12 Jan 2013

10th January 2013


Just look at all that pig shit stuck to the backs of the wings!

10th 32F, 0C, mostly overcast, very windy from the north. Winter has returned to Denmark. The DMI threatens sub-zero temperatures for the week ahead. Rode to Assens for the shops returning against the wind in fine frozen rain. Well wrapped up again so I was perfectly comfy except for the stinging ice crystals hitting the old eyeballs over the sunglasses. 21 miles.

11th 30F, -1C, breezy, overcast. Half an inch of snow lying. With more promised. Not much chance of the forecast sun either. It snowed hard most of the way there and back. Leaving about an inch of snow on the roads. The snow seemed to make people chatty. Mind you, I did look like a snowman by the time I had reached the shops. There was general approval expressed on three wheels to avoid falling in icy conditions. Only 13 miles.

12th 30F, -1C, still, weak sunshine, light snow falling on an inch more overnight. I put Mr Higgins' mudguards back on and will go out after morning coffee. It stayed fairly bright as I rode to the shops via a circuitous route. I was grateful for the mudguards on today's roads. Most of which were lines of slush with puddles or standing water in between. The main roads were as bad as the narrow country lanes. Two cars had left the road within the space of four miles. One was being rescued with a crane pick-up truck from a front garden where it had just missed the house. The other must have rolled because every window and panel was damaged as it lay on its side against a barn. I think I need a larger flap on my front mudguard. My feet get sprayed or even plastered in snow right up to the knees. 19 miles.

13th 26-28F, -3--2C, calm, sunny, about an inch of new snow to bring it up to about 3" total depth. A pleasant ride around the lanes to the shops. Traffic quiet on the snow and ice covered roads. Yesterday's slush was now rock hard and the water was completely gone. The snow was very sticky and I had to bounce the trike a few times on the road to clear the ice jams in the mudguards. I was warm enough to take off the cardigan quite early on. 21 miles.

Higgins Ultralite with differential on eBay.

14th 26F, -3C, quite still, some new snow, snowing, heavy overcast. We cleared the drive, paths and parking area of a new 2" of snow for a bit of exercise before it started snowing more heavily. Then it went off again. It looks like a day of light snow showers. No problem to ride on but I don't like holding up the traffic on the main roads. The forecast is brighter this afternoon. I'll wait and see what happens.

I am revisiting the annual problem of suitable overshoes for somebody who walks in them too much. The BBB Hardwear cloth soles wore out far too quickly in my opinion. The uppers were also thick and stiff. Making them a struggle to get on. While the GripGrab were more waterproof, warm and flexible but the flimsy cloth has also worn out under the toes. They fitted easily and smoothly without bagginess or tightness anywhere. Important attributes for someone with large feet.

I bought the GripGrab in April and hardly wore them over the summer. Which doesn't seem to suggest exceptional durability to me. I'm really not sure what to do now. Reviews suggest the BBB are the best choice but my own experience suggests otherwise. Taking off overshoes is always a filthy, wet business. Ideally requiring a chair. So it's just not going to happen outside every supermarket. Green wellies cut off at the ankle? Hardly likely to be compatible with SPD cleats and sole stiffness is likely to be compromised!

I left after lunch and fought my way at 12mph into a headwind and icy crystals. The traffic was light but fast moving on a bed of ice and half frozen slush. Most drivers managed to get around me without too many hold ups on the snow-narrowed main road. I came back by a country lane on an inch or so of snow and powdery slush. Snow and slush was shooting out of the front mudguard like a combine harvester. It was harder work making headway against the increased rolling resistance but I still managed 25mph downhill.

The Rema1000 supermarket had no organic raisins despite it being on special offer according to its fictional comic. I take a little bag of organic raisins, mixed nuts and seeds to avoid less healthy foods on my rides. Last time it was organic oranges which were promised and they never did get any stock! The entire shop is bigger than a football pitch but was being run by two teenage girls. One shelf filling and one on the cash register. What a way to run a business!

Why do they pick on the unemployed as being lazy? When so many people are employed for a lifetime by choke-cola or the tobacco industry and never do a decent day's work in their entire lives. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen the oblately spherical obese buying their daily supplies of 2 litre "oxygen bottles" and packets of fags  at the supermarkets as I wait endlessly in line.

The skip tooth sprockets are interesting.

But it's not all bad news: Their own, obscenely overpriced iSlave 5 is finally bringing the global slave traders and litigious competition crushers to justice. So that's all right then. Power corrupts. Rotten-Apple corrupts zombies absolutely. Only 10 miles.

15th 22F, -6C, perfectly still, overcast with 2-3" more overnight snow lying. Promised to be brighter later. I wonder if graphene will become the wonder tyre material of the future? I rode over slush and snow covered roads to the shops again. Most of the traffic seemed to be travelling faster than ever! Two more car drivers had lost control and ended up in fields beside the road. Many cars were driving within a single car length at 50mph in the 30mph villages. This is just plain lunacy! Totally unforgivable for the very slippery conditions. Even loaded up I was getting wheel spin if I turned the bars from straight head. I saw five trucks with snow ploughs on the front in only a few miles. Rather oddly, one was driving fast, going the other way, but not clearing his side of the heavily encrusted road!

When I returned with my 12 kilos of shopping I couldn't understand why the unloaded trike was so hard to push to the shed. The snow had compacted hard in all three mudguards. Making it very difficult to turn the wheels by hand. No wonder the hills seemed rather slower than normal today! I beat the mudguards gently with a rubbe mallet and bounced the trike repeatedly to clear the problem. The -12-15C promised for tonight has been downgraded to only -8 -10C but no new snow.

I'm very glad for the rear view mirror in these conditions. I watch every vehicle approaching from behind to see if it is changing course early enough to miss me. Though I'm not sure how successful a bodily launch, by an old fart like me, from SPD pedals is likely to be if somebody is aiming straight for me. Not something I plan to practice unless I really have to. 12 miles.

It felt like I had chilblains last night. Probably the result of climbing off the trike and jumping straight under the shower. My toes and heels often look dark purple despite my feet not feeling cold on the trike.

16th 7-22F, -14--5C at 8am, overcast, quite still, no overnight snow. Warming rapidly! Already 14F, -10C at 9am. 18F,-8C at 9.30am. Coldest night this year with -17C, 1.4F reported in some places.

I have been enjoying some old B&W silent films from an online archive. EUscreen - Providing online access to Europe's television heritage Two old films from 1926 and 1938 showed everyday activities in Assens. A local harbour town. It was interesting to see the huge number of bicycles.(and horses) Including quite a range of delivery tricycles. Mostly hinged in the middle, box tadpoles. What was nice about the films was the natural speed of replay. There was none of the usual double speed idiocy. So viewing was much more realistic and atmospheric. It was incredible how many people were smoking. Often making a great show of it. As if it made them more important.

Once you have accessed the home page you can search for old films in your own locality. Perhaps using the filters offered if there are enough films to make it worthwhile. Cine cameras and film processing were far too expensive for the average man in the street. So the content and context aren't always of general interest. Though it is fun to see horses and carts in such familiar streets and to see such formal politeness in everyday life. Can you imagine having your grandchildren curtsey to you today? I rather doubt the working boats in the harbour outnumbered the many hundreds of yachts in today's marina.

What struck me the most, though, was the huge number of older people (mostly men) still working. Also surprising was how many people were out and about on the streets compared with today's usual scene. I can still remember shopping at a local village coop where all the goods were behind the counter staffed by a row of men. (mid 1950s) The huge con, which is self-service supermarketrickery, may offer greater choice but the row of men has been replaced by your own labour. What is worse is that the queues to be served still exist! Easily doubling the time spent shopping over the (good/bad) old days.

Where once a shopkeeper often had a well honed line in patter, and knew most of the inhabitants of a village by name, today's teeny checkout operator will probably open her mouth in shock if you try to pass the time of day. You might as well have a robot to ask if you want a receipt and wish you a nice day! Even the money exchange is becoming automated. In  today's world the old and those who live alone may never communicate with another person apart from the checkout operator.

I rode to Assens to the shops by the rural lanes to avoid the main roads. The lanes were still snow and slush covered and quite hard work at times. The trike was drifting quite a lot on some cambers. I didn't see a single car on the lanes for 18 miles and then saw 6 in the last half mile. The maniacs were preferring to confirm their drooling idiocy by speeding on the main roads. One scooter was lying on its side in a field but who knows if anyone was injured? I bought a new pair of GripGrab overshoes to replace the dying pair. The uppers are fine. It's always the cloth under the toes and heels which wear completely away from my walking in them. The last remaining bike shop is moving off the ring road industrial estate into town. This follows the retirement of the long service cycle mechanic at his shop in the historic area of the town. 20 miles.

17th 20-23F, -7--5C, a northerly breeze building with quite a lot of weak sunshine. Just another wobbly circle to the shops. The thaw had begun where the roads could see the sun but there were still lots of stretches of snow and slush covered roads. I was belting down a hill on hard packed snow at 25mph with a car catching me fast. When an idiot taxi driver pulled out right in front of us! In a narrow lane with only room for 1.5 cars width! Drunk, drugged, senile, registered blind,  deranged or retarded? Choose any four. There was a clear view for over half a mile in our direction and they had stopped and waited before pulling out. Totally inexcusable behaviour! Least of all from a "professional" driver. 24 miles not out.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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