1 Jun 2014

1 st June 2014

Sunday 1st 53F, 12C, still, but overcast. Sun and light winds promised for later. I had better have a walk to try and stop my hip aching. My hip was soon forgotten as I tootled through the woods.

The old smithy is looking very smart.

Trying to spot warblers is a frustrating business! They are by far the most common songbirds in the hedges and trees but are well camouflaged, agile and shy. I did see a Blackcap though. 3.3 miles in just under 2 hours. Much of which was spent staring at bushes full of noisy, but invisible, birds.

I left late morning for my ride carrying a cheese roll and banana for sustenance in place of lunch. The first long drag found me strangely breathless. After that I had no problems and was going rather well despite taking one of the hilliest routes. I even chose to stand up to ride some long hills just because I could. An amazing improvement on last year's 5 second agonising  limit when I first started climbing out of the saddle. Loads of cyclists out training either solo or in small groups.

It is amazing how many home owners are slaves to their lawns. Most have ride-on mowers these days like mini tractors. I heard them literally everywhere I went today. All spoiling the rural silence and birdsong. I saw several cars with strange aerials on the roof parked up. No idea what they were up to. Having bought six plants in the target nursery I had to get them home in one piece. So I carried them in the pink sports bag slung over my shoulder. Luckily they all survived and the weight of all the soil in the pots didn't slow me down too much. 33 miles. What next? Jogging with a rucksack full of bricks?

The verges are stuffed with Comfrey and Yarrow at the moment. This is Comfrey. Beloved of bees and serious gardeners.

Monday 2nd 55-68F, 13-20C, still and sunny. Yesterday's promised sunshine did not arrive until late afternoon. Today it arrived early. With light winds it could be another good day for a ride. I checked the Higgins tyre pressures with my thumb before going out yesterday. The tyres seemed fine but I dragged the TouPeak track pump out just to be sure. I was surprised to find they were only around 40PSI. It seems my thumb is about as useful as just staring at them to check my tyre pressures! With 85PSI the Higgins became an enjoyable machine to ride again.

I must admit that I have noticed the Higgins' narrower track compared with the Trykit. Though it doesn't have many disadvantages. It is more about rider comfort and sense of security than anything else. The Trykit is far more forgiving and feels faster and smoother but uses slightly more road width. I can hurl the Trykit into my favourite, downhill roundabout without a qualm. I sail around 270 degrees then stand up to sprint out of the third exit. Often overtaking or catching cars as I do so. The Higgins doesn't run remotely as smoothly or with the same level of stability. It corners far more roughly with far more tyre scrub.

I also need to hang much further off the side to keep the Higgins inside wheel down. Which greatly increases the risk of a tyre burn on my thigh. A narrow track may be [theoretically] slightly faster in a straight line or climbing than a wider track. The shorter axles save a tiny amount of weight and offer very slightly less drag. A time triallist might consider these slight advantages as worth the reduced stability. Only to lose lots of time on sharp bends and roundabouts. It's not a matter of skill rather than the way the narrower trike handles.

It was warm and sunny for my walk this morning. Many more birds were visible today. I saw a pair of Bullfinches, several warblers and a Tree creeper. Another deer was browsing beside the forest track. I'd need an SLR with a long lens to capture them really well but don't want to drag a huge load of equipment around with me. I am already running out of pockets in my assorted "walking" jackets.  3.5 miles in two hours suggests there is far too much hovering and not nearly enough forward motion!

Shelducks guarding their field puddle.

There is discussion in the Danish press abut the battle for road space between cyclists and motorists. As a cyclist I moan constantly about drivers. But I can certainly see how many cyclists can irritate drivers with their poor behaviour. Pelotons of club cyclists out training often use far more road than necessary. Riding two abreast with chaotic outriders is just selfish.

Though even this is absolutely no excuse to deliberately run cyclists over as reported! Too many members of both camps lack intelligence, skill and patience. Many drivers must seriously consider themselves as royalty. Nothing must impede their (often illegal) progress for even a fraction of a second. They will often risk other's lives to join the back of an endless traffic queue on a road with double white lines for miles. Which is totally ridiculous and suggests a severe lack of grey matter. Or a severe mental illness! Do they not realise that traffic free, car adverts (like most others) are aimed strictly at sub-80s IQs? Advertising workers must share the same knee high IQ levels and/or lack of real world experience as many journalists judging by their output.

Rode to Assens. Warm and sunny again with light winds.  There seems to be two kinds of shops. Those with no stock. And those with neither stock nor staff. 20 miles and a heavy load of shopping.

I thought I'd better share some cycling related porn in case you're all getting bored with Bambies and birds: 

I read reviews of the A600 touring pedals and understood that some users disliked their one-sidedness. Despite the lighter weight they sometimes struggled to clip in when wanting to set off in a hurry. 

'So I chose a very similar pedal [The M785] with opposed  pairs of clamping mechs. While still offering more foot support than the bare mechs of my previous two sets of MTB pedals. Not that I ever noticed a lack of foot support with my stiff-soled NorthWave MTB shoes. I just thought I'd give these pedals a try instead.

These pedals are supposed to look very scruffy indeed very quickly. So enjoy them brand new while you can. No doubt I shall soon be sharing images of their rapid descent into abject squalor and grunge. The seals on these are at least as "sticky" as my last "slightly upmarket" pair of  Shimano SPDs. Why can't they be as free spinning as the 520s? Perhaps I am just getting obsessed with low friction. With my limited and constantly diminishing milliwatts output, as I struggle into old age and decrepitude, I do worry about these things. (Add smiley of choice here.)

I am determined to retain MTB shoes for my [tri]cycling needs. So called "Road shoes," with exposed cleats, are absolutely useless for clomping around the supermarkets on a daily basis. There are a great many different MTB shoes to suit all tastes, widths, stiffness, fasteners and pockets. These do not hamper the user who must perambulate as often as I do.

You may ask why I included the little poly bag containing the Shimano cleats in my image. Well, I once bought a cheaper pair of replacement shoe cleats, from a very serious bike shop, on their recommendation and regretted it instantly. They never provided the snug fit and lack of slop of genuine Shimano cleats. Be careful whom you believe. Not all cleats are created equal!  

Denmark has had its second warmest spring since records began in 1874. This follows several individual months of record warmth. Methinks this explains the very short period of yellow fields due to oil seed rape. In previous years the sickly sweet smell seemed to go on for weeks.

No doubt the birds have enjoyed the unusually warm weather too. My knees certainly have. Tea-stained to a 'T'. As are the backs of my calves. While my shins are as white and hairy as they ever were. I cannot even blame constantly cycling away from the sun. Perhaps it is a lack of ankling in my pedalling style which does not expose my shins to their fair share of UVs? [Add further smiley to taste.]

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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