23 Jul 2014

23rd July 2014

Wednesday 23rd 62-82F, 17-28C, still and sunny. The "heat wave" continues. Let us remain grateful that temperatures have not soared above the barely tolerable. A 3 mile walk. Left very early to avoid the heat.

Rode to the north coast of Fyn. Going well but it was very hot. I drank 2 litres of water and a couple of small cartons of apple juice in five hours but still my mouth was dry. I have discovered that most village churches have a tap for watering flowers. Very handy for refilling the bottle!

Rather typical Danish beach. There was one elderly woman looking after 4 children just out of shot. That was the total occupation of the beach, just after lunch, in the middle of the annual holidays, during a perfect run of low 80s F/ 28C summer weather.

The road signing was very poor in places and I went miles out of my way despite having a list of villages I needed to pass through. One stretch, of about 2 miles, was a gravel track which should not have shown up on the official route guide. Fortunately the surface was in almost perfect condition for cruising at ~10mph so I didn't lose much time. I imagined I was heading for a remote farm but the track eventually joined the main road.

Earlier I was overtaken by a young chap on a racing bike on a fast main road. I was doing about 19mph at the time he went past. He ignored my greeting as he passed so I sprinted after him and sat on his back wheel. He went up to 27mph on one gentle descent but I stuck like glue until the following rise. I was heavily laden, as usual, so couldn't hold his wheel.  He must have tired himself out because he turned off soon afterwards. 61 miles.

Thursday 24th 80-82F, 27-28C, hot, sunny and breezy. It was too warm for a proper walk. So I watched a vast combine harvester setting up for another day's work in the fields. I wonder where all the birds and animals go once they can no longer hide in the crops? Do they wait for the harvester to arrive? Or do they migrate to the hedges when they hear the first roar of machinery? Even the driver would not be able to see animals fleeing before their giant lawn mower drum.

I rode north again to get a new chain made up for the saw. SWMBO does like using her toys.

Then I had my first crash on my trike in four years. A small Asian girl of about 7 or 8 came sailing round a blind corner in a railway underpass on completely the wrong side of the cycle path. She made no attempt to brake. Hit my hand with her handlebars and took a chunk out of one of my fingers. I am used to the local, village idiots haring round that blind U-bend on their scooters. So luckily I was only creeping along at the time. Both ramps are furnished with quite severe speed bumps but they don't seem to help. It just goes to show that no matter how light an object, when it is traveling fast enough, it carries a lot of momentum! I thought she'd broken my finger it went so blue at the time. Luckily there was no team car to climb into or I might not have fished the stage. 21 miles.

Friday 25th 72-83F, 22-28C, still and sunny. Denmark is proving, yet again, that cyclists have been singled out for special treatment. Those parking their bikes in non-approved situations have their bike "stolen" by a private "protection racket" company. The "maffia" will only return the bike on payment of 180DKK. That's about £20 dead squid in real money.

All joking aside there are those who completely ignore signs forbidding cycle parking. There are also far too few parking places for the vast number of bikes in Copenhagen and other large Danish cities. The police are said to be looking into the situation. Until then I suggest that anybody who has their bike impounded or are charged for illegal parking that they demand photographic evidence of wrongdoing. Then report the loss to the police if such evidence is not immediately forthcoming. The police may find
themselves overwhelmed by long queues of irate cyclists if this goes on. Provision of a digital camera and proper training in its use may force the cycle parking enforcers to think again. Or raise their protection racket demands.

The busy area around the train and bus station in Odense used to be packed with bikes despite lots of signs forbidding such parking. The parking spaces provided were always full to overflowing on my occasional visits to the city centre. The central library is in the same building as the train station! Where are commuters and library users to park their bikes when they are desperate to catch their train, bus or library opening time? They are avoiding the wasteful use of a car with all that entails in increased parking demands, traffic jams and global warming. Then the cyclist's thoughtfulness is thrown right back in their faces by uncaring city authorities.  

We are suffering the slings and arrows of incredibly noisy harvesters in every direction almost around the clock. There is DMI talk of potential thundery showers after a long, hot drought. So, I assume, that they need to get the crops in quite sharpish now to avoid having to use too much energy on drying the grain. Crop removal is a bit of a mixed blessing. It opens up some of my familiar walking routes. Though this obviously depends on whether the fields are heavily ploughed after the harvest. It will all seem very bare after the months of thickly carpeting crops. The morning walk was curtailed to 3/4 hour due to unpleasant heat and wind-blown dust. It will be another hot one.

I  noticed that the battery in my heavily-used Panasonic TZ7 was getting very short of breath recently. So I ordered a [genuine] new Panasonic battery online. At about £45 equivalent it worked out at about £10 a year over 4 years. No real complaints there except for the rather high retail price of new Panasonic batteries. The camera was firmware protected against non-genuine batteries by Panasonic. Which most cynics agreed at the time was a rip-off. I have the new battery on charge and will report any problems. At least I didn't have to buy a new camera.

SWMBO has just informed me that the wheelbarrow has punctured yet again. Just don't get me started on the rip-off prices of wheelbarrow inner tubes and new wheels at the DIY stores! Why is it cheaper to buy a whole new wheelbarrow than an inner tube? Not to mention the struggle to fit it to the already, worn out tire.

I'm really not a warm weather person. So I'm leaving my ride, if I go out at all, until later, in the forlorn hope of cooler conditions. In the end I left after six pm for only 10 miles. Then spent an hour trying to remove the screws holding the worn cleats to my Northwave MTB shoes. I ended up using penetrating oil and managed to loosen three screws. The fourth would not budge. So I drilled it out and broke one stud extractor before the screw started turning without coming undone. Another drill and a new extractor and the cleat came away. I always grease the screws before fixing new cleats and have never had such a problem before. It is fortunate I have a reasonable toolkit and lots of experience built up from decades of trial and error and copious blood loss.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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