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 (£10 equiv each at Bauhaus) The mileages are now well out of date!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.

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