25 Nov 2013

25th November 2013

Monday 25th 24-33F, -4+1C, hard white frost, sunny, completely still. Walked for an hour and half. Mostly in brilliant sunshine with crunchy grass underfoot. Got lost in the fire breaks in the woods. I couldn't see the sun in the gloom of the tall conifers. Entered the forest with the sun on my back and ended up facing it on the exit! I had to back track along the edge of the wood to return in the right direction. My route on the GPS was a double serpentine like a pond in a public park. I saw a Buzzard and disturbed, gulls pheasants and ducks near a large iced-over pond. I had just put my camera away so missed the real excitement as the gulls took off.

A brilliant Bullfinch has just landed on a tree in the garden. I doubt I see one in five years over here. They were much more common in the UK. As were robins. I doubt I have seen one robin in the last ten years in Denmark. One used to feed from my wife's hand in our last garden. Constant Robin bird song and flitting about wherever we went. There were countless different kinds of birds there but very few birds of prey. The balance seem to be completely reversed in Denmark. No journey is complete without seeing quite a few birds of prey.

Yet the variety of small birds is quite tiny. Mostly Chaffinches, Great and Blue tits and Sparrows. A few Gold finches. Starlings are usually passing through and rarely hang about. Gulls, Crows, Magpies and Rooks are all extremely commonplace. I have heard a few Jays and even seen a couple in the last week due the trees losing their foliage. Making them more visible.

Farming is far more intense over here. While it was mostly year-round grazing where we lived in the UK. Similar amounts of woods and rough scrub but grass is a much taller crop here to make silage and is sprayed repeatedly. Spraying was a once-a-decade dose of lime in the UK. Applied when a gale was blowing to ensure wide distribution. No shortage of hedgerows in both countries for all my moaning about a lack of shelter from the wind sometimes.

I shall be out on the trike after coffee. Another perfect day. I just need a suitable goal!. Late morning and I was sent off to a distant garden centre. The first obvious mistake was going via the suggested route of an online mapping service. It took me via a muddy track through the woods. I had already warned them over a year ago about this route so was not going blindly where trikes ought not to go. Things settled down after that and I reached my goal, took my photos of their stock and then headed back via another even more hilly route. Remind me never to live within a mile of a motorway. What a a racket! A cold, but gentle, headwind coming home but I was cosy enough in my winter outfit. 35 miles. A good day thanks to the continuous sunshine and lack of wind.

Tuesday 26th 24-36F, -4-+2C, quite still, sunny, hard white frost. An hour and a half walk in bright sunshine listening to the distant traffic. Probably the last of this favourable weather. I ought to make the most of it. Where shall I go today? Another day; another late start and another garden centre.  It had turned cloudy by lunch time.  A gentle cross-headwind coming back in the increasing gloom. It was a race to get home before it was dark. Only just in time before I'd need lights. Which I'd forgotten again! Five Whooper swans flew very low over me. Probably less than fifty feet. Exactly the same thing happened a couple of days ago. Does the CIA have Whooper swan drones? Just asking...  41 miles.

Wednesday 27th 46F, 8C, windy, heavy overcast. The early rain has cleared but the wind is highly variable. Completely still one minute and blowing hard the next. Cleaned the trike of accumulated mud  from the journey through the woods. Just a short ride in intermittent drizzle. The Cateye 'Cadence' computer is proving unreliable. It keeps falling asleep and needs the head moving about until contact is restored. 10 miles.

Thursday 28th 42F, 6C, breezy, dry with a promise of brightness when the sun stops dragging its heels. Talking of which: Time for a walk. An hour and a half in the woods walking along new fire breaks. I disturbed a deer and there were lots of calls from Jays above the steady roar in the tree tops from the wind. The sun has finally escaped from the clouds just as I take to three wheels. Two Greater Spotted woodpeckers were in the willow trees outside as I dressed to go out.

It was blowing a gale!  The Cateye Cadence computer is getting worse despite my polishing the contacts. It lost a couple of miles today after several "outages." I might try a new battery but I'm fairly sure it's more about the contacts. Twisting or moving the head in the shoe brings the display back on again from the clock default screen. Only 14 miles.

Friday 29th 40F, 5C, very heavy overcast. It took until 8am to be light enough to read outside. (Assuming one wanted to) Not very promising. Rain and strong winds forecast. A rest day, I think. My hip needs a rest anyway and has been grumbling all week. It doesn't hurt when I walk or ride. Only when I'm sitting at the computer or get up. Having deliberately reduced my average mileage I had hoped for more relief from the pain. I have been careful not to lift anything heavy. So my shoulder is slowly improving at the moment. Lowering my computer mouse to the keyboard shelf may have helped. I fiddle with the height of my chair too. 7,500 miles of triking for the year still looks just possible but is rather disappointing. The increased number of rest days hasn't helped as much as I'd hoped.

An hour's walk. It started drizzling at half way. I have all but given up walking on the road itself. Walking on the grass verges avoids my having to constantly monitor the traffic for sociopaths. Though I still have to keep an eye out for psychopathic farm workers. A young tractor driver with a large implement attached to his shoulder didn't change his course by a millimetre last week. I had to take to the grass to avoid being mowed down by the giant LGP implement tyres rolling along the grass! There was no oncoming traffic for him to avoid. Perhaps he was still drunk from the night before? Registered blind? Or just having a bad day? Do I need a pedestrian video cam for the coroner to examine along with the corpse?

I spent a couple of hours working on the front gear changer. Just trying different cable dressing ideas. None of which worked so it was back to the original. I just need to have a softer curve for the offset cable wrap. At the moment the increased leverage only works over a narrow angle of motion. A small, round drum for the cable to wrap around still needs the cable to be clamped off. Which ideally needs a skewed, drilled hole from the circumference of the drum to near the centre.

I even considered using a lever but clamping the fulcrum is not an easy task using standard bicycle parts. A braze on changer clamp did not suit the job. I have heard several negative reports on the forums about the Shiftmate cable roller mechanism. Though it is entirely possible that certain users have not used the correct adjustments when installing the mechanism. Their cables tended to derail under certain circumstances. It might still be worth trying one to change the shifter:cable pull ratio of my Shimergo set-up.

There is one gear which does not change positively. It is a ratio I often feel like using but it changes up or down to the next gear seemingly at random. Perhaps I ought try different sprocket spacers? It is known that Campag gears use a different spacer thickness between two particular sprockets. This ought to be copied over where Shimano sprocket spacing is used with Campag levers. I have ordered a No4 Shiftmate from SJS. The unit is described as being suitable for 11speed Campag Ergo levers and Shimano 10sp.

Saturday 30th 40F, 5C, heavy overcast, almost still and thankfully dry. Sun promised for later and winds remaining very light all day. Had an hour's walk before going out on the trike. Left after coffee. A hilly shopping loop for 27 miles. It never did brighten up as promised. Cold too.

I ran up (at high speed) against a bunch of mountain bikers being very "untidy" as they waited for a mechanical repair to one of their number. Very selfish behaviour because a car arrived from the opposite direction just as I was going to weave through them as they wobbled about all over the road. Totally unnecessary behaviour since there was a wide track into the woods right alongside their colourful "peloton." The forest was probably where they had been playing before they decided to invade the road. When I first arrived it was such a mess I actually thought somebody had crashed. Bløødy cyclists, eh? It's not as if they even pay road tax!!!!

Click on any image for an enlargement.

21 Nov 2013

21st November 2013


Thursday 21st 25-35F, -4+2C, still, sunny, hard white frost again. Forecast doubtful.

There is political talk about making cycling right turn RLJs legal in Denmark. Many already do it without a second thought. I wonder who will notice any change? The ones wearing headphones? Or the ones who never look? Certainly not those who never indicate.

If it reduces the number of deaths due to blind lorry drivers turning then there is hope. Gravely Blighted has similar problems with blind, left turning lorries and cyclist RLJs according to the news. So that's all right then. They are only bløødy cyclists according to a (now unemployed) trainee accountant and all-round, blond interlektule online cleb.

They don't even pay any road tax! So you can't spend any money on properly segregated cycle routes, can you? After all, cyclists are barely human. And they wear Lycra in public. They're not like real people who have to pay their way.

We'll gloss over the global ramifications of the massively subsidised oil, roads and motor industries. The misogynistic, medieval desert dictatorships propped up entirely on Western oil purchases. The phoney Middle Eastern wars for resources. Despot-subsidised religious fundamentalism and terrorism. Not to mention global pollution and now damaging climate change. And have you seen the price of petrol lately? It's absolutely criminal! They ought to do something about it! Never mind those parasitic bløødy cyclists! They shouldn't even be allowed on the roads! Holding the traffic up and going through red lights! Who, the hell, do they think they are? And I said to her and she said to me, and, if looks could kill... well!

Walked for an hour and half as it clouded over from the north. I found another Danish "mountain" to climb. A beautiful view again but it had turned rather too dark for decent photography. The distant hills on the horizon are just woods on low hills. Exaggerated in height by the flat landscape. I blame the Ice Ages!

I left late morning on the trike. The council has been wasting taxpayer's money on more of those invisible speed restriction signs. While I'm all for subtly understated, roadside Xmas decorations they should know by now that only blue flashing lights make these speed lollipops visible to the driving public. Of the dozens of cars and six axle, GPS rat-running articulated lorries, which passed me in the 2 km stretch of new, lower speed limits only a solitary, knackered farm tractor was observing the law. Apart from myself of course. So that's all right then.

A great load of shopping. The pink bag and saddle bag were stuffed to the gills. The non-existent special offers were suddenly back in stock again at full price. Just as I predicted.

BTW: I'd like to commiserate with the driver of that huge Itella Logistics lorry who overtook me on that sharp right angle bend.  It must be awful to have to drive for a living without having a valid conscience. Only 15 miles. It drizzled all the way home.

Friday 22nd 38-39F, 3-4C, almost perfectly still, uniformly heavy overcast, incredibly dark this morning. Now 8.15am and "somebody" obviously forgot to switch on the lights. Perhaps they were at the latest, 5star, 1st class, Polish climate party junket swilling at the trough in front of a roaring, coal fire?

Dilapidated old wagon by a small lake in the woods. Probably once a shelter for hunters. It may still be one. Shooting is a popular sport pastime in Denmark judging by the frequent racket they make. Grain drum pheasant feeders are almost as commonplace as... er.. pheasants. But are well fed, semi-tame pheasants sitting ducks? They certainly aren't the brightest of birds. A sort of ground-based Wood pigeon. Neither has two brain cells to rub together. That's probably why they are popular shooting prey. Slow and dimwitted. Like shooting fish in a barrel. 

Time for a walk. I'd better take a torch! Another hour and a half of my retirement used up on a very muddy walk. It was odd to walk a wide, smooth grass track, beside a field hedge which came to a sudden end. I saw three small dear with white rumps and several hares. It poured with rain at one point producing a weak rainbow from an invisible sun..

I had to clean my mud-caked boots afterwards. They had remained dry inside despite walking through an inch of standing water in places. Crossing soggy fields by the spray tracks is not a short cut to anywhere! The forecast was for dry but cloudy weather. Much the same as yesterday when it rained for hours! I think I have now discovered all the potential walking routes within a sensible radius. It will just be variations on a theme from now on. The changing light, weather and seasons will have to provide the novelty.

Meanwhile, back on the trike, it rained hard all the way there. It rained while I was there and then it finally stopped on the way home. Not that the roads were suddenly dry because I was sprayed by almost everything which passed me. Mention of the day must go to that new Audi estate which overtook me at high speed in a built up area opposite a kindergarten. As usual, nobody else was taking any notice of the speed limits either. I managed to get my socks wet and the GripGrab Polaris gloves proved, yet again, to be completely hopeless below 40F. Nor are they remotely waterproof after a few washes. So my hands were both cold and wet on the way back. Thereby adding insult to injury. The rubber coated palms and fingers have rapidly worn away too. I saw a hovering female Kestrel. Not at all common around here. Where we lived in the UK they were overhead every day. 14 damp miles. Just another day in paradise.

Saturday 23rd 31F, -1C, white frost, slightly misty, quite still. I ought to be making the most of the early sunshine. It seems that Denmark is enjoying a revival in woodland birds and quite a number of birds of prey. Including Red kites and even the Golden eagle. I used Google Translate to ensure the correct identities of the Danish names in the online news. Then I glanced across at the other nature headlines and was told the Danish coastal seas were full of Guinea pigs! Marsvin is also the Danish name of the porpoise.
A walk first, then shopping on the trike. 15 miles.

Sunday 24th 37F, 3C, sky almost clear, windy. Promise of a sunny but windy day gusting to 30mph. A low, blinding sun and leaning on the eye-watering, NNW wind ensued during my hour's walk. No new photographs worth sharing. I ought to go East or West to avoid a headwind on my ride this morning. I ended up doing a loop to Assens and fighting the wind on the last leg. It was still a pleasant day to be out. Only 27 miles. Loads of shopping.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

18 Nov 2013

18th November 2013


Monday 18th 41F, 5C, heavy overcast, almost still. The forecast offers the risk of light rain. The risk was real and it drizzled while I went for my my walk. The boots and gaiters continue to offer complete protection from very long wet grass and marshy ground. This may sound terribly boring but it has transformed my ability to walk almost anywhere my curiosity takes me.

Walking on the local roads is no fun at all when traffic roars past drenching me in spray. Getting cross really doesn't help and merely spoils the walk. They have little choice but to use the roads. I have no choice but to walk alongside them to get to my exit points. At least they don't follow me along the forest tracks!

The point of walking is not just increased fitness but the psychological benefits as well. Not to mention escaping from wasting more hours on the computer instead of doing something real and far more worthwhile. I find the slower pace and lower perceived risk of walking (compared to cycling) increasingly valuable. Irritation with piss-poor drivers just tends to build up into yet another online rant. Which I am sure is even more boring for my readers unless you can find some hidden amusement in my empty tirades. Perhaps the rants are actually beneficial in safely letting off steam? It beats carrying a Hollywood-style, grenade launcher on my walks. ;-)

Given that this is a tricycling blog I am trying hard to balance the discussion of walking and cycling while my walking is still relatively novel for this area. It has been quite a  discovery how many potential off-road routes have presented themselves within a total of an hour's walk. Given a little more time I can extend the routes dramatically. I deliberately change my routes every day to avoid them getting stale. The autumn light (or lack of it) often presents real challenges to my photography. I persevere in the hope of capturing the sombre mood of the undulating, northern landscape from fresh perspectives.

I waited as long as possible before going out on the trike. What had been drizzle became real rain. Which continued throughout. Meaning that every car and truck sprayed me from head to foot. I couldn't face going further, as planned, since there was no great need. I remembered to wear the TA cap and was grateful for the protection offered by the peak.

I forgot to mention that the cheap clamp (intended to hold braze-on front changers) has completely cured derailing of the chain onto the bottom bracket. It merely needed to be aligned with the inner chainring diameter and then rotated so that the fixing "tongue" projected to the maximum towards the inner chainring. I could still add something to ensure longer rubbing life using the existing screw hole but it seems unnecessary at the moment.

The supermarkets are still cheating on special offers. They are supposed to last for a week but are often not available from the start. Nor even over the entire period of the special offer. Bored? I know I am with this continuing crooked behaviour. I ride for miles to take advantage of an advertised offer only to find they never had and will not have any stock during the advertised run of the offer. Then as soon as the offer ends the shelves are stuffed with full price stock! Another favourite trick is the "several varieties available" claim. NOT on your life! Lies, damned lies and supermarkets, eh? It's still raining. Only 7 miles.

Tuesday 19th 43F, 6C, heavy overcast, breezy, rain. It is supposed to rain all day again. The DMI's radar chart shows a large area of rain crossing the country likely to last until late afternoon. I'll use up some cabin fever time fitting the Cateye Cadence computer onto the Trykit. It has been sitting uselessly on the Higgins. First find the instructions leaflet! It is available online but I want a hard copy to squint at in the dimness of the shed. Found it. I moved the magnet up the spoke, nearer the rim to avoid contact with the Crud mudguard stay. I also shortened the brake cables while I was at it. Now they all come neatly together with the gear change cables. Still raining but brightening slowly. I think I'll take a chance..

It rained but eventually stopped at about halfway. The Cateye computer showed that my normal cadence was in the high 90s rpm with occasional bouts up to 105. Which rather surprised me since it is quite a time since I had a functioning cadence display. I wish Cateye wouldn't be so mean with the size of the screen and the digits as a consequence. Reading glasses should not be compulsory for a  bike computer!

I just made it home again as it was getting darker. I really ought to fit, or carry, my lights for the days where I put off a ride until the afternoon due to prolonged rain. The brakes are working well now as is the Crud front mudguard. It is so slim that it is hardly visible. Yet the unusual length keeps my feet almost dry even when riding through standing water. I just hope it lasts and stays firmly together. I once did a nasty somersault when a brittle plastic Bluemels mudguard broke up and locked the front wheel under the fork crown! 15 miles.

Did you spot the deliberate subterfuge in this image? The grass fringe is the clue.

Sony's PlayMemories software update has now cleared the hundreds of un-openable files despoiling my Pictures files. These pointless .modd files were placed there when PlayMemories was first installed with the arrival of the Sony AS-15 Action Camera. It made finding specific images almost impossible! I deleted hundreds of them longhand but then read online that Sony recommended leaving them in place! How was I supposed to know? It is taking literally ages to re-update the image database after taking even longer to mess it up in the first place!

Wednesday 20th 28-37F, -2+3C, white coating of frost, perfectly still, thin high cloud in feathered, contrail stripes, hope of watery sunshine later. At least it is dry! Low winds promised all day gusting to 10mph max. My hip is still hurting. Perhaps Sunday's longer ride was too much for it? I'll see how I feel after a walk. I need more photographs. First walk with cheapo fleece gloves. Plenty warm enough for walking but a nuisance trying to operate the camera shuttle wheel. I adjust the picture format regularly to suit the subject matter.

It took me 2 hours to do 5 miles wandering newly discovered, field-side tracks and stopping often for photography. (Over 80 images) Lots of dead end tracks required considerable backtracking. Stretches of black ice on the lanes. My hip didn't bother me while I was walking even on steep slopes. I climbed a local hill by the spray tracks and was rewarded with an incredible vista. I doubt the hill is more than 10 metres or 30' high! I can check on one of the free mapping services. Good guess! It was actually only 12 metres higher than the road and surrounding fields. That's the strange thing about the Danish countryside. It my be bumpy but it is so relatively flat that there isn't much to obscure a distant view.

Even at 2pm the frost clung on where the weak sunshine could not reach. I wore the GripGrab Polaris gloves on the trike and found them only just adequate as I left with 33F on the thermometer. I was grateful for the first shopping stop to warm my hands up again. After that I gradually stopped noticing them. I wore my warmest (charity shop) Aesse winter cycling jacket and was almost too warm at times when climbing. I didn't really need the cycling cardigan underneath. On the third day of trying I found some stock of the supermarket special offer. It was 4 months past its sell by of date!

I see lots more storm felled trees each time I ride a new route. The damage is often very localised. Suggesting a freak gust. Several fallen trees were large birches snapped off half way up the trunk where they were nearly 2' in diameter. Others were toppled despite having huge root plates over 6' across. Probably not enough root depth to resist the wind leverage on the tops. Several conifers in a row in the forest were snapped off. Yet all the surrounding trees survived. 21 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

16 Nov 2013

Brooks Saddles open posh new London shop.


Cropped image borrowed from the Brooks Blog to show their extensive range of leather saddles.
A colour, style and width to match any trike and rider and all in the best possible taste.
Had I been in charge I would definitely have used a lipped, sloping shelf for the boxed examples below. 

If one wanted to be even more critical then Selle-Brooks should change to a hex-socket, nose tension screw on all models.

It is also very long overdue that the cheapest models used stainless steel rivets (or even hex socket screws and nuts ) instead of the present weak, very rust-prone, undersized, chromed steel. Which eventually rip out of the leather or the cantle plate.

Softer springs should be an option/standard on the sprung models. There are complaints on the online forums about the stiffness of the present springs making them pointless for riders under 20 stone.
Which suggests that Brooks has great foresight in catching the US obesity pandemic decades before it arrived.
Or, have badly missed a trick for the ever-expanding, off-road market. 

13 Nov 2013

13th November 2013


Wednesday 13th 38F, 3C, clear, light winds. Hope for some sun this morning. My hip is hurting from lifting the Higgins onto its ceiling hook yesterday. I was making room to work on the Trykit out of the pouring rain. I really need to find a better way to use my cycle lift pulley system. Because the two sets of pulleys can only shrink to a minimum length it won't lift the trike high enough to hang the front wheel rim on the hook. Perhaps I ought to try lifting it by the rear axle or even take the wheels off so it can hang higher. Decisions-decisions.

An hour and a half walk up through the woods and back. Very soggy working my way through boggy long grass in the fire breaks but the gaiters and boots worked perfectly.

Going out on the trike now. A hilly loop between a number of villages. The new tyres felt much more lively compared with the old ones. Carrying tons of shopping into a strong and gusty headwind coming home. 25 miles.

Thursday 14th 42-44F, 6C, breezy, heavy grey overcast. Forecast to be grey but dry. Walked a new route around the woods just for a change. Saw an unusual, quite large bird of prey. Mostly buff/brown/ with long narrow wings chopped off at the tips. Tried the Sony Action Cam again while I was out. Totally useless in overcast conditions. Dull, stupid sky colours, featureless shadows @ 1080p 30fps. Hideous bouncing results from recording while walking despite making every effort to hold the camera still. It would need a steadycam device to smooth out the long boring bits. The Ventus GPS logger is becoming slower and slower to get a cold fix in the mornings. Hidden battery dying? The same thing happened to the iGotU. Triked 15 miles with a cold tailwind coming home.

Friday 15th 43F, 6C, heavy overcast, quite still, misty, dry, but grey. Time for a walk. I found another wood to explore. I'm spoilt for choice provided I allow myself at least an hour of walking. I watched the behaviour of each vehicle as it approached, usually at high speed. I wondered at the strangeness of the act of commuting. Many seem to develop unnecessary aggression. Perhaps to provide the stimulus often missing from completely meaningless and totally abstract employment. Gaining one place on the road in the morning rush hour is utterly insignificant yet is an exercise practised by countless drivers.

The queue remains totally unaffected in both length, behaviour and speed. The only change is in its subtle order of indistinguishable units. The overtaking driver sees a new bumper and is in turn becomes the new bumper in front of the overtaken driver. To achieve this change of local scenery he/she has often risked life and limb. Not to mention the future happiness and comfort of all of those they know and perhaps support. There is a terrifying parallel here with the Matrix. Particularly if the participants have accumulated considerable debt to pay for a "high performance" vehicle in order to achieve a subtle change in the bumper in front of their windscreen.

As I was walking along it struck me how there is a fixed hierarchy of sensory deprivation in our chosen forms of transport. The static observer sees and hears most but usually has the most limited range of observation. The walker has a much greater range but the act of walking disturbs the wildlife and denies the walker a range of stimuli. Flocks of birds and solitary animals are seen fleetingly as they move away along the hedgerows. Or across the fields or through the woods. The clomp or rustle of boots through leaves and grass deprives the walker of a whole range of sounds. Which merely stopping brings back to the alert consciousness.

The cyclist can cover many more miles but is even further removed from nature by the roar of the wind in the ears and swifter movement. Though not remotely as much as the driver. Whom, cocooned in  a mobile, sensory deprivation tank is shielded from most sights and sounds. And, arguably, any real sense of danger as they travel in an alternative reality. The higher speed demands total protection from the wind and weather and requires much higher concentration for safety. Nature is seen only fleetingly almost by accident. Though the passenger may have greater freedom to observe as if from afar. While The traveller by ship and plane have an alternative viewpoint, but as the scale rises so does the Earth withdraw even further from personal contact.

Walking amidst nature is good for you provided you can escape from all the other completely artificial distractions of the Matrix. The city was never intended as anything but a convenience for trade and protection. Its very inclusiveness, density and noise only leads to a far greater risk of isolation. The inequality of its inhabitants is a strong catalyst to indifference. Competition to succeed at the expense of others requires a degree of sociopathic behaviour. Most typically seen in the commuter in the luxury car. They seek deliberate isolation from reality to avoid engaging their conscience.

They avoid nature by passively absorbing culture in clearly segregated and completely artificial social situations. Before returning to the mental construct of the gilded nest. But which is merely a cripplingly expensive dormitory for most. Silence and nature are to be abhorred and feared. They are unwanted distractions from the escapism of blind, obsessive acquisitiveness. Meanwhile the planet dies. Little by little. And I trudge steadily on. Spoilt (but not rotten) by nature and the priceless good fortune of my rural situation.

I hope you enjoy my recent pictures of the countryside which I seem to share with so few others. As I try to capture the atmosphere and sense of almost complete solitude. Once off the road, I hardly ever see another soul. Distant traffic perhaps seen from a high viewpoint. To remind me that I am, despite appearances, not the last on the planet. It is odd to think that most of the area is never trodden by man. Even the fields may feel the weight of large tractors and machinery, on occasion, but only very rarely a muddy boot.

My ride was slightly disturbed by steady, fine drizzle. Though no rain was forecast. The Crud mudguard continues to protect my feet as I try to extend the life of my fragile overshoes by leaving them in the saddle bag.  A goodly wodge of shopping was loaded into the big pink bag and I headed home. With the trike feeling more like a tractor towing a heavy trailer. It didn't help that the chain wouldn't move to the inner chainring. So I danced on the pedals instead. Still more shopping to do. 14 miles so far. Plus 7 more, still damp, for 21 miles today.

Saturday 16th 48F, 9C. Forecast to be windier today. An hour's walk in fine drizzle. I tried to avoid a large dog loose and barking on a rural public footpath. The owner of the farmhouse on the path told me that I should not take a detour around his field. Though we parted amicably enough after a chat.

I left it until after lunch in the hope the rain would go off. It didn't, so I went anyway. Very grateful for the Aldi rainproof jacket and GripGrab scull cap. I stayed dry and cosy except for my knees. The Crud front mudguard kept my feet dry inside my overshoes despite the saturated roads. The very long tail proves that a wider, conventional mud flap really isn't necessary. Full marks to Crud! If I had taken my TA cap I could have kept my face and yellow sunglasses dryer. Good load of shopping again but only 11 miles. A better forecast for tomorrow.

There is discussion in the online media about the "speed cameras" which will be introduced to Danish roads in 2014. A certain politician was no doubt hoping to corruptly curry favour with the electorate by suggesting the cameras should not be used as a source of revenue. Strangely, he completely ignored the fact that you can only be fined for driving too fast for the legal speed limit. I know I moan endlessly about how the majority of drivers in Denmark completely ignore the speed limits so I won't repeat myself again:

In a recent case two vehicles collided resulting in the deaths of three children travelling in one of them. The mother of the children had attempted to cross the path of the other vehicle to turn at a crossroads.

Image borrowed from nordjyske.dk

The driver of the other vehicle was driving at 125kph on a 80kph road.. i.e. 78mph or 56% above the legal speed limit on a rural road with a 50mph national speed limit while using his mobile telephone. He was fined £1000. The traffic inspector suggested that had this driver been driving at the legal speed limit the other car could have safely emerged from the crossing even though he (the other driver) did not brake.

So, remember children, that the cameras are only there to raise revenue from innocent drivers who are speeding while using their mobile telephones. It is not as if your own intrinsic value is any higher than (say) £300 in the courts. And, apparently,  there is absolutely no need for a driver to brake in the event of impending collision. (Provided their conversation on their handheld mobile telephone is interesting enough.)

Sunday 17th 41F, 5C, completely still, a clear sky with sunshine threatened as soon as that hill moves out of the way. All very promising for a longer ride. I just need to stoke up on marmalade covered rolls and milky coffee first. The Camper 'Longflap' has been removed from the rear triangle crossbars. Replaced by the relatively tiny 'Junior' fitted directly to the Brooks 'Special' bag loops for a change. I still need some carrying capacity for my air/sea rescue kit even for a "lightweight" ride to slightly more distant destinations.

Riding against a gentle NW breeze I headed north. The computer magnet started hitting the Crud mudguard stay and put the computer out of action. After fiddling with the head, magnet and sensor I'd lost my mileage with only a rough idea how far I'd been. It started up again after some fiddling. Eventually I found the rural village I was looking for, took some pictures and then headed home again.

Though quite cool, it was a perfect day for a ride and perfect countryside to be riding through. There were a surprising number of people around in the villages. On my weekday rides I rarely see anyone at all. I even saw some North American Bison in a field and a large deer bounded across the road right in front of me. Four and a half hours to do 46 miles including plenty of stops.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

12 Nov 2013

Impure thoughts on having far too many gears...


Log commented yesterday about the problems associated with the endless drive to multiple gear systems.


Chain and sprocket wear are only the most obvious pitfalls. It is an obvious fact that many weekend warriors follow the (supposed) equipment choices of the top professionals. While cheerfully ignoring the even more obvious fact that this same equipment may often be supplied free of charge to the wealthy pro teams by the manufacturers. The cost of doing so at factory gate prices would be tiny in the grand scheme of things. Far cheaper than flying the entire PR team to the event with accommodation and transport extras.

The manufacturers act as corrupt sponsors. Knowing that any exposure of their products on TV, online or in the magazines will lead to massive sales to the now global hordes of moneyed, celeb-worshipping amateurs.

Not only are the pro cycling teams handed a lot of the latest gear but they usually have plenty of spending money anyway. The amateur must try to endlessly keep up on a much more limited budget. As retail prices rise to the level of precious jewels for quite ordinary CNC-produced items for stuffing empty shipping containers.

How often does the same piece of equipment actually appear on a top pro's race bike? One race? Or just one stage? A chain or cassette may only see a couple of hundred miles before being discarded as risky to further race success. Or more likely; sitting out the day in the peloton just making up numbers. Or, even more likely; passed down to the endless queues waiting to pick up the latest gear at a suitably large discount for secondhand goods. Always with the added bonus of having a named rider, or team, remotely attached to it along with the bragging rights. The manufacturers get the exposure and subsidised, empty reviews they need for global sales. While supposedly getting feedback from the (name dropping) riders whose continued income depends on performance and reliability. Or do they, in an era of racks of disposable machines on the top of every following car?

Just imagine how the sport would really advance if swapping bikes (or wheels) was illegal under the UCI [Utterly Corrupt Insiders) rules. No more £20K CF race frames designed for one stage before being scrapped. Or sold off as too unsafe. Really puncture proof tyres and unbreakable wheels, anybody? Nah. This is cycling. Run by a bunch of drug-apologist crooks, to push product via trained performers. Despite their poor articulacy beyond auto-cuing heavily rehearsed praise to the TV cameras for their team member's efforts on their behalf that day.

What test of equipment performance and reliability is really involved in normal pro racing practice? It may have survived a close fought stage in dry conditions in front of the motorbike cameras but what about extended use? Who really cares if a 10 or 11 speed chain is only good for a hundred and fifty miles? Certainly not the manufacturers, pros or their sponsored teams. Chains, chainrings, changers and cassettes are all relative chickenfeed in a multi-million racing racket budget with wealthy sponsors. The very high cost of equipment to the amateur means absolutely nothing to the sponsored teams on the tours. The manufacturers can even claim tax discounts for sponsorship, promotion and "R&D" as business expenses. As, no doubt, can the philanthropic, team sponsors. As long as they all keep winning.

The "loser" in all of this is (quite obviously) the zealous amateur who feels they must copycat their heroes or lose face on the weekend club run. The fact that the amateur is carrying several times his own bike's kerb weight in extra padding is forced deep into the subconscious. So long as they can brag that this season's latest equipment release is saving them less than the weight of the cap on their perpetually empty (sugar-encrusted) water bottle.

Where does all of this leave me as I trundle the lanes of unduly corrugated, rural Denmark at a vigorous snail's pace?  Well, I find changing gear on the rear sprockets is completely effortless. I often go up and down a few gears several times per hundred yards to maintain my (knee-protecting) high cadence. That's the advantage of those ridiculously expensive, Ergo levers. Well the right hand one anyway.

Changing gear at the front is not remotely as much fun. The chain is literally scraped across by an eminently unsuitable triple changer. Probably one designed for much larger, race-sized chainwheels. Making my tidily little chainwheels incompatible fodder for swift and sure changes. Changing onto the large (46T!) chainwheel takes literally a matter of several seconds. This has to be planned in advance and executed with great care to avoid the chain derailing onto the crank. Not to mention my trying to stay on the road as I stare fixedly downwards as I inch the chain onto the big chainwheel with micro-metric fastidiousness. This, despite endless attempts at fine adjustment to the front changer stop screws. The same goes for the inside chainwheel. A painted bottom bracket shell and chainstay would both be looking much the worse for wear by now! Stainless steel can be wiped over with a clean rag followed by a quick scrub with Scotch-Brite.

As an impoverished teenager I fitted a triple TA Professional chainset to my first racing bike using galvanised nuts and bolts from the DIY shop. For some peculiar reason a triple has always appealed even when the TA crank fell off the spider through piss-poor design and workmanship. I stuck with triples despite the obvious greater ease of using a double chainset with only a small difference in numbers of teeth.

No doubt the sprinters amongst the pros would enjoy a triple when they are dropped by the peloton on yet another tortuous mountain pass. Yet you never see a triple on a race tour bike. At least, not yet. The trend is always towards more and ever larger rear sprockets to cope with the totally inadequate low gearing offered by a typical (ridiculously expensive) race double chainset. Only a race fit pro can turn the lowest gears of a typical race bike on a decent slope. Then only when they are not tired from a long stage and too many previous mountain passes.

Let's not even go into the obvious advantages of maintaining a less tiring, higher cadence to maintain energy reserves for a late bid for the line. Nah, that's strictly against team policy to allow anything not fully rehearsed with the team's token top rider of the day involved. We don't want any independence of thought or action do we? Even if the team's great white hope has fallen off the back of the chasing group behind the peloton.

The amateur, racing bike owner may not train more than the exercise they get on the weekend club run. So cannot push such a high bottom gear to save themselves. The triple offers a tempting escape from misery but since the pros don't use them then nor may the conscientious amateur! It would be tantamount to wearing flares to the annual club dinner!

My excuse is that I carry at least an extra 10 15 kilos of trike rear axle, an extra rear wheel, a very large saddlebag (usually stuffed full to overflowing with shopping) and a hefty U-lock. Since I like multiple rear gears the latest racing equipment fad suits me well. Provided, of course, I can avoid the high end gear's ridiculous expense and annual maintenance costs.

I try to ignore the price of chains and cassettes. The manufacturers are obviously hoping everybody else does too. As they stamp out their cheaply made and dearly sold, readily-disposable, magically coated and electro-plated, mild steel dross. Fastidious cleanliness may offer real rewards to the <cough> obsessive compulsive bike cleaner. Those who prefer to admire their uncomfortable mount in the bedroom rather than ride the bløødy thing every day.

The price of the top end cycling stuff is quite literally obscene for what little is really on offer. I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if the manufacturers spend far more on marketing than they do on R&D, wages and raw materials, put together.

But I digress:  A virtual monopoly by three major cycle equipment manufacturers now exists to bleed the (delusional) amateur white. With constant iterations of utterly meaningless weight saving measures along with free sachets of snake oil. It used to be only one Mafia manufacturer until Campag dropped the ball to Shimano and now Sram. Manufacturers are now followed and endlessly discussed online with the same blind loyalty as born-again, religious fundamentalists studying their holy texts. Though heaven only knows why!

Any savings in weight when climbing are lost on the way back down. Some free-wheeling downhill sports had to ban the dumping of water tanks because it gave an unfair advantage! So don't throw your water bottle into the verge unless you are climbing to a mountain top finish. It is probably saving you several seconds per mile, even on the flat, due to the huge reduction in air resistance with it in place. Or perhaps not. How will you ever know amidst the claims for lower drag for everything from hidden cables to hidden brakes? Magazines don't own wind tunnels and their "reviews" are paid for by the product's advertising. Do you really suppose your speed will be altered by any real change to your bike frame or the mere appearance of its components?  

It was always thus. A (cycling) fool and his money are soon parted. The truth is a top pro could win a race riding a loaded supermarket shopping trolley if pitted against the average amateur on his multi-thousand Pound/Dollar/Euro, sub-10 kilo, "Reduracord" bejewelled  steed. So the amateur compensates for their hideous inadequacy by spending money on things they don't need. There may well be financial benefits to the amateur doing fewer training miles. The equipment doesn't get worn out quite so soon before it hits the wall of deliberately built-in obsolescence. But at least they can claim that the stuff doesn't seem to wear out while their heroes are sitting in the peloton watching Sky team's millionaire riders dominate the race "highlights" before retiring to their 5 star hotels. ;-)


Click on any image for an enlargement.

11 Nov 2013

11th November 2013 Mist!

Monday 11th 31-45F, 0-7C, first frost, white grass, no wind, clear sky, bright sunshine and stratified mist. A superb day for a walk or a ride. I went for a walk first to try and capture the mist and took 75 pictures in an hour. It's a shame that my resized images cannot be enjoyed full screen at original resolution. One completely loses the sense of "being there" once the picture shrinks.

There is no accounting for the sheer, mind-numbing idiocy of some people. A huge container truck passed with an equally vast, matching trailer, having negotiated the hairpin bends with the driver welded to his mobile phone. Driving with one hand as he headed into the low, blinding sun in the morning rush hour. It's the colossal sense of arrogance that their conversation has any meaning which irritates me most.

Like the parent at the supermarket, who arrives with a terminally ignored child, while they themselves talk endless inanity into their mobile telephone. Never drawing breath, even when passing through the checkouts and are still talking the same utter drivel as they leave the car park, driving one handed with their child still sulking for being ignored in the back seat. The mindless verbal diarrhoea these knuckle dragging morons spout into their handsets is unbelievable! How did they ever pass the driving test with a knee-high IQ? How do their children even survive without constant support from social services?

Going out on the trike now in search of some gaiters to stop my trousers getting soaked and covered in mud on my walks. I ended up in Odense and returned safely with my quarry. Lots of damaged trees even in the city. A cold headwind on my chest coming home so I put my scull cap back on again and pressed on. Not wanting to overheat often means a little discomfort. Or stopping to add or remove clothing. I hate stopping once on a ride.

The GripGrab winter gloves are comfortable at these temperatures but certainly no lower. I use scooter riders' gloves in the really cold weather. I can hardly believe the daily agony I went through for the first couple of years of serious(?) tricycling before finally discovering what really worked against the cold. Riding every day through the Danish winters at down to -12C requires specialist clothing to stop wind infiltration dragging the body's heat away. Whilst still ensuring moisture can escape freely. A wet back is an abject failure.

Fortunately, over a long period of searching, I found a whole series of cast-off winter cycling jackets in various charity shops. These allowed me to closely match my jackets to the air temperature and the day's wind conditions. Long skiing underwear provides the first layer under a variety of racing jerseys. The latter were trolled from the same charity shops and diligently (and frequently) washed by my wife before I was ever allowed out in them. Decent skiing underwear is very cheaply available now and even found in supermarkets on special offer these days. They are vastly superior to the overpriced crap thermal underwear once advertised heavily on British TV.

I fell for the lying bullshit and wore it all the time in winter. Finding myself repeatedly dripping with my own sweat and then getting chilled. Not a lot of fun in the mountains! Wearing proofed nylon jackets and cagoules didn't help. Mobile personal saunas would be a better description!

Wind-proof overshoes are essential to avoid a cold blast going right through the vents fitted to normal cycling shoes designed to remain cool in summer use. I have a whole series of inexpensive socks that increase in thickness then add a second layer as temperatures drop lower. The very high cost of winter cycling shoes has meant that I have never invested.

When I first started commuting the 15 miles to work, in my youth, I discovered a newspaper inside my jumper was infinitely better than a proofed nylon (sauna) jacket. Until it rained, of course. These days Gore-Tex is supposed to be the stuff to use but I still don't own a Gore-Tex jacket. It is the one remaining chink in my cycling armour. It is so much simpler, and cheaper, to avoid wet weather by taking a long overdue rest day. Fortunately, Denmark seems to get only a fraction of the normal British rainfall. 41 miles.

Tuesday 12th 41F, 5C, overcast and windy, with rain forecast all morning. They were right for once! It tipped down continuously. Though it should brighten up later. (Wrong!) It didn't. Another rest day.

I spent the morning in the shed changing my worn out tires for a new set of 700Cx25mm Schwalbe Duranos.[NOT Plus] The last lot did me proud for thousands of miles without any punctures even when they were worn to the canvas. I had a puncture at 5K miles so decided it was time to let them retire gracefully.  I'm in no hurry to seek pastures new in the tyre department. BTW: For those unfortunate enough to care. They measure 23.5mm wide inflated to 90PSI, when brand new, but reach 25mm exactly after 5K miles. Not a lot of people know that.  BTW: They went on without needing tyre levers provided the inner tube was not inflated.

I also removed and attacked the undersides of my Honey B17 'Special' with a smidgen of Brooks Proofide wax. Now I am becoming ever more sorely tempted to drill (or rather punch) the saddle skirts and lace it to maintain its shape. If it all goes horribly wrong you will be the first to know. Then we can all blame Alan! ;-)

The problem I am discovering with tensioning the nose bolt (even by the slightly amount) is the leather top taking on the dreaded delta form. The rear seating triangles, where the sit bones should rest in dimples, develop a forward and downward slope. This makes you feel as if you are sliding forwards. Throwing more of your your weight onto the saddle spine where most of us are sorely equipped to be so supported.

I tried to fix this problem with my Brooks "Professional" by soaking and reshaping with padding underneath and even by the application of G-cramps. I don't think I waited long enough to ride the Professional again. The very thick leather must still have been slightly moist and it soon sagged into the unwanted delta form. It would have been better to wait some weeks. Or have taken it indoors but I had no other saddle at the time. Then came the revelation of discovering the wider B17.

I thought all would be well until I grew too old to cycle any more but it wasn't to be. The wonderfully comfortable B17 'Select' was far too soft, the skirts were permanently flared and the spine soon twisted.

I obtained a replacement under guarantee in the form of a B17 'Special.' This needed breaking in but eventually became very comfortable. Particularly with the  better quality bib shorts I had bought to replace my very dated collection of non-bib shorts.

The problem now is that I am wearing skiing tights under the bibbies for the increasing cold. I try to put this off as long as possible but eventually it has to be done. Despite the seams being nicely flat they are spoiling my comfort. This coincided with an increasing change in shape of the 'Special' to a delta form despite my not having touched the tension screw.

I have just put a leather strap around the skirt area and this flattens out the sag in the spine quite nicely. But, even more importantly, it also flattens the seating area again. So lacing has the potential to achieve eactly what I need rather than adding more tension.

Piercing the superb leather of my 'Special' requires great care and forethought. I have researched the matter extensively online with rather mixed results and feelings. It is reported that lacing makes the saddle harder. This is almost inevitable. Normally the sides flare outward slightly as the rider sits on the leather top. A laced saddle cannot flare easily because the skirts are now firmly restrained. My fuzzy logic assumes that the saddle will revert to an earlier condition. Perhaps even requiring being broken in again. Hardly the end of the world if it saves the saddle from death by delta.

There also is the issue of the saddle rails. Piercing too low (or too high) will place the laces in direct line with the rails. Tying and lacing would then get unnecessarily clumsy or untidy. Moreover, the impressed Brooks model badges are not always perfectly aligned with each other. So one cannot safely assume that the laces will pull straight if the badges are used as reference points for punching the holes.

Opinions online vary as to the ideal position for the lace holes and their number. There is also the danger of exposed laces rubbing on the inner thighs. Grooving the leather to allow the laces to be made flush is possible but must increase the risk of a tear. So that the laces break out of the bottom of the skirt as a rectangular chunk is ripped along the cut groove.

Lifting the lace holes to the indented Brooks skirt badges offers greater safety but obviously spoils the cosmetic appearance of the impressed badges. Though using matching leather, flat laces would hep to increase invisibility. Once pierced the saddle is already wrecked from the eBay resale point of view. The idea is to add a strengthening suture (tummy tuck?) rather than lose the patient on the operating table. "Et tu, Brute?" <Gulp!>

Click on any image for an enlargement.

7 Nov 2013

7th November 2013


Wednesday 6th 41F, 5C, heavy overcast, raining steadily. It stopped raining quite early so I walked around the block in just under an hour. I could feel the coolness on my hands but was soon too warm with a fleece hat on. I'm going out on the trike after coffee. It stayed dry and sunny so I went for a foolishly circuitous and hilly route. If I told you that it involved getting quite lost on waterlogged forest trails you probably wouldn't believe me! The Crud RR2 mudguard is still working well despite all the mud, sand and vegetation on the roads (and tracks) left by the storm. The total silence in use is a huge benefit. "Normal" mudguards seem to amplify every sound. Crud use plastic stays and this may be the secret to running quiet(ly).

I was monitoring the over-spray from the mudguard on my overshoes. Everything was fine until I bogged down to the axles and had to unclip while completely surrounded in 6" of water! Can you imagine climbing 1-in-4 hills on very boggy grass on anything but a trike with 2WD? Though not. BTW: "Why would you even want to try?" is not a valid question to the avid tricycling explorer with a load of shopping on board.

Having exhausted all the local bike shops I have had to order a 103mm BB axle online. I hadn't dealt with this company in Copenhagen before. They still haven't bounced me an automatic confirmation email despite promising to do so on their payment webpage. Not a good sign! Unless I messed up typing my email address...(?) I'll ring them tomorrow and give them a poke with a sharp stick. 25 miles.

Thursday 7th 43-46F, 6-8C, overcast, almost still and dry. I went for a morning walk as usual. Isn't it amazing from how far away one can hear a vehicle? Being so still, without the roar of the wind in my ears, I could still clearly hear cars when they absolutely tiny on distant roads. There doesn't seem to be much peace and quiet in the countryside these days.

I think the walking is making me stronger for when I climb out of the saddle. It used to be agony to do just a few yards out of the saddle when I first tried. Now I deliberately climb hills out of the saddle to see how far I can go without having to sit down again. Several hundred yards is well within my capacity now. I try to maintain a high cadence but still prefer having some resistance. So I usually shift up a couple of gears. No doubt the majority of drivers wonder why a tricyclist would stand up. They probably associate a trike with age and infirmity despite the sporting pretensions of my clothing, the dropped handlebars and the tall, skinny wheels. Come to think of it; they would probably be right!

I left after coffee on another circuitous and hilly route. It rained at halfway but I dried out again. 26 miles. Still nothing from the Copenhagen online sales. No answer to my emails and two phone calls had an answering service. I ordered elsewhere and quickly received confirmation and notification of despatch. Now, that's what I call service!

Friday 8th 43-49F, 5-9C, dry, clear, bright and sunny. Winds are supposed to be fairly light again today. 10m/s /22mph gusts. Tomorrow looks like being very wet with gales.[40mph] It had better happen today if I'm going for a longer ride this week. It was a pleasant, sunny but cool morning but became overcast with a cold headwind coming home.

Lots of trees down and damaged including mature oaks from long avenues. Some must of them have been 3' in diameter at the base. Lots of huge, old willows had been smashed or felled. One main road was closed while damaged trees were pruned and made safe from a cherry picker. Occasional barns seemed to have suffered damage but only a few houses had tiles missing. All very evenly spread across the map with no obvious localised damage areas. 41 miles.

My 103mm bottom bracket turned up in the post today. Next day delivery is incredible service from Jensen Cykler and the Post Office! The (supposed) dealer from Copenhagen was a time waster. No stock and no idea when he would have. No email confirmation of ordering. Claimed his confirmation mail would be in my junk mail file. It wasn't.

Saturday 9th 46F, 8C, breezy, overcast, rain. I'll swap the bottom bracket first. The self extracting crank fixing screws are such a simple and clever idea compared with the separate and usually expensive extractor tools of the past. The difference in weight and bulk between the tool kits on my Trykit and Higgins is ridiculous. The Higgins needs a spanner for the wheel nuts.

Changing the bottom bracket went very well and has finally resulted in a perfect chainline. (Centre sprocket to centre chainwheel) The crank is now much closer to the bottom bracket cup as is the inner chainring. With less distance between the cranks as well. I like to put a screw through the Shimano BB cup extractor to ensure the star "teeth" don't slip. Once the cup starts moving they can usually be removed by turning the extractor by hand. It is important to grease the cups and crank fixing screws to ensure easy removal. I use a copper-based grease.

Gear changes are now effortless (on the workstand) and the cable tension is greatly reduced in reaching the outer chainwheel. The latter is what drove me to try a shorter axle. I could never get the chain far enough out to allow rub-free drive on the 46T chainwheel. Now I have so much freedom that I had to adjust the stop screw and the changer moves the chain over quite effortlessly. With an extra click for chainline trimming if necessary.

The front changer problems have plagued me since I obtained the Trykit. Not because of the trike itself but because of the axle length. Spa recommended a 115mm BB for the Stronglight triple axle. Which was ridiculously long. Even the 107mm was far too long. The Campag 11sp Ergo lever mechanism would trip if I tried to shift onto the big chainwheel. Conversely it was equally difficult to change reliably onto the small chainwheel without shedding the chain onto the bottom bracket shell! I tried an MTB triple changer and even a Campag Athena double front changer without success. I was even seriously considering going over to a smaller double chainset. Now it all looks and feels fine thanks to the much shorter BB axle.

The promised early gales seem to have passed and it is even brightening up. So I'll probably risk a ride to the shops after coffee. I'll take some more pictures when it is lighter. It was so overcast and dark earlier that all my pictures were fuzzy. The camera was probably trying to using full aperture for macro and losing depth of field.

It was spitting with rain as I left  but at least the wind was behind me. The wind picked up considerably while I was out. With fierce gusts. The gears were better but I need to adjust the end stops more carefully. Lots more fallen and damaged trees along the way. I was racing a huge wall of black cloud on the way home while fighting a vicious head crosswind as I plodded on at 7mph with a heavy load of shopping. The rain caught me in the last few yards. My chain had came off the small chainwheel and I was left with my legs flailing. 13 miles.

Sunday 10th 42F, 6C, cool, gentle breeze, cloudy with brighter periods. It was supposed to rain but hasn't so far. Worked on the front changer stop screws and fitted a simple "braze on" front changer clamp as a chain guide. I may add a vertical aluminium tube to the changer clamping surface to provide a larger obstruction to the chain.

Then I went for an hour and half walk along rough tracks, looping up through the woods and back down again by another route. Everything was very wet indeed but the Salomon boots showed no sign of dampness inside. It is brightening up even more now. So I'm going out on the trike after fortifying myself with coffee and rolls well covered with high fruit content marmalade.

An image of the shorter axle with, thankfully, greatly reduced clearances on both sides. The front changer clamp is acting as a chain guide to stop the chain throwing itself straight onto the bottom bracket shell. The gears seem to be behaving themselves better than  before. 

The arrival of more affordable 11 speed cassettes (Sram Force and Shimano Ultegra) tempts me to go over to a double chainwheel and 11-32 11 speed cassette. Unlike a bike the Trykit 2WD freehub can easily take 11 speeds at normal Shimano spacing. This would suit my 11 speed Campag Chorus shifters and avoid having to use a triple chainwheel. I just need to decide on which chainrings to choose to make best use of a wide range cassette.  

It stayed dry but rather cool as I rode a wobbly route gathering more autumn photographs. I saw five well grown deer out on the fields in a relatively unpopulated area. They ran at first but then  decided to stand still to become completely invisible. Still plenty of evidence of the recent storm. 21 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.