2 Dec 2012

December 1st 2012

1st  23-32F, -5-0C, still and white. The hard overnight frost is lifting to hover around freezing point all day. I will have to fix the rear gear changer alignment before I go out. The early sun soon gave way to overcast. There was an inch of snow in places but it must have been quite localised. Elsewhere it was just a white frost.  The gears were better after a couple of further tweaks out on the road. I forced myself to do an extra detour to try and keep the miles up. I was perfectly warm except for my nose. If you want to learn about wind chill just hop on a bike, or trike, at freezing temperatures. The Dintex gloves were perfect again. As were the Aesse jacket and GripGrab Windster cap. I have never been so comfortable at these temperatures before. Three large deer had been driven out of the forest by all the shooting. They stopped to watch me ride past. 16 miles.

2nd 31F, 0C, breezy, very heavy overcast, snow. We woke up to a couple of inches of snow and it is still snowing steadily at the moment. (8am)  The snow was about 4" deep along the drive. It's a good job I have the  mudguards (and stabilisers) on.  Probably go out after lunch when it is supposed to be brighter. It stayed sunny but the roads were very wet and slushy. It was slowly becoming colder all day. The slush was refreezing as I rode home again. It looked wet but I could hear it crackling under the tyres. The trees were beautiful with snow clinging everywhere. Only 7 miles.

3rd 30F, -1C, snow lying, overcast, light wind at 8am.  It was down to 13F, -10C at bedtime last night. The postman has just delivered my package from SpaCycles in the UK: A Stronglight  chainset with TA 46/34/24 Zephyr alloy rings, 160mm cranks and PD-M780 Shimano pedals. It feels all nicely light in the hand and superbly finished.

I decided not to play the Scrooge with the pedals in case I couldn't easily remove the old MD-520 pedals from the Shimano MTB cranks. You never know when you might need a road-ready chainset in a hurry. The MD-780 are an upgrade on exactly the same, double-sided style, of the MD-520 MTB pedals. The MD-520s were my first foray into clipless pedals and have worked superbly well. Matched to the Bontrager MTB shoes they are a huge improvement on toe clips and straps. Thanks for the tip, Alan.

I like to think these minimalist  pedals offer a slight improvement in security against a bike being stolen. Most casual bike thieves won't be wearing cleated shoes and these MTB pedals are too small for comfort without foot location.. You can't do much about professional bike thieves. Particularly when the police are concentrating all their efforts on the prosecution of cyclists. Then completely ignoring live calls from the public, on their mobile phones. To say a bunch of East Europeans are loading an entire bike stand into the back of a lorry in the high street aided by 30" bolt cutters. A bike is stolen every 8 minutes in Denmark. No doubt the police assume most thefts will be claimed on the household insurance. So it's just another victimless crime. Like drink driving, universal speeding and multinationals not paying any tax. A rest day.

4th 32F, 0C, almost still, heavy grey overcast, threat of snow in the forecast. It stayed dry but grey as I rode to Assens again. The lanes were a bumpy mix of wet slush and compacted snow. I managed to get very sideways at the bottom of one hill where it hadn't thawed. The main roads were clear with only the cycle lanes mostly covered in snow and slush. So the psychos has a chance to brush past at illegally high speed as I kept as far to the right on the main carriageway as possible. 21 miles.

5th 15-22F, -9-6C, clear, calm, 8am, still waiting for the sun to rise.  The sun rose into an almost perfectly clear sky at about 9.15 CET. The temperature hasn't really risen and is expected to stay that way all day. Coldest day for a ride this year. I am putting off fitting my new chainset until the cold and foul weather subside. The salt on the roads would only accelerate a deterioration in appearance.

I left after morning coffee just wrapped up in my usual winter riding gear. The chain had to be oiled first as it had frozen as stiff as a rod! Even the tyres were frozen to the shed floor. I was perfectly comfortable except for my hands and face. Despite the heat pads, which I had activated and fitted into the pockets in the backs of the gloves, my fingers were still cold. Feet were fine in loop pile socks (bought from a farmer's supplies last winter) inside the thin, rubber, GripGrab overshoes. My hands warmed up in the first shop and were fine after that. A breeze kept picking up form nowhere with random directions. Which made it feel even colder on my face. Yet again my beard froze into solid ice from the moisture in my breath. The main roads were mostly clear except for the cycle lanes and smaller country roads.  My legs weren't aching for the first time in ages. Perhaps the low mileages I have been doing lately has sorted out the aches and pains. I detoured via quiet lanes to manage 19 miles.

6th 21-26-20F, -6-3-7C, occasional breezes, full sunshine. Toes cold despite two pairs of thick socks and overshoes. Lanes and cycle paths had lots of water ice and iron hard, refrozen slush. 20 miles so far. Going out again after lunch. Lots of birds about, in large mixed flocks, foraging. 12 more miles later. It was horribly cold riding into the wind. My hands were aching despite the scooter gloves. As soon as I had warmed up in the shops they were fine again. I pass a dog every day which is put out on the end of a bit of rope and stays out all day. -9C with a northerly wind? Not even a rag to lie on and no shelter at all. Knuckle dragging scum!

7th 26-30F, -3>-1C, almost still, brightening to watery sunshine. It was much warmer today though the wind was still cold. I wore a pair of thin polyester gloves inside the Dintex scooter gloves. My hands were toasty warm. I was actually too hot in the Aesse jacket thanks to a pair of thicker polyester skiing tights. Only a 15 mile shopping tour to keep the miles increasing. My computer magnet flew off on a downhill run! Saw some Bullfinches, huge flocks of Chaffinches, Fieldfares, a male Kestrel and some Buzzards in a very short stretch of country road between prairie sized fields. Probably a hundred ducks standing on the ice. Or paddling in a pond.

8th 21F, -6C, still, mostly overcast. Tomorrow's forecast is for a snow storm all day with 6-8" of snow.. So I had better go out today if I'm going to keep my mileage up. For 10,000 miles I need to average 22 miles per day for the three weeks until the end of the year. Easily done in summer but not in this cold. Once out the sun was bright but without warmth. It stayed at -6C all day. I was comfortable enough, even took off my cycling cardigan at halfway. I don't known why Gelsted was singled out to be completely denied road clearing and salt. Every road in the entire area was hard packed snow turned to solid ice. It was rougher than a farm track for literally miles on end! 30 miles wasn't bad on a day like this. Particularly considering the road conditions.

9th 32-36F, 0-2C, breezy, about 4-6" of overnight snow. Spent a couple of hours this morning clearing a 100 yard path to the junction with the main drive. As soon as we went indoors the fat, lazy neighbour pushed our pile of snow from his side over our drive on top of the opposite neighbour's hedge! It is required by law that private drives in collective ownership be cleared to half width on the side of the adjoining property. Being right on the end of the drive we have no adjoining drive but still have to be able to get out to the shops. Our lazy builder's crease of a neighbour has never cleared snow despite being half our age.

When the snow was 16" deep, one year, it took us two whole days of hard labour to clear a 100 yard path to the junction with the main drive. Whereupon the lazy arse immediately drove his car the hundred yards down from the front of his house to collect a crate of beer from his shed! His shed is less than ten yards from his own back door if he crosses his lawn! His shed just happens to be right outside our gate. A rest day? Not for the wicked, apparently!

Single speed Trykit. Schmidt disc/dynamo front wheel
Two wheel drive. Reynolds 725 tubing. 58cm seat tube.
Stolen from Outside Santander Bank  
High Street North in East Ham London E6
Frame number is 0509015
If you see, or are offered this trike for sale, contact Trykit and the local police.
Geoff Booker   01844 339451

10th 32F, 0C, continuous snowfall and strong winds. Another rest day clearing snow!

11th 27F, -3C, breezy, 3-4" of overnight snow. Cleared the drive of more snow. Had a look at the road. No problem for me riding on the dry slush except that the road is much narrowed. The traffic looks like slow motion as they keep to the speed limit. I'm still waiting for some psycho to take the government to the European Court.  Because it was against their basic human rights not to be able to do 30-40mph (50-60kph) over the legal limit. I think I'll take a tootle out on the trike. Then try and pull over if anybody gets stuck behind me. I don't fancy going out in the car in these conditions. I may know what I'm doing but what about all the other idiots?

The roads were dreadful. What wasn't hard packed snow, from drifting off the hedge-less fields, was wet slush. No real problem for me but I was pebble dashed by passing lorries and cut off by passing cars. Hooray for mudguards!  The promised all day sun has finally come out at last. At 3pm! 15 miles.

12th 4.8F, -15C, quite still, slightly misty, heavy hoar frost and bright sunshine. Will he be allowed out after coffee? Or not? That is the question! Not! It has reach 20F, -9C as of 2pm. The roads looked unchanged from yesterday. Rest day.

13th 23-28F, -5-2C, grey overcast, light winds, feeling cold. Still pitch black at 8am. We were promised a sunny morning but no sign of it yet. I'll try and go out after coffee. I rode over to Assens. Still no sun and it is almost dark at 3.30pm. Even the main roads were washboard, hard-packed snow in places. The minor roads were almost solid 1-2" of hard but crumbly snow. Which made me even slower than ever and forced me onto the main roads where I could. It was unbelievable how many people were driving badly. Conversely, quite a few people spoke to me in town. I jumped into the shower as soon as I got back to thaw out all the purple bits. 21 miles.

14th 29F, -2C,. Promised to get very windy with snow drifting later. My heels are red, hard and hurting when I walk. (again) There is no sense of rubbing in my perfectly comfortable MTB cycling shoes. The shoes look as good as new inside. My feet haven't been feeling cold and I've been wearing overshoes.  This problem only happens in winter. I've tried all sorts of creams without obvious effect. The problem seems to come and go at random. I thought it might be particular socks but I can't pin it down to those either. I've tried wearing two pairs of thinner socks instead one thick pair. My wife blames the water. Possibly the machine is not rinsing the washing so well because the water is so cold. Though that wouldn't explain why the heel problem comes and goes. Rode an errand to collect 11kg. The wind was fierce and cold with the air full of spindrift. Easy on the way back though. Only 6 miles.

15th 36F, +2C, windy, grey. There was a lot of snow drifting yesterday because of high winds. I even had to dig the car out (in the dark) when I got stuck in a drift on the main drive after a Xmas shopping trip. The forecast is for icy roads this morning with temperatures a couple of degrees above freezing for the next week. It will take a while for the roadside snow to clear. Which  would allow me to use the cycle lanes again. At the moment they are 2-3 feet deep where the snow ploughs have scraped the roads onto the cycle lanes. It is also where those who bother to (compulsorily) clear their pavements throw their own snow. Some rain is expected in the week. Which may help to speed the thaw.

I just spent another hour clearing our branch of the drive again. Now my neighbour, Slobo-dan, can safely reach his beer, by car, again. Without the risk of having to walk the few meters across his back lawn. It's spitting with rain now.

Had to go out in the car. Got stuck in the new drifts on the main drive again. Took me 20 minutes to dig myself out. Later I rode my trike along but had to get off and push to get through the foot-deep drifts.. Once on the road it was very wet but almost clear on the carriageway.  Everything is melting with noisy snow slides on the roof. I had to get out the ladder and clear the solid ice from the gutter. So the roof could drain properly.  Not much chance for me to reach 10k miles this year now. With only 15 days to manage 389 miles I'd have to average 26 miles a day even without taking rest days. Not unless we have a December heatwave! Only 10 miles.

A Gopro camera on the rear safety bumper of a Trykit 2WD axle conversion. Much more fun seen full screen.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


  1. Don't those straights last a long time on a trike compared to a F1 car.

  2. True, but an F1 car has no compulsory rear bumper to slow it down.