1 May 2014

May 1st 2014


Thursday 1st 44-50F, 7-10C, grey overcast, light northerly winds. The run of superb weather is now over. Forecast temperatures have dropped by 8 degrees C, on average, with much more cloud. Fortunately I have managed to get my forearms and knees just brown enough to be noticeable. It seems my £4 investment in a new bottle cage was decidedly premature! The last (cheap plastic) one literally fell to pieces. So I have been using an alloy one without being able to find a match to make two the same. In the end I bought a black one to go behind the seat tube for my (bottled) tool kit.

It is snowing cherry tree petals in the garden! There is still a very large variation in the trees which are fully in leaf and those still only thinking about it. Even of trees of the same species. The dominant Beech trees vary enormously in their readiness to show a new flush of leaves this year. I presume the variation offers some increase in the chance of survival in the event of fire or storm. I was surprised to realise that there is no simple verb for "coming into" leaf.

It is time to think about buying new tyres again. The Duranos have distinctly flat surfaces across the rear treads with quite a few small, open holes visible. Though I haven't had a punctures in 2100 miles, I last had two punctures back in January. [Pause to close the window vents because we are being circumnavigated by yet more pig shit dribblers! Two days in a row seems excessive even for them. My morning walk has definitely been stunk off !]

Anyway, back to the tyres. I seem to have missed the chance to record when I fitted the last pair of Duranos in my mileage diary. Confirmation of order email from Wiggle says end of January 2013. Could it really be that long ago? It seems very unlikely they have done 9k miles! I run 700x25C, at 90-95, PSI for a little more comfort than the far more readily available 23mm. I had 11 punctures last year! One for every 670 miles. Should I make a change to a different tyre?

I had quite good luck with Continental GP4000 (in bright blue) until the treads started looking like they had been slashed with a razor! The all black GP4000S were a dreadful waste of money. As useless as blotting paper in the wet! Nor did they seem to roll as fast as Continental's hype. I punctured three times on the first ride as the treads opened up into huge, gaping holes. Which gathered small flints until they reached the inner tube. Continental failed to accept responsibility for their shit poor batch of rubber. So the dealer felt obliged to dip into his own pocket to replace them. I have no desire to further fund such a company as Continental. Their pathetic quality control must match Sony's!

The problem is I have the replacement set of the GP4000S hanging up in a dark corner of the shed. Should I risk fitting them? I'd rather have a slower tyre with almost perfect puncture resistance than something which rolls well but is a puncture magnet. Gatorskins have been recommended but I'm not sure how well they roll. They are also made by Continental! Will I get a shit batch of Continental rubber again?  Three tyres run at about £100 per change. Which is ridiculous when you compare them with car tyres. Which can last for years and have huge volumes of rubber compared with skinny bicycle tyres.

The Durano Plus, which I tried on the Higgins before the lighter Duranos, were very strange,. They were heavier than the Durano 'Performance' seemed to roll well but were not superbly puncture resistant in the wet. I have to buy 25mm online because most Danish bike shops only carry the vastly more popular 23mm. Decisions-decisions...

Apparently, I am going to ride nearly 20 miles north into a 30 mph wind to do some shopping. It should be great fun coming back! I'll test the new shorts but will have to wear a warmer jacket in the much lower temperatures. At least it is brightening up with lots of blue sky. I had to wear long fingered gloves until nearly half way. It was good to get out of the sweaty GripGrab gloves but still cold on the fingers in mitts. Coming back the wind was over my shoulder rather than a true tailwind. 35 miles.

Another seven miles pm. I had to put my gloves and cap back on after shopping because it felt so cold in the strong, gusty wind. The temperature peaked at just 50F, 10C but with constant sunshine. The sky is full of gorgeous waves and feathers as high ice clouds are ripped apart by the wind. My cycling clothes stink to high heaven of pig shit! To my fellow supermarket shoppers I probably smell like a lifelong pig farmer with piss poor hygiene and laundry habits! Where do I queue for my compensation? Oh, that's right . There is no environmental or consumer protection in Denmark.

A gorgeous 1931 Willys 'Overlander' standing in a village I passed through today. It has a straight six cylinder engine. Needs some TLC. I'm afraid I cannot be held responsible for the image background. I usually prefer to find a plain background .

There is lots of interest in American classic cars in Denmark. You could almost imagine running cheap booze back from the German border in this thing! I kid you not! Booze runs to the border hypermarkets are popular with the Danes.

I would describe the new dhb Aeron shorts as only slightly better than my old shorts. They made the Brooks B17 feel rock hard! The pad is only about half the thickness over the sit bones as the Tactic bibs. Nor does the pad feel particularly firm like the excellent Tactic. My wife described the dhb pad as having the consistency of cheap, carpet, foam underlay. So, about the same as the Bontrager Race bibs and only slightly better than the cheapo [Lidl?] Crivit. Unfortunately my wife cut out the Tactic label so I don't know which model they are. They were described as suitable for longer distance rides by the dealer. So there may be different Tactic models.

The dhb's stretchy cloth and design are much nicer than either but that doesn't help seating comfort. I am now acutely aware of my sit bones while sitting here on my comfy office chair scribbling my blog. I was already slightly uncomfortable after only 18 miles this morning. Though it didn't get any worse. I was certainly not saddle sore. Just very aware of my saddle. After 42 miles I'd say I had probably exceeded the dhb's comfort range for one day. They will do for my normal shopping trips but are disappointing at this price level. Which leaves me with the problem of finding some decent, medium range shorts which are not bibs.

Friday 2nd 44F, 7C, almost still but rather cloudy. There was supposed to be overnight and early rain but it still looks dry. I rather overdid the walking this morning. 5.6 miles in 2 3/4 hours. I wasted a lot of time trying to spot birds after hearing their songs. They are even more difficult to see now the leaves are out. First Goldfinches this year and loads of warblers.

I spent the morning fettling the Higgins. The cable outers had frayed and rusted where they reach the down tube stops. The chain had managed to become stiff too. Though there was no external rust. I had to swap the front changer cable for a new one. General lubrication and then refit the saddle. A tootle up and down the road proved it all worked as long as I did not pedal backwards. The Liquid Metal I put on the fork lower bearing seating must have hardened well by now. I tweaked the adjusting nut and snuggled the locking nut tight. The forks no longer shake when the brake is applied and the trike rocked back and forth.

The Higgins felt very strange compared with the Trykit. The front wheel seemed to be about a foot further away on the Higgins. All due to the huge fork rake on these earlier machines. The Higgins top tube is much longer too. I had fitted a much shorter stem on the Higgins before the arrival of the made-to-measure Trykit.

Back then I was suffering from constant back pain which I put down to overreaching on the Higgins. Since I have not had the back pain since, I can only presume that the Trykit cured it. Or, conversely, that not riding the Higgins any more was the real reason for my lack of pain.

I knew something was wrong because I kept sitting up on the tops instead of resting naturally on the brake hoods. My back must have been stiffening up though I was not really aware of it.

I went for a short ride on the Higgins. The chain is freeing up but still not completely. The gear indexing needs attention but otherwise okay. It rained so I came home again. The roads were bone dry (and plastered with mud) by half way home. Some farmers go out with a huge brush mounted on a tractor to clean the roads. Not this lot. Only 7 miles.

Saturday 3rd. Very busy. No walk no ride.

Sunday 4th No walk. Only 7 miles on the Higgins.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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