31 Oct 2014

October 29th 2014

Wednesday 29th 50F, 10C, breezy, heavy overcast, continuous rain. Should brighten up later. Woke with a splitting headache and a painful right hip.Nose and chest still bunged up with frequent coughing. Am I having fun yet? No walk but it cleared to sunshine by 11am. Headed for another outlet for Heinz beanz. No stock. I was coughing up thick mucous for the first few miles. Worse than the last two days! It was awful!

Came back via another Beanz outlet to miss the last [only?] 6 cans to a lady, with an English husband, by a few seconds. I fought as hard as I could but the 'flu had badly weakened me and she escaped with her priceless haul. Or words to that effect. It's not that I really care about having more beans but it gave me an ideal excuse to go out while I was still recovering. Over-training on beans? Better not go there. 20 miles.

The only difference between men and boys is the size of their toys. I couldn't get any closer because the access track was a mud bath.

Thursday 30th 35-47F, 2-8C, white overnight frost, thick mist clearing. Lowest temperatures so far. Should be bright when the sun comes up. Still bunged up with a foul taste from all those warring bacteria. A walk might help. 4 miles in an hour and three quarters taking 81 pictures. Weak sunshine softening the autumn woods. Rain promised for later so I'd better hop on the trike.

It was a perfect day for a ride with almost no wind and continuous sunshine. I felt tired and achy all over before I left but was going well enough. Still horribly short of breath but less coughing today. MY breathing seems to improve after a few miles. It is all seems like a bad case of OCD but I feel I have to make up for recent lost mileage. It was lucky my wife suggested a warmer jacket because it never did warm up properly. 28 miles.

Friday 31st 51F, 11C, breezy, heavy overcast, thin mist, spitting with light rain. What happened to yesterday's promise of a dry but grey day? I was on a roll and shall want a refund!

The shorter stem I bought yesterday was for normal rather than over-sized bars.[31.8mm] My back has been complaining again. It seems to be stiffening as I grow older. I reversed the existing stem to raise the bars but it doesn't help. My hands have been getting pins and needles on the bars. Which feels as if I have far too much weight on them. I also have to keep pushing myself back on the saddle.

Still bunged up to the eyeballs. 3 mile walk in the mist. It is no longer raining but feels very damp. Though certainly not enough to keep me home.

A ride to the shops. I was doing intervals escaping from a bus which would not overtake on a long uphill drag. Every time she had to stop I would put some distance on her. Only for her to catch me before the next stop. Thank goodness my 'flu is slowly giving up its strangle hold! At least it stayed dry. 15 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

27 Oct 2014

27th October 2014

Monday 27th 53F, 12C, overcast, windy. My 'flu has finally downgraded to a bad cold. Still short of breath with coughing fits but I'm still keen on a gentle ride later. Shame about the wind.

I managed a typical loop of 3 miles on my walk. Spending considerable time admiring and photographing a huge flock of mink gulls. I also saw a canary-yellow Yellowhammer in a hedge by the road. I'm still planning on a ride today but the wind is supposed to fall as the day gone son with a better chance of brightness later.

No chance. It remained heavily grey all day. I suddenly realised that I had left it too late to be able to return in daylight thanks to the c,locks going back. So had a mad rush, mid afternoon, to find and fit my lights. 3 x 1/2W Smart lights flashing at the rear and a brighter one at the front. The flashing Smart front light can be easily seen reflected in the road signs but throws a poor beam for seeing the road itself. Though it always guarantees oncoming drivers dip their headlights. Steady beam rarely does this because the driver has to try and recognise the light as a bicycle first.  Steady beam lights can often be a house number light. Or even a simple reflection of their own headlights. Only bikes use bright flashing lights. So it's a complete no-brainer. Even for the thickest driver.

I was going quite well, though a little breathless, with a tailwind going. Then I'd have a violent coughing fit and there'd be school meal custard and silicone snot flying on the wind.

The supermarket crooks are still blaming their suppliers for not having stock of special offers. I haven't been able to find Heinz beans in any of the supermarket chain outlets claiming to have special offers of Heinz in stock. I wonder why the lying bar stewards bother to advertise special offers when they can't get stock? It only leaves a very bad taste in the customer's mouth. Heinz beans vanished from the last independent outlet years ago when they were taken over by another chain. So we were rather looking forward to getting some after all this time. Fat chance. Four, perfectly normal, stock items not on the shelves too. I can remember being told decades ago by the BBC that all supermarket ordering and stock levels are run completely automatically by computer. So what is the excuse for not having lettuce, bread, crackers and butter? Is bread and butter out of season in China or South America where they get their stock?

It was an interesting experience riding home in the pitch dark. I so rarely need to do so even in winter. I discovered that I no longer need visual clues to ride a trike in perfect comfort under all conditions. Adverse camber and inclines are handled by my internal automatic pilot. It was a headwind on the last 10 mile leg home which slowed me a little. <cough-spit-snot> 22 miles, no Beanz and that's a Fakta!

Tuesday 28th 50F, 10C, windy, but promise of some sunshine.

I was just reading that it is becoming commonplace for amateur cycle racers right down to 13 years of age to take painkillers. These are mixed with strong coffee in their bottles to improve their performance and given to them by their proud parents or trainers. Apparently they have learned this trick from the Pros. Everyone knows how what the Pros do is copied slavishly by the amateurs.

It seems that the Pros routinely use the same technique towards the end of races. So there's another nail in the coffin of Pro cycling, money laundering, advertising and endless cheating. It's time the practice was not only made illegal but back dated where past blood and urine tests can prove this cheating occurred.

And, if you are not good enough to compete fairly on the strength of your hard training and natural talent then get out of the damned sport! Why should anybody "clean" even bother to compete against a cheat like you? There's always work as a male or female prostitute. According to the newspapers 13-year olds are always welcome in the ranks of "service providers." Many use the funds to support their drug habits. So everyone's a winner! Except the local cycle shop losing out on your parent's endless expense. To provide the new 10k carbon bike you need every 3/6 months just to compete under UCI [Utterly Corrupt Incumbents] rules!

Started the day with a 3 mile walk in bright sunshine. Saw some Redwings but no vast flocks of gulls.

I left on the trike late morning for Assens. International headlines about my miraculous recovery from Man 'Flu were pure hype according to insider information. The paparazzi were wasting their time camping outside the trike shed in the hope of an exclusive. Whatever.

Tame cannon fodder.

Yet again I was going well only to be confronted with violent coughing fits. To quote the sage of YouTube; I haz finally mostly got Heinz Beanz. They were incredibly well hidden but the third chain outlet had seven tins. Consuming one tin for Christmas dinner over the next 7 years will be a rare treat. Sunshine out of a cloudless sky. 22 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

22 Oct 2014

22 October 2014

Wednesday 22nd 42-52F, 6-11C, sunny, cool, misty, quiet start to a gorgeous day. A delightful 3 mile walk snapping away at the landscape while the mist hung about on low ground. [Actually I compose each picture carefully but do take rather a lot of pictures.] The forecast is dry with light winds so I really ought to have a longer ride today. The north westerly wind is moving the trees now but it shouldn't limit progress too much if I choose my direction carefully.

Lots of different birds around at the moment. Often foraging in mixed flocks. Redwings, Chaffinches, Yellowhammers, Blackbirds and Sparrows are all common sights. I saw a thrush yesterday which is a very rare sight indeed!

Rode down to Falsled on the south coast. I was heading for Fåborg but decided to avoid the traffic and enjoy the quiet rural lanes instead. Lots of nice hills going both ways by two different routes. I was using the small chainring quite a lot to keep my cadence high. Early sunshine gave way to rather a lot of grey cloud later. It started spitting on the way back but petered out again. I had taken overshoes and a change of jackets but never needed them.

The Crapeye 'Cadence' computer was having another off day. I tried polishing the contacts with my glove but it can never be relied on to make it work again.

The head has to be rocked to close a switch via a pin on the back to change between screens. So simply waggling the head in the shoe, to make better contact, is highly likely to cancel the day's mileage total. [It needs a long press to cancel any screen total]

They probably thought it was a bright idea but it was very badly executed. I have never had any other computer behave so erratically. Not even the £5 throwaway jobs at the supermarket.

The Crapeye contact pins seem to corrode too readily when the slightest bit damp. They go visibly chalky! Being on the bottom the pins naturally collect moisture even the lightest rain or mist. Which is just daft at the asking price. There is nothing worse than glancing down to check your speed and seeing the damned screen showing 00.00!

I hate the mileage digits too. Tiny, tall and thin so it impossible to differentiate between 0 and 8 except in a good light with a magnifying glass! The cadence reading has stopped working at all now. Probably another contact problem. More overpriced, over-hyped, cycle accessory crap! 40 miles. Which I could only check when I finally arrived home when I downloaded  the Ventus GPS USB dongle. The Crapeye had stopped showing readings at intervals all day. Just as it always has done from new. It's a damned good job I don't have to rely on it!

Thursday 23rd 53F, 12C, rather breezy, heavy overcast. 3 mile walk. Staying on the roads because I have no useful walking boots. Rode to the shops with a tail wind. Then fought a headwind for 10 miles before turning for home.

Atlantic Cod fillets "Packed in China"?? Does not compute. We care about what we eat and buy the organic options whenever possible. We eat lots of fiber, vegetables, fruit and fish products. Carefully avoiding crap is part of our dietary standard of behaviour.

If I wanted my dinner to be packed in a toxic atmosphere, by slave labour, under a toxic political mafia, in a toxic environment, using recycled, toxic water I'd probably go out and look for Chinese Cod fillets. I didn't. Or didn't think I had. I bought "Atlantic Cod fillets." Even if they were caught in the Atlantic, what about the Carbon Footprint of sending frozen fish half way around the world and doing it not once but twice?

Sadly there seems to be no trading standards or consumer protection in Denmark. Otherwise the supermarkets would be endlessly prosecuted for having no stock of the "special offers." Quite often they will actually take a normal stock item off the shelves during the offer period! Then return them to the shelves after the event!

Not to mention constantly ripping off customers with wrong prices at the tills compared with the shelves. And, not changing the shelf price labels or removing them altogether. So that no price is shown at all. So then you have to ask at the till whether the offer is still valid. There is obviously no point (at all) complaining aloud about highly misleading product descriptions and such doubtful commercial behaviour. Organic fruit and vegetables are often labelled incorrectly. So the the naive customer arrives at the till before they notice they have ordinary, [spray poisoned] produce. Danish fruit and veg often have red labels just like the registered organic products. Another crafty ploy to confuse the busy shopper!

Another example: Finding edible, cherry tomatoes is all but impossible in Denmark. Yet the packaging clearly say "Cherry Tomatoes". They don't [ever] taste anything like tomatoes. Not even remotely. Often they aren't even remotely red! I wonder whether the Red Cross still do food parcels?

Having scrubbed the contact pins with a clean cloth the Cateye Cadence computer is suddenly working again. Until the next time. 20 miles.

Friday 24th 52F, 11C, grey overcast, windy. There won't be much to report today. I have severe man 'flu. After several days of headaches [unusual for me] my right nostril exploded into chronic over-activity last night. NASA is already reporting unusual, glistening slime trails crisscrossing the lawn from its forestry depletion sensing platforms.

I'm trying to build up to a walk but have calculated that I will probably require two boxes of tissues per hour/mile covered. I am still struggling with the logistical problem of disposing of so many contaminated tissues. I'm planning on dragging a bin bag along for later disposal at a toxic waste dump. I pray I have enough strength to manage a fully loaded sack on the return journey. Reports of my symptoms may be exaggerated by the popular press. Hopefully, my rural isolation will offer some crumbs of comfort to those of a nervous disposition. I was too ill to go out and it rained. So another rest day.

Saturday 25th 50F, 10C, got up early. Still feeling awful after a sleepless night. Dark. Very, very dark. It was still dark after 9am CET! My nose stopped pouring but now my chest is rattling and I keep coughing. Rest day. Null points.

Sunday 26th 52F, 11C, overcast and windy. Much lighter than yesterday. Supposed to stay dry but cloudy with 30mph gusts all day. Cabin fever may force me to have a walk today. It might help to clear my chest. I made it to the woods and back. A mountain bike has left his trail on the track. The pheasants have finally dispersed. Despite feeling a bit better I wasn't remotely well enough for a ride. Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

21 Oct 2014

21st October 2014

Tuesday 21st 52F, 11C, breezy, heavy overcast. Our heavy rain warning has been lifted. Though the UK has heavy winds up to 70mph already, with rain. The forecast is for rain later with 30mph gusts so I ought to make an effort to get out early again.

The wind was highly variable as I plodded towards the woods. One can learn a great deal about parallax while wandering across an open field. A large flock of birds passed over but even with binoculars I was unable to identify them. They looked and flew like pigeons but had no obvious light markings and seemed too small. Not a peep from any of them. The "mink" gulls rose and fell in a dark cloud in the distance making enough noise to be easily heard a full mile away. It started spitting on the way back and I was fed up with the repetitive strain injury from shielding the eyepieces with my hand. So I fastened my jacket across the binoculars at the risk of developing an unwanted chest. The supplied eye-caps were unwieldy and fell off all the time anyway. So I put them in the case and forgot about them. Little realizing that some protection was vital under dripping trees in the woods. Hence the RSI and "cross dressing."

Oh, dear, I feel a rant coming on. The squeamish should look away now. :-)

I smiled as a 6-axle juggernaut [GPS rat runner] was blocked behind two, familiar, elderly cyclists on our very twisty road. This narrow road is completely unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles but is subject to a constant and ever-increasing heavy traffic load.

The small, blind, humpback hills only add to the driver's torment as they try to shave the distance to the nearest motorway. Fortunately, for us, there is a low railway bridge further on. Which forces high vehicles to detour away from a potentially straight line and adds miles to their journey. Had they used the correct HGV route, via the wide, main roads provided, they would probably get there much sooner. Rather than cheating by using the minor roads. With some houses literally only two feet away from the edge of the tarmac you wonder how the occupants cope with the stress! Even living a hundred yards from the road I am sick of the constant noise!

Walking or cycling along this road has become a life or death gamble on every, single, blind corner! When walking I always wait for any following traffic to pass. So I can listen carefully for anything coming the other way. When on the trike I am frequently passed by vehicles attempting to overtake me on completely the wrong side of the road entering these same blind corners! Yet the Danish convention on human rights for raving loony drivers forbids me to film or photograph this same lunacy!

Recording and posting their deliberate sociopathy online would find me in court for transgressing their absolute human right to privacy in a public place. I kid you not! Talking of which: A Danish kid filmed himself being bullied by a gang of thugs and posted it on YouTube. They went free while the victim was prosecuted for invasion of privacy!

One may not film vehicles behaving illegally if the driver or his vehicle can be positively identified. So the YouTube cycle vlogging, so popular with UK and American cyclists and motorcyclists, is illegal in Denmark. Home of the 90% speeding for 90% of the time drivers with special human rights unavailable to mere, death-defying cyclists and walkers.

The Trykit puts on the bling at the foot of a 100' tall landslide. The scale is rather lost in this image. It is impossible to stand further back.

Any journey in a car will soon demonstrate how often one is overtaken in town, village or countryside. These drivers have absolutely no morals so anything goes. Even when they have their entire family aboard. So the driver is deliberately brainwashing the young, from birth, to ignore the law. By the same token, the Danish convention on human rights for speeding motorists, also forbids dash-cam cameras. Two thirds of fatalities in Denmark take place on country roads. Fifty percent are as a direct result of speeding. Many never brake.

As was the case of the driver who was fined a paltry sum for killing three young girls while travelling at high speed and using his mobile phone. He never braked. The mother of the girls was blamed for pulling out in front of him. His absolute right to speed and simultaneously use his mobile phone exceeded her family's right to survival. Presumably the court took into account that no driver on Danish roads must expect any other to be travelling at, or below, the legal speed limit. To do so would be just, plain silly.

The Danish police have announced a blitz on speeding motorists only this week. They have to make a public announcement to remain within the Danish human rights convention for mollycoddling illegally speeding motorists. Otherwise these speeding drivers could get easily off by claiming that they were not warned in advance. Given that the police counted 80% driving at high speed on one short stretch alone they will have a busy time posting fixed penalties to the guilty. This is new practice instead of pulling speeding drivers over. Which is expensive in manpower and might even slow the general traffic to the legal speed limit. I had better stay on the small chainring all week. Just in case.

It was spitting when I left and steadily increased to very windy with light rain. No point in going far in this. I swear I saw an HGV driver not using his mobile phone today. If I take a lie detector test will the Guinness Book of Records accept my claim? Only 7 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

20 Oct 2014

20th October 2014

Monday 20th 54F, 12C, breezy and sunny. After yesterday's monsoon it is a lovely morning. Though more showers are forecast. Apparently there is a vast area of low pressure over the Atlantic causing unsettled weather in Europe.

Though it looks older this pretty little cottage dates only from 1827. Recent tree clearing has opened it up to a much better view. Every house in Denmark is on a central register which is easily accessible, with every detail available online. Year of erection, construction materials, value, previous sales and prices, area, number of floors, heating system, toilet facilities, land or garden area, size of outbuildings, materials used etc, etc. 

Denmark also has several aerial photographic mapping systems and even oblique aerial photography dating back to before the war. Commercial aerial photography has a long history and its picture archives are now in the hands of the Royal Library in Copenhagen. This has been all placed online for free and easy public access. Offering a unique, pictorial insight into Denmark's recent history. 

One can easily see the changeover from almost exclusive rural thatch, heavy manual work and horse drawn implements to other roofing materials, tractors and farm machinery. Previous industries are no longer a bare patch on the ground or hidden by new housing or industrial estates. The long forgotten factories and businesses, the branch lines, stations and steam locomotives are all there to see in superb detail. We spend hours online enjoying all these facilities completely free of charge.

House hunters can instantly see if there is anything in the locality which might spoil their fun. Or enhance it. All without ever leaving their chair. They can study the aerial photographs to see how the building and its surroundings have changed over time. They can see how the vegetable garden was cultivated and watch trees appear and disappear again. Many rural farms have lost huge, manicured gardens and orchards over time. The countless farmhouses are often left with just a manageable garden. The barns and working outbuildings have been erased over time. 

One can often see former occupants, unencumbered by TV, standing outside their homes or behind a horse in the fields. This is the true value of the internet. Quality services unfettered by crass commercialism or plastered with advertising. Or abusing the creative by charging the public to host and then allow them to view their own work. Often partially hidden behind a completely tasteless, totally irrelevant advert blocking the tiny viewing screen! It's no wonder these slave markets are valued so highly and their originators obscenely rich!

It all makes Google Earth's aerial views look like an amateur's fuzzy daub seen through muslin, except for Street View. Which has made only a very limited incursion into Denmark. Many rural roads have never seen the camera cars. Or their images have never been released.

I had a pleasant walk in bright sunshine being pushed back along the lane by the gusty wind. Watched a medium sized bird of prey, with white undersides, being mobbed by crows. Interestingly [?] mob means to bully in Danish. While fugl [pron.fool] means bird or fowl. Danish lies at the root of many English words. I am having early coffee and toast in the hope of avoiding the forecast showers during today's ride.

I was lucky and the rain held off until the evening. Though large plates of cloud spoilt the sunshine at intervals. There was a bit of a headwind going to Assens but a good tailwind to help me home again when heavily loaded. I saw an identical bird of prey to the west of this morning's sighting. It was hunting on stiff, pointed wings, now unmolested, out over the fields. 20 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

19 Oct 2014

17th October 2014

Saturday 18th 52F, 11C, breezy, very misty, grey overcast. Purple haze?!!? The sky looked just like ground rice with blackcurrant jam for a while around 8am CET. It has returned to plain grey now.

Walkies! Where's my ice axe? Perhaps one of those DARPA military exoskeletons would have been a better idea. The massive winter boots have now taken on a life of their own.

My wife muttered something about Iron Man as she helped me out of the door and quickly shot the bolts across. Which I initially thought was unusually generous. Until I realized she was talking about Downey Jnr rather than some svelt super-athlete. A better choice might have been Herman Munster as she watched me from the window as I staggered off down the drive and out of sight in the thick mist. I could hardly believe I used to run up and down Snowdon in these boots. Instead of having to drag myself steadily uphill in crawler gear, after managing only 4 miles in my steam-age, leather, diving boots.

The intensive pheasants were congregating around the edge of the woods as I loomed up on them from behind like a Boris Karloff stand-in. Most of the birds seemed unable to make any useful decision about my threat level on the Richter scale. You'd think they'd get the message as I crunched along between them like some medieval goose drover on steroids.

They seemed far more concerned about the sudden eruption of gunfire further along in the woods. WW1 seemed to have broken out somewhere not far away in the thick mist. Just having a pheasant plucker, like me, in their midst, did not faze them half so much.. I began waving my arms and clapping to give the daft things a first lesson in survival but they weren't very quick on the uptake. Eventually they were pushed right out of their comfort zone. The track had run out between open fields and they began to take off to do U-turns back to safer ground.

As I reached the village and the civilising roar of juggernauts, I could hear a strangely loud, high pitched noise. It seemed to be coming from a garden across the road. Suddenly, a flock of small birds erupted in large groups from only two trees. Each wave must have numbered at least 500 individuals. Which would have made their total numbers at least a couple of thousand! It was no wonder they were making such a racket! Too small for sparrows. All I could see were fast moving, fuzzy silhouettes racing away from me into the foggy, grey sky.

Intensive pheasants just hanging around.

Later I heard gunfire near the road and became concerned that there were two dark figures up ahead on either side of the road. I began to rehearse my umbrage at the use of guns in close proximity as I plodded steadily uphill through the mist towards them. Only to realise that they were actually road signs warning about sharp corners ahead. There is still thick mist in our midst as lunch sneaks up on us. I'll wait until later in the hope of better visibility.

I dressed up for rain as it continued spitting but it cleared while I was out. Though it remained rather windy. I had re-tied and re-tensioned the Brooks B17 and it felt very firm but far more comfortable. A sagging saddle may offer more suspension but forces a single seating position on the rider. Sit back and you slide forwards. Sit forwards and it forces you back again. I saw a modern LongJohn carrier bike in Odense which had a lovely B17 Brooks, just like mine, but with a truly horrible semicircular sag. Such a shape offers no support to the sit bones and must surely exaggerate any frictional effects up front. The flat spine of an unbroken Brooks must surely be far more comfortable than that hammock? Only ten miles.

Can you spot the light sheep of the family, children?

Sunday 19th 58F, 15C, heavy overcast, breezy, almost continuous heavy rain. Promise of a let-up in the afternoon. Meanwhile, I'll try to resist the temptation of launching another tirade with all this spare time on my hands. Perhaps something more positive, Sir?

The Autumn edition of the TA [Tricycle Association] Gazette has simultaneously arrived in both PDF and paper format. Some nice colour images in a centre spread of Jane Moore's superb [and unique] Lands End to John o'Groats record trike ride.


There was also an image of Barry Charlton on his way to an amazing 100 mile TT [Time Trial] record of 3:58:19. The first ever 100 mile TT trike ride in under four hours to add to his remarkable list of records! He now holds the competition records at 10, 25, 30 and 100 miles and 12 hours all on a trike. "Baz" also holds several more records on a tandem trike.


I have just found a heavy rain warning on the DMI [Danish Meteorological Institute] website. It has been tipping down heavily all day. So full marks to them too. A ride is looking increasingly unlikely!
It never really let up. Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

16 Oct 2014

16th October 2014

Thursday 16th 52F, 11C, grey overcast, still. Possible showers forecast again. Better get walking before their proficiency is put to the test. An odd mix of heavy cloud and only occasional weak sunshine.

No sign of the stranger on the track to the woods as I walked my familiar route. Which is just as well because I was torn between dangling a sawn off shotgun casually over one arm. Or possibly taking my ice axe. Though that would probably need polishing first to remove surface rust. You can't go out with a rusty ice axe or people will just laugh at you. They'll think you borrowed it from your grandfather or something. I am my own grandfather from when I last used it in anger. Since I can never make a decision where a clear choice is required I had gone out armed only with my camera and binoculars as usual. I suppose I could always pretend to be a black belt in binocular swinging...

I was wandering along in a my usual reverie and thinking I had no wildlife to report today. When I suddenly stumbled over a pair of grazing deer in a hollow in the track. The mother bolted through the hedge to the left. While Bambi shot right. Then stopped to stare at me all gooey eyed from only 20 yards away. I tried to be clever and reversed slowly back up the track to give them a chance to reunite. No chance! The Disney caricature took fright and charged off across the other prairie in the opposite direction. I continued with my walk but kept looking back. There was no sign of either. Given the ankle height of the crops only the bumpy contours could possibly offer any cover. Unless, of course, they had dug a burrow.

My socks were sopping wet again just from walking on wet grass. I'll have to see how long I've had the Salomon boots...

Ahah!  http://pedal-trikes.blogspot.dk/2013/11/november-1st-2013.html

So that's only 11 months. Which is more than £10 a month to own a leaky pair of squeakers! Crap! I wonder whether there's any kind of guarantee? I have been keeping them clean and drying and airing them outdoors in the sunshine after every use. Regular treatment with the Grangers waterproofing treatment too. Not impressed at all. When it gets really cold my feet will freeze! Only a 3 mile walk so far. The sky has turned completely grey now.

It brightened up a bit after lunch so I rode off another rural loop. I was was asked by four different people if my bare legs felt cold. To which I had to reply that they hadn't so far. I have tried the tights a couple of times but found them too warm. Though it is certainly cooler than it was then. Probably 10F cooler but almost no wind. The temperature stayed constant at 52F all day.

I had a senior moment when I stopped for a natural break. It had taken ages to find somewhere out of public view. Many Danish cyclists will just stop and pee where they are. I am rather more timid. In my haste I dropped a glove in a puddle! I had to finish my ride without them. Though, fortunately, it wasn't too uncomfortable. I shall take far more care in future! It could be a serious matter under colder conditions if I was far from home.

Later I wiped the trike over with a clean, soft rag and re-tightened the saddle lace. R931 stainless steel is incredibly easy to keep clean and attractive. I have hardly touched it since it came back from the Trykit workshop. The recent rain had caused black droplets from the chain to appear on the chainstays. I was over-generous with the oil and should have wiped it off afterwards. Geoff Booker [Dr.Trykit] had lacquered the silver brazed joints and this seems to be keeping the joints much cleaner than before. I have avoided using the ScotchBrite he had kindly supplied. It really hasn't been necessary and I wanted to avoid damaging the lacquer protection for as long as possible. 24 miles.

Friday 17th 53F, 12C, still, misty, overcast with drizzle. I went to a local shop which was advertising Goretex walking shoes. Despite claims in their advertising comic that they had sizes to EU47 they had nothing larger than a 40. So I wore my near 30-year old, leather, winter walking and climbing boots. Made of one piece of hide and leather lined they are heavy and stiff but still as solid as when new. They have hardly changed in appearance either despite the wear and tear to which they have been abused. They were comfortable enough but rather unwieldy and offered no shock absorption. At least my socks remained dry. There were 50-odd pheasants wandering about at the edge of the woods. They stared but showed little fear. Went to town to take the boots back to the Salomon dealer. Wasted hours going around in circles in the new Odense traffic confusion system. Crackers! Another rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

13 Oct 2014

13th October 2014

Monday 13th, 52F, 11C. Windy with rain from a heavy, grey overcast. It's not looking promising with all-day rain forecast.

A fascinating mix of traditional, half-timbered and thatched, agricultural building combined with a large glasshouse. Unfortunately, all my images of the greenhouse section were spoilt by a pile of scrap in the yard.

I took a gentle walk for a couple of miles between showers. Then it rained steadily as I rode to the shops. Had a nice, warm but smelly shower from a double tanker lorry and trailer. Almost brushed off the road by a lunatic/drunk/registered blind/drug addicted retard with dementia. I was wearing the very bright Aldi rain jacket so probably made a good target. Perhaps they were temporarily blinded by the brightness of my cloth? There was no oncoming traffic. The GripGrab overshoes did not keep my socks dry from the front tyre spray but at least my feet stayed warm. Remind self to refit the front mudguard ASAP. A useful cross-tailwind on the way back. Still only 12 miles but who's counting?

Tuesday 14th 50-51F, 10-11C, breezy, heavy grey overcast, slightly misty. Showers and rain are forecast. A 2 mile walk. There was a stranger on my track to the woods! So I just looped around the village and back home again. I'm taking  a baseball bat for protection tomorrow! More seriously, I haven't had to share my walking routes with anyone since I started. Apart from a couple of  forestry workers. I have seen the solitary walker twice now and hope the miscreant gets bored and desists. Hopefully sooner rather than later. I miss the sense of absolute peace and being at one with the intensely reared, industrialized pheasants.

It was already raining when I left on the Trykit and it continued largely unabated. Sadly, I managed just over a mile before Ground Control called me back for something I'd forgotten. It always feels completely wrong to cover the same ground twice. More like doing it four times. Well, anyway, I took advantage of returning for the baton change and put my TA cap on. Having a peak is a tremendous advantage in rain. It keeps the sunglasses clear and visibility remains optimal. It is also a lot warmer not to be continuously water cooled on the forehead. I was glad of my tights and proper gloves today. The mudguard is back on so I didn't really need the leaky-soled overshoes. Still only 9 miles.

Wednesday 15th 53F, 12C, overcast, raining, almost still. The forecast is a bit mixed. With showers and light winds. A four mile walk through some other woods and back along the busy road. No fun having to jump onto the verge every time a vehicle came along. Tyre spray falls like rain for several seconds after a van or lorry goes past. Otherwise it, and I, stayed mostly dry. Amongst all the more common birds I saw Bullfinches, Yellowhammers and a Tree creeper. I watched a dark squirrel as it watched me from the safety of a large beech tree. Don't you hate it when they show off like that?

I took lots of photos in the soft, misty, even light. Sunshine adds sparkle but loses out on contrast. The Lumix TZ7 just doesn't have the range to cope with both light and dark in the same scene. I have deliberately darkened these forest images slightly [one stop of -gamma] to avoid the highlights being bleached out. The woods are exceedingly beautiful in this light. If you miss the cycling context you can always pretend I'm propped up on a trike with big, fat, knobbly tires. Now there's an idea! Cycling is allowed on the forest trails. Though that is hardly the point of my perambulations.

I see Amsterdam is going to trial solar powered, pedal trikes to deliver produce to the inner city. They hope, thereby, to reduce pollution. Meanwhile, back at the unhealthy pig ranch: Denmark uses 6-axle, 40' container lorries to deliver to the supermarkets. Often bringing traffic to a complete standstill. As the massive lorry repeatedly reverses back and forth across the road and the supermarket's car park to finally line up on the goods inwards ramp.

I don't know why they don't cut out the middle man and get rid of some of the Danish discount supermarkets altogether. Just have a neat row of lorry containers in the car park. Then provide hand torches or candles to the customers. This will help them select from the stocks of fizzy drinks, fags, sweets, crisps, pork burgers and booze. Each item stacked up in one clearly marked container. So you'd really need only 6 containers.

The staff can even help their "big boned" customers back into their cars with fork lift trucks. Or, the customers can remain seated all the while and just place an order with the staff. This will avoid them having to lean breathlessly on a trolley handle for a quarter of an hour at the checkout. While some 9-10 year old, child slave pushes the crap off one deliberately short belt and onto the next. It's no wonder 33% of Danes take happy pills to ensure Denmark remains safely at the top of the "happiest place on earth" list!

I became extremely perplexed the other day. As one does under eerily strange circumstances. The elderly customer in front of me was not only huge in girth and infirm in the legs but absolutely reeked of fags. I can attest to severe toxic hazard level 9 even at 6'. I sneezed several times and my eyes were watering continuously as I waited in line. I was standing back as far as I dared without risking some other bumpkin pushing in front of me. [Only to need emergency resuscitation]

The elderly woman bought fifty squid's worth of lottery tickets and some fags and then left. I wondered what she was going to do if she won? Buy lots more fags? Or employ a personal trainer to rid her of her many vices before it was too late? Gambling is a sin in some circles. Unless you win big, of course. Then you don't care what people think of you.

I rode a shopping loop in both rain and dry. Back to bare knees for extra coolth but using the TA cap with a peak for extra shelter from the decided inclemency. It was very strange rain. Like drizzle but heavier. Very odd. And very wet. As were the roads.

I caught up with a young, blonde, Rapunzel wannabe going quite well on a Bianchi racing bike in the forest. She was pedaling far too slowly and lost all her speed on every single hill. Of which there are many of the short and steep variety in this particular wood. Which is the only reason it remains a forest rather than adding to the corn mountain and oil seed rape lake.

I was seriously thinking of telling her to drop a few gears and learn to twiddle but then thought better of it. Nobody wants some breathless old nutter, on a tricycle, giving advice to a young girl in the isolation of a forest. One mistake in my dodgy Danish and I could end up on some register, or other. Best avoided even with the best of intentions. So I shot past on the brow of a fierce little hill at 120 rpm to show her how it should really be done by personal example. Hopefully somebody helpful will put her right on her low pedaling speed in safer surroundings. Preferably before she loses all hope of ever mastering hills with greater ease.

I keep asking myself, as I ride along, whether I should contact the Guinness Book of Records if I ever see a lorry, tractor or van driver without a mobile phone welded permanently to their ear while at the wheel. A difficult one that. How could I ever prove such an unlikely event in a skeptical world? Nobody is ever going to take the word of a single eye witness. Even if I managed a photo, or even an HD video, they'd say I had digitally faked it for YouTube. Another non-starter in my endless quest for greater fame and fortune. I'd better stick to [shakily] filming all these aliens landing on my lawn in broad daylight. You get a far more receptive audience with those. 22 miles [and counting].

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12 Oct 2014

10th October 2014

Thursday 10th 57F, 14C, very windy, with the trees in constant motion, overcast with thinner brightening, possible showers and sunny periods forecast. 4.5 miles in a couple of hours wandering through the woods. I disturbed a black squirrel on a track just as a large bird of prey swooped down. Breakfast missed? The sun stayed behind a huge plate of cloud while it was blue and feathery overhead. Mountains of ragged, grey cumulus threatened further north.

Rode an anticlockwise rural loop for 23 miles. Mostly a crosswind. The new stem seems to help. Going quite well.

Friday 10th 54-60F, 12-15C, cloudy and very windy. It brightened up but remained windy. 2.5 miles walk. I was overdressed for my afternoon ride. Only 14 miles but going well. Getting used to the new handlebar stem. My back and hip pain have receded again. The lanes were full of wind, conkers, beech nuts, twigs and leaves. Not necessarily in that order.

Saturday 11th 51-60F, 11-16C, light winds. Grey. 50 yard mist. Promises to brighten with lighter [20 mph] winds today. Morning walk. Saw a Jay.

Rode north after coffee and marmalade covered rolls. I reached my intended goal at 25 miles and hung about for ten minutes before heading home another way. I went all the way there just to photograph an attractive house. It had just been put up for sale at well below its supposed market value. Its fine architectural detailing and wonderful symmetry was becoming lost in stained, cracked and fading paint. My arrival coincided with sit-on lawnmowers destroying the weekend peace on every single, over-sized lawn in the small, isolated, rural hamlet!

As promised:  The restored farm windmill on Brolundvej. A winding, rural lane between Sønder Esterbølle and Veflinge. At a glance it looks as if the windmill it is resting on the trike. I deliberately drew back to take the photo to give a better interpretation of their relative sizes.

I soon discovered the reason for the low price set on this impressive country home. No rural community is too small not to enjoy its very own white trash. AKA neighbours from hell! Dogs barking, stinking bonfires, loud music, debris scattered across uncut, weed infested "lawns," chain saws with blunt chains and no exhaust cutting salvaged firewood, rusting vehicles, noisy cars or motorbikes and plenty of shouting? Check.

Sell up and move? Impossible with neighbours like these. The entire community goes rapidly downhill as interest is lost in maintenance and appearance. Previously desirable, family homes are sold for absolute peanuts. Or given away in forced auctions after going for years unsold. Making room for even more more white trash to move in. With no funds or the slightest interest in making improvements.

Their dysfunctional kids run riot at vast cost to society in inescapable stress, depression, lost potential, lost educational chances for others, lost creativity and taxes. Divorce, debt and misery to follow. Countless lives ruined. Human rights trashed. Property values slashed. The builders merchants lose more sales.The building trades lose more jobs.

Remember the butterfly effect. Your very own actions could be the trigger for the rapid descent into chaos and ruin. Potential home buyers get an instant and lasting first impression and leave immediately. Revenge is a sweet but incredibly short-lived delicacy. Let's be careful out there. There is no ladder long enough to escape from this living hell!

Yet again I was bombarded by small flies. I even managed to get a few in my mouth and my eyes. But the freshly laundered sunshine warmed the autumn leaves and penetrated deep between the dark trunks of the beech woods.

Sometimes, overcoming distance is more psychological than mere, extended effort. When the skies are grey and a cold headwind impedes me it can feel like I am trapped in a rolling bubble of tiredness and misery. Sunshine and gentle winds are much underrated. By those who do not cycle. Another fine and pleasant day out on the trike. A good day is when you don't even notice the hills. 56 miles.

Sunday 12th 53F, 12C, windy and overcast. It soon cleared to bright sunshine. Enjoyed a 3 mile walk. Disturbed a large, black and white bird of prey with long wings and extended fingers at the tips. A large bunch of crows or rooks were having a fierce argument out of sight in the forest tree tops. It went on for ages. The Salomon walking boots are no longer waterproof. My socks are sopping wet after every walk. Rode an anticlockwise shopping loop in bright sunshine. Variable wind. 17 miles.

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6 Oct 2014

6th October 2014

Monday 6th 53-56F, 12-13C, windy from the east, lots of grey cloud. Forecast to be dry but very windy. 20mph base with 35mph+ gusts. I'd better make a chinstrap for my baseball cap before I go on my morning walk.The wind is stripping out the autumn leaves so that they fall like large snow flakes at times. Japanese Knotweed is doing well almost everywhere I go now. The kommune [council] obviously doesn't take it seriously.

I saw another, smartly dressed  jay today. There were hundreds more geese migrating. All heading south in long ragged lines. Though they were flying rather high I could still hear them clearly from down below. Watching them through my binoculars was fascinating as they were soon well out of unaided sight. Lots of gulls wandered aimlessly across the sky as rooks foraged restlessly on the fields below.

Rats seems to have enjoyed the mild weather and are increasingly visible as road kill. One ambled across the road right in front of me this morning! I also watched a cat pounce on a tiny vole and chomp it down. A 3 mile walk in just over an hour as the weak sunshine peeked out between the clouds at times. I had better leave early for my ride to avoid the strongest winds.

Famous last words, as usual. By the time I escaped it was blowing hard with fierce gusts. I did a loop which forced a complete U-turn to my initial direction. Which was amusing because I was doing about 22-26 mph at the start. Even staying ahead of an elderly driver who was unwilling to overtake me. Even when I pulled into a bus stop to let him pass he hesitated.

This amazing old farm building must have had a fresh repaint. I'm sure it used to be a lighter red. It looks as if the roof has had some repairs too.

As soon as I turned off I was right down to 10-12 mph with no more than 16 mph on the steepest descents. The light, GripGrab scull cap was warm but beneficial until I reached the shops. First time I've worn it this year. The distinct wind chill through the slots of the helmet as I stepped outside suggest they do their job in keeping my bare bonce cool in warmer weather. So it was straight back indoors for the cap.

It was quite amusing when I rode down an avenue of Hornbeam at right angles to the wind. The bare trunks and busy branching above caused a Venturi effect. Which accelerated the wind off the bare fields in combination with a severe negative camber. I was almost crabbing along as I hung right off the upwind side to stay on. Fortunately there was no traffic and a slight decline so I didn't have to pedal too hard to keep going fairly quickly.

I was grateful for the shelter of the forest further on but rather afraid of falling branches. The wind was really roaring in the tops. There were broken twigs up to 2" diameter [50mm] lying about on the roads already. A direct hit from one of those would do quite some damage. Just being hit by an insect at speed is painful enough!

Coming home by the same route was the complete opposite. I was climbing effortlessly at 22 mph so pressed on a bit harder and topped out at 26 mph, still sitting, on a long uphill drag. One which usually sees me struggling to hit 12 mph in still air on a good day. I was fairly well loaded with shopping as usual. Which I noticed immediately I stood up to exit a junction on the main road. They drive around the blind approach bend like maniacs. So it pays to get safely over to the other side ASAP. One can't always rely on hearing them coming round the corner. Only 14 miles.

Tuesday 7th 52F, 11C, gales, almost continuous rain. I think I need a slightly shorter handlebar stem. I'm feeling stretched out again. The present one is 120mm so I'll try a 100 mm first. It rained and blew hard for most of the day. Rest day.

Wednesday 8th 49F, 10C, very windy, very cloudy, rain. Before buying a shorter stem I moved a 10mm spacer from above to below the handlebar stem. Perhaps raising the 'bars slightly will reduce the slight sense of being stretched on a rack. This only occurs when I'm on the brake hoods with my fingers wrapped around the brake levers. I'd rather I wasn't sitting more upright but I have no choice if my back complains.

It would be slightly safer if I could wrap my fingers naturally around the tops of the levers. Instead of resting further back on the bar bends and and only on the middle of the hoods. Campag supplies hood extensions for large hands. I may be furnished like an Orangutan but I'd need an even shorter stem to use those.  I didn't bother with a walk this morning but it is brightening up nicely now. Though still blowing well.

Rode to Assens to look for a 100mm stem. Raising the bars hadn't helped much at all. I found a nice, matt black stem for £15. Heavier than my Ritchey 120mm but hardly a deal breaker. 20 miles so far. Going out again.

A red form of the Spindle tree. [Euonymus europaeus] These bushy trees seems remarkably commonplace in local hedges. More usually in the dull green form. The strange, bright pink fruits are easily recognised. These eventually open to show the relatively large seeds.

I fitted the new stem before leaving and was surprised how 20mm can make such a difference. I felt more upright and reaching the hoods to wrap my index finger around the brake levers felt much more comfortable than before. I no longer spent time pushing myself back on the saddle. The steering felt lighter too. I should have made this change earlier. Further rides will prove whether I have now found a more suitable position on the trike. The stem can easily be fitted upside down or spacers moved up or down. Plus 7 more miles.

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3 Oct 2014

3rd October 2014

Friday 3rd 56-66F, 14-19C, overcast, misty, damp, light SE winds. Started with a 2.7 mile walk. Lots of geese going south in noisy, untidy gaggles. Several hundred failed to make even a half-decent chevron as they bunched and wandered around the sky heading only in a general direction. It was interesting to see how they made space for wanderers to return to the line. Several, smaller flocks followed over the half hour it took me to reach the woods and return to the road. Their sense of aerial geometry was rather more obvious.

The hearing in my left ear seems to have returned. A journey in the car with the window slightly open must have been to blame for the temporary deafness. Though it is possible I have had a slight cold. This would better explain my tiredness tiredness and general feeling of being bunged up.

I keep looking at the cardboard boxes on the shelving in my shed and wonder why nobody sells shallow plastic tubs instead the standard storage item? The usual deep tubs are useless for racking. If they are filled with bike bits they become far too heavy to handle and difficult to search. Leave them half empty and you need two tubs instead of one and the racking is now full of tubs but half full of fresh air. Large, shallow, storage tubs are made to go under beds but they are far too large for normal racking. They'd also weigh a ton if filled up to the brim! I keep looking at the tubs in the various superstores but still haven't found anything remotely useful. Surely there must be a huge market for shallow tubs! There's a punny joke in there somewhere.

This strangely sunken road would be called an ancient track if it was in Gravely Blighted. It seems to go from nowhere to nowhere else in particular. Gå [pron. go] is Danish for walk.

Went out after lunch. Very mild, so I soon had to strip down to my racing jersey and shorts. The wind was much stronger than forecast. So I shall be seeking a refund if I can find the right queue. Cruising at 18-20 mph  going. More like 10-12 mph coming back. Another goodly wodge of shopping. Only 16 miles. 

Saturday 4th 56-63F, 13-17C, windy from the south and SE , full sun. I walked a large loop through two woods for 5 miles in 2 hours. The sound of sporadic shooting and dogs barking had me a little worried but there were no warning signs up. It is expected to gust up to 30mph later. They were right. It was rather windy with a headwind going and tailwind coming home. Going well despite my hip aching. Though pleasant enough, it didn't become as warm as promised. Somebody fired a gun behind the hedge, right beside the main road, as I rode past a farm. I jumped out of my skin and may still be suffering from PTS as I scribble at the keyboard! 15 miles.

Sunday 5th 51-63F, 11-17C, brightening, light winds expected to gust to "only" 20mph  from the south and SE later today. I still haven't decided on a suitable target for a ride. In the end I stripped all the junk off the Trykit and pumped the 4000S tyres back up to 90psi. Then headed north along the prettiest lanes for 25 miles. Having reached Særslev I looped back further west to avoid a direct headwind coming home. Which I seemed to avoid until the last five miles.

The Trykit,  fitted with a Carradice Junior saddlebag, poses casually near Gamby at 25 miles. I took the opportunity, and extra road width, to consume my mature Cheddar, cheese roll.

Gorgeous countryside, gentle sunshine, very light traffic and cool enough not to break into a sweat. Though I am an absolute martyr to the late, heavy bombardment of conkers and hazel nuts. They litter the roads for miles. These things are sent to try us but we won't mention the plague of small flies. Sunday is not a good day for photographing pretty old  houses. Far too many cars parked in front! The trike felt lighter and more responsive than usual without the Abus lock. Though the new sense of freedom faded as the miles passed. Going well today with no obvious fatigue. 46 miles.

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1 Oct 2014

1st October 2014

Wednesday 1st 57-60F, 14-16C, misty, heavy overcast, damp, with light winds forecast. It is supposed to brighten up later. Better start the day with a walk. It tried to rain briefly but soon cleared up again. Warm enough for just a T-shirt. The sun broke through towards the end.

Lots of small birds dashing about on the fields and in the trees and hedges. Mostly chaffinches and goldfinches or sparrows. I tried to tip-toe past the lake because there were at least 100 female ducks on the water. I was almost past when one of them panicked and they all took off at once!  That'll teach them to laugh! 3.5 miles.

I left my ride until after morning coffee. Very light wind with some weak sunshine. The windmills were mostly stationary. I was going reasonably well. Tidied the trike shed after lunch. It needed it! Mr Higgins is now hanging upside down without his wheels to avoid taking up so much room. It only takes moments to be roadworthy again. Plus pumping the tyres up with the track pump of course. Still only a couple of minutes work. 16 miles.

Thursday 2nd 60-62F, 15-17C, mild, very light winds, overcast but slowly brightening. A 3 mile walk. It can keep up this quiet weather for as long as it likes. I did a pleasant loop around the lanes down to the coast before I started shopping. A bit breathless and not feeling very energetic today. I was down to 8mph on some of the longer drags. Even used the small chainwheel a couple of times to keep up the revs on the steep bits. Climbed out of the saddle several times for a few hundred yards. Keeping in a slightly higher gear helps to avoid fatigue from dancing in too low a gear. The pedal resistance seems to help. I passed a sprayer working in a field beside the road. Though I could smell it I have no idea what it might have been. 23 miles.

Having always been a bit of a hill climbing fetishist I enjoy reading British Hillclimb Champion, Tejvan Pettinger's thoughts and actions on his blog. His latest post discussed weight saving on an already ultra-lightweight bike. Cutting off the handlebars takes on a whole new meaning when you go out and buy expensive carbon fiber 'bars just to chop off the drops! I did the same in my youth but most bike handlebars were alloy and fairly cheap back then.

Drilling holes in brake levers and chainrings made me feel better though I never actually worked out the real weight loss. Affordable pocket calculators had yet to be invented let alone home computers. Slide rules were foolishly expensive for a teenager. [Yearn as I might while staring endlessly at the manufacturer's printed catalogues]

I do remember the bitter disappointment after fitting 5oz wood-insert rims and lighter tubs with stainless double butted spokes. I had almost expected not to have to pedal at all such was the expense. Far from it! It seemed like even harder work to make them go along! Lifting the back wheel and spinning it up in top gear felt no different from the Fiamme Road rims and Milremo Sportivos. The latter were the Town and Country tubulars for a training bike back then.

Climbing or sprinting up behind a bus or lorry, to draught between cities, seemed no easier with the ultra-lightweight wheels. Though I really had noticed the difference between Dunlop steel rims and Racer HPs when I was advised to fit sprints and tubs after my first [accidental] 10 mile TT. I had been out riding flat out [as usual] in the evening and came across of a gaggle of clubmen in a village ten miles from home. I was persuaded to ride and won on handicap on rather soft HPs. It was getting dark and freezing on the 10 miles back home! I was in shorts and a short sleeved top.

With Fiamme sprint wheels fitted the brakes suddenly started working as well. So the new lightness and increased speed of the Milremo tubs were even better value. The Sportivo's superb grip on corners made me a madman around town as I laid the bike right over on every corner. I was fearless and would climb out of the saddle to sprint on to the next corner like a teenager possessed. Well, you have to, don't you?

Getting back to hillclimbing though: It amuses me how much extra weight I am often carrying over and above the lightweight carbon bike rider's I meet on my travels. Even the bare Trykit is no lightweight compared with most of today's bikes with remotely sporting pretensions. I drag the 1kg Abus lock around with me everywhere in my heavy, canvas, Camper saddlebag. The B17 Brooks saddle is standard wear because nothing else I have tried is remotely comfortable.

My camera, toolkit, sports bag and all the junk I need for shopping all add to the total weight. Now throw in a few liters of milk, a bag of organic spuds and all the rest of my shopping load of the day. I still have to drag myself up lots of hills whichever way I head for home. Let's assume that my shopping averages 10kg. I must now be pushing into mobility trike territory for all-up weight.

Now plonk "our hero," still with delusions of sporting grandeur, on top of that lot. Every time he sees another cyclist the red mist comes down and off he goes like a badly trained dog to try and catch them. I never dawdle. Always trying to keep up a good pace and high cadence regardless of today's load. The odd thing is that I rarely feel the need to strip everything off and go for a ride just for the fun of it. I have become so used to shopping on my trike that it has become the reason I ride most days. I always need a goal even if it is a distant one. Perhaps to photograph something interesting or new.

Aimless wandering seriously lacks purpose in my cycling vocabulary. I am still having fun but I should really make an effort to ride without any purpose but the journey itself. I don't need any more training and intervals really don't appeal. At my age I ought to know better. It's just that my lifelong, competitive drive has no real or useful outlet. I would love to do a regular time trial to try and get it out of my system. Or just to better measure my remaining abilities as a rider.

I tried riding a 10 mile course along a main road to the roundabout and back about ten miles from home. Somehow it seriously lacked the direct competitive element. There was nothing to compare myself to and this is surely the essence of competition. All I seemed to be doing was thrashing along, in considerable pain, all on my own, trying to prove something to myself. All done in a partial vacuum of sharing my experience on the internet. It was another case of; does the tree make a sound when it falls when there is nobody there to hear it?

I have no guarantee that anyone will ever read my rambling blog. Then again, should it matter? Is the blog the raison dêtre? Or is it merely a record of my thoughts and actions regarding my tri-cycling. Does it even matter? The blog started to ensure self-discipline in my riding every day. Or, at least, as often as possible. Cycling is almost inevitably a solo pastime unless one limits oneself to social occasions. Perhaps to only to ever ride in groups. That's never going to happen in my case. My deliberate choice of a trike isolates me from most bicycle-orientated activities. As does the language to some degree. Most of them probably think I'm handicapped anyway just for riding a trike. They may well be right! Though why people make so much of an extra wheel on a bicycle remains a mystery.

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