24 Jan 2015

22nd January 2015 Who ordered more snow?!!?


Thursday 22nd 30F, -1C, almost still. I went for a short walk while white mist rolled down from the hills and hid the clouds. Visibility is down to about 100 yards but there is occasional pale sunshine.

The sun was doing its best to blind everybody at times but mostly remained a dim white disk against a uniform white sky. Soon my clothes, gloves, handlebar tape and even the brake levers became covered in white frost. The mist was hovering at about 150 meters, at best, for approaching headlight visibility. On one stretch of double white lines my mist-filled lane was suddenly full of fast-approaching car! As a drunken, retarded psychopath on prescription drugs overtook another car driving [only] at the speed limit. The drug addled, lunatic, drunk driver proved to have only  a passing resemblance to a woman. Vesen, Martian or Venusian? Take your pick.

Later a driving school car pulled out ahead of me displaying no lights. It eventually disappeared slowly into the mist. Still without a single light showing. I quickly lost count of the number of cars with missing headlights, driving on parking lights or failing to show a high intensity, rear fog light. This is in a country where headlights are required even during daylight hours. Just to show willing I had my own lights flashing and even managed to find spare batteries for the daft "Smart" rear lights at a LBS. Which use the rarer than flying unicorn droppings, stumpy ½ AA size. Am I having fun yet? 26 miles.

Friday 23rd 30F, -1C, still, overcast. Sunshine was forecast but no sign of it yet. It is becoming increasingly misty again. Enjoyed an hour and half walk across the fields to admire the frosted woods, fields and hedges. The puddles were hard frozen today. Making walking on the spray tracks quite easy. I saw two male Bullfinches foraging together plus a few birds of prey. The roads are still improving so I shall go for a ride after coffee.

No sign of the sun as I rode to Assens. Still and misty. I saw and heard a couple of Greater spotted woodpeckers. A woman rode away from me, sitting bolt upright, just freewheeling in her baggy clothing, on a roadster, on a short, steep descent. No electric hub and I had just caught her after chasing her for a mile up a long drag. I was about to overtake her and was already traveling faster than she was. Even pedaling hard I couldn't stay with her until we hit the other side and it rose steeply again. I know my tyres are at 90psi because I checked them just before leaving.  The difference can't be wind resistance because I was keeping low. My three skinny 25mm tyres must have about the same rolling resistance as her two fat tyres. I doubt there was much difference in combined weight between us.

So where is all the friction hiding on my trike? I was already wondering why my front brake was covered in crumbly mud. Further examination showed that the Crud mudguard was packed with hard mud and rubbing continuously on the tyre. Not enough clearance! It's no wonder she freewheeled away from me! The front wheel would not turn freely when I lifted it and tried to give it a spin. 20 miles. Mostly, it felt like riding uphill despite seeing 24 mph a couple of times.

Saturday 24th 28F, -2C, snowing! It is forecast to snow all morning. At the present rate it will be worth about an inch per hour. Walked for an hour in wind driven snow with extra drifting. My hoped for ride after lunch has been officially cancelled by the Head Gardener. There's about 3" of lying snow but the road hasn't been cleared except by the traffic. I'd be quite happy to ride on it but there is always the problem of somebody else doing something completely daft while trying to avoid me. Probably not worth the risk. I cleared a hundred yards of drive to avoid feeling guilty at the complete lack of exercise.

Sunday 25th 28-36F, -2+2C, dead still, patchy, ground hugging mist forming and disappearing again. I set off along the spray tracks in 3" of snow with hundreds of animal footprints for company. A blindingly bright sun rose behind the woods at 8.30 precisely as I stood in the middle of a large field. I was snapping away, trying to capture the best moment. While distant church bells rang clear in the cold, still air.

Later I stopped to talk quietly to a black squirrel with a snow white chest. It seemed very curious as it flicked its tail and somersaulted up and down a birch only 10 feet from the track. Just as I reached for my camera it went off through a thicket of immature trees. Several birds of prey were perched darkly in the woods. Flocks of Fieldfares and Yellowhammers moved away from me along the roadside hedges as I headed home. The roads may have been salted but it has left lots of frozen slush and ice. Every time a vehicle came towards me I took to the verge to let them pass without having to spray me with slush by detouring off the narrow, bare tracks of tarmac. I shall have to go shopping after coffee and rolls whatever the conditions.

The roads were rather wet with borders of hard packed snow, ice and frozen slush. It was mostly sunny with a light crosswind judging from the angle of the windmills. Nobody made a real nuisance of themselves. With most drivers hanging back to use the whole road width when it was clear ahead. I returned heavily laden. Saw a posse of mountain bikers and a solitary clubman out training. Only 14 miles.

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