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.

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