19 Jan 2015

19th January Who ordered this snow?

Monday 19th 34F, 1C, almost still, heavy overcast, continuous wintry precipitation. It started as light rain, changed to sleet and then took on the appearance of falling snow as I walked a long loop through several woods. In six miles of walking I hardly touched any tarmac.

This image was slightly disappointing. To the naked eye, the immature beech foliage in the foreground seem to glow bright and coppery but also to float in mid air.

I saw my first hare in many months. It had a multi-coloured coat with dark tips to its pale ears as it dashed off . Later I saw a dark brown squirrel which shot up a conifer to hide. I saw lots of birds of all kinds including several large birds of prey. It is surprising how similar they can sound to gulls as they complain at being disturbed. The woods and tracks were very wet again. What with all the stepping over brambles in the woods I actually managed to make my legs tired by the time I returned home.

The snow continued to fall lightly all morning, afternoon and after dark. Only beginning to turn white by 2pm. No pressure to go out. Another rest day.

Tuesday 20th 33F, 1C, still, overcast. Between 1" and 2" of snow seems to have accumulated overnight. Variable in thickness and sticky enough to adhere to everything. A salting/gritting lorry has just passed. The snow was crunching nicely beneath my feet but kept balling up under the insteps of my boots. It seemed to weld itself to the webbing straps of my gaiters and refused to let go. It was very pretty in the woods but was already dropping from the branches. Right on top of my head and shoulders in one case as I paused to take pictures. Lots of deer tracks wherever I went. The roads were nasty with slush tracks separating standing water. I took to the verge as every vehicle approached. Partly from a safety point of view. Though mostly to avoid them spraying me with filthy slush as they detoured around me.

A Danish government department is examining the idea of reducing traffic speeds in towns to 30 kmh.  [About 20mph] Such speeds reduce accidents by 70% according to statistics. Since 90% of drivers exceed the existing speed limits 90% of the time this idea is somewhat divisive. Most drivers will accuse the police of profiteering through fines. I am torn between warm admiration for the sheer genius of the idea and disbelief at how out of touch they really are. [30 kph is directly translated to 50 kph in the Danish language] So the present 65-75 kph  instead of the legal limit of 50 kph will presumably fall to some random figure between 45 kph and 50 kph.

I have mentioned before how many Danish villages and towns have traffic speed indicator boards. These are often sited alongside the signs marking the start of a built-up area. These boards almost always read low by anything up to 8 kph. Yet I still see most drivers passing the boards in the mid to high 60's kph. The boards have orange flashing light to warn drivers that they are speeding. However, the lights usually flash far too late for most drivers to ever see the warning. The faster they travel the less likely they will see the flashing lights! Now there's a nice bit of logic! Except that most drivers will form a dangerously compact chain which passes the board as it flashes continuously.

One could easily argue that the speed indicator boards actually incite drivers to break the law. I'm amazed that it is not used as a standard defense in court. Except that most [modest] speeding offences result in a fixed fine by post. Which is simply paid and soon forgotten. This safely avoids millions of Danes having to attend court each month to argue their speeding cases. Which could easily lead to a backlog of decades if not centuries. Welcome to the twilight zone of Danish traffic safety.

Getting back to the advantages of triking: Though usually slower than a bike uphill a trike can be fun on a climb. One has no need to balance so there is no minimum speed or too low a gear. But, by far the best thing about hillclimbing on a trike is that you can't cheat and get off to push. A trike is not a push trike. Trying to push is so difficult, because the nearest back wheel tries to run the pedestrian tricyclist over, that it is not a serious alternative to just pedaling. Two wheel drive is so superior to OWD that it hardly needs further discussion. If all you want from life is lots of wheelspin then you might as well try to climb steep hills, in the wet, on a bike. Another rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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