23 Jun 2015

23rd June 2015 Narrow gauge outing.

Tuesday 23rd 60-66?F, 16-19C?, almost still, sunny. The forecast is for a risk of showers with quite modest winds. I have the Trykit stripped down to the Junior sans rack. Off we, jolly well, go! I left about 9.30 and had managed 15 miles in the first hour. A large group of some fifty, mixed teenagers were riding  the opposite way in florescent jackets. Each at their own pace, they straggled well over a good couple of miles between first and last. Having ridden the main road for some miles I joined the Korinth to Ringe narrow gauge cycle path at Højrup. [pr.Hoiroop] A chap seemed to be catching me on his MTB so I waved him past at a suitable crossing. Whereupon he stopped and we chatted for ten minutes about cycling. He had ridden in many different countries. He took a couple of snaps of the trike and we set off towards Ringe again until he turned off.

By the time I reached Ringe it had turned grey and cool for a while. I browsed the big bike shop's display though I could find nothing to really tempt me. Eventually I decided to return by the cycle path to avoid the traffic on the main road coming home. Riding an old railway track, on near perfect tarmac, is a slightly weird experience. There are no noticeable inclines, to speak of. Which can tend to make the ride a bit boring. There is definitely a slight lack of stimulus. If it were not for the fabulous countryside I might well have decided to rejoin the roads at one of the many crossings. I had a light headwind most of the way home which increased the impact of the countless small flies. Certainly not a day for slack-jawed breathlessness! Dust devils formed repeatedly over untidy, darkly-grassed fields. Momentarily exposing the sheer weight of pollen in the warm air as they swirled and evaporated into thin air again. Fortunately I haven't been too troubled by pollen recently.

The bright sun soon returned and I had spent most of the day in bibs and short sleeved, racing jersey. There were many more marker posts and signs than I remembered from last time. In the entire, two way, distance I saw perhaps three cyclists and three dog walkers on the path. On each occasion I had to take to the grass verge of the horse track alongside the path.

Having punctured twice on my first ride on the path I was rather wary of going off-piste. Fortunately the grass has managed to get a firm hold of the flinty sand over time. Only the section approaching Korinth is badly cut up by hooves and the odd MTB tyre track. Not to mention the stench of horse urine from the track-side pastures.

It was at the Korinth Station that I had reached the end of the line, and the cycle path, and found the very first waste bin. Now I had to return to the minor roads to finish my pleasant journey home. Though I had quite forgotten about the long climb up Møllevej [Mill Road or Way] to Jordløse. [p.Yordloozuh] The hill seems to go on forever! Each time I crested a new false summit another step reared up in front of me. 57 miles and I'm still in good shape. I have caught a little more sun to add to the tea-stained knees, calves and forearms.

The half-timbered outbuilding pictures of my recent blog posts are from yet another old farm still hoping for a buyer. Many farmhouses would/might be better off for demolition of their outbuildings. Though it depends entirely on the circumstances. Some runs of buildings are more attractive and better build quality than the farmhouse itself. It is just that the buildings no longer have much useful purpose except for storage.

Many traditional Danish farm buildings formed closed squares. Offering a more sheltered yard, protected from the wind and driving snow. With only a covered portal for a horse and cart this has provided severe access headaches for some farmers with the coming of ever larger farm tractors, harvesters and implements.

Small mixed farms are commercially obsolete and even the massive swing to industrialised pig farming has not helped. Putin's tit-for-tat ban on imports of EU produce has pushed many Danish farmers even closer to bankruptcy. There must be a huge glut of pigs now. Still with large feed bills and huge debts to never repay. This has provided many more farms for sale. Often with all the agricultural land stripped way. To make it more manageable for the new owners and their ride-on mowers to entertain themselves at the weekend.

The fields are added to ever larger holdings with the finances to invest in large scale, grain crop production. The unwanted farmhouses are often very large but can sell very cheaply indeed if a buyer can be found. Keeping the [often] very long, traditional farmhouses warm in winter must be a nightmare at modern fuel prices. Just insulating the loft of such a large building area is a serious investment. Properly insulating a pretty, half-timbered building even more difficult. The cost of re-thatching a complete run of farm buildings at 1500DKK, £150 or $200 per m^2 would require a large fortune!

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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