1 Dec 2014

December 1st 2014

Monday 1st 35F, 2C, clear, bright and rather windy. Should be bright sunshine all day only slightly
spoilt by the 20mph+ easterly wind. December is here already. This year seems to have flown by.

I had a pleasant walk in a loop up along the edge of the woods. I'm greatly enjoying the new freedom to walk the bare spray tracks on rock hard [frozen] soil. Normally the tracks are incredibly sticky mud. Which accumulates so quickly that I end up with massive "diver's boots."

It was windy, as expected, but I dressed accordingly. Capturing the play of light and shade on the undulating fields is more difficult than it looks. I hope you appreciate the gentle scenery as much as I do. It is the norm that I have the entire area entirely to myself on my walks. You would think I would be fully conversant with the layout of the local landscape after so much walking and riding but there are always new surprises. Particularly as the trees become bare of leaves. Exposing a familiar building to distant view through binoculars.

I'm still trying to identify a migrant bird of which I have seen a few, small, rather shy groups foraging on the fields. Initially I thought they were Jays.

I was spammed in a comment to my first blog post but thought my readers would find the content quite interesting:


Posting this link does not give permission for all and sundry to start posting spam links in the blog comments. Every comment has to be passed by me before it appears. So don't waste your time, and mine, by linking to any old garbage. Tricycle related links will obviously be treated with greater respect than anything even mildly irrelevant. Links to toy tricycles are not of any interest and will be deleted before they see the light of day.

Rode to Assens to shop. Cruising almost effortlessly at 22mph going. Using much more energy to reach 8 mph [at times] on the way back. Bitterly cold on my face but the rest of me was cozy. I could feel how cold my nose was as I warmed it up in the shower. It actually ached as if I'd been hit! I keep wondering whether my runny nose is due to the cold. If I wore a ski mask would it still run? Bit of a chicken and egg problem there. My nose has bled a few times over the last few days. The cold weather? Or having a continuing cold/flu? 20 miles.

Tuesday 2nd 30F, -1C, occasionally breezy, very heavy overcast. Quite a bit colder than yesterday. November was the third warmest in Danish weather records since 1874. The wind is supposed to fall steadily from about 10m/s [20mph] gusts all day. It might be a good day for a ride if I choose my route accordingly. Ride away to the east into the wind. Return with a lighter tailwind. Well, that's the theory.

Instead of which I searched online for a larger saddlebag. The only larger Carradice bags than my Camper Longflap may be the front mounted bags for the small wheel city bikes. Sadly they have rear pockets which will be crushed against the trike rack. The Rivendell [sp?] rear rack bags are very deep from front to back but priced at twice that of the largest Carradice. Particularly after adding import taxes and VAT to the retail price plus carriage. Carradice are obviously catering for bicycles rather than the tiny [vanishingly small] trike market for much larger saddle bags.

The trike is not hampered by the depth from the average saddle height bag hanging loops and the rear rack/mudguard or bare tyre. So a much taller bag is quite possible. Depth from front to back can also be far larger on a trike rear bag supported by a normal trike rack. Rather than the cantilevered racks normally used to support conventional saddlebags.

No panniers, that I am aware of, are deep enough to make sense as a useful, replacement, trike rear bag. My highly critical reviews of the very substandard manufacturing of the Carradice bags which I have purchased so far will not have endeared me to Carradice management. So there's no point in asking for a special order trike design even if they were open to such jobs. Perhaps I ought explore ex-army type outlets for suitable cotton duck/canvas bags for my voluminous shopping requirements?

I left after lunch in search of potential options and returned empty handed in the dark. I was very short of breath today. Coming back in the dark, the £20 'X-Flash' rechargeable diode light was absolutely superb. The cycle shop was asking more than double for effectively the same light! However, I found the very high frequency flash option was just too rapid and tiring for my eyes. It felt as I could not react fast enough even though the flashing beam seemed as brilliant as the fixed beam. The 'Smart' flash is a rapid cycle of longer and shorter flashes. So my eyes can easily lock onto the view without discomfort.

On fixed beam the diode light seemed as if everything was as clear as a dipped car headlight. I was wearing yellow lenses and this made car headlights slightly yellow. While the new diode light seemed much less affected. Remaining visibly white. The main beam spread was about 1.5m wide by perhaps 10 meters long on the road. This was when I had the light head fixed to the centre of handlebars by the simple O-ring tension mounting. An excellent arrangement allowing me to dip my light as cars approached. [To avoid blinding them with the stray beam] The [robust] supplied cable was coiled loosely around the top tube to reach the saddle bag. With plenty of cable to spare for the neat, canvas bagged, battery pack. A strong Velcro strap is also provided for direct mounting to any normal bicycle tube. The midway jack plug connector offers security and installation options. A rubber covered switch on the rear of the light head selects the 3 beam options and off.

Had I the strength I could have cycled at up to 25mph without a qualm guided by the brilliant illumination on offer. I have up on the flashing option and just used the brightest beam of the two available. I was easily able to read the road well ahead for drains and potholes on the completely unlit lanes even when descending at a good speed. [Probably approaching 30mph] Unfortunately the Cateye Cadence computer battery died in the cold at half way. So the screen went completely blank! My face did not feel as cold today. 25 miles.

Wednesday 3rd 34-35F, 1-2C, heavy overcast but quite still. Likely to remain quietly grey all day with wind speeds under 5m/s or 10mph. It was the second warmest Danish autumn in 140 years.

I have been searching online for suitable [cycling] glasses with foam edge wind seals and nose guards. Not with any success so far. A simple 'fleece' material nose guard is easily made and can be attached with a Velcro tab to the bridge of most spectacle frames. A piece of bendable wire can shape the cloth to maintain its desired shape.

Skiing goggles are available in infinite variety and from reasonably affordable to downright extortionate. Even I find most of them "complete overkill" in appearance for winter cycling use. Though the complete freedom from draughts is very desirable, they are really too cumbersome for easy removal from a typical cycling helmet at the shops.

I tried one cheap pair of ski goggles and quickly grew tired of struggling with the elastic strap outside the supermarkets. Full winter cycling clothing is multi layered and resistant to raising ones arms. I do remember that the view was very bright and clear through the neutral but prettily coloured, mirrored lenses. They were really excellent during actual snow fall due to the large lenses allowing alternative views with only slight changes of my head angle.

After several unsuccessful attempts at capturing the flashing rear lights with still photos I gave up. Note how tiny the Carradice Camper Longflap saddlebag looks on the back of a trike. 

I might check out the skiing shops in Odense for sunglasses with edge shields. Preferably with alternative lens colour options. After wearing even the lightest, smoke-grey lenses in heavy overcast, for an hour or two, I feel more like topping myself than continuing the ride. [SAD] Seasonal Affective Disorder or winter blues takes on a whole new meaning! Particularly into a headwind. ;ΓΈ) I find yellow or light orange lenses are fine in typically overcast Danish winter weather. Subtle changes in design [i.e.styling] and the degree of wraparound do make a difference in excluding cold draughts. Many 'cycling sunglasses' seem to have ventilation holes and slots in the most inappropriate places! Not a good idea on a winter descent, well below freezing, into a howling gale!

Rode to Odense to see if I could find some winter glasses. Very breathless at first on the climbs. Tried a number of 'outdoor' shops without success. Though I had a choice of hundreds of colourful goggles they just seem too 'over the top' for everyday winter cycling. Not to mention the problems with the elastic strap and 'fiddly' cycling helmets. A clear visor might be an idea if one was available.

It was bitterly cold on the way home. Despite the cold the Dintex gloves proved to be very poor at getting rid of internal moisture. It became increasingly difficult to get them on and off. At one point my hands were painfully cold! I warmed my hands by rubbing them vigorously on my tights. This seemed to help enough to get me the last few miles home. 42 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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