14 Apr 2014

14th April 2014

Monday 14th 43F, 6C, heavy overcast, windy, occasional drizzle. It is forecast to blow 40mph gusts later and I can already hear the wind. With showers forecast and a quick walk around the garden to test the conditions I have decided to postpone my walk.

 Farmer's toys. The one with the most wheels wins.

Noah must have been in charge of the weather forecast today. There was a shower just before I left and then came the real rain! I was only 100 yards from home and committed! Or, more probably, should have been. Throw in a headwind gale and I was lucky to have put on the Aldi rain jacket and GripGrab rubber overshoes. Though I stayed comfortable enough apart from the soggy knees.

A tiny bird of prey sailed slowly overhead completely ignoring my presence. Similar outline to a swift or swallow and not much bigger. It looked quite dark against the sky. Google suggests a Merlin.

An over the shoulder, very gusty wind on the way home kept changing direction. Trying to push me all over the place! Just passed 3000 km for the year so far. Lazy git! 23 miles.

Tuesday 15th 34-51F, 1-11C, white overnight frost on the grass, bright sunshine from a cloudless sky. Warming nicely. Northerly breeze. Where shall we go today? To a garden centre at FĂ„borg via the coastal road and back by an inland route. A cross tailwind going but it felt like a headwind most of the way back. My hip was hurting from the very start and never let up. As were my knees. Finally, I pulled my tights out of my socks and tugged at the knees to make them baggy and that solved the knee problem. Shame it took me 45 miles to discover this!

A cheese roll and a banana were not enough for such a long and hilly ride. Particularly while having to continuously fight the wind. So I was tiring a little towards the end. Svanninge Bakke was completely ruined by the unusual wind direction! I have never climbed it so slowly. It is usually a long but enjoyable climb. 53 miles.

Wednesday 16th 32-54F, 0-12C, white overnight frost, still and sunny. With the wind turbines standing still it is an ideal day for a ride once it warms up. I should have gone for my longer ride today due to the very light winds forecast all day. My hip and kneecaps are still hurting. The hip pain is probably from lifting heavy ladders the day before yesterday. The knee pain caused by the tights I wore yesterday.

I walked five miles in 2½ hours this morning in warm sunshine. Adding a Blackcap, a Robin and several warblers to my list of birds spotted this year. Don't smile at the mention of a Robin. They are very shy birds over here. Completely unlike the semi-tame Robins in the UK. Thanks to the lightweight, compact binoculars, which I now carry on my walks, I find that Yellow hammers are incredibly commonplace. Though Chaffinches and Great tits still outnumber them by a very large margin.

Not that any of this has anything to do with cycling it is all beneficial to my sense of well being. Not to mention my fitness. Appreciating one's surroundings, particularly when so favoured by woods and rolling countryside, is vital to maintaining a sense of balance. So few get to enjoy the quiet solitude of such beautiful scenery and its wildlife. I often disturb hares in the spray tracks and woods. You wouldn't think hares lived in the woods but there they are. The sheer number of different birds on my walks and cycle rides is amazing.

Not having to share the woods  and fields with other people is another bonus. Being away from the traffic, often without a road within sight or sound, is incredibly relaxing. Having retired gives me the freedom to explore my surroundings at leisure at almost no expense. Having no real timetable allows me to fill my hours in any way I please. So many people get bored with their lot. With no job to give them a sense of status. Nor pastimes to fill their waking hours they find themselves lost. While I have so many hobbies that I can alight, like a butterfly, on anything which catches my interest of the moment. I have no need for passive entertainment while I can still entertain myself.

I went out on the trike after lunch. Lots of cyclists out training. Though it would be unkind to call them fairweather cyclists just because it was almost still with bright sunshine. I was going quite well myself today. Bare knees and my thinnest jacket to stay cool offered a wonderful sense of freedom after the long months of multi-layered swaddling clothes. I should have left the vest at home too.

The motorbike season has started in earnest. An old, single cylinder BSA went past. A unique sound you rarely hear today with multi-cylinder Japanese bikes being the norm. The conservatism of the British motorcycle industry offered nothing to compete with the imports. As the public literally dumped their bikes for affordable cars and could then sit in traffic jams. Instead of enjoying the freedom of the road and endlessly inclement weather. 18 miles.

Thursday 17th 44F, 7C, already windy and cloudy. The wind is supposed to peak at 45mph gusts this afternoon. I will need a chinstrap on my bobble hat if I leave it that late to go for a walk. Not that I wear a bobble hat these days. Fleece is warmer, much lighter, non-itchy and less stretchy. While on the trike I wear a thin, windproof, medieval cap under my helmet. The level of comfort offered by these shaped 'hats' is astounding. I wouldn't be without one of these caps under my helmet in a headwind or rain. Yet they weigh almost nothing and will squash down into a tiny space. I haven't yet mastered the skill of removing my helmet while riding along to fit or remove my scull cap.

It was sunny but not too windy in the forest as I did a loop along the tracks. More and more trees are bursting into leaf.  There was almost a dawn chorus of birds singing away in their own acoustic amphitheatre. Falling silent again when I hung about too long searching for the source of an unusual song.

It's odd how they can all sense that somebody walking is a lower risk compared to one standing still. Spotting tiny birds through the binoculars in a tangle of branches takes some practice. I saw several Nuthatches, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and many more subtly marked warblers. Which I am not very adept at delineating on the hoof.

The trees in the garden are bending to the increasing wind as I laze about on the computer. Loads more motorcycles are enjoying our winding country road. On their way to who knows where. All at each, their own pace. Several groups of ten or so have been quite commonplace today. Longer strings of many more are a familiar sight and sound later in the year. I was talked out of venturing forth on the trike in such windy conditions.

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