25 May 2015

25th May 2015 Have you got this in green?

Monday 25th, 48F, 9C, breezy, very heavy overcast, raining, with light showers forecast. A snotty nose day. Probably due to all the sawdust I have been making. Perhaps all the nose blowing will help to clear my ears? The sneezing and runny nose abated later. Rode a circle under a heavy overcast but dry. 18 miles.

In between I was sorting through years of accumulated packaging and papers. Managed to lose quite a bit of volume from dumping loads of old bubble packs. Finding old drawings from my youth, when I had searched constantly for winning ideas, was always going to be depressing. I even found an old drawing for my long wheelbase recumbent. Built at a time when recumbents were still cutting edge in America. Probably 30 years too early for the more techno-conservative UK.

My design was spoilt by a weak, sheet aluminium seat. Shortening the top tube/beam to compensate made the head angle too steep and it went into violent shimmies above a certain, quite modest, speed. A heavy recumbent is completely impractical in a hilly city like Bath. Climbing back home out of town up The Hollow was what destroyed the seat! Though the LWB was amazingly fast on the flat I had no willpower left to completely rebuild it. I should have made it adjustable for leg length, used much lower gears and had a stronger, preferably mesh seat. Ah, the wisdom of perfect hindsight.

Tuesday 26th 51F, 11C, heavy overcast, breezy. Odd showers possible. Gusting to 25mph is slightly more windy than yesterday. The cool May continues. It broke a continuous, 22 month record of warmer than average months. It hardly registers compared with the dreadful weather others are having at the moment. The verges are luxuriant with wild plant growth. The Lilac hedges are in flower as are the Hawthorns. I saw a ginger hare which seems to like sitting invisibly on the bare earth beside a field pond each morning. The Mallards, sharing his damp space, were far more nervous of my toddling past at over 100 yards away. Willow warblers were singing everywhere. One warbler I saw singing away in a small roadside tree was rather large, had a yellow-green breast and a raised crest. The wrong song for a Willow or Wood warbler so I'll have to do some more research on that one.

Just waiting for coffee and toast before pedalling off to catch up with the post-bank-holiday shopping. Crosswind going. Headwind coming back but it stayed dry and mostly grey. I see everybody is back to 68-69kp in the 50kph limits. Loads on mobile phones or resting their chin on their hand. Every vehicle cutting the double white lines on every single corner. Cutting to the verge on the inside of every corner so that their braking reaction times are maximised. A large fraction of drivers badly overshooting sharper corners. I didn't get where I am today by cutting corners, nor overshooting!

If you want to see who knows how to drive watch the oncoming vehicles. Not the ones who are overtaking you. If they don't give the overtaking vehicle extra room then they aren't reading the road so aren't real drivers. Just pretending to be. 15 grey miles, dodging incompetent mobile phone operators, with absolutely no sense of road positioning. Nor, were they ever taught defensive driving.

A pair of deer walking slowly away down the forest track. The photo I took at maximum zoom  x12 [300mm equiv on the TZ7] was a bit too soft.

Wednesday 27th 52-60F, 11-15C, bright overcast and rather windy.  Brightening later but with a risk of showers. It went from very dark to bright sunshine repeatedly as I enjoyed a two hour walk through the woods. I really am incredibly lucky to have such beautiful forests, fields and tracks all to myself. A pair of Red backed shrikes were perched on some felled tree branches from earlier hedge cutting. The first shrikes I can ever remember seeing. Except that this male shrike had a glossy, jet black cap as well as an eye stripe! The female was beautifully speckled/mottled on the breast but nothing like a thrush. Another bird mystery to solve. The gusts of wind, on the way back, were so strong I was able to lean on them.

A mid-after noon ride to the shops had me overtaking a gaggle of teenage school-kids out on a cycle jaunt in the forest. Only one lad tried to stay with me on the rather rough and undulating road but soon fell away again. Can you imagine a UK or US school sending a whole class of kids out on their bikes?  How many would actually own bikes in the first place?

Arrived at one supermarket to find a pair of mountain bikes chained across the rack and taking up 6 whole spaces! At the second I had to park the trike outside the extensive, plant and cheapo gardening junk, security cages because the cycle rack access was blocked. Same again at the third where they had piles of pallets full of potted plants blocking access. I wonder whether it is even legal in "cycling friendly" Denmark to block access to a supermarket's entrance? Do they block access to the supermarket cycle racks and supermarket entrances in Odense: "Cykling City 2015?" How would they evacuate in the event of a fire or a bomb threat? Probably better not to ask as the Danish general election is announced for another game of musical chairs on the gravy train.

An old, roadside cottage from 1777 which has been standing empty for years after a "refurbishment" with new [heavy modern style] windows and a newly thatched roof. Not only is it badly arranged internally but the sunken gable end forms a blind bend only 3' from the wheels of heavy goods traffic!  Sleeping in the upstairs bedroom with only a 4' ceiling height and listening to the passing traffic must be fun! It was described as the home of a saddle maker as late as 1960. Most of the houses around it were also small businesses back then. The historical [commercial] aerial photographs, now freely available online, show that the majority of rural homes were thatched. 

The early-bird psychos were in commuting mode on the way home. Nose-to tail in case they missed their place on the road. Brushing past only a foot from my elbow. Now the strong gusts were causing a rather nasty headwind. Only 10 miles today.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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