16 Feb 2015

16th February 2015 No through road!

Monday 16th 33-34F, +1C, grey and very windy but dry. It is expected to gust to 15m/s, 30mph or 50kph later. The trees are already swaying.

"Blocked for through traffic"  Sadly this is only a temporary sign at a private stately home. Which has extensive half timbered and thatched outbuildings intermixed with masonry. These buildings enclose two absolutely vast yards with several smaller yards more hidden from view. The cobbled right-of-way through the yards is temporarily closed to rat runners due to re-thatching. Beyond the three arches/portals is a delightful [mostly beech] forest with pleasant walks. I have posted images of the forest regularly over the past few years. The autumn leaf colour is always gorgeous. 

Tragically, the traffic constantly races along the narrow and blindly undulating lane despite the recent addition of 60kph [37mph] signs. The odd thing is that there seems to be no obvious reason for the traffic. Behind the camera is more forest and a few scattered hamlets, farms and more distantly, small villages. Unfortunately there is no useful alternative route which does not involve a long detour by even narrower and twisting lanes. Drivers being what they are, no detour is ever acceptable. Not even if they are inconvenienced by the cobbles and having to take turns to pass through the three portals. I'd love to wallow in the historical atmosphere of the place. Or enjoying the potential for peace while riding under majestic beech trees. Instead of which there is the noise and incongruity of passing traffic. Happily the arches are far too narrow and low for lorries. Though that does not preclude a regular stream of builder's and service vans despoiling the truly amazing scenery. With their roaring tyres echoing loudly in the old, cobbled yards.

Just a heads up that Steve Abraham is riding a One Year Bicycle Time Trial to try and beat the record set in 1939. You wouldn't believe the record if I told you. Nor that he needs to average over 200 miles per day, every day of the year, to beat the old record of 75,056 miles. Or slightly less than 10x my own average mileage! Unfortunately Steve does not enjoy all the disadvantages of riding a trike.

Steven Abraham, his record attempt

I had a freezing cold walk in a gale up to the woods and then looped back past the small lake in the marsh. I had hoped to use one of the spray tracks above the lake but they were far too soft and sticky. Unfortunately I disturbed about 20 Mallard ducks which were sitting or foraging unseen in a fold of the field. A solitary white duck with black head and back was having an energetic bath on the other side of the water. [A lesser Scaup?] There were three of them last time I was there. The lake is only about 125 wide x 80 yards of bare water but is ringed on three sides by dense cover and marsh for bird nesting.

Two Herons took off steeply and floated like kites on the wind about a 100' up over the lake. They were making no forward motion at all! So I walked briskly on to avoid further disturbance and to keep warm. I prefer to skirt above the lake using the gentle contours of the field and [later] the cover of the crops but the conditions would not allow it today. The lake and marsh are used for shooting judging by all the grain feeders, bulk containers and spent cartridge cases lying about. I shall go out on the trike after lunch whatever the weather. Far too many rest days already this year! I'll head north to battle the easterly crosswind.

It was an interesting ride with the wind over my right shoulder. I was cruising at 18-20mph with one bout of fairly effortless 26mph. The supermarket crooks were playing their usual games with a lack of advertised, discounted goods. Coming back was a completely different ride. I struggled for 12mph on the aero bars but sat up for only 8-10mph. I don't think my nose stopped running from the cold. My thighs were still too tender to hang off the trike on the sharp corners. Only 13 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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