29 Dec 2014

29th December 2014 Cateye Cadence roadkill!

Monday 29th 25-30F, -4-0C still and sunny. The promised overnight snow did not fall here. I enjoyed a loop on the hard frozen, spray tracks up in the back fields. This is an area normally outside my usual routes because of the sticky, wet soil. The puddles are now dry under the crisp, white ice. Which sounded like thin ceramic tiles as I broke through in places. Even the soil sounded hollow to my footfalls. The hard surface layer acting as a drum skin over the soft, aerated soil beneath. The fresh viewpoints from the modest hills exaggerates distance and elevation. While providing new clues to the otherwise-hidden geography of the landscape. The contortions of the local roads around woods and hills often hides the true direction and position of many familiar landmarks. The bare trees are no longer able to hide distant villages and buildings. My camera and binoculars foreshorten distances which can take an hour to reach on the trike. Another superb day for a ride! Except that it wasn't. It became grey, cold and miserable and I was busy at home. Rest day.

Tuesday 30th 38F, 3C, heavy overcast but quite still. Light overnight snow has made very little impression. The trike is ready for the off after early coffee and rolls. I've just had to clear the brakes of built up mud from the filthy roads. Not cleaned well enough as the front brake grated on the rim.

Repairs to the private suspension footbridge at a stately home have been completed. Seemingly long-unused it presumably gave the family private access to the woods across the moat in former times. 

I rode to Assens under a leaden sky to see the damage done to the harbour mole by the 100 meter long ship in the safe hands of a drunken Russian skipper. According to the local paper he registered so high on the police alkameter that it went right off the scale! They had to send him to Odense hospital to have it measured properly in preparation for prosecution. No doubt the Odense hospital was delighted to have yet another drunk delaying their normal [4-6 hour waiting times] in the A&E. As for the ship: I've seen worse damage on the rear bumper in a car park shunt! I couldn't even be bothered to get my camera out for such a non-event.

I passed through the front lines of WW3.2 as the brave hunters fought an asymmetric battle against the fundamentalist pheasant insurgents. The battle was still raging as I plodded home later. Ducks having by then taken up a rearguard action in support of the pheasant uprising. Now heavily laden with shopping I flinched at every shot. I was in constant fear that I might be "collected" by the rampaging dogs. Talking of which the neighbour's Rottweiler tried to attack me on the drive the other day. Perhaps I need a basket of dog treats on the handlebars?

Very short-lived, completely daft, battery size in Smart E-line rear light. AVOID!! 

I searched the entire town for new batteries for my Smart rear lights. They are a peculiar half length AA called an LR1 size N. No luck anywhere. Had I known at the time of purchase that they did not use 'standard' batteries [AA or AAA] I would never have touched them with a very, very, very long bargepole!! Bike rear lights are life savers. Making any bike light with non-standard batteries [ie. not readily available in every supermarket] is a complete no-brainer. ie. REQUIRES NO DAMNED BRAINS AT ALL!!!

It seemed my luck was out on several fronts today. As I was riding along the ring road I noticed the Cateye Strada Cadence computer had stopped registering anything for the umpteenth time. As I fiddled with the head in its shoe it suddenly shot off across the road. I stopped and waited as 3 cars approached at speed. Two passed safely then the third promptly run over the head! Grr?

I was torn between anger that I was ever fooled into buying such an expensive piece of crap. And gratitude that I no longer have to put up with the damned thing!! There is nothing worse than not knowing your distance or speed on a ride. The contact pins seemed to be constantly furring up when subjected to the slightest dampness. So that no speed or mileage was registered.

Cateye Strada Cadence roadkill.

The head always had a dodgy location in the shoe. Which probably caused the regular non-functioning. To add to the displeasure of ownership the digits were tiny and vertically elongated. Making it impossible to read in poor light or without reading glasses. It required a rocking motion instead of buttons to change screens. Which was a disaster waiting to happen with gloves on. Often causing the mileage to be deleted half way through a ride!!! Arghh!

My advice is to avoid this overpriced piece of crap like the plague if you are ever in the market for such a thing! It was priced at £72 equiv. in the LBS today!!! Totally unbelievable! 22 [GPS] miles not out and counting...

Wednesday 31st 43F, 6C, heavy overcast, dry and still. The forecast is for another grey day. I spent some time scrubbing the brakes, rims and tyres and rinsing everything off with copious amounts of rainwater. The gritty mud covered the brakes and was causing grating when I braked. Before this problem arose the Ultegra brake blocks were excellent. They worked fine afterwards despite my omitting to remove the front wheel to scrub the blocks clean. What an idiot!

A huge number of Whooper swans and geese were resting on a field quite near the main road. I was rather afraid I'd scare them off as there was no real cover. They were so spread out that it was impossible to capture them all.

The shops were very busy as people took advantage of the holidays to buy New Year fireworks, drinks and other essentials. The Danes celebrate New Year with as much enthusiasm as Britain does Guy Fawkes night on the 5th November. Fireworks can be heard until after 3am most years.

The traffic was surprisingly light away from the main roads. I think I saw three cars in the ten miles of rural lanes getting to my destination. Came back by another way in bright sunshine. The first half had been under very grey skies. A bit lost without a bike computer to monitor my progress. 21 miles by GPS.

I'm not allowed out again in case of drunk drivers. So I'll have to settle for 6696 miles for the year. 47 rest days and only four punctures. The Schwalbe Duranos have proved amazingly reliable. Only fitting the Continental GP4000S [temporarily] spoilt an otherwise incredibly low puncture rate.

A bout of flu made a dent in my mileage and boosted the number of rest days. One more than last year. I have suffered from a "bunged up" chest and shortness of breath ever since. Though my skill at spitting into the verge has certainly improved. Having been brought up "properly" it took courage to learn to spit out "loose gobs of lung." Not to mention blowing one's nose with a finger pressed against the side of the nose. These were difficult hurdles to overcome with unusually steep learning curves.

A[n] [n]ice mould from the inverted base of our rainwater tub. About an inch thick. [2.54cm]

In my teens I used to carry a handkerchief tucked into my woolen cycling shorts. I could not bring myself to blow my nose with a finger! I used to see footballers blowing their noses in such a revolting fashion but studiously avoided following their ultimately sensible practice. Now I hesitate to think what a wet handkerchief full of snot would weigh as I tackled the 1-in-4s in the Bath area on my trike. Occasional nose bleeds have proven that it can takes decades of practice to avoid contaminating one's winter jackets. I just hope none of my followers was eating while reading this last bit. ;)

The Winter Edition of the Tricycle Association Gazette has arrived by email attachment. As I may have already mentioned it is so much easier to read on a computer screen. Particularly when the text size can be so easily adjusted to taste. The annual TA tricycle mileages have been announced. Using my usual January 1st to December 31st, rather than the winter overlapping TA dates, I would have been fourth in mileage total.

I still do not see myself as a serious tricyclist since I have failed, yet again, to reach 100 miles in a single day. Some tricyclists can ride [even race] for literally hundreds of miles in a day! Having finally overcome the hurdle of saddle soreness with the B17 Special' and decent bibs I really must learn to eat properly on longer rides. I tend not to eat for three hours and then have a cheese roll and a banana at halfway. It really isn't enough even for a slow old git like myself averaging only about 10-12mph overall. Had I been sitting at home I would have eaten more! I probably said exactly the same thing last year.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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