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.

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