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.

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