13 Apr 2015

13th April 2015 For whom the bell tolls.

Monday 13th 46-48F, 8-9C, windy, heavy cloud and showers. Sunshine's early promise quickly fizzled out when rain stopped my walk before it even started. I should have taken the chance to nip outside in my new, slightly translucent, white, cycling jacket to check exactly how shower proof it is. I could even have run around the lawn to check for breath-ability. The jacket, not my own. Of course, I didn't. It didn't occur to me until after the [non]event.

The slow puncture, which I reported several days ago, keeps coming and going. Some days the tyre remains rock hard and others it has dropped to only 40PSI. Being a lazy git, where these things are concerned, I have ignored the problem in the name of research and entertainment. It takes only seconds to top up the tyre with the track pump. Job done, until the next time.

Danish police are to have an extra go at catching speeding motorists. Which seems rather odd when you consider that means 90% of all drivers speeding 90% of the time. Which means they could catch thousands on almost every stretch of road or in any village chosen completely at random.

Another odd thing is how incredibly fast injuries rise in comparison with speed:

Here are a couple of graphics which I have borrowed for educational purposes.

A slight increase in the speed of a vehicle in a built up area and deaths in collisions rise from 5% to 85%! Many Danish roadside speed indicator boards show average speeds around 70kph or 44mph in built-up areas! Any society which routinely tolerates these higher average speeds has no real interest in road safety or pedestrian survival rates. Every political statement on the subject is just empty hype.

The second graphic illustrates the dramatic rise in deaths and injuries at more typical rural road speeds. I have edited the text for those who do not speak Danish. Denmark has a [nominal] 80kph - 50mph national speed limit outside built-up areas.

80kmh = 50mph. 90kmh = 55mph. 100kmh = 60mph. The conversion factor is 1.61.

Anyone who sticks to the legal speed limit is tail-gated and then overtaken by almost every driver. The exceptions, who follow at a sensible distance at the local speed limit, are remarkable for their rarity! This has been true for the near two decades since I have lived here. Most observers would believe that almost all drivers are either illiterate or innumerate or both. Or perhaps they are so blind that the large speed indicating lollipop signs, usually erected at frequent intervals, are completely invisible to them. As must be all the annual road safety placards erected to suggest a small reduction in speed and usually illustrated with children. Perhaps they would work better if the children were shown lying down like battered rag dolls and covered in copious amounts of blood? Even when the schools illuminate their special 30kph - 20mph signs, for student home time, they are completely and utterly ignored.

I left after coffee with the wind gusting fiercely. I could feel the wind blowing right through my thinnest proper "winter" jacket just before I left. So on went the new jacket on top of that. On the first descent I came close to losing it completely!  I was down on the aero bars doing 25mph when a bus came flying up the hill. The bus's bow wave shoved me hard towards the verge. Then I was sucked violently back into the middle of the road as it passed and blocked the crosswind! Fortunately there was nobody trying to overtake me at the time. Which just goes to show that the aero bars do not provide much protection against side gusts.

The rest of the journey, going both ways, involved rather more leaning on the wind than a racing sidecar passenger! I was often forced to grab the downwind handlebar for extra stability. The jacket proved completely waterproof and beaded perfectly in a short but nasty downpour. I kept it on to see if it was sweaty but it was fine even on the climbs. While coming home I could feel the colder air blowing up through the rear ventilation flap across the shoulders. Which just goes to show how poor my cheapest cycling jacket really is. I didn't need the new jacket by then but was grateful for its extra warmth during gusts. Though the fingerless mitts might have been a mistake today. Wind chill on wet hands rises dramatically!

This may come back to haunt me but I am very satisfied with the new jacket so far. Polyurethane coated nylon jackets would have had me in a soggy lather of sweat. Several cheap jackets bought as an experiment quickly proved themselves to be no better than mobile saunas! I carefully checked the inside of the new jacket and my normal cycling jacket for moisture when I got home. No dampness at all! Only 13, difficult miles, on the 13th in a £13 jacket and [just] survived to tell the tale. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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