26 Jan 2015

26th January 2015 These [MTB] boots are made for walking...

Monday 26th 35F, 2C, heavy overcast, windy, raining. The sky looks like ground rice with a dollop of blackcurrant jam well mixed in! While the forecast is for rain for most of the day it should be lightest between 11.00 am and 2.00 pm.  So fingers crossed.

I should mention that the Northwave MTB boots are proving ideal for avoiding my usual winter feet problems. [Horribly itchy chilblains and painful, cracked heels. Neither of which responded to any of the creams I have tried.]  I need not have chosen quite such a large size but they still work well with only one pair of fairly thick, loop pile socks. These socks come from a farmer's supplies shop. The early pairs were much better made. With no obvious seams anywhere. Then they offered a discount for buying three pairs but a hard seam was very obvious across the "toecap." In practice the seams have not caused any problems. Though this may be an advantage of having oversize boots the toe seams have not been a problem in my walking boots either.

The MTB boots have proven to be completely waterproof even when heavily sprayed by the front tyre in a shallow flood. Yet never "sweat" despite being so well sealed. Nor do I feel any of the draughts typical of well ventilated, Northwave MTB shoes. One slight problem is the way the Velcro strap fastening grabs the loop pile socks is I don't fold the cuffs back when putting the boots on.  These boots were far more expensive than my excellent, Northwave, ratchet-fastened MTB shoes. [Though much cheaper online I couldn't check new shoe sizing online.] I now choose Northwave for their broader last after suffering very sore toes with Specialized and Shimano's much narrower MTB shoes.

I wear MTB shoes for their ease of walking while still providing SPD clamping for pedaling efficiency. "Road" shoes would be completely impractical for my normal daily use. Hopefully both sets of Northwave should last well if reserved for their appropriate seasons. Certainly far longer than entry-level shoes from the big names.

Just imagine how much I'm saving on overshoes too. Which were always a poor second and incredibly short lived compared to "proper" winter boots. Overshoes may protect the uppers but still allowed water spray in through the clamping plates in the soles. The pathetic "cloth" toe and heel restraints of some overshoes lasted only a week. Before they were literally falling to pieces simply from daily supermarket shopping levels of abrasion!

The weather is just too wet and windy to go out without good reason. Yet another rest day. Tomorrow looks quite promising in the DMI forecast. [Moon-grazing asteroids permitting!]

Tuesday 27th 34F, +1C, light westerly, almost clear sky, bright sunshine. The early black ice patches have hopefully gone by now. I walked to the top of a local hill. In order to admire the scenery and reacquaint myself with the orientation of distant towers and masts. It has been misty for so long that it was a pleasant surprise to be able to see clearly for miles. It certainly wasn't that razor sharpness one sometimes gets after rain. Though I could see the details on a tower about 7 miles away. A handy reference point for one of my regular destinations it is quite a bit further by road. The low, undulating, Danish landscape provides frequent glimpses of such landmarks. Making a map almost superfluous regardless of finding a new road or lane to explore. Not that there are many left which I haven't ridden by now.

These days I have to go much further abroad to find fresh fodder for my camera. At the last count I had over 40,000 pictures on my computer. Only a tiny fraction of which were taken by anyone else. This huge number doesn't even include those I lost to two earlier hard drive crashes. The problem with having so many images is that sorting them would take longer than I probably have time left on this earth. Storing them online would run into considerable expense. So I have several hard drives and change to a new one when the last is almost full.

I have multiple images of many older buildings, farmhouses and cottages. Which might be a useful reference in some far-flung future. Yet it is simply impossible to make any sense of their exact location with present technology. This, despite my remembering where most of them are from long familiarity. I can imagine virtual archaeologists tunneling through the endless layers of the internet in some dark future. Perhaps using tame AI apps and search algorithms which have yet to be conceived.

To rapidly sort through the fading ghosts of countless images from our "golden age" of innocence. Taken long before catastrophic global warming, mass migration, global terrorism, resource depletion, famine and then finally, WW3. As the last pockets of still-mobile human survivors fought against the rise of the machines.

Tricycling, just for the fun of it, will seem so incredibly archaic and unlikely. Particularly when seen from a distant, future world. Where technology has weakened the human race to reclining blobs on full bio support, VR couches. Or human brains are literally housed in robots for basic mobility. And real, physical activity, by muscle power alone, has not been possible for many generations. They will never know the exquisite pain of struggling uphill with the wind and rain in their face. The sense of elation and achievement as the they crest the summit. To plummet, eyes streaming, into the valley far below. Spoilt rotten, by centuries of technological wonders and crippling physical aids, they will wonder what all the fuss was about.

Fantastical, snow-plastered trees shine against the dark uniformity of  serried ranks of conifers.

A good day for a ride. I reversed my usual route to Assens. The wind was not very strong but allowed me to cruise at 20mph for several miles. Even hitting 24 mph several times tanks to the aero bars. The middle leg was along the shore and it was now much stronger. With white horses and waves breaking on the narrow sands. I came back heavily laden with a light cross tailwind but couldn't really take advantage of it. It was mostly bright sunshine for 24 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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