1 Jan 2013

January 1st 2013


1st 41F, 5C, light winds, weak sunshine. Just a gentle potter to clear the cobwebs and burn off some Christmas chocolate calories. I left some over-ripe apples on the grass verge in a quiet lane for the Blackbirds. The Fieldfares must number well over 200 now. They have settled in an elderly avenue of trees but spend a lot of time foraging on the almost bare fields. A few birds of prey were out sailing. Or holding down trees. The traffic was very quiet. I was slightly concerned about drunken drivers, from last night's revelries, but survived to tell the tale. Still some small patches of snow hanging on. Lots of puddles and ponds on the fields. 16 miles.

One man's flood is another man's fish pond.
Water, water everywhere...
 Nor any drop to drink.  

2nd 35-41F, 2-5C, breezy. Promised to be a fine day with helpful winds if the forecast is correct. I started the day with a nose bleed. This used to be quite commonplace when I had high blood pressure. It certainly isn't due to being overweight. I am skinnier than ever according to my wife.

I had a very early coffee and rolls and then rode to Odense to return the undersized overshoes. The young chap seemed quite happy to swap for something else. So I had another make of scull cap and 5 Specialized inner tubes in exchange. Going there was very peasant with a light tail wind. I averaged 16mph without much effort! The wind had picked up a bit on the way back and turned towards the SW so I was much slower. Averaging 10 mph.

I don't understand the Grip Grab 'Polaris' gloves. I wore thin liner gloves on the way and my hands were fine. It was warmer coming back so I took off the inner gloves only to have my right hand get cold almost immediately. When I stopped at a supermarket half way back my right glove was literally wet inside and stuck to my hand! It was quite a struggle to get my hand back in after shopping. I couldn't be bothered to put the inner gloves back on so just pressed on. The glove felt better after a while and was almost dry when I arrived home. Weird!  I took a different route home and found some steep hills and narrow lanes.  39 miles without the slightest discomfort from the Brooks B17 'Select' saddle.

3rd 45F, 7C, breezy, overcast. The forecast is sunny but windy later. Still raining and misty at the moment.
I left after morning coffee to head for a distant health shop. It tried to drizzle and remained mostly cloudy and windy. It was a real struggle when I met a headwind. After shopping I had the wind over my shoulder or off to the side most of the way back. I should have taken something to eat. Or bought something, but didn't. So I was a bit tired towards the end. 42 miles. Saddle fine again. I could get used to this. :-)

4th 47F, 8C, windy and wet all day. A rear tyre was flat when I went to collect Mr Higgins. First puncture in 1500 miles on the Durano Plus. Not bad i suppose. It was a tiny, incredibly sharp flint. After repairing the puncture I nipped out when the rain paused for a while. Then came straight home again because it started raining hard. Only six, very wet miles.

I was overtaken at very close quarters on an empty straight, by a raving fuckwit completely out of control of a white people carrier. They were doing at least 80mph with the exhaust hanging on the road! I had just read of the second cycling fatality in Denmark, in only a few days, from rear collisions. So I was not a happy bunny! Had I not had a puncture I would not have been on the road when the lunatic brushed past me. I have taken four extra days to reach last year's 10,000 mile total but now it doesn't count. Am I having fun yet?

 5th 43F, 6C, still, dry and grey. The wind remained light while I rode over to Assens. By the time I got there the same tyre had gone down as yesterday. I was certain I removed the original flint. Pumped it up a few times on the way home to avoid mending the puncture on the side of the road. 21 miles. Plus 8 more miles  pm. Now the other rear tyre is punctured! Grr.

6th  44F, 7C, breezy, heavy overcast, misty. I spent an hour repairing the two punctures and pottering in the shed. Finally the mist cleared slowly to rain. Heavy drizzle with a headwind.  I took a circuitous route down to the coast and back by another route. With shopping at intervals I arrived home to sickly sunshine sneaking under heavy, tobacco-filtered clouds. 24 miles.

7th 40F, 4C, light winds, heavily overcast, with drizzle on and off. I rode rather effortlessly up a hilly main road to have a look at an old farmhouse that was up for sale. Sadly it wasn't at all photogenic or desirable. So I pottered about, soaking up the rural ambience, ate a banana and drank some apple juice. If you hang about for quarter of an hour you can learn an awful (sic) lot about local traffic noise, farmer's stinking silage heaps and their stinking food smokers. I would never buy a house within 2 miles of a roaring motorway or two miles of a pig farm. Even that distance is easily undermined by their universal pig shit spreaders.

Once I became bored I followed a winding route back home via several village shops. The air seemed full of smoke and damp today. I took me ages to clear my lungs. The toe strap has finally worn out on my left overshoe. So now the rubber toe lifts and the upper wrinkles badly.

I heard a loud owl hoot in a wood and saw a large, very dark brown, bird of prey holding down a branch. No obvious connection. It seems unlikely a Buzzard would gain any benefit from doing vocal impressions of other birds. I disturbed several large flocks of birds foraging on the fields. It is odd how much variation there is in their behaviour. Some birds tolerate my passing within a few feet. While others move away when they are a hundred yards off across a field. Rooks are often the most tame when foraging on the verge. A flock of large and glossy Carrion crows watched me pass today without any sign of panic. While gulls are always nervous in large, inland flocks. One can almost imagine the trouble makers teasing the other gulls with tales of the approaching nightmare on three wheels. 36 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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