31 Aug 2015

31st August 2015 60mph is the new 60kph.

Monday 31st 60F, 16C, breezy and overcast. Cloudy forecast with showers possible. The wind, very unusually, from the NW. It was grey, dull and spitting as I left for my walk. I almost turned back but decided to press on. The newly shorn fields offered new routes and new views.

Two hares were sitting together out in the middle of a near naked prairie.  Only when I drew nearer and scared off a hunting cat did the hares take flight. I'd put my money on the cat having traveled faster over the first 400 yards. I have seen the same, small black cat before and it travels miles on its daily tours around the huge fields. The rain increased steadily throughout my meandering. Timing it perfectly for my safe return without my actually getting wet.

Just a damp afternoon ride to the shops. Rained while I shopped but went off again. I managed to find another inner tube. Even the co-op had narrower inner tubes. So  it is down to local branches what they stock. I didn't notice the Cambium saddle today. It ought to be raised a smidgen to match the shallower rails compared with the leather B17. I felt as if I were pedaling a kid's trike my knees were so bent. An illusion, of course, because the difference in height can't be more than millimeter or two. Only 15 miles. And that, was another August completed.


24 Aug 2015

24th August 2015 The worm did not turn!

Monday 24th 61-69F, 16-21C, highly variable, gusty wind. The promised showers came to nothing with mostly bright sunshine. Enjoyed a long walk around the woods by road and back along the track through the middle. Lots of dragonflies about again. Sometimes whole clouds of them. Swallows, sparrows, rooks and wagtails around in great abundance. I passed a slow worm on the track lying in a pool of sunshine. A large bird of prey took umbrage at my disturbance of his sentry duties at the entrance to the woods. It flew up and down the face of the woods making loud mewing noises.

I was fighting a headwind going but had it easy coming back. Only 7 miles. The sky is finally darkening for some much needed rain. Though nothing yet.

Tuesday 25th 64-61F, 18-16C, breezy becoming gales. Sunny turned to heavy showers. Cool turning to very cool in the gusty wind. First proper rain for ages.The Head Gardener was delighted that her exhaustion from endlessly watering the garden and potted plants was [briefly] over. No walk and early plans for a morning ride were dashed by pouring rain. No ride in these gales with heavy showers. Rest day.

Wednesday 26th 57F, 14C, windy, overcast, damp with showers forecast. I'm still hoping to go out for a ride this morning. But didn't. Windy and too busy for a ride.

The burnt out Claas combine harvester now only harvests firefighting "snow."

Thursday 27th 61F, 16C, very heavy showers, overcast, breezy. The forecast is for more of the same. A lull after lunch persuaded me to risk life and limb in the continuing gales. It wasn't too bad while it was blowing over my left shoulder and I was maintaining a painless 18-20mph. Having shopped [at length] the tables were turned and I needed the aero bars to hide from the nasty gusts.  It tipped down just as I headed for home but it lost interest after a while. The traffic seemed to be driven by lunatics today. Only 14 miles. A much better forecast for tomorrow.

Friday 28th 53-64F, 12-18C, sunny with a light breeze. I set off after coffee and toast to spot a Marsh harrier hovering on the wind just  above the road. It seemed not to care as I passed right under.

Having reached my goal I promptly punctured on the lumpy, gravel forecourt. I took the tire off and inspected it thoroughly, finding a single, small sharp flint embedded in the tread. I had obviously been pushing my luck with the treads worn completely flat and full of small holes. Though still not worn through to the protective strip or the canvas.

My last inner tube wouldn't hold air! The valve leaked like no valve at all. I rode a couple of miles with the valve banging on the road before I stopped and took out the inner tube. I still had ten miles ahead just to get home as the sky became dark and threatening and thunder rumbled overhead. The bare tire rolled remarkably well on the rim. Though rather noisy it did no damage nor threatened to fall off. I have replacements waiting but had been putting it off.

About five miles from home I saw a solid cloudburst coming across the fields to drown me. The rain drops were white and massive and wind driven. So my pathetically open shelter tree offered very little respite. I remained on the trike in the vague hope of some protection from a lightning strike as thunder crashed overhead. Unfortunately there were no arks handy in which to take shelter as I huddled under my empty-headed tree. 

Now my [compulsory] suntan cream was running into my eyes and stinging like mad. I was blind! Oh the drama of it all! Not helped by every psychopath in the area wanting to set a simultaneous land and water speed record on the now-flooded lane. I was not only soaked right through but getting even wetter from every passing sociopath! Guess who didn't take his [sweaty] supermarket bought, rain jacket with him today? Having reached home I took off my sopping wet clothes and dived straight into the bath to warm up. [And eventually to dry out.] 26 miles. Am I having fun yet? ;ø]

Saturday 29th 57-64F, 14-18C, breezy, with sunshine. Forecast to stay dry today. I just found a second inner tube when I checked my Goth saddle bag. There was a story in the news yesterday which said that that Goths risked depression. Been there. Done that. It happened yesterday.

I had better put the new tires on before I do anything else! Which I did, but used up my last, spare inner tube. Along with giving the Brooks Cambium saddle another try. Ever the optimist! A fool and his saddle are soon parted.

It stayed dry and mostly sunny today but was often windier than expected. Had a long chat outside a supermarket with a fellow cyclist who was very interested in the trike. Ate a muesli & chocolate bar and another sports energy bar. The C17 saddle wasn't so bad without having anything particularly positive to say about it. I stuck my hand underneath and felt no movement [at all] as my 12 stone bod pedaled away. Though at least the C17 didn't leave me sore like it did last time. I have just passed the 4k mile mark for the year so far. There are no good excuses for this dismal failure to perform to my usual standard. I have been taking far more rest days than in previous years. The compulsion to go out and that empty feeling from having had no ride that day has been broken.

Some of the Danish supermarkets stock bike bits. Including the co-op which also stocks inner tubes. Except that the only 700 size they stock is 32-40mm. Ignorance is bliss? Or are they deliberately trying to exclude all of those weekend warriors who ride on racing tires? A new bike shop with compulsory workshop has opened in a shopping village I frequent. Not open on Saturdays? Really? Still no spare tubes! Am I feeling a lucky punk? 28 miles.

Sunday 30th 56F, 13C, rather overcast with small blue bits, almost still. The forecast is for a grey day with rain later this afternoon. My usual loop up to the woods was under rather grey skies. Dead calm with the wind turbines standing still. Saw three deer and several pheasants. The brand new pair of recycled Ecco walking boots were fine. Who's complaining for a £iver? They were lighter and very much quieter than my Salomon boots. Walking on tarmac made me feel strangely deaf because I couldn't hear the usual loud clomping. My ears finally seem to have returned to normal too. So I can hear the Swallows which pass constantly overhead. Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

23 Aug 2015

23rd August 2015 The big harvester fire!


I could see fire and huge clouds of smoke ahead as I descended a narrow country lane. Fortunately it was not one of the few houses I had feared might be ablaze. Though one house was surrounded closely by burning crops. There were no fire appliances at all when I arrived but the occupants of several cars were watching intently.

The harvester tyres could be heard deflating above the roar of the fire.

A brisk easterly wind was carrying the fire out into the crops over the whole area of the field.

Once the fire brigade arrived they parked further along and began fighting the fire in the crops.

There was not much left to save of the harvester itself by then as it was well alight.

Eventually five more fire appliances arrived from both directions including a tanker.

The lane is a bit of a rat run and more and more cars kept arriving and parking on the verge.

Many occupants had mobile phones with cameras and were recording the fire.

One driver tried to do a 3 point turn [badly] in the narrow lane with fire engines bearing down on him with their sirens blaring.

I took some short videos but with people milling about and vehicles trying to park it was hard to avoid disturbance. The recorded wind noise was irritating too. 

I don't usually worry about image copyright but somebody might try and pass off my pictures as their own.

Just as I left, a huge tractor arrived with a large plough. Probably intending to plough the crop in rather than let it burn and spread even further.

The heat was intense as I passed the harvester and rode on into the incredibly thick smoke.


Click on any image for an enlargement.

20 Aug 2015

20th August 2015 Summer continues unabated.

Wednesday 20th 63-74F, 17-23C, breezy, becoming windy. Forecast for bright sunshine all day. An hour's walk around the harvested fields. It is a pleasure to explore new ground where crops usually make it impossible to go. The gentle elevations of the Danish landscape respond well to the slightest gain in height for new, more extended vistas.

I set off across the wind to avoid a direct headwind. Only the middle leg was against the full force of the 20mph breeze which limited my speed on a long descent to only 24mph. [Aero-bars and pedaling hard!] One the shopping was over, I had to drag it all home with the help of a tailwind. 24 miles.

Thursday 21st 57F, 14C, bright start to another promising day with much lighter winds. You have to admire the IT industry and feel for all of their innocent victims. I wonder what the combined, global, early death toll will be from the stress of introducing W10? Without Picasa I can't download images from my camera. After an endless scan, Pictures on W10 wanted to download 300k images in tens of thousands of files!

My 2-year old old, but good quality, Logitech mouse button has died. The left button on the supplied, wired mouse doesn't work either. Somehow, after endless fiddling, the right button became the left and I could use the computer again. No doubt I shall be needing therapy for an over-abused middle finger not to mention the crippling mental toll of having to use the wrong button after all these years of training. If only it were America and an ambulance chaser were handy! The thin veneer of IT civilization [as we know it] is at the mercy of a humble mouse button? A good excuse to go to town on the trike for a new mouse? Can I sneak past the gatekeeper? It seems not. "Haven't you heard of buying online?" 

Having saved a £tenner by ordering online I went to Odense anyway. I was finally tempted to try some caramel "sports energy" bars to see if they helped. The first impression was of remarkably pleasant taste and texture. Though I'm not sure how much good they did. Certainly, I suffered no sense of hunger or weakness but nor did I threaten Froome's reign of terror. I ate one bar just before 1pm lunch [cheese sandwiches and banana] and another mid afternoon. They did not spoil my appetite, stick to my dentures nor repeat on me. I did seem to have a raging thirst despite consuming two boxes of apple juice and 1.5 litres of tap water. Luckily I was able to refill my bottle at a church toilet block or I wold have been in serious trouble. Towards the end it felt rather like one of those hopeless, Hollywood, desert crossings but without all the shambling!

I did a tour of 6 bike shops before I finally found a replacement Lezyne Cyclop mirror. They only last a couple of years before the reflective coating begins to bubble. Though it doesn't harm vision quite so much as look bløødy awful. Still well worth having for the safety margin they offer in being able to instantly and constantly monitor overtaking traffic. Probably the best thing about a mirror is the freedom it offers to choose one's path through debris, potholes, road kill, loose gravel and sunken drains. Just a glance in the mirror will confirm a lack of traffic from the rear. Allowing one to use as much extra room as desired. It is usually too late to turn round to check by the time an dangerous obstruction looms up ahead. Rubber necking at such moment is almost suicidal. Swerving out into the traffic without looking first is equally dangerous.

Mirrors allow one to relax, safe in the knowledge that you aren't suffering rougher roads than necessary out of fear that moving out into the [imaginary] traffic is always dangerous. A trike is wider than a bike by half the width of the track regardless of shoulder width. So I feel it only polite to use the mirror to help traffic overtake as quickly and as effortlessly as possible.

The nutters will try and overtake anyway, anywhere and always do. As they did repeatedly today on the narrow, twisting roads with blind bends and humps at frequent intervals. Often missing oncoming traffic by the skin of their teeth. Perhaps the real sociopaths should be banned from driving during school opening and closing times.  One particular fuckwit [and I use the term deliberately] went past me and through assorted 5-6- year olds walking home, or on their tiny bikes, like a chainsaw. The speed limit was only 40kph. [25mph] Was it raving lunacy? Interlekdully challenged? Who knows? But there are plenty of them about! Mostly driving vans, but not exclusively. 50 miles.

Friday 21st mid 60s to mid 70s F. Walked my loop in reverse. Saw a very large, black Grass snake on the track. I almost stood on it but it shot away into the hedge. Saw a deer at the exit from the woods.

Late morning I did a rural shopping loop for 14 miles. The shopping village badly needs a police camera car. The 30 kph signs were brightly lit for the school. Most of the traffic was passing at 60kph. Endless roadworks had 50 kph signs. The traffic was passing at 70kph according to the indicator board. Lots of harvesting and bailing going on.

Saturday 22nd 70-74F, 21-23C, bright sunshine becoming rather breezy from the east. No walk. As you can see I have my images back thanks to reloading Picasa. Now if Google would only sort out blogspot for W10 I will be happy. I keep getting error notices every time I want to edit a post.

Rode north with an easterly crosswind. I popped out from behind a roadside hedge straight into a brown dust storm from a combine harvester working right beside the road! There were drifts of straw blowing across the road. What with the 50spf sunscreen on my arms I quickly became a chipboard man. Was ripped off by the supermarket. Clearly marked 30DKK but was charged 35 at the till! Crooks, damned crooks and Danish supermarkets! This is a hanging offense in the UK. 14 miles.

Sunday 23rd 63-66F, 17-19C, occasionally breezy. Enjoyed an hour's walk across stubble fields in bright sunshine. A harvester had caught alight and set the field on fire. By the time I left there were five appliances present. Only 10 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


17 Aug 2015

17th August 2015 Sunday ride autopsy.

Monday 17th 63F, 17C, light breeze, bright but cloudy. I have my emails back but I'm still almost deaf in my left ear. What will this week bring? No walk. Spent the morning clipping a high hedge with a heavy extended shaft, hedge clipper. So that's my week's month's weight lifting sessions all rolled into one day. Short Afternoon ride. Blowing a gale! 12mph on the aero bars going. An effortless 20mph on my return. Only 7 miles but every one counts.

A chap on the triking forum has just done a 130 mile ride. His longest so far on a trike. In the last five years of trike rediscovery I have managed several rides in the low to mid 80s of miles. By coincidence that equates to 130 km in Euros. [miles x 1.61 = km] Despite the speeds I read on the computer my average for the day has settled down at around 10mph including all stops. My cycling fitness continues to increase with passing time, but my average speed for the day does not. Perhaps I have lost the will to suffer unduly by exerting myself beyond the slightly uncomfortable? Don't get me wrong: I "press on" constantly and always maintain a high cadence. "Ordinary" cyclists are usually passed at twice their own speed and quickly disappear into the far distance in my rear view mirror. Riding at such speeds has become merely normal. With no great effort required even on climbs.

So, like it or not, 130 miles, even assuming I was capable of reaching that figure, would require 13 hours of effort. And probably, rather more than one cheese sandwich. Perhaps my distance handicap is the direct result of starvation and dehydration after all? Yesterday I ate my morning bowl of organic muesli at 6am with one cup of black coffee and one cup of tea without milk. This was followed, several hours later, by morning coffee with a couple of rounds of toast with marmalade. When I finally set off at about 9.30am on my trike, I was carrying two rounds of cheese sandwich, one banana and one small box of pure apple juice. The banana was eaten at 1pm, with the first sandwich and the second round of cheese at 2.30pm. My water bottle in its cage returned home still more than half full. I really do not enjoy drinking warm water but hate the idea of fruit juice in the bottle gathering germs even more.

I felt no hunger nor thirst while I was out on my ride but felt physically tired at times. Yet my computer still insisted that I was cruising at 16mph for most of the time. I visited several garden centers on my route and struggled to find one particular one due to taking too many left turns rather too often. I was beginning to recognise the racket coming from the same hedge cutters and the same lawnmowers. Eventually I broke with habit and asked a lady for directions. The church I had been circling, on identical suburban roads, was the wrong one! One right turn and there was my beacon in shining white distemper with the plant place I was really seeking directly opposite.

Once I had returned home I drank several glasses of cold water, more apple juice and later, tea and toast. Even a cretin could see the weakness in my energy and liquid consumption to match my energy output on any ride beyond the merely mundane shopping trip. Yet, just getting the sandwiches down is very hard work! I must be thirsty became the bread takes on the quality of a thick wad of sandpaper still on its sanding block. The apple juice is enjoyable but adds nothing much in the way of energy. Eating sweets or chocolate on my ride lacks interest. I would be stuffing my face with the same hands which have been in contact with filthy bar tape and brake levers. Wrapped sweets would require dexterity with one hand while wrestling the trike over sunken drains, arsefelt ravines and potholes. Remember that a trike bucks in three dimensions to the bike's only two.

Perhaps it really is long overdue that I followed the pro's practice of eating energy bars and gels. [Whatever they are?] My water bottle consumes more far energy than it ever gives back. Even with temperatures in the 70s F in bright sunshine I am not often tempted to drink from it. I am rather out of touch with the price of sweets and chocolate bars since I never buy nor eat any. Not in many decades. The supposedly elevated price of energy bars may even equate favourably to a normal [heavily TV advertised] snack bar for all I know. I never even glance at the truly vast array which hems in the checkouts at every supermarket I visit.

What I do know is that, as the years pass ever more swiftly, I have still not developed a strategy for replacing the energy I consume on my rides. Procrastination is obviously the root of my sagging energy levels. Just dragging around the extra weight of a trike puts me at a severe disadvantage against the usually much younger riders on their lightweight carbon steeds. Yet still I compete against these weekend warriors with their knotted, tanned and sinewy legs. I'd have them too if it were not for the concealing rugs. Despite my age I am the same teenage fool who competed against everything else on two wheels over half a century ago. The same idiot who sprinted away from home and then rode "furiously" until I finally braked hard outside my home on my safe return.

Tuesday 19th 61-70F, 16-21C, bright sunshine but blowing an easterly gale. A dry forecast but 30+mph winds. Not much help when I would be blown into the sea before I had ridden very far. That's the downside to living near the bottom left of an island. Over an hour and half walk in warm, windy weather. Lots of farming activity.

Still blowing a gale when I left mid afternoon. The gusts were fierce enough to raise the roar to a higher pitch. Tootled about between my shopping targets. Occasionally hiding beneath the handle bar stem to avoid fierce headwinds. Still lots of farming going on.  24 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

15 Aug 2015

16th August 2015 Camera cars causing a stink in Elysium!

Saturday 15th 61-76F, 16-24C, gales, heavy overcast, tipping down with continuous thunder and lightning. You'd have to be a brave soul to go out on a trike today! Cloudbursts and thunderstorms are forecast with a [slight] chance of brightness this afternoon.  As a teenanger [sic] I was once caught in a thunderstorm many miles from home on my racing bike. It was absolutely rather terrifying frightening with all the flashing going on all around me! Despite being exceedingly wet and wearing only my pretend racing jersey [and knitted shorts] I eventually arrived home safely. Only to get a a massive shock from earthing myself through the antique railings outside our house! No doubt a static build up was just waiting for me to put a wrong foot down. This is what they [falsely] call "survival of the fittest." Hitler had a lot to say about this after several escapes from certain death. Though I'm not sure he ever rode a bike in a thunderstorm. 

The new Danish liberal government is talking about scrapping the new fleet of police camera cars. They are said to be so short of cash that they are asking the Russians to send over some of the food crushing bulldozers to speed up the process. There is a wonderful irony in the frivolous waste of taxpayer's money which Putin would easily recognise in the liberal party leader. Why is first class globe trotting with a massive and [very unseemly] "flexible" expense account the privilege of only those few "who serve?" Do they also serve, those who merely look on in total disbelief?

Copenhagenize.com - Bicycle Culture by Design: Lost Leader

There is now talk, in exalted places, free of all taxpaying reality, of having fixed cameras on known, dangerous stretches of road. That would [presumably] be outside all the schools where the sociopaths practice their "driving skills" at 142kmh? That's over 90mph, in real figures, in a 30mph zone! Going on past form the perp probably enjoyed a £5 fine for his trouble provided he claimed he was pissed, high and talking on his mobile phone. At least he didn't kill three small girls, by texting, while speeding. So this was what magistrates call a "victimless crime." Had it been otherwise it would have cost him almost £600 in fines! For the texting. Not the slaughter of those three, innocent little girls.

The fear of the unknown [speed camera cars] is a wonderfully democratic tool for reducing road speeds to the barely legal. On my recent drive to town, to buy a desperately needed new 'pooter, the traffic was remarkably more self-disciplined than I am wont to observe. Certainly a startling comparison with the "normal" sociopathically selfish and mobile lunacy which drove me to give up driving for my health's sake. I would become so angry at being constantly, dangerously and illegally overtaken by family cars stuffed full of kids, that it was doing my blood pressure no good at all!

I put the recent, massive reduction in average road speeds squarely down to the camera car effect. Aided and abetted by all the publicity they have been getting in the media. The majority of those who expressed an opinion were in favour of the camera cars. A minority wanted to continue speeding without the slightest risk of any expense. Like those 6000, poor, innocent souls recently caught in a single speed "trap." This, despite having hundreds of yards and multiple signs to warn them that the cliff edge was approaching fast. Herr & Fru Lemmingson must have been blinded by all those flashing warning lights!

Apparently, the speeding fines have only added up to 140 million DKK [or about £14 million pounds in real money] over the first half year. Half, in fact, of last year's haul without the camera cars. So you could argue the camera cars are working wonderfully well in reducing speeds. Or, conversely, that they are not generating enough revenue for the Great Leader's flexible expense accounts. So, in a desperate attempt to boost their Great  Leader's "flexible pocket money allowance" the ["He made me do it!"] politic-underdogs now obediently complain about the need for a policeman in every camera car. When [supposedly] they could be doing something far more useful than [say] saving lives? Or guarding the Great Leader on his infamous, international bike rides. Where the "peloton" consists entirely of secret policemen on hired racing bikes. With further security details in assorted vehicles and helicopters nearby. The Great Leader must always be allowed to win. While minions take copious notes on his brilliant strategy, remarkable stature and unmatched expense accounting skills.

The newly freed-up policemen [from the scrapped speed camera cars] should really be doing things like extra paperwork, perhaps? Or ensuring the bankers continue to enjoy total freedom from prosecution for destroying the world as we know it? Or rottenApple avoiding paying any taxes [at all] on their humongous, new server center and any of their billions of local earnings. The Great Server Center is presently being built, entirely at Danish taxpayer's expense, on a greenfield site in the desolate wastes of western Denmark. Since Putin's the Russian ban on Danish bacon imports a number of hideously underpaid, Eastern European farm workers have lost their jobs as pig farming became even less profitable. Rather than exporting these workers back home ASAP they will be employed at rottenApple's vast new establishment as canteen workers, computer boffins and gardeners.

I wonder whether The Great [self] Server Site will also enjoy complete freedom from pig shit spreading within a tolerable radius? Say sixteen kilometers or ten miles [in real money] should do the trick. They will have to bring in all the visiting VIPs by helicopter anyway. Just to avoid all the speeding convoys of Danish pig lorries on their way down to Germany where the animals can practice their ritual, halal rites. However, the visiting VIPs might still be exposed to a few micro-seconds of the foul stench between stepping onto the 22 carrot[sic] solid gold brick, landing pad and entering the VIP sphincter on the top floor. The one leading directly to the 7-star director's restaurant and ego massage area. We can't possibly have the elite suffering from obnoxious smells, can we? Not in Jutland's very own Elysium. Burp! ;ø]

I will probably delete all this foolishness when the rain and thunder finally stop. So enjoy it while you can. What is the the Danish word for "treason?" And does it apply to fremede invandrer pensionister? I think I should be safe from being further exiled for my radicalizing rants. They can't even get rid of the organized crime bosses and serial hate preachers. They might break a fingernail getting onto their taxpayer-pre-paid, 1st class private jets if they were ever sent back home.

I suppose I might just qualify as low hanging fruit and suitable fodder for taking a swift exit, stage left. What if I claimed that the UK is far too dangerous for pensioners? Which it obviously is because most of them will die sooner or later. I wonder if there is an Ecuadorian embassy nearby? I hear Sweden is nice at this time of year.

Only a short ride as it started raining at half way. 16-20mph going. 16-20mph coming back. The wind turbines didn't know which way to turn. My rear brake was rattling and needed urgent attention with an Allen/hex key. It was very lucky I didn't pass any police camera cars as I careered, completely unrestrained towards home to avoid getting [too] wet! 7 miles. 

PS. The management would like to extend their sincere apologies for the recent lack of decorative pictures. This is caused by an impoverished Google's inability to keep Picasa up to date with MS Windups latest, catastrophic release. Leading to at least five copies of every single image being quintriplicated by Picasa. With a sixth copy well under way before the relevant authorities were forced to pull the plug. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Sunday 16th 63-71F, 17-22C, a grey, misty start but clearing to sunshine. Light winds and a dry forecast promise the potential for a decent ride. But will he take the bait? I finally set off eastwards mid-morning with Junior on the rack. Bright sunshine very slowly gave way to overcast throughout the day. The wind was never very strong but was variable. Loads of cyclist out training, solo and in small and large groups. Part of the way back from Ringe was on the narrow gauge cycle path. Fortunately I met only one pedestrian and three cyclists but had the tarmac to myself most of the way. What is it with wearing headphones in the countryside? I was still going well at the end. 56 miles hardly makes up for a very poor week.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


10 Aug 2015

10th August 2015 Speeding in the news.

Monday 10th 61-76F, -24C, feeling unpleasantly humid, a light breeze building, a few sunny periods between rather heavy cloud. Today's promised rain has been delayed until this afternoon.

Mmmm! Spud-U-chuck!

I walked my usual loop up to the woods but had to bypass much of the woods to avoid the blocked and overgrown tracks. A single deer stared and then bolted at the far end of a field. So my reputation obviously precedes me! Small white butterflies were being disturbed in the long grass as I brushed through on the descent back to the road.

Many of the cheerful chicory flowers, on the wonderfully overgrown verges, were decorated by lots of hover flies in their stripy jumpers. The litter seemed unnecessary and incongruous in this setting but any fool can spend a fortune on a humble potato if the disposable packaging looks right. The harvested fields suddenly allow new routes with different viewpoints. Though it is rather hard work fighting my way through the stiff, foot-high stalks of the oil seed rape. Which always reminds me of the desolation of battle scenes from WW1. I must be feeling better to want to go for my morning walks again. Though I am still deaf in my left ear. Pardon? A rest day.

Tuesday 11th 57F, 14C, breezy, overcast and raining with risk of cloudbursts and thunder. 90% humidity!

The Danish, online news websites are carrying stories about several drivers travelling at over 140kph past police speed cameras. That's over 90mph! One of them was driving past a school in a built up area! Many Danes consider it unsafe to let their children cycle to school. I can't imagine why. Could it be that they [themselves] are amongst the vast majority who routinely ignore all speed limits? i.e. Those who are being caught in their thousands by the newly enlarged fleet of police camera vans.

To drive at the speed limit, in Denmark, is to be continuously tail-gated and endlessly overtaken. For years I was convinced that my speedometer was reading incorrectly despite changing my cars every few years. Denmark has speed indicator boards on posts at the entrance to many towns and villages. The flashing warning lights are triggered by speeding traffic and many of them literally never stop flashing with every passing vehicle. Many of these indicator board routinely show 70kph in 50kph nationwide speed limits for built-up areas.

Those who drive at the legal speed limit are in a vanishingly small minority of all drivers. Speeding is obviously understood, by the vast majority of drivers, to be a basic human right. Overtaking in a built up area is completely impossible if the overtaking vehicle is to remain within the speed limit. Yet overtaking, in built up areas, is commonplace. Often the vehicle being overtaken is traveling at, or even over, the legal speed limit! The same speeding drivers do not recognize the increased dangers of schools, shopping streets, hospitals or supermarket entrances. No type of vehicle [and its driver] is immune to speeding. Buses, lorries, cars, marked local authority vehicles, ambulances, dustbin lorries, police cars, motorcycles, scooters, vans with their business names plastered all over them .. all routinely speed, almost literally, everywhere.

Just a short ride. Made another appointment for my deaf ear and still feeling unwell. 7 miles.

Wednesday 12th 61-7?, 16-?C, breezy, lots of sunshine. My 7 year old computer hard drive crashed so I had to go to town for a new computer! The palaver of registering every service from scratch is ridiculous! I still can't get Winders to register my normal email address. Saw a Red kite on my walk. Another when driving to town. Rest day from the trike. I stripped the rear axle and Trykit 2WD. Then cleaned and re-greased it it all.

Thursday 13th 47F, 8C, dead calm, clear and sunny. Forecast light winds all day. It looks promising!  I had better prove I can still ride a trike!

Still struggling with my new computer. Only because it still insists on passwords for everything. Picasa 3.9 + 10 has triplicated literally everything and is working hard on a quintriplicate of literally everything every time I open it! Aaarghhh! Perhaps it doesn't like Wind-up 10? For anybody [remotely] interested [?] the computer came with 8.1 and offered a free fix of 10 very early on in the set up. It must have taken about 2 hours, in total, before it had finally finished playing. Luckily Netflix was still working so I soaked up a bit more of Smaug. Though it is very hard going compared with LOTR. Martin Freeman continues to amuse. Just as he does to young Sherlock's sociopathic lunacy.

Even more luckily, multiple language options are the OS norm these days. My old computer had to have English Vista specially installed before purchase. Though it still insisted on using Danish for almost everything I did. Simply because it registered my presence in the land of Arla [the global dairy monopoly] and pig shit carpet bombing.

Google was by far the worse culprit. A Danish language, jackbooted fascist by any other name! Once it had registered an email address it refused to give it up as its primary target for even more carpet bombing commercialism. This was long after I changed ISPs and the email had become utterly and immediately useless, dead, deceased, extinct, etc. But that's jackboot monopolies for you! "For the greater google!" Or just more "Alphabet Soup" as they are now known.

Talking of which, I have had to increase the font size to my preferred appearance. Old farts can't read nano-text but the world still insists on shoving it down our throats with blunt and splintered, fat end of a navvy's pick handle! It's probably the only reason that Sherlock Holmes ever needed a magnifying glass! The worry is that everybody else will still see the small print. Which greatly affects the appearance of my blogs. I shall have to check them on the library computers. Still can't get the new 'pooter to accept my existing email address. So can't access the world's interest in my online, commercial proclivities. That's an awful lot of "stills." I suppose it goes with the weather and being up at 5.30 am! I'm still waiting to sneak downstairs to fetch my ritual bowl of organic, hand-mixed muesli. The Head Gardener sleeps as fitfully as Smaug! [Just don't ever tell her I said so!]

Warm, sunny and breezy for my ride. Only 15 miles.

Friday 14th 68-76F, 20-24C, sunny, but very windy. Still no access to my emails.  Apparently, my deaf ear might mend itself over time if it was irritated by the waterboarding treatment. At the moment it only receives high frequencies like a very tinny radio. I was given a pressure test but given the all-clear. I thought my head was big enough already but they seem to know what they're doing. Only a short ride: Headwind going: 12-15mph. Cruising at 20+ coming back. A quick sprint, to get out of the way of a car which [sensibly] would not overtake on a blind S-bend, took me over 30mph! There is pig shit spreading going on upwind without the usual sickly perfume! Eeek! 7 miles. Only 6000km for the year so far. How embarrassing! Later, the sickly perfume had been safely added. So that's alright then.

McLardy's is allegedly shrinking under its own weight. Burp! With branches closing for the first time in recorded child slavery abuse employee exploitation, whatever. Burp! It is reported that the boss of McLardy's earns 644 times as much as that of the front line workers. I have passed more of their litter on my rides and walks recently than one would reasonably expect so far from the [supposed] civilization of such takeaways. Burp! No cases of starvation have been reported so far. Burp! Perhaps the ex-employees could volunteer their efforts towards cleaning up my countryside? Based on a small sample of local data, just picking up their own packaging crap [crap packaging?] should make a serious dent and help to reduce wildlife loses. A thunderstorm arrived at about 5pm. It tipped down briefly. Which was  a slight surprise since most of it must have fallen on Northern England yesterday.

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4 Aug 2015

1st August 2015 Pardon?

Saturday 1st 63-65F, 17-18C.  Still feeling unwell. It would have been a good day for a ride with lighter winds and sunny periods. I forced myself to walk up to the woods. A tractor had been around the major tracks with a coarse mower. So I was able to do a loop and walk back the same way. Marsh tits were foraging with mixed warblers in the Alders on the marsh. A cat hunting in the fields had killed a mole. It ran off before it could enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Perhaps it was merely being destructive? I'm still feeling rough. I went out but only 7 miles.

Sunday 2nd 62F, 17C, still and sunny. An hour's walk around the village "block" in warm sunshine. More coots on another village pond. Very quiet without any traffic noise. An ideal day for a ride but I'm still recovering. Or perhaps still suffering from the same thing? I might have a short ride later if I feel up to it. I didn't.

Monday 3rd 70-76F, 21-24C, sunny, quiet start becoming windy from the East. I have to put drops of oil in my ears to loosen the wax prior to syringing on Wednesday. Every time I put the oil in I feel awful: Nausea, dizziness, tiredness and headaches. Only 7 miles in hot sunshine. 12mph going. 23mph coming back with a tailwind.

Tuesday 4th 70F, 21C, windy and bright with high cloud. I'm going out early on the trike but not far. Another 7 miles. It hit 81F in the afternoon. Clouding over with thundery showers forecast by early evening.

Wednesday 5th 53F, 12C, still, clear and sunny. The big day! I am to have my ears water-boarded at the doctor's surgery. Pardon? I said... oh, never mind. Safely returned to stereo now, though not really feeling any better. In the past everything sounded sibilant when I'd had my ears syringed. This time it wasn't very noticeable at all. I'm going out again now. It has become rather windy from the south and south west. Fortunately it was mostly a crosswind. Going quite well with lots of climbing out of the saddle. 26 miles in total.

Thursday 6th 70-81F, 21-27C, breezy and mostly sunny. My walk was interrupted by a pair of Marsh harriers, soaring low overhead on outstretched wings, about a minute apart. The young Coots are accomplished divers now.

I was reading about the police setting a new record of 402 fines in only one hour for drivers speeding on a single stretch of motorway past roadworks with a closed lane. 1635 vehicles were flashed in five hours that day. Many went online to complain that 250 meters was not enough warning between the warning signs and the camera. The Danish TV news was there filming the stretch involved and the traffic was often hurtling past in the [supposed] 30mph [50kph] zone. I wonder whether any other countries advertise the location of speed camera vans in advance?

Lady's old bike used as garden centre ornament. You still see loads of bikes like this in the Danish cities. The curved elegance appeals to male riders as much as to girls and women. I have no idea how old this one might be with its typical coaster brake rear hub and skirt shield. The relaxed geometry matches the usual riding style.

Enjoyed a late morning shopping run with quite a strong head/crosswind going. I tried a new short stretch of cycle path and frightened a nervous pedestrian who backed into a hedge. There was plenty of room but they obviously didn't agree. Possibly fear of the unknown? Several buzzards were circling over the untidy fields flattened by the rain. The harvest has been a bit stop and start so far. With many fields still untouched and others only partially shorn. Or cut and left lying in the case of oil seed rape. Only 15 miles. My ears are still behaving strangely. Sometimes completely blocked, but "loud" and sibilant at other times. I was feeling a bit better today. The constant headaches and sinus pressure seemed to have subsided for the moment but I had a snotty nose all day!

Friday 7th 63-70F, 17-21C, bright sunshine with a variable breeze. The forecast is warm again with light winds. Enjoyed a walk around a harvested field. A large flock of sparrows were moving around an overgrown, weed infested "wasteland."

Enjoyed a hilly ride to a garden centre and back another way. Sky rather grey but still with light winds. My GPS logger finally worked with the new battery. The switch needs a very fine point to move the slider. 26 miles.

Saturday 8th 61F, 16C, overcast, showers [sometimes heavy] variable, light breeze. Promised to brighten later. It did, but only a short ride of 13 miles. Still deaf in one ear. Pardon? The shopping village which I went to was deserted on a Saturday afternoon. I glanced back and saw only one person in the entire length of the street and no traffic at all. Spooky! The air is still full of small greenish-black beetles or bugs. I keep wondering how they become airborne. They tickle, but fortunately they don't bite and easily brush off. I haven't seen any wings yet.

Sunday 9th 51F,11C, quite still, with bright sunshine. A promising forecast for a ride? It was, but I came back again before lunch. With a shrub in a large bin bag hanging from knotted cord, shoulder straps. There was no other way to get it home. It was too tall/long to hang from the saddle.

Went out again after a brief lunch to take in a lot of hills, not far from home, with shopping on the way back. A swarm of the little beetles was performing aerobatics in the drive. They seem to prefer the shade. My jersey was covered in them at intervals. 47 miles.

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