12 May 2014

12 May 2014

Monday 12th May 51F, 11C, overcast, torrential showers, almost still. The rain stopped briefly after coffee so I climbed onto Mr Higgins and just made it to the gate. Then the rain started coming down again in stair rods from a black sky! I'm leaving it until after lunch now.

It rained for most of the afternoon so I finally got around to working on the Higgins' mudguards. Fitting slightly longer axles with the Trykit 2WD kit had pushed the wheels/tyres out beyond the normal range of the mudguard stays. I had fitted standard plastic mudguards to the Higgins stays by using only one side of the riveted metal bridges. This asymmetry had caused the mudguards to rub at intervals. In my clumsy attempts to avoid tyre rub the mudguards always looked twisted and lop-sided.

A Harley enthusiasts meeting provided some mouthwatering examples of customisation, cleanliness and chroming. There were, quite literally, no two alike. Since nobody batted an eyelid as I wandered around in my cycle shorts, taking photographs, it would have been churlish to mention that they were blocking the cycle lane. So I won't. ;-)
I couldn't use spacers because the original screws weren't long enough. Though I could have replaced them with new stainless steel screws the threads would have been wrong for the original, imperial(?) bronze nuts. The domed nuts are a strange size which doesn't fit any of my vast collection of spanners or sockets. They are a very tight fit in one old and worn out spanner.

It suddenly occurred to me today that I could straighten out the bends in the stainless steel bridges. By squashing these bends in pump pliers I was able to move the mudguards much further out. Now they are symmetrical and no longer rub on the tyres despite being a bit closer to each other.

 More noisy, chromed, personal masterpieces taking a well earned rest. 
If you have to ask the price you can't afford one!

I also removed the stays and wrapped new lengths of inner tube on the axle casings to go inside the mudguard axle clamps. The original bits of rubber from last time had perished in the sun and winter road salt. Trying to fit the stays without rubber packing will remove the paint and require very severe tightening to get a decent grip. If the clamps aren't tight enough the mudguard stays will randomly rotate on the trike's rear axle casing. Rubber packing is much kinder to the paint and the nerves.

I had already drilled the Higgins axle clamps to allow the use of stainless steel 10mm screws. It was the only way I could ensure really tight clamps. The originals were much smaller, slotted head steel screws. The hex heads of the new screws also make it very easy to fit and remove the mudguards using a ratchet and socket. It takes only a minute without having to invert the trike. None of the above is remotely intended as criticism of the original Higgins stays and fittings. Perhaps other owners of stay sets can learn something from my own failures.

We are having a most unusual run of wet weather this May after an unusually warm April. (That was 4th warmest April on record)  I had been using only a front mudguard because of the rear tyres rubbing. Which was a great shame having kindly been given the original Higgins stays. It always nagged my conscience that I wasn't using them any more! Now I am suitably equipped for the worst of weathers. Bring it on, as they say in the colonies. Another rest day.

Tuesday 13th 50-54F, 10C, breezy and bright sunshine between the fast moving fluffy clouds. The monsoon season appears to be over for the moment. Plates of cloud are spoiling the sunshine now after a leisurely, three mile walk up to the woods and back in an hour. Going out on Mr Higgins this afternoon. 13 miles as the cloud thickened to overcast. It was a bit too too cool for fingerless mitts on the way. Okay on the way back. I wore the dhb shorts again and they were fine over this shorter distance.

Wednesday 14th 53F, 12C, heavy overcast, breezy. It looked dark enough to rain. So my plans for a morning ride were put off until this afternoon. A gentle tailwind going. A stronger headwind coming home. 20 miles. Mostly sunny and hilly.

Thursday 15th 60-61F, 15-16C, breezy and sunny. A 3 mile walk. A professional photographer was filming a new pig shit dribbler with a quadcopter drone. They were at the far end of the field As I walked beside the road. I could hardly cross the field so I had to walk the long way around to the reach the other side. By which time they had moved to the side where I was originally standing! Grr! Later they were taking stills at dramatic angles of inclination with a DSLR in another field. So I took a few snaps myself. Well, you have to, don't you? ;-)

Heard my first cuckoo of the year today. (Actually 2 of them) The big Alsatian, which once attacked me on my trike, was walking on a field track with its owner. Of course it bounded up wanting to say hello. As if I was a long lost friend! Cheeky sod! Some of us have longer memories.

The woods are looking very lush. As are the verges and fields. Lots of flying insects today. An immature Blackbird managed to get stuck in the fence after bouncing off one of our windows. I wonder what it does for an encore? Seven miles on the trike so far. Going out again after lunch.  Plus 14 miles. Warm with a self-made headwind. Wind turbines standing still. Mr Higgins head bearings still creaking loudly. Still can't get used to 175mm cranks after riding with 160mm for so long. Though the longer cranks are easier to climb with, out of the saddle, in a higher gear. The short cranks feel foolishly short when having to twiddle while standing up.

The track to the woods was almost surreal. The first pods are appearing on the oil seed rape.

Friday 16th 46-51F,  8-11C, overcast, almost still, slightly misty. Sunshine forecast but no sign of it yet. A 2.3 mile walk in 52 minutes so far. It is a bank holiday in Denmark. So traffic should hopefully be light.The sunshine did not appear until late afternoon. Nor was it as warm as promised. Only 7 miles. An elderly woman on an electric bike was travelling as fast as a top TdeF climber up a long drag!

Saturday 17th 51-66F, 11-19C, still, bright, overcast and misty at first. The sun is trying (much harder) to break through today. It soon turned warm and sunny with the mist burning off quickly. With countless birds foraging and singing. A Bullfinch was so bright in his spring wardrobe that he looked tropical. I'm still struggling to identify a small flock of half a dozen birds beside a temporary field pond left by the heavy rain. Orangey buff chests, lightly speckled, dark wings and eye stripes. With  splashes of white on the flanks and rump of the slate grey male in flight. Probably a bit bigger than a chaffinch in size but hard to judge at that distance. They were sitting on the ground for 20 minutes while I just stared at them through my binoculars. Occasional acrobatics by the showier, much darker male to catch passing insects. Not Redwings but quite similar. Nor an Oriole. Still searching. A 3½ mile walk so far. Going shopping on the Higgins now.

A ride to the shops then across country to another village to finish off. A large bird of prey, with pointed wings, was circling over a copse in the "middle of nowhere".  By which I mean a relatively uninhabited area with marshes and woods and only a few isolated farms. I think I've seen a pair in the same place from the other side on another quiet road.

It was warm and sunny all day. With the wind light enough to stop the wind turbines again. I'm not allowed out without plastering myself with SPF30 suntan cream. The UV index was 5.3 today with mention of a thinned ozone layer on the DMI.

I wish I knew why trikes are so poor at following cyclists downhill. I was pedalling hard but completely unable to match the acceleration of a chap on a carbon bike who was just free-wheeling away from me! This is quite a common occurrence. I have been dropped by free-wheeling pensioners on sit up and beg, granny bikes on some descents! 19 miles. Just imagine how much extra effort I am having to put in going uphill!

Sunday 18th 58F, 15C, sunny with a light breeze. More of yesterday's fine weather with a bit more wind. I had a very pleasant 3 mile walk in warm sunshine. With lots of hovering to try and spot birds from their song. One copse of dense willows beside a drainage ditch was packed with singing and foraging birds.

There are large plates of cloud going over now and the wind is rising from the north. It eventually became overcast. Only 15 miles. Lots of American classic cars, custom cars and high end sports cars in one village I passed through.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

No comments:

Post a Comment