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!!!!

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