26 Jun 2013

24th June 2013


Those damned windmills! Such an eyesore!  
Haven't they heard of symmetry? ;ø)>

24th 56-62F, 13-17C, breezy, overcast. The promised rain should end quite early. Leaving sunny periods for my usual window for reaching low orbit and the international supermarkets. My knee is feeling better today but I'd better not push it too hard. A helpful wind going but hard work coming back. It only brightened up towards the end.

After swapping my last pair for a larger pair the Tactic-Sport bib shorts were unbelievably superb. Not a moment of discomfort from the seat or the very flexible braces. I was completely unaware of wearing them for the entire journey. Absolutely no sign of dampness after nearly 40 miles and several hours in and out of the saddle. The deeply contoured cushion, pad or chamois is the most comfortable imaginable. The multipanel cloth is nicely snug for support without tightness. The rubber grip strip on the hem of the legs went  unnoticed too.

The pad in the Bontrager Race bibs gets very sweaty indeed after a much shorter ride and begins to irritate the sit bone area after only 30 miles, or even earlier. Probably the damp building up in the seating area. There is no obvious ventilation to the sponge padding despite the contouring of the much thinner foam.

The Tactic-Sports bibs, in combination with the steadily improving Brooks B17 'Special' have safely removed any remaining doubts about my potential range. As long as I can keep pedalling they should stay comfortable. If only the wind would drop I could give them a far more serious test. A bit of sunshine wouldn't go amiss either. I've only managed a couple of 60 mile rides this year so far. I am still determined to reach 100 miles even if it takes me all day. Which it will on present form. Only 39 miles today.

25th 56F, 13C, light breeze building to windy, cloudy. I went outside to look around the garden and found a vole pottering around. It seemed oblivious to my presence. It's odd how so many shrubs and trees are, or have been, heavy with bloom yet the lilacs have been very muted this year. There are vast stretches of lilac hedges on Fyn. Often providing the only protection from the wind. Lilac blossom can usually entertain with their variety of colours. Bees seem in very short supply too. The garden is usually packed with bees, but again, not this year. Shopping in Assens. 23 miles. Plus 7 more miles pm.

26th 52F, 11C, tree-thrashing windy, cloudy with bright moments. Summer continues to evade us. Or rather "avoid us." As Gargle and the other crooked, commercial giants would say. If it looks like the maffia, smells like the  maffia and pays taxes like the maffia... then it must be Tarbucks whitewash, Gargle mouthwash, RottenApple and Malwarts n'all.

Insect 'twitchers' are coming from all over Europe to see the solitary bee of 2013 in our garden. Well, here it is! Cheerfully getting another good dose of nicotine from spray drift. I just hope it didn't inhale!

Denmark is producing a map showing air pollution for every address. The problem is they haven't allowed for the user to add their own data. If you live next door to a 24x365 woodburner then no map is going to stop you choking with laughter at the sheer idiocy of the project. And what about noise pollution? The map pretends to show that heavily trafficked roads are polluted. What about living next door to semi-commercial, black market, firewood producers? There is hardly a village which doesn't have its own chainsaw massacre of the peace and quiet of the countryside.

Have they measured the broad spectrum pollution on every rural rat-run? Where cheapo, East European car GPS leads 6 axle juggernauts barging through every village and hamlet just to save a kilometre or two. It gets worse every day! I am far more likely to meet a lane-filling articulated container lorry, with a foreign number plate, than a private car or farmer's 4WD. I often have to take to the grass verge as they thunder past at a ridiculous, tarmac and bridge-destroying pace.

The reason for my "inner calm" this morning? I have added a poorly toe to my wonky knee and gammy right arm. (My apologies for using these heavy medical terms so early in the morning!)  At least the promised rain has dissipated for today. Shame it's blowing a gale.(again) I would have been sprayed (yet again) in yesterday's stiff headwind if the farmer's help hadn't got his spray bar tangled in a garden hedge! Coming back was an 8-9mph affair. Though I did manage 15mph briefly going downhill by standing up on the pedals.

As I was riding back from the shops I saw the roof of the lorry sticking up above the verge. This was where the field was well below road level. At first I couldn't work out how he had managed to get down there. The bank beside the road was at least 45 degrees and impossible to negotiate with any normal vehicle. There was also a growing crop in the field so the lorry obviously wasn't waiting to collect anything.

Further on I saw the damage done to the lilac hedge. The lorry must have missed the bank completely when it left the road. Landing upright on its wheels down in the field. The engine was still running and the driver talking on his mobile phone. Presumably relating the problem back to base and requesting a rescue crane. The odd thing was that the wind would have pushed him onto the opposite side of the road. Perhaps the fierce side wind helped to keep the lorry upright as it quite literally flew off the road in mid air? The driver was incredibly lucky not to be sitting in a complete wreck! The lorry looked undamaged from my side of the road. Just sitting there in a straight line as if it was parked in the field. 17 miles.

Turup Kirke dates, as do many Danish churches, from the 1100s. Constantly added to, it gained the Gothic style and was much enlarged in the late middle ages.

27th 54F, 12C, windy, wet and overcast. My toe is too painful to walk normally now. Though there is nothing much to see. As it is supposed to rain all day (and tomorrow) this seems like a perfect opportunity for a rest day. Hopefully a rest will give the toe time to recover. The Head Gardener has put a plaster on it and I have been "excused boots." There's not much I can do in carpet slippers in the rain, except to put the world to rights on my computer. Though I will do my best not to bore my cycling readership. Nor attract the interest of the snooping NSA (Nazi Stasi Americarians?) and/or GCHQ/PRISM as one of the many "not doing the right thing." ;-)  

Yesterday I was talking about the finely detailed Danish air pollution map. Well, there is already a call for estate agents to append the air pollution score to their whimsical fantasies sales literature. Since very few houses are selling anyway this could well be the final straw before the Danish housing market collapses completely. Our online searches for a new Chez Tricyklist (away from the incessant woodsmoke and barking/howling dog) suggest that there is nothing rural detached, within our price range, which is not quite literally ringed by pig farms. What the estate agent's carefully selected (manicured) images do not show then Gargle Map/Streetview usually can. 

It's odd how Gargle puts a very soft focus filter on all their "satellite views". Presumably to protect public privacy. Or, far more likely, to try and monopolise sales of their higher resolution mappery to the likes of NSA/GCHQ/Big Business. 

Meanwhile, back at the pig ranch, there is another free, online, high-res, aerial photography service called Grundkort Fyn. One which totally eclipses Gargle's rapidly-aging aerial fuzziness. The Danish service is annually updated with new and even better aerial photography. With lots of really useful bells and whistles in image overlays. The detail is increasingly astonishing with each new release. With past decades imagery still available at a click on the mouse one can easily make comparisons. Handy for seeing when one still had a particular car/trailer/hedge/tree or fence. 

Not so long ago I used to have to specially order Ordnance Survey maps at quite foolish (monopolistic)  prices from the local outlet. For what was really just a very a poor drawing of basic geographical features. So today's online aerial imagery seems almost magical in comparison. The ability to pinpoint exact locations and follow my rides, using GPS, only adds to the fun of cycling.

Our new found ability to "see over the hedge" is really quite extraordinary. Not to invade another's privacy but to discover the wonders of hidden gardens, lakes, historical features and old houses. While the trike certainly offers a far better view, compared with many cars, there is still lots which goes quite unseen.

There has surely never been a better time in human history to enjoy the rapid advancement of technology in the hands of the common man. Despite my pointless jibes at the NSA/GCHQ/PRISM snoopers I still hope that we can remain calm as the massive, often unforeseen, technological changes wash over us. We are probably less than a decade from useful robots in daily life and the complete unknowns of AI. Both arrive at a time of massive youth unemployment and deep questions about our supposed democratic leadership. Let us hope that such potentially dangerous technologies are all placed under strictly democratic control. Rather than only in the hands of the "powers that be." Who would always have it all their own way. If only out of knee-jerk paranoia and raving nationalism. 

It amuses me when geographical location is used as an excuse for almost anything. Where one is born is not something over which one ever has ANY control. Yet the village mentality and utterly pointless loyalty to a particular location still exists the world over. When you glance up at a cyclist, or tricyclist, you have absolutely no way of discerning where they came from. It could be the next village. Or, quite possibly, from the other side of the world. Imagine having your bicycle stolen by a local drug addict feeding their own filthy, self-abuse. Or being caught up in a tribal battle between football supporters of neighbouring cities. While you are on a round-the-world ride to raise money for charity.    

28th 50F, 10C, very windy, light rain and heavily overcast. Cool temperatures and continuous rain are forecast for all day and tomorrow, yet again. I put up a wind vane a couple of days ago. Hoping to be able to confirm the wind direction suggested by the DMI's computer modelling. The carefully balanced, low friction vane is sitting on a vertical pole on a shed. At about 15' off the ground  the vane has spent a lot of time quite literally going around in circles! All the trees and high hedges are obviously producing too much turbulence for directional accuracy. At least it confirms that our continuing inability to confirm the true wind direction, within the garden, is soundly based on reality. :-) 

My toe is still hurting despite resting it all day yesterday. I have cabin fever already and it's only 7am! Even if my foot was fit enough to have a go on the completely unused exercise bike I'd still be bored. I bought it a couple of years ago in a flea market for small change. It can't have more than a quarter of an hour's use in all that time! It has a massive flywheel for a front wheel with an adjustable tension, friction tape in the rim to give a sense of climbing a steep hill. If I was fit enough to ride that thing then I am fit enough to go for a proper ride. 

Perhaps I should dig out my old Bontrager MTB shoes to see if they offer more toe room than the Specialised? My toe only hurts if I press it against something. The bike forums are full of posts about finding wider shoes in a vast, wider shoe desert. The use of man-made materials offers absolutely no relief for those desperately hoping their shoes will stretch a little. They never will. The manufacturers can't even agree on long-established, international standards of shoe sizing for their overpriced and overhyped, largely plastic, ballet slippers! :-) Tried riding down the drive no problem. Walking? Ouch! Back home again. Another rest day! Where will it all end?

29th 53F, 12C, overcast, breezy with constant, heavy drizzle. It is supposed to rain until after lunch. I'm still not sure whether my toe is improving enough to go out. I am afraid of making it worse before it can heal properly. A plaster is helping to protect it against knocks. Perhaps it's fortunate that the weather has been so wet because it reduces the pressure to get out on the trike. The cabin fever is also reducing as I find other projects to work on indoors. The gnawing emptiness of yet another rest day is passing.

Hopefully the rest will make me stronger. The experts say I am doing it all wrong by riding almost every day. Though their advice is more related to racing, rather than my own cycling activities, it must still hold true for any form of heavy exercise. No rest means the body has less chance to adapt to the exercise, build healthy muscle and repair any damage.

I suppose I should count myself lucky that I have avoided injury and illness during my last few years of intensive cycling. Particularly at my age. My distances must seem pitiful to many cyclists who have maintained their interest and activity in the sport for many decades. Re-starting, virtually from scratch, meant that I had no base miles to build on. The lack of regular practice meant that I was terribly unfit compared to many cyclists who have kept going through the long years. Even if it was 'only' a comfortable commuting distance.

Just rebuilding my heart-lung efficiency took a couple of years of fairly high (total) mileages at a steadily increasing pace. Removing all (most) of the body fat from a decade of enjoying Danish pastries on a daily basis took three years. Recovering from the RSI caused by my last employment took over three years. My leg muscles are still changing considerably as time passes. My formerly muscular arms have become sinewy sticks. The psychological well-being of healthy outdoor exercise could easily be interpreted as being barking mad to want to cycle so much in the first place.

I only mention all of this in case it helps, or even inspires others to take up cycling after years of relative inactivity. Cycling offers health benefits without the struggle of taking up jogging while carrying extra body weight. The joints are better protected on a bike and one can use cycling as a mobile platform for enjoying or even reaching other activities beyond comfortable walking distance.

Cycling is extremely efficient at using human power to extend one's physical range. Even when I'm not trying hard I can double or triple the distance covered by an obviously fit runner in a given time. I see hundreds of joggers and runners in the lanes over a year of cycling. I can usually outpace even the fastest of them. Even while I'm carrying a heavy load of shopping and they only a miniature MP3 player.

This is important information if you want to swap the car or bus for a healthier way of reaching your regular goals. Walking is a slow way of reaching almost anywhere else. Running is very hard work with lots of discomfort and shock to the skeletal system if you have no previous experience. Three miles on the flat is quite an easy range. It probably means one hour of comfortable walking, twenty minutes of sweaty jogging or 10-15 minutes of easy cycling. I admire joggers and runners. I just don't feel I have the time, or the energy, to copy their example. Oh, and we have much better toys. I'm playing it safe and giving my toe another day to recover. Another rest day. It turned sunny later though still windy.

30th 55F, 13C, bright sunny periods, wind building to 35mph gusts later with the trees already swaying. I have to go out anyway. So I'm going to try a short ride wearing my old Bontrager shoes. They have more room in the toe where they have stretched slightly by beginning to come apart. I think I'll have to visit the doctor for an expert opinion soon. Or I'm never going to get mobile again. It's looking and feeling like an ingrowing toenail according to some online images. The cuticle or edge of the nail is a mixed mess of broken hard bits and pieces. Any sideways pressure on that side of the toe is still very painful. Though there is no sign of  discoloration, swelling or infection.

I set off after coffee in my old Bontrager MTB shoes. No serious pain on the trike but walking was more of a pain. I kept trying to drag my foot back into the heel but the Velcro wouldn't hold well enough to achieve anything useful. A more roomy pair of shoes with a ratchet fastening is looking more desirable now. It was blowing a gusty gale side wind. I spotted the damage which the lorry had done. It was clear that it had flown above the bank. They must have towed it along the spray tracks for a couple of hundred yards and then back onto the road where the bank was much lower. 16 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

25 Jun 2013

Brooks B17 'Champion Special' in Antique Brown.


The dealer, from whom I had bought the B17 'Select' was kind enough to replace the previous unsatisfactory model with a B17 'Special'.  He also refunded the difference in price. The, otherwise gorgeous, 'Select' had unfortunately proved to be far too flexible. It had also turned banana-shaped in plan view. Cow hide, being a natural material, is subject to occasional unpredictability. While I was unhappy to have to return the beautiful 'Select' the replacement B17 'Special' is all one could possibly wish for in a saddle. Perfect craftsmanship without the artificiality of a machine-made product. 

This 'Special' is an absolute work of perfection. Since I already had a 'Honey' B17 Special I had requested the 'Antique Brown' this time. I hope you can appreciate the colour from the photographs. These were taken late afternoon on a heavily overcast day. I boosted gamma and contrast to liven up the images a little.

Brooks have presentation down to a fine art now. They know their audience appreciates the care which goes into the product. The thoughtful packaging may seem like guilding the lily, to some,  but it also has the purpose of presenting the saddle to the customer in perfect condition and in the correct style. Gentlemen's tailoring and handmade leather footwear is the intended theme. While most traditional leather and steel saddles have their own unique character, Brooks has it in spades. The hand beaten copper rivets are beautifully finished. Showing truly remarkable skill with a hammer.

But, that's enough waffle from me. Enjoy these images of a handmade product of the highest quality:

Click on any image for an enlargement.

23 Jun 2013

Rogers Tandem Trike on eBay












Click on any image for an enlargement.

20 Jun 2013

20th June 2013


You never know when  you'll really need that puncture repair outfit! This rather weak joke is all about the Ovethi tyre specialist vehicle at the front of the vast wind turbine mast carrier. 

20th 64F, 18C, a grey, breezy start. Sun and 25F warmth are promised. Somebody forgot to cancel the mist and low cloud! Grey, misty and humid. My sunglasses and the hair on my arms and legs were constantly wet. Only 65F at 2pm. Well short of the "cross my heart and hope to die" DMI forecast. The inversion layer made the motorway traffic incredibly noisy at great distances. Normally the roar of tyres is only noticeable about a mile or two away. I could easily hear the racket from twice that distance today. I don't know how people tolerate the noise. It must be exhausting having that as a constant background. Like living very near a weir or a huge waterfall, I suppose. But without that warm feeling that it might flood at any time.

I saw a chap loading a robotic/remote controlled grass cutter onto a trailer. It had just finished clipping the grass strips between the road and the cycle path. Very neatly too, I might add. Unfortunately I was too late to see it in action. I suppose the cutting width was about 4'. So there were some economies of scale compared with the usual push-along, motor mowers. But without the usual damage caused by "overenthusiastically driven" ride-on mowers. I wonder how it copes with posts and other road furniture?

There seems to be quite a lot of tidying up going on at the moment. I passed a team painting the decades old, concrete traffic barriers along the sides of the road. Going from dull, mossy grey to startling white is a bit of an eye opener. Fortunately the barriers are only situated where there are particular hazards. Such as wet marshes and ponds right beside the road. Or where houses are particularly vulnerable to attack by overambitious drivers. Now all we need is a team of several hundred thousand specialist pot-hole fillers to finish off.

Rant/ You have to laugh when the government announces a new and foolishly expensive cycle path with great pomp and fanfare. They spend millions, only to leave millions of lethal potholes sitting there like anti-personnel mines for innocent cyclists. It's the deliberate blindness to the hideous and obvious truth which irritates me most. It's the same all round the world judging from the news. It really is no wonder there are riots and Arabs Springing up everywhere. Brazil must have a lot of potholes too.

And another thing: They spend huge sums rebuilding a school with all mod cons. Then leave the damaged cycle path and pavement, which pass right in front of it, looking like a tank training ground. All that expense, vast machinery and manpower and they cannot afford a single chapess with a broom and shovel to clear away the mud and stones at the entrance to the building site? They could  throw the biggest rocks into the echoing chasms in the cycle path! Do building tradesmen never ride bicycles? I think we can safely assume that local government officials are barred from cycling in case they hurt themselves. /Rant :-)

25 miles of reckless abandon: Submitting myself to the fates of the open road and equally bumpy cycle paths. That bloke, Feng Shui, had it mostly right! He said it was bad Chi to tricycle on the outside of corners with too much camber and too many holes.

21st 61F, 16C, overcast, breezy... raining? It is supposed to be dry this morning but wet for the next week. The DMI are threatening more cloudbursts and thunderstorms. I had better break out the flotation devices and paddles for crossing all of those flooded potholes. Not to mention a tinfoil hat to protect myself from those 18mm hailstones! There is no hailstone proof cycle helmet standard that I am aware of.  Can't shelter under Ash trees because they have all gone in the petrochemical smog.

Wouldn't it be wonderfully ironic if the Danish Prime Minister threw a few of her vast collection of priceless designer handbags into the bottomless pits. Just to help cyclists pass in the illusion of safety. But that's a bit like hoping Imelda Marcos would shoe the poor.

God knows what HC Anderson would make of today's very strange world. Though nothing has really changed since "The little match girl." Except for all the people trafficking and the size of televisions. Fortunately for us, the new plague of teenage zombies are all welded to their mobile phones. Imagine the danger to life and lumpkin if the network went down! There'd be a catastrophic increase in demand for neck braces and sun visors! A whole generation would wake from their electronically induced slumbers to find the world had not missed them at all. Civilisation, as they knew it, would have been an empty fantasy of patented celeb culture and free downloads. (All paid for by their parents as usual)

I can't see them being happy about waking up to the 21st century and sniffing the smog. They might start demonstrating about the potholes in the cycle paths. Then who knows where that might lead? Turkey is inflamed over a mere shopping centre in the park. Still no mention on the news of the loss of cycle paths to the bulldozers. Though I'm sure it must be at the bottom of all that unrest.

It was much the same half a century ago. The feared Hippy youth riots were only quelled by the wholesale re-distribution of polo necks, freedom from compulsory haircuts and overpriced, warped vinyl Beatles LPs. Bicycles were suddenly unwanted relics of the dark, satanic 50s. All short-back-and-sides haircuts and the district nurse freewheeling downhill in neutral in her Morris Minor with intent. All swept away before a tidal wave of Minis and urban motorway building in formal worship to the new (Japanese) god Kar. Not to mention the backwash of wholesale corruption. As countless historic town centres were ripped out to make way for backhanders.

Denmark was slightly different to the UK. Nobody who worked for a living could possibly afford the bus fares. So cycling still clung on. Providing an independence and freedom of movement still only seen in the car manufacturer's wildest TV advertising fibs fantasies. Where traffic jams, cycling impediments and "accidents" are all banned before the watershed by international law.

Danish Police shaken by wild drivers on the Helsingør motorway: 1300 caught speeding past roadworks. 720 in one day. An average of 240 speeding offences per hour! 

Politiet rystet: Bilister kører vildt på Helsingørmotorvejen - dr.dk/P4/København/Nyheder/Nordsjælland

[Right click on webpage and select Translate in Chrome]

I was out in the car three days in a row recently on business in Odense. Normally I hardly bother to drive these days. While keeping strictly to the speed limits I was routinely overtaken by every vehicle which approached from the rear. One senior Danish policeman said that he was shocked how speeding laws were completely ignored by other drivers as he drove his own car. I say: "No police present: No traffic crime." Only 167 people were killed on the roads in Denmark last year. The lowest number since 1930. A women on a bicycle was killed by a turning lorry only today.

Just a quick ride for 6 miles between showers. I made it home just before a cloudburst! Just as well I wasn't tempted to stray.

Talking of straying: I was expecting a small package in the post today. It was confirmed despatched mid-afternoon yesterday from a dealer only 50 miles away. Then I remembered we don't get post on Fridays. Nor does Post Danmark deliver any packages on Saturdays. Not according to the last postman I asked. No post at all on Sundays. So, if it comes on Monday, my 29 Danish Kroner/ £3.32 GBP/ $5.31 US  buys me a four day service. That's only 12 ½ miles per day. Hang on though! We don't get any post on Mondays either. So it's probably a 5 day service @ 10 miles average per day. An ancient Greek with a cleft stick, 2000 years ago in silly summer temperatures, could manage that in just a toga and flip-flops when there were no proper roads! Nor any post vans. Online dealers are judged by the speed and quality of their service. Now that's what I call a Danish tragedy!

 22nd 56F, 13C, windy, overcast. Showers promised this morning with continuous rain later. The winds last night were fierce! The trees looked as if a hurricane was blowing.  It must be blowing about 20mph now. More than double that last night. Just a short ride after lunch. I was intending to go further but it started tipping down. So I headed straight home into the wind with huge sprays coming off the tyres. 8 miles.

The package I had been expecting yesterday arrived late today. Somebody must have been curious. Because the padded bag was peeled open along the side enough to look in. If it was the CIA snooping then they must have run out of funds for glue to hide their traces. It can't have been the NSA because they can afford anything they want. (Allegedly) ;-) There wasn't time to send it to GCHQ.  I just hope the snoopers weren't too disappointed to find a set of new cables.

23rd 57F, 14C, bright but cloudy. Showers are forecast all day and for the next week. I'm not used to rain on this scale. Denmark gets a fraction of the rain we had in the western regions of the UK. I have developed a mindset where rain does not loom particularly large. Just as the British develop a mindset that it will probably rain unless they go on a foreign holiday where rain is usually absent. They know instinctively that staying at home will only be punished by more rain.

I distinctly remember going for a long ride in my teens when a thunderstorm broke out a long way from home. I plodded on through the deluge. Constantly afraid that the next flash would turn me to a crisp. Only when I arrived home and leaned against some iron railings was I given a severe jolt. I must have built up quite a static charge.

Even when wet, the tyres would probably protect a rider from lightning. I'm not sure if cyclists are immune from lightning strikes. Though I'd still prefer the speed of getting home on a bike to walking home across the moors. Trikes bring up another problem for the reluctant storm chaser. They spread the ground contact points even more than a bike. Moreover there are three tracks. With no drying effect for the rear tyre from running in the track of the front. It is the difference in potential between points on the ground which catches out the four-legged, non-cycling species. Probably best to stay off the verge then. My fuzzy logic suggests that tarmac is probably safer than wet grass or soil. Or is it? Bare, metal handlebars may also increase the risk even over wet tape. Though I've heard that carbon fibre is a terrific lightning conductor.

Lest you think I'm getting this all out of proportion, I aim to enjoy a few more years of my pensionable years before I become too senile to ride any further. For all my aches and pains cycling has given me more reason to celebrate life than any other of my countless other hobbies and interests over the long decades. My real regret is that I had to wait so long to be able to do it properly. Cycling any real distance requires the correct clothing and riding position and some considerable practice to improve basic fitness. An efficient machine adds to the enormous pleasure of rolling away down the lanes into the all-pervading greenery.

I do have the incredible luck of being fully immersed in the green stuff. Riding to a city is a deliberate choice and provides new scenery and challenges. I exchange foliage for the doubtful benefits of hand-on shopping. Those who must make do with built up areas must leave their drab greyness to refresh the soul with a good dose of the green stuff. I use the term 'soul' in the non-superstitious sense. Many city dwellers must suffer from greenery deprivation. The seasons pass unnoticed as they commute through the dull greyness of the decades. To the pointless destruction of all their waking hours. Until, all too soon, they become too old and fragile to continue their slavery to their quarterly bills.

How will the retirement years be consumed? Yet more TV? Or shuffling to total anonymity in the local supermarket? Waiting endlessly in the doctor's surgery? Or watching the passing traffic from a netted window? Yet we are told that the entire world is moving en-masse towards the dull uniform greyness and the dulling roar of endless city traffic. You'd think the standards for the built-up environment would be taken out of the hands of the corrupt and arrogant wasters and well-proven failures by now. They talk about greening the cities but there's bøøger all sign of it happening on any scale so far.

An amusing example of the possible:

Any "architect" and I use the term loosely, not already growing living green walls up into the stolen skies is really not trying very hard. But what would you expect from any gang of feral urban vandals? Whose avowed task is to make life as awkward and uncomfortable as possible for the unfortunate inhabitants of their visual dross. While they themselves gorge endlessly on their insatiable vanity. Each desperately trying to outdo each other in trying to prove that architecture and art are both absolute proof that time is running backwards.

It is turning grey in my own sky. The first shower has arrived and I have a painful knee from dragging a wheelie dustbin the hundred yards to the corner. The dustbin lorry cannot manage our narrow drive and would damage it with its weight if it tried. I will still try to get out.

It started with drizzle but dried up after a while. Blowing a hard headwind again. Easier on the way back. My knee only hurt when I climbed out of the saddle. So I didn't. The shops were very quiet today. Except for the clomp-clomp of my matronly, MTB shoes. 18 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

10 Jun 2013

10th June 2013


A leafy avenue and gravel drive leading to a stately home near Padesø. (Sø (pron.suh) means lake in Danish)
The surrounding area is heavily undulating and forested and very popular with walkers, cyclists, runners and now golfers. Thanks to the terrain one never gets a sense of it ever being crowded. Parking is cleverly discrete in forest clearings set back from the winding lanes.

10th 61-72F, 16-22C, light mist clearing to sunny and breezy. Headwind riding to Odense. Tootled around town and then the wind followed me home. Warm and sunny. I actually finished my water bottle. Which is very unusual for me. Traffic very light in the lanes. Very busy in town. The shopping centre was packed with people. 46 miles.

11th 54-62F, 12-17C, breezy, mostly overcast. Assens and back. I should have taken a towel because I was given a soaking by a farmer's irrigation system. It was set  up so badly, right beside the road, that much of the artificial rain was completely missing the field. I presume all the wasted water was free. Or subsidised by the taxpayer. So that's alright then. 18 miles.

A superb action picture  of Barry Charlton. 2013 World Men's Tricycle Champion in both the Time Trial and Criterium. Barry has been setting a blistering pace in tricycle time trials. Setting a number of new course records. It is fitting that he took the titles in both TT (Time trial over a fixed distance while racing alone against the clock) and the Criterium. (massed start, short circuit, road race usually of fixed number of laps and/or duration) 

A lot more pictures of the 2013 Tricycle World Championships have now been posted on the Tricycle Association website: Links are below: 

A whole variety of styles are seen here as the riders negotiate the chicane. Cornering at speed is one of the most demanding skills of any tricyclist. Requiring a careful balance of body weight over the inside wheel to avoid lifting a wheel or even tipping right over! Imagine doing that in a crowded peloton as they all fight for position! Leaning inwards too far is pointless and tiring and you can't (usually) pedal hard at the same time. So the minimum lean for a given corner and speed is the fastest. Most tricyclists will freewheel while hanging off the side and then accelerate hard out of the corner once the centrifugal forces are no longer such a problem. A chicane is a stern test of skill because it throws the tricyclist off balance in opposite directions with a short period of time. This requires great agility to remain safely on three wheels!

Jane Swain 2013 World Women's Tricycle Champion in both the the TT and Criterium relaxing on 'Burple' her Longstaff racing/TT trike. 

I have copied both of these images (with permission) from the TA website and 'tidied up' the backgrounds in PhotoFiltre. This is not (remotely) meant as a criticism of the original photographer's work. I was just trying to maximise the true context of the images. Anything which distracts from the hero and heroine of the hour, does them no favours. The photographer did not have the luxury of a clutter-free background but still managed to take some really great pictures. 

12th 54-66F, 12-19C, breezy, overcast. Rode to Odense. It soon turned sunny. A crosswind both going and coming back. Going well today. I saw a gaudy Redstart in his best outfit standing on a roadside post. It was so brightly coloured I imagined it was an escaped tropical pet. Probably the first I have ever seen close enough to be able to identify clearly. (Though I had to look it up to be sure)  It didn't seem bothered by me as I rode past. There seem to be a lot of Goldfinches and Yellowhammers in the country lanes at the moment. They forage on the road for stunned insects from passing vehicles. I see quite a few squashed birds and even the odd egg or two on my travels. The Brooks 'Special' saddle in combination with the Bontrager shorts is behaving itself better each day. I'm still waiting to hear back again from Tactic-Sport on the shorts with the tight braces. 38 miles.

13th 61F,16C, overcast, windy, raining. The forecast is rain and wind all day. It is 3 weeks since I last had a rest day so that's excuse enough to take one! I shall try very hard not to spend the entire day ranting and rambling. I am battling a failure of 2 USB wireless adapters to be recognised by their own software on installation. It seems I am not alone with this problem. How can an item be legally sold which doesn't work for so many people? It cleared up to sunshine but was blowing a gale with fierce gusts. Only 7 miles. Still no rest for the wicked.

14th 53-62F, 12-17C, overcast, windy and wet. It is supposed to brighten up but the wind is likely to reach 35-40 mph later.  Very rough wind with nasty gusts.Odense again. Big mistake having to come back into the headwind. Resolved the problem with braces on the Tactic-Sport Pro-Ride2 shorts. I exchanged them for the next size up at a very generous discount for my trouble with the braces on smaller pair. I will try the new shorts to see how they cope with much longer rides. They do seem to have by far the most comfortable pad, by far, of any shorts/bibs I have ever worn. The manufacturers are in Catalonia/Spain. Thanks to the clever design and materials they do not become hot and sweaty. I can now add Cykel-Experten, Odense to the list of very user-friendly and highly competent bike shops. With an impressive collection of very desirable bikes on display. They are situated quite near the Tarup Centre. Sharing easy parking with Fakta on Rugårdsvej. 39 miles.

15th 58-65F, 15-18C, sunny and windy. Cloudburst warning on DMI! Not quite so windy as yesterday but rain is forecast for later with high winds and heavy rain tomorrow. The wind was extremely variable and turbulent to boot. Spoke to a chap intending to ride his bike down to France. It turned grey towards the end of today's ride but with a beneficial tail wind.  My wife (The Head Gardener and Chief Wildlife Warden) now insists on plastering my face and neck with suntan cream before I am allowed out. So if you see a tricyclist in racing jersey and shorts and sunglasses, role-playing the part of a New Guinea warrior, that'll be me. I passed the mad dog at the farmer's machine centre but it was dozing in the open garage. By the time it launched its delayed attack I was well past and pedalling hard. It hasn't been around recently. So I was becoming quite worried about its health. It was almost a relief to see it was still alive. 21 miles.

16th 55F,13C, windy. Cool, bright start but has quickly become overcast. Showers are promised this morning but brightening up later. When to go out? Decisions-decisions. Heavy showers intervened and made the decision for me. Gusting to well over 45mph until after 15.00pm. No point in trying between showers with such strong winds. A rest day.

17th 60-65F, 16-18C, sunny, light winds. Just a quick shopping trip. Warm. 14 miles.


Brooks has announced the first limited edition, production run of the Cambium @ £145. It's a very pretty shape, has a unique finish and has received many positive reviews from those who were selected for the trial prototypes.  It is so like my Vetta SL ATB in plan view that its really quite uncanny. No doubt the sharper rear corners are to update its appearance. A difficult trick to pull off when one has a long history of using leather. Perhaps ventilation holes were too risky so early in its testing life of the rubber material? They might represent weak spots in the structure. Leading to an unnecessarily shortened life. Perhaps it would lead to fraying of the covering cloth. One could imagine the use of unusual patterns or specially shaped holes to lift it above the historical norm.

The tweed may appeal to the relatively well-heeled, small-wheeled fraternity. Or even the tweed and "Golden Age of cycling" fantasists on their vintage and retro machines in the gridlocked city traffic. There would seem to be room for a range of colours to match individual taste. Tartan or favourite football team colours anybody? I might be tempted if the price comes a long way down, longevity is absolutely assured and they can print my initials in small ventilation holes on permanently dyed, carbon fibre patterned,  purple cloth. So, my preference for aging leather is unlikely to be too troubled in the foreseeable future.

Lest we cast too many aspersions on the new Brooks we should all remember the Unica Nitor, moulded plastic saddle.of the early 1960s.  Which broke completely with long standing leather tradition. The alternative was a heavy set of multiple springs covered in cheap and readily degradable plastic. Both types were regularly sneered at when new by conservative serious cyclists who would only ride what came out of a single factory in Italy but whose, unpronounceable name is now almost forgotten thanks to obscene overpricing and equally blind  and stubborn conservatism. Not to mention the complete lack of universal, international standards.

What was missing from the Unica was a complete range of colours and a little more comfort. I rode the black "Road" Unica but always wished for a brightly coloured one. The (tri)cycling extrovert was already deeply ingrained years before I actually owned a trike. I had to make do with a different saddle and a foolishly large 58T TA chainring.. The Green and the Orange Unica-Nitor models were the only ones I ever saw with my own eyes. I tried sitting on the narrower and heavily curved "Track" model once but the pain was far too much to bear for long. Rather like sitting on one of those narrow, cutaway, rock hard leather, Brooks models! Ouch!

The similarity of the Cambium to the Vetta SL is not really that marked when studied closely. There are only so many different forms possible if the shape is to remain a saddle. Note how the Cambium can be completely dismantled with a Torx screwdriver.

18th 58F,14C, sunny, light winds. The forecast is full sun and 23C, 73F with winds gusting to less than 10m/s. (22mph) Another ideal day for cycling where only constant headwinds spoil the ride. Do I really need tri-bars for my sedate pace in the lanes? They might make real sense given the constant roaring of the wind in my ears, that may make a good epitaph. "In the absence of the real thing; he invariably made his own headwind." ;-) Rest day.

19th 66F, 19C, cloudy and breezy. I had to ride to Odense again. It started raining 2 hours early on the way home but it was too warm to worry about it. The sky was split evenly between a black, featureless thunderstorm and lumpy grey cloud. I was riding along the dividing line with regular claps of thunder high overhead. Just after I arrived home the storm moved right over the top of us with frequent thunder, lightning and heavy rain. It became so dark we had to put the lights on. Some places in Denmark had hail up to 3/4" in diameter and a thatched house burnt down after being struck by lightning. So my free shower and soggy shoes was relatively painless. I have been notified that my Brooks 'Select' has been back to the factory. The replacement B17 'Special', which I had deliberately requested in preference to the 'Select', has been despatched. 43 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

5th June 2013

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

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

Destructive, silk-laying caterpillars destroying a hedge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But is it art?

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

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

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

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

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

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

1 Jun 2013

June 1st 2013

Ist 65-70F, 18-22C, bright but rather cloudy. A light breeze. I'm a bit bunged up today. Runny nose, sticky eyes and thick  in the chest. My left ear is almost deaf. A blooming allergy to the many square miles of oil seed rape crop? Or an overaccumulation of agricultural poisons? Will I survive? Probably.

These organic cattle took umbrage at my sudden arrival in their own dimension as I tried to frame the shot. I hoped to avoid the ugly, roadside railings for the brook on the right. Clearly defensive of their young, the adults glared at first. Then seemed to quickly melt away.

A later start but I enjoyed a loop through several woods and along the lanes before I started shopping. The wind was much stronger than forecast but the bright sunshine made up for it.  A peloton of 30-odd, orange-clad riders passed me going the opposite way. I now carry a large, ultralight sports bag in the Carradice 'Junior.' So I can shop without requiring a large saddlebag at all times. The reduction in weight and drag over the 'Camper' is worth having. The loss of convenience trivial. 30 miles.

A striking window on a rural country pub. The premises closed some time in the 80s. There being, presumably, no local habitation to support enough trade after the arrival of the breathalyzer. Like countless others the local Brugs (Coop) went the same way. Monitoring rural change is a heavy burden reserved for the elderly. I cropped the image from a plain, whitewashed wall. At a guess the window is at least 5' or 1.5m in diameter. I may now carry a compass to cope with overcast skies in unknown surroundings. But have yet to routinely carry a tape measure for such occasions. I find the window immensely satisfying on so many levels. Not least its subdued colour, it's perfect symmetry and its unlikely location. The trees submerged in its watery depths add an unlikely air of mystery. One almost expects a shoal of fish to swim across inside.

2nd 51-66F, 11C, a heavy, grey overcast with strong winds.  It is difficult to believe that the forecast is for sunshine later. Yesterday's forecast had the wind gusting up to 20m/s or 45mph. This has now been reduced but a 35mph N'Westerly is possible for much of the day. It started off cold and northerly as I headed for Ringe. Sometimes it helped and I could cruise just above 20mph. At other times it seemed to be blowing from all directions. It took me an hour and half, including a couple of stops, to do 22 miles.

It was warmer but the wind had turned more easterly for the return journey. So it was a straight-on headwind with all the trees, grass and crops in motion.. Two hours to get back including a couple of shopping stops and slightly longer route. I was struggling to reach 10-12mph at times. Away from the main roads the traffic was almost non-existent. As an experiment I replaced my saddle 1/4" higher after the latest Proofide treatment. No knee pain but it threw surprisingly more weight onto my hands. The saddle will go back down again. I was much more comfortable and relaxed before the height change. 46 miles.

A strange concrete tower near Bogense and ugly street furniture set tight up against a beautiful old farm. The vast majority of drivers in Denmark seem to be analphabet. So speed limit signs are just a waste of taxpayer's money. The marking is in kph for those in any doubt. Most prefer to read them in mph and then add 10mph. Just to be on the safe side.  

3rd 50-66F, 10-19C, bright sunshine but quite breezy. It feels rather cold in the shade. Too cold for just a T-shirt. The winds are supposed to be lighter today but the trees are already swaying at intervals. The promised cloud has yet to arrive. With only a few, high brushstrokes so far.  I have to return a pair of bib shorts to a bike shop in Odense. The shorts reek like Chinese wheelbarrow tyres. Or those hideous rubber sandals which stink out so many discount shops these days. The wind should be over my left shoulder on the way. Off my right shoulder on the way back. At least that's the theory.

What's that old blues song? "Nobody knows the trouble I've had." Yesterday I noticed a broken chain link and had to remove it. Today I thought I was still on the middle ring when I selected the bottom gear sprocket for a sharp corner. Whoops! The chain was too short to fit both largest gears. Total lock up and no way to move the chain! I had the idea to remove the rear changer from the hanger to free the chain slightly without damage. Somehow I could not find the right allen key. I knew there was a bike shop about half a mile away. So I walked there pushing the trike and borrowed one. Only to discover the correct allen key was hiding in the tool kit. I managed to free the chain and rode on into Odense.

Needs new sills.

While I was getting a refund on the shorts I bought an Sram chain just for backup. Half a mile later I left the old chain lying on the road as I pulled away! I wrapped the old chain in Dock leaves to avoid getting my hands too dirty. Then I had to fit the new chain crouched beside the busy main road. I wrapped the new chain over the largest sprocket and chainwheel and through the changers. Then broke the chain with my mini Park Tool extractor. Then the quick link wouldn't lock by hand pressure alone. I ended up standing on the pedals with the brakes on to get the link to close properly. The gears were fine after that.

I'm still hoping I have made the chain exactly the right length. I would have much preferred to have the trike on the workstand. All this means that I'm never going to try repairing a 10 speed chain with a rivet extractor again. I shall only use a matching quick link.  My hands were all greasy so I used more Dock leaves to remove the worst of it. Arriving later at a bike shop they let me wash my hands properly. The rag I removed from the toolkit as excess baggage is going back.

It seemed far windier than the forecast yet again. To make things worse the wind has turned much more westerly. Instead of the promised northerly direction. So coming home was much harder than expected. At least I have new bib shorts to add to my tiny collection of two. Which means that the pressure is off to wash and dry the same pair for next day. There is a downside to obsessive cycling. Nothing in my wardrobe older than 5 years fits me any more! I've been doing the Wiggins on my Higgins. <groan> The local charity shops will have to expand to make room for all my old stuff! 44 miles.

4th 57-65F, 14-18C, sunny and windy. Forecast max of 63F/ 17C with 35mph gusts promised. A clear, sunny day but very windy. Diims found me all over Odense yesterday and once in Assens today. Does this mean they are expanding their total number of post van sensors? A week ago they missed me entirely for five whole days. Only 18 miles. The wind put me off having an afternoon ride.

Click on any image for an enlargement.