21 Jul 2013

21st July 2013


Sunday, 21st 56-82F, 13-28C, still, misty. Houses 200 yards away are completely invisible at 7am. The forecast is warm and sunny again with light winds. A Great spotted woodpecker is attacking the birch trees in the garden. A sunny ride around the lanes looking for a white Golf. Lots of cyclists out training. I tried to sit on a small bunch which overtook me but they were too loose on the road against a headwind. Several hares sitting in the roads, meditating. 37 miles.

Congratulations to Chris Froome on winning the Tour de France the hard way. He defended the Yellow Jersey against all-comers for a fortnight. Often without massed team members to support him. He has proved himself a worthy winner and a modest, really decent, intelligent human being. I hope he can avoid injuries. Which seem to be a lottery without winners in racing.

Meanwhile, Cavendish's bike seemed to become a pothole magnet when he finally ran out of road. His famous second kick was always fun to watch, but being so closely matched by other sprinters certainly makes for exciting racing. I'm not convinced he really needs a private lead-out train when he can always choose the wheels of his fastest opponents.

Horne Kirke was originally built in 1100.

Monday, 22nd, 60-80F, 16-27C, sunny, still. Another very warm day forecast but with high cloud and even lighter winds. Even warmer in the afternoon when I finally went shopping. 15 miles.

Tuesday, 23rd, 64-77F, 18-25C, overcast, occasionally breezy. Warm and windy. A number of dead moles on the road recently. Probably pushed out of the nest by the adults. I am continuing to enjoy the NorthWave shoes. They do not seem to cause any damage that I can sense. My toe has healed nicely since I operated on it and I have completely given up wearing the Specialized shoes.

I was overtaken by the scruffy white car on the way home. Now I have his registration he is no longer completely anonymous. Not that I give him much chance of long term survival going on past form. Immature fools and their lives are soon parted. 19 miles.

Wednesday, 24th, 63-78F, 17-26C, light breeze, sunny. Another very warm day. I was busy on a project so I took a rest day.

Thursday, 25th, 63F, 17C, overcast. Supposedly some early rain but no sign of it yet. I've just been to see the quack about my near-constant, hip and shoulder pain. The good news is that I may have arthritis. The bad news is that I have to keep on cycling. An X-ray will no doubt confirm his diagnosis. He is a cyclist himself so he probably knows what he's talking about. ;-)

I have been devouring the Summer edition of the TA Gazette. John Arnold has died. One of the few tricyclists who could set records for time trials and P to P routes which competed with those strange machines with only two wheels. The name of which escapes me for the moment... 457 miles in 24 hours in 1953! He broke umpteen other records on both solo and tandem trike.

Assens harbour backstreet silos.

The garden is full of hover flies and one large, racing hedgehog. It did rain in the end. Then it stopped. So I went on dry roads to be quickly exchanged for very wet roads. A 6-axle lorry was going the other way at about 80mph and was almost invisible behind a huge ball of spray. I was invisible too, for a moment, as he passed. Leaving me soaked. But the sun came out again and I dried out quickly. The sky was dotted with angry dark clouds of rain storms but I wasn't caught out. I was going quite well apart from my occasionally aching hip.

Isn't it odd how one holds a clear sense of constantly changing direction for a familiar road? Only to be confronted by its true form when seen on a map. My route today was, in practice, a perfectly straight road from A to B. With a few meaningless wiggles along the way. Yet the bends between the long straights seem to make it meander all over the place while cycling or driving along it. For years I have been fooling myself that I would enjoy a more benign wind along the straight after taking a particular corner. The truth is that I was completely wrong. Every corner perfectly cancels the last. Or the next. I should have noticed that the direction of the sun remained unchanged. But never have. So it's "nul points" for observation. Only 13 miles today. (As the crow flies. Or otherwise)  ;-)

Friday 26th, 73-80F, 23-26C, breezy, hot and sunny. Went to Odense. Shops very busy. Hot and tired on the way back. Hip only occasionally noticeable. Consumed three bottles of water. Shoes still fine. Harvest in full swing. With bailers following on. A bald blob, with his phone hand welded to his ear, pulled out right in front of me in a huge tractor and trailer. It was a blind exit so I seriously doubt he would have stopped for anything. Tons of cyclists out and about today. 49 miles.

Fåborg from afar. 
Distance flattens the hills. 

Saturday 27th, 69-79F, 21-26C, light breeze, rather cloudy, but bright. Already warm and sticky. My left calf hurts when I walk. I wonder whether it was my walking quickly around the huge shops in Odense yesterday? Why only the left leg? Weird! The leg didn't bother me on the trike and seems to have responded to the exercise. As has my hip and shoulder. Much reduced pain after yesterday's longer ride. I have an appointment for my hip x-ray at the end of August.

There seems to be a new mental aberration doing the rounds recently. An elderly couple, of my own age, were killed when a driver uncountably crossed the central white line and hit them head on. This happened several times again this morning. Not the head on crashes; the white line crossing. Usually in villages with 50kph/30mph sped limits, very wide roads and very long straights. Very odd behaviour indeed. SMS-ing? An outbreak of rage virus? Boredom, or just more zombies? Take your pick and claim your consolation pot of ashes at the funeral parlour.

Again, the vast majority of drivers were completely ignoring the speed limits. Quite often by at least 100% in the villages. I have always said that a few speed cameras in Denmark could easily repay the entire European national debt within a fortnight. Nothing has changed my mind. In town, country or village, it makes no difference. Over 90% of all drivers are speeding. Including buses, dustbin lorries, juggernauts and local authority vehicles. Only 19 miles, risking life and limb to save the climate and the universe. Trike on! Now very hot and even stickier!

Sunday 28th, 67-77F, 19-25C, light breeze, the neighbour's dog is still crying in its prison/shed. The same neighbour who left the dog outside all winter including one day at -10C, with snow on the ground and blowing a gale. Overcast at the moment after a sticky warm night. My calf muscle is still painful. It was blowing  a gale later. So I limited myself to a short ride. Only 8 miles.

Monday 29th, 71-77F, 22-25C, sunny periods, hot and sticky again, but perfectly still. I pottered on a project in the garden all day so yet another short ride. Thanks to my wife's growing lots of wildflowers the garden is full of butterflies, hover flies and bees. I dropped a length of 4x4 timber on my foot. Ouch! Only 7 miles.

Tuesday 30th, 68-72F, 20-22C, windy, mostly sunny. Rain forecast for late morning and afternoon. I'm hoping to get out before it starts. It stayed dry so far. Very gusty wind but bright and warm. 14 miles. There were a couple of decent cloudbursts in the afternoon. So I saved up a ride to the shops for tomorrow.

Wednesday 31st, 61F, 16C, light breeze, sunny. Rode to Assens. Chased back home by black clouds. Sheltered under a tree during the first onslaught. Then got wet racing the next shower. My latest shopping bag is huge and shocking pink. I chose it for its high visibility. 19 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

17 Jul 2013

17th July 2013

Wed. 17th: 68-76+F, 20-25C, breezy from NW, mostly sunny. No more of those Specialized shoes! Every time I wear them my toes are in pain again and I do more damage. I'm having to wear the worn-out Bontragers. Which were supposedly replaced by the Specialized.  Rode to Brenderup via the lanes. Took a few photographs. Very warm. Dripping with sweat after I arrived home. Saw a few cyclists out training. 34 miles.

Fish ladder on the mill stream at Brenderup. I'm amazed this image came out it was so dark down below the bridge.

Thurs 18th 62-76F, 17-26C, variable breeze, sunny. Another warm, fine day. I decided to ride to Kolding to try the bike shops there for more shoe options. But with a headwind all the way and already warm I thought better of it and went in the car. Lots of cyclists enjoying the warm sunshine. Including (?) a pair of heavily loaded young "tourists" on push-along scooters with slightly larger wheels. Still only about 6" in diameter so god help them on the cycle paths! It's bad enough with 700C x 25!

Another few MTB shoes were tried and all found to be all but identical to the Specialized on which I had already wasted £90 quid. It's the same problem every single time. The triumph of pointed toe styling over function. Exustar, Scott, Mavic and Fizik were all found wanting on toe width and form. They must all use the same last. (Or the same Chinese factory?) The only difference between them is styling. Oh wow! Got to get me some of that styling! It's so important to reaching my ultimate level of performance!

Brenderup Mølle.[Mill] The stream is at the other end. 
With a separate water channel passing under the far end of the building. 

A pair of the entry level, 3 velcro, Scott shoes were closest to passable in EU46. The next model up (the one with the ratchet) felt a size too small! While the EU47 was much too long.

Two bike shops were having a fortnight of summer holidays! Both were potentially good places to find something different. But not today. Nor next week. So the search for comfortable MTB shoes goes on.

The Brenderup crossroads sculpture is in the foreground. (In case there was ever any doubt) Is this a case of visual vandalism? Or deliberate, pig ignorance, driven by corporate greed? The sculpture's circular rails are supported on rollers. So could (theoretically) be rotated. Though it might be much more fun to have a game of oversized skittles. What goes around comes around. :-) 

Scorching hot in the car even with the windows open and the fan on 3. Rather glad I didn't ride to Kolding. Much of the way was a very narrow cycle lane beside the speeding traffic separated only by wide, raised, dashed white lines. (No doubt a desperate attempt to try and keep all the drunk drivers from falling off the road)

Far from ideal for a trike on a busy main road. Can't straddle the bumpy dashed lines. Daren't ride in the road! No alternative routes. (at all) The Kolding-Middelfart road is amazing for its roller coaster hills. As can be seen by all the cyclists pitting their strength against the massive inclines and testing their nerve on all the fierce descents! If it wasn't for the traffic... They, at least, have the alternative of an expensive motorway which runs almost parallel with the Kolding Landevej. The cyclist has to make do with the hard shoulder. (Quite literally!) Perhaps the idealistically impoverished road planners don't see cyclists and tourism as anything more than parasites on their pockmarked, industrialised tarmac.

I still hope to get a ride in today. Left late. Only 8 miles. Very warm and blowing a gale. Toe hurting again despite wearing the Bontragers and thin, seamless socks. Probably the result of trying on identically-shaped, winklepicker cycling shoes all morning. I really wanted something screamingly bright to match my natural shyness. The Fiziks in flashy, pearlescent silver would have been lovely, if a bit pricy. They just weren't a sensible shape.

19th 61-75F, 16-24C, already windy, bright but rather cloudy. Forecast to be cooler but even windier today. Rode to Assens. Where I found a nice pair of NorthWave MTB shoes with ratchets at Søren Alexandersen's. These fit snugly across the instep with plenty of toe room. They are even more comfortable than my carpet slippers! More so since they firmly hold my feet back into the shoe heels. So I don't keep bumping my broken/ingrowing toenail. Velcro is absolutely hopeless at maintaining one's foot position in a cycling shoe. IMOE.

Happy (cycling) days are here again! Tra-la. :-)

It's warm and mostly sunny now but blowing a gale again. 19 miles so far.

Went out again after lunch to try the new shoes. Did my shopping and was on the way back when I was pushed off the road by three young morons having a race. A scruffy white VW Golf was racing alongside a dark silver grey car, closely followed by a road-converted, farmer's off-roader. Somebody blasted their horn just before all three caught up with me at 80-odd mph so I headed straight onto the rough grass verge to avoid being mown down. They were travelling so fast I never even heard them coming. Nor saw them in my mirror!

I've seen all three retarded fuckwits driving in the area quite a few times now. Always drawing attention to themselves by travelling far too fast. Usually while passing a school and several supermarkets in a local village where I shop quite often. So we have repeated speeding offenses. Driving dangerously and failing to stop after an accident. Doesn't forcing a cyclist off the road count as an accident? Or would I have had to be severely injured to get anybody's attention?

If action cameras lasted a bit longer I'd have some registration numbers to share. As it is the most popular action cameras would run out of batteries and/or video file storage several times over on every single ride. Not much use for my purposes considering the not-inconsiderable investment. Watching several hours of action cam videos is a tedious kind of psychological torture but there are usually only a few sections of particular interest and a fast forwards option.

I'm bound to see them again when I can concentrate on getting their number plates instead of just trying to stay alive. The retard in the white Golf blasted me with his horn last time as he overtook me in a narrow country lane. I have a feeling he is probably still living in the same scruffy rural cottage. I'll have a look out there tomorrow.

That's the trouble with these immature, psychopathic retards. It never occurs to them that an old fart on a trike would cover so much ground over time. And, that I will very probably pass their parked piece of junk eventually, if not sooner. Scruffy, old, white Golfs are really not that commonplace these days. Roadworthy "commercially converted garden tractors" are even less likely. If you are going to break the law quite so blatantly and repeatedly then at least use an invisible, anonymous vehicle.

BTW: The new shoes were fine. I became so fed up with the constant toe pain that I have snipped away the loose bits of broken nail with a really sharp pair of finely pointed scissors. I may never walk (normally) again. So, no change there.  There was no real pain involved. So the half bottle of whiskey and the leather belt between my teeth was really just more (western) amateur dramatics. Looking back, with perfect hindsight, today could have ended so much worse! 12 more miles. Still not out. No thanks to the local landsby tossers.  

20th 57-78F, 14-26C, sunny, cloudless and almost still. Forecast to reach 25C with modest winds.

If the riders in the Tragedy de France are clean then what the f*ck are the raving chimps on the climbs using? Have you noticed the copycat zombie behaviour? This is deeply worrying. It could mean that football fans have finally infiltrated cycling. Where will it all end? Shell suits in team colours? Oh, it already has.

Might I suggest a new rule? Anyone who runs alongside a racing cyclist must finish the climb. No more and no less. They must reach the summit, in a set time, carrying their own supplies of shitburgers, fags and gallons of coke in a standard musette. Failure to finish will mean disqualification and being pushed off the nearest cliff. It's not as if this trailer trash is actually contributing to human progress, is it? Turning them into landfill will surely make them infinitely more useful?

Or, the stinking rich, race organisers will just have to put up electric fences to keep the animals off the roads. They have countless rules for the riders. Why not for the raving lunatics who block the route? If the road is closed for the race then it is (temporarily) a private road. Different rules apply. Off the cliff they go!

I have renewed my subscription to the Diims logger system. While not perfect, it does offer an extra degree of security if my trike is stolen. The problem seems to be a degree of sloppiness in downloading 'hits' from post vans at the end of the working day. I get odd days where no hit is recorded despite having seen a few PO vans. Nor are there sufficient fixed receivers. Still not bad for £1 a month equivalent plus the initial cost of the unit. (About £50 average] Better than not having a clue where the thieving scum have hidden your property to pay for their next fix/binge.

Since it was such a nice day I headed for Faaborg. A group of five fit young clubmen pulled across in front of me so I sat on the back for a few miles. We were averaging from 18-34mph quite effortlessly. I was invited to sit closer to enjoy a bit more shelter but I was afraid  I'd mow them down if they had to stop in a hurry. So I stayed a couple of lengths off the rear rider's wheel. I was probably carrying 15-20kg more dead weight than they were on their carbon bikes.

I turned off before Faaborg to explore the Horne area. It feels almost like a peninsula and is very unspoilt. Probably thanks to a lack of through roads. Traffic was very light all the time I was out. I refilled my water bottle twice and kept drinking a little at intervals. A cheese sandwich and a banana kept hunger at bay. It was very warm but quite blowy. I was very pleased with the new shoes and my level of fitness. No hint of my poorly toe and the shoes felt nicely stiff. Offering a large and comfortable platform which also helped when I was climbing. They are also excellent when walking. 55 miles.

The mountain apes of France embarrassed themselves, the riders and France all over again today. Froome had to palm off two complete nutters. He was nearly brought down by a stupid kid yesterday. The motorcyclists and even the referee's car were unable to contain several mentally unhinged lunatics even after they had already entered the barrier section. How long before something is done about these raving lunatics? Water cannon aren't much use in a long bike race. You can't use tear gas with the riders nearby. So it's down to cattle prods or tasers. Choose your weapons before the results of the Tragedy of France become totally dictated by the screaming, raving, rabid nutters.

On a side note: It's good to see the Big C cannot compete without illegal substances. Had the Big C won this year I would never have watched the Tragedy of France again.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

16 Jul 2013

25.5" Higgins Ultralite on eBay

From 1961 a 25.5" Higgins 'Ultralite' for the taller rider:

vintage higgins ultralight racing tricycle | eBay

Fitted with Higgins differential

I have done my best with the original, small and rather dark, auction images using PhotoFiltre.

There was considerable interest in this trike with a winning bid of £260.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

10 Jul 2013

8th July 2013

A typically Danish roadside sculpture to celebrate an important birthday. Usually dumped overnight or when the person is at work. This one is unusually tame compared with the many male sculptures.

8th 60-71F, 16-22C, light winds, sunny. Max 23C/73F forecast. Two days in a row? Is summer here at last? I rode to Assens to do some shopping. No obvious after-effects from yesterday's ride. Warm and breezy. Two kids from the local cycling club slowly caught up with me. One young idiot overtook me and then stopped right in the middle of the road to wait of his slower mate. Then he overtook me again and cut across my path to turn right! Get over yourself, matey! That's not how we do it. ;-) 19 miles.

9th 62-74F, 17-23C, breezy, full sun. Like an idiot I rode to Nyborg to look for new MTB shoes.  A gentle tailwind helped. I had a surprise when I stopped at a village cycle shop in Årslev. I was going to go past but saw some tasty products in the window. Dave, the owner, turnout out to be British. He has marked himself out from the other cycle shops by stocking some very nice kit. Some of it unique to his shop. He has the Lake range of shoes, amongst other, including Mavic and North Wave. Sadly he had nothing wide enough to fit my big, flat feet. He has some very tasty frames and bikes on display. Road and MTB. He's also very competitive on prices. Says he sells a lot of racing wheels. Really knows his stuff too. We had a good long chat before I left him in peace to get on with his repair work.

 Cykelposten - Din cykelekspert på Midtfyn.

A headwind all the way home. I really cannot recommend the Nyborgvej cycle paths! Rough as hell with lots of camber changes, raised ridges, very narrow in places, with even rougher white lines, huge cracks and sinkholes. The latter cost me my lunch just outside Nyborg! Right in the middle of the path just after the detour round the back of the picnic layby. My front wheel dropped like a stone, hit the opposite wall of the hole and my cheese roll shot out of my hand and scattered along the path! I never even saw the hole. Not well pleased!

Husflids translates as handicrafts. For some reason I have always assumed that this was a school for girls to learn domestic skills but may be totally mistaken.

Am I supposed to carry a marker spray can so the council workers can get up of off their designer furniture, put down their mobile phones and do something about these lethal cycle paths? The roadway alongside is always billiard smooth for mile after mile after mile.  Encouraging most drivers to speed at well above the legal limit. Including screaming 6-axle lorries overtaking strings of traffic which were already speeding! The cycle paths right alongside obviously often haven't been looked at for, quite literally, many decades. A couple of speed cameras would pay for miles of cycle path resurfacing in only a day or two. Or, far more likely, more Danish designer furniture, lampshades, Danish modern art and sculpture for their latest council offices.

I returned dead on 8 hours since leaving. Hot and very tired. Shower and a nap before dinner. Achy legs and knees, hands and wrists with a bit of saddle soreness towards the end. It was too soon for such a long ride after Sunday's similar effort. Though I was still quite fresh after that jaunt. Not this time. I couldn't eat when I got home after sinking several pints of water on an almost empty stomach. I couldn't bring myself to buy a Coke nor sweets. Moral issues. I was daft not to buy a cake on my way though Odense. I just never seem to learn, do I? 83 miles.

A couple of minutes of massage solved the muscle pain. The quads always recover better when I massage them while sitting on a low step with my legs stretched out flat. The calves need bent knees from the same, low sitting position. The knees are much more difficult. Requiring several doses of a circular motion of the finger pads to move the knee caps. I feel much better now after a hot meal and a rest. Though my legs are still feeling heavy.

10th 57-73F, 14-23C, already windy and sunny at 7.30am. Supposedly much cooler today with only 18C/64F forecast and a lot windier. Repeat after me: There will be no more heroics today! Well nearly: An old codger cut across my bow to get into a petrol station. Either he was drunk (very likely) prescription drugged (just as likely) or he failed to judge my speed accurately enough. (Okay then, all three!)

Lest you think I'm moaning again there was never any great danger except from the following car if I badly misjudged my outward swerve. Fortunately such incidents are extremely rare in Denmark. Cyclists and pedestrians enjoy infinitely more respect from drivers than those in the UK.

A shopping ride for 18 miles and to get some more desperately needed snaps for the blog. Otherwise not much to report except that it was much warmer and sunnier than promised. My legs were tired but not painful. Except for my knees. The lower kneecap pain is slowly subsiding.

The decision to encourage lunatics to openly attend the T de F seems to have escalated out of control. Lunatics will always find an excuse for their behaviour. Whether it be sport, religion, wife beating, animal cruelty or politics: It all comes down to the simple fact that they are mentally ill. i.e. Unfit to be allowed the privilege of Western society's hard earned freedoms. A word of advice to the urine throwing loser and all the other freaks. Piss off back to your asylum before you hurt yourself. The race is not about you. No matter how empty and utterly pointless your own life your attention seeking is just sickening.

11th 56-72F, 13-22C, still, sunny. The toes on my other foot are hurting now. As well as those on the left foot. My two longer rides in the Specialized shoes must have done some serious damage. I've spent a couple of hours wielding an extended hedge clipper before it became too hot and the sun was glaring straight into my eyes. So I am already tired with an aching back and a swollen, purple thumb. Those 8' long electric hedge clippers weigh a ton. Particularly if you have to lift them repeatedly above your head! The ladderwork to trim the tops off didn't help.

I'll probably go out after lunch now. But didn't. My hip, knees, toes and thumb are hurting too much to ride today. I just hope that my body realises that this is gross insubordination. It is supposed to accept the demands I place on it without hesitation. Who does it think it is? Without my leadership it would be a floppy... er.. um.. zombie.

Dinner was unusually interesting: My wife was having pasta. Which I know to be a rubbery, floppy sort of tasteless stuff. Best described as something like dead octopus which had been left out too long in the sun. A barely consumable nothingness completely without culinary or nutritional merit in my own version of the universe. I was cajoled into trying two screwy squiggles, with menaces. It tasted delicious and the texture had obviously been upgraded from jellyfish entrails. Does this mean I have to become a hippy? I tried it once and didn't like it. Apart from the long hair, the flares, the corduroy and the music of course.

12th 63-71F, 17-22C, sunny, almost still becoming breezy and very warm. My knees feel better, as do my toes. My hip is still very painful but my purple thumb is quite numb. I'm planning on a gentle ride to see how it goes. Back on with the old and stretched Bontragers. My hip hurt when I pedalled and was agony when I climbed on and off. Toes, knees and thumb uncomplaining. 13 miles.

13th 56-72F, 13-22C, bright and windy at times. My hip was excruciating so I shopped in the car. Rest day.

14th 58F, 14C, windy and cloudy. Expected to be much cooler today. Will he go out or won't he? Still in pain. Only 7 miles to clear the cobwebs. Wore my old Bontrager MTB shoes but still some toe pain.

15th 58-67F, 14-20C, breezy and sunny. My hip was hurting badly in the night so I went for a brisk walk in my sandals this morning to see if it helped. There was no pain while I walked and now it doesn't hurt so much to get up from my computer chair. I'm sure it isn't the hip joint. Just muscular strain from hedge clipping with a very heavy pole electric clipper. Plus all the ladder work. There is an echo here of the terrible pain I suffered just before I was finally made redundant. I never saw the quack about it but have always assumed it was the sciatic nerve.

My legs felt strangely remote and achy as if they had forgotten something. My hip complained but I still did a detour with a long climb. Rather grey and windy. A heavy load of shopping. 19 miles.

Warning to all contacts within the triking scene: It looks as if somebody's hotmail account has been hacked. I received a very suspicious email from a friend within the triking scene. A long list of his cycling contacts was enclosed and were very likely more forwarding targets. The Tricycle Association and "on3wheels" trike forum are both suddenly unavailable. I hope it's just a coincidence but fear the worst. If you receive an email from anybody you know, but which contains even a slightly suspicious link then delete the email immediately and run a virus scan. Do NOT click on the link! I have even read that hovering your cursor over such a link can be dangerous. Though I cannot confirm this.

PS. The Tricycle Association website is back up but not the triking forum. Still an odd coincidence.
Later the on3wheels forum reappeared as if nothing had happened. Probably just maintenance.

16th 60-71F, 16-22C, windy, overcast. Forecast to reach 20C, 68F later. Assens shopping, Turned sunny and warm. 22 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

1 Jul 2013

1st July 2013


Not Monet enough?

1st 60-57F, 16-14C grey overcast, light winds. Toe slightly better today despite yesterday's ride. Probably the result of removing some of the broken nail debris and wearing my old cycling shoes. The difference in width between the well worn Bontragers and the new Specialized shoes is quite startling! I'd like to try on a pair of Sidi Mega in EU45 to see if I can avoid buying oversized shoes for comfort. (i.e.No more EU46. Much too long but not wide enough in the toe!) Seeing the quack tomorrow. Hoping they can speed up recovery somehow.

Another fiasco from the DMI! I set off to the shops (in my old shoes) expecting dry but cool weather and suitably dressed for it. It started raining heavily only a mile from home. Being an optimist I kept going. Within four miles I was literally soaked to the skin! Twice as wet after a U-turn and riding back on sopping wet roads with loads of spray being thrown up. I'll have to shower and go shopping in the car.(again) The DMI is still showing no rain at all on the local chart. But mention showers and even rain on the verbal description for the Fyn area on another web page! So that's all right then.

I passed a farmer burning plastic furniture and chipboard shelving units in his yard. He was producing great clouds of stinking, jet black smoke which drifted across the road. He obviously hasn't had this year's, EU taxpayer's backhander for his environmental care and protection efforts. I expect he'll put the fire out when the big fat, cheque arrives. Or maybe not? Only 9 soggy miles.

I went out in the car two hours later and the fire was still burning! Now it was a huge pile of ash from all the crap which had been thrown onto it. It looked like they were having a barn clear-out.

I'm not certain this is a Carradice Junior.
The badge was already gone when I bought it.

2nd 60-63F, 16-17C, sunny periods, light showers early on, then dry and breezy. My toe seems to be healing itself. Still tender on the edge of the nail but improving daily. Wearing sandals probably helped. I went out this afternoon to test my toe and it hurt like hell for the first half. Though I was cruising at 20-22mph!  Coming back into the wind the toe felt better. Probably because my cadence had dropped a bit and I was also dropping my heels more with the increased effort.

Now I can't add any new pictures because my Seagate add-on drive is misbehaving! Or perhaps it's blogger? Or both. I can't see my latest snaps. It's blogger, I think. It can see the 'Pictures' file but not the results of search terms. No, it's Winders. It's not showing the results of search terms within Pictures. Grrr. 19 miles.

3rd 57-64F, 14-18C, windy, cloudy. It's supposed to be a wet day. I may take another rest day to help my toe to heal. It stayed dry all morning then drizzled as I left after lunch. Though it stopped raining after a quarter of an hour. The toe is still sore so I limited myself to 13 miles. I've just passed 4,000 miles for the year at the halfway mark. Not a great mileage year so far! That's probably down to a greater willingness to take rest days.

4th 57-63F, 14-17C, overcast light winds. It's suppose to stay dry and reach 20C, 68F with 20 mph SW winds this afternoon. My toe is still tender where my slipper presses on the nail. My old Bontrager cycling shoes offer a little more clearance for the sore toenail when I can keep the velcro straps tight enough. Which is not guaranteed while pedalling. I keep wondering how to accelerate a bit of give in the toe area of the Specialized shoes. They owe me a lot more miles before they are discarded in disgrace. They are also considerably better than the Bontragers for stiffness and SPD attachment. I can really pull up on them when needed. Without any slop or free movement between my feet and the pedals. Conversely the Bontragers are so loose they often rattle when I'm pedalling hard.

I saw some North Wave MTB shoes with a broad toe box and ratchet on the top strap the other day. Not particularly pricey either. Nothing in my size though.  I'll have to find another stockist to try some on. Though I'm not very keen on the open mesh toes. Too cool, except in tropical heat and quickly fill with rain or tyre spray.

I rode to Odense to see if I could find some wider MTB shoes. There aren't any. Bontrager, Specialized, Shimano and .... are all much the same. Long and narrow, with pointed toes and showy styling. In other words: No real choice! My toe hurt on and off during the ride but I think the trend is towards survival. Probably as an endangered species. 43 miles.

5th 60F, 16C overcast with occasional breezes. It is supposed to brighten up but it will gust to 26 mph on a 15 mph westerly base wind. The sun has just come out at 10am and the wind is already picking up. Why are there never any still days any more? Assens shopping, wearing the Specialized shoes. No real problems. I saw a Lamborghini, several groups of young cyclists, with heavily laden machines, and two middle aged recumbent trike tourists. Caught a tail wind home. So took the hilliest route for a change of scenery. 20 miles.

6th 52-60F, 11-16C, a misty, cool start. The wind turbines were cut off at half way up the towers by the low cloud base. This soon vanished as it quickly turned sunny. I raced to a supermarket to ensure I caught a special offer. One can never tell how many they have in stock. I need not have worried though. I was the only one there when they opened at 8am. I was being chased by a chap out training on his posh carbon fibre racing bike. He waited for ages to catch me.  Then overtook me when I was doing 22mph. Don't you hate it when they do that? :-)

Luckily I turned off soon after that so I didn't need to turn myself inside out trying to stay with him. 16 miles. I still have to go out to do the the real shopping. 7 miles later on.

I think it is an awful shame that the European mental health services have, yet again, emptied the entire continent's lunatic asylums for the summer. The real disappointment is that the weather has been so kind to them. Otherwise they might not have bothered to turn up at the T de F. As if there was any need to prove their precarious mental state to any remaining doubters. If only they could get the parasitic photo-motorcyclists to arms themselves with lethal HT wands they could sweep the hills free of this tragic human waste of 5 million years of progress. 98% of them appear to be only there to be seen on camera. Cycling is just a backdrop to their insults to normality and reason. How expensive would it be to set up electric fences to cage these animals? Perhaps the organisers should approve a suitable (titanium?) knuckle duster for the cyclists to wear in the hills?

Stegø Pumpemølle and coastal defences east of Bogense. 
The windmill was used for draining the marshes. 

7th 60-72F, 16-22C, light breeze, sunny. I should be a good day for a ride with full sun and the north-westerly winds fairly light. I was trying to protect my toe yesterday. So I limited myself to two shorter rides. The toe feels much less painful today after further (careful) toenail trimming with a new and sharper pair of scissors. I could probably have saved myself considerable discomfort if I hadn't always used a dirt cheap pair of nail scissors. The Specialized shoes are actually more comfortable than the Bontragers now thanks to their slightly greater length. Giving greater toe clearance for my nail to repair itself.

I headed north to Bogense, then turned right to Otterup via the north coast road and then finally headed for home across country. It felt like a headwind regardless of my direction of travel. Though I sat on the back of a peloton of local clubmen at an effortless 19-22 mph for a few miles. I could have kept it up all day. After they turned off I could only manage 16mph. Which was my target speed for the day to have on my computer screen. Though the final tally was only 12 mph average.

Nørreby Strand looking towards Juelsminde and Æbelø in the foreground.
The flat calm and perfect silence was broken by a dog objecting to my passing his cottage.

I rode through a huge swarm of bees in a lane between open fields of crops. I had about 20 of them stuck to me as I brushed frantically! Luckily I wasn't stung.My toe was fine too. 73 miles in just under 6 hours including shopping, snacks and photography. I still feel good now and have never felt so comfortable over this distance before.The right  combination of riding position, shorts and  saddle helped enormously.  I dropped in at home and stuffed down some honey sandwiches and a bowl of fruit and yogurt and then went straight out again.

9 more miles makes 82 miles and my one day PB on a trike. I was carrying a bag of spuds, two litres of milk and a 16 pack of toilet rolls for some of the way. I wondered why it felt like hard work on the hills. Now I am confident I can manage a 100 mile ride in one day. I could easily go out now and do another twenty miles. Doing a century would depend on my carrying sufficient food to keep me going for about 8 hours total.

I only had a small cheese roll, a banana and a tiny bags of mixed seeds and nuts with me today. It wasn't really enough. I would probably have eaten more than that just sitting at the computer at home! I have read that jelly babies are good for maintaining energy levels on a ride. Though carrying them so that they were easily accessible would need thinking about. A handlebar bag?

Click on any image for an enlargement.