10 Jun 2013

5th June 2013

5th 56-76F? 13-24C? Windy, cloudless sky, warm sunshine. Despite being a bank holiday I rode to Brenderup and Nr. Broby. Having been overtaken by a young chap on his TT/Triathlon bike at well over my own speed I was then overtaken by a clubman on his carbon fibre racer. He slowed considerably for the big hill so I overtook him despite the Camper bag and a load of shopping already on board. Putting a hundred yards on him by half way. Though I did find my breathing limit and was panting hard while turning a high cadence.

He overtook me again on the flat and said something like "badger". I have no idea what it meant. Perhaps I misheard him? Try as I might I could not follow him downhill while he just sat up and free-wheeled. I was pedalling  hard but could make no impression on him at all. Later still, I was passed by a royal family limousine and then by their horse transporter.

Destructive, silk-laying caterpillars destroying a hedge.

It was a headwind all the way home. The pad on the new bib shorts is superb. I felt just as comfortable arriving home as when I had left. Never a moment of discomfort. Which is a first for me in several years. Even the Bontragers begin to let their presence felt after 30 miles. Though their shoulder straps don't cut as deep as the new ones! What drooling idiot would put a hard, raised seam at the shoulder of a very expensive pair of bib shorts? A non-cyclist? The Bontragers have a nice flat seam offset from the shoulder. I just hope the new straps stretch with use! I might be allowed out again this afternoon. But only if I'm good. 40 miles so far.

Plus 10 more miles pm. There was a slightly amusing incident at a rural junction. A 4WD pulling a trailer had to stop suddenly when he was obviously expecting to pull straight out. Sharp squeal of tyres. Followed by a huge crash and much clanking. His trailer full of steel sections had deposited itself on the road behind the 4WD. You can just imagine the driver's famous last words to his colleague before they drove away with their load. "It'll be alright". A similar thing happened in Odense this week on the same route I took on my way home. A caravan rolled off the back of a trailer and killed a 59 year-old cyclist on the cycle path. "It'll be alright." But it never is.

A tall TV mast in a private garden. These are still remarkably commonplace in Denmark. Once used to receive terrestrial German TV in the absence of domestic choice. 

6th 63-72F, 17-22C, sunny, windy. It seems impossible to divorce the house thermometer from the warmth of the roof in morning sunshine. 57F on the well-shaded, but very well ventilated, outside thermometer under the eaves of the shed. 64F on the house with the outdoor sensor in the shade under the dormer roof overhang. Not much agreement there! If I dress for the higher temperature I will freeze! I have just moved the sensor to under the eaves and have been rewarded with a far better agreement with the shed thermometer. Reading within 2F of each other now. That's far better than before.

No doubt this is all very boring to my readers. Who only wanted to look at pretty pictures of old cottages and misshapen cycling equipment, but it is important to me. Not only to record the day's temperatures, reasonably accurately, but (far more importantly) how to dress suitably for it.

I have yet to establish a good (affordable) way of recording wind speed. With so many trees in and around the garden it is often difficult to judge. I usually look at the trees thrashing about and compare them to the local meteorological forecast. My chosen route for the day is often heavily biased on wind direction and strength. Quite often mistakenly. I suppose I could buy a "weather station" but reading reviews and forum posts does not fill one with confidence as to accuracy and longevity. At least not in my usually tight-fingered, budget range.

Achieving the regulation 30 metres height for the wind sensors (anemometer and vane)  is apt to give one pause. Though only 30 metres would lift them above the local trees! So you can see my dilemma. Enough rambling. I had better get off the computer chair and onto my Brooks 'Special'. Which, BTW, has assumed a much more acceptable shape over the last few days. The former convexity has flattened nicely over the seating area.  Just another tootle to the shops. 21 miles fighting a constant headwind. Which may explain the constant roaring in the ears when I'm out.

7th 65-70F, 18-21C, very light winds, sunny. A perfect day for a ride but I had to go up on the roof. Not to protest, I should add. A plastic bird stop under the ridge tiles had slid down. All is safely gathered in. I'm getting too old to be shoving massive, 6 metre long, roof ladders up there from the top of another ladder! I have a torn muscle, or trapped nerve, in my upper arm. Which is agony if I make the wrong movements. No problem most of the time. If I try to throw anything the pain almost makes me nauseous. I haven't seen a quack about it. They'd probably tell me to stop cycling and take painkillers and high blood pressure tablets for the rest of my life. Doctor's waiting rooms are best avoided. They are usually full of sick people and I don't have the Danish vocabulary for aches and pains anyway. A pleasant, warm day for a ride. With high cloud and a northerly breeze. One of the very few days of the year when the wind turbines weren't turning. Talking of wildlife: First Dragonfly this year and two Bumble bees were spotted today. 22 miles. Plus 6 more miles later.

Leather at its most gorgeous. The Brooks B17 'Special' basking in late afternoon sunshine.

8th 54-60F, 12-15C, sunny periods and already breezy. 25mph NW gusts forecast. The new outdoor sensor position, under the eaves, is much better than before. The house reading actually lagged slightly behind the shed thermometer yesterday in all day, full sun 70F+ conditions. I think this was due to the total lack of wind. The tall hedge alongside must have been absorbing warmth in the still conditions. At least there are no more nasty surprises when I leave the house in shorts and jersey with high 60sF showing on the thermometer. Only to "freeze" in true 50sF with an added wind chill factor. Enthusiasm for the ride ahead, matched by foolish optimism, has all too often required a swift return indoors. For the addition of a warmer jacket and some scolding. Before passing final inspection and being let out of the servant's side gate by The Head Gardener. :-)

The poor Blackbird, which fills our days with his endless racket singing, has just been attacked by a Magpie! My wife (The Head Gardener and Chief Wildlife Warden) had to go outside to sort them out. The other day a couple of male Blackbirds were having such a scrap that they didn't notice me standing right beside them. The fight went on for hours as they kept fluttering noisily in different hedges and trees around the garden. We have noisy Greenfinches and Chaffinches too. The male Pheasant is just as bad. He thinks he owns the place and gets quite upset if he's disturbed in his contemplative perambulations.

Then there are the ride-on lawnmowers, chain saws, circular saws, dogs howling or barking all day and the endless rat-run juggernauts on the narrow, winding road. Not to mention the huge flocks of high performance motorbikes which seem to migrate here in the summer to enjoy the sharp bends and undulations. It's all a bit Mulholland Drive at times. But with lots of greenery, noisy wildlife and pathetically poor driving skills. Though sadly, there are no really decent hills.

Almost every single day, the first vehicles I meet are usually on completely the wrong side of the road. Either having deliberately cut a sharp, blind bend. Or have badly overshot it by several yards of somebody elses' vital road width! Almost as many fall off the road here as its more famous cousin in the Colonies. Though you never, ever, see any police cars. I gave up counting when we whizzed past 50 "off-roaders." Don't talk to me about peace and quiet of the countryside! Note that I have made no mention of round-the-clock tractor pulling in this particular rant. ;-)

The otherwise, superbly comfortable, Tactic-Sport, Pro-Rider2 bib shorts are leaving deep red ruts on my shoulders. How could they get the bottom half so right and then throw it all away on poor shoulder seams and hard edges on the bib braces? I know I'm fairly skinny for my height but it's a bit disappointing. The Bontrager bibs aren't nearly so comfortable, in the seat, but have perfect shoulder straps. Nice flexible braces with soft, flat seams all over.

I have already received a sympathetic response to my email from the Tactic-Sport factory in Catalonia! With an offer of a replacement pair of bib shorts with longer and more flexible shoulder straps. Now that is truly great service! There ought to be a way of having adjustable shoulder straps. Except that one doesn't want naked Velcro thrashing around in the washing machine with mechanically sensitive materials. No doubt buckles and buttons would both fall foul of the same laundry rules.

But is it art?

I also had two nice emails from the UK dealer which sold me my Carradice Junior saddlebag. Apologising for  any dissatisfaction with the product and refunding my payment. For all my moaning about some products I hope I don't unfairly criticise. I do lavish praise where it is deserved. I removed the critical post after receiving an acceptable saddlebag from another dealer. Still not perfect, but cosmetically and functionally acceptable.

It remained grey, cool and increasingly windy all morning. Only 25 hilly miles carrying a heavy load of tinned pineapples up to the brim of the Camper Longflap. One has to take advantage of special offers when they turn up. Lunch is not the same without a generously-sized, bowl-full of mixed fruit and organic yogurt to follow.

9th 52-62F, 11-17C, grey, cool and windy. I didn't leave until 11am heading north via the lanes. There seemed to be a huge number of cyclists out today. Several large and small club groups as well as solitary cyclists out training. I turned for home at about 25 miles as the sun came out and a headwind picked up. Taking an hour and a half to do the last 20 miles while fairly heavily laden on very a hilly route. A large group of club cyclists was following me downhill through a village. Only half a dozen managed to get past before they blocked my path and turned off my route. An untidy and undisciplined lot. They were all over the road before and after I arrived in their midst. 44 miles. I still have to go out again. Plus 11 more miles late afternoon.

The Tricycle World Championships were held in the UK last weekend but still nothing to report nor link to.
The following links may help to whet the appetite of those who have noticed the lack of real substance so far: 

Congratulations to Jane Swain!
World Tricycle Champion in both TT and Criterium.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 


  1. Hi Chris,

    I very much enjoy your posts featuring pictures of the Dannish countryside and especially those of thatched timber-framed buildings and woodland scenes.


  2. Hi 'Chilterns'

    Thank you for the kind words and encouragement. I'm afraid I go through patches where I don't see anything new to photograph. Usually I need to go much further afield to refresh the desire to take more photos. Stopping to retrieve the camera from the bottom of the saddlebag is a chore when I'm going somewhere. I really must remember to stop more often. :-)