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.

Click on any image for an enlargement

No comments:

Post a Comment