10 Jun 2013

10th June 2013


A leafy avenue and gravel drive leading to a stately home near Padesø. (Sø (pron.suh) means lake in Danish)
The surrounding area is heavily undulating and forested and very popular with walkers, cyclists, runners and now golfers. Thanks to the terrain one never gets a sense of it ever being crowded. Parking is cleverly discrete in forest clearings set back from the winding lanes.

10th 61-72F, 16-22C, light mist clearing to sunny and breezy. Headwind riding to Odense. Tootled around town and then the wind followed me home. Warm and sunny. I actually finished my water bottle. Which is very unusual for me. Traffic very light in the lanes. Very busy in town. The shopping centre was packed with people. 46 miles.

11th 54-62F, 12-17C, breezy, mostly overcast. Assens and back. I should have taken a towel because I was given a soaking by a farmer's irrigation system. It was set  up so badly, right beside the road, that much of the artificial rain was completely missing the field. I presume all the wasted water was free. Or subsidised by the taxpayer. So that's alright then. 18 miles.

A superb action picture  of Barry Charlton. 2013 World Men's Tricycle Champion in both the Time Trial and Criterium. Barry has been setting a blistering pace in tricycle time trials. Setting a number of new course records. It is fitting that he took the titles in both TT (Time trial over a fixed distance while racing alone against the clock) and the Criterium. (massed start, short circuit, road race usually of fixed number of laps and/or duration) 

A lot more pictures of the 2013 Tricycle World Championships have now been posted on the Tricycle Association website: Links are below: 

A whole variety of styles are seen here as the riders negotiate the chicane. Cornering at speed is one of the most demanding skills of any tricyclist. Requiring a careful balance of body weight over the inside wheel to avoid lifting a wheel or even tipping right over! Imagine doing that in a crowded peloton as they all fight for position! Leaning inwards too far is pointless and tiring and you can't (usually) pedal hard at the same time. So the minimum lean for a given corner and speed is the fastest. Most tricyclists will freewheel while hanging off the side and then accelerate hard out of the corner once the centrifugal forces are no longer such a problem. A chicane is a stern test of skill because it throws the tricyclist off balance in opposite directions with a short period of time. This requires great agility to remain safely on three wheels!

Jane Swain 2013 World Women's Tricycle Champion in both the the TT and Criterium relaxing on 'Burple' her Longstaff racing/TT trike. 

I have copied both of these images (with permission) from the TA website and 'tidied up' the backgrounds in PhotoFiltre. This is not (remotely) meant as a criticism of the original photographer's work. I was just trying to maximise the true context of the images. Anything which distracts from the hero and heroine of the hour, does them no favours. The photographer did not have the luxury of a clutter-free background but still managed to take some really great pictures. 

12th 54-66F, 12-19C, breezy, overcast. Rode to Odense. It soon turned sunny. A crosswind both going and coming back. Going well today. I saw a gaudy Redstart in his best outfit standing on a roadside post. It was so brightly coloured I imagined it was an escaped tropical pet. Probably the first I have ever seen close enough to be able to identify clearly. (Though I had to look it up to be sure)  It didn't seem bothered by me as I rode past. There seem to be a lot of Goldfinches and Yellowhammers in the country lanes at the moment. They forage on the road for stunned insects from passing vehicles. I see quite a few squashed birds and even the odd egg or two on my travels. The Brooks 'Special' saddle in combination with the Bontrager shorts is behaving itself better each day. I'm still waiting to hear back again from Tactic-Sport on the shorts with the tight braces. 38 miles.

13th 61F,16C, overcast, windy, raining. The forecast is rain and wind all day. It is 3 weeks since I last had a rest day so that's excuse enough to take one! I shall try very hard not to spend the entire day ranting and rambling. I am battling a failure of 2 USB wireless adapters to be recognised by their own software on installation. It seems I am not alone with this problem. How can an item be legally sold which doesn't work for so many people? It cleared up to sunshine but was blowing a gale with fierce gusts. Only 7 miles. Still no rest for the wicked.

14th 53-62F, 12-17C, overcast, windy and wet. It is supposed to brighten up but the wind is likely to reach 35-40 mph later.  Very rough wind with nasty gusts.Odense again. Big mistake having to come back into the headwind. Resolved the problem with braces on the Tactic-Sport Pro-Ride2 shorts. I exchanged them for the next size up at a very generous discount for my trouble with the braces on smaller pair. I will try the new shorts to see how they cope with much longer rides. They do seem to have by far the most comfortable pad, by far, of any shorts/bibs I have ever worn. The manufacturers are in Catalonia/Spain. Thanks to the clever design and materials they do not become hot and sweaty. I can now add Cykel-Experten, Odense to the list of very user-friendly and highly competent bike shops. With an impressive collection of very desirable bikes on display. They are situated quite near the Tarup Centre. Sharing easy parking with Fakta on Rugårdsvej. 39 miles.

15th 58-65F, 15-18C, sunny and windy. Cloudburst warning on DMI! Not quite so windy as yesterday but rain is forecast for later with high winds and heavy rain tomorrow. The wind was extremely variable and turbulent to boot. Spoke to a chap intending to ride his bike down to France. It turned grey towards the end of today's ride but with a beneficial tail wind.  My wife (The Head Gardener and Chief Wildlife Warden) now insists on plastering my face and neck with suntan cream before I am allowed out. So if you see a tricyclist in racing jersey and shorts and sunglasses, role-playing the part of a New Guinea warrior, that'll be me. I passed the mad dog at the farmer's machine centre but it was dozing in the open garage. By the time it launched its delayed attack I was well past and pedalling hard. It hasn't been around recently. So I was becoming quite worried about its health. It was almost a relief to see it was still alive. 21 miles.

16th 55F,13C, windy. Cool, bright start but has quickly become overcast. Showers are promised this morning but brightening up later. When to go out? Decisions-decisions. Heavy showers intervened and made the decision for me. Gusting to well over 45mph until after 15.00pm. No point in trying between showers with such strong winds. A rest day.

17th 60-65F, 16-18C, sunny, light winds. Just a quick shopping trip. Warm. 14 miles.


Brooks has announced the first limited edition, production run of the Cambium @ £145. It's a very pretty shape, has a unique finish and has received many positive reviews from those who were selected for the trial prototypes.  It is so like my Vetta SL ATB in plan view that its really quite uncanny. No doubt the sharper rear corners are to update its appearance. A difficult trick to pull off when one has a long history of using leather. Perhaps ventilation holes were too risky so early in its testing life of the rubber material? They might represent weak spots in the structure. Leading to an unnecessarily shortened life. Perhaps it would lead to fraying of the covering cloth. One could imagine the use of unusual patterns or specially shaped holes to lift it above the historical norm.

The tweed may appeal to the relatively well-heeled, small-wheeled fraternity. Or even the tweed and "Golden Age of cycling" fantasists on their vintage and retro machines in the gridlocked city traffic. There would seem to be room for a range of colours to match individual taste. Tartan or favourite football team colours anybody? I might be tempted if the price comes a long way down, longevity is absolutely assured and they can print my initials in small ventilation holes on permanently dyed, carbon fibre patterned,  purple cloth. So, my preference for aging leather is unlikely to be too troubled in the foreseeable future.

Lest we cast too many aspersions on the new Brooks we should all remember the Unica Nitor, moulded plastic saddle.of the early 1960s.  Which broke completely with long standing leather tradition. The alternative was a heavy set of multiple springs covered in cheap and readily degradable plastic. Both types were regularly sneered at when new by conservative serious cyclists who would only ride what came out of a single factory in Italy but whose, unpronounceable name is now almost forgotten thanks to obscene overpricing and equally blind  and stubborn conservatism. Not to mention the complete lack of universal, international standards.

What was missing from the Unica was a complete range of colours and a little more comfort. I rode the black "Road" Unica but always wished for a brightly coloured one. The (tri)cycling extrovert was already deeply ingrained years before I actually owned a trike. I had to make do with a different saddle and a foolishly large 58T TA chainring.. The Green and the Orange Unica-Nitor models were the only ones I ever saw with my own eyes. I tried sitting on the narrower and heavily curved "Track" model once but the pain was far too much to bear for long. Rather like sitting on one of those narrow, cutaway, rock hard leather, Brooks models! Ouch!

The similarity of the Cambium to the Vetta SL is not really that marked when studied closely. There are only so many different forms possible if the shape is to remain a saddle. Note how the Cambium can be completely dismantled with a Torx screwdriver.

18th 58F,14C, sunny, light winds. The forecast is full sun and 23C, 73F with winds gusting to less than 10m/s. (22mph) Another ideal day for cycling where only constant headwinds spoil the ride. Do I really need tri-bars for my sedate pace in the lanes? They might make real sense given the constant roaring of the wind in my ears, that may make a good epitaph. "In the absence of the real thing; he invariably made his own headwind." ;-) Rest day.

19th 66F, 19C, cloudy and breezy. I had to ride to Odense again. It started raining 2 hours early on the way home but it was too warm to worry about it. The sky was split evenly between a black, featureless thunderstorm and lumpy grey cloud. I was riding along the dividing line with regular claps of thunder high overhead. Just after I arrived home the storm moved right over the top of us with frequent thunder, lightning and heavy rain. It became so dark we had to put the lights on. Some places in Denmark had hail up to 3/4" in diameter and a thatched house burnt down after being struck by lightning. So my free shower and soggy shoes was relatively painless. I have been notified that my Brooks 'Select' has been back to the factory. The replacement B17 'Special', which I had deliberately requested in preference to the 'Select', has been despatched. 43 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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