2 Sep 2015

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

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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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