey.

25th 61-81F, 16-27C. Forecast very warm with light Easterly winds and full sun. What's not to like? The heat? I decided to ride to Nyborg into the wind. A poor decision considering the later heat. My water bottle was frequently so warm I couldn't tell whether I was actually drinking anything. I refilled it three times in all. Luckily the Head Gardener had made me a cheese sandwich and that kept me going amazingly well. I never felt hungry after eating one half at 9am and the other an hour later. I had breakfasted on Muesli and tea at 7am.

 Peter's homebuilt recumbent. 

I saw a home-built recumbent right beside the road at Ellinge and stopped to photograph it. The owner came out and we discussed the design at great length. An impressive build with some nice kit on it. It is lighter than it looks thanks to thin wall tubing. Built large to fit its owner. Peter must have been around 6'6" or 2m. The trike will be shot blasted and painted in the near future.

Then we rode together into Nyborg by the quiet back roads and scenic cycle lanes. An unusual experience for me. I haven't ridden with anybody else for nearly half a century. Least of all on a trike with a recumbent trike for company. We were averaging 16-19mph on the flat. With me being blown by a hurricane headwind. While Peter was breathing exhaust fumes. He could have left me for dead if he had wanted to. His trike was incredibly stable on every kind of surface.

After a look around the large bike shop in Nyborg I took a wrong turning on the way home. As I do. I ended up going much further south than I ever intended. I was using the sun for direction and looking for any turning on the right which I recognised. I didn't because I was totally unfamiliar with the area. While I couldn't fault the scenery I ended up at Ringe and then Sallinge again. Where I took the Gelskov turning. Which eventually put me miles away from where I wanted to be! Maps? What maps? A quite unintentional 80 miles is my furthest distance on my trike so far.

It was quite hard work (at times) keeping my average speed up around 14-16mph in the intense heat. Thankfully the Brooks 'Professional'  saddle remained supportive to the end. Yet again I had forgotten to cut my toenails and this caused some pain. Otherwise I survived in fair shape. I could have ridden further if it was really necessary. Provided I had plenty of cool, fresh water. Am I having fun yet? :-)

26th 60-80F, 16-27C, breezy and sunny. As it was a token rest day I rode gently down to Assens.  The saddle felt like sitting on a pile of broken house bricks when I first set off. I was climbing at 20mph with a tailwind on the way to Ebberup.

A vast cloud of black smoke was rising from Assens as I looked back later. Just the usual, pig-ignorant farmers burning off their harvested fields.  The smoke must have gone half way across the North Sea! It was miles high and stretched right over the horizon! My own, much slower, journey was a more down to earth 23 miles.

27th 63-81F, 17-27C, breezy, hot sunshine. I rode down to Helnæs. Just enough air movement to keep things cool. Without impeding my speed too much. The wind turbines seemed unsure whether to rotate. Or even which way to point if they did. 40 warm miles soaking up the scenery. Being passed at frequent intervals by Philistines speeding though areas of natural beauty in their cars.

I have come to the conclusion that most people don't like driving. It is merely a form of transport. One which isolates them from their surroundings, reality and any sense of danger. Why else would they try and get every journey over with as fast as possible? Why do they leave late? So that they have to exceed the speed limit just to get anywhere on time? Because driving is downright unpleasant, time consuming and frustrating. They want A to B instantly without any of the fuss. They don't want to think, accelerate, corner or brake. Just drive in a cocooned, self-induced coma.

The alternative transport options are dire, more expensive, dangerous and even more unpleasant. Sharing confined spaces with people who can't afford a car? Waiting for hours for some sour lump, with a chip on their shoulder, to turn up and fleece you for even the shortest journey? Can you carry anything on? Can you bring your bike, pram or wheelchair on the bus? No thanks! This is public transport, you know!

I am now running the GP4000s at 100psi. It doesn't make them much more uncomfortable but they do seem a bit quicker at the higher pressure. I suppose I am just getting used to the harder tyres after riding for decades at rather lower pressures.

Nobody should be without a decent gauge. Or, preferably, a pump with one. A floor/track pump is  by far the best. It makes maintaining higher pressures so much easier. It becomes completely routine before each ride. Even somebody as psychopathically lazy as myself. Less than a minute for all three tyres? Why did I not invest in a track pump (with pressure gauge) years ago?

Click in any image for an enlargement.


  1. Hi Chrisbee

    The trike have been painted and is still a joy to ride :-)

    All the best on this very nice blog :-)

    1. Hello Peter

      Good to hear from you. :-)

      I was very impressed by your trike building skills.

      Do you have any pictures of your painted trike posted online?
      (I could link to them from here)

      Thanks for the kind words about my blog.

      Best regards

    2. Hi Chris :-)

      If you send me an e-mail adress to penola@gmail.com then I can send you a few pictures there :-)
      There are still projects ongoing on the bike, you know one never really finishes ;-)
      I have plans of trying a faster tire for the summer which by the way is quite a bit away judging by the weather now :-)

      Good wind

      Peter :-)

    3. Hi Peter

      Why would a Dane post his trike pictures on an Australian charitable website?


  2. I don't have a homepage, and if you think someone would like to see the painted version then it's OK with me :-)