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.

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