24 Mar 2014

24th March 2014

Monday 24th 32-47F, 0-8C, white frost, mist clearing, still, quiet and sunny.  I had a pleasant 3 mile walk in bright, warm sunshine with white frost underfoot. Even at such relatively low temperatures it is difficult to stay cool with anything more than a thin jumper over a T-shirt. I need cooler leg wear too.

My afternoon ride was all in bright sunshine but with a breezy crosswind as I tried to keep my cadence above 100rpm. It is easier with bare legs and I am already working on my tea-stained knees.

On the way back with the shopping I was overtaken after a two mile struggle by a lanky young chap. He ignored my greeting as he passed so I overtook him again and stayed in front for the next 5 miles. I kept dropping him on the hills and he caught me again on the descents. Are we having fun yet? I was distinctly overdressed for such messing about and drenched in sweat by the time I reached home. My shower was most welcome. Only 13 miles.

Tuesday 25th 32-46F, 0-8C, cold northerly breeze but mostly bright sunshine. Another overnight, white frost. Warmed quickly but the wind increased. Walked the three miles to the woods and back via the small lake.

Going out on the trike after lunch. A brightly coloured Bullfinch was decorating our tall hedge as I readied the trike. Despite the same air temperature as yesterday it felt bitterly cold. The wind had really picked up by the time I left. Not feeling very energetic today. Only 13 miles.

Wednesday 26th 36-43F, 2-6C, breezy becoming windy, overcast, early rain until coffee time. No walk.

Another cold, windy day. Left after lunch. I was only managing 12mph into the wind. Just touched 30mph on a descent with a tail wind. The tights went back on today. Only 10 miles.

Thursday 27th 40-43F, 4-6C, cold breeze, rather cloudy at times with watery sunshine. 5 mile walk in two hours mostly through the woods. I was too warm as usual.

Going out on the trike after lunch. A very pleasant ride in bright sunshine. I was caught by a much younger chap on a carbon bike. So I sped up from 16 to 20mph. He sat on my back wheel for a mile or so and then overtook. So I sat on his wheel as we cruised at 20mph for another mile until I overtook again as he eased off on a descent. Then he turned off in a village so I rode on into the wind. Later, a tail-crosswind helped me home. 20 miles.

Colour coordinated hub polishers in purple suede.

Friday 28th 38F, 3C, heavy grey overcast, almost still, rather cool. The easterly wind was a bit keen for my lighter clothing. Shelducks, Herons and ducks disliked my coming too near the pond. They circled and then settled again as I increased my distance. Judging by the number of spent cartridge cases adorning the grassy path the birds have very good reason to be nervous!

There was still a cold wind when I headed off on the trike. Just another day at the shops. Only 13 miles.

Saturday 29th 40-50F, 4-10C, light breeze, overcast. Where's our promised sun and 15C? I was planning a longer ride because of the expected fine weather and light winds. We'll be lucky to see 12C, 53F. It was quiet but the wind was colder and stronger than forecast on my walk. Huge numbers of birds around doing what birds do at this time of year.

I rode to a garden centre about 16 miles away and back again by a different route empty handed. Traffic not too bad and going there was by a much prettier and hillier route. I chased several cyclists out training but couldn't make any impression on their faster pace. The promised heatwave never transpired. It has peaked at 50F, 10C. The easterly wind felt cold even at 3pm mid afternoon. Though at least the sun has finally come out. 34 miles.

Sunday 30th 40-57F, 4-14C, thick mist at first, almost still. It is definitely brightening in the east. The clocks have gone forwards. Pleasant walk up to the woods and back another way. The mist is now almost gone.

Rode up to Bogense through variable mist against a gentle headwind to reach another garden centre . Bogense was very cold in thick mist! Probably due to an onshore wind. Small clumps of mist were going the other way like a Hammer horror film. Low cloud hung at half mast on the abandoned grain silos. My hands were freezing in my GripGrab "Windster" gloves!

Having shopped, I came back in mostly warmish sunshine with a tail crosswind. Now loaded down with two large plants in big pots hanging in a black, poly bin bag. They survived the journey very well with the bin bag sitting up in my big pink, sports bag for support. Lots of solo cyclists out training. Including a chap on a carbon TT bike who looked breathless and in pain. So he must have been really enjoying himself. Loads of motorbikes and special cars which had obviously heard the empty rumours about warmth and sunshine. 45 miles. Going out again after a sandwich, some fruit and nuts. Plus 6 more miles. Not one mile was covered today where the stench of pig shit could be completely ignored. My clothes stank of it.

Monday 31st 38F, 3C, thick mist, overcast, quite still. Sun and light winds promised yet again by the DMI. I'm going out now. I may be some time. <cough> The all pervading stench of pig shit fills the air as I open the door. It make my eyes water and my nose runs like a cold. I try not to gag. 

A damp walk to the woods and back in thick mist. Despite being completely unable to see head or taillights beyond 100 yards the racing commuter traffic was still moving at well over the 50mph national limit. Not one that passed had lit their rear fog lights. I stumbled in relative safety  along the littered, overgrown verges and took to the field's lumpy spray tracks at the earliest opportunity. Walking on the imprints of enormous tractor tyres is quite hard work but guilt free. Out in the rape prairie I was surrounded by a uniform wall of bright white mist. With no visible features in any direction.

The sun's disk is finally visible up above the mist at 11am! But has now vanished again. The mist has waxed and waned all morning. It is now after lunch and I can't put off my ride any longer. The mist finally began to clear as I rode to the shops with three rear lights flashing.

I could hardly believe the weight of the shopping when I arrived home. To the renewed stench of yet more weapons grade pig shit on the fields. My cycling clothes reek of pig shit as I undress for my shower. 19 miles. Welcome to industrialised dansk svinery. [piggery] Where not only the animals are tortured to make a [heavily subsidised] buck. The Danish exodus from the countryside continues and it doesn't take a genius to see why.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 


17 Mar 2014

March 17th 2014

Monday 17th 47F, 8C, gales, overcast. Mild, with potential showers and sunny periods forecast. Winds gusting to 35mph+ yet again. Peaking late morning to lunchtime. My usual window for a ride. So I ought to go out on my trike earlier and walk later. Except that I usually prefer the opposite.

In recognition of services to shopping I was allowed early coffee and off I went into a westerly gale. There was quite a bit of leaning to stay on the road during the fierce gusts on open stretches of road. Talking about hedges: Y'all couldn't make it up. First the council sent out the tractor mounted, scissors action, hedge clippers. This left the roads strewn with thorny twigs and the verge four-five feet high in very large bits of hedge for literally miles on end. Much of this clipped vegetation was being blown across the road by the gales.

Now you will never guess what they are doing? They are sending tractors with high speed cutters to mow the grass on the verges! I kid you not!! I passed one tractor spraying thorny twigs and mud right across both carriageways of a main road in a huge cloud of brown dust! One is forced to ask whether the person who made these "horticultural" decisions is suitably competent.

Talking of the council: As I was riding along the gutter/cycle lane in one large shopping village I noticed a continuous glitter of broken glass for literally hundreds of yards. This was on both sides of the road amongst the existing moraines of dead twigs, rubbish, filth, mud, gravel, drinks cartons, cigarette butts, beer cans, rocks and assorted debris which has flown out of the trailers of those visiting the recycling yard. (Recycling yard visitors can be a bit "special" in this regard. Most seem to consider themselves rather above netting or ropes to contain their own carefully collected, potential road debris)

This awful mess is right outside the council offices. Nobody who "works" there, who is not actually registered blind, could possibly miss seeing the years of accumulated filth on their own doorstep! Cyclists are supposed to use these same glittering moraines as cycle paths by law! The gutters are demarcated by white lines precisely for this purpose! 14 miles. Fighting against the odd(s) on all fronts. A large dead fox on the verge was having an even worse day.

Tuesday 18th 46F, 8C, overcast with rain. Still at first but becoming windy. There should be a brighter and drier window before lunch but it's actually getting darker. Though now the rain has stopped. I was lucky and it stayed dry but grey and windy while I had my ride. Shit spreaders everywhere again today. Barked at by farm dogs. Saw plovers bombing a field. 19 miles.

Wednesday 19th 43F, 6C, overcast, breezy. Showers forecast with 40+mph winds pm. Better to go early. The drizzle paused after coffee so I set off. Only for it to start raining and blowing more seriously. So only 8 miles. It is supposed to dry up this afternoon but blow a lot harder. I have to go out again so I might as well go on the trike. It stayed dry while I did another 7 miles. The wind was not as bad as I feared.

Thursday 20th 50-57F, 10-14C, sunny, quite mild but rather windy. Gusting to over 35mph later according to the DMI. It was mostly a crosswind both going and coming back. Climbing well despite another heavy load of shopping. 18 miles.

Friday 21st Another rest day.

Saturday 22nd 41-47F, 5-8C, windy, thin high cloud, sunny at first. Denmark is on course for a record warm March. The "windy" turned into a gales with fierce gusts! I was cruising at 20-25 going and crawling at 7-8mph coming back. Using the small ring I hit a low of 5.9mph as I crested a hill straight into the wind. There was some sort of organized ride for teenagers in one village. Then I was overtaken by a peloton of ten club riders but they didn't really make that much distance on me. 19 miles. I was going out again but it is clouding over with rain forecast. So I'm going in the car. My break from morning walks doesn't seem to have had any positive or negative effect.

Sunday 23rd 38F, 3C, breezy, sunny periods but rather cloudy. Sunshine and showers forecast. With winds gusting to 30mph later. Just a short ride. It started raining. Only 7 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

13 Mar 2014

13th March 2014 All our yesterdays.

Thursday 13th 28F, -2C, perfectly still, bright and sunny. The last, perfect spring day. At least for a while. A storm is due on Saturday. Bringing high winds and heavy rain. I'd better make the most of the fine weather while it lasts. We have had the catkins and now everything is budding out all over. The poor birds won't know what hit them on Saturday. It was so quiet yesterday that I could hear their wings overhead.

Normally the wind is roaring in my ears and deafens me to all but the loudest sounds. An aural glimpse of past times before traffic noise ruined much of the world. A time when people walked freely and casually on the roads without fear of being mown down. Kids in groups spread out across the road exploring their range until hunger and tired legs brought them home again. Or playing football in the village streets with jumpers for goalposts.

Thursday 13th unlucky for some?  It was for us. We opened the front door and the stink nearly blew our heads off! Big pig shit spreading day with a side order of chemical smog. There seemed to be shit spreaders everywhere I went today. Hold that stench in mind as you lean over the supermarket display of Danish bacon with drool running down your chin. We paid for your fried breakfast with knobs on! Rode to Assens against a headwind. Enjoyed my first downwind spray of the season of some unknown farm chemical. 25 miles in warm sunshine.

Friday 14th 36-45F, 2-7C, almost still, quite bright. I did a five mile walk looping through the woods. Despite the low temperature reading I was perfectly comfortable thanks to the lack of wind and warm sunshine.

After coffee I headed off into a slowly building breeze on the trike as it steadily clouded over. Left the long winter underwear off again. I made a small adjustment to the rear gear adjuster and this seemed to do the trick. Even the headwind coming back was not too much to slow me down. It is great fun bombing downhill on a trike at 25-30mph when you know the blind left hander at the bottom. The faster I go the faster I can climb the long drag beyond. Hedged in on a winding lane with the shining, meandering river visible down below through the still bare trees. 21 miles. Passed 2000 kilometers for this year.

As I update my blog the trees are bending as the wind picks up for the 50mph+ storm tomorrow. Guess what? A tractor is spraying the back field. Though the wind is away from us there are kids in the houses in direct line with the spray. I wonder if they are playing on the trampoline right now? Does anybody care? Nope!

Saturday 15th 42F, 6C, gales, grey and cloudy. Sun is promised for this morning. Rain this afternoon. It would be sensible to take a rest day. Though very windy it stayed quite sunny for most of the day. I was busy so no ride today.

Sunday 16th 50F, 10C, gales again, overcast. Left it until the afternoon to see if the wind died down. Not much, but I have to go out anyway. I made it up to 25mph on the way with a tailwind. Struggled back at 7-8mph against a wall of wind. Only 7 miles with my legs aching like hell on the way back! It started raining as well so no diversions today.


10 Mar 2014

10th March 2014

Monday 10th 40-57F, 5-14C, light breeze, clear skies, sun promised. It is amazing how a bit of sunshine cheers people up. Not least me. The endless grey skies had made me angry and depressed about almost everything around me. As soon as it becomes sunny I started thinking about longer rides, the trike's cosmetic appearance and maintenance.

As my wife keeps reminding me, this is supposed to be a triking/cycling blog but my morning walks have most definitely been positive. Both physically, in suppressing the pain I was feeling around my hip, and psychologically. The only downside is my getting angry with selfish drivers brushing past me as I walked to my regular exit points to the fields and woods. I have seriously begun to believe that commuting is a form of madness. As a humble pedestrian on a country road vehicles seem horribly violent as they pass. You get absolutely no sense of the racket and disturbance when you are driving.

On a more positive note the new brake blocks seems to be both powerful and progressive. Though only on one brake. The other is less of both. Yet both brakes are mounted on the same pair of forks with the same mechanisms. One facing forwards (as normal) and the other behind the fork crown. Which is identical to it being used as a rear brake on a bike. More research is required. Not least which is the good one and which the offender. It sounds daft but I haven't a clue without going out to the shed and looking. I'll report back on this one later:

There was nothing to report. Both brakes behaved similarly today. The one behind the forks is the right hand lever. Though only because that was the easiest way to run the cables to the side entry, Tektro brakes. 

A tractor was chucking small white pellets all over the fields today. So I had to modify my route on the spray tracks. 3 miles in one hour. I have changed to an uninsulated jacket but was still far too warm in a thin jumper and vest. Even the niggling wind didn't help when I was out in the sun. It had already reached 48F as I returned at 9.30 and could reach 15C/59F later. I hear they had 17C/63F in England at the weekend. There are lime green butterflies and bumble bees around already. Though they must surely lack food sources so early in the season.

I rode to a regular destination with a constant crosswind. My clothing was much too warm despite the lack of vest and removing my jacket early on. Fingerless gloves and a lack of scull cap helped. I was going to find a public toilet to take off my skiing tights. As I was wearing my best bibs I would have had to strip down to my socks and sunglasses. So I fought a four hour battle with tight knees on my tights instead. Normally I hardly notice this but I must have generated a small amount of sweat in the warmth. What with the road mud mushrooms baking hard in the sunshine it was all  good fun. 39 miles.

Tuesday 11th 35-50F, 2-10C, white overnight frost, light winds, clear skies and sunshine. Though it promises not to be so warm as yesterday. More difficult clothing decisions to be made. I was advised by one chap to keep my legs covered until it was 70 degrees. I want to get rid of the tights as soon as it passes 50F! The sense of freedom with bare legs has to be worth 5mph. Cold on the hands at the start of my walk but I was soon too warm again. There was still lots of white frost where the sun couldn't reach at 9am.

I rode east to see something I had read about online. Took a photo and then rode home via the shops. Very hilly and definitely more of a headwind coming home. I passed a glittering lake going both ways visible through the bare beach woods. A superb ride but it felt as if my throat had been cut by the time I came home. I should have taken some food and drink. 35 miles.

Wednesday 12th 30-52F, -1+11C, another white frost, quite still, clear skies and all day sunshine promised. The winds were so light that even the wind turbines were still. I could just sense it was cooler walking South than going North. Remind me not to walk clockwise when it is sunny. It just prolongs being blinded by the low sun. It also makes photography difficult to impossible when a couple of deer are posing by the woods. I saw and heard my first Plover and Greenfinch of the year. Though I have heard both earlier without actually spotting them.

I was soon stripped down to my T-shirt (and fleece trousers) in the warm sunshine. It was wonderfully quiet this morning but it must have made the birds more nervous. They quickly disappeared as I paused to look for them after hearing their song. After reading that again I had visions of my crashing through the undergrowth actively searching for the poor birds with a large net in hand. What I meant, of course, was that I tried to spot them. Birdwatchers, at every level,  quickly develop a skill for detecting the slightest movement in the bushes and trees. No doubt a throwback to early hunters that remains dormant until switched on by practice. 

The fertilizer tractor has left very deep and wide tracks superimposed on the existing spray tracks. I sometimes wonder why it matters if I walk the spray tracks when the farmers and workers drive all over the place without any apparent concern for their crops. While they are collecting stones from the fields they walk and drive completely at random. The same happens when they are hunting. Driving and traipsing all over the place without a qualm. Meanwhile I carefully avoid standing on anything remotely green. Not even the weeds!

Time for a ride and the temperature is still rising steadily.  The weeping birch twigs are almost stationary. The wind turbines couldn't make their minds up whether to turn or not. Bright warm sunshine peaked out at 52F. I went without the usual, long, skiing underwear and was perfectly comfortable. Rode down to the coast and back on a very hilly route. Climbing quite well. Only 22 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

6 Mar 2014

6th March 2014

Thursday 6th 34-46F, 1-8C, still at first, thick mist, overcast. I found new forest tracks to explore which led to another wood and  return path away from the roads. A very dark brown (red) squirrel with a black tail ran across the track in front of me. First squirrel I'd seen in more than a decade despite spending so much time out of doors. The last squirrel I saw was in one of or own trees and that was a red squirrel. Lots of birds in the woods including two large birds of prey. Probably just buzzards. Visibility had improved from 50 to 200 yards by the time I returned home. No sign of the promised sun yet. 5 enjoyable miles of walking. A breeze is picking up now.

The wind was so cold I wore the winter Dintex/HeatPax gloves. Though I took the GripGrab Windster gloves to change into later. Gears still jumping. 21 miles. Going out again. Plus 7 more miles. A half turn more on the adjuster seemed to fix the gears. Passed my first 1000 miles for this year. About time too!

Friday 7th 39F, 4C, high cloud with a hint of brightness, breeze picking up. Rain and wind promised for this afternoon. Another pleasant walk through the woods via different tracks. A deer was grazing unconcerned some 200 yards away. Until I walked upwind of it and it bounded into the woods. There are deer tracks everywhere on the spray tracks, fire breaks and paths. Despite regular treatment our old cat was a magnet for the bloodsucking deer bugs before he disappeared.

I am wondering whether I reversed the cable clamping plate on the Ultegra rear changer when I put it back together. I had been experimenting with different cable clamping arrangements before fitting the ShiftMate. The clamp was probably reversed and I put it back to normal. This may be the reason for the newly indecisive indexing. The odd thing is that the ShiftMate is supposed to have taken care of the incorrect pull-per-click ratio of Campag Ergo levers with Shimano changers. [Shimergo] So cable re-routing should not have been necessary.

Another oddity was the Ultegra triple front changer. I discovered it was literally hitting the seat tube when fully inwards. There is a big bump cast onto the parallelogram mechanism. This hump was hitting the tube before the chain would hop cleanly onto the inner ring. It is strange that this never happened before. I can only imagine the chainwheel crank has pulled further onto the square axle taper this time.

The hump may be a safety device should the front changer cable break while out on the road. It would allow the rider to get home in a low gear. Or even on another chainwheel if a suitable packing "wedge" was placed between the hump and the seat tube. Attentive readers will remember that I was searching for a really short axle to overcome cable tension when the changer stretched to reach  the outer chainwheel. The distance between the crank and the BB cup was still further than I wanted even with a 107mm axle. Now the crank has pulled in quite close to the fixed cup. So I had to file the changer hump a little to get clean changing down onto the smallest ring.

The picture shows the tip of the front changer parallelogram resting against the seat tube after gentle filing. The changer was spotlessly clean before it went back on. It just shows how filthy the roads are to get this dirty in twenty-odd miles. This was with the Crud front mudguard in place too so it must be thrown up by the back tyres. It's a wonder a chain lasts as long as it does.

 The wind increased all the time I was out. So I was really struggling to maintain 10 mph on the last leg straight into the wind. The gears still need attention so I'll have to put it up on the work stand again. 22 miles.

Saturday 8th 33-41F, 1-5C, overnight frost, clear, still, bright sunshine from a cloudless sky. Despite the low starting temperature for my walk the lack of wind allowed me to leave my gloves at home. Three miles in warm sunshine admiring the clear views after a week of grey mist.

I thought I heard a thrush shouting the odds in the woods but couldn't see it. They are even rarer than robins over here in Denmark. As common as muck in Britain. The Yellow hammers seem to be a permanent feature of the wet, scrubby woods by the large pond on my regular walk. Though I've seen them on hedges beside the sea and high ground well away from it.

I have just moved the cable to the other side of the rear changer clamp and tried the gears on the work stand. Though I usually rotate the clamp by 90 degrees A-CW to bring the cable slot over the cable. I'll fix it later when I get back. Gear change now seems more positive than before. The proof is out on the road when changing under power. Even if I relax the pedal pressure during gear changes it is not the same as a total lack of chain tension up on the stand.

While watching the pros time trialling in the Tour of Denmark I could hardly believe the loud bang as they changed gear under full power running disk rear wheels. Perhaps they were using Sram gears. I've heard they are quite violent.

I did a loop out around the Helnæs peninsula before starting my shopping. Windier than I had hoped. I tried chasing a clubman out training but he was doing at least 22 to my 20mph max in a crosswind on the causeway. Having beautiful scenery and bright sunshine helped to take away the pain. It was a tailwind all the way home from there.

A message to the moron who blasted his horn as he passed me on an empty road: There is no Guinness record for the maximum number of village idiots to be stuffed in one car. Particularly such a small one. Blame your parents for your substandard genes and abusive upbringing, not me. BTW: Your inadequacy is chronic, terminal and incurable. The gears are better but still not perfect. 38 miles.

Sunday 9th 40-54F, 4-12C, rather breezy, high cloud, brightening. We are promised nearly 15 degrees 59F with lots of sunshine. I'd better get started on rebuilding my tea stained knees. I can still remember kids shouting "lily whites" as I rode past in my teens. It can take a while to recover from that sort of thing. In the age of the Internet you'd think they would have a cure for parochialism by now.  Every year I threaten to shave my legs but SWMBO talks me down.

My walk was rather more ambitious than usual but the sun was shining brightly and the wind not too cold. Though there were still patches of frost in the shade as I came home. I needed more cheerful pictures in reserve and took lots. Five miles in two hours mostly in the woods or on the spray tracks. The forest workers had scraped the tracks smooth in many places. Making walking a bit easier despite the stickiness of the surface.

The woods were full of birdsong. Mostly Chaffinches and Great tits with a few Wood pigeons and a single warbler visible. Rooks and crows formed a distant audio backdrop. It has reached 50F, 10C by 10.30 and is still climbing steadily. Which will make my cycling clothes choice more difficult. Given that the wind will rise in m/s to match the temperature in degrees Centigrade. One m/s = 2.2 mph. It was quite windy but warm enough to need fewer clothes. But not warm enough to take off the jacket. Lots of cyclists out training individually and in small groups. Most of them waved. People out and about were happy and smiling in the sunshine. 23 miles. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

5 Mar 2014

Kendrick trike on eBay


I went through a period when I was quite obsessed with Kendrick trikes.
My plans to build one of my own became a pile of tubes and a roundtoit.


Click on any image for an enlargement.

3 Mar 2014

3rd March 2014 [Spring cleaning!]

Monday 3rd 39F, 4C, windy, brightening as the sun rises. Sunshine and 30mph gusts promised today. Cool, watery sunshine for my walk. Skylarks were being silly in a field very close to the road. Presumably a mating ritual. I can't imagine it is a territorial scrap with a vast prairie to fight over. 

Blowing a sideways gale by the time I left on the trike. I was hanging over the upwind wheel to stay on when the crosswind coincided with adverse camber. No protective hedges, as usual. A huge tractor with enormous double rear wheels on wide spacers overtook me. I was worried something would come the other way because he was 1 1/2 main road lanes wide! My mirror is a lifesaver on every trip. Only 12 miles. I'm not being allowed out again today.

The council is delivering huge, green, plastic, wheely bins for increased recycling of refuse by conscripted tax payers. [Us!]  I thought I'd add an outboard motor and take up people smuggling. Except that we live too far from the sea to make it worthwhile. Then I thought it could make a hot tub for the greenhouse. But the <cough> recycled plastic might not be very healthy if a low pthalate bath is one's intention. In the end I decided to lay it on its side and use it as a two trike storage shed. I wonder if they do padlocks for recumbent wheely bins?

Tuesday 4th 38F, 3C, heavily overcast, grey and almost perfectly still. Did I mention the all-pervading greyness? Possibility of light showers. Super. I'd better take those undersized gloves back. I did a square figure of eight on the spray tracks for my walk.

Wind light going. More of a headwind coming back. No problem swapping the gloves for a new pair. I bought a 10sp Tiagra chain while I was there. 21 miles.

Some of the afternoon was spent stripping the Trykit of its wheels, rear axles, chain, gears, chainset, cassette etc. A good spray with (highly toxic) engine cleaner loosened the worst of the gunk. With the bare trike up on the Lidl work stand I spent some time polishing the tarnished, silver solder joints with ScotchBrite strips. I have hardly attended to the joints for months so cannot really complain about a little surface discoloration. A quick polish and they come up as bright as the palest brass. The stainless steel just takes on a bit more polish and always looks well.

I suppose I ought to have replaced the cassette to get a bit more life out of the new chain. I'll strip the cogs and give it a further clean and then decide if it has any life left in it. I have already stripped the triple chainset and cleaned it thoroughly. The teeth on the TA alloy rings still look good. Since I spend most of my time on the middle ring I could just replace that one.

I hung the old chain against the new one, as usual, on pins on the door post. The old chain had stretched a full link longer at the bottom compared with the new one alongside! It always seems a waste to replace the chain while there's still any winter salt left on the roads. 

Anybody else would have kept their trike quite a lot cleaner. Particularly if they are social cyclists and suffer a bit of teasing about the filthy state of their machine. I am assuming that the weather is unlikely to return to winter now. So the roads are unlikely to be sprayed with salt again this year. I think Denmark's winter 2013/14 has just gone down as the 5th warmest ever. It was very windy, wetter than usual and almost constantly overcast according to my memory of it. There was hardly any snow to talk about.

Wednesday 5th 39F, 4C, grey, overcast, still. I had better put the trike back together rather than going for  a walk. The images show the results of my labours. I stripped the Trykit 2WD double free-hub, cleaned and re-greased it. No sign of wear yet. The pawls and carriers still look like new. I shortened the chain by one link over the previous one. Checking before I did that I could still use the largest chainwheel and rear sprocket. Even if I never use this combination deliberately, the results of careless selection could be unpleasant out on the road a long way from nowhere. There was still a bit of slack left in the rear changer cage.

I stripped the rear changer cage and pulleys and cleaned them thoroughly before refitting the changer. The ShiftMate is working well and can be seen in the images above. Its smart finish seems to be able to survive saltey roads. I have tried running the cable inside and outside the axle reinforcing loops and prefer it to run outside. Sometimes it looks as if the ShiftMate is quite close to the reinforcing loops but it never touches in any gear combination.

The Ultegra cassette looks a bit stained but it is still in fair condition after being stripped and cleaned with a toothbrush and engine cleaner. Followed by a rinse with water. I need to find a way to keep the Trykit alloy hubs clean. I used loops of purple suede leather on the Higgins. A poor old office stapler wasn't man enough to penetrate two layers of suede so I punched and pop riveted them instead. I used a small nut to take the expansion of the pop rivet. The hope is that the extra weight will provide slightly more friction to polish the alloy hubs. I just hope the nuts don't rattle on the spokes. If they do I'll just take them off and re-rivet.

The handlebars had become tipped up over time so I lowered them to level on the tops leading to the brake hoods.

I had to repair the Carradice Camper Longflap saddlebag as well. The rivets had pulled out of one corner reinforcement and the self tapping screw had pulled out of the stiffening dowel. Probably the weight of the Abus U-lock I keep in the side pocket. I drilled the dowel and used screws, washers and nuts instead. Being careful to shorten and smooth the bare threaded section beyond the nuts inside the bag. This was to avoid damaging anything carried in the bag. I would have preferred stainless steel screws but had nothing in the right size in stock.

It is just after lunch now and everything is finally back together. Off we, jolly well, go. I wish I could say the cleanup had caused a considerable increase in speed, but alas no. Chain tension is far better than with the last one. The gear indexing needs re-adjusting. I played with the adjusters but it still wasn't right. Up on the work stand again when I got home. Another fiddle and it seems better. 20 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

1 Mar 2014

March 1st 2014

Saturday 1st 36-40F, 2-4C, thick mist, still and very, very grey. The DMI are promising a bright morning. I bought another pair of GripGrab 'Windster' (Winter) yesterday. My hands get too hot in my winter gloves as temperatures climb rapidly throughout a ride. I also need a spare pair to go in the washing cycle to keep them fresh. When they are worn every day gloves can get remarkably niffy!

Having got home I have discovered that the left hand has shorter and narrower fingers and is really uncomfortably tight! This, despite having bought the last pair of XXL which is claimed to be size 12. For £35 (equivalent) they will definitely have to go back.

GripGrab's claim that they are good down to 0C/32F is total bunkum on a bike or trike. They are only good for 40-55F if the sun is out. I wore my year-old pair of Windsters to Assens yesterday and they were a little too cool even at 43F! Nor do they breathe all that well. Leaving a stickiness when I take them off again. They are very close fitting without bagginess even in such a large size. The snugness provides good control of the gears, brakes and steering. The thin rubberised palms and fingers are really grippy. Making them feel very secure without the handlebars needing a vice-like grip. The padding on the palm is quite rudimentary with only a small, thin patch on the base of the thumb. Hardly a cycle-friendly orientated arrangement.

Yesterday I also shared an image of the first serious mass application of home brewed pig's diarrhoea, urine, bacteria, viruses and antibiotics this year. The machine was trundling straight towards the road as I approached so it was too good an opportunity to miss. The stink nearly blew my head off!

Many roads are now covered in mud from countless tractors and other machines leaving the sticky fields after the first ploughing and boundary hedge clipping. The mud brings vast quantities of flints and stones onto the roads too. The traffic turns it into incredibly hard, uncomfortable humps. I often have to ride over the rock hard mushrooms for miles on end. Sometimes I even have to change my route to avoid particularly vicious applications of mud. Once they really dry out the humps crumble and produce brown clouds of choking dust as traffic runs over it at speed. It sure ain't easy being a tricyclist in this cycle-friendly land! ;ø)))

Thick mist at the start of my walk only slowly thinned. Though it was still impossible to see trees at 200 yards when I came home. The promised sun never arrived but the mist did slowly clear over the course of the morning. The shopping on my trike was largely uneventful except for the weight. I should have bought a new chain yesterday. Only 16 miles.

Sunday 2nd 38-41F, 35C, grey, grey or  grey? Overcast, light breeze, light mist, light rain with an extra dollop of grey. The promised sun was in very short supply but at least it stayed dry. As I walked into a village there was a pause in the Sunday morning rat runners and I was suddenly surrounded in birdsong. It reminded me of my rural childhood when we often walked for miles without seeing, or hearing, any traffic at all. A 4 mile walk.

I enjoyed my ride despite the  grey skies, the lack of warmth and the increasing wind. The new brake blocks are okay but not great. A few cyclists were out training. Some waved. Others pretended I wasn't there. Those very dark glasses don't help visibility do they? I use yellow lenses more than any other these days. 22 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.