12 Jan 2015

12th January 2015 Aero on. Aero off.

Monday 12th 42F, 6C, heavy overcast, windy with showers. It is expected to gust to 20m/s or over 45mph until mid-afternoon then only slowly reduce. With no pressure to go out in this foul weather I made it another rest day. It should be much better tomorrow.

A real man's chainset! TA 100/80. His gears run from 200" down to 60" [100/80 x 24" wheels /12-32t] Googling the name on the special front changer cage will provide more pictures of the diminutive owner's bike. A keen mountain pass climber apparently. I think I'd have gone for a triple, myself. Except that it would be impossible to bend the chain that far. Let alone take up the required slack. In contrast, I was reduced to 28 x 30 [25"] the other day while cranking breathlessly up a local hill with a load of shopping!  

Tuesday 13th 39F, 4C, overcast, still. The wind is supposed to get up to 45mph gusts in less than an hour. Then die down slowly again. I can barely see any movement, at all, in the birch trees now @ 8.30am. To add to the fun it is supposed to rain until 3pm. I had an hour's walk in drizzle. This really is the scruffiest time of year. Not helped by the hedge clippings scattered right across the roads. The trees are as dark and bare as the raggedy hedges. The verges are overgrown tussocky grass. Passing vehicles dragging filthy plumes of spray.

I rode away in light rain early afternoon. The wind had dropped by then. I think the arm rests need to be rotated slightly to make them more comfortable. It felt several mph faster on the aero bars. I saw 20mph+ at times going both with and against the wind. Only 7 miles.

Wednesday 14th 33-36F, 1-2C, almost still, heavy overcast, snowing? I didn't order any snow! They even threw in a free rumble of thunder! It is snowing heavily in large flakes and rapidly turning everything white. About an inch an hour if it keeps this up. No mention of snow on the DMI. Just a little rain. Where do I queue for my refund? The snow paused so I went for a walk. Only for it to start all over again. I was soon plastered in an inch of the sticky stuff and hobbling along like a Geisha on 4" high snow packed wedges. Talk about accretion! It snowed and sleeted wetly on and off. The roads were awash. So I took another rest day. Grrr.

Thursday 15th 38F, 3C, gales, heavy overcast, continuous rain rattling on the windows. Only a small, thin patch of wet snow left on the lawn. It is forecast to rain all day and gust to 45 mph again! Not at all promising for a ride nor even a walk. This run of bad weather is very boring! I am rapidly becoming an ex-cyclist. This will not do at all! Rest day.

A silly picture taken via a shop window. I was trying to discover how flat my back was while I was on the aero bars. Rather spoilt by having to rest the camera on one arm rest, squint and point the camera via the LCD screen, while simultaneously enjoying the slings and arrows of pouring rain, blowing a gale and rolling downhill. What you might call suffering for your [installation] art. ;ΓΈ) 

I have since lowered the bars and improved comfort by splaying the elbow rests slightly to better match the relaxed angles of my forearms. Rather than forcing myself to keep my elbows almost touching while sitting rigidly still on the aero bars.

Now all I have to worry about is several square meters of Carradice saddlebag being buffeted by the turbulence from my flailing legs. I can feel another storage project coming on. A roll-top bread bin ought to be more streamlined! It's a shame that motorbike top boxes are so heavy. You'd think somebody would have designed a much lighter cyclist model by now. For all those rear bike racks looking for some meaning to their existence.

Friday 16th 41F, 5C, gales, showers, heavy overcast. My planned walk, despite the roaring wind, was put off by a shower. The wind is supposed to drop gently from 45 mph gusts to 30 mph by lunchtime. Possible sunshine too. Though not for my walk. After a pause to tease me into action it rained almost continuously. With the wind driving it into my face. The fields were littered with fallen branches from the storms. While the waterlogged tracks and woods required more care than usual to avoid an early bath. There is still hope for a clear up. I shall go out anyway since the wind is steadily reducing. The sky is definitely breaking up now [11.30] but it still insists on raining!

It kept raining until well after lunch. I left in steady rain and a cross tailwind wearing the Aldi rain jacket. The arm rests are much more comfortable now. It rained until I had to return then finally stopped. The aero bars were worth about 2½ mph going into a headwind. I sat up at 16.5 mph, still pedaling and slowed instantly to only 14. I could get used to these bars. Though I still feel slightly insecure when cars overtake me while I am in the aero position. I have now found a half-way position for the mirror which allows me to see while on the hoods and on the aero bars. Only 7 miles though returning heavily laden after days of pure laziness endless storms.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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