23 Apr 2013

19th April 2013

19th 44-50F, 7-10C, windy, overcast. It feels perishing out there this morning! I was going to have another look at the trike but is was much too unpleasant to work outside. I need good light to be able to see clearly even while wearing my supermarket reading glasses. They call it "lack of accommodation." That doesn't mean I'm homeless but that my eye lenses are stiffening with age. This limits the ability of my eyes to refocus for near objects. Since taking up daily cycling my eyes have relaxed to distance viewing. I used to need glasses just to read a clock on the office wall.

I stopped in the forest to capture the slow change between drab winter and emerald spring.

The forecast is for sunny periods but it is solid grey. It never did brighten up and was blowing a steady 35mph gale. The stench of pigshit is everywhere! I was nearly taken out by a white van in one village! I got in the way of his planned run-up to a new land speed record for a built up area. I think both of us were shocked. We had just seen the first road sweeper lorry to grace the streets of Denmark in probably well over a decade! I expect the Prime Minister is spending all those cyclist's fines to confirm her environmental credentials. Or something like that. I am far too cynical to believe anyone reads my blog and acts on it.

Diims has suddenly found two more hits 6&4 days after the event. It is now Friday but the hits were recorded last Saturday and on Monday of this week. A weekly roundtoit download? Diims are showing circles on the map to suggest the radius of sensitivity from the actual recorded hits. One has to take into account that post office vans may be moving quite quickly while the Diims unit is sending its signal. The time/distance lag will affect the accuracy of the hit shown on the map. (There is no way to save the map as an image to show it here)

Where an item is stolen, along with its protective Diims unit, one would need several hits to be able to locate the item more accurately. Not by triangulation, in the usual sense, but by averaging the círcle overlaps from different angles. This may offer a distinct advantage to the moving van sensors. A fixed building sensor would not locate the item to an accuracy better than the entire radius of sensitivity. Though repeated hits would certainly help to confirm its location was within the circle. In a city this might cover a number of streets. One would then have to hope for a post office delivery van to narrow down the location. The postal vans cover many different addresses from day to day with variations in timing relative to the Diims unit's own transmissions. Though one might have to wait a number of days for a new hit to be actually shown on the Diims website. (Going on present experience)

Until now I haven't even bothered to fix the Diims to my trike due to the lack of hits. If the numbers continue to increase the system might (finally) be worth trusting with the potential added £40 cost of the Diims unit to the loss of the trike itself. Though the new Abus lock is obviously playing its part in the overall security system. Hopefully making it much less attractive to thieves. Though they would (probably) be more likely to steal it to scavenge the parts than any inherent interest in the trike itself. Which is sadly ironic. The "bits" are easily replaceable and subject to repeated updating. While the trike frame is the only irreplaceable items for me. 22 miles today.

20th 37-50F, 3-10C, breezy, sunny. Stinking of pigshit. An overnight white frost on the car and fields. It should be a fine day for cycling though with a maximum of only 10-12C. Wínds lighter now around the north. Suggesting I head north to enjoy some help coming home later. It's odd how I still see the weekend as having greater potential for a longer ride than a "normal" weekday. Old habits die hard.

I had already had breakfast but after very early coffee and rolls I headed north towards Bogense. The wind was far colder than expected considering my reduced clothing. Just before Bogense I turned left towards Middelfart. A pleasant, undulating country road but with rather a lot of traffic. Quite a few cyclists out training. There were some posh racing bikes on car racks too. Perhaps there was a race somewhere? They were all going the same way. I felt as if I was going rather well today. Climbing strongly despite the cold headwind. Keeping the pressure on and a high cadence all the time I was moving. Though I stopped at several shops along the way. 48 miles. Plus 7 more miles pm. Diims spotted me near Bogense via a post office van.

21st 53F, 12C, breezy, sunny. Another white overnight frost. The wind is supposed to increase to 30mph SE gusts later. I did a meandering and hilly ride of 28 miles. Lots of cyclists out training including several groups. I had reached the tolerance level of the Vetta SL after yesterday's ride. Putting the retensioned B17 'Select' back on, perfectly level, did not offer remotely the same supportIt also felt as if I now had all my weight on the bars.  So I had to stop and tip the nose well up on the Brooks while pushing it as far back as possible. Still not ideal but I rode on with steadily increasing pain in my right quad, hip and knee. My attempts to reduce the weight of the trike had resulted in the loss of a previously stable and comfortable riding position.

The Vetta saddle had proved acceptable only up to a point but had then damaged the sit bone area just enough to force me back to the B17.  The B17 'Select'  leather is so flexible (and twisted) that I constantly feel the need to retention it. When I do, it becomes uncomfortable further forward as the spine takes over support duties as the seating area slopes steeply downwards and forwards due to the added tension on the leather. The spine pushes up (in completely the wrong place) just as the seating area loses all its power to support the sit bones.

The sloping flanks throw me forwards onto the spine. Further exaggerating the loss of the soft and suspended sit bone support area. Not to mention the increased load on the hands and wrists. The rider (me) is no longer balanced for and aft over the bottom bracket.  This goes completely against our fuzzy logic. One might think that pushing the saddle forwards would place it under the rider to carry more weight and reduce wrist and hand pain. Nothing could be further for the truth. The saddle's vital support area needs to be pushed back to balance the rider's weight comfortably between bars, pedals and seat. When the rider tires of leaning heavily on his hands, or grows tired of working hard for too long, he sits up. Which throws all the rider's weight on the already uncomfortable saddle. An inescapable catch 22.

22nd 45-51F, 7-11C, windy, wet start, sunny later. Rest day.

23rd 45-55F, 7-13C, windy, sunny periods becoming overcast. Forecast for 40mph gusts later. Lots of birds of prey soaring slowly over the fields. Including a superbly colourful Marsh harrier. I wish I was better at recognising the more unusual birds of prey. Without being able to stop safely and whip out a pair of binoculars many of the recognition details are lost to my view within seconds. In Britain I usually only saw Kestrels and Buzzards. Over here in Denmark there are so many more kinds and so many more of them visible all the time. It often feels as if there is a bird of prey to every field. We often get them perching in the garden too. Their flying skills are absolutely amazing. They can sail through the densest forest trees completely effortlessly when disturbed. Smaller birds of prey can zip through the thickest of hedges. 21 miles today.

I found some pictures from bikeradar of Geoff Booker's gorgeous, R953 stainless steel, TT/race Trykit on display at Bespoked Bristol 2013:

This Geoff Booker 953 trike was a stunner

More images here:

Geoff also had a tandem trike, a trike conversion axle and some of the many unique trike parts he makes at the Bristol show. I was interested to see that his 2WD freehub is popular with the four wheel racers too. There can't be any other handbuilt cycle builders with such a huge range of skills and products.

24th 51-57F, 11-14C, sunny, rather cool and windy. Stinking even worse of pigshit! It is supposed to gust to nearly 40mph later with top temperatures of around 15C/60F. My knees are already pink after only a couple of days without tights. I rode to Assens against a cold headwind. Then stripped off the jacket for the return trip.

On the way back I missed a high speed accident by a hare's breadth! The daft animal was grazing a front lawn behind a hedge on the other side of the road when it was startled by a noisy car overtaking me. The hare shot along behind the hedge and then turned sharply across our respective bows about two feet in front of my front wheel on a steep descent. Diims saw me via a post office van in the lanes. 19 miles, not out! :-)

25th 51F, 11C, winds lighter today, sunny. Stinky! I really ought to make the most of it today. Rain is forecast from mid afternoon and all day tomorrow.

Brooks has a new saddle coming out called the Cambium. A long lived mixture of rubber and cloth with a B17 shape. I am now seriously looking for a replacement for my far too soft and badly distorted B17 'Select'. It's quite tempting to try a B17 Special next. Copper metalware, to avoid the usual unsightly rust, but a standard, non-softened leather top.

The Spa Nidd still seems much too hard despite being locally pressed with G-cramps. I have the Brooks 'Professional' back in a useful shape but it's still too narrow for my sit bones. Nothing will change that simple fact of life despite its good looks. The B17 'Select' was wonderful from new but flawed by its extreme softness and badly asymmetric leather. Buying a new 'Select' every year in the hope of finding a good one? It seems a bit wasteful and spendy. I wonder if I could get an annual replacement under guarantee?

I rode up to Middelfart and Fredericia by the main road to have a look in the bike shops. The traffic was very well behaved and all gave me a wide berth. The cycle lane road surface is superb if rather narrow for a trike in places  I straddled the "high tech" dotted white line to avoid vibration.  Putting the front wheel inside the line when I spotted a vehicle coming up behind in my excellent Cyclop mirror. When the road was clear, which it was a lot of the time, I put the front wheel outside the line. This helped to avoid the rough edge of the road. The cycle lane surfaces in Middelfart and Frederica are absolutely appalling! Some of the potholes are so old I swear I can see Ichthyosaurs circling in the murky depths!

The Vetta saddle proved itself only good for under 30 miles. It was nothing but pain and misery from then on. I'm a hopelessly incurable optimist when it comes to saddles. I don't know how it manages it but it was a 10 o'clock wind going. Then a 2 o'clock wind on the return journey. I was starving on the way back. Having had only a small bag of mixed seeds and nuts for the six hour outing. Daft really. I should have bought some bananas or digestive biscuits. Or taken sandwiches. Saddle pain and hunger knock are poor bedfellows in a near headwind. My face and legs have caught the sun! The DMI is warning against a temporary thinning of the Ozone Layer over Denmark. I was spotted four times by Diims while I was out. This is very encouraging.  60 miles.

26th 42F, 6C, breezy, heavy overcast, damp. It is supposed to rain all day. Though no sign of it yet. (11am) No ill effects from yesterday's foolishness. I might as well go shopping instead of the expected rest day. It was a bank holiday so some of the shops were closed. It didn't start spitting with rain until late afternoon. So the day wasn't wasted after all. Back on the B17 'Select'. The cantle plate is now making itself felt as the seating area sinks again. Time to crank on the Brooks spanner, again! 18 miles.

27th 42-53F, 5-12C, sunny periods, windy. I went for a tootle down to the coast to find something new to photograph. Tried the Spa Nidd saddle again. It suddenly reminded me of its presence at 20 miles. Not really too awful after that but it didn't let up. The 60 mile ride on the Vetta SL may have sensitised my sit bone area. 32 miles so far. Have to go out again. Put the B17 Select back on with more tension. Painful at first but it eased on the way back.

Either I am psychic or the local kommunes/councils are reading my blog. Yet another village's cycle lanes have been swept! Whoopee! Cyclists are no longer forced out into the traffic by deep moraines of gravel, rocks, glass and years of accumulated debris. Now all they need to do is fill in the bløødy potholes!

8 more miles avoiding ancient potholes. If only there was a bright pink or garish yellow filler for potholes. It would be worth filling a few of the worst to gain public attention. Or perhaps I should get one of those aerosol marker sprays that the roadworkers use to mark areas for resurfacing? Nah. I'd be probably be accused of trying to overthrow the government... or something. They have enough problems already.

I'm getting quite used to lifting a rear wheel over them. Like a dog having a leak. I used to pull a wheelie and straddle them but the holes grew so wide I couldn't avoid dropping at least one wheel into them. The unlikely container gardening idea has merit. Transplant some daffs into a barrow load of soil and water well in.

You never see plastic road cones over here so I can't borrow them and use those to mark the worst repeat offenders. I'm half hoping they won't send Tweedledee and Tweedledum around to fill the damned things. They will stick up instead of being avoidable hollows. There are more than enough raised drain covers on the cycle lanes already! It will end up looking like a BMX track at this rate!

28th 45F, 7C, a breeze picking up, rather cloudy but clearing to sunny. An overnight frost  and thick mist cleared quickly.  I'm going to try my best bib shorts on the B17 'Select'. Having sensitised myself by using the Vetta SL I need time to recuperate without taking rest days. I just found a review of the Velo Orange Model 3 touring saddle. It is almost identical to the Spa Nidd but with a textured top. Again it has the underside reinforcing cloth. I doubt the two would behave any differently to each other in practice. I cannot believe how soft the leather of my Brooks 'Select' has become. It is easy to flex every part of it with light finger pressure. The combination of decent shorts and 'Select' was perfectly comfortable today. I headed into the (cold) wind  with eyes watering just wandering.

I was nearly taken out by an ancient fuckwit driving too fast on the completely wrong side of a straight, empty road entering a busy village. In heavy overcast he was wearing his blind man's glasses. As black as an MIB's standard issue. As a result he was barely able to see through the steering wheel let alone over it. Always assuming senility wasn't a major factor in his lunatic driving behaviour..

I waved my arms frantically, as he accelerated hard towards me and (finally) he veered off just before I was ready to hurl myself into the shrubbery. By then he was travelling far too fast for me to check whether his white stick was propped against the passenger's seat. "I've been driving for 97 years and never had an accident, you know!" 27 miles not (quite) out.

Another short ride in the afternoon. The soles of the Bontrager 'Race' MTB shoes are now seriously detaching around the edges one year to the day since I bought them. They have done 9,659 miles/ 15,551 km  in perfect comfort. I have no idea for how long they are guaranteed. Does a year and nearly 10k miles seem fair? Dunno. I was never keen on how open the netting was on top of the toe. This made them rather cool at times. They also let the rain run straight through on those rare occasions when I wasn't wearing overshoes in wet weather.

The soles always felt rather detached when I pulled up on the them when climbing out of the saddle. Giving a rather sloppy feel. Perhaps I never tightened the straps enough? Though I'd still have no hesitation in buying another pair based purely on comfort grounds I will do my homework before a new purchase. They were excellent for walking in. Only towards the end did they get really noisy with the cleats now reaching the ground. Crunchy when walking on concrete. Tap shoes in the supermarket. The Shimano M077 looks more solid in the toe yet claims to offer a roomy toe box. I didn't find them comfortable last year. Another tour of the bike shops for trial fittings now seems inevitable. Déjà vu. 8 more miles.

29th 44-50F, 7-10C, rather windy but bright start to the day. It is supposed to be gusting to 40 mph later, with rain around lunch time. It turned grey and started raining before 11am so I put off today's ride until pm. There were fierce gusts all afternoon so I had no desire to go far. No Diims for 4 days now. April has followed March as an unusually cold month. The DMI had to go back 25 years to find a similarly cold April. Though sunshine was about average. Only 8 miles today.

30th 50-53F, 10-12C, windy with sunny periods. I rode to Ringe to look in the bike shops It was a pleasant ride going but a cold and variable headwind or gale all the way home. They didn't have a pair of MTB shoes in 46. The MO77 in 45 were so small and painful that I nearly crippled myself getting one on! EU45 is my normal shoe size! The MO87 look much better made and less plasticky. With no obvious glue leaking around the toe caps as seemed to be common on the '77. The next step up in Bontrager MTB shoes from the 'Race' are the 'RL' at about £100.  Some review commentators complained of the glue coming unstuck after only a couple of months wear on those! Which is a shame. Because I couldn't find any shoes remotely as comfortable as the Bontrager 'Race' last year. The Mavic MTB I tried last year were unsuitable for walking and rather like wearing a pair of narrow wooden coffins.

I sat on the various Selle and Fizik test saddles while I was there but nothing felt remotely comfortable. Even the Brooks B17 'Select' was occasionally uncomfortable today despite my wearing my best bib shorts. I have ordered a Brooks B17 'Special' online to give me something to ride when I return the 'Select' to the dealer for replacement under guarantee. The 'Select' has twisted sideways and shown other asymmetric behaviour almost from new. One skirt used to stand up sideways while the other clung to the rail.  The leather is so soft that it doesn't hold tension for more than a day or two before sagging into a flat hammock. It is now getting the raised cantle plate syndrome of an overstretched leather saddle. Brooks claim it as their finest saddle for long distance riders. I have to disagree based on my own experience with this particular example. As new it looked so gorgeous. A real work of art. Perfection is every detail of its craftsmanship.

However attractive the new saddle might be I am certainly not looking forwards to breaking in yet another saddle. I have never liked the rust-prone, hollow steel rivets. So chose the 'Special' for its hammered copper rivets and copper plated chassis. 44 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement

15 Apr 2013

10th April 2013 Make shit while the sun shines.


10th 40F, +4C, overcast, gales, stinking of pigshit. I struggled against the wind to get to the shops. Swapped my dead Diims for a new one and then sailed back. Now I can't find how to add another Diims unit on their website. Their cryptic support email mentions a heading which doesn't exist! Apparently one was instinctively expected to hover the cursor over a box to be allowed to add another unit. No mention of being able to remove one! Still snow lying where the sun can't reach. I bought an Abus Mini-U lock after a decade of using a skinny, supermarket bought, cable lock. 19 miles.

This image shows how much one supermarket in Assens respects cyclists. I counted ten secure bike parking places lost to their untidy outdoor display. 

11th 38-45F, +3+7C, light winds, overcast, rather misty, stinking of pigshit. It snowed, rained and sleeted all afternoon yesterday. Leaving everything soggy. Rode to Assens. A cold headwind coming back but the Sealkskinz gloves were warm enough today. Still some snow on the verges and edges of fields beneath tall hedges. Nothing on the Diims tracker website yet. We had post today so that should register. 19 miles.

An update on Shimergo:  If you find the front Shimano changer heavy work for an Ergo lever then just add a rear mech clamping plate to the cable clamping screw. Remove the usual clamping washer and put it away safely for when you might need it again. Now wrap the cable around the little right angle tab before clamping it behind the new clamping plate. The front changer action becomes instantly smooth and effortless thanks merely to the slight extra leverage. So much for the manufacturer's trying to dictate what is best for us.

An 1/8" [3mm] difference in the cable pull point is all it needs. Probably even less leverage increase would do. I just used the first clamping plate I found in my "old rear changers" box. It had only one right angle tab which happily suited my needs perfectly. These bent tabs were originally just to stop the little plates from rotating as the clamping screw was tightened.

I bought an Abus Mini-U lock after a decade of using a skinny, supermarket bought, cable lock. The Abus weighs just over 2lbs or about 1 kilogram. I consider this about the absolute top weight limit for a serious bike lock. Anything heavier is just taking the piss and running with our money.

No lock should be breakable by a casual thief. A pro thief with an angle grinder or chilling gas and hammer will get through almost anything. Except casting your bike up to the top tube in wet concrete.

The relatively short loop is perfect to fix the front wheel to the trike downtube. It has all-over firm/hard rubber covering to protect the machine's paintwork but still the lock rattles loudly! The Mini-U enjoys a 'level 10' security rating by Abus' own standards. It is also approved by the Danish insurance companies. The key action is occasionally sticky but hopefully this is down to the newness and it will ride up with wear. If I get stuck miles from home with a locked trike I shall sue Abus for every penny they have made out of their countless mugs customers. Or die trying. :-)

My trike only sits outside supermarkets for long enough for me to do a bit of shopping. So is unlikely to face a barrage of professional  tools wielded by the thieving scum who earn their next fix from stealing bicycles to order. The Abus should easily defeat the casual thieving scum who are just looking for a free ride home. Usually because they've spent their bus fare on recreational booze, drugs, cakes, gassy urine or sweets.

A filthy and rusty old trike is unlikely to be perceived as an attractive target anyway. So no backstreet bike breaking scum or organised Eastern European thieving scum are likely to be interested in breaking a decent lock just for Mr Higgins. Hopefully the trike represents too much like hard work for them to make a quick and dirty profit at my expense.

Pm. The Diims network spotted me for the first time in Assens this morning! The postman also called today but it did not register on Diims. Post office vans frequently pass on the road some 120 yard away as the Diims signal flies. So presumably we are out of range. The Diims unit is usually indoors when the postman calls but still only a few yards from the delivery van outside. At least this first fix proves the new unit works. Just my luck to get a dud unit first time around!

12th 38F, +3C, overcast, misty, raining all morning. The DMI is warning about thick mist.

My Higgins has a left hand thread, fixed cup, inner bearing on the left side which is very sticky to get in or out. I've just discovered Webbline Cycle Tools UK sells a pair of taps for cleaning out the threads.

No other tap would be likely to reach into the inner bearing seats of a trike. (which have standard bottom bracket threads on older makes like Higgins and Rogers) There is just no room for the usual (and incredibly expensive) Park tool and other maker's pro tool devices to reach between the reinforcing tubing at the centre of the axle. Though most cycle shops will clean out the threads for you on a "normal" bike they might struggle to help on a trike. Webbline do state these taps are for DIY. This quality is all you need for an occasional rescue of a dirty or rusty frameset (or trike). Price quoted is £28.50 + £5.50 postage which seems fairly reasonable compared with the £300-odd for the pro tools.

I have just ordered a pair to try and fix Mr Higgins' sticky little problem. I only managed to get the fixed cup in half way last time I worked on the axles. This means I have a big overhang of the outer bearing cup on the right because of the 2WD. After 60 years service Mr Higgins probably deserves a birthday present. The only downside is the very long taper on the noses on the taps shown on their website. They might not do much before they hit the back of the bearing housing. This isn't a problem on a bike because the hole in the bottom bracket goes right through. On a trike the axle housings are usually much smaller between the bearing housings to save weight.

It is very grey and dark today but hasn't rained yet. Only 13 miles so far but I may be allowed out again. Still some snow hanging on and some ice on the ponds. Famous last words: There has been quite a shower since I arrived home. The Brooks is rather wet! I did another 21 miles after lunch.

Diims tracking has seen me once again this afternoon but not by two other post office vans. What if not all post office vans are fitted with Diims receivers? Or they are not downloaded on return to the delivery office? Then an already handicapped system is in serious trouble. The idea has enormous potential for personal transport security (in Denmark) but seems to be further hampered by very poor sensor saturation and/or implementation. It seems even the claimed reception devices in the network are simply not working as intended.

One would have thought every supermarket housing a subPost Office ought to have one. Presumably as a commercial system they just don't have the  funds (from limited sales) to fit reception sensors in (say) every taxi, bus or petrol station. This is another Catch 22 situation where sales are probably chasing a better chance of discovery if the protected item is stolen. A case of chicken and egg if ever there was one. Reviews are often rather negative and added comments often extremely cynical and even more negative! The image alongside shows the Diims unit with an old USB memory stick for scale. The Diims weighs so little it hardly matters.

Geoff Booker of Trykit fame is exhibiting some of his trike builds at Bespoked Exhibition (Hand-built cycle show) in Bristol this weekend. 12-14th April.

Bespoked index

13th 41F, +5C, damp start, overcast, light winds, stinking of pig shit. It should clear to sunny periods as the wind rotates around the clock. The wind wasn't too bad. Still overcast instead of sunny. I discovered that I have enough loop length in the Abus Mini-u lock to capture the front wheels, the downtube and a thin pole or supermarket display rack. This increases the security nicely. Only 13 miles so far. Going out again to try and find all the things which were out of stock in the last FOUR supermarkets! We've just had post and I had already hung the Diims in the nearest window to the drive to ensure good reception. The Diims was less than 5 yards from our postbox. Let's see what happens now!

Plus 11 more miles pm. No Diims update today! So at least 2 PO vans and two sub post offices have no Diims sensor. Or they aren't being monitored or updated.  This is very disappointing! The chance of finding any stolen item are receding by the moment! The Abus lock is playing up too. I couldn't get the key far enough in to turn it on two occasions this afternoon. The key goes in so far and then will only turn 90 degrees with no effect on the lock. I noticed the Mini.U has two latches. One on each end of the loop. So, unlike many other locks, it doesn't fall apart when one leg is broken by a thief.

A unique church in Fåborg was thankfully free of scaffolding after a long refit. I once climbed the tower stairs to see the clock movement in a glass case. It's a shame about the horrible lamp posts. Otherwise there is a timeless quality about the local tiled roofs. I struggled to find an uncluttered view from three different sides.

14th 42-53F, +5+12C! Breezy, grey overcast, stinking of pig shit. Rain is promised for this afternoon. A south-easterly is giving way to a southerly wind gusting to 25+mph. I could go east and return without having gone too far north. I haven't been off my home patch for ages thanks to the miserable weather and the constant and cold easterly wind. There is still some snow lying in the shadows even now. The temperature is rising steadily as I consume early coffee and rolls in preparation for a decent ride.

I rode down to Fåborg fighting a headwind all the way there. The cycle paths were in a terrible state! There was enough broken glass to make it look like the brewery lorry driver had taken to the demon booze. If there had been any more dead foliage and general compost strewn everywhere I would have needed a bulldozer to get through!

The wind turned and increased on the way home. Roaring in the trees towards the end making life difficult in both directions. Lots of birdsong in the woods. When it could be heard above the bløødy chainsaws! Lots of dead frogs on the roads. First sighting of butterflies this year. The rain and higher temperatures must have brought them out. I was far too warm a lot of the time. It's that time of year when it's too warm for a winter jacket but much too cold for just the racing jersey. Even thin skiing long johns are half to blame for my overheating. A soon as I  can change to bare knees I'm happy. I don't feel the cold on my legs but it keeps me cool under a much wider range of temperatures. No Diims sighting again today. 45 miles.

ChrisH on the trike forum (On3wheels) has suggested the use of long extension bars to drive Park Tool taps into the Higgins inner, axle, bearing housings. Very helpful advice if I had access to the taps but I don't know of any bike shops which have them. The Park Tool taps are far too expensive for amateur ownership. They also have a lead-in taper. So may not do any more thread cleaning than the cheaper taps which I now have on order. Webbline(UK) seems to be the only stockist unless I am using the wrong search terms. Alf Webb has proved to be very helpful. The taps should arrive next week.

15th 53-66F, 11-19C, breezy, sunny, reeking of pig shit. The first time this year that overnight temperatures have been remotely so high. The locked-in, cold wind regime has shifted from the east to the balmier south. The winds are no lighter but at least they haven't that chilling quality.

My knees really felt it after my longer ride yesterday. I had changed saddles for a light one and stripped everything off. Including the Carradice Camper saddlebag and the full air-sea rescue kit. Thanks to sloppy measuring the saddle must have been about a cm higher than normal. (½") It was this which overloaded my knees. My wife put some arnica drops on my knees and I rubbed it in. Much to my surprise this got rid of the pain. Otherwise my legs were fine despite the long struggle against the wind. It was almost comical to see so many riders out training. All riding effortlessly the other way. While my dripping nose was forming a choppy puddle in the head of the stem fixing bolt where white horses played.

Today I rode to Assens again to try and find some handlebar gel strips and a new Zefal Cyclop mirror. I was lucky with the mirror but only gel tape was available. Which I declined. My cheapo Aldi action camera clamp cracked right off at the ball joint! Fortunately I had looped the camera lanyard around the bike computer so it was saved.  I went without tights and should have left the cycling jacket at home too. Even the racing jersey was too warm with a long sleeved vest underneath. Almost 66F when I arrived home with the sun burning my back! Crackers! I saw a precast concrete bridge arrive at a roundabout. It must have been 20 metres long! With an articulated tractor at the front, the bridge itself acting as the body and a trailer at the back. By the time I had decided to get my camera out, the rear end had steered itself clear of the roundabout and the tractor was already climbing the following hill.  It was all over within only a minute or two. Amazing! 20 miles.

Make shit while the sun shines! A fire breathing dragon unfurls its leathery wings in threat mode.

It seems my original (non-functional) Diims unit has sprung to life. A hit is recorded when I wasn't even there! Meanwhile my active Diims was ignored by a post office van which passed and repassed me as we travelled a lane together. I am coming to the conclusion that only a minority of Danish post office vans, in my area, have Diims sensors. Yet Diims would have us believe that most post vans, post offices and post boxes have sensors. This is patently untrue going on my own experience. No Diims hits today.

16th 43-60F, 6-16C, high cloud but quite bright, a light breeze, suffocating pig shit. It will be cooler today after yesterday's high temperatures. We reached 66F (yesterday) but some places saw 20C/68F. I was working on the trike outside and had to take off my jumper as I was too warm. A week ago I was wearing two duvet jackets, gloves and a thick fleece hat and still feeling cold! It was a pleasant ride going in bright sunshine but a strong headwind coming back. My legs were a bit tired so I may need another rest day. No Diims hits today. Huge Bumble bees and a few butterflies were out and about today. 20 miles.

17th 52-58F, 11-14C, rather breezy with sunny periods. Stinking of pig shit. 14 miles so far. It was a bit blowy. Since the weather is fairly good I'm going out again. I'll try and put the wind at right angles to my route. Anything but! I went to look around the bike shops in Odense. After thrashing about all over town  I had to fight the wind all the way home. 46.5 more miles for 60 total. For some reason there was smashed glass on the roads in Odense city centre. I kept stopping to look at my tyres but fortunately they weren't affected. I put the Vetta SL saddle on again this morning without any discomfort. It must be the better quality padding in these shorts. I spent the day in just a racing jersey over a long sleeved skiing vest with racing shorts. There was no need for tights in this much warmer weather. Going well. After several hours in Odense I was recorded once by Diims at/near the main post office near the station.

18th 55F, 13C, windy, overcast. The forecast is for 50mph gusts Later. so I'd better go shopping early. In fact I spent the morning fettling my trike in the garden. I wanted to try a Shimano front changer to see if it suited the Campagnolo lever better than the Shimano. It was hopeless so I took it off again having expended a front gear cable in the process. So now it is approaching mid afternoon and the wind has only grown worse. Having managed a modest mileage yesterday I dare not take a rest day. "People" will say I have no stamina. :-)  Even a small mileage will show willing.

The BB taps have arrived safely. Very well packed too! They are separated by a wall of plastic in their protective box so can't damage each other. STOM is a company in Punjab, India specialising in manufacturing taps and dies.

I headed off down the road with a fierce sidewind. As the driving sociopaths lacked the intelligence, morals or conscience to allow cyclists a little extra room in such severe weather I came back via the country lanes. An even worse idea it turns out. With the wind now at 11 o'clock I was often on the small chainring. [24T] I think I hit my lowest speed ever while pedalling hard downhill at 4.5mph in bottom gear 24 x 26 for 25". A "wall of wind" much like being up on the tops in Snowdonia.  Not so much true grit as grit in the teeth. Plumes of brown topsoil were blowing off the fields. The Spring issue of the TA Gazette has arrived. TA members seem to be dropping like flies! Only 10 miles.

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1 Apr 2013

1st April 2013

1st 33-38F, +1+4C, full sun, a cold breeze slowly dying away. I was busy on a project all day so decided to have a rest day from the trike. There was no pressure to shop on the Bank Holiday. So I paddled about in melting permafrost instead. I may even have a little sunburn. There are now only a few streaks of snow left where the sun can't reach.

Rather inexplicably my right calf had been hurting slightly over the last few days as it slowly returned to a normally relaxed state. For as long as I can remember it has been almost as if it was swollen. There was very poor muscle definition and massaging it was rather pointless. I couldn't penetrate the muscle mass with my fingers. There was never any pain though. Now it has become much the same as my left calf. Angular, with well defined muscles. It is now floppy enough to massage easily.

I read somewhere that this condition can be caused by a clot. (I donæt think they meant the owner of the leg) By an odd coincidence I had a couple of days of mild headaches. Which is extremely rare for me. I just don't get headaches usually. I had also been standing about and walking backwards and forwards while working on my project. Normally I just sit at the computer while not actually asleep or actively triking. It is usually too cold to do anything else. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. We shall see. And no, this was not an April Fool joke. :-)

A roadside cottage in Gummerup from the first years of the 1700s which was once the home of a Danish classical poet of that period. [Ambrosius Stub] There is a large engraved stone out of sight to the left of the buildings. I imagine an elderly occupant was no longer able to keep the place together. It has looked unoccupied for at least a couple of years. The cobbled front yard is already full of self-seeded Birch saplings. A rare oddity is the painted imitation of timber framing on the roadside facades of the sheds. All the rest is real. I haven't seen another example of such imitation on my travels. The heavy traffic passing so very close to the facades is sandblasting the paint away. It is a shame to see such an otherwise unspoilt and historic house being left to slowly decay. 

2nd 24F, -4C, clear and sunny, stinking of pigshit. I was just reading about the collapse of the wild bird population in Denmark. This started in the 1970s when extreme farming took off. They must mean the prairies and the constant spraying. It has been a bad time for hedges over the last couple of years. They have machines which can clear literally miles of hedge over a working week. The lanes I travel were always full of different birds thanks to the overgrown hedges. Now only gulls and rooks are to be seen foraging on the WW1 lookalike scenery. The woods are being constantly thinned and look a terrible mess at the moment. It's  nice to know the weekend farmers are being paid twice (thanks to the virtually unelected MEPets) for their environmental contribution!

We have already had the start of the pigshit spraying year but that suddenly stopped for the bad weather. Now we can look forwards to months of daily pigshit spraying. With the unmarked poisons sprayer following closely behind in the same tracks. And they wonder why everybody is moving to the city?

Still a fair bit of snow in the shade. My legs were aching today. Perhaps it's the fruit juice contamination of the organic milk? I'm sick of tasting fruit instead of milk. I was told once that they use grape juice to clean the tanks. I wish they'd use water instead. We stopped buying Arla organic milk because it always tasted of fruit. Now Thise milk is just as bad! I wonder what the ordinary milk tastes of these days. Horsemeat? 26 miles.

3rd 33F, +1C, still, but becoming breezy, full sun in a cloudless sky. Another white overnight frost. The long term forecast is the night frosts to end within a week. Except that they keep changing the forecast. There were Greenfinches in the garden this morning. I am determined to make the most of the fine weather today. I just have to travel East early enough to avoid the worst of the wind. Then I can raise the spinnaker on the way home. Fat chance! The freezing cold headwind kept up all the way around.

There was the aftermath of a collision in a village I passed through. Cars damaged, traffic held up. The idiots never learn. Illegal speed occasionally has its dire consequences. Right outside a kindergarten as well! Legs tired again today. Rest days usually make me feel stronger. I shall be expecting a refund! All I need is to find the right queue. I was just reading that Serbian gypsies are queuing  to come to Denmark to ask for asylum. They hope to make a quick killing when they are sent straight back with pocket money. Which is odd. I always thought this was the asylum. A tax asylum where they take money away. Not give it out. ;ø) 24 miles.

4th 37F, +3C, sunny at first, cloud promised, stinking of pigshit. Breezy becoming windy with 30mph gusts form the NW. This morning it is Magpies, Wood Pigeons and Blue tits lumbering about in our trees.The sprayers have been out already. Not pigshit so far but some evil smelling poison. I was going to play in the garden for an hour but decided against it. The wind is straight off the sprayed fields. I'll wait until after coffee now before I go out on the trike.

I slackened the Brooks B17 "Select" saddle tension slightly. I had tightened it because it became all floppy again. The tensioning made it rather uncomfortable. I keep wondering when I will run out of thread on the tension bolt. The leather is so soft it keeps stretching. I ought to find a hole punch and lace the skirts. That might help. Brooks ought to fit laces from new to these pre-softened saddles. At least it would offer a choice of whether to use the lacing. Perhaps the leather is too soft to resist the pull?

I've just noticed Blogspot is underlining in blue as well as red as I type. Red shows misspelling. Blue where two words should be contracted to one or suggesting substitutes. I really ought to take some more photos. All text is boring. Even for me. Perhaps an in depth series of potholes? A spread on mud on the road from farming activities? Where's the beauty? Or the interest? Cold wind but it stayed bright. 14 miles.

5th 40F,+4C, windy, cold, sunny periods, stinking of pigshit. Heavily laden with shopping. 15 miles.

6th 40-46F, +4+8C, overcast but clearing slowly, stinking of pigshit. The wind picked up from the SW as the morning wore on. It was cold too in a headwind despite the temperature on the thermometer. Only 13 miles.

7th 34-45F, +1+7C. A Westerly breezy, overcast, stinking of pigshit. Rain and sleet are forecast for later. I had better go out early today. The wind will do a complete somersault tomorrow bringing it back to Easterly. It rained, snowed and sleeted a bit but dried and brightened up towards the end. I saw and overtook a gaggle of 30-odd club persons dawdling on racing bikes while out training. The wind was gusting to about 20mph for one leg of my triangle. The birds think it is spring. Chasing each other all over the place. I heard my first Woodpecker and saw my first Wagtail of the year. Only 16 miles before morning coffee.

April 7th? It certainly doesn't look like it!
I waited ages for the sun to come out from behind a strip of cloud.
It never did. WYSIWYG!

Plus 13 more before lunch. The threatened bad weather must have arrived earlier or is late. I wore my overshoes this time because my feet were cold on the first ride. The Sealkinz gloves caught me out again. I put them on because it seemed warmer at nearly 45F. In the strong side wind they weren't remotely warm enough. So I wore a thin pair of liner gloves inside them. One Sealskinz finger liner pulled out when I took them off. It took me 1/4 of an hour to get it back in again! This is a major handicap with these Sealskinz pretend "winter" gloves. If the temperatures had been much lower I could easily have got frostbite before I was able to put them on normally! What an utter waste of money these gloves have proven to be! A total con. Particularly at their overpriced, Asian slave trader, retail price. Don't touch this crap with a very long bargepole! Whatever hype they may spout on their website!

Olympic Gold Medals no protection against car drivers!
Olympic Cyclist Joanna Rowsell Knocked Off Bike

8th 30-43F, -1+6C, sunny, winds promised lighter today, stinking of pigshit. Another white, overnight frost. I headed for a 15 mile distant shop. Going well in bright sunshine. Coming back the wind picked up steadily. Though I still managed to maintain my usual 11mph average crawl with my legs flailing in the high 90s. 34 miles.

Five days after my wife bought me a Diims tracker I have received an email from their support team. They asked whether the battery was inserted incorrectly or the device was housed in a metal enclosure. I have ridden over a hundred miles in the last week and seen a few post office vans at very close quarters. I have deliberately ridden to the nearest mail distribution centre (twice) and rode daily to the various post offices housed in supermarkets. So, quite naturally, I was very disappointed by the total lack of response from the Diims system.

This remarkably small and light device works by sending out a brief signal at intervals which is [supposedly] registered by the Danish postal system vehicles, postboxes and offices. Given that the postman often can't be bothered to deliver to my home I had deliberately placed myself in view of the claimed Diims sensors.

A true GPS device would have to be much larger and have a considerable battery drain. Though my GPS loggers do well enough per daily charge they are passive rather than active transmitters. This saves enormously on battery size and power consumption. Vehicle GPS trackers have the advantage of a very large, built-in battery. The Diims must rely on an oversized "watch" battery. I have just checked and the battery voltage reads exactly 3V on my DMM. [Digital Multi Meter]

I have responded to their email and will report progress. If any. The opinions online suggest that the system is handicapped by remoteness from any major city and the severe time lag. If all taxis and busses were geared up for the system it would be far more sensitive, "live" and accurate. Who knows if the postal workers can be arsed to download their daily Diims log from their vans on return to base? Who knows how many post offices, vehicles and post boxes actually have sensors? It could all be a complete con if the post office isn't holding up its end of the system. Or coverage is sketchy at best outside the metropolis. Not to mention that the thieving scum of the earth aren't well aware of the system and would find and rip the device out of its cosy hiding place. Where could you hide it on a bicycle anyway? Under the saddle? Yeah, right! Why didn't I think of that? :-)

9th 34F, +2C, windy, rather overcast, stinking of pigshit. Diims Day 6, and counting. 40mph easterly winds forecast for later. So I am leaving early. Rain was also forecast today but has been postponed until tomorrow due to Danish governmental financial restraints. They are spending the money on chasing dangerously illegal cyclists instead. Some say the only Danish police mobile radar speed trap unit in existence is being mothballed.

Apparently, the specialist unit personnel are being employed in retraining ordinary police-persons in stopping repeat offender cyclists. They will  be using highly advanced (top secret but leaked on YouTube) long range tasers with telescopic sights mounted on unmarked, tracked, armoured personnel carriers.

Their weapon of choice may work on approaching lycra-clad baddies. However they might have a bit of a struggle against the latest cyclist's Kevlar body armour. Now said to be favoured by the real cycling terrorists while on their way to an anonymous purple rinse and perm. Kevlar clothing is [allegedly] readily available in some of the seedier backstreet markets. Where armed Kevlar pushers are said to hang around on corners. They say, where there is a market there is always a provider!

It was blowing an absolute gale! I was down to 6mph in bottom gear at times and barely able to turn the pedals. I paused briefly at a layby on a downhill stretch and was nearly blown back uphill again! It was lucky I was in a low gear or I could have lost all the ground I had made. I disturbed my first Skylark of the year. By the time it had settled again it was half way to the UK.

Diims support got in touch again. Said I might have a duff unit and should return it to the dealer. I was deliberately riding around in circles outside the local post distribution centre again. I saw a couple of post vans on my travels too. 21 miles and still not out. (according to Diims) A five shopping bag day.

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