26 Feb 2013

26th February 2013. Bløødy Tuesday!


26th 33F, +1C, heavy overcast, breezy. I wonder if I dare go out? The police are having a nationwide "razzia" [raid] against errant cyclists. With fines up to 1200DKK/£120 per offence.

In Denmark at least 95% of all drivers travel well above the speed limit, for 95% of the time. Meanwhile the cyclist is targeted for minor offences. Welcome to the Twilight Zone!

I could name 20 villages with the usual 50kph (30mph) speed limits where cars, lorries, and buses all travel routinely at well over the speed limit for built up areas. Many are travelling above the speed limit for country roads! Do you ever see a policeman with a radar gun in these villages? Do they have any speed cameras in Denmark to add to the nation's malnourished coffers in these difficult economic times? Welcome to alternative reality!

There is a speed limit of only 30kph (18mph) in Tommerup Station village. With popular supermarkets and shops on both sides of the road. There are schools, nurseries and a sports hall adjoining the road with only a pavement width for protection. Pedestrians are constantly struggling to cross. (But there are no pedestrian crossings.) The average speed through this chain-built village is nearer 40mph (over 60kph) for all vehicles! Do you ever see a policeman cheerfully counting his massive bundle of speeding tickets for the day? Welcome to alternative reality!

routinely see vehicles which have left the road in their haste to break the speed limits with complete impunity. Countless vehicles on their sides and even on their roofs lying in fields, woods and verges. Twice I have seen pigs strewn across the road as the lunatic animal transport lorries had left the road. Many roadside trees show the scars of a lifetime of speeding and poor driving. Some roadside avenues of trees have damage to every single tree for mile after mile!

Most corners, with double white line protection, are only rarely taken by any vehicle within the white lines. Including six axle lorries and buses! The double white lines are often completely worn away on many roads. The majority of drivers totally ignore double double white lines on every single corner of their journey. Even when there is oncoming traffic every single corner is cut with complete indifference to road safety. Only a tiny minority stay within the double white lines and the law. Meanwhile the police are stopping and heavily fining cyclists for not having approved reflectors? Welcome to a parallel universe!

Many villages are supposedly "protected" by large speed indicator boards. These light up to show the driver's speed. If the driver exceeds the speed limit the large orange flashing lights will (belatedly) come on. Many boards are so slow to react that the driver is well past the sign and still accelerating hard into the village before the orange flashing lights bother to come on. The lights face towards the countryside so they are rarely seen by the speeding drivers anyway. Many boards flash for every single passing vehicle, except (of course) for cyclists. Though I once managed 40kph in a 50kph zone while pedalling hard downhill. My pathetic speed was not rewarded with orange lights of course.

The set speed limit for villages is usually 50kph or 30mph. I routinely see whole chains of traffic, driving nose to tail, at well above 80kph (50mph) showing on the board for single every passing vehicle. I routinely see these "traffic calming" boards indicating over 100kph! (60mph) The highest indication so far in a 50kph zone  is 127kph. (79mph) but I live in constant expectation of seeing some sociopathic scumbag exceed this remarkable figure.

Many of these speed indicator boards read far too low. Often by more than 5-6kph. This gives the speeding driver a completely false indication of his already illegal speed as he enters the village! How daft is that?

Many drivers will overtake those very rare drivers who are actually adhering to the legal speed limit while travelling through villages. This happened to me three times last time I drove to the shops. I was dead on 50kph and I was overtaken three times within half a mile! Meanwhile the police are fining cyclists for non-dangerous, minor, technical offences. Welcome to alternative reality!

One policeman was quoted as saying that cyclists richly deserve their fines because they are arrogant and indifferent to pedestrians! No doubt the same policemen who is blind and powerless to control 95% of drivers in Denmark driving well above the speed limit for 95% of the time? Yeap. The only real danger lies with those arrogant cyclists! Of course it does. Hundreds of pedestrians are killed and maimed by cyclist every bløødy year. Aren't they?

Denmark was once recognised as the cyclist friendly country of Europe. Perhaps the tirelessly working policeman should be given a shovel and broom to clear the countless thousands of kilometres/miles of completely unusable cycle lanes and paths? Yet it seems that the unemployed, presently being targeted by the politicooze as easy prey for slave labour and dirt cheap votes, cannot be found useful work for the sole reward of their benefits.

These same forced labour victims, of the mass export of real jobs to China, may not compete with council worker's normal activities! The cycle lanes and paths haven't been swept for years! How could anyone possibly compete with this? The remaining council workers never go near the cycle lanes. Not unless they trip while talking on their mobile phones! Their very expensive, specially narrow, cycle lane sweeping and cleaning machines must have completely rusted away by now!

So the poor Danish cyclists are now having to share the carriageways with the illegally speeding traffic for most of their journeys! They have no choice because of the dreadful state of the cycle lanes. Remember the 95% of all drivers speeding 95% of the time? These same drivers are having to share the roads with an awful lot more cyclists than in the past. Has it changed the driver's behaviour? Not at all. They routinely overtake me on completely blind corners "protected" by solid, double white lines!

"Stop! Police! I want to examine your bicycle's reflectors are of an approved nature and safely fixed in an approved position!"

[The policeman is forced to step back to avoid being mown down by the local bus passing at 87kmh (54mph) in the 30kph (18mph) village speed limit. Before returning to his vital duties in attempting to control the bløødy mayhem caused by all those dangerous, cycling, master criminals!]

Welcome to alternative (Danish) reality! :-)

26th cont'd: I returned unscathed by the police razzia on cyclists. Though there were armed police on every junction and armoured cars, with live 50mm, armour piercing ammunition, standing by in the village side streets in case of skirmishes. I could hear drones armed with air to ground missiles overhead but they were lost to view in the low cloud.

The cycling terrorists were all riding as arrogantly as usual. Deliberately mowing down pedestrians at every opportunity. Despite the police presence it was a total bloodbath in the towns and villages I passed through! The world's press had flown in en-masse to record the expected carnage and were not disappointed. They filmed the fire brigade hosing down the rivers of blood in the gutters and the twisted remains of cycle clips left behind from the ugly battle for the streets. Meanwhile, the vicious, lady pensioner ringleaders were still riding around in circles. With their handlebar baskets heavily armed with those lethal garlands of plastic flowers which the Danish riot police fear most.

The bolt on my saddle camp had broken when I had gone to fetch the trike. I only noticed because the saddle was right back and tipped nose up in a very menacing manner. A search of the weapons in the shed found only one only seat pin which would fit the Higgins barrel. I was eager to join the cycling mayhem in the local villages but was tragically delayed while I made hasty repairs. So by the time I got out there were very few pedestrians left to aim at!

I was quite tempted to ride around inside the supermarkets to show my fellow cycling outlaws what a fearless cycling sociopath I really was. Sadly I was thwarted by the anti-cycling steps which had been erected in anticipation of serious trouble from wheelchair bound or pensioner armed with Zimmer frames!

So in the end it was only 15, largely uneventful, miles. I returned home with the adrenaline still rushing in my veins from the countless battles being waged between innocent pedestrians and bloodthirsty cyclists. As I put away my wheeled assault weapon I could still hear the dreadful, rhythmic drumming of truncheons on hundreds of massed riot shields, ringing in my ears!

27th 25F, -4C, overcast, thick mist, hoar frost. The first pig shit spraying of the year! Does your garden smell like overpowering pig's diarrhoea?  Thought not. I had an early appointment so headed off with a Smart rear light flashing. The certifiable commuters were overtaking me at 70mph into a solid wall of mist. I was finding it hard to see the oncoming headlights even at 100 metres and I had no windscreen to impede the view! My fingers were incredibly cold after only a couple of miles. After some brief shopping and a chance to warm up again I left the GripGrab medieval hood off to ride home. I soon had hoar frost on my ears! Not to mention the triple Mohican hairstyle from the helmet cooling slots. Only 6 miles.

28th 40-41F, +4+5C! Very misty but clearing. Overcast but brightening, becoming breezier. Warmest day this year? I had better not waste it. Another pig shit stinking day. They had been spreading chicken manure too. Just an afternoon run to the shops to avoid the mist. It didn't brighten up much but at least it was milder. 14 miles.

Lets be careful out there! :-)

20th February 2013: Move along please!!

20th 30-32F, -1-0C, windy, overcast, frozen rain falling. It managed quite a blizzard at one point. I did a meandering loop. It felt as if I was riding against the wind most of the time. I was riding on hard packed snow and decided to stop. The front wheel locked instantly and I ended up going off road. I should have released the brakes but wanted to see what would happen. The brakes worked fine on the grass verge. 32 miles.

21st 27F, -3C, overcast, snowing. The forecast is sunny periods. It hasn't stopped snowing since we got up! About an inch of new snow now. Wind chill should be around -12C today except there is no forecast wind. The birches are hardly stirring.

The front tyre is flat again! Is it too much to ask that the UCI crooks ban wheel SWAPPING during a race? Tour de France: Rule 1: Riders repair their own punctures on the side of the roads or give up! That would really concentrate the minds of the thieving crooks at the bicycle tyre hyper-inflation factories! It would concentrate the minds of the team managers too. Tyres are as disposable as bog tissue to the pro teams. Because they never have to be paid for anyway. I bet they throw, or give them away, after every stage. The sponsoring bike tyre manufacturers know this and can make their obscene profits from the naive hordes of copycat weekend warriors. Many bicycle tyres cost far more than car tyres and last a vanishingly small distance compared with car tyres! While they can still get away with their pathetic performance bike tyre manufacturers are laughing all the way to the money launderers.

Fixed two punctured tubes before leaving. I covered much of yesterday's route except the shops were open today. The wind felt bitterly cold on my face today. 27 miles.

22nd 33F, 1C, sunny periods. Just a short run to the shops. What a bunch of crooks some Danish supermarket managers are. A discount is shown in their own weekly special offers comic. Piles of them on the shelf. But no. One may not have the goods at the discount price! The crook had been right through them all and marked them at full price with big orange price labels to avoid any confusion. What part of fraud does he not understand? Going on past form I suppose he could always plead insanity.

I blame the crooks at the supermarket's head offices myself. Their favourite special offer expression is "Flere varianter". Which means several varieties or more varieties (available). This is the supermarket manager's get out clause for any lunatic fantasy which springs to their seriously fevered minds. If the popular item is not actually shown in pictures in their special offers comic then it is never (ever) amongst the "varieties" on special offer. Even though there may only be two variations of the same item being manufactured! Lies, damned lies and supermarkets. Laughing all the way to the money launderers.

In Britain one would only have to ring the Local Trading Standards Office to have a Black Maria carrying an armed response team before you could say; "Show me your several varieties of Heinz Baked Beans, please." Even threatening the shop with the TSO usually brought instant respect for the customer in the former absence of any retail justice at all.

In Denmark there are no trading standards offices nor even officers. No trades description act. No sale of goods act. Shelf pricing, bar codes and till prices are often in parallel universes. Point out the shop's errors to the staff and there is no Danish word for, "Sorry!" As in: "I was only trying to rip you off." It is the sole responsibility of the customer to know what is going on. The Danish Minister of Marmite even managed to ban many vitamin supplements and cut taxes on sugar and saturated fat! This is called leading from the top. (of the food chain)

It was bitterly cold riding downhill at 25mph on the way home. That would make the wind chill at least -25-28C. Am I having fun yet? 13 miles.

23rd 30F, -1C, overcast, light snow falling sideways. We were promised sunshine! Where do I queue for my refund? The tyres are still up. I think the holes caused by previous flints gather sand and more flints. The supposedly  protective strip is itself punctured. All protection is gone at that point. The bike shed has risen to 29F, -1C. It feels more like -10C out there! We are promised positive temperatures in a week. That's what they promised a week ago. I want my promised Global Warming and I want it now! Brrr.

It seems the lunatics manager's interpretation of basic Danish really was at odds with the managers at other branches. At other branches there were plenty of the discounted goods I wanted to buy yesterday at the discounted price. No sign of the lunatic's orange labels. Nor any problems at the tills.

So now the lunatic can safely defraud the manufacturer, as well as the customer. By selling their specially discounted products at full price. Not only has he defrauded the customer and the manufacturer but he has left the customer with a nasty taste in the mouth about that particular food manufacturer. Who was only offering a discount on its products in the vain hope of attract the customer's attention and loyalty to its products and name.  Barmpot-Crooked Manager 1. Manufacturers and Customers United 0.

13 more miles pursuing special offers (and retailing normality) far and wide. It was horribly cold on my face in the wind again. I wish I could wear a ski mask but I might be taken for a terror wotsit on a tricycle. I have more than enough problems as it is. :-)

24th 31F, 0C, overcast, snowing gently, windy to 25mph gusts. The trees are in constant motion. It was too windy and unpleasant to go far. 7 miles.

25th 33F, +1C, overcast, windy. There was another 1-2" of new snow yesterday evening. Much of the old snow was thinning anyway so it hasn't had much impact. Strong, cold headwind going. Better on the way back. Climbing well. Lots of illegally fast, moving traffic. The roads were in a dreadful state. With cracks and potholes everywhere. 19 miles.


2 Feb 2013

February 1st 2013. More of the same!

1st. 40F, 4C, still, rain. A rest day tidying the shed. A rear tyre was flat this morning. That's four punctures this year on the Durano Plus! Bløødy flints and wet roads! I can hardly believe they have done 2000 miles already. I re-measured the width this morning and they are about 25.5mm wide. So they did grow from their original 23mm width. Running them at 85psi keeps them lively without too much jarring on cobbles and bumps. Letting the pressure drop any lower they feel a bit heavy and slow. I haven't tried pushing the pressures any higher because I prefer my comfort and they haven't pinched yet. Not even with a heavy load of shopping on board.

2nd 30-34F, -1+1C, cloud free, sunny with a light wind. Fixed the puncture before leaving. Then had to stock up on some heavy items on the hilliest route I use regularly. A beautiful day for a ride and I was going quite well.  The grass is still white with a thick frost where the sun can't reach. Lots of ice where the fields are still draining across the road. 22 miles. Plus 10 more miles after lunch. I was going even better though not very quickly.

I am trying to stay on the 32T chainring to give myself a better workout. Though my cadence drops enough to force me out of the saddle at times. I have been practising changing gear while I'm climbing steadily out of the saddle. A momentary pause helps to smooth the change. I discovered something interesting about Ergo levers. Pulling on the bare down tube cable makes the lever skip over its ratchet. It has very poor resistance to cable tension. Not that the lever is expecting much resistance while indexing normally. Friction levers would cheerfully hold while I pulled on the cable and the changer did its thing.

I told you it was cold in the shed! Cruel and unnecessary Spa treatment of the Nidd. Three days of water-boarding. Then I applied the thumbscrews! Even after three days in icy water I could not depress the top by finger strength alone. 

3rd 32-35F, 0+2C, just a breath of air movement early on, overcast with a white frost. A clear overnight sky turned pink and then clouded over. It is supposed to sleet or snow after lunch. Winter has returned. It was a dark, grey, rather gloomy day with a steadily increasing wind. Making it feel far colder on the skin than the thermometer might suggest. I rode a wobbly route for 34 miles trying to keep up a good pace as much as possible.

4th 36F, +2C, overcast, raining. Yesterday afternoon's 2-3" of snow is being thinned by the rain. 20m/s, 45mph, winds are forecast for later. Not a good day for triking.

I was reading about asymmetric legs on Cycling UK and wondered why I have such dissimilar calf muscles. I mentioned this some time ago but it hasn't changed. My right calf (usually) shows poor muscle definition and is much larger than the left. Only occasionally do they match. I usually massage my legs at bedtime as I wait for Windows to shut down.

The Brooks 'Professional' getting the "dying fly" treatment after three days of soaking. This is to bring up the sloping shoulders as it slowly dries. I have also applied a rubber tourniquet to the waist. (not shown) Just to keep the proper shape in plan. I wonder if I should apply shock treatment as well? Despite appearances, the C-clamps/G-cramps are not vigorously applied. I don't want lumps and bumps on the top!

The difference between my calves is usually quite obvious. The left calf is completely floppy and tenses to look like a "proper cyclist's" leg. All sinew and "sticky out" bits. (If you will forgive the medical term) The right feels much stiffer in texture and hardly responds to prodding and smoothing. There was talk in the Cycling UK post about blood clots causing such problems. Perhaps I should make an appointment with the quack? I doubt they will remember my face at the surgery. So long is it since I took up cycling seriously and stopped needing a doctor. There is absolutely no pain. Nor any difference in how each leg seems to perform. In fact, they both seem to arrive home at much the same time. It never did stop raining, sleeting or blowing. Another rest day? Tut-tut.

5th 34F, +1C, breezy, overcast. The forecast for the next week was, sunny periods, below freezing but mostly dry. Now they have added more cloud and snow showers. It stayed dry and mostly sunny with a headwind on the way back. Lots of sheets of thin, pressed snow on some roads. It's snowing now I'm back. I've brought the reformed saddles indoors to dry slowly. 22 miles.

6th 33F, 0C, still, overcast. An inch or two of snow fell overnight. The windspeed is supposed to be low today with occasional wintry showers. It stayed dry and brightened a little. Roads a bit slushy in places. 20 miles.

7th 31F, 0C, almost still, overcast, light snow falling. A couple of inches of new snow overnight. The traffic seems very light this morning. Just a shopping run mid-afternoon. Roads clear. Cycle lanes full of slush and snow. 13 miles.

8th 30F, -1C, overcast. No new snow but light, wintry showers possible. Another rest day. I felt better for the last one and recovered strength and urgency I had almost forgotten.

9th 30F, -1C, overcast, breezy. I did a hilly loop for 25 miles worth of shopping. Going quite well. The rest day did me good. I usually resent the drop in my average but I don't miss my usual tiredness. I think I get a bit stale riding every day.

10th 26F, -3C, overcast turning to bright sunshine later. I tootled off in search of something I knew was there but never found it. You would not believe all the hills I climbed in the quest! I was sure I had pinpointed it on the map. It was horribly cold with a constant headwind. The Sealskinz gloves were inadequate even with thinner gloves underneath. I stopped in a village and had a long chat with a chap about tricycles in general. He approached me! I didn't just collar him and start talking. 35 miles going around in circles.

11th 24-30F, -4-1C, sunny turning to overcast, breezy at first becoming 20mph. I rode to the shops 20 miles away. Coming back was hard work pedalling into the freezing cold wind. Thankfully I wore the Dintex (Heatpax) gloves with thin liner gloves. One of those rare days when I put my cycling cardigan back on again at half way. 40 miles.

12th 26-30F, -3-1C, breezy, overcast. The sun struggled to show itself briefly through thick cloud. I found the place I was looking for. It was just further away than I had calculated. A horrible cold wind again today. Somebody had lost control, crossed the road and wrapped their old car around a massive rock and caught fire. Without air bags I doubt they survived. The car was gone when I came back the same way a couple of hours later. 31 miles.

13th 30F, -1C, light breeze, overcast. The person who crashed their car yesterday was thrown clear and uninjured. How is one thrown clear while wearing a seat belt? Talking of lucky escapes: A small bird of prey had caught a male Blackbird and was about to start breakfast when I happened along on my trike. Seeing me it tried to take off with its meal but dropped it. The blackbird sat there looking confused. While the bird of prey kept going. It can't have been any bigger than a  female Kestrel. An unbelievable number of birds of prey around at the moment. Many are so tired and hungry they are tamer than usual and will often tolerate me riding under their perch. I had punctured by the time I reached the shops. I searched the tyre but could find no flints or thorns. 19 miles.

14th 30-33F, -1+1C, windy, bright sunny periods. The wind must have been over 20mph and was perishing cold. I limited myself to a short run into the wind and a longer return route. Only 13 miles.

15th 30-34F, -1+1C, sunny periods, breezy.  A very cold wind. Going quite well. 27 miles.

16th 30-35F,  -1+2C, light easterly wind, heavily overcast. Supermarkets lying through their tills about special offers. Half a dozen other items well out of date, none on the shelves or non-existent stock rotation. Pig ignorant staff with all the social graces of backward peasants. What a way to run billionaire's money printing hobbies! Pavements, roads, pedestrian precincts and cycle paths shitted up wherever you go. What a way to run a country!

The other day I saw what passed for Council worker, pothole fillers. The pair of them were sharing well over 50 stones between them. A shovel full of tar into the hole then only two whacks of the back of the shovel and they needed a long rest! Before  moving onto the next. And the same performance again. Leaving a raised, hard-edged mound at intervals like molehills in their path. I'm all for giving the handicapped meaningful lives but what about lazy gluttons? There are plenty of people looking for jobs. I am heartily sick of this cold, cloudy weather! Front wheel is punctured again! Grrr. 19 miles.

17th 35F, +2C, still, overcast. Just mended the puncture. It was freezing out there despite the lack of wind and positive temperatures! I brought the tube indoors to allow the glue to dry before applying the patch. Probably unnecessary but why waste a chance to warm up myself? The supermarket finally had some stock of the organic salad dressing oil I was looking for. Brand new stock. Guess what? Out of date. All of it! Incompetent? Crooks? Too lazy to check? Or couldn't give a monkey's? Choose four. Only 10 miles.

18th 39F, 4C, overcast, spitting with rain. 13 miles.

19th 33-30F, +1-1C, windy, overcast, frozen rain. The lakes and ponds were strewn with the frozen rain like flour on a baking tray. I punctured at the back again on the way to the shops. A tiny disk of flint had cut through the tread leaving an open gash. I'm not doing very well with punctures on these Durano Plus since the New Year. I'm wondering whether the roads are being covered in the wrong sand by the gritting lorries. The type they used on that cycle path which was full of flints. 19 miles fighting a 25-30 mph headwind coming home loaded with shopping.

Click on any image for an enlargement.