30 Nov 2012

25th November 2012

25th 41F, 5C. Gales and rain all day. I'll make it a rest day.

26th 5F, 7C, overnight storm has passed but it is still very windy though dry. Whole trees are rocking. The wind died down a bit by coffee time as I tidied the shed. Then a heavy shopping trip for 19 miles. Had I bought any more stuff I would have had to hold it in my teeth! I have increased the pressures in the Durano Plus to 90psi just as an experiment. It certainly makes them feel faster but there is more obvious jarring on lumps and bumps. With my weight distributed between three wheels there is no real need for rock hard tyres. As long as there are no pinch punctures, of course.

27th 42F, 6C, still, misty and grey. I'll wait for the mist to clear. Spent the day trying to tidy the shed. In the end I left after 3pm into the murky dusk. Came back in the pitch dark watching the speeding traffic in my rear view mirror with some trepidation. Only 13 miles.

28th 38F, 3C, misty, grey, drizzle. Rode to Assens to shop.  The latest winter jacket (Nalini 'Team') seems to be warm, wind proof and remarkably waterproof. I thought I'd be cold without the cycling cardigan underneath but wasn't. The SealSkinz gloves did well too. Only 20 miles.

29th 36F, 2C, heavy overcast, windy and spitting with rain. I spent the morning removing the 10th sprocket to move the axles back towards the middle position. Then I could refit the mudguards without alignment problems. I had moved the axle so far over to the right that the tyres did not properly align with the mudguards. Which risked the tyres rubbing on the mudguard bridges.

It should have taken no time at all but the fixed axle cup has a wonky thread. I tried running a couple of other well greased, fixed cups in there in the hope that the axle housing thread would sort itself out. But no. So I still ended up with a lockring to fill the space where the cup would not go right in. I don't have a decent 38mm spanner. Making do with a large adjustable spanner.

On a bike it would be a piece of cake to sort out but a trike axle is hemmed in by all the housing reinforcement loops. Later trikes (Trykit and Longstaff) very sensibly use circlips to hold the axle bearings in place. Apart from removing damageable threads from the equation this has the advantage of saving the weight of four bottom bracket cups.  As I struggled to turn the fixed cup in tiny increments I could see why oversized outside bearing bottom bracket fittings aren't used on trike axles. They would offer larger diameter, but lighter, hollow axles. With such poor access to the inner bearings it is hardly worth the trouble to research the possibility of using these bearings.

As of 1pm it has started sleeting. I still hope to go out after lunch. It snowed and it sleeted and it stabbed my eyes with icy needles. My feet were cold and wet despite mudguards and GripGrab rubber overshoes. The GripGrab Polaris gloves started out cold but slowly warmed up despite going dark with the wet. The gears were all over the place despite constant small adjustments. Too dark to see what was going on back there. Only 13 miles.

Another view of the Brahesborg lake.

I wonder if DHL are on strike? I have had a parcel sitting in Germany for 52 hours according to their own track and trace! I paid 22 Euros for delivery! That's 165DKK, £18GB or 35US! Nice work if you can get it! I checked Trust Pilot and see they (DHL) are rated almost as badly as UPS!

You wouldn't believe my last troubles with this very dodgy outfit. Fortunately the track and trace records saved me being ripped off by one of their hired crooks/drivers. He could hardly claim my packages weren't scanned onto his truck could he? He was so upset that he couldn't get away with such an obvious theft that he dropped all four boxes onto concrete from chest height right in front of me! His supervisor didn't give a shit when I rang up to complain! Completely disinterested.

Had I any choice I would completely refuse to buy anything from any dealer (or person) who uses DHL for delivery. Why encourage them when they obviously don't care a damn about service? Am I having fun yet?

An update: Two whole days and six hours later the package is finally reported to be in Denmark. I knew I should have fitted a rack on the trike. I could have cycled down there, picked up the parcel and returned home again in the time that DHL took just to move the package across Hamburg!

30th 31-32C,  0C, breezy intervals, mostly sunny with occasional plates of cloud. My package arrived in the post. Which explains why it wasn't updated by DHL beyond arrival in Denmark. My blog has locked me out all day! I checked the help forums and found that I needed to turn off Draft.blogger in Settings. That fixed the problem. A rather cold day. Particularly when I had to ride into the northerly wind. The Aesse jacket worked beautifully under these conditions. As did the Dintex scooterist's gloves. Gears still not right. I think the rear changer is probably twisted on the bolt-on hanger again.

I rode to Assens to do some more shopping. 25 miles. Having shoved a massive 6 metre ladder up the roof yesterday, I had to follow the professional sweep to finish the job properly! He left a lot of flaky stuff up near the top. But at least he isn't a racist, bullying vandal like his boss. So I was already aching before I carried 24x10kg bags of fuel, twice, for the woodburning stove. Poor old devil! :-)


Click on any image for an enlargement.

20 Nov 2012

20th November 2012

20th 45-46F, 7-8C, heavy grey overcast, windy but dry. The internet was off again! Only for a few minutes. Probably just the CIA getting their wires crossed. ;-)

The Higgins cockpit. Cadence/Revcounter on the left reads in tenths. Would prefer digits of the same size but beggars can't be choosers at this price point. (£10 equiv each at Bauhaus) The mileages are now well out of date! As is the untidy wiring. 

Another shopping trip for 21 miles. 8 kilos! Going out again after coffee.  Plus 17 more miles with 10 kilos of shopping this time. Just catching up with low price, special offers of long lasting stuff to go on the shelf. It was getting windier all the time but still not very cold.

I have been researching crank length. Since changing to 175mm on the Shimano MTB chainset cranks I have never felt completely comfortable when pedalling at my usual rate. (95rpm) Previously, all my cranks have been 170mm.

As usual, "expert" opinion on crank length is highly polarised. The majority are claiming miraculous results from shorter cranks. Some of this same majority are also pushing ridiculously expensive product!

A couple of nay-sayers claim that longer cranks are the way forwards. My own situation shows that this is simply not true. Except (perhaps) for those who push high gears for maximum power at lower pedal rpm.

Twiddlers, like myself, do not feel comfortable with this long crank advice. From 170 to 175mm is actually less than a quarter of an inch. Though the difference over entire pedal circle is twice that. The long crank exponent suggests that I should indeed be using 175mm cranks with my 32" inside leg measurement. I have to disagree. I am always conscious of turning the pedals through a large circle. (with 175mm cranks) Rather than being able to completely ignore them as  natural part of pedalling. If I'm doing 5 million pedal rotations per year I really ought to know about these things. Nobody should dictate to me what I need.

My search for further information on useful touring ratios (with my limited bottom gear sprocket size of 26T) inevitably brought me to SpaCyles. They sell the Sugino, Stronglight (and their own XD-2) chainsets. The only obvious difference between them, apart from the graphics, is the available ring choice on offer. Oh, and crank length! Down to 160mm if desired. They even sell the cranks separately at only £20 squid a pair! (in limited lengths) So, once one has purchased a chainset (i.e.suitable set of chainrings with the necessary fixing bolts and one set of cranks) one can mix and match crank length for remarkably low cost. The only boring bit is swapping rings and pedals between cranks.  But it makes one think furiously about discovering the perfect crank length for yours truly... and not a moment too soon. :-)

Spa list, but don't illustrate the Stronglight Impact Kid chainset. So I borrowed this image from the Stronglight website:


This is their later New Impact style with 5 visible fixing points. What a gorgeous, incredibly affordable, chainset! I'm not sure how long the cranks are on this image as they appear far longer than expected even for a 42T chainring. As it clearly shows 48T stamped on the outer ring I think we can safely assume a mistake on the Stronglight website. This is probably just a New Impact double under the wrong website heading.

What a shame that every website, worldwide, of those selling the 'Kid' have opted to use exactly the same wrong image from Stronglight. After wading through endless pages of Google hits I still haven't found a single image of the Stronglight 'Kid' chainset! I have emailed Stronglight asking them to correct their image of the 'Kid' chainset.

Offered in 44/34 and 42/34  sizes and 110PCD the Kid comes in crank lengths right down to 130mm! Twiddlers, everywhere, spin your hearts out! :-)

However, the 'Kid' seems not to be available as a triple. I have emailed SpaCycles to have them confirm this. There are conversion or adaptor rings listed on the Spa website to make triples out of doubles. I thought I'd try to obtain a triple in 150mm crank size if available. For no other reason that it seems like a nice round number and I am rather scared of going any shorter! Fuzzy logic suggests the addition of a 24T inner ring to make a nicely compact triple of 24/34/44. The 24T would suit my need for low gears while limited to 26T at the rear.

21st 42F, 6C, very windy, heavy grey overcast.  I tootled down to Assens. As I rode out of some woods I found a very large deer looking back at me from less than 10 yards away! It seemed quite unmoved and went on nibbling the farmer's juvenile crop. It obviously hadn't heard that animals are supposed to notice trikes but not bikes. Horses often watch me pass and dogs go rapid as I ride past. Lots of birds of prey about today. Brought back 10 more kilos of shopping. 20 miles so far. Going out again after lunch.

It never did get light today. My eyes and nose were streaming this afternoon while riding into the cold wind. The SealSkinz must have been slightly damp from this morning. Because my hands were freezing cold riding into that nasty headwind. The trees were roaring on the way back but I was enjoying the helping hand. Another 10 miles on the Higgins mule. It is just as well I don't have a rack any more or I'd have been tempted to carry even more weight! Since covering distance is more important than weight carrying capacity I shall limit myself to 10kgs.

The lake at Brahesborg Gods.

22nd 47F, 8C, heavy overcast, early rain clearing. DMI promise sunshine later. It's always a toss-up between later wind and enjoying some weak sunshine. Or going much earlier in the semi-darkness and grey overcast, but usually less windy, early morning. I can actually see blue sky out of the window now! I wonder if I can (gently) persuade the Head Gardener to make early coffee and toasted rolls? :-) The answer was yes, so I was able to get a ride in before lunch in full sunshine. Rather windy but mostly from the side.

I was overtaken by a sociopathic drunken driver travelling at very high speed on the straight into a 30mph village boundary. The lights on the T-junction ahead had just changed to red but he made no attempt to slow at the village speed limit signs. An old lady, bent double with severe spinal curvature was already crossing the road long before he and I approached. He swerved right around her, to the opposite kerb, while passing a crossroads, before finally braking to a stop at the traffic lights.

I pulled up alongside his filthy estate car on my trike but could see nothing through the illegally dark, passenger windows. I wonder how he gets through the biennial vehicle inspection? I rode just past and looked back through the windscreen. All I could see was a moron listening to his wholly inadequate audio system thumping monotonically away to itself. There was absolutely no sign of an adult driver anywhere in the vehicle! I wish I'd had a decent camera to share his utterly moronic behaviour with the YouTube watchers.

Only 14 miles but I have to go out again. This is due to their having no stock at the coop supermarket yet again. So much for special offers, eh? I wonder if the countless staff, constantly blocking the aisles with their new stock, remember that it is only ever coop supermarkets which close down? Plus 18 more miles under steadily darkening skies. I should count myself lucky I'm not 'enjoying' the severe storm in the UK! Over 70mph winds and heavy rain causing flooding.

23rd 40F, 4C, windy already, with pretty pink stripes across the sky. I fancy a ride to Odense to buy some tools. I need to be able to use my torque wrenches with hex key and Torx drivers. With a strong southerly wind it would be easy going there but quite a struggle coming back.  Though not the usual headwinds.

I was just smiling at a piece on the online TV news about the new bicycle lighting rules. People are questioning whether the new rules can even be checked in a serious way. Should the constable stand and wait 5 hours while the light slowly dims to ensure the 5 hours battery rule applied? Shall the constable tell the cyclist to wait, right there, while he walks 300 metres away to check the beam can actually reach that far?

Why is it that 95% of all drivers in Denmark exceed the speed limit for 95% of the time, with apparently complete impunity. It seems as if it is a breach of human rights to be stopped in Denmark while speeding. So much so that the police must publicise where they are going to park their disguised radar vans. While cyclists are being constantly harassed and fined for far less dangerous activities! How many cyclists killed pedestrians or other cyclists in the last 100 years?

While I am in Odense I am always terrified of a £70 fine for riding in the pedestrianised areas. While cars, vans and vast, articulated lorries may safely use these same spaces as and when they like. Provided, only, that they pretend to be delivering to local businesses. So I have to get off and push my trike. While simultaneously avoiding heavy, two-way traffic on exactly the same stretch of  pavement! Something is certainly not right in the State of Denmark!

<Cough!> The Miljø/Environment minister is talking about increasing car taxes for petrol and diesel cars while reducing it for hybrids, gas powered cars and the like. Many diesel cars have had chip tuning for increased power while greatly increasingly their damaging effect on the environment and people's health with soot particles. Why did they begin to drive diesels? Because the politic-ooze deliberately lowered taxes on diesel cars and even on their fuel. </cough!>

No problem getting there (Odense) but the wind had picked up on the way back. It felt freezing cold on my face but the rest of me was well protected. I had a long chat/argument with a pro bike mechanic on Shimergo. I don't think I convinced him of the merits. Though he could see how I was limited to Shimano splines on the trike. I was tired and a bit hungry on the way back. 43 miles. After six hours in the bib shorts I can manage six straight verses of "Oh for the wings of a dove" (boy soprano) without a bum  note!

I ordered a 46/34/24 XD-2 chainset with 160mm cranks from Spa Cycles in the UK. Hopefully this will put an end to my aching legs and knees. If I find I need smaller ring sizes with these shorter cranks I can always buy new rings.

Image from Spa's website:


24th 41F, 5C, grey, still and misty. (but the mist is clearing quickly) Tomorrow promises up to 50mph gusts and heavy rain all day so I have to make up for it today! Where shall I go? Bogense. (pronounced BOW-uns-uh.) A small harbour town on the north coast of fyn. Very unspoilt with lots old  houses. I was fine going but the moment I turned for home realised there would be a steady 10-15 headwind all the way home. I was very tired and achy for a while but it gradually passed. Bogense has the advantage that it isn't on a main road to anywhere. So it is very relaxed with lots of people enjoying Saturday morning at the small independent shops. The high street has been kept largely free of chains and supermarkets. The sky is still horribly grey with none of the promised sunshine. 52 miles. Just passed 15,000 kilometres for this year. First use of my Smart lights this winter. Batteries still strong from new. Brilliant lights!


Click on any image for an enlargement.

15 Nov 2012

15th November 2012


A gorgeous example of Geoff Booker's trike building skills. Made of Reynolds R931 seamless, stainless steel. Even the Trykit rear rack is made of stainless steel. To provide a long life while safely avoiding the usual paint rubbing away to bare metal and the inevitable rust which follows. Who wouldn't be proud to own and ride such a perfect example of the tricycle builder's art? Do you know any other bespoke frame builders who can make axles, hubs, 2WD freehubs and racks as part of their trade? Trykit

15th 46F, 8C, heavy grey overcast, winds light. The grey skies continue. Shopping in Assens. Only 19 miles so far. I had to smile smugly to myself today. I was in a supermarket looking for suitable bread to replace the discontinued stuff we had enjoyed for years. The replacement, aerated cardboard crap was obviously not selling! It had all been reduced to small change to clear the shelf of old stock. This never happened with the original loaves! Customer ½ Supermarkets Ø!

In case you were wondering what relevance bread has to cycling you must have missed the point of cycling for improved health. (rather than an excuse for drug abuse) Real bread is a valuable source of fibre and nutrients. It reaches the parts that the fat and salt takeaway merchants and sugar recyclers haven't even dreamed of using in their false advertising.

Bread can be used for a whole variety of things other than sandwiches. Toast, doorstops, winter bird fodder, Frisbee throwing at ducks, puddings... It is very light and has even been known to be transported by cyclists as a filling snack. All without having to throw sandbags out to compensate for its extra weight as they float away into the sky on their bloated, carbon fibre monstrosities.

Plus 12 more miles pm to finish the shopping and collect my new Class10 SanDisk Ultra micro SDHC card for my Medion inaction camera. The SanDisk card reader turned out to be as small as the end of my finger! I seriously doubt the new card will make the camera any more sensitive. Which means it is still useless unless the sun is actually shining. Though not directly into the lens! If the card can remove the endless zebra artefacts it will be something.

I bought the memory card online. With free freight and no card charges for a third of the price of local shops. I will no longer deal with any online company which charges for using debit  and credit cards. Why can't these crooks add their fixed charges directly to their online prices? Why does the customer have to wait until the very last stage of purchase to see how much they have been fleeced? In my opinion they have dug their own graves, shot themselves in the head and fallen face down into the hole!

I had to collect the package from a local shop of my own choosing. The online dealer uses the GLS Pakke-Shop service. Hardly any effort for me to pick up a package given my freedom of mobility. The shop staff are always very pleasant. The GLS service also offers excellent tracking and a final email update of readiness for collection. The Postal service can take four days to deliver a small packet from within Denmark! Which means four days of hanging about waiting for the non-existent delivery. Most of their staff think the world owes them a living. No matter how poor their service or how much they may scowl at the awful injustice of having to be a postperson in a modern van.

The Brooks B17 'Select' with a central line drawn on the image. At least the left skirt has now dropped to a more normal position. It was sticking out sideways for most of its short life. Perhaps the increased tension is pulling the leather straight? It is still a thing of great beauty. 

We used to have only three or four postal deliveries per week. You could tell what day it was by the absence of post. The online service was two working days from ordering for stock items and three for remote-stock. So far they have kept their word and left me in complete control of my own choices and actions. I like that a lot. I have given them top marks on the online review service. Praise due where it is earned.

16th 44F, 7C, grey overcast, light winds. There is a promise of a glimpse of sun later. I'm not sure whether to be grateful or start worrying about the temporarily delayed winter. I may not have mentioned that I have been wearing the Sealskinz gloves for over a week. Their lack of insulation was compensated for by their high level of dexterity and the continuing very mild conditions. The lack of any padding has been of little concern with the new handlebars well padded with gel strips. I doubt the clingy rubber is any softer than taped alloy bar but it increases the area on which the hands normally rest. Though sold by bike outlets the Sealskinz have no padding of their own and a rather limited low temperature range. Moisture inside the gloves must be strictly avoided!

Just another shopping loop for 20 miles. Today I could more easily see that the flocks of nervous birds were Fieldfares. There are also incredible numbers of gulls hanging around in flocks. They were swarming around a mink farm like bees around a honey pot. The faster memory card had little or no effect on the Medion camera's 'zebra stripe' artefacts.

17th 36-38F, 2-3C, a cold, grey, raw day. We have been promised some sunshine but it looks as if I shall be queueing for another refund. Going out after coffee as it drizzled earlier. I had an idea to rotate the saddle slightly to the left to see if it will help it straighten itself out. Nothing ventured...Only 14 miles so far. I have to go out again after lunch. Plus another 13 miles later. I was glad for the warmer GripGrab scull cap today. The SealSkinz gloves were okay this morning. However, the slight damp from this morning's ride made them feel cold this afternoon. Fortunately they soon warmed up.

18th 42F, 6C, quite still, overcast, grey with light rain or drizzle forecast for this morning. If I am to reach 10k this year I need to maintain an average of 30 miles per day with no rest days. More easily done in summer than winter. It doesn't help when Sunday mornings aren't very promising for a longer ride. It has been continuously windy this year which has often limited potential routes. As I sit at my computer I often look out of the window at the trees in the garden. The Birches, in particular, are only rarely completely still. Today they are, but the sky remains grey and brooding. I don't even enjoy photography when there is no colour or sharpness to the light.

At least the damage done by the Nidd saddle has subsided. I think it must be the lamination on the underside which has killed any potential flexibility or comfort. The leather is easily thick enough for any saddle to hold its form. The Brooks 'Select' hardly transmits the lumps and bumps of the road. The Nidd offered no such suspension and would hammer the sit bones relentlessly. Which is a great shame. The Nidd saddle has so much potential for a long and comfortable life on a serious touring machine.

I was trying to think of a way of exercising the Nidd without my being actively involved. I thought a hinged, weighted arm, pressing two sit bone spaced lumps accurately and repeatedly might work. The weight being lifted and lowered by the constantly rocking trees. The problem was weatherproofing the apparatus so that leather did not become soaked and damaged. I didn't fancy making holes in the shed to allow a rope to pass. An electric motor would do as well but the cost of electricity and potential fire risk, while absent on a ride, put me off that idea. You can tell how serious the Nidd comfort problem is that I should waste any time on such endeavours! :-)

Wind turbine towers at Vissenberg awaiting painting. The works is very close to the motorway. Handy when the loads are so large that normal road transport is all but impossible.

The Durano Plus tyres also do their bit for riding comfort. I regularly have to cross brick-sized cobbles but can hardly believe the improvement in comfort over the GP4000. The selfish farmer's lumpy mud pats used to be almost unrideable and unbearable. They would jar me horribly! Throwing the trike viciously in all directions. Now I hardly bother to avoid many of these former irritations. The perennial moraines, of  loose stones and gravel found on many corners and junctions, would always force me out into the passing traffic. As would the countless sunken drains and manhole covers. Now I hardly notice their presence. Even ride over them to see how much I can still tolerate. There were times, with the GP4000, when I really feared for my teeth falling out and my eyeballs rattling onto my cheeks!

The odd thing is how lively the Duranos feel. Provided they have over 80psi in them they have a magical ability to roll seemingly effortlessly. This may be an illusion produced by their greater comfort of course. Yet they don't feel slow as a result of their construction and ride quality. As soon as I leave the house to roll down our rutted, gravelled drive I can feel their willingness to get going. The GP4000s felt as if they had to stop and examine every single piece of gravel along the drive. Why anyone would use them for serious racing on cobbles I have absolutely no idea. They shake the rider so much that all forward motion is forgotten!

Well, now it is finally brightening up. So I can stop boring all my readers to death and get ready for a ride. Which recycled jacket shall I wear today? Eeeny, meeny, miney.. I left very late as the sun came out for a few moments to taunt us and then disappeared for the test of the day. With so little time to play I just rode a roughly circular route. The bib shorts were very comfortable but caused the usual problems at nature stops. By the time I reached home I was ready to play the boy soprano part. Interestingly (?) I had to tip the saddle back a little to cope with the slippery shorts. I already had about 12 kilos of shopping on by half way. Fortunately the wind was very light so I hardly noticed the extra weight.  Now, as the sun sets at 4pm, the sky is covered in orange fluffy stripes. Only 36 miles.

I looked at my mileage page again and worked out that I had averaged 28 miles per day for the entire year so far. 196 miles average per week. With 6 weeks left and maintaining my present averages I should easily manage 10k. Weather permitting of course. My wife said that I didn't have to reach 10,000 at all. That I was in charge and that it was a personal choice whether to ride or not. Isn't that a bit like putting the lunatics in charge of the asylum? :-)

19th 36-41F, 2-5C, an overnight, white frost. With clear skies at the moment. Cloudy and windy is promised by the DMI. The wind was light at first but increased. The sun turned to overcast and cleared again. I had a ton of shopping on board today. 30 miles.

A Higgins Ultralite Tandem trike has come up on eBay:

Higgins Ultralight Tandem Trike | eBay

Presently sporting 3 gears and a rear drum brake.

The seller hasn't mentioned it but, unless I'm very mistaken, it has 2WD via a Higgins differential. Which probably means finding a screw-on block to get more gears.

Isn't it delightful to see large flange hubs?  They have rather gone out of favour in recent times but were absolutely de rigueur in my youth.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

12 Nov 2012

10th November 2012


10th 45-46F, 7-8C, breezy, with heavy overcast. I finally fixed the stiff link. The Nidd is getting another chance to behave itself. Having set it almost perfectly level I had to stop and tip it nose-up some more. Only then was I relieved of sitting on a misshapen rock. Just another shopping trip for 25 miles. The 10 speed Shimergo gears are perfect now the chain isn't catching any more.

Having bought a cheap(ish) HD 720P helmet cam from Aldi for £70 equiv last week I have been struggling with it ever since. Lashed to the trike's handlebar stem, with the supplied clamps, camera shake was almost non-existent. Until, that is, I started rocking the handlebars on climbs. Burp! I also hit it with my knee when I stood up to climb. Worse still, the videos were so dark that it is all but unusable except in bright sunshine! Which is a great shame because the image detail is quite good. Though HD is a bit of a stretch.

The camera is nicely light and has a useful, cylindrical format with some clever details. It buzzes three times when switched on. Only once when it is turned off. Various LEDs tell the user what is happening. One very odd aspect is that I haven't found way of clearing the card of previous recordings. I'm having to put the card in an adaptor in my TZ7 to format it. I have a cheapo card reader on the way so that might help.

Then I moved the camera to the top tube but my knee still hits the camera when I get out of the saddle. The camera is also very prone to zebra-striped artefacts. I'm hoping a Sandisk 16GB Class10 Micro-SDHC card will solve this problem. I'll try fixing it to my helmet next to see how it copes with that. Prepare yourselves for another exciting edition of; "Noddy Rides His Tricycle." :-)

11th 46F, 7C, overcast, windy. I'm going to have to put the Brooks B17 back on. I can tell that I rode the Nidd yesterday just sitting here on my cushioned computer chair. I decided to ride across the SW wind down to Fåborg. It was mostly bright and sunny and I was feeling unusually strong. So I chose the hilliest route going both ways. Going there, I climbed up to Trunderup. Then over the hills above Svanninge past the golf course. This was part of the Tour of Denmark route except that I was riding against their previous traffic flow.

Fåborg was almost deserted as I walked the Sunday morning pedestrian precinct munching my cheese roll and keeping an eye out for Triffids or Zombies. Despite the almost complete lack of unwheeled peds I didn't dare ride the trike down there. Not after the recent spate of vicious, anti-cycling legislation by the New Empty Promises Left. Their latest threat is to hang, draw and quarter any cyclist with a light which cannot be proved to light for a further 5 hours continuously. Or should that be consecutively? Yeah, right! Whatever! They have decided they cannot afford to replace the wrought iron, garden gates. Which pass for free hire bikes in assorted, heavily traffic congested, polluted Danish cities. Denmark used to be the cycle friendly, environmentally conscious centre of the entire universe. Now they are frightening the children with stories of  imprisonment and torture for not having the right bike lights!

Presumably the Thought Police will now be carrying multi-battery testers? No doubt they will need to be issued with all new, black leather harnesses to cater for said apparatus? All at who knows what cost to the already overburdened taxpayer! It's nice to know that the politicooze are keeping their eye on the ball in the middle of this double dip recession, isn't it? I wonder why Nero springs to mind here. ;-)  

Coming back from the deserted streets of Fåborg was fun too: I turned off the Assens road at Millinge for Håstrup. Taking Hannelundsvej for even more climbing to Håstrup by a more roundabout and hillier route. Then on up to Jordløse. Which seemed like the top of the world as I looked out towards the autumn sun. With the sea far below, way over beyond the woods and fields. 46 busy miles. Quite a few cyclists were out training or just pottering.

12th 40-45F, 4-7C, windy, bright sunshine. I rode to Odense to see if I could have a look at the GoPro range of helmet cams in the flesh. Just to see what I have been missing. Out of the six (6!) stockists, which I had discovered on the internet, only one actually had any stock! (At all!) Do you know the most repeated phrase in the Danish language? "We can order it for you." If I just wanted to order it I'd do it online! Save myself a fortune and fifty miles of cycling, wouldn't I?

PhotoCare in Dalum Centret is the real deal if you're local and interested. They had a really good selection of Hero cameras on display (including the latest Hero3 Silver Edition) and huge range of GoPro accessories. All within easy reach for relaxed customer inspection. (And hopefully purchase!)

They really are gorgeous little cameras. They shout "techy" with a capital T! Beautifully presented too. In a clear plastic box on top of the cardboard packaging. A stroke of pure genius IMO as it hints at the exquisitely clear, waterproof cases on the cameras themselves. Though this makes them damned difficult to to steal or even to photograph well!

Once seen, you feel you must have one of these little beauties. But which of the many versions on offer? It's a real shame that the "Top of the range" Hero3 Black Edition is so expensive and not even released in Europe yet. Best guess is end of November/early December. Even then it lacks essential software until a later update. This is all a bit silly at this (very) elevated price level! It's a helmet cam. Not jewellery. Oh, I don't know though. You could wear one almost anywhere. Except on your head.

The GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition. Images borrowed from GoPro's own website because my own pictures were such crap!

I was really quite tempted by the Hero3 Silver. Though basically it's really just a Hero2 repackaged in a smaller case and with a flat lens cover for underwater use. All for a £100 premium over the Hero2 at 2799DKK. I think I will have fitted the mudguards back on Mr Higgins before I feel a desperate need for that flat lens! The Black Edition does include the WiFi remote and extra performance capabilities. As well as being smaller than the Hero2 range. It also claims better low light ability and a redesigned sound system. Though both look a bit noisy on the YouTube videos!

One might have thought they'd have rotated the body this time. To put the lens on the smaller end face for a more "stealth" look. Instead of which they have just made the case thinner from front to back. Quite markedly so. It still looks like a house brick on a stalk on top of a helmet. All a bit 1950s comic book aliens with TV aerials on their heads. Perhaps this is a deliberate strategy by the GoPro company? One detail I would really like to see changed is a complete end to the hideous barrel distortion. I suffered from this annoying curvature of straight lines in a couple of my earlier compact digital cameras. So I really don't want it back again! It makes it impossible to photograph  many subjects without looking like a total amateur.

I also visited the Sony shop in the Rosengård Centre to have look at their new action cam. The HDR-AS-15. After I finally managed to work out how to unclip it I couldn't believe how heavy it was! I simply cannot imagine it dangling from a cycling safety helmet! You'd quickly develop those special neck muscles just like Arnie's!

No doubt it will have had all the daft touches ironed out by the third or fourth generation. Right now it is a very unfinished project. Sony probably wanted to get into the market as rapidly as possible to boost flagging camera sales. Probably in the forlorn hope of denting GoPro's dominance at the same time. Shame the Sony camera is only half thought out and GoPro released their 3rd generation of cameras almost simultaneously. Whoops there goes my Sony purchase! Next time they might actually ask somebody who uses one what is actually needed in an action camera. I expect the head of Sony R&D rules with an iron fist. So nobody in the lower echelons of the hierarchy dares to question his qualifications in economics. I doubt he knows which end of a screwdriver to hold after looking at the HDR AS15! It reminds me of a plastic version of the 1950s EverReady bicycle lamps. They were incredibly heavy and crap too! The Sony looks reverse engineered from GoPro's alien technology. ;-)

A GOPRO UPDATE: However tempting the sweet little GoPro cameras might look it seems the company has appalling quality control and poor reliability. I suggest potential purchasers check the Amazon customer reviews. Where they will find ~1 in 5 are extremely unhappy with their purchase. Many mention GoPro's pathetic, to non-existent, customer service.Customers complained of poor guarantee cover. So if the camera fails on day one your money is wasted unless your dealer will offer a refund. It seems hardly surprising that GoPro do not have a user forum of their own. I imagine the sheer number of complaining posts would seriously dent sales! There are other forums dealing with specific GoPro problems.

GoPro are constantly promising software updates and new hardware but routinely completely fail to come up with the goods. Or the software update actually makes things worse! It took them 2 years just to provide a proper diving case with flat lens cover which did not make inferior underwater videos.  This, despite GoPro bragging about a 200ft depth capability. The pretty waterproof cases often prove anything but. Even in rain! The batteries are considered feeble and routinely overheat. While the camera is reported to be prone to intermittent shut down and lock up. The claimed range of the WiFi is nowhere near. The camera build is considered cheap, plasticy and fragile out of the clear case.

I'm glad I found these user reviews as I was seriously considering a GoPro camera purchase to record my rides. (Despite GoPro's high prices) Denmark does have a 2 year replacement or repair consumer law. Though how much protection this would offer in practice I have no idea. It might take forever just to get the camera back! With no guarantee of a long term fix. I had my Lumix TZ7 screen crack and the camera has never been right since its repair. This came on top of a very short lived, high-end, Panasonic video recorder. I shall never purchase another Panasonic product ever again!

Life is just too short to get involved in such an obviously unreliable product as GoPro. Particularly when videos and stills are often the only record of a unique event. It is this, which puts me right off GoPro, after reading these Amazon reviews. As they (GoPro) are still considered the best product by far (when working) I have no plans (at all) to look at the Sony again. It has too many very obvious flaws. As do the opposition in this field. Particularly in poor light. Including my grossly under-performing Medion MD86543! Expensive toys are supposed to be fun! That's why they call them "toys". The expensive part is supposed to mean they work straight out of the box and continue to keep working!


I was fine riding to Odense and raced around town as usual. Coming back, hours later,  I was absolutely knackered, hungry and saddle sore. I could still feel yesterday's hilly ride in my legs. Silly to go so far today. I should have left it until tomorrow but the promised forecast was too good. Except that the headwind coming back felt twice as strong as it was meant to be! Where do I queue for a DMI refund? 50 more miles today.

Did I mention that my gears went haywire? I pushed the trike backwards outside a shop and the chain fell off the back of the cassette. By the time I had the chain back on the rear changer had rotated the bolt-on hanger. Luckily I wasn't too far from home and rode it home as it was. So I saved myself another hand cleaning session with the very inferior Ecover hand cleanser.

9000 miles is now within easy reach. But is 10,000 for this year? A month and a half to do a thousand more? It's just doable but not if I keep riding the Nidd. It does more harm than good at the moment. Leaving me with a legacy of sit-bone soreness which the Brooks cannot easily undo. Perhaps I should chop the braces off my expensive bib shorts and have my wife put some elastic in the waist? The bib braces are just too silly to use when I'm overdressed for winter.

Here's one of my many test videos but with a bit of sunlight: I'd still class it as disappointing:

13th Grey, 42F, grey, 6C, grey, windy and overcast. I've left it until after morning coffee in the hope of some daylight. Can't take any chances of having a sub-5 hour light battery reserve! The rear changer had just twisted on the hanger after yesterday's reversing debacle. A matter of moments to fix up on the work stand. That vast, 28T sprocket was my downfall. There was literally nowhere for the chain to roll back onto the cassette. Bodily lifting a heavily laden trike to turn the pedals, to lift the chain back on, was not conducive to immediate success!

By the time I left it was drizzling. The sort of drizzle that makes you wetter than if you had gone arse over tit into one of those water-filled potholes on the now-infamous, narrow-gauge, Danish, cycling superhighways. As it was so inclement I lost all ambition in achieving an annual PB and settled for an out-and-back instead for 15 miles. It should have been dry according to the DMI. My wife is now referring to this year's weather as The Dark Ages. I cranked on the B17 'Select' tension nut some more. Just following (the dealer's) orders. ;-)

Alan, my fellow tricyclist in exile, has sent me an update on the narrow gauge cycling superhighway between Korinth and Ringe. It seems that horses have been banned until they can find the correct sand.  My thanks to Alan for sharing these images of these warning notices. His recumbent trike can be spotted on the left.

Left:  We apologise that at the moment there is a risk of punctures on the Nature Path. We are working hard to improve the problem.
Right: The horse riding track is closed to all traffic until further notice because of sharp stones in the sand. There is a risk of puncturing when riding on the asphalt path. We apologise and are working on a quick solution.

Alan reports that the path has been swept clean and that there seemed to be no problems with punctures. He enjoyed his ride through the countryside and even saw a Kingfisher, amongst other delights of the unspoilt countryside along the route.

14th Grey, very grey. 46F, 8C, windy, misty and very, very grey. Shopping = 13 miles. Plus 15 more later for 9000 miles this year. It was so dark at 3pm that I felt I needed lights.  I fed some ducks with some of the awful experimental bread purchases.  The ducks just ignored it! :-) The wind had dropped to nothing by the time I returned.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

6 Nov 2012

6th November 2012


6th 35-45F, 2-7C, windy, with weak sunshine, cloudy becoming overcast. It rained briefly. Shimergo gears were fine without a single hiccup. I sought out the steepest hill I know to confirm how low a gear I really need in practice. I suppose this hill is about 1-in-6 and only a narrow, country lane.

My normal lowest gear is 22" (22 gear inches) on 22Tx26T. I'm ignoring the added 28T sprocket for the moment. Today I was most comfortable on the third sprocket in maintaining a decent cadence up this steady slope. 22Tx27"/27T=27". Had the hill been longer, than its several hundred yards, I would probably have used the next sprocket down for 25" when I began to feel the pain of climbing.

It's never just a case of getting up a hill any old how. It's about keeping up the revs to protect the knees and reduce rider fatigue. Reading online there are highly polarised opinions on gear range for touring. It obviously depends on how hilly it is, one's age, level of fitness, load being carried, having a good/bad day, headwind, tiredness and hunger. They all play a part. I've regularly climbed at well above 20mph when feeling good and a tailwind was aiding my efforts.

20" is arguably the lowest useful gear even on a trike. It feels absolutely ridiculous on the flat. Not so daft on a steep incline when one is already tired out after a long ride into a headwind. Try getting a 20" gear with a compact 50/34 road chainset! You'll be searching for a 43T rear sprocket made by Unobtainium.com!

The Shimano 105 triple chainset offers a 30T inner ring. 27x30/30=27". Not bad for a road bike. Provided Shimano bend their own rules and allow you to use a 30 tooth bottom sprocket with their 27T maximum capacity rear changers. Campag is playing the same catch up with cycling reality game for 2013. With triples (when everybody who was anybody said triples were dead) and larger rear sprockets. They say "The Hulk" and "Superman" still ride 53/11 (at the other end of their standard gear range) Only the dimensions of freehub preclude a "highly desirable" 10T sprocket for those who regularly pedal at 50mph wherever they go.

So a triple makes a lot of sense if you ride a trike on a bumpy landscape. Particularly when riding a trike which is usually loaded. A larger factor comes into play when one is fully qualified for a twirly's pension and actually cares for the longevity of one's knees.

Road cassettes are finally and grudgingly arriving with a 30T bottom gear. Using 27" in place of 700mm for simplicity: 27Tx27"/30T is still 24". 24Tx27"/30T =21". 22Tx27"/30T=20". Fortunately my chainset is an ATB type in the popular 22/32/42T size.  Except that I can't use a 30T myself. 26T is the maximum sprocket size without axle offset. So it's all a bit theoretical as far as Mr Higgins is concerned.

I find it best to ignore the small chainring completely while I still can. Only hurling the chain down into the murky depths when a wall, grassy bank or a kerb rears its ugly head. One can surmount a 6" step, or pavement, given a low enough gear. Without flattening the tyres in the process. Squareness to the obstacle is highly desirable on a trike.

I finally bought myself a chain cleaning machine and cleaner fluid in a LBS. I also bought a little bottle of winter chain oil. Legs feeling a bit stronger today but still not normal. I climbed the long drag up through Magtenbølle on 32x23 and 32x26 = 36" and 32"gears respectively, at 85-90rpm without much problem. Hardly getting out of breath. Though I really need a double downpipe for my nose in this weather! 26 miles.

Pm. Cleaned the chain. Quite a lot of friction using the machine and the right rear wheel got in the way. This would not be a problem on a bike. After a wipe or two on a clean rag between machine sessions the chain looked nicely clean. The fluid in the machine had all but disappeared and the residue was filthy with obvious grit content. Not much room for recycling the fluid there! Keeping the chain clean and lubricated ought to be a much higher priority for me as I seek to push the boundaries of usable gears with Shimergo.  The higher costs and wear rates of narrower chains should be respected by prolonging their useful life as much as possible. Regular cleaning would also reflect on chainring and sprocket life of course. It's a win-win situation. Except for the cost of the cleaning fluid. Why is a narrower chain more expensive when it requires less material? Is a narrower sprocket more expensive to make?

 7th 44-49F, 7-9C, windy, grey, dry. Sunshine is promised but overcast is the norm. Tire pressures are important! I gave them all a pump yesterday morning (85psi) and all the liveliness came back. Of we jolly well go! Rode to Assens to do some shopping. Dog shit, broken glass and countless cigarette ends everywhere I went! They are still working their way around the country installing the high speed, optical fibre, internet cables.

The coop supermarkets have stopped selling the wholegrain bread we have been buying for years. First they tried to ruin the bread. By stuffing it full of rye to make sure it was stale six days before its last sell-by date. So that when they finally introduced some texture-less, taste-less, worthless, paper-dry, stale-sponge-cake-like, cardboardy garbage full of cracks and holes there would be no choice but to buy it. Guess what? They have lost another customer! Now all we have to do is find some edible bread all over again. There are only two industrial bakeries in Denmark. Like everything else it is all about monopolies. Regardless of which supermarket you go to it is always the same stuff and the same bløødy names! Grrr.

Did I mention that the dog at the machine station had a go at me again today? I told the owner that this time I'm was reporting him to the police and had videoed the dog for YouTube. Only 21 miles with a stiff link on the chain hopping on every turn of the pedals! Am I having fun yet? :-)

8th 47-48F, 8-9C, overcast, windy and persisting with very heavy showers forecast all day. It keeps brightening up so I'll take a chance (and my overshoes) after coffee.

It rained quite a bit but I stayed dry and comfortable in my latest, charity shop bought, winter cycling jacket. This one is covered in advertising but I haven't a clue who or what these business names mean. I left my GPS logger at home but I'm guessing 16 miles today because I didn't check the computer mileage before leaving. The sticky chain link has cured itself.

It doesn't matter who you are. Nor how important you are in the world of cycling. There's always a white van man with a cyclist in their sights: Bradley Wiggins has broken ribs and hand injuries from a collision with a van which pulled out from a petrol station. SMIDSY "Sorry mate I didn't see you" is wearing a bit thin. Particularly when Shane Sutton GB cycling coach was much more badly injured in a crash on the same day. Though wearing a helmet, he still has head injuries.

Perhaps it'a time to make fixed HD cameras on bicycles compulsory? Prices could be reduced by mass production to a standard design. If the psychopaths, habitual drunks and knuckle-dragging morons know they'll be identified it might concentrate their minds wonderfully. Though I wouldn't bank on it. The police seem unconcerned with the footage shot by cyclists and posted on YouTube.

A green van nearly took me out today when the driver put his foot down into a narrow gap between double parked vehicle in a reduced speed shopping zone. What a shame his foot wasn't caught by the brake pedal instead! The only thing which some morons understand is fierce humps in the road. Gentle humps have no effect whatsoever. They are seen as a challenge to the resident psychopath's "driving skills".

9th 45F, 7C, overcast, becoming windy but mostly dry. If I don't get some miles in I shan't reach 9k for the year! Lazy git! I rode up the quiet coastal lanes to Nr.Åby and back in a wide loop. The weather was a bit cloudy with only occasional glimpses of sunshine. Later it drizzled. I had some odd aches in my legs but nothing serious. 48 miles. 11 miles later to run some errands for 59 miles total today. I felt much stronger this afternoon than I did all morning. I must remember to look at the stiff link. It keeps coming and going. I wanted to use rubber gloves to avoid getting filthy. The gears are still working fine when the chain is running free.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

1 Nov 2012

November 1st 2012

1st 41F, 5C, windy, overcast. Rain forecast until late afternoon. I'm going to work on the trike to see if I can get more chain clearance on the 28 tooth sprocket..

Count them: 10 Shimano (9 speed spacing) gears on 11 speed Campag Ergo levers. Shimergo.

The Tiagra 9 speed changer doesn't look as if it is struggling to reach the new bottom gear. The bolt-on gear hanger could be moved another 1/8" to 3/16" to the left if need be. It just needs enough chain clearance in top gear.

It works on the stand and while riding the trike around the lawn. With the impending rain I haven't been out for a proper ride yet.

Here's what was necessary to push both axles over to the right. There wasn't enough clearance for the chain to hop onto the 28T bottom gear. I fitted a left hand thread lockring from an old, adjustable bottom bracket.

The axle needed a washer at the shoulder to take up the end float. I turned a solid copper washer from a spark plug in the lathe to fit. The soft metal will hopefully help to avoid damaging the Trykit axle shoulder where the inner axle bearing normally sits. The bearing is still there but is now moved a couple of millimetres to the right.

The back of the cassette is stopped against the lockring on the Trykit 2WD body. A couple of remaining threads are still visible but not enough room for another 9 speed sprocket and spacer.

It is easy to see here (looking down) how little clearance there is for the chain as it rides up over bottom gear before settling into place in the sprocket teeth.

Since I already had a 28T sprocket from an old cassette there was no expenditure on the 10 gear conversion. Apart, of course, on the Ergo levers. I was buying the levers anyway because the indexed bar-end levers were too stiff and hurting my hands.

While the Trykit 2WD body is a unique case, which allows widely spaced sprockets, I hope the Shimergo details will interest people enough to try. Hopefully increased interest in Shimergo will begin to irritate the commercial idiots who won't play nicely together on cycle equipment standards. The three main players all have different standards which hinders mix and match of the best equipment from each. This seems to be entirely for commercial gain rather than offering the cyclist a real choice. The manufacturers show no loyalty to their customer base. I suppose the bottom line is that all three manufacturers can ride on the successes, or rather lack of, in pro racing.

While there is lots of money sloshing in the pro teams the vast majority of real cyclists pay big money in an endless copy-cat, catch-up race of their own. Prices rise constantly as we are expected to be grateful for trickle down technology from the high end, disposable kit. No doubt a great deal of today's kit is made in Chinese factories. Where the low wage regime seems to have little or no impact on the  equipment we mere mortals all buy.

What happens next? The clever Chinese engineers improve on the stuff they are making, and labelling, for the big names. The next thing you know the Chinese will become the big names and the present kit labellers will just fade away. We saw how the Japanese overtook established European players as if they were standing still. Now it's their turn to feel the pain.

The Chinese have plenty of experience at micro-electronics. So expect improvements and reductions in price in electronic gear changing. I still hope to see real plastic or ceramic chains before I give up cycling.

And, yes, I do know my chain needs cleaning. I have never got around to getting one of those clever chain cleaning machines. Nor do I do much trike cleaning anyway.

As of 10:30 11.00 11:30 it still hasn't rained! Though it is still dark grey and windy. I left later than usual to do some shopping. Blowing a gale so only 21 miles. The Nidd behaved itself today. As did the 10 gears. I had to play with the cable adjuster because I'd removed the rear changer and it didn't go back on in exactly the same place. While I can always climb any hill I meet 34 x 28T is still not low enough if a high cadence is required. Particularly if there is a headwind.

2nd 43F, 6C, gales, overcast, heavy showers. Grabbed a window of opportunity to get to the shops. Only 15 miles.

3rd 41-43F, 5-6C, overcast, windy, heavy showers. It should brighten later and the wind drop. I left after coffee. The Nidd comes and goes. The gears are complaining in the middle of the cassette. I don't think I have the bolt on hanger straight since I took it off to fit the 10th sprocket. The changer looks slightly twisted when I look down on the rear changer as I'm riding along. Only 16 miles.

Pm. Put the trike on the stand and corrected the twist in the rear changer via small adjustments to the bolt-on hanger. Gears nicely back to their original 9 speed accuracy and quiet running but with 10 gears. The step from 26 to 28 is worthless on the road. It doesn't feel any different as I change down. Checking the gear inches with an online gear calculator shows almost no change at around 20". If I wasn't such a lazy git and far more sensible I'd simply remove the 28T and return the trike axles to normal.

I had tucked the skirts into the rails on the B17 'Select'. To try and correct the very obvious lateral twist in the leather. The skirt has moved inwards towards the rails but the saddle's spine is still banana shaped in plan. The leather is incredibly soft. I could push the spine down by over half an inch without using any force. The whole thing is less stiff than some welder's gloves. It seems as if it is about to flatten out into a hammock! So I used the Books special spanner to add a little more tension. Not a good idea in practice as it exposed the saddle's spine to my softer parts. Without providing the vital support of the sagging leather in the now-missing sit bone areas.

While I remembered it, I slackened off the tension on the Nidd a little. Just to try and get some/any movement. In anticipation of a longer ride tomorrow I replaced the Nidd with the Select. A little and often is less likely for the Nidd to damage my ability to ride at all! I can tell that I have been riding the Nidd even when I sit in my comfortable computer chair. My sit bone areas are still sore next day!

Just in case you weren't bored enough already I have been examining the possibility of 11 speed Shimergo again. There isn't room for  11 sprockets x  (9 speed spacing) on the Trykit body. Though a 10 speed Shimano cassette is rather narrower. I might then just have room to add a granny gear on the back of a more modest road cassette. It certainly looks doable going by Sheldon Brown's figures and the articles on Shimergo on various sites including the CTC and Chuck Glider.
Why bother? Just for the fun of it!

I have also come up with an incredibly simple idea for altering cable pull ratios. It would allow me to very accurately match the Ergo lever's pull per click to a tenth of a millimetre. Any sprocket spacing would become usable without introducing any cable friction or modifying the trike. Light, extra spring tension is easily added in series with the changer if desired.

Low cable friction is essential to the Ergo's operation. Any drag and the gear change levers simply lock out against each other. Weight increase with my device would be a few grammes at most and would be unnoticeable on the machine without very careful examination.

11 speeds requires increased accuracy in placing the chain precisely over the sprockets. My idea can be easily built out of scrap in only a few minutes. Without any more tools than a simple drill and something with which to measure. It could even be made infinitely variable if desired. Even the Sram rear changers could be easily accommodated. I wonder whether the 9sp Tiagra rear changer can cope with 11 speeds? I'm still hoping I can use a 9 speed chain to keep costs down. :-)

This sprayer attempted to climb the steep hill in the background. It looked very dramatic with its arms spread right out and leaning right back! I hopped off to try and catch it but he gave up too soon and turned quickly away. Leaving a large muddy track carved up the hillside. 

It would be nice to be able to use a compact double instead of a triple. 50x34 seems to be carved in granite for road use! Why for GS? 34 x anything "roadie" in the way of cassettes is just not low enough for most (real) people. Least of all an old fart on a heavy trike with a load of shopping on board. There are MTB doubles with weird tooth numbers. Most look and sound like a triple without the outer ring! What are the manufacturers thinking? Are they terrified people won't think they are sexy any more if they offer proper climbing gears? Not he-man racing enough for their over-endowed, weekend warrior, main customer base? Is there anybody on the planet who can actually turn 53/11 without a serious and illegal habit?

I remember I set up my first proper racing bike with a 44 inner ring x 20 bottom sprocket! 59.4". It's a wonder I enjoyed climbing hills so much! I used to seek out the steepest hills I could find. 1-in-4 was my favourite incline. Turning round to come back down was often more difficult than climbing the bløødy hill! My outside ring was 58T. No gear overlap! Back then you had to have a Campag Record chainset with a 3 tooth difference between inner and outer or nobody would speak to you at the cycle clubs. I was lectured endlessly for not having a 'proper' leather saddle too! Black Unica Nitors were certainly not welcome. They were also damned uncomfortable on longer rides so they may have had a point! :-)

BikeCalc.com - Cadence/Gear/Ratio/Wheel size calculator

Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Gear Calculator

4th 41F, 5C, clearing to sunny periods. Mostly dry but windy. My legs were achy and tired today but I pressed on regardless. The B17 saddle wasn't all that comfortable so I'll have to slacken it off again. The gears were fine today. The usual solitary cyclists were out training. Most were going the opposite way, downhill with a tail wind. As usual, Muggins was doing it the hard way! A few joggers were out in the lanes. Isolated behind their headphones.

I still managed 39 miles in the autumn sunshine. No new pictures though. There are a lot of rather nervous, thrush-sized birds flitting in large flocks from tree to tree. They never stay still long enough for me to get a proper look. Probably Fieldfares. Or Redwings. They all just look like grey blobs against the grey sky to me.

5th 39F, 4C, windy, overcast, raining steadily. As it is persisting down I shall leave it until later. To see if it clears up as promised. I have emailed the online dealer about the twisted and floppy Brooks B17 'Select'. It is  tragedy that anything so beautiful and so quickly comfortable should throw a wobbly. The response was that I should increase the tension. I replied that I had, without obvious gain.

The main problem is the sagging of the leather in the sit bone areas. This exposes the back rail by default. Tensioning, even slightly, just raises the spine of the saddle relative to the seat area. Making it uncomfortable in the middle. The irony is that a harder saddle, which breaks in more slowly, eventually offers more support where it should. The suffering often required in reaching leather nirvana is another matter altogether. Worst case scenario is returning the 'Select' for dealer examination. Leaving the Nidd alone to its evil devices. I had better rework the 'Professional' now. For a bit of light relief! :-) Rain stopped play. Another rest day. Null points.

Click on any image for an enlargement.