9 Dec 2013

December 9th 2013

Monday 9th 45-47F, 7-8C, overcast, misty, light winds, fine drizzle now and then. Walked for an hour through the woods. I have given up walking on the verge. It is an open invitation for traffic to brush past. I still take to the verge to give lorries a bit more room on their GPS rat run. It is self preservation more than anything. I wait until they are approaching then hop away to avoid a free shower from the wheel spray!

Later, a shopping loop on the trike. The mist cleared and then came back thicker than before. 20 miles. I was overtaken on a completely blind corner by a drunk driver. I could tell he was blind drunk from the fact that he ran onto the grass verge after getting past me! The overtaking on a blind corner is normal practice around here.

There was a hilarious suggestion in the Danish press that parents should train their children in dealing with traffic. When was this "training" supposed to happen? The majority of parents never put down their mobile phones long enough to even notice the presence of their children!

What about the vast majority of parents speeding wherever they go? This is obviously a case of: "Do as I say! Not as I do!" and a pitifully poor example to their offspring. Surely the parents illegal speed presents a far greater risk to child pedestrians (and cyclists) while out there trying to practice their own parents wise words of advice? This training idea is a complete non-starter. It is the parents who need training!

Sans avenue. Now you see it. Now you don't! A picture without an avenue of lofty trees is really no picture at all. Merely a record of their passing. 

There was another news story about the high cost of installing reversing cameras and sensors if it was ever made law. Reversing cameras?!? What about a camera in the windscreen to monitor the driver's lunatic behaviour in traffic? The greatest aid to road safety would be a camera simultaneously monitoring the speedometer and road ahead. Hopefully feeding a locked and sealed hard drive to avoid tampering with evidence! Laws are only observed when the perceived rewards are outweighed by a strong chance of being caught and punished for misdemeanours.

Tuesday 10th 45F, 7CV, overcast, thick mist clearing slowly, winds light. A walk in the mist trying to capture the foggy conditions without it looking like it is simply out of focus. Not! Later I did a hilly loop on the trike in occasional, very light drizzle. 19 miles.

Wednesday 11th 42F, 6C, light winds, heavy overcast, a bit misty with damp in the air. My walk took me through the woods unscathed. My hip is hurting after putting up the roof ladder for the chimney sweep's compulsory, annual visit. My nose bled all over my cycling jacket afterwards as well. This poor old chap is falling to pieces. Just like his computer! Total chaos yesterday. Couldn't do a thing without it crashing! Probably just the NSA busy destroying the Itinerant. What-ever. It seems better today. The computer. Not, the NSA.

My hip was aching as I rode to the shops so I curtailed potential, extra-curricular excursions for today. I was within inches of ending this triking monologue on a decidedly messy note when a bus overtook me ON a mini roundabout!! Only 17 miles dodging the school bus.

Thursday 12th 35F, +2C, light winds, misty. No walk because I did some weight lifting with logs before going out. I bought some more back lights in town to add to my original Smart lights. The new ones are 'Smart' E_Line blobs at about £6 each with choice of two clamps and  about the size of a squashed plum with two tiny batteries inside. They look like AAAs chopped in two. I fitted one light to the bottom of each seat stay. Ready for a planned second ride which would bring me back after dark. Trikes need two widely spaced rear lights to comply with the regulations. Nobody could claim not to see me now except in broad daylight.

A woman was so fixated on getting across a mini roundabout ahead of the bus behind me that she floored the pedal and nearly broadsided me! Loud shriek of brakes and tires and I just cleared her bonnet sprinting hard at 20mph. That's two days in a row! I was wearing a bright blue and white jacket. The barstewards are definitely out to get me! 30 miles in all. Mostly avoiding Volvos and flashing like a ruddy Xmas tree.

I follow the national hillclimb champion's blog  http://cyclinguphill.com/ and smiled at his struggle with a 25% gradient on 39x25. I remembered my first racing bike was set up with a 44x20 for a 59.4" lowest gear. Being a naive young soul I used 58/44 x 16,17,18,19,20 for a nice series of gears without overlaps. I climbed every hill in the Bath area repeatedly on that. Right up to the various "1-in-4s."

I loved climbing hills and would seek out the worst that Bath's crater-like contours could offer. Later I climbed them all on my old trike. Including Thomas Street, Lansdown Lane, Holloway, Brassknocker, Bathford's worst, etc. The problem with such steep hills is turning around to come back down gain! Try as I might I could not turn the trike safely without the severe risk of  tipping. Which meant loosening the toe-straps and gingerly putting my feet down to allow me to rotate the trike beneath me. The thick, alloy shoe plates and slippery soles and heels did not help adhesion. Wheelspin was quite normal even in the dry climbing the steep stuff with 1WD on HPs.

Friday 13th 41F, 5C, very heavy overcast, raining, but almost still. Friday the 13th? Going on the experience of the last two days perhaps I should hide under the covers and stay in bed all day? It never stopped raining so another rest day. Wasted the entire day on the computer. I followed my route to school on Google's Street View from just over 50 years ago. I used to chase an older lad on his fully kitted out racing bike. While I was riding an all steel boy's bike on low pressures and Sturmey 3 speed which I had bought from a school mate for a few quid. I hadn't had a bike for years before that.

Turning myself inside out while trying to keep up always resulted in massive overheating followed by a sweat bath during morning assembly. It also triggered a complete change in my formerly indifferent fitness level and previously slow growth rate. Shame it was much too late to be enjoyed in school sports. As my self confidence and speed grew to match my new height. Though my "malnourished" build hardly changed for decades.

Saturday 14th 36-39F,2-4C, misty, almost still with heavy overcast. Rain promised by lunchtime. Had my hour's walk. Was kicking the fallen branches and twigs from the road which the council's tractor hedge clipper had spread on top of the existing debris from the storm. Yet more material which will slowly compost in a wide, hazardous swathe out from the verge. Forcing cyclists out into the road, increasing the danger, irritating drivers and delaying traffic which can't so easily overtake. They used to sweep all the roads regularly with a specialised lorry when we first moved here. The machines have probably rusted away from disuse by now.

It stayed dark and misty so I set my 'Smart' rear lights flashing to go out on the trike. One of those rare occasions when I saw a police car on the road. Only 8 miles as damp in the air turned to proper drizzle. Several people have spoken to me about the trike recently. Some want one like mine. Others want to know if they could ride one with their infirmities. I suggested an electric motor for one chap using two walking sticks.

Sunday 15th 42F, 6C, windy, overcast, raining. The rain is supposed to continue until lunch time. Then it should brighten up to real sunshine. It will be gusting to over 30mph all day. Bliss! It wasn't blowing or raining hard when I left for my walk but soon sheets of rain could be seen against the dark face of the woods as my jacket turned dark. There was nothing to gain from turning back at that point so I continued. I find it very relaxing to walk in total solitude away from the traffic. Since I started walking most mornings I have shared the tracks with only a single walker on one occasion. My wife worries about the hunters shooting me but I haven't run across any of them so far. I see groups with guns quite regularly from the trike. It is brightening up now so I'll get ready for a ride.

There was precious little sign of the sun despite the forecast. They were wrong about the strong winds too. I doubt it reached 10mph as I trundled, heavily laden, from one shop to the next.  At this rate I shall need a much bigger bag! Or a trailer. I stopped to see if I could help a young cyclist walking his carbon bike in full cycling togs. Thanks to the miracle of the mobile phone he had somebody already coming to pick him up but he was very polite and thanked me for stopping. I saw quite a few cyclists out training and all of them gave me a wave. 21 miles. Though it felt further because I was out for so long.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

No comments:

Post a Comment