11 May 2015

11th May 2015 Ever onwards.

Monday 11th 49-6F,10-18C, breezy and cloudy but quite bright. The wind has gone round to the south leading to an expected 70F, 21C heatwave today but with 30mph gusts. I am a martyr to the wind. It never seems to stop blowing. Going east or west would seem sensible today. Going west would cause very damp cycling shoes, perhaps even some rust, so it will have to be east.

And now, in world-shattering news, a company in Denmark is researching the reduction of ammonia in the stench of pig slurry. Apparently the ammonia is caused by the urine mixing with the heavier stuff. Bacteria in the faeces react with the enzymes in the urine to produce ammonia. Separating the two removes the eye-watering stink. If it works it will be nothing short of miraculous for the long suffering rural-living Danes.

The irony is that the company doing the research is more interested in selling the unmixed urine to chemical companies. It can be used to make paint and other materials. Getting rid of the awful stink was just an unexpected by-product. The farmers have been using a strong, sickly-smelling perfume to hide the stench but the effect is almost as bad as the ammonia!

With much of the rural housing market collapsing around the Dane's ears it is long overdue that something was done about the stench. There are so many pig farms that it is almost impossible to be more than a mile/2km from one almost anywhere in rural Denmark. The round, concrete, slurry tanks pockmark the rural landscape like craters on the Moon. Many farmers are up to their eye-balls in un-repayable debt with some working only part time. Yet the slurry is still produced in vast quantities in automated units. So it can't even be said that farming provides stable employment for outlying areas.

My walk was marred by the arrival of a tractor and sprayer looming over the hedge.  While there was no immediate danger, thanks to the gales carrying the spray away from me, it blocked my access to my usual route to the woods. We'll gloss over the fact that they were actually spraying in 15m/s [30mph] winds! So I walked a three mile loop around a local village instead. I had already walked a mile and half on the main road just to get to my exit. Usually I am loathe to walk on the roads more than absolutely necessary. Fortunately the traffic was light on the more minor roads and lanes. Swallows darted overhead as waves moved across the crops in the fields and the trees bent to the gusts.

It is odd how tiring it is to walk on tarmac/asphalt. I'd much rather walk a rough and undulating gravel track, the forest floor or even on rough grass. It must be the constant variation which exercises different muscles so tiredness does not become a problem. The worst surface to walk on is found in large shopping malls. I find them exhausting!

An old picture from 2011 of my collection of older saddles back then. Most came on secondhand bikes bought at flea markets and recycling centres for small change. The 20+ bikes have gone now so I have no idea why I bothered to keep most of these saddles! 

On the village pond were nine young Coots with their parents. All was well until a blackbird started over-dramatising the danger of my camera as I crept slowly forwards. The young fled to the other side of the pond as I struggled to count them. The ubiquitous chain-link, safety fencing had been blocking a decent shot as they all played in the weeds on my side.

It is blowing so hard I may limit myself to local shopping on the trike. The temperatures seem slow to rise to their promised high levels today. It has only just reached 60F at 1pm. Strong crosswind going but felt like a tailwind coming back. Only 7 miles so far. May go out again after lunch. The Vetta saddle was soon forgotten. Some little girls in the village school playground called out "baby cycle!" as I passed. No respect! ;ø)

After lunch I fitted my Sony AS-15 action camera to its handlebar clamp and went for a ride. The resulting video recording was spoilt by the same horrible internal rattle as usual and then the case steamed up! I took the camera apart but the usual LCD screen rattle wasn't present as a bit of stiff tape had been applied in the factory. Since there was a 3mm gap in the battery holder I wrapped the battery in thin polythene and this seemed to help. I'll test it again tomorrow. Another 5 miles.

Tuesday 12th 54-60F, 12-15C, light breeze, overcast. Rain is forecast for most of the day starting at about 9am.. Which is a shame as the winds remain quite light until this evening. It stayed dry, warm, grey and humid for my walk. The air is full of large black flies with dangly legs, birdsong and the stench of pig slurry and its masking perfume. The same sprayer was busy in the same area but I was going the opposite way today and the air was almost still. A light mist hid and softened the more distant views. The blossom is out on many trees and bushes. Still waiting for the rain at 10.30 as marmalade on toast and morning coffee are prepared. Picasa is broken. Every time it is woken up it won't recognise the camera to import pictures and then crashes. A few large spots of rain at 11.11pm and then dry but darker overcast.

A cross tailwind on the way turned into a cross headwind on the way back. Feeling a bit tired, bunged up and deaf today. Still managed to cruise at 20mph sitting up going and 14-16mph on the way back on the tri-bars. Although the Carradice Camper can be fitted neatly into the leather bag it just doesn't have remotely the same carrying capacity. I always have to use the pink sports bag for the fragile stuff. So I'll probably go back to using the leather bag again. Only 12 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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