13 Jan 2014

13th January

Monday 13th 33F, 1C, windy, heavy overcast. Google Blogger is broken again. No editing buttons this morning. Wintry showers are forecast but it should clear up this afternoon. The wind has gone around in circles over the last 12 hours. Now blowing from the east after an overnight frost. Did you know that secondhand wind surfing masts make cheap, elegant and excellent wind vane supports? Being so light, despite being suitably tall, they won't damage anything if they should fall in a storm and are very easy to support. Not a lot of people know that. Any cyclist will recognise the relevance of wind direction and speed to the daily grind. I haven't had anywhere suitable to put up my simple wind vane until now.

I hadn't gone more than 50 yards along the roadside verge when a senile, habitual drunk with poor life skills and a heavy dependency on prescription pharmaceuticals aimed his large, black and chrome people carrier straight at me. I saw the steering wheel turn towards me as he made his final approach. He only turned away when I started waving frantically at him. I swear the old bar stewards are out to get me! I'm just trying to think of a suitable weapon to fend them off. Perhaps a Chieftain tank would do it?

I wore my yellow-tinted, winter cycling glasses for my walk. Just to try and reduce water loss through my eyes in the rather cold wind gale. Not with a great deal of success, I might add. Nothing presented itself for photography except for two tubs full of grain for any passing, aquatic pheasants. Though I'm really not sure the common pheasant is prone to wading out to a takeaway on tick. (Anything it eats now is paid for later with its life to hunters) It didn't look as if the surface ice would support even a slightly damp sparrow. (This image was taken a few days ago so you'll have to imagine the thin veneer of ice)

Apart from a few fluffy balls of hail the promised wintry showers haven't done anything daft yet. So I'll probably go out after coffee and marmalade rolls as usual. Famous last words! It snowed or sleeted all morning just as forecast. Then continued all afternoon as sleet and rain. A rest day.

Tuesday 14th 40F, 5C, misty, overcast but dry. Rather than plod around feeling glum about the endlessly grey weather my walk was spent trying to find pictures in the mist. I left after coffee for my ride. The mist had mostly cleared by then. Only 17 miles.

The simple bow and reef knots I had tried were not holding on the saddle lace for long. Then I remembered that the Spa Nidd saddle lace had used a small loop to tension and then tie off the end securely. So I made a loop using a figure of eight knot and then tensioned the loose end before tying off firmly with multiple half hitches. This time the B17's saddle skirts remained firmly held in.

There is no sign of the leather being cut by the lace so far. There are dents where the lace runs through the holes but that is to be expected. The saddle now feels rather amazing. Firm but comfortably broken in at the same time. I must have been wasting a lot of energy when the B17 rocked from side to side like a hammock. Though I was not aware of the skirts rubbing my thighs they must have been to some extent. Such friction would absorb more power. I can almost understand the desire to own a modern plastic saddle from the sense of speed a firm saddle gives. What I can't understand is the level of discomfort this usually entails.

Plastic saddles are not remotely made for the human skeleton and its load bearing sit bones. There is no attempt to dent the sit bone areas to spread the loads more evenly. Just the same old regurgitation of the original Unica Nitor plastic shell with variations in padding along with large dollops of snake oil blended with the finest bullshit all topped with a veneer of pseudo scientific hype. The manufacturers's really aren't taking saddle design seriously as they grin all the way to the bank. Their countless victims cheerfully spending hundreds of pounds only for the damned things to fall to pieces after a thorough torturing of their chronically naive owner's only useful interface with the bike.

They see the sponsored pros using a particular saddle and it instantly becomes a must have. Usually without a thought as to their own needs and uses in comparison with the hard working pros. The big names are probably riding a one-off anyway if they have enough charisma. If Guantanamo prisoners were forced to sit on racing saddles there would be an international outcry. Yet millions of cyclists willingly invest in totally unsuitable ornaments for their mobile showcases for all that is the latest and vital to prove their seriousness at the sport. Eager volunteers for worse tools than even the inquisition psychopaths could ever dream up in their sickest fantasies. Cycling may be a very public form of sado-masochism but let's at least try to do it in some comfort.

Wednesday 15th 37F, light breeze, heavy overcast. A windy, grey, soggy walk followed by a triking shopping trip. 21 miles not (quite) out.

Note to self: Do not make "replace the handset" telephone hand signals at raving psychopaths approaching a side junction at high speed (with their family aboard) while they are using their mobile phone, just before I cross their intended path. Yesterday's psychopath overshot the cycle path by a full 6' (across my own path and that of the traffic on the main road) while on the phone. I am beginning to feel a bit like a skittle!

Today's stopped just before he hit me. But then made up for missing me the first time around by trying to push me off the road while blasting his horn continuously outside a school yard full of small children.

Well, even a law-breaking, butt ugly, shaven-headed psychopath has his pride, doesn't he? No doubt his pride would have soared to new levels to find himself starring on YouTube with all his crippling inadequacies on show. But only if I had been wearing my hopelessly inadequate Sony HDR-15 Action Cam. Trouble was, it was anything but bright sunlight. Nor my pathetically tragic, utter waste of money, total piece of crap, Aldi Medion MD86543, really real, plastic action camera. (Sorry for the ads.) I think I just broke a new year resolution not to complain.

Whoopee! The  blogger's quick edit button is back! The evil NSA has been defeated! All is well with the (virtual) world. Well, nearly. ;ø))

Thursday 16th 36F, 2C, windy, heavy overcast, wintry showers. It was so wet I decided to avoid the rough stuff on my walk. I managed to get quite wet on the outside in one hour. The only time I went off-road was to take to the verge to avoid being sprayed by the traffic. Not looking too promising for a morning ride unless the sleet stops soon. Perhaps this afternoon? Though it will be even windier. Gusting to 30+mph.

I left mid afternoon with a full complement of lights for the return journey. I don't get to ride very often in the dark, but I knew the roads (mostly country lanes) like the back of my hand. So no real problem. Apart from the gales! I wore the Aldi rainproof jacket over a mid weight winter cycling jacket, expecting rain and wind chill and was quite comfortable throughout. 18 miles.

Danish police were having a Razzia /Raid/Campaign(?)week of targeting traffic infringements in early January. Of the 5244 total number of "vehicles" stopped 2844 were fined. Out of which a staggering 2329 offences involved cyclists. Jumping red lights 747 fines! Riding on pavements and pedestrianised streets 530 fines. Breaking lighting regulations including lack of lights and non approved lights were also common problems with 686 fines.


This  link is from the Danish TV news website so just right click on the page and choose Translate if you are using the Chrome browser.

New cycle light regulations came out recently so I hope mine are acceptable. They are certainly very bright and firmly attached. I know there was some concerns voiced about lights dangling uselessly from straps, clothing, pockets and bags. Which would make a mockery of any ability to be seen at a regulation minimum distance. 300m in clear weather at night. I could see the reflections from road furniture from a far greater distance today using my Smart front light in flashing mode. Only three car drivers failed to dip on their approach. It can't have been my front light so it must have been their tiredness or drunkenness.

It seems that lights must flash at least 120 times a minute. I am a strong advocate for flashing lights. Believing that steady beams are almost worthless at bringing the cyclist's presence to the attention of bored drivers.(and others) It also seems my voluntary fitting of two widely spaced rear lights on my trike is actually a requirement by law.

I also supplement these with a Smart 1/2W seat pin rear light since it is much higher and helps me to be seen when a large bag may cause the lower lights to be obscured if a vehicle is very close. Or a following driver is raised in a very high lorry cab. I have also fitted approved, orange spoke reflectors to the Trykit. Hopefully this will improve the chances of being seen by all those psychopaths overshooting junctions while using their mobile telephones. Sadly a very common occurrence in these here parts. Three in the week so far and counting.<spit>

Meanwhile, it has been promised that in future radar speed traps will only be set up on known dangerous stretches of road. It was considered unfair that so many drivers should be fined (unduly) for speeding!

Friday 17th 36F, 2C, overcast, breezy, misty, light rain falling on 2"/ 50mm of overnight, wet snow. Went for my walk. Wetter than ever but no real hindrance. I was getting well off the road each time a vehicle passed and still being sprayed from head to foot. My plans for a ride to Odense have been put on hold in these foul conditions. I'd get a brine spray from every passing/speeding vehicle.

I was right. Empathy is yesterday's news. The word has already trickled down from the politic-ooze. Speeding is no longer a crime in Denmark but god help you if you are cyclist! Only 6 wet miles dodging total fuckwits driving at 60mph through a shopping street with a 25mph speed limit. It's survival of the thickest out there! At this rate I may have to move to a small island without any roads. I'll put the trike on a set of rollers in the garage, black out the windows and never go out again! (Provided I have a good reserve of batteries for my lights!)

Click on any image for an enlargement.


  1. Hi, I have enjoyed your blog for some time. I have a Longstaff tricycle - here is a link to a sunday ride that I did last weekend but one - the island is Jersey - nice and quiet - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/40265697/sunday%20ride%20part%201%20youtube%20after%20handbrake.mp4 Warren

  2. Hi Warren

    Thanks for the kind words. Jersey sounds idyllic for tricycling.

    I'm afraid I can't open your link. It could be the blog comments process causing problems.

    Could you possibly send me a live link by email?

    chris.b at smilemail.dk