6 Jul 2015

6th July 2014 Battle of the bulge!

Monday 6th 60-65F, 15-18C, occasionally very windy, brightening through rather a lot of cloud. Expected to blow to 15m/s or 30+mph later. The heatwave is over, for today at least.

Back to the woods today. Saw three deer, 2 hares and several large birds of prey. The tracks and fire breaks are very overgrown now. Very windy walking back with my head down and eyes watering. It was pleasant enough after the heat because it never went over 65F all day. It's quite amazing how the crops change the appearance of familiar landscapes. Each type of grain has its completely own texture when seen up close and from afar.

Rode north to make it a crosswind going and coming back. Rough, gusty wind but mostly bright sunshine. I was only able to cruise at 14-16mph going both ways. The latest Ventus GPS dongle is misbehaving after a flush of working normally. I might break the old unit open to try and use loose, rechargeable batteries on a lead. I bought this Ventus from the supermarket when the internal batteries were obviously well beyond their shelf life. It suddenly woke up when I left it on USB charge all day. Mostly reliable ever since, until recently. Only 14 miles.

Tuesday 7th 67-77F, 19-25C,  Bright, clear and windy. Took a walk down the road for some fresh air after the dizziness returned. My wife is having similar symptoms today. Spraying? Who knows? It is getting hot and humid again if only by our own modest standards.

I have just noticed a horrible lump on the side-wall of my Schwalbe Durano front tyre. The side-wall reinforcement material seems to have ruptured. It is lucky I had ordered and already received new replacement tyres! Not a happy bunny because I will have to swap it before going out now. It proved to be a hole in the side-wall through which I could clearly see daylight. It was lucky I didn't risk riding any further on it!

Once I was roadworthy again I had only a short ride. It had started raining steadily just as I reached the first shops. A van had its nose caved in against the back of another in one village. Either vans are incredibly fragile or excessive speed may have been a factor. As soon as the traffic had cleared the pile-up and attending emergency vehicles they were putting their foot down again. Without a care in the world for the 50kph/30mph village speed limit! Only 10, rather damp miles.

An old, ruined farmhouse glimpsed through its collapsing portal.

Wednesday 8th 67F, 20C, very windy at times with bright periods between dark. Forecast to rain for most of the day with thunder possible and gusting to well over 30mph. Walked for an hour before large drops started falling from a threatening sky. Watched the young coots on the village pond for a while and then I had to head home in a hurry. Only for it to go off again. The Coot family were absent yesterday and I feared something had happened to them. Large flocks of sparrows are busy, moving constantly around the neighbourhood. Blackbirds are starting their dawn chorus well before 4am! It never seems fully dark at 55N in mid summer. It became even windier and much wetter so another rest day.

Thursday 9th 56-54F, 13-12C, overcast and very windy. Warning of rain and potential storm force gusts later. The trees were roaring and bending as I walked in the hope it would remain dry. The roads were already littered with fresh green leaves stripped by yesterday's wind and rain. Just as it did yesterday,  large drops started falling before I had gone very far. So I turned and strode briskly back again as huge lorries used lots of the entire road width. The shower proved to be very short-lived but by then it was too late to try again. The temperature is slowly falling as the pressure drops and the humidity climbs.

There were a few showers during the rest of the day but mostly I was worried by the roaring wind. I decided prudence was the better part of valour and took another rest day. No point in risking my life unnecessarily. From years of experience I know that many drivers are hardly aware of the effects of such a strong wind where a cyclist is concerned. Just passing a field entrance or a gap in the hedge, when there is a crosswind, can easily push the cyclist several feet in either direction. If a driver is taking a chance to pass closely, on auto pilot against oncoming traffic, it can swiftly become a life or death situation.

Friday 10th 56-60F, 13-16C, windy and overcast. Another windy day but hopefully devoid of rain. I shall stay away from the main roads as much as possible.

I walked my usual loop up through the woods and back by another way. Blowing a gale but not too cold in the sunshine.  I was leaning on the wind on the way back. It was fun watching the waves crossing the tops of the different crops.

Copenhagen police are investigating the discovery of between 250 and 400 stolen bikes and trikes at a cycle shop. A customer recognised his own, stolen machine there. It seems they were being resprayed to avoid easy detection. Frame numbers were ground off in some cases, while others, still with their original markings, were registered as stolen. I suppose it makes a change from the newspapers reporting East Europeans exporting their booty by the lorry load over EU open borders.

2015 and they still can't invent a decent, lightweight lock or live GPS tracking for bikes. Many owners of lightweight bikes will take a chance on using a worthless lock as a visual deterrent. Rather than carrying a ridiculous kilo+ [2lbs] of insurance approved U-lock. If they are willing to spend a couple of thousand, saving a mere 50 grammes, they are hardly going to strap a ship's anchor to their carbon fibre machines, are they? Does not compute!

How much longer are the lock manufacturers going to get away with stealing their customer's hard earned money? They offer either the crap protection of a cable lock, which could be chewed through by a toddler still with their baby teeth. Or a U-lock, or padlock and chain, so damned heavy that most cyclists will baulk at carrying it! Talk about a license to print money!

Going well and spending a lot of time climbing out of the saddle. Just a windy shopping trip for 21 miles.

Saturday 11th 63F, 17C, light winds with occasional sunshine. No walk. Headed for Fåborg on the south coast. Lots of racing cyclists in pelotons and riding solo going the other way. Saw the first recumbent tadpole trike in several years belting down a long hill which I was climbing. Going well again with lots of out of the saddle climbing even when cresting small rises. The more you do the easier it becomes and the more you get out of it. Headed north after touring the coast beyond Fåborg for a few miles. Came back inland through lots of forest against a gently rising wind. Only took a cheese sandwich with me so I soon ran out of food and completely lost my energy towards the end. 64 miles.

Sunday 12th 57F, 14C, overcast, almost still. Showers forecast. Enjoyed a quiet walk in a loop around a large field in front of the woods. The coot chicks are sporting white chests and have largely lost their ugly red heads. I came within 10' of a deer grazing in the crops. Only the tips of its ears were visible until it raised its head to stare at me.  Escaping from the stiff grain crop proved quite a problem as it had to make high jumps just to clear it legs. Later, a hare dashed away along the track. It felt remarkably warm out of the wind with the humidity at 80%. Making walking back into the wind very pleasant. A tiny Slow worm was lying dead on the white line marking the verge. Just the tip of its tail had been flattened. Half an inch difference and it might have survived. It was surrounded in curious ants sensing a meal. A pure white pigeon landed at the end of the track just as I joined the road. It had no traffic sense and took off right into the path of a speeding car. Only just clearing it as it swerved away to find safer ground.

The winds were still quite light as I headed to the first shops. Lots of solo riders out training. Road and MTB. A long descent on the tri-bars with a gentle tailwind produced only 26mph despite my best efforts. It's not the brakes dragging! Well laden on the way back. Only 19 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

No comments:

Post a Comment