24 Feb 2014

24th February 2014

Monday 24th 39-43F, 4-6C, windy, cloudy but brightening. I'm going to Odense on the trike. Wish them luck!

It was blowing a worse gale than yesterday! A Southerly 20mph base with 30+ gusts. Mostly a head crosswind going both ways made it quite hard work. I was trying to keep the cadence up around 105 rpm most of the time. Having arrived in Odense mid-morning still fresh from the leafy cycle paths I didn't seem to have bothered anybody this time. At least I heard no raised voices. I took another route home in case anybody was lying in wait for me. I was much too warm on the way back despite stripping down to the (almost) bare essentials. 42 miles not out.

Trees overdoing the steroids.

I am coming to the conclusion that with Denmark being so "lumpy" I get a good workout on every ride whether I want one or not. Add in the constant wind and I think I may be safely excused intervals.

Lest there is any doubt, it should be said that I very rarely potter when out on the trike. Overtaking all other ordinary cyclists is perfectly normal behaviour for me. This, regardless of my weight disadvantage. By which I mean the usual 20lbs/ 10kg load of shopping and all the extra "sticky-out" bits of a trike. My own weight is still hovering around the lower end of the 11 stone mark. So I probably present a sort of OCD, cycling polyester clad, slightly undernourished, greying pensioner with funny (cyclist's) legs whirling round to a pained expression. That is when I'm not actually grinning back at somebody who waves. 

Only the obsessive compulsive owners of carbon bikes, with all the clubman's kit on, offer serious competition to my pride. In another life I was probably a whippet who never learned to stop chasing bikes in order to overtake them. This all started when I was 15 and I have never been properly trained out of it. Even after 50 years I still get on and go as fast as I can without becoming completely breathless and exhausted. Odense brings out the worst in the whippet. There are so many other cyclists to chase down and leave in my (three) slightly damp tracks. Do whippets need to do intervals? 'Nuff said.

Nature has a go at installation art.

Tuesday 25th 38-50F, 3-10C, bright but breezy. After a watery start it quickly became sunny on my walk. Though with a thin, cold wind at times. I had to take my jacket off towards the end. Walking wardrobe rethink to cope with spring is imminent. The same problem on the trike. Windproof yet cool is vitally necessary to avoid sweating followed by an icy chill down the back. The temperature climbs rapidly from uncomfortably cold at this time of year. The wind doesn't help. Dress to be warm at the outset and it's instant mobile sauna! Just another day riding to the shops. Too warm on the way back. I'll have to loose the vest and/or the tights if it stays this mild. Only 15 miles. I wasn't allowed out again after lunch.

Wednesday 26th 38-46F, 3-8C, breezy, rather cloudy with only occasional brightness. I became daring in my walking route today and took to the spray tracks across the fields. I heard no gunfire. So, either nobody saw me, or they couldn't be bothered to make me pay the ultimate price for walking on their sticky mud.

Not long after leaving on the trike a young and incredibly skinny "racing" cyclist approached a junction just as I passed. I called out a "Hi" (as you do) but seemed to be ignored. So I sprinted up to a still higher speed and he chased.

 Man has a go at installation art.

Half a mile later he went past on the first climb as I struggled to maintain 18mph. I tried to follow but hit a brick wall of oxygen starvation as I climbed out of the saddle to get on his back wheel. My six week cold was obviously still taking its toll. I have been clearing my throat repeatedly for longer than I can remember. It coughs up like clear Evo-Stik. A couple of weeks ago it was green! Two weeks before that it WAS the same colour as Evo-Stik!

He put several hundred yards on me on the following descent. Nothing I did would make me go any faster than 22mph downhill into the wind. His frontal area must have been half of mine as his head was lower than his bum and his bum was narrower than my Carradice Junior! Which I had foolishly left behind in the excitement of needing more shopping. So I can blame it all on the lift-drag ratio of a stalled Camper Longflap in the turbulent air of my flailing legs.

I followed him along the main road at a steady 20.7-21mph but still he pulled away. I seemed to have hit my ceiling and there was no more reserve of speed despite my superman position. With my gloved palms on the tops of the uncomfortably sharp peaks of  the Campag Ergo hoods. Nobody warned me that I would be needing tri-bars when I left home!! 

Nature turns up the colour when it thought nobody was looking.
After nearly five miles of this nonsense I finally lost sight of him as he crested the summit of a long drag about half a mile ahead. I was still doing 18mph on the climb but that was my limit. The Ventour jacket was too cold for today's temperature but kept me from having a free sauna on the climbs. After the first bout of shopping I cut across country to the next village for another dose. Am I having fun yet? 20 miles.

Thursday 27th 39-47F, 4-8C, windy, very misty at first, becoming clear and sunny. Visibility down to less than 50 yards at the start of my walk. I knew I was walking towards dark and towering conifers but could only see bright, white mist until I was right up close. Once the sun came up it very quickly burnt away the mist. I saw Yellow hammers in the shrubbery on the marsh and disturbed the poor herons on the drainage channels. A mountain biker seems to have discovered the route through the woods. I can see several sets of studded tracks now.

Another cloudless day for my ride. I was cruising at 20-23 mph for a while but changed direction and the crosswind started eating into my speed. At Vissenbjerg I discovered massive potholes in the middle of the cycle paths at the main road traffic lights. One hole on the petrol station corner and another on the opposite corner. Both holes were over a foot (30cm) deep! Anybody falling into them on their bikes wouldn't have a chance. It would almost inevitably mean a visit to hospital.

Ironically a lorry had dropped half its load of gravel for hundreds of yards along the cycle path below the lights. I had to take to the road to avoid it. An enterprising local volunteer could collect a couple of builder's wheelbarrow full of gravel and fill in the holes. It's not as if the council will ever get round to it! 20 miles.

Friday 28th 39-44F, 4-7C, almost still, hazy with weak sunshine. Thinking it would improve my bird watching I took my heavy old binoculars with me on my walk. While I was certainly able to confirm the pair of Yellowhammers there was very little else of particular interest to see. Until, that is,  I arrived home to spot a Nuthatch in one of our own Silver birch trees. Several chevrons of geese went over earlier arguing furiously over their route south. When surely north would have been far more appropriate for spring? I am not aware of the magnetic pole having flipped just yet. I disturbed some Shelducks and Herons on the pond in the marsh. The herons flew off together again. Before one bird returned to do a slow lap of the pond to check if I was really a danger to life and limb. The ground around there is heavily littered with spent cartridge cases so I could see his point of view.

I rode to Assens for "spring" cycling gloves and new brake blocks. It was recommended I try Ultegra blocks in preference to the cheapo Spectra blocks I had been using. The original Tektro blocks weren't all that good. The Spectra blocks are okay but scrape like metal to metal sometimes. They are also clumsy in both size and shape. Needing very wide brake tracks and removing the magenta finish on the front rim. I brought back a load of shopping as well. Assens is still filthy. Hundreds of cigarette butts, dead batteries, beer bottle tops, litter and black filth everywhere. The promised light rain arrived in the last mile from home but was short lived. The wind remained light. 20 miles.  
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17 Feb 2014

17th February 2014

Monday 17th 36F, 2C, breezy, clear, sun rising. My walk took place in bright sunshine under a cloudless sky. Rather a brisk breeze with the last vestiges of frost clinging on here and there. The cars were dragging plumes of spray. While the fields were back to clinging mud again. I'm using a stiff, plastic, washing up brush and a bowl of rainwater to get the worst off when I come home each day. So I could become quite domesticated over time.
A heavily laden Mr T pauses briefly in historical surroundings.

Went shopping on the trike in bright sunshine. All the special offers were in stock! Came back the long way via a hilly route. A headwind to finish again with a peak of 17 mph on a normally 30 mph descent in still air. Hard work on the hills with 12 kilos of shopping. I think the chain is now completely knackered because the gear change is getting worse going both up and down the cassette. I shall have to check it with the measuring tool tomorrow. My cold seems to be finally getting bored with me after all these weeks. 20 miles. 

Tuesday 18th 37-43F, 3-6C, modest winds, thin cloud clearing to possible sunshine. Not long after I left home I could see my shadow. The sunshine remained watery and eventually gave way to cloud, then overcast.

Ruffled village pond.

After coffee I was cruising at 18-20 mph on my way to the first shops. Tailwinds are like that. The next leg was into the wind. Despite the higher temperature it felt strangely cold.  The final leg was aided and abetted by the wind again.

I passed right underneath a bird of prey in an over-sized brown coat. By which I mean that it had overlong, floppy feathers. I've seen one before so it must be a distinct kind of eagle. It was perched in a tree beside the road but made no attempt to fly away. Later I saw soaring buzzards, Hooper swans, Shelducks and geese. The crows, magpies and rooks are getting a bit territorial. Performing extreme aerial combat displays as they try to chase each other away. Lots of minor flooding in the fields and woods. 21 hilly miles.

Wednesday 19th 40-42F, 4-5C, light winds, misty, heavy overcast. Back to the grey. With showers forecast for this morning. It rained steadily all the time I was walking. It is surprising how noisy broad leaved crops can become in rain. I disturbed the resident heron on the small lake. It circled and disappeared behind the trees. You'd think it would be used to me by now. Though it doesn't go off in a beeline like it once did. I heard skylarks clearly for the first time this year. It may be due to the light winds. Normally the wind is roaring in my ears.

Having left my ride until the afternoon it had stopped raining and the roads were almost dry. Lots of trees being felled in the woods. Presumably for firewood. The mist finally cleared and the sun came out for a few seconds at 4 pm. One of my Smart E-Line back lights has stopped working already. The batteries are fine. First it wouldn't come on then it wouldn't go off. Nor can I get it to flash. Bøøger! They have only been used a couple of times in the mist. The switch has stopped working. As a trike I am required to have two rear lights after dark. So now I'm illegal if I go out at night. I hope I can still find the receipt. Ahah! Bought on 12.12.2013. Just over two months ago. Only 10 miles today.

Thursday 20th 41-44F, 5-7C, heavy overcast, misty, breezy becoming quite windy.  An hour's walk first. Mud very sticky in places. After coffee I rode to Assens to shop. The dealer gave me a new Smart rear light light to replace the broken one. Quite a cold side wind despite the measured temperature. There was a hell of a racket in some woods that I passed through. It sound vaguely like a fox but was high up in the conifers. Presumably another jay or jays. The lake was still partially frozen.

I'm going to have to make a simple rack for the Trykit. I managed to saw right through the pink bag and an organic apple juice carton with the bottom gear sprocket. The inside of the bag and all my shopping was covered in sticky juice. There are two horizontal bars to support the saddlebag but they don't do anything for the pink bag. Which hangs by the straps over the saddle pin over the top of the saddlebag. Grrr! 19 miles.

Friday 21st 42F, 6C, light SW winds, cloudy with blue patches. It could reach 10C, 50F today with some sunshine. It brightened for a while but quickly turned grey again. The ground was very sticky or just very wet. I usually walk on the roughest grass beside or between the tracks to try and clean my boots. The soil around here has a very high clay content and a high water table.

It was overcast almost continuously throughout my ride. The supposed 50 degrees managed only 43F. Instead of sunshine we had showers. At least the DMI managed to get the date right. It is a good year for Jays and woodpeckers. I have never seen or heard so many.  22 miles.

Saturday 22nd 38-41F, 3-5C, heavy overcast, hazy, windy and cold. My right walking boot has developed a very annoying squeak on every heel strike. Fortunately it is silent on the soft stuff. Though completely avoiding roads and firm tracks is not a luxury I enjoy. I tried loosening the laces and even removed my gaiter but it made no difference. 4.5 miles in an hour and three quarters. All on tarmac along the country lanes. I came within a few feet of a female Yellowhammer before it flew off.

It started spitting with rain before I left on the trike. So on went the Aldi rainproof jacket on top of everything else. It was blowing a gale by now but was soon dry again.

I rode a loop between villages for a total of 22 miles with rain falling again just before I arrived home. One is never sure whether to be miffed because it didn't let me get home first. Or grateful that it didn't rain all the way around. A scruffy, dark brown, bird of prey wasn't perturbed by my passing by. I told you tricyclists present no real danger to man or beast.

I saw a headline on a popular Danish magazine suggesting that there were nearly 1/4 million psychopaths in Denmark. That's an awful lot given the population of just under 6 million. I wondered how they knew? Did they count the traffic in the high street passing at twice the legal speed limit and make a rough extrapolation?

I told my wife that I saw an Audi being driven at just below the speed limit in the village. She called me a liar. When I told her a bus was keeping to the speed limit she said I needed help. I didn't dare tell her about the 5 and 6 axle juggernauts being held up by a BMW driver who had apparently lost the will to live. He was (unaccountably) driving at the speed limit too. It was all getting a bit too "Twilight Zone!"  

So, to regain my rapidly failing credibility, I told her about all the delivery postmen racing along the town and village pavements on their scooters. Exactly as they were expected to do when the new law required the postbox for every house should be easily accessible from the pavement. Cyclists would be breaking the law if they behaved like that and heavily fined. And, guess what? They often are! Only in today's Denmark. Spooky!  

Sunday 23rd 37F, 3C, breezy, overcast but threatening to brighten. Spring must be in the air. A couple of Skylarks were chasing each other all over a field. Then a pair of Herons were flying together. The right boot is still squeaking.

It was blowing a gale by the time I left on the trike. A straight-on headwind going. A crosswind coming back. 19 miles and a ton of shopping. Plus six more. Still blowing hard. I was overtaken in a 50kph village at an indicated 83kph buy a large car with a tiny driver. He probably couldn't see the frequent speed signs through the steering wheel. And, obviously hasn't heard that cushions are cheap these days. That's a triple fail in YouTube parlance.

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13 Feb 2014

13th February 2014

Thursday 13th 39F, 4C, rather breezy with heavy cloud rather than overcast. Very windy overnight but calmer now. The wind picked up steadily as I headed for the woods. While I was wandering along a track I heard what sounded like a staccato barking from a large dog with a deep voice. Short, double barks almost like an old oil engine starting. It sounded nothing like a normal dog and I immediately thought of a wolf! These are reappearing in wilder parts of Denmark. I suppose the best and most likely guess is a fox. They make some very strange noises. Lots of Jays making their rough cries too. Loads of fallen trees from the storms closing off many of the firebreaks. Three wet or marshy miles covered in an hour.

While I love the isolation, and lack of traffic noise, of being completely alone out on the vast fields and in the woods I do sometimes wonder what would happen if I had an accident. I am often in situations where probably nobody ever goes for months, perhaps even years on end. Fortunately, despite my age I am still very agile and only very rarely stumble on the wettest or roughest of routes. I sometimes surprise myself how I can run up and down steep and slippery banks. Or hop from one tuft of reedy grass to another on the marshiest of tracks with standing water all around. I maintain a brisk pace regardless of conditions underfoot. Simply adjusting my length of stride to cope with the most difficult terrain. The dangers are probably quite low since there are no drops or rocks to negotiate.

Fortunately my wife would ring to ask where I was if I did not return on time. Or I could ring her if I was really stuck or had broken a leg. Mobile phone reception seems fine over the entire area.

My Salomon walking boots have been really excellent. Perfect comfort, ankle support and grip. As well as being lightweight and fully waterproof. Enough to allow me to cover the entire uppers to the ankle on numerous occasions. Never a hint of cold or wetness in deep, wet snow or while walking tracks with streams running off the fields.

Don't you just hate it when the postman can't be arsed to deliver an eagerly anticipated package? The notification card is shoved in the postbox without any attempt to knock on the door. So that means next day collection. Only 9 miles fighting the wind.

Friday 14th 36-38F, 2-3C, breezy, heavy grey overcast. I walked back to the more distant woods but it was very muddy from logging operations. so I explored the side tracks on deep beech leaf litter. 4.5 miles in an hour and half with photographic stops along the way.

I was just reading that electric bikes and the elderly are responsible for a tenth of all cycling deaths in Denmark. The over-80s seem most vulnerable and often fail to brake before collisions. The suggestion is that a short riding course should be introduced for purchasers.

The danger here is that it will be used as an excuse by the idle politicooze classes for compulsory helmets, road tests, insurance and annual license taxation. The other side of the coin is that the young are taking up electric bikes instead of mopeds. Moped sales have dropped by almost a half recently. The shortage of taxation on mopeds will surely drive the grasping politic-ooze to tax and license electric bikes. You can buy two sophisticated 2 stroke scooters for the price of a single electric clunker made from Asian water pipe with a battery driven hub.

11 miles on the trike fighting the wind in a losing battle.

Saturday 15th 41-44F, 5-6C, very windy, overcast. Another noisy night and 45mph gusts promised for later. We are being lashed  by the skirts of the UK storms. I just hope it doesn't mean a more easterly track of these unprecedented weather systems!  Went for an hour's walk in rough winds. Even wetter underfoot. Now trying to decide which shops I can reach most easily given the wind direction. Doing ten miles in ten minutes is not a lot of fun if it means crawling all the way back again on my hands and knees.

I was right about the tailwind. Cruising at 19 mph going there. Then struggling for 6.5 mph at times coming home. Where there were decent field hedges it was as if there was no wind at all. I could easily double my speed.

A barn is demolished following damage during the recent storms.

Full marks to the EU crooks for paying to have the hedges dug out in the first place. If they cut down on the 50% theft of real taxpayer's money and the billions wasted pretending that France has any real purpose to the world at large they could pay to have the damned things planted again. Not only will it shelter the cyclist but will stop snow blowing onto the road. Not to mention the beneficial effects of adding to the overall absorption of CO2, stopping toxic spray drift, providing wildlife corridors, nesting sites and habitats but also soak up toxins from ever increasing traffic.

I read today that 1 in 4 children in Denmark now has an allergy and are at daily risk from countless toxins. Many of these toxins can lead to disease and permanent damage to the developing child. Let's throw in the dangers from blatant antibiotic overdosing of pigs. Which is transferred straight to the population through heavy pig meat consumption. So that's alright then. 21 miles.

Sunday 16th 39F, 4C, windy, cloudy with promise of showers and brightness. Another noisy night of strong winds. I managed half a mile from home before it started tipping down. Well that was interesting. A quick about turn and back again into driving rain. I put the ride off until the afternoon expecting lighter winds. The opposite was true and I was struggling to make 5 mph as I crested a hill into the wind with well over 10 kilos of shopping aboard. Only 10 miles.

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10 Feb 2014

10th February 2014


Monday 10th 36F, 2C, southerly breeze, clear bits in between the clouds as it brightens. We might even get some sunshine this morning.

The sky cleared to blinding sunshine. I saw a Nuthatch and lots of noisy geese flying around in circles. The hedges and trees were full of Sparrows, Great tits, Chaffinches,  Blue tits and Blackbirds as usual. Ducks laughing at the sheer idiocy of it all on the ponds.

The moraines of debris from the council hedge clippings, New Year fireworks and beer cans have now been joined by household rubbish. Several black bin bags had been dumped at intervals along the main road recently. Animals and the wind have scattered the contents over a wide area. Add in the still remaining debris from the storms and it's all looking really lovely.

You never see the council litter pickers which were once a common sight in Denmark. As were almost daily road sweeping machines. Uneconomically viable, I presume, when original Danish modern art and designer furniture has to be purchased for this year's council palaces offices.

The bill still has to be paid in countless other ways. The general air of dilapidation and depression adds to the already massive health service costs and number of sick days. A very large fraction of the <quote> happiest people on the planet <unquote> are on antidepressants. I don't know whether to laugh or cry about our totally screwed up world any more.

Three miles dawdling the lanes in one hour. Sticking (mostly) to the tarmac when not nimbly dodging the lunatic commuters coming at me out of the sun. Are people who let their dogs bark as inbred as their mutts?

Quite a head crosswind on the way to Assens. Finally found the special offers (which were advertised last week) in the 4th branch of the same supermarket. I disturbed a flock of 50-odd Fieldfares and three deer drinking from a field puddle. A crow was worrying a whitish bird of prey with pointed wings. (Goshawk?)

People I didn't know were waving from their cars going the other way. I tried to follow a young clubman on his racing bike but didn't have the wind on a long drag to stay with him. Mind you, he probably had a 40 year and 20 kilo advantage over the skinny old triker, trike + shopping. Mostly sunny for 19  miles. Going out again after lunch.

When it had  turned grey again. I saw two fairly large, all evenly dark brown, birds of prey . Both were perched in roadside trees about a mile apart. Probably just unusual colour variations of buzzards. Most are rather speckled or lighter bellied. I tried searching on Google images but nothing presented itself as a likely candidate. Plus 10 more miles.

Tuesday 11th, 36-41F, 2-5C, heavy overcast, almost still. It felt almost mild as I walked through the woods in a wide loop. There is sudden bird activity with buzzards calling and watching from the trees. Woodpeckers competed with birdsong in the wayside trees and in the garden. Lots of overhead, vociferous geese heading north. Masses of sticky mud on my boots today. I shall have to choose my routes accordingly now the annual "permafrost" has melted. Afternoon ride in bright sunshine. Lots of speeding traffic. 16 miles.

A pheasant plucker's tower for taking potshots at grossly overfed, obese pheasants on the ground below. Or perhaps the intention is to crush the birds as the tower collapses forwards under the weight of the hunters? I'm fairly sure fat pheasants are involved in dying somehow. Otherwise there wouldn't be pheasant feeders every few yards in the countryside.  

Wednesday 12th 36-40F, 2-4C, overcast and windy. Raining with showers forecast. Walked four miles in an hour and half on rough tracks. A bit damp underfoot and the traffic was hauling cometry spray trails. It hailed and it rained but I remained dry. I turned my back as a tanker passed and felt the whack of the spray on my coat. later I saw a Wren foraging amongst Blue tits. Also saw a bird pretending to be a Skylark but without the usual song. It can't be long now before the air is full of their rough attempts at Vaughan Williams.

Triking began late morning with another ride to Assens. A hare dashed across in front of a car coming the other way. The hare reached the field safely, hesitated while sitting to attention, spotted me and then dropped down to pretend it was a brown, furry stone. Not too convincing but who am I to judge? I'm seeing deer almost every day now. Head crosswind going. Tail crosswind coming back in sunshine. 19 miles.

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7 Feb 2014

7th February 2014


Bringing home some free wooden storage boxes for the bike shed on an already laden Trykit.
The Brooks B17 has its rain hat on as the photo was taken on a wet day.
Note how minimalist the excellent Crud RR2 front mudguard looks.
You would hardly notice it was there at a glance.

Friday 7th 38-42F, 3-6C, raining, windy, heavy overcast. The rain is supposed to minimize around lunch time before restarting in the afternoon. I left late morning in spitting rain and quite a strong wind. It rained on and off but nothing too worrying. Another supermarket were advertising special offers without having any stock, again. It's a shame there is no consumer protection in Denmark. The Dintex gloves I had been offered by the European importers have arrived. A perfect fit just like last year's. Excellent service! I wish GripGrab would get a grip on its sizing. It grows ever more ridiculous by the day! I am now struggling into new overshoes for size EU50! (I take a EU45 in normal shoes) The rubber uppers hardly reach the soles of my cycling shoes. Only 10 miles.

Having got my frustrations with Odense off my chest I have removed the previous post. I have watched a number of YT videos about cycling in various cities and will just have to face the fact that riding slowly is the norm. The cycling infrastructure is designed as a traffic calming measure for all cyclists regardless of ability. By providing ridiculously narrow cycle paths and banning cyclists from using the roads alongside for overtaking the cyclist is reduced to the lowest common denominator. The slowest, the most abusive of space, the bad mannered and the truly ignorant rule the cycle paths. All because of the lack of space for greater speed. A greater knowledge of the city's layout would, no doubt, provide faster routes.

If I want to travel more quickly then I shall just have to resort to a bike or do a great deal of research on alternative routes. Or just avoid the city altogether. The irony is that cities without "proper" cycling facilities better suit the faster rider. They are not limited to an inadequate cycle path system and may freely use the city's roads and streets to travel at their own pace. Albeit with a much greater risk of contact with faster moving traffic with which they must compete for space. In organised cycling cities, like Odense, the tricycle is as out of place as a dinosaur. And we all know what happened to dinosaurs, don't we?

It's odd that vast, 6-axle lorries now have free reign in the cities, town and villages. Once upon a time a small or medium sized van was used for local deliveries. The arrival of nationwide store chains has "forced" the economies of 40' container lorries to ensure maximum profits for their shareholders.

The number of huge, articulated lorries using the local roads has risen several thousands % in the time we have lived here. It was exactly the same when we lived in the wilds of rural UK. In ten years there we went from noticing a passing car or tractor, every other hour, to the constant roar of traffic.

Only inherited barriers, like unusually low railway bridges, protect us from the full force of transcontinental traffic now. For all its benefits GPS has an awful lot to answer for in pushing damaging levels of heavy goods traffic onto completely unsuitable roads!

Saturday 8th 36F, 2C, breezy, heavy overcast. Promised brightness at first with rain this afternoon. I'd better take a torch in case I can't find the trike shed in the gloom!

First I explored some different woods for a couple of hours. Taking photographs and covering 4.5 miles. It had brightened up quite a lot by the time I returned. Though still no sunshine.

This is one of the weirder things I've ever seen on my walks A crystal clear, ice oval a couple of feet long with an almost square cross section. It was just lying on flat ground, on a muddy track in the woods. It could not have been formed by a puddle. Very odd indeed! How had it survived without melting? There was no snow left anywhere this morning and the ground was very wet and soft. The ice probably formed in something which has now gone. There was obviously a lot of recent forestry work going on to clear all of the storm-felled trees. 

I wasn't intending to go far today but a lack of stock in one shop forced me to ride to another village. I was hoping to find some at another branch of the supermarket and was lucky this time. No point in wasting a tailwind when ground has to be covered.. A peloton of club cyclists in Danish colours went past just after I stopped beside the road. The leader shouted "Go' tur!"[Have a good ride!] Rain on the last leg but the tailwind made short work of it. 30 miles.

Sunday 9th 38F, 3C, overcast, windy, with a wet start. It is supposed to clear up later this morning. With rain on the windows at 9.30 I am delaying the start of my walk as the trees thrash about in the garden. After three weeks of continuous cold symptoms I have a tickly, wet cough today.

It stayed dry while I had a three mile walk around the fields in an hour. Wet underfoot, rather windy and very grey. It was still grey and windy when I left on the trike. The world is suddenly short of bananas! Not one poisoned one, let alone organic. No red tomatoes either. It rained just as I arrived home. Only 9 miles.

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1 Feb 2014

February 1st 2014

February 1st 33.8-36F, +1+2C! overcast, windy. The DMI forecast is for icy conditions with sleet or snow showers until later this afternoon. Wind gusting to 30mph from the SE. Given the appalling weather conditions in much of Europe I suppose we should be grateful. No season passes without new records being set. Hottest, coldest, windiest, wettest and driest have all become the new norm. Weather chaos and "headless chickens" do not a happy planet make!

I'm sure we'll all look back on this period of human activity as one of grave warnings and completely missed opportunities. Chances which went completely unheeded by those who put themselves forward as our self-seeking leaders. The lunatics truly are in charge of our global asylum. The Internet has merely exposed them for what they are. While they bicker, like infants in the playground, over party politics, the world burns.

And now it's time for a walk. To boldly go.. I added bits of two walks together to make 3.5 miles in an hour and a quarter mostly on snow. My walks are quite effortless now despite the changing contours and rather soft conditions. Yet again I was caught out by the rising temperatures and was much too warm. I had no need of a duvet jacket today. A lot of minor drifting has raised large areas of slightly deeper snow but scoured others bare. There were strange shapes formed beside the hedges. Where the smallest gap near the bottom has sculpted the snow into waves. Lots more tracks suggest that my small, monochromatic world is full of wildlife when I'm not there. There were even paw tracks all over a thatched roof! I couldn't tell if it was a cat or something else.

Just finishing coffee and marmalade covered rolls and then I shall be getting the trike out. As you do. My "hip" pain isn't nearly so bad today. Which suggests, to me at least,  that the amount of exercise I get is irrelevant to the degree of pain. I was suffering far more during my recent rest days. My cold is still hanging on.

The moment I started getting ready to go out it started raining! I'm now waiting until after lunch. The rain persisted so I cheated and shopped in the car. Mind you, the boot full of stuff I brought back would never have fitted in the saddle bag.

Sunday 2nd 34-39F, 1-4C, breezy, clearing to possible sunshine.I was a little more adventurous on my walk and took to the farmer's tracks to explore new areas The snow is much depleted by yesterday's rain. The ice on field puddles no longer safe to walk on. The roads had slippery, black ice in patches on my way out. No point in warning the speeding cars as I trod gingerly along the road or took to the verge for safety.

The very first vehicle I met was on completely the wrong side of the road on the same blind corner as usual. It must be only a matter of time before these lunatics/inadequates hit a vehicle going the other way! Why on earth there are no reduced speed limit signs in this winding rural village is one of life's complete mysteries.

I have said it countless times before: The vast majority of drivers in Denmark cut every rural corner. Even those corners protected by double white lines. Of which there are many. Thereby placing themselves in even greater danger of hitting one of the hundreds, per day, who badly overshoot these same corners. Let's see their god, Janteloven, protect them, and their families, from their own drooling idiocy then!

It turned into a beautiful sunny day.  Not very warm but pleasant in the unusual sunshine. A bit of a headwind going but I used the beneficial wind direction to take a pleasant detour on the way back. Climbing well despite the weight of shopping and my cold. The warmer weather, rain and road salting has cleared most of the snow and ice from the roads. Though they were very wet in places from field run-off.  The trike is due for a thorough clean as soon as the roads dry out. Only 18 miles.

Monday 3rd 32F, 0C, light SE breeze, sunshine. The sky is almost perfectly clear again. Crunchy underfoot where the snow has melted and refrozen. It will soon be back to a mud bath on the spray tracks. Which is shame because they offer new routes and new viewpoints. Despite it hovering around freezing point I was much too warm in two Norwegian jumpers and my thin, (almost) windproof jacket. It's amazing how the wind affects the perceived temperature.

I'm going for a slightly longer ride today. A shop nearly 20miles away is the only stockist of something we need. It's a nice (hilly) ride with a gentle tailwind to help me get there quickly. I'll have to loop further south on the way home to avoid the inevitable headwind. Again, I will have to be careful not to overdress. Yet have a reserve of warm clothing in case it turns grey and windy later. Doubling up on skiing tights is overkill except when it's very cold. I have been careful to keep my mileage low recently. Now I'll see if a longer ride will trigger my hip pain.

It wasn't quite as far as I thought. 34 miles in continuous sunshine. Gentle headwind coming back. A white van man cut across my path as I descended a hill. As there was no other traffic and a clear view of my approach I have put it down his being a complete fuckwit. I think he was wearing a bright red Post Office jacket. Had I not braked hard I would have hit him broadside as he pulled out.

I may have solved the mystery why so very many drivers overshoot sharp corners and cut all the rest: They think they are driving the wrong way down a motorway. Something which occurs, on average, every third day in Denmark. They even have a name for them: Ghost drivers. No doubt quite a number of them, or their innocent victims, end up as ghosts. Apart from the usual drunks and those suffering from dementia, an increasing number are affected by drugs. 

Tuesday 4th 33F, 1C, breezy, heavy overcast. Grey, grey or grey? Do you want grey with that? It was very slippery walking on the remaining snow which had melted and refrozen. Noisy too, where the underlying water had dried out. The permafrost has mostly melted leaving everything else soggy and soft.  No real ill effects from yesterday's slightly longer ride. My cold is still hanging on.

I cut across country by a hilly route to more distant shops. Disturbed a large flock of Fieldfares and a smaller flock of Goldfinches. The Hooded crows, Rooks and Magpies are always busy on the fields in huge numbers. Bought a couple of inner tubes for spares. A quarter of a turn on the cable adjuster seems to have sorted the gears out. Still a slight delay when changing to larger sprockets. I really must clean the trike this afternoon. The road salt is discolouring the joints. 21 miles.

I used a strong solution of car shampoo on the trike. A long "bottle brush" brush with foam panels made quick work of removing the crap. It was too dark for photography by the time I had finished. Or even close examination of the "rusty" stains at the silver soldered joints. I'm wondering whether the heat employed has locally changed the structure of the stainless steel. The same occurs in stainless steel stove and exhaust pipes.

Though in this case it may be a chemical reaction with flux residues. Or the road salt attacking the silver alloy of the filler material itself. Or contamination from iron-based, steel components or fasteners. The staining really isn't very obvious after cleaning and is very localized. So it's not a general feature of silver soldered, stainless steel, cycle tubing. The head tube joints still show no discoloration at all. 

A quick rub with a fibrous ScotchBrite strip quickly removed the stains. Used like a shoe-shine strop, under modest tension, this lightly abrasive material follows the joint quite naturally. Polishing the joint and tubes alike without damage or unwanted cosmetic change. The very fine "brushed" effect remains on both the tubes and the silver solder. The silver solder takes on a very pale brassy colour when newly cleaned. Becoming slightly darker over time on exposure to damp weather.

I still think that my choice of R931 stainless steel, to minimize maintenance, was a wise one. The non-stainless steels have to be painted to avoid inevitable surface rust. The paint is very obviously far more fragile than bare stainless steel. A material which is itself very tough and highly resistant to abrasion. The painted Higgins has become ever more scruffy as a result of being ridden so often without constant cleaning.

By comparison the Trykit remains all but flawless in appearance. The only real sign of attack by the regular road salting are these small, dark stains around (only) some of the joints. Cleaning a bike or trike in sub-zero conditions is not an easy task. Particularly as the frame and wheels are constantly covered in fine grit from road spray. The fixing screws, chainset, gear changers, chain and pedals all rust or corrode despite being regularly sprayed with aerosol lubricant or rubbed with light oil.

One of the disappointments is the general use of plated screws which are very rust prone in their hex sockets. One tightening is usually enough to damage the plating which has reached the socket. One might have thought stainless steel screws were easily affordable given the very high price of many of these cycle components. It is not always convenient to keep replacing handlebar stem screws because of ugly surface rust. One might think that cycle component manufacturers all live in balmy California. Where road salting probably never occurs.

Wednesday 5th 32-34F, 0+1C, sunny periods, breezy becoming windy later. After a short walk I rode to Odense. I ended up going to umpteen shops to find what I wanted and still failed. A headwind going. Then a cold wind picked up towards the end on the way back home. Going well but not particularly fast. The laced B17 is certainly firmer than without. I notice road surface changes and potholes far more now. There is a stronger sense of the trike rocking on camber changes. Particularly on those traffic calming cushion bumps/ramps. They obviously hadn't thought about tricycles (or mobility scooters) when they installed those! 47 miles.

Thursday 6th 34-41F, 1-5C, breezy, heavy overcast. I walked for an hour and half around the woods. A mixture of wet and crunchy underfoot. No physical signs that I had been for a longer ride yesterday. Even my hip area pain is feeling better today. Several groups of Hooper swans flew over. A flock of five, three and a solitary bird all going in different directions.

Left mid-afternoon under a heavy sky and increasing wind. Disturbed a flock of 100+ Fieldfares. Having the advantage of greater height and clear view of the road ahead I waved on a following motorist on a blind turn. He wound down the window and thanked me before continuing on his way. What a difference a day makes. Normally I try to avoid waving motorists on in case I put them in danger from unseen traffic. In this case there could be no other traffic. 13 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.