28 Sep 2015

28th September 2015 Burp!

Monday 28th 55F-ish, 13-ishC, sunny and still. I was up half the night with food poisoning! What  a waste of a perfect cycling day! I missed most of it.

Tuesday 29th 42-60F, 6-16C, still, misty and promising. It seems rumours of my demise were greatly exaggerated. I couldn't keep even a sip of water down for 24 hours and slept, on and off, for most of them. Got up at 3am this morning feeling a bit better. Muesli at 5am with tea and [thankfully] felt no urge to reach for the bucket. Dozed in a chair for a couple of hours and here I am again just like the proverbial bad penny.

You know how you collect pretty pebbles at the beach and they look so boring when you get them home...  they just need to be damp and the magic comes right back again. But, sometimes, a pebble is just not enough.

Much as another fine autumn day beckons do not expect any personal bests today. Too weak to do much today so pottered in the pleasantly warm sunshine in the garden.

Wednesday 30th 40-60F, 4-16C, quite still, misty and promising to be bright. Another perfect day in cycling paradise. If only I were up to the task. A short ride taking it fairly easy at first. Only 9 miles. I felt fine by the time I was heading home again. So, that was September.


21 Sep 2015

21st September 2015 "I have a dream!"

Monday 21st 48-55F, 9-13C, a bright but cloudy start. The forecast text says rain this afternoon. The graphics shows rain from early this morning. One, or both of them, must be wrong. My walk involved a shortcut across the fields to avoid a tractor and sprayer directly on my path. Fortunately the wind was slightly west of its likely spray drift. It became overcast towards the end and remained that way for the rest of the morning but stayed dry until lunchtime. When it began to drizzle almost imperceptibly.

Copenhagen Council is going to try and train its 300,000 regular cyclists to behave themselves. Two thirds of commuters cycle with up to 45,000 cyclists passing daily along certain stretches in the Danish capital. They will be reminded with posters that they must dismount and push their bikes on pavements, must not cross red lights and to keep to the right. Many of the problems are caused by cycle paths being too narrow for the sheer volume of cycle traffic.

The greenhouse effect.. for those who can afford it.

It is openly admitted that much of this is due to motorized traffic having higher priority on road space. Don't expect any sympathy from the politic-ooze. They travel first class by air to attend their regular climate meetings with all [flexible] expenses paid.

Let's try this again: 2/3 of Copenhagen commutes take place on a cycle but cars still have priority? Cyclists are clearly the new black in Copenhagen.

"I have a dream! We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." [Except Danish cyclists apparently and (er-um) women?]

Did you know they did not add cycle paths to the bridges between Denmark's three main landmasses? Not to mention the bridge to Sweden. Are cyclists expected to use rubber rafts or pay coyotes to get them across?!!? Perhaps, we should be told? Are there razor wire fences being erected against cyclists as we speak? Since I live on Middle Earth will I need a passport to misbehave on my tricycle in Copenhagen's carmageddon?  It rained all afternoon. Yet another rest day.

Tuesday 22nd 54F, 12C, heavy cloud, the slightest breeze and damp. Rain is expected for most of the day. An hour and half walk under a grey, misty overcast with spitting rain. A solitary Grebe looked anxiously about on the lake. The swallows still rule the skies. The roads were all muddied up from farming activity.

The rain paused after 3pm so I took a chance on a short ride. It was spitting on and off and I had a free shower from a massive lorry. Only 7 miles.

Wednesday 23rd 53-60F, 12-15C, light winds, overcast. Promise of some sun but showers also possible. It stayed mostly dry. No walk but rode north with a tailwind under an overcast sky after lunch. Only 14 miles. Just passed 7000km for the year. It ought to have been miles! Lazy git!

Thursday 24th 53F, 12C, overcast and breezy. Showers possible as the wind picks up to over 25mph later. Windy with showers. Another rest day.

Friday 25th 53-58F, 12-14C, breezy, cloudy start clearing to sunshine and later showers. A pleasant walk up to the woods and back again. Saw a large deer and several birds of prey. Still lots of Skylarks on the bare fields having acrobatic "dog fights."

Mmm! McSlugbait.

Just a short ride. It started raining at half way and rained all the way home. Only 7 miles.

Saturday 26th 50F, 10C, bright, still and dewy. No walk but I enjoyed a ride in warm sunshine as the wind increased steadily. 22 miles.

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20 Sep 2015

19th September 2015 No chequered flag!

Saturday 19th 55-61F, 13-16C, almost perfectly still but rather cloudy. It was supposed to be a perfect day for a ride but somebody had to show off and add showers to the forecast. Though the winds should stay under 20mph today. I think I'll do a quick shopping trip for the essentials before deciding on a longer ride. There isn't even enough bread left for pre-ride toast!

Not a bad day with light winds and some sunshine. Rode down to the rural coast and then looped back via the shops. Lots of hills but two days of hedge clipping had taken its toll and I wasn't up to a long ride. Still going quite well for 30 miles. Heavily laden for half of it. The lanes were empty but the roads quite busy. Several birds of prey were soaring and/or calling.

Installation art. The materials are said to be almost worthless but the art is "priceless."

I am still waiting for them to finish the superb new cycle paths alongside a rather busy road. Though never on the UK scale as regards traffic volume. They are laying huge, district heating pipes and other services over several miles. So are using the work as an excuse to lay cycle paths protected by granite sets. The solid kerb stones will help to avoid the paths being used as an extra, [mud and gravel laying] lane by farm traffic. It is too early to say if these will be two or one-way paths. The pipes are still lying on top of some some stretches and most of the paths [and pipes] are only on one side of the road so far.

Despite the traffic using this 50kph [30mph] stretch as a race track there was never any protection for the cyclist until now. Not even a dotted line to cower behind and the potholes would embarrass a world class, extreme MTB 'r. Cavers often had their eye on them, when the forecast was dry, because flooding was a constant danger. Laying the pipes has cost the lives of quite a number of mature trees and hedges. Though the latter will soon regrow if left to their own devices. In fact they really seem to thrive on a good crew-cut. Often growing considerably in both girth and variety of species at the expense of their previous, foolish height. There's a moral in that story for a chronically, non-dedicated, 10' hedge clipper, like me. I wonder if I could bribe the farmer to take a yard off the top while he's slashing his field hedges?

Sunday 20th  51F, 11C, bright and fitfully breezy. Gusting to 12m/s later which is very nearly 25mph. Wet all day tomorrow so I ought to make the effort while I can. A walk would be a good start to untie the knotted muscles from all the extreme gardening. Warm sunshine and a niggling wind as I walked mostly by way of stubbly fields. Two deer were dozing in a quiet corner but remained unmoved by my presence. Hundreds of ducks moved away across the pond as I sneaked past trying to use sparse  vegetation as cover. It didn't help that the field had been ploughed right to the edge of the pond. Dozens of pheasants scattered as I approached the woods.

A lot of traffic on the road for a Sunday. I had to keep hopping onto the verge on the blind corners. As deliberately blind [drunk?] drivers cut tightly to the inside to ensure they maximized their braking distance to literally suicidal levels. One driver tried to cut in but overshot by a full vehicle width into the opposite lane! As luck would have it there was no bus or lorry routinely cutting the corner in the opposite direction despite the double white lines. Most of them need a white stick in place of their steering wheel! Complete lunacy or sheer laziness of thought? Is it a racial tendency to completely ignore the rules of the road? Or is it just more Janteloven? "Traffic laws are for other people. We know better and won't be dictated to by even bigger fools than us!"

Is it really any harder work to drive "the long way around" in the safety of the middle of their marked lane? I have been advocating for years that drivers should practice driving in the middle of their own lane. Not only does this give them a far better view of the road ahead on every corner but they get to subconsciously practice their driving skills on every single corner. Any drooling, suicidal fool can take a "racing line." So that they cut in on the [often completely blind] apex and then automatically overshoot on the exit. They do it all the time and every time and it makes them look like the damned fools they really are! Yet they probably brag to their equally smug and deluded "driving" friends how well they corner.

What they never realise is that racing circuits are always one way traffic. That racing circuits have no double white lines. The vast majority of racing circuits have very wide and bare grass verges so that the drivers can see right across the corner to monitor for obstructions. The sooner these sad, pot-bellied, idiot "old boy racers" are taken away from their car's manual controls the better.

Mmm! McSlugbait.

It seems that any fool can afford an Audi. Perhaps they should have IQ and driving tests before they are allowed to buy one? If they can't corner without using the opposite lane then they are unfit to drive. There are no variations on this simple rule. None! Now tell that to the literally hundreds of morons per day driving in the opposite lane on the local blind corners. Has Audi spent a vast fortune perfecting the handling of their cars so that their moronic owners can cut every outside corner and overshoot on the exit of every inside corner? The absolute proof can be found on all the local corners.

Rather than Audi attracting better drivers, than average, the converse seems to be true. The owners actually believe the hype and the Audi rally pedigree and drive accordingly. They really do think they own self-driving cars but haven't noticed the lack of all the vital sensors. They race down every straight and crawl around every single corner with an appalling and dangerous line. One absolutely guaranteed to overlap with their drooling Audi doppelganger coming straight at them in the opposing lane. No doubt the low noise levels inside the car are further lulling these morons into a false sense of sensory deprivation. Fully comprehensive insurance removes all sanctions for driver error. Knowing that they are surrounded in class leading safety devices must add to the wonderful sense of ownership without [the least] personal responsibility.

I enjoyed a ride into the wind to take some pictures in a village near the coast. Several large, old farmhouses are up for sale for relatively small change. There are many fine old houses too. Only 17 miles.

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18 Sep 2015

18th September 2015 Another McLardys rant!

Friday 18th 55-60F, 13-16C, rather breezy, bright sunshine, lots of high cloud. Isolated showers possible in places. Whatever that means. Yesterday's gales have been reduced to "only"13m/s or 27-28mph today.

It seems that my sacrifice in hardly ever using the car, for a number of years, was a the result of a complete con. If oil and its myriad abuses was banned from yesterday there would still be global warming. Animal husbandry worldwide produces more CO2 and other major greenhouse gasses than "nasty" oil and all its countless abuses.

Animal husbandry is responsible for rainforest clearance, pollution on land, waterways, lakes and at sea. The supposed environmental lobby groups are just money-growing businesses. They deliberately maintain their blinkered public stances to ensure maximum contributions to their own narrow "cause". All of them studiously ignore animal husbandry as the major contributor to global warming, forest depletion, slavery, poverty, mass human migration, species loss and drought. To raise the spectre of the daily activities of their supporters being far worse than their specific target for criticism would lose them their loyal members and income.

Every single hamburger takes thousands of gallons of water to produce and pollutes waterways, ponds, lakes, drinking water and the oceans at the same time. The cost of a hamburger at the counter is but a small fraction of the global public subsidies and loses to wildlife in its manufacture. As human population grows unchecked agriculture destroys it own productive land with mono-culture, overworking, pesticides and saline inducing irrigation. It all causes desertification on a massive scale. Meat and dairy production is completely unsustainable even without the the theft of vast tracts of public land and the murder of thousands of activists and innocents by big agro.

Even if we carried on using oil, until it finally ran out, there would be hardly any reduction in climate change. Banning animal husbandry for meat and milk production would have a huge global impact in countless beneficial ways. Remember that, when you desperately need that next, subsidized meal-between-meals, at our expense, and then throw the pointless-packaging onto our verge!

Snacks and sweets were once a treat given as a reward to children for very good behaviour. Ironic that McLardys and Slugar.com have made a vast fortune out of rewarding those least worthy. i.e. Those determined to commit wobbling, staggering, slow public suicide at our entire planet's expense. Not to mention the crippling health care costs of regularly turning millions of tons of blubber, in intensive care beds, using a crane. [Will all hospital beds be compulsorily fitted with heavy duty, industrial lifting robots in the near future?]

Perhaps it's long overdue that McLardys changed over to WHEELCHAIRS ONLY "push-through" counters? Not so much drive through but presently managing a nicely profitable bottom line in international genocide from drive-through killings! 300,000 deaths in the US alone, per year, directly attributable to obesity. Why no sign of (cough) heavily-armed teams of FBI operatives ransacking take-away headquarters? Where are the air strikes, drones and enemy combatant prison camps for those evil Slugar executives? Why are supermarket staff not harassed and prosecuted for dealing in the white powder and animal fat? Why are members of the public allowed anywhere near such life threatening products without being constantly busted by undercover cops?

The US and Europe spend hundreds of billions combating evil and deluded terrorists. Religious nutters who hardly even register on the deaths per year scale away from their active war against innocent people zones. Isn't a fat person a terrorist? They terrorize nurses, firemen, lifeguards, police and ambulance staff who have to move them! They terrorize me when I think of the billions they are costing society globally in increased, but completely unnecessary, health care.

Yet they waddle through the supermarket checkout  clutching their vital "gas tanks" of Croak without any sign of an imminent Grub Squad raid. Who's fat arm reaches out to gather a basket full of sweets, cakes and biscuits arranged so helpfully at the checkouts to boost their already massive calorific intake? Who queues patiently at the takeaway stand out in the car park? Only the obese. The only overweight kids at school in my time had sticky bags of sweets force fed to them on a daily basis by their doting parents. Their numbers were literally tiny and they were crap at PE and cross country in particular.

This one is from my "Muddy Period" according to the pundits.

I just had a potter around a rural "block" by local roads and lanes. Breezy but quite warm in the sunshine. More enjoyable exercise in beautiful surroundings. The number of other walkers and joggers I see on my morning walks can be counted on the fingers of one finger. I have seen only one chap, about once in several blue moons, walking his dog over a period of several years. It even tried to attack me once as I passed on my trike!

It seems like several years since I started on that 10' hedge! Another few hours spent dangling by a fingertip instead of doing something more serious like riding my trike. According to The Grauniad's guide to 10 cycling tribes I am a "righteous cyclist."  Always banging on about how little I use the car. While wallowing in self praise for using my trike as a removal van, shopping trolley, delivery van, taxi and excuse for a political soapbox. Let's not forget tripod and camera bag. Another rest day moving and climbing ladders, sawing and clipping hedges, walking, moving compost heaps and generally slacking off.

Seller-Brooks has sent me a lottery email to see if I want to join the ravenous hordes in testing their latest and greatest Cambium 13. Unlucky for some? Unlucky for all those early adopters taken in by the CF rails, black rivets and narrower, but still rock hard "rubber" top. Think Unica Nitor hard! The Brooks hype glosses over the structural reinforcement fabric which completely removes the rubber from the compliance equation. i.e. Think Nidd style, reinforced leather which would still be waiting to break in if it had been in continuous use since early Egyptian times!

Seller-Brooks are [allegedly] trying to resurrect their former monopoly on the tour peloton. And everybody knows that the weekend warriors copy their idols slavishly, don't they? It could be "a nice little earner" for a while until the mood changes. The pros will ride on a house brick if their sponsor tells them to. So, good luck with that if you are a copycat, cycling accessory junkey.

Perhaps the new and narrower C13 saddle will find favour on the "hotter" tours? There is gossip on the grapevine that the Cambium actually becomes softer above 85F. Though it is still only a forum myth so far. I may have to stuff mine with Rockwool to see if it actually raises [UCI] compliance. Perhaps Seller-Brooks should have a "Temperate" model which actually displays "rubber-like" properties? Nah, that might actually catch on [for a while] with the hair shirt brigade who count their annual distances in terms of saddle sores.

The reinforcement fabric is probably a  ruse to allow [wink-wink] Max-me-boned riders to keep their saddles longer under the usually vague claims of longevity. This,  despite applied sit-bone pressures which exceed the once infamous stiletto heels! Brooks claim a Cambium lifespan well beyond the fragile [and highly profitable] plastic, instruments of torture so beloved of "serious" cyclists. Perhaps they should only be allowed to sell racing saddles through back street sex shops specializing in "bondage and discipline?" "Pssst! Wanna buy a steamy video of the Tour de France S&M? Strictly under-the-counter, this is. Yours for 150 quid if you are up for it! Lot's of glossy vinyl but a bit short on rubber for my tastes!"

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14 Sep 2015

14th September 2015 On the lonliness of the long distance tractor driver...

Monday 14th 60-66F, 16-19C, breezy, overcast. Showers possible but also clearing to sunshine. Take your pick which you trust. Forecast now changed to dry until this afternoon. Went for a walk but still no sign of the missing Coot family. Presumably they have joined the endless refugees in search of a new place to call home. Warm, sunny and windy.

I saved a life [my own] by stepping onto the grass to avoid an elderly  woman driver heading straight for me. She clipped the grass verge where I would have been standing without so much as a glance in my direction. Lots of ploughing going on to the delight of the shifting clouds of mink farm gulls. A few wet bales linger on as darkly forgotten tombstones. Raised to the memory of past harvests and their countless victims. Nobody does anything manually any more. Except me of course. Where have all the navvies gone? Long time passing.

Rode north with a tail crosswind off my right shoulder. Shopped and then returned with a cross headwind. They are all at it! Tractors raking, tilling, ploughing and sewing all on the same prairie. 14 miles.

Tuesday 15th 55-59F, 13-15C, bright and windy. Very windy, in fact. I walked towards the woods to take some pictures of a tractor ploughing the prairie. The advantage of the modern large, 4WD tractor is the sheer speed they can cover the ground. This young chap went back and forth several times by the time I had walked along the track. The entire plough flips over at the end of each furrow ready for the return journey.

My cap was in great danger of becoming road kill on my return journey. Still no coot family on the village pond. I wonder whether I should make a missing coots report? And if so... to whom? Rural policemen are even rarer than .. er.. um... er.. coots, these days. With rain forecast for after lunch I suppose I had better make an effort instead of sitting here waffling all morning.

Headwind going. Tailwind coming back. It felt rather cool when I left but the extra clothing soon came off. Luckily I missed a heavy, very localized shower at home. Another person asked where they could get a trike like mine instead of a heavy and ugly "invalid" trike. Sadly I had to point out how unstable lightweight trikes are in comparison with the cast iron, drainpipe variety. Two teenage girls admired my trike outside another supermarket. They seemed genuine enough. Kids in Denmark are infinitely better behaved than in the UK. They also seem far more self-confident and mature. A chap on a scooter came over to chat about bikes/trikes v scooters in the economy stakes. Only 15 miles.

Wednesday 16th 54-60F, 12-16C, breezy and rather cloudy. Rain again promised for the afternoon. Walked mostly across empty fields for a change of scenery. Difficult to match clothing to later warmth as temperatures climb rapidly from a rather cool start. Short ride under rather grey skies. Only 10 miles.

Thursday 17th 60F, 16C, windy with heavy overcast. Gusting to over 30 mph later.  Clomped across more harvested fields to experience the empty quarter where no humans ever tread. There were times I could literally lean on the wind as fine drizzle threatened at intervals. The only wildlife was a hunting house cat, several windblown butterflies and the swallows.

I spent another few hours clipping a ten foot tall, prickly hedge in a howling gale. It was blowing so hard the clippings were rolling away across the lawn! The task would be much easier if the hedge were not ten feet thick in places where the neighbour hasn't touched his side in the years he has been here. Wielding a massive, extended hedge clipper from the top of a ladder is not what they usually recommend as suitable weight training in the cycling manuals.

And, I'm an old fart! Which is just another excuse for another "rest day". I wonder how many people of my age can manage my "circus" tricks? [Clown on a tricycle, high wire hedge clipping, extreme stubble field rambling, limbo dancing through small holes in hedges, etc.] Thank you, thank you, thank you! No applause is necessary. I'd like to thank....

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7 Sep 2015

7th September 2015 Cambium woes.

Monday 7th 45-59F, 7-15C, cool, bright and still.  Shame it will be blowing 12 m/s, 25mph later.

I haven't mentioned the C17 Cambium saddle since I put it back on again. My first trial must have found me with saddle sores. I found it distinctly hard, unforgiving and uncomfortable. Which I put down to the ridiculous transverse curve across the back. It still isn't comfortable but is becoming tolerable for under 30 mile rides. The design department obviously came a very poor second to the hype department:

I enjoyed a pleasant walk in bright sunshine as the wind rose steadily to take the warmth off the rising temperatures. A jay complained noisily at my intrusion into his woods. Brambles seem to have taken over the tracks where I often used to walk my loop. I struggled through with the aid of my climbing gaiters against the spiky undergrowth. The secondhand [as new] Ecco boots are still working well. Though they are certainly lighter they are less supportive than the Salomon Quest on rougher ground.

Had an enjoyable and hilly ride out into the wind in bright sunshine. Stopped to film and photograph a harvester which was working right beside the road. A nice tailwind coming home via further shops. I am now eating a dark chocolate muesli bar to fend off tiredness. Cheaper than energy bars, delicious and palatable. No doubt I shall weigh 15 stones by the end of the month but the Cambium will have become an air mattress! I wonder whether Sella-Brooks ever thought of weight grouping their saddles?  What about: Skinny runt, Normal and North American buffalo? Suit yourselves. You will anyway. 21 miles.

Tuesday 8th 46F, 8C, perfectly still and rather misty. Dry, with some sun and wind later. Light winds and sunshine on an early ride.  Roads very quiet. 13 miles.

Wednesday 9th 48-63[?]F, 9-17[?]C, sunny, still and bright. Light winds and sunshine forecast. Off with ye olde Goth bag and Trykit rack and on with the Carradice Junior and pink, HGV sports bag. Off we, jolly well, go!

An almost perfect day for a ride but never really still. I was keeping up the cadence to around 100rpm and climbing well despite the cross headwind. Two peacocks narrowly avoided a collision as they chose my arrival to cross the road. They must not have seen a tricycle before because they were still running when I glanced back.

Sometimes you have to wait 900 years for  the light to be just right.

I supplemented my usual cheese sandwich with several small meuslie bars washed down with apple juice. Again I found the bars made me want to drink more water than usual. I hadn't tried these bars before and, though tasty, would have preferred quite a bit more texture. Muesli was probably an exaggeration despite the wild claims on the box. Nor did I approve of double packaging to hide the truly minute size of the contents!

I risked keeping the Cambium on today but it was a very mixed experience. Despite wearing my best bibs I began to really notice the Cambium after 25 miles. From then on it never really forgave my completely unwarranted optimism. With periods of pain and discomfort not much helped by climbing out of the saddle as often as possible and even getting off far more than I usually do.

I sat beside the sea at Bogense expecting peace and quiet for my packed lunch on a closed road. Only for a tedious bore to arrive in his car, stop right opposite me, throw the door open wide and begin a loud conversation at an IQ level well below 60! Even then I'm being extremely generous. His wife added to the joy by smoking directly upwind of me. It was a huge relief to get going again and head west. I ate my second sandwich standing up in Ore village, church car park where I wasn't troubled by any knuckle draggers. And where I also took the first of only two pictures of the day.

Eventually I reached the main road towards Middelfart. [For which fine name Google spelling checker suggested Delftware!] Fortunately the traffic was quite light and generally well behaved on this pretty, undulating and sometimes, twisty route. The road had just been resurfaced. So I used the traffic lane as much as possible to avoid the usual debris in the cycle lane. No doubt the next ice age will clear these moraines before the council has to.

A spaceman has an intimate moment with bees.

Once I had reached my goal I could start south again with a building, cross to tailwind. Despite the extra nourishment and more frequent rest days I was quite tired towards the end. Perhaps it was all the standing up just to avoid the Cambium?

Reading back through this diatribe it sound as if I didn't enjoy my day out. Far from it. The variety of scenery is always pleasant on the eye and the endless greenery gladdens the heart. If you had to spend five hours on a bike anywhere it would be difficult to beat West Fyn in Denmark for somewhere to do it. I only have to think back to the misery of sharing the roads with the sociopaths in the UK to offer grateful thanks to the God Ra. And boo-sucks to the evil Sella-Brooks for trying [so hard] to spoil it! Only 56, mostly painful, miles.

Thursday 10th 54F, 12C, breezy, bright overcast. Mainly dry but showers possible. Nearly two hour walk through the more distant forest and back along the road. Clomping across stubbly fields saved some time and distance. I saw a dark bird of prey with very long wings and tail soaring over the treetops but it had no obvious markings. Later a white form of buzzard was holding a commanding position on a pile of soil in the middle of a field. It was quite happy to remain there until a crow took off in alarm. Several jays were making a racket in the woods. Finally, a male pheasant was parading his harem of seven females across a large, well trimmed, rural lawn.

Plastered the B17 saddle with Proofide before putting it back on along with the Goth bag and Trykit  rack. Just a short ride today. Easterly headwind going. Tailwind coming back. Only 7 miles.

A single, large animal [?] footprint on a track in in the woods.
The toe of my size 11/46 boot is shown for comparison.
There seemed to be pads like a dog or cat.
Horse riding is banned in the woods.

Friday 11th 53F, 12C, light breeze, bright start but rain and wind promised by lunchtime. Drowned rat alert! The squeamish should probably look away now: 

I had gone 11 miles and was committed to a route which took me directly away from home when it started raining. Before long it was throwing horizontal stair rods as thick as  mist. At times the rain was so heavy and it was blowing so hard that it looked like snow coming off the tops of the hedges. With an inch of standing water in places and just as much flowing downhill there was little or no chance of getting a tan today. I sheltered under assorted trees as it renewed its fury and sogginess at intervals. I was soon wet right through and plodding towards home with a crosswind. It is times the like this when I question the true value of a £15 supermarket cycling jacket. A bin bag with arm and head cutouts would be no worse but for the lack of a zip! 20 miles.

Saturday 12th 55F, 13C, light breeze, heavy overcast, thundery showers possible. Will he or wont he? He did [ride] but it didn't.[rain] Headwind going which made me feel rather tired. Crosswind on my return made me feel like a pro.[cyclist] Lots of SUVs about today including some exclusive examples. One person in his Mercedes minibus thought it would be fun to floor the accelerator in a 30mph zone. It sounded like he managed third before he had to lift off with a noisy crackle. Tuned or badly tuned? Who cares? I expect he/they/it reached 100mph by the end of the straight. I only managed 15 miles and counting.

Sunday 13th 57-61F, 14-16C, windy with heavy overcast. Early rain or showers should clear later. It mostly drizzled until lunchtime. Mid afternoon ride under heavy, grey skies with light winds. Roads and shops very quiet. 22 miles.

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2 Sep 2015

1st September 2015 60mph is the new 40kph.

Tuesday 1st 62F, 17C, light breeze, heavy overcast. Light showers possible.

Lawnmower on steroids?

How many more Septembers can we each count on? Will we live each September as if it were our last? Will others treat our remaining Septembers with the same [lack of] respect as they do their own? The reason I ask is not some "deep" philosophical discussion on the meaning of life. No, it is far more simple than that: When does another's need for speed exceed my right to enjoy another September?

I was traveling along a major roadworks yesterday. The existing speed limit of 60kph [about 40mph] had been reduced to 50kph [30mph] and even 40kph [25mph] but was routinely being ignored. Yesterday, a dozen excavators twirled on the spot while tipper trucks shuttled back and forth. All this on a road which had been reduced to a single track with temporary traffic lights on long stretches.

Many drivers saw their progress being "unfairly" limited by the "difficult" conditions. But who, with a public show of pure insanity, decided that driving at well above the national speed limit was their absolute right. Should I have a jacket printed up asking about my personal allowance of future Septembers? Or will I become a mere blur as they race past me at twice the speed limit? No police presence = no crime.

Half way into my two hour walk the early clarity was suppressed by misty rain. Fearful that it might become more serious I took shortcuts across stubbly fields. Three deer watched me intently until I took out my camera. That was their signal to vanish into the brush. Walking on gravelled forest tracks, after heavy overnight rain, is very different to dry conditions. It takes on a level of toil not dissimilar to that found on soft, sandy beaches. A fidgety, very dark, almost black buzzard was pouncing on a harvested field. It obviously did not enjoy my presence at its breakfast table and quickly put a great distance between us. Another rest day. After a horribly grey and miserable day the sun finally came out at 19.35.

Wednesday 2nd 55F, 13C, bright but windy. Another windy 15m/s day.[30mph] The garden trees are already rocking at 7am. Blowing a gale for my hour's walk. Partially via harvested fields and some by quiet roads. A solitary bird of prey cried wolf while soaring above its personal copse.

It was blowing an even worse gale with fierce gusts for my ride. The most dangerous part is passing an opening in the high roadside hedges and being blown off course. The faster one rides the worse the effects of a crosswind. On one exposed descent I was hanging right off the side with one hand on the handlebars and the other on the aero bars. Even then I was using a lot of road just to stay on the tarmac. Fortunately the traffic was light on the lanes I deliberately chose to avoid the main roads. Only 13 miles.

Thursday 3rd 61-64F, 16-18C, sunny, but rather breezy, making it feel cold in the shade. Showers possible from lunch time onwards. No walk today. Rode off after lunch in bright sunshine. With the strong wind over my left shoulder I was cruising at between 20 and 23mph. As I began a long climb it started to rain quite heavily. I pressed on in the hope it would go off but it became steadily worse. Soon I was riding through falling stair rods and it kept it up for ages while I plodded on towards my goal. I hovered a while after shopping until it had passed over. Though riding along the main road afterwards was not as lot of fun.  Too many drivers were too thick to go around me despite the enormous width of the road. I chose to cross via a cycle underpass only to find myself riding through six inches of floodwater in the near pitch darkness of the tunnel! Am I having fun yet? The journey was not wasted because I found several items for which I had specifically gone searching. 24 miles.

Friday 4th 50-60F, 10-15C, bright, with a light breeze but still plenty of high cloud lit by the early sun. Showers possible according to the forecast. There is a cool but steady, southerly wind as I use the stubble fields to avoid the head high weeds in the woods. Several birds of prey moved away as I approached the woods. Including one with a huge gap in its wing tip "fingers." Four more birds of prey were soaring and dog fighting above the forest further on. Then a gang of jackdaws was mobbing yet another bird of prey as I made the long descent, back down to the road.  Quite an unusual number of birds of prey for one morning walk.

The smaller birds, which had dominated my walks earlier in the year, have all but vanished along with their songs. I see a few flocks of sparrows now but little else amongst the smaller birds. Though we had a family of wrens in the garden yesterday. They were very close to a wasps nest in a compost heap but seemed not to be bothered.We have been favoured with dozens of butterflies too. The promised showers missed us but they had flooding on the east and west coasts of Denmark. Rest day.

Saturday 5th 52-56F, 11-13C, breezy, very heavy overcast, rain forecast. A period of brightness lulled me into going out. Which was obviously a mistake. Nasty gales as a crosswind made staying on the road a  bit of an effort. Then it started raining... hard. Then it tipped down. Then there were several cloudbursts. I rode for miles into the fierce wind to reach a DIY store only to find that I had missed it by 10 minutes. Who would expect them to close at 1am on a Saturday in late summer? Not me it seems. Now I had a beneficial tailwind to get home but sheets of  torrential rain were crossing the fields to catch me up. I sheltered under several trees in the last ten miles. 22 miles. Did I mention the rain and the wind? Thought so.

Sunday 6th 53F, 12C, heavy overcast and windy. Early showers should give way to some sunshine but it will be spoilt by 30mph gusts. It was still dry but rather windy. Going was with a beneficial tailwind. Coming back the situation was not only reversed but I was now heavily laden. Tragically I had no control over my route. I had planned to head into the wind first but was overruled by the Head Gardener. She can move her compost heap on her own next time! Wasps and all! 14 miles.

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