13 Aug 2012

13th August 2012


Lord Bradley of Wiggins' Tour de France ride for 2013 to the latest UCI rules.
The change to unequal wheel sizes is supposed to slow him down so a Frenchman has a (remotely) better chance of winning. The cobbles are in preparation for the next Olympics cycling track in Rio. To try and reduce the chance of the British team getting any more bløødy medals. The UCI are hoping for 'Nul Points' for Team GB. Or a Pendleton of medals as it is now better known in track circles. Power corrupts. UCI corrupts absolutely. Non?

13th 60-70F, 16-21C, windy and sunny. I rode to Odense to take back a Swann Pro655 security camera. A Birthday gift for my wife. Outdoor picture quality was pathetic. Like watching a colour cartoon. Even in bright sunshine the trees and bushes were simple blocks of colour like a child's drawing. How one could possibly recognise an intruder is anybody's guess. My cheapo webcam left it for dead!

To add insult to injury Computer City charged me £5 for the "privilege" of taking their substandard goods back. They have a minimum charge for returned items. I dread to think how much I have spent in that shop over the years. Computers, monitors, keyboards, mice, cameras, hard disks, internal and external computer cards, GPS logger, endless cables, etc.

Of course I pointed all this out to the salesman but it was water off a duck's back. This merely confirms that there is no consumer protection in Denmark. In Britain there is the Sale of Goods Act. Goods not being of merchantable quality and all that sort of thing. Each city council in Britain has a local Trading Standards Office.

That's the last time Computer City will ever see me in there. It wont change anything but this is just me enjoying my democratic freedom to have a good moan about it all online. Off topic? I rode all the way there and back, didn't I? What more do you want? ;-)

I'm still persevering with the Vetta SL saddle. It loves me. It loves me not. It loves me... NOT!  I'm trying Tea Tree oil on the pimples on my bum. Probably too much time spent at the computer than actually sitting on a saddle every day of the year with a "y" in it. Perhaps I should make up a bar stool with a bike saddle on top? It might help to drag me away from the computer. Though the Velo saddle couldn't drag me away from the trike. I just crossed the 10,000km tide mark for the year so far. 46 miles today.

14th 56-65F, 13-18C, windy and sunny. After two rides of around 50 miles in the last few days it was supposed to be a short loop to the shops today. But, no bread at the Coop.(again). Sloppy ordering! (again) There was no stock there last time. No choice but to ride to another, much more distant, village. A nice day for it in bright sunshine. The headwind was brisk but the road was mostly downhill and the tailwind helped me home afterwards. It needed to. It was all uphill and I had a Carradice "micro-Camper" saddlebag load of cans onboard! I ought to have air brakes. So I can make a racket outside the shops.

I rode onto the verge to let a vast, lane-filling harvester pass. I had no idea there were so many harvesters in the entire world. Let alone our backwoods little area of impoverished Fyn. With its part-time peasant farmers. The problem with harvesters is that the farmers need huge entrances to their vast fields. So hedges are usually vulnerable. It all looks so peaceful as the harvester slowly crosses the field. Until, that is, they come closer. It is no use trying to sleep when they are working around the clock and around your own home. What a racket!

Later, a moronic, kid in a tarted up Eurobox, came flying through a winding village. I had just passed a peloton of gently exercising pensioners on their ski sticks. I waved to the idiot to slow down but he put his foot down instead as he took a blind corner! How did the mug know I wasn't warning him of a random police checkpoint just around the corner? Then I saw a half-flattened tabby kitten on the road. Fresh road kill thanks to an immature retard travelling at twice the speed limit. Some shoulders will never carry a wise head. With any luck his early demise will involve a solo accident. Let us hope no trees are stepping into his path. Nor pensioners for that matter. 

I'm still consuming seeds, nuts and raisins on my rides instead of biscuits. Have stopped eating biscuits at home too.  So I'll soon be thinner than Lord Bradley of Wiggins. The Vetta SL saddle is still behaving itself too. Though I haven't seen anything remotely like it in the bike shops. The Vetta is a bit scruffy where the vinyl is coming unstuck and also has a small depression. Probably where something was left pressing hard onto the top for a long time.

Perhaps the Velo saddle will find favour when I try it again after a while. I bought it in haste when I was suffering from soreness on the Brooks 'Professional' on longer rides. It may not have been a fair test of the Velo at that time. There are shops full of very similar saddles to the Velo. Usually fitted to lightweight commuters and affordable racing bikes.

It is still a complete mystery to me how anybody serious about cycling chooses a comfortable saddle. Slavery to the pro rider's choices is just daft. Not only are some teams having saddles made for them alone. Some top riders have saddles made specifically for themselves.

All their kit is paid for by the team or the 'sponsoring' saddle makers. All cashing in on the silly money now slopping about in pro cycling. The amateur, or weekend warrior, is facing rapidly escalating costs to play let's pretend we're a pro for a day! (Well, perhaps an hour or two)

A good frame builder has always been able make a great steel bike to suit almost any rider. Try getting one made out of carbon or Titanium to match your idol fantasies! I have been doing a lot of online research into frame materials. It seems most cyclists could not recognise the frame material by riding it while they were blindfolded. Now there's a review method to sort the men from the boys! :-)

I was looking at the Brooks only yesterday and was surprised how much wear there was on the impressed side skirt logos. Yet I have never sensed any rubbing there. So I wrapped an old inner tube around the middle of the Brooks. To try and pull the skirts in while it is resting. A little more tension may help. I'm probably paying for my earlier butchery with wet leather. It was a desperate attempt to speed up breaking-in. It worked wonders but was not without its risks.
I'll really have to find something else to photograph. I've run out of pretty thatched cottages within a wide radius of home. There are many others but they are not photogenic for one reason or another.  Usually a permanently parked car. Or two huge dustbins permanently parked on the verge. I can paint out some blots on the landscape in PhotoFiltre but not all. I have added some insect pictures of my wife's to break up the text. Only 31 miles today.

15th 60-70F, 16-21C, light winds building, sunny and promising to be warm for a few days. Where shall we go today? Fåborg! I' really am as daft as a brush. I overtook another cyclist and he just sat in my slipstream. So I went faster and he still sat there like a leech. I did about 5 miles at 20+mph into a headwind.

A pretty house spoilt by two cyclists and a parked car. All of which arrived just as I struggled to compose from the shelter of a shop doorway facing straight into the sun! Bing-bong! Can I help you, Sir? Arrgh! :-)
The rest of the pictures from Kerteminde are arranged below. They all took quite some framing and later cropping to remove the modern hideousness of parked vehicles. The TZ7 is a poor camera for architectural photography. I really need a shift lens or a very (very) tall stepladder. A decent lens hood wouldn't do any harm either!

Meanwhile, on our way to Fåborg: Eventually we both had to stop for a red light. He was about the same age as me and seemed impressed with my 110rpm to his 50. He overtook and I followed. Though I was soon leaving him far behind on a two mile hill. Then my wife rang me and I had to stop pedalling to avoid breaking the law. He passed me and then disappeared down the road. I never saw him again. First moving cyclist I have ever spoken to over here.

Got to Fåborg, wandered about the shops for a while and then headed home. I explored a small lane and ended up going miles on a winding, heavily rutted, gravel track. Then I came to a tiny tarmacked lane in a valley in the middle of nowhere. No road signs or recognisable landmarks. I turned right (fortunately) and ended up even more miles from home! Had I turned left, which seemed like the sensible direction, the lane would have stopped dead, after a mile. Right in the middle of a field. The Vetta saddle became sore after 30 miles again. Am I having fun yet? 44 miles.

16th 56-64F, 13-18C, heavy overcast, windy. The forecast was rain and light winds but it hasn't rained yet and the wind was much stronger than yesterday. I re-tensioned and put the Brooks back on but it didn't feel right. Rather like sitting sideways on corrugated roofing.

My legs felt weird today. No strength and a strange feeling of detachment. No pain either but I glanced down at the cadence counter and was doing 65rpm! That wont do at all! The headwind didn't help.

Sloppy restocking of supermarkets meant a visit to two more villages in turn. What those without transport are meant to do I have no idea. No organic low fat milk, oranges or yoghurt. Am I a moaning Minnie, or what? Still not inspired to photograph anything. I'm probably going to put the Vetta saddle back on.

I saw some interesting (?) silver, frame-fit pumps by Zefal in a bike shop. They were long and remarkably narrow. To allow pumping to very high pressures. They claimed something like 175 psi! I have "normal" diameter Zefal, black plastic pumps in various sizes already. I found they couldn't manage higher pressures than 80psi even with a struggle. At least, not with me using them. The mini pump I bought is a sick joke.

BTW: I found I had a non-standard valve on one of my trike inner tubes. The valve screw locking 'twiddly bit' is so long it leaks air before the Topeak can get properly latched on! I was blaming the pumps and pressure gauge. The rain cleared up later but ground mist is rising outside. 24 miles today. The promised heatwave passed south of us.

Opposite Munkebo

17th 56-72F, 13-22C, thick mist burning off to hazy sunshine, hardly a breeze.I decided to use the light winds to get to Kerteminde. Which is a coastal town on the opposite corner of Fyn from Assens. A little over 30 miles away as the trike flies. The Tour of Denmark will be holding a short time trial there on Saturday 25th August. So that was a reason to go there again. I have never tried to reach it on my trike before now. Though it was once an occasional goal for the car in the past.

It was delightful at the start of my ride with beams of sunlight shining though the trees into the mist. Getting towards Odense it became much cooler, overcast and very misty. In Odense centre the mist had cleared but remained overcast. I had to pass right through Odense and pass Munkebo going both ways.

Munkebo is a largely a dormitory town for Odense. It has a few older houses along the old main road but the rest is largely countless bungalows. All very neat but there is nothing much here to attract visitors. The "beach" seems almost an afterthought and is isolated from the town by the incredibly busy bypass alongside.

It once had a large wharf for ship building. This has closed with massive job losses. The top of the vast crane was lost in mist this morning. A shame it was too far away to capture well from the main road. Munkebo's quiet little, low level shopping centre seems to go from bad to worse as the years drag past. A peculiar mix of very narrow, pedestrian walkways seems to hide the possibilities rather than expose anything of interest. It seems strangely intimidating rather than inviting. 

Denmark's villages and shopping towns are dying even faster during this long recession. They could never have competed forever with the supermarkets serviced by a couple of sour teenagers. Even some charity shops have closed. They are usually the first sign of the rot setting in when they arrive. To lose them again paints a very dark picture of centralisation, by car journey, in the bigger cities. The small, village shops, which hung on well beyond their sell by date, are now rows of blind windows. Even the estate agents have given up the struggle in many places. Adding to the air of misery for the land-locked pensioner without private transport.

I believe Kerteminde is an old fishing town. With many streets of attractive, little old, terraced houses. With some much larger timber-framed buildings. Though very little thatch remains. If there ever was. I spent 3/4 of an hour in the centre of town. Just taking pictures and exploring the narrow back streets. Much of it completely spoilt by parked cars for my taste. Even the gorgeous, enclosed and cobbled yards had resident's cars spoiling the view. Destroying the utterly unique, timeless character for simple convenience. 

The Ventus GPS logger fell asleep just after I left Kerteminde to retrace my earlier route! This time it was more into the wind. The main road was much busier and noisier on the way back. The cycle path was also much rougher. With many sink holes and jarring, sunken troughs right across the paths. Plenty of glass too. Given the huge number of cyclists who use this road the desperate need for the council office workers to have modern art, architect designed, "classical" office furniture and really nasty sculpture must still have outweighed any morals or conscience. Denmark becomes ever more shabby without any of the former chic.

I chased other cyclists going both ways to try and keep my speed up. The Brooks behaved itself better than it ever has on a longer ride. With only slight discomfort at around 60 miles. A bike shop in Odense was kind enough to sell me their own Brooks, tension spanner. I presume it saw little use and I was grateful for their generosity.

I finally made it to the big bike shop near the Tarup Centre while they were still open. S-works, Cervello and many other tasty makes decorated their spacious floor and windows. I was tempted to ask for "three of that one, please" but decided I probably wouldn't be welcomed again. The staff seemed young, knowledgeable and polite. Many Danish bike shop staff and owners are anything but! If this was England I would ask if they were trying to provoke me!

Fuel consumption for the day was a breakfast of home-made organic muesli with low fat, organic milk and a cup of tea without milk. An organic banana at 9.30am. A round of mature cheddar on wholegrain bread at 11 and 12am. A small box of apple juice and a litre of tap water. And, a small bag of home-mixed organic seeds, nuts and raisins. I never felt hungry, nor particularly weak, but I wonder whether there was enough energy in all of that?

I had my usual "elevenses" of two toasted rolls with lashings of high fruit content marmalade when I arrived home at 3.30pm. Followed by two rounds of wholegrain toast with organic honey at 5pm. Perhaps I should have taken the toast and rolls with me and consumed them on the trike? The honey and marmalade might have made a bit of a mess, I suppose. Mr Higgins handlebars are already horribly sticky. A healthy dinner was at 8pm as usual. I'm struggling to drink enough to stop my thirst now I am home despite extra cups of tea.

68 miles by bike computer. 35 miles by the Ventus "Narcoleptic" GPS logger. I'm almost tempted to break open the GT120 i-gotU GPS logger with a lump hammer and cold chisel. Just to see if the internal battery can be changed. Though it is a sealed, plastic box, glued shut. It was bought on Tuesday, the 26th January, 2010. Only two and a half years ago. Talk about built-in obsolescence! That came from Computer City too! 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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