26 Mar 2013

20th March 2013

20th 28-30F, -2-1C, overcast, light snow falling. Another day of steady snowfall with subzero temperatures threatened well into April. There is high pressure over Scandinavia which is forcing cold air from the very cold east.

While I can usually get about I worry about impeding traffic and the increased risk as they desperately overtake on snow-narrowed, slippery roads. It is safer to stick to the minor roads and avoid the main roads where I can. Except that the minor roads are not usually cleared nearly as well. They often take meandering routes and can take hours longer to travel on drifting snow.

Which is precisely what I did! It was snowing steadily but I decided to go off to another village in search of a missing item. I rode through the forest for miles on hard packed snow. My hands were aching with cold on the way there despite two pairs of gloves. My feet were aching with cold on the way back despite overshoes. Too much walking on snow at the shops made my socks wet! Headwind coming home. I found what I wanted but I must be crackers in these conditions. My beard was solid ice when I finally arrived home. 22 miles. After lunch and change of socks,. gloves and jacket I went out again. Only 6 more miles.

21st 20F, -7C, bright, but with thin cloud and light snow falling. Very light winds so far. I left after coffee as is usual on these cold winter days. The downside is that the wind usually picks up later. I disturbed a mixed flock of Lapwings and Fieldfares foraging on the verge. They must have been tired or hungry because they hung about despite being nervous. Then I saw another flock of Fieldfares later. Grey with a cold headwind coming home. It was quite pleasant earlier in bright sunshine. 30 miles.

A short video about a Bob Jackson racing trike. Some of the information is a bit confused but he doesn't do a bad job of riding it at the end. 

22nd 26-29F, -3-2C, windy, sunny periods. The trike tyres were frozen to the floor of the shed and the icicles, from snow melt on the shed roof, are nearly two feet long. It was horribly cold again to day. Even with a side wind. By the time I turned for home it was a 30mph headwind. I was crawling along and my hands were freezing. Luckily I found a glazed bus shelter and the sun was still bright. So I warmed up by rubbing the thin inner gloves to together until my hands finally stopped hurting.

Back on with the thick gloves and I survived until the end. My face was stinging so much with the cold I had to splash warm water on it to make the pain go away. The daft thing is I have covered much the same ground for three days in a row. Just trying to catch different shops with silly opening hours and odd closed days. I never did find what I was looking for. Grrr! 38 miles.

Some roads have so little traffic and are dead ends so don't warrant snow clearance or salting. This was one of the few stretches where I felt the need for rear brakes. I locked up the front wheel trying to slow on a steep hill.

23rd 23-30F, -5-1C, sunny, breezy. 30mph headwinds forecast again for today. With temperatures never getting above -2C. I didn't bother taking the balaclava yesterday and missed it badly despite the wraparound GripGrab Aviator. I've read that polypropylene inner gloves are warm. They can hardly be worse than the things I'm wearing now!

Another day, another headwind. I rode down to the sea on my way to the shops expecting ice. Only a thin coating on the football sized rocks sticking out of the sea., The Cormorants glared at me. Unsure whether to take off or remain with their wings spread in the sub zero, roaring wind. I retraced my path along the uncleared road and back to civilisation. It was a straight on, bitterly cold 30mph headwind all the way home. I was frequently down to 6mph on the small ring just to make headway. 21 miles so far. Plus 7 more later.

24th 26-33F, -3+1C, windy, bright sunshine. I fought the wind on the way. Then dried my eyes for the dash back with a following wind.  An immature yob saw that I was already committed to entering a supermarket car park on the opposite side of the road. So he put his foot down to try and intimidate me. Had he owned anything more than a beaten up old rust bucket he might well have impressed his fellow village idiots. Having missed me, he sailed on through the shopping street at a casual 50mph. I saw the ugly miscreant  and his spotty entourage on the return journey. His exhaust sounding no better for having survived for the entire length of the village. And the clumsy U-turn to avoid the great unknown beyond the village boundary. Only 10 miles.

25th 32-34F, 0+1C, windy, overcast. Another horribly cold day. Both my hands and feet were cold. My face felt like it was being cut  by the wind. Double gloves, balaclava under my warmest scull cap and overshoes with very thick socks didn't help. 17 miles.

A brilliant film from 1963 of the trike racing on the IOM. With grateful thanks to Barry's Dad for the camera work and to Barry for sharing it. 

26th 32-36F, 0+2C, sunny, becoming windy. More of the same with gusts to 25mph. Fighting through clouds of salt as juggernauts roared past at well above the speed limit. Not so cold today. 18 miles.

27th 33F, +1C, windy, mostly sunny. Heavily laden. The Cateye Cadence computer is getting more unreliable. It dropped ten miles again today without losing the digits. It also keeps forgetting to indicate the speed. Perhaps a dry contact in the shoe is causing the latter. No excuse for losing ten miles! 13 miles by GPS.

28th 37F, +3C, breezy, bright overcast. It is a bank holiday so I'm not sure how many shops will be open. A rest day.

29th 31F, -1C, heavy overcast, breezy, light snow falling on a fresh fall of an inch or two of snow. Another bank holiday.

I saw an advert for an Abus Diims. A small, light security device which sends out a radio signal to passing Danish Post Office vans. When the vans return to base the signals are downloaded onto a website. The idea is that if one's bike/trike is stolen then a van will probably have passed it somewhere. You check the website and can track the missing item's location. To within what radius I wonder?

Several (other) obvious problems here: Many of the quality bikes in DK are reportedly stolen by East European professional bike thieves. It's a basic human right under EU law. So the police are powerless to stop them. The stolen bikes go into a lorry and are driven away. What happens once the device is out of the country or on a motorway where PO vans do not routinely travel?

You'd still need another "proper" lock to stop "casual" theft. "Casual" as in a psychological condition which makes you break the law with total disregard for other's rights. It used to be called being a psychopath. Now it's called sociopathy. I call it potentially life-changing theft. May your next fix be a crippling overdose.

Why would a professional thief not be aware of the tracking device and simply remove it? No doubt the instructions for finding and removing them are already on YouTube thanks to some sick fuckwit helpful soul. The cost of the device is about £50 plus £12 a year in old money. I suppose it might be easier than carrying an Abus U-lock which weighs more than your entire bike! Do you think I am getting too cynical in my old age? ;ø) 12 miles.

30th 33F, +1C, breezy, overcast with bright periods and occasional light snow showers. The wintry forecast is unchanged for the next week! I rode to Assens via Ebberup. Ebberup has become the tank training ground of Denmark. More potholes than tarmac! Most of the shops were already closed except for the supermarkets.  Headwind coming home with frozen rain stinging my eyes and face. 20 miles. Plus 6 more after lunch.

31st 32F, 0C, still and sunny. Most of our few neighbours have been away for Easter. No acrid smoke pouring endlessly from their tar-blackened chimneys from soggy, fresh-cut wood from the forest. Nor the burning of painted demolition timbers and waste industrial pallets.

No car doors slamming repeatedly, literally all day and all night. While engines are routinely left running for half an hour, year round. No badly silenced chainsaws running 24x7. Nor the endless scream of circular saws fuelling the black economy at our expense.

Not even the ceaseless howling and barking of abandoned dogs in unheated sheds or cages. Perhaps they died a lingering death from malnutrition and cold? Our neighbours seem to get through dogs like they get through cars. Only one dog has ever ventured beyond the boundaries of their stinking, turd-studded lawns in all the years we have lived in this tiny hamlet.  

It's been almost a  week of complete peace and clean air now. Don't ever mention rural Denmark and the environment in the same breath! You'd be talking rubbish.

I was busy all day so only 8 miles. After a cold start it was a sunny, pleasant day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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