30 Oct 2015

30th October 2015 Lies, damned lies and supermarkets!

Friday 30th 42F, 6C, still, becoming slightly misty, with variable cloud. The forecast is a grey but quiet day reaching 10C, 50F later. A ride is indicated if I'm allowed out.

The view from the cockpit with Sigma BC16 Cadence instrument panel, comfy arm rests and twin, Profile Design "joy" sticks and Campagnolo Chorus Ergo 11 speed levers. The vital, Lezyne Cyclop rear view mirror is on the lower left bar-end. With enough outward extension to be easily checked while riding on the hoods.

Rode to Fåborg and beyond by the coast road and looped back inland. Lots of big, long hills but I was going quite well. The beech woods were spectacular. I saw several large deer looking back at me from fire breaks. A rather cool and melancholy day under grey skies.

I turned back having reached my goal at 28 miles and consumed my mature Cheddar sandwich, banana and apple juice. The lanes were remarkably quiet all day.

Somebody should tell him his chains need oiling!

Passed a cyclist with an S-works carbon bike and deep carbon rims mending a puncture. I stopped to see if all was well but he studiously ignored me as I sat watching him thrashing away with his micro-pump. Perhaps he was simply miffed for having a puncture? It would have been churlish to mention Durano at such fraught times. 59 miles.

Saturday 31st 45F, 7C, grey and slightly misty with a breeze in the trees. In just the right direction to ensure the neighbour's choking smoke fills the house and garden. We are surround in gunfire from the weekend warriors putting down the pheasant uprising. A cross headwind going. The supermarket had no stock of the special offer butter. Just like last time and all the times before that. Lies, damned lies and Netto's special offers. It has brightened up now I am back home. It is hardly worth mentioning but I have just passed 8000km for the year. 16 miles.

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29 Oct 2015

28th October 2015 Now you see me. Now you don't!

Wednesday 28th 47F, 8C, windy but threatening to be dry and bright. It stank of my neighbour's chimney smoke as I left for my 3 mile walk around the rural block. Fuel unknown, but it reminded me of burning rags. Later, from across the fields I could see grey-brown smoke belching horizontally from their chimney. Later still, their stink was on the wind from 500 yards or half a kilometer away! The gulls were putting on quite an air display today. The usual field was still white with birds but a busy cloud of their brethren were circling over a stretch of several hundred yards. If they keep this up they might have to start guano mining!

Mid to late afternoon ride and I needed lights to get home. A piece of advice: Don't put your lights under the shopping! Doh! There I was, risking a £70 fine, but with my huge bag stuffed full to the brim with mixed stuff. I had only put the lights in the bag "just in case" at the last moment before leaving. Then the recent change to Winter Time and the rapid progress of dusk caught me out completely! Unloading shopping on the grass verge on a busy main road, with nowhere to put anything down, is an exercise in [enter expletives of your own choosing here] frustration. I quickly discovered another problem: The Smart front light, handlebar clamp won't go around my heavily taped bars. The aero-bar extension clamps also block access to the only place a front clamp might have fitted. Luckily I had the Scream front light in the bag too. If only I could find it! This just fitted but left little room for my left hand on the corner of the bars.

LEDs do make superb lights though! I particularly like my Smart rear light. Not only for its incredible brightness but the complex flashing pattern which makes it incredibly visible. The flashing still works in tightly packed traffic. Where it bounces off the road and all the vehicle paintwork around the cyclist. It also draws the somnambulant driver's eye on the open main roads. Where approach speeds can be very high and every drop of light is extra insurance against a rear-ender. Except in Denmark, where two out of three accidents after dark involve more than a drop of alcohol. Not so much a heads up as a bottoms up! Skol!

It's a slight shame I so rarely get to see my lights in action. The matching Smart front light, of the set I bought as few years back, was a huge disappointment. Bought at dusk just before LED power soared the beam is hardly visible on the road and worthless for avoiding potholes much above walking speed. This is despite being emblazoned with 1/2W graphics. It is more of a flashing indicator of the presence of a cycle and cost a ridiculous amount of money considering its pathetic light output.

You can now buy superb torches for about sick squid [in Aldi] these days which are blindingly bright compared with the Smart front light. A 5 year guarantee is offered. Note the side switch button and not the fault-prone rear switch of the multi-LED torches of similar appearance.

The Scream was much more expensive [a present] but excellent and even has beam width/focus adjustment. Its flash mode is so rapid that it doesn't affect my eyes like the cheap "miner's" headlamp I bought from a supermarket and only used once on the road. Another nice touch with the Scream is the off-switch between each lighting mode. This saves having to cycle rapidly through all the modes to find the one you want and then [usually] overshooting.

On the open road it can be nice to have main beam when I am traveling quickly. Then the moment a car headlights appear up ahead its back to flashing for visibility and to get them to dip. Many drivers will continue on main beam until right on top of a cyclist when they ignore a steady white beam. Flashing is seen from miles off, ensures they know a cyclist is there and produces a rapid dipped beam response. I've tested this response myself frequently.

By law I ought to have two rear lights to show the tricycle's width. However the "squashed plum" Smart E-lines, rear lights I bought for the rear axle were a bit of a disaster. Not only were the half length, AA batteries all but unobtainable locally but one of the lights proved unreliable. There are cheap copies of my better Smart rear light in the Coop supermarkets. [Image below] The problem is not being able to try them to see if they are any good before buying. The sealing against rain of some cheap lights is absolutely laughable but only discovered when the bubble pack is finally opened. The mixed metaphors for light power output are also a source of consumer confusion and utterly dim, IMO! Watts, Lumens? £10 to £250 for a single front light alone? Crackers!

I liked to use the Smart as a saddle level light for superb long distance visibility. With the two neat little squashed plums for the seat stays. Except the bags were always getting in the way of all three lights. This needs much more thought if I am going to find myself riding regularly after dark. The 'goth' bag is huge and overlaps the rack all around. Perhaps the Trykit rack has potential for rear lighting clamps? Higher than the axle and less likely to be blocked thanks to the extra rear projection. Though it would need much smaller clamps than those usually designed to fir a variety of seat stays.

The images show I have reverted, yet again, to the Carradice "Bijou" Longflap Camper saddlebag to see how I get on. I was using a sports bag hanging over the top of the leather 'goth' anyway so should seriously rethink my shopping storage capacity. If only the Carradice was the actual size mentioned [for years] in their sales hype it would actually be useful! My Junior saddlebag isn't very much smaller.

A lightweight crossbar fixed across the tips of the aero-bars would make sense for the front light. Expansion plugs  for the undersized aero bars bars would ensure stability and a neat finish. If only they were available and the end of the bars were not sharply converging. I can feel another project coming on if there is still room for my hands on the aero bar extensions. A crossbar would also make a better site for the computer head. At the moment I have to look straight down to read the computer while on the aero-bars. Which is a bit daft considering I am probably traveling faster than usual and can't  continuously monitor the road for mud, rocks, deer, pheasants, cats, refugees, stray dogs and potholes. There's a joke in there somewhere about my being constantly in the dark but it is evading me for the moment. Only 12 miles.

Thursday 29th 46-50F, 8-10C, light breeze. Weak sunshine through rather a lot of cloud. Did a loop in search of a new sports bag in the charity shops. Returned with two. Bought another Smart rear light to match the other. So now I'm legal and bright! Rethought my front light strategy and bought some bar ends to mount the "Scream" light under the aero-bar extensions. Instead of an ugly crossbar on the tip of the extensions I shall have an under-slung "stealth" light support bar where I won't ever need to put my hands. I just hope the bar-end clamps are loose enough to go over the extension bends! 23 miles. They weren't. Not remotely!

So I re-fitted the Scream 'Kree' LED front light bracket as close as it would go under the left tri-bar elbow pad. I can now hold the bars normally without needing to remove the tape and silicone padding just to fit the light. The second Smart bracket was fitted as high up the nearside seat stay as it would go before touching the bottom rack support bar. Then I found a ridiculously over-sized and padded, cycling sunglasses hard-case which held the three lights perfectly. All safely nestled without risk of damage or switching each other on. The last Smart E-lines, squashed plum was fitted high on the saddle pin and left in place.

No more worries about being caught out without lights on afternoon shopping trips. Which offers far greater flexibility in doubtful winter weather. The yellow spoke reflectors are also a legal necessity after dark so I leave them on full time. By the time the drunk has broadsided you at a junction it is far too late to worry about fitting wheel reflectors! The papers regularly report habitual drunks driving after being banned numerous times and even having their cars crushed. It must be a basic human right to be able to drive repeatedly while drunk despite not being able to show a driving license, tax, MOT or insurance. Why are these not cross checked using modern technology and number plate recognition? Probably because any software designed to do so would never work despite spending literally billions of taxpayer's money!

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27 Oct 2015

27th October The GTGPiS

Tuesday 27th 40F, 5C, thin high cloud, almost still. My ear stopped whistling loudly some time in the evening but still feels like it is pressurized. The forecast is dry with fairly light winds.  Will I be allowed out?

Gull parking 1.

Today's news is that the Danish police admit that 60% of drivers are traveling too fast, particularly on rural roads. So, yet again, the police will be out in force with their speed cameras in the coming week. Though there is absolutely no mention of how many drivers completely ignore double white lines as if they were invisible.

Did I mention the driver who was so incensed at being caught in the Danish police's speed "trap" that he drove 4 meters, or over 12', onto the verge, to smash the camera? £25k for the camera plus the speeding fine is likely when he appears in court. And worth every penny for the heavily burdened taxpayer.

Gull parking 2.

The prisons are full with those who always blame others for their own actions. Infant school bullies who never grew up to question themselves. Instead of those who merely "grassed them up" to avoid an assault, robbery, torture or even murder. The shop staff who were assaulted or murdered simply because they resisted the nutter's robbery. The wife beaters who blame their spouses and kids for their own habitual problems and crippling inadequacies. The mass murderers with assault rifles and no marbles. The unemployable racists who blame others for taking "their" jobs.

Not that I am [remotely] equating the speeding camera "smasher" with any other form of criminal behaviour. Merely pointing out the general psychological trend. The driver who blames the cyclist for being mown down is no different. The: "The stupid old bat got in the way while I was doing 100mph taking a perfect racing line through the chicane in the shopping precinct," mentality is rife throughout society. In one form or another. It's always some other person's fault is the way to the top. If you can get away with it.

Like the piss-poor driver of the pickup who badly overshot the junction and then bawled me out for noticing that he, and he alone, was putting my life in danger! Oh for a helmet cam at times like these. Except that in Denmark it is illegal to share film or images online of The Holocaust. Or anybody doing anything else which might identify criminals and undermine their absolute human rights to commit daily genocide. A lad who was badly assaulted [hospitalized] was recently fined for releasing film of his attackers on YouTube. No doubt the ambulance chasers got the perps off with a caution for "boisterous behaviour." Elsewhere, film and images of criminal activity are rife and often the only form of justice available where the police are involved. Remember the school bully who always blames the "grass?" Fuzzy logic! See image for how they see our world.

Then there are the countless GTGPs [GotToGetPasts] who will cheerfully push any cyclist off a cliff to gain one place on the road behind the lemmings queuing in front of them. The GTGP's are fully paid up members of the slack-jawed, car advertising and hype appreciation & insanity Society. Lifelong members of the Top Gear presenter's [deep] brown-nosers and habitual low profile, tire lickers. They confuse mass produced car ownership with some exalted position in the "performance driver's" rather vague hierarchy of the road. Usually placing themselves somewhere between an Old Money Rolls Royce [with the default, plastic front spoiler] and a Lamborghini [Chelsea tractor] with faux carbon fiber, adhesive vinyl on the roof.

Such 'doolally' delusions demand that they must take their rightful place on the road or die kill die kill die trying. And that certainly does not include sitting behind a cyclist who is blocking their view of the traffic standing at a complete standstill only 20 yards up the road and for the next 10 miles kilometers!

 Advanced spillage

Note how aptly the GT [grand toorizmo] and GP [grand prixkes] affectations apply to these drooling, driving nutters. The only thing missing [apart from the lack of active brain cells] is the "i." The problem is always where to place their own damned "i." [For insanity!] Did you hear that the family is trying to sue the manufacturer's of the car in which the illegally speeding driver killed St.Paul Walker! 'Nuff said? Thought so. ;)  Have a nice day! As every Danish checkout operator is now trained to say. Usually in Danish but you do find the odd smart Alice who recognizes a thick, English accent at several meters. I lige måde!  

It only took quarter of an hour to extract the difference [with menaces] between two tins of soup at the shelf price compared with the till price. And why didn't I do this and why didn't I do that? Why didn't they just charge me what the huge sign on the display said? Why don't they employ enough staff with basic literacy to know the difference between 5 and 11? And why is there no consumer protection in Denmark when they are a member of the EU? Doesn't any of their publicly unrepresentative nonsense spill over the open borders?                                 

In the UK, even twenty years ago, the trading standards were red hot on till pricing not matching the marked shelf price. Some chains paid huge fines for having a different price on the till. Denmark has no trading standards and no consumer protection. At all! It's every man for himself and you had better bring your own axe if you want consumer rights at the till! In the UK shops would get into trouble just for having low displays in the aisles. In Denmark the shops leave their crap all over the place including on the floor or on a single pallet. Getting past them when they are shelf filling is like taking an advanced course in contact sports! The Head Gardener and I often joke about "not getting in the way of the staff."

Today, I rode mostly in a circle, in bright sunshine. To take in all the reachable villages with charity shops, while looking for another belt for the goth saddle bag. Lots of excellent hills! Only one [fairly] useful belt. Before leaving I had removed the rack and fitted the Junior saddlebag. I even gave the trike a rub over with a rag and a quick polish with fine ScotchBrite fiber.

Everything is disposable these days. It used to mean building a huge barn to last half a millennium. Now all you need is a really big bin bag and a tractor with strong arms to stack your bales.

I still had to take the massive Abus U-lock lock to protect the trike under insurance rules. Imagine a parallel universe where cycle thieves are ritually hung with an inner tube. [Site of attachment optional!] Or another, where cycle lock manufacturer's suffer a similar fate. For the hideous crime of flogging complete and utter tat which weighs more than a bike and costs a large fraction of the fragile pile of built-in CF obsolescence and rust prone jewellery-priced accessories. 40 miles.

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26 Oct 2015

26th October 2015 Whistling while you trike?

Monday 26th 36-52F, 2-11C, clear and sunny after a first, cold night this autumn. Only persistent vapour trails mark the pale blue skies. Winds light until this afternoon. I had better make the most of it provided I can match my clothing to the climbing temperatures.

A very typical view in rural Fyn, Denmark. A low, rolling landscape with small groups of windmills [turbines] and a mix of cultivated fields, hedges, aging avenues of trees and dense copses. The windmills are usually arranged in groups of three and have a pale grey, paint finish which changes constantly with the light. They can change from snow white to jet black in only a few moments with passing cloud. The normal arrangement is that they must be sited 200 meters from any dwelling. This is to avoid noise issues and throwing cyclic shadows from the blades.  

My Panasonic TZ7 camera sensor has picked up some dirt from the suction effect of zooming. I have dismantled and cleaned the camera sensor and IR filter before thanks to some excellent YT videos. Fortunately the fluff usually only shows up in images containing the sky. PhotoFiltre [free image handling software] has a "clone" feature which allows one to "stamp" over the dirt with a similar section of image "borrowed" from nearby. I have used the clone feature to hide dustbins, cars and even people from view before now.

An hour and a half walk through the soggy and very muddy woods in bright sunshine. Hundreds of gulls had spilled over onto the fields on either side of the track. While the majority remained encamped on their usual field in the distance. The frontier birds  lifted off and flapped raggedly into the headwind and back to their massed comrades. Two buzzards left a solitary ash tree complaining at my disturbance.

"The General" in full dress uniform with a chest full of medals.

I have deafening tinnitus in my left ear after another week of deafness. I was going to have a longer ride today but can't do much now. The occasional, cooking oil drops to melt hardened ear wax, don't seem to be doing any good. I stuffed my ear with a ball of cotton wool and put on my GripGrab scull cap to keep my ear free of the cool wind. Then rode to Assens into blinding sunlight. Not that one should ever complain about sunshine. Well, not unless you find yourself naked in the desert without a tube of SPF50 stuck in your cleavage.

I ran across an asphalt laying gang busy on a minor road. Two cars overtook me as we approached only to find themselves blocked as lorry load of the black stuff was loaded via bucket into the chain smoking, tar laying machine. We all sat there for five minutes while they all fastidiously ignored us. They were doing a great job though, with flawless surfaces superbly smoothed between strips. Their lifespan must be severely curtailed by inhaling that foul smoke all day and every day.

A cross tailwind going with a crosser headwind coming home almost at dusk. The car rear lights were just taking on that slightly brighter look to make me wonder whether I should be required to light up. It's a £70 fine for failing to have legal lighting after lighting up time. The latest requirement is 300 meters visibility, preferably a flashing beam with a 5 hour reserve of battery power. Though how they measure the latter is a mystery. My batteries seem to last for several years. I ride so rarely in the dark that my brilliant LED lights never seem to get a proper airing. Probably just as well given that the Danish News website today said that 2 out of 3 "road accidents" after dark are alcohol related. Not a statistic to be proud of!! It's now well past 6pm and the tinnitus hasn't changed since it started at 11am. Nothing I try seems to make the slightest difference. 20 miles.

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20 Oct 2015

20th October 2015 Bike paths galore!

Tuesday 20th 46F, 8C, dead still, with the routine heavy overcast, but the mist was obviously mis-delivered elsewhere today. A blackbird has just bounced off my dormer window! This is where I sit to scribble my nonsense and where I can see the birds in the trees of our back garden. I'm afraid The Head Gardener is largely responsible for "the woods." My involvement was limited to driving her to public car parks where acorns fell like hail, only to be crushed under car tyres. I would have to wait patiently while She rescued the "still in danger of crushing" examples to bring them on back at home in recycled pots and tubs. There were many occasions where she would spot an interesting oak while out in the car. Whereupon she would demand we make an emergency stop so she could search for acorns.

Then there was the Willow Period where interesting willows would be turned into small sticks to be grown on into saplings. The birds certainly seem to approve of her efforts and the "shelter belt" she grew no doubt helps the climate and reduces our fuel bills by a few pence per annum. The long leafed, Red oaks are fine and very pretty in autumn but the willows tend to skyrocket over the years. Often into towering spires 50' high!

Meanwhile, the Danish birdwatchers are berating the way Fyn had lost much of its natural habitat over the last 200 years. Mostly as a result of farming, forest clearance and drainage schemes taking their toll on the marshes and estuaries. There is one valley which was allowed to be re-flooded after earlier use as farmland but it is a very rare exception indeed. Still the existing hedges disappear routinely to make "big machine" prairies for big farms to industrialize toxic "food" production. Which in turn demands the arrival of the diggers to lay miles of corrugated drainage hose, in trenches, to rid the prairies of their last natural ponds and springs.

Major earth movement and soil importation, to fill in ponds and hollows, is a surprisingly familiar sight. Larger ponds tend to be allowed to grow scrubby willow beards for bird cover so it can be abused by shooting parties. Pheasant seed feeders are almost as common as the pheasants themselves. Which is probably acceptable if you fancy shooting fattened goldfish in their own bowl for entertainment. Growing a couple of rows of sweet corn along the edges of the prairies is a similar scheme to ensure high pheasant numbers just to kill for fun.

Major loss of footpaths and tracks is the usual result of prairiefication. The politic-ooze have never completed their decades-old plans for improving public access to the countryside. There are no marked public footpaths and bridleways as there are in the UK. Access to "open land" is unlikely as so little is left uncultivated. The absence of access is probably due to the huge number of farmers and their lobbyists and financial backers in the agro-chemical business. However, most woods and their access tracks are freely open to the public and often well used at weekends. On my own morning walks I may see one another person on foot perhaps once a year. And then, usually, only on special holidays. A couple of times a year there may be machines working in the woods. Or a huge lorry collecting logs. Otherwise I have the place mostly to myself.

I only mention all of this as a background to the environment in which I travel so regularly on trike and on foot. My pictures share the beauty of low, rolling hills, copses and woods. Though I am very selective in my framing so don't get too excited if you plan a holiday here. There is much to like but my regular rants expose the other side.  

Changing the countryside for the better need not be a major undertaking. Allowing an uncultivated strip along every field hedge and replanting hedges where they are absent would work wonders. It would provide a benign and beneficial habitat, public access and a wildlife corridor all in one. As I write this the latest incumbents of the liar's club are going to remove the last bit of protection for streams and waterways from agro run-off.

Meanwhile, the minor news headlines are presently describing a farmer ploughing up a rented field to grow yet more corn. You can never have enough corn to spill the harvested grain ankle deep for literally miles along the roads of Denmark! This same field had been a rare wild plant and even rarer butterfly habitat for years. It will take countless more years again to undo the damage of auto-poisoning and auto-fertilization which comes with all toxic farm industrialization. So enjoy your cornflakes but don't be taken in by the farming lobby's bullshit about nature and the countryside. They have "thriving and healthy" written on the side of every lorry transporter carrying pigs [unnecessarily] down to Germany for slaughter to make a penny extra per animal. The same animals which die young in vast numbers and often display bone-deep sores from rubbing against their constricting cages. 

You will be pleased to know that I have been allowed out today. With no pressing jobs at home, nor mist to obscure my presence, I shall take advantage of today's forecast promising dry, grey but still. The only movement in the branches is due to scrapping blackbirds. A whole gang of them think they have taken over our plot! I shall be searching distant charity shops for replacement straps for my Gothic, leather saddlebag.

After 10 miles I had to ride between two tractors spraying the fields on either side of the road. Then past a third after about 18 miles. I ended up at Middelfart but still couldn't find any leather belts with common or garden, roller buckles. Most of them seemed to be for girl's night out.

I was going well all day while maintaining high revs. A few rolls of dark clouds passed over but it never did rain. I passed a motorway with a fence along the nearest side and was amazed how quiet it was. After passing under a bridge I was suddenly exposed to the usual racket. So I can confirm the audible benefits of fencing even though it was erected only for the benefit of a few luxury homes. Which still suffer the racket from the main road which passes right in front of them. An accident of geographic fate for lying on the busy edge of Fyn where the bridges cross to Jylland.[Or Jutland as it is better known in English.]

A stretch of brand new cycle path has been built between Harndrup and the edge of Brenderup and should be excellent once they lay the asphalt. It has cost a strip of several, rural front gardens and the edges of some fields, so I hope the cycle path gets well used. A local shopkeeper told me it would be officially open next week.

The awful stretch of cycle path out of Middelfart towards Odense has finally been relaid with new asphalt. Long overdue, but now a perfect surface, apart from the farmer's mud at regular intervals. In fact there was mud everywhere I went today. Main road, minor road and tiny lanes alike were all plastered in the stuff! I'm still hoping they will brush the brand new cycle paths further south on the busy road between two villages. These newly laid paths are presently covered in stones, gravel, sand and mud from the continuing pipe laying and cable work. As much of the road surface in presently unmade it makes the cycle path a poor first choice at the moment.

I returned with one, brown leather belt which I could use temporarily. I shall give it a coat of magic Kiwi "dye and polish" to tone it down. The buckle isn't right either but who else will notice? It's not as if cars will pull alongside, wind the window down and tell me my saddle bag straps don't match! Or perhaps they might? 54 miles, not out.

Wednesday 21st 47F, 8C, quite still, with a strange orange glow shining in the east under the heavy cloud cover. The rumour has it that it might even have been sunshine. Rain forecast for later with the wind picking up to about 20mph gusts. The sky was weird as I walked along the road towards my exit to the woods. Blue-black as ink with a strange sort of lighter vapour trail drawn right across it. The cloud was so dark that it looked strangely threatening. While above me there was even a hint of blue in places. The lengthy easterly trend has finally given way to westerly winds.

Noisy chevrons of geese are still crossing in random directions. While huge numbers of gulls were visiting the lake. I am fairly sure they are a right bunch of copycats. The annual leaf fall is well under way despite many trees still looking reasonably well furnished. I disturbed a deer by a field hedge. It dashed off for about a hundred yards and then stopped to sum me up. Not liking what it saw, it bounced off across the prairie before putting on a curve to take it back to the safety of the woods. And who can really blame it? Certainly  not I. The  view in the bathroom mirror is easily enough to give one pause!

A short, late afternoon ride under grey skies with a crosswind. Only 7 miles.

Thursday 22nd 51F, 11C, grey, wet and windy. Gusting to 30mph from the SW. Rest day.

Friday 23rd 50-55F, 10-13C, windy and sunny. A bright morning ride for 22 miles. Headwind going and tailwind coming back. A chronically obese driver raced up to a minor junction on the main road on which I was riding. Apparently, it is unnecessary to stop at the line provided you are driving an oversize SUV plastered with hunting signs. So he didn't stop and overshot by 2 meters or 6' just as I approached. It seems my glare pricked his auto-psychopath response and he had to wind the nearside [electric] window down to bawl at me as he roared past into the village. I waved him on without looking in his direction. As I was not going to give the raving nutter the satisfaction of even a glance.  As he was clearly on day release from the driving nutter's mental hospital he might have driven into a bus queue because I had spoiled his day.
Saturday 24th 50-53F, 10-12C, windy and grey but dry. A short walk to count [mink] gulls on a distant field.[Lots!] They kept peeling off the front row and traveling anticlockwise. My estimate would be at least 5000 with loads more constantly arriving as I watched them though my binoculars. All of them were facing the wind ready for take-off. Think of the chaos if you looked up and were the only gull sitting there facing the wrong way on the front row!

My ride was into a headwind under grey skies. Tailwind coming home. A raving lunatic in a dark car, without headlights, deliberately passed very close to me at very high speed. I saw him coming in my Cyclop rear view mirror but had expected him to pull out before he reached me. There was not even the excuse that there was oncoming traffic. Nor was there any excuse for his ridiculous speed. Not that many vehicles were traveling at anywhere the speed limit this morning. Just another day in driver's paradise. The sooner they bring in driver-less cars the better! The problem will be the nutters who think themselves so clever that they don't need it. 17 miles.

Sunday 25th 46F, 8C, bright sunshine with a breeze. An hour and a half walk up to the woods and back. The tracks had been ripped up by machines. A mud bath as wide as a motorway in places! Cool wind on the way back past the pheasants. Erratic gunfire could be heard at intervals.

My ride took place in the afternoon. Bit of a crosswind still in bright sunshine. Just as I headed home it started raining from a single grey blob which had all but passed over. It even managed a rainbow as I sheltered in an archway. A few minutes later it was all over and I rode home on wet roads. Ripped off [again] by a supermarket. Huge price label showing a half price discount. Full price at the till. Thieves, damned thieves and Danish supermarkets. Now I shall have to go back and demand a refund. Saw several motorcycles from the time around my youth. [In the last century] Only 8 miles.

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19 Oct 2015

19th October 2015 Through a misty glass, darkly.

Monday 19th 43F-48F, still, with thick mist. My wife, The Head Gardener, insisted I wear a fluorescent arm band on my walk. Though a flashing blue light on top of a real police car might have obtained rather  more of  the commuters' attention. I made it safely to my exit, snapping at berries and misty scenes as I went along. The usual scenery was absent as I braved myself for another skirmish with the pheasants. However, the birds were strangely absent, apart from a couple of  heavily camouflaged lookouts in the brush. They looked harmless enough so I plodded on towards the sound of crashing trees and clonks coming from an invisible forestry harvesting machine.

Despite walking a very soggy loop right around the forest block where I could hear it working, I caught only a glimpse of a solitary tree top falling sideways. Yet the voracious machine could be heard chewing up a new tree literally every few seconds. My familiar tracks were almost blocked by stacked branches in places. Making visibility of the harvester even more difficult. Eventually, I returned to my starting point with my walking trousers darkly wet up to the knee.  At least the earlier mud had been washed off. My charity shop Ecco boots had remained safely dry. Unlike the fragile Salomon boots. Which I have been forced to give up wearing for want of long term comfort and lack of useful waterproofing in the second examples after replacement of the first pair under guarantee. Again, for a lack of waterproofing in wet grass.

Now I was in for a shock! Newly emboldened by their Pyrrhic victory over the amateur, weekend huntsmen the pheasants  had arranged themselves in serried ranks! Armed to the teeth, at the exit from the woods, they had obviously decided that yesterday's 10 o'clock, attack could simply be repeated. There must have been 50 pheasants facing me as I approached with a pounding heart. Then, suddenly, with an almost imperceptible signal from the general in his colourful uniform they simply vanished into the brush! Either they thought I looked far too poor to provide a decent ransom or my determined gait had completely unnerved them. Perhaps they were simply low on ammunition from their weekend's fierce battles with the huntsmen? 

Stepping out of the woods and onto the emperor's dais, [fairly] high above the rolling landscape, I was suddenly presented with a clear view of the countryside. One completely denied to me only half an hour earlier. The mist had cleared to leave the grass-like crops freshly washed and brushed into neat lines. So, another hour and a half of my allotted time on this strange planet was over. Coffee and rolls await to be consumed and then I'm off on my trike. No peace for the wicked. Whoops. Not so fast! Busy at home. Another rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

18 Oct 2015

18th October 2015 Give me [smoke free] pastures new!

Sunday 18th 48F, 9C, heavy overcast, light breeze, showers or rain. Drizzled lightly for my half hour walk.

The light winds ought to inspire me to ride boldly forth. While the overcast depresses me so much I don't even want to go outside! If I stay in I'll only start scribbling my nonsense again. It is grossly unfair to be stricken with a sense of humour where only I understand and laugh at my own jokes. Perhaps it is more unfair on my readers having to put up with my silly drivel? At least you have the option of going elsewhere for greater amusement. While I'm always stuck inside me and grinning like an ape at my own words.

I have always loved writing. My school essays would run to page after page of scrawly, illegible, self-delusional drama. I could see it all quite vividly in my mind but my [poor] teachers never saw beyond my handwriting. I never had the patience to learn to write neatly. I was on the cusp of scratchy dip pens then leaky Biros or endlessly broken HB pencils. It did not go well. The words would form and flow too fast to get them all down neatly enough to satisfy those who must inevitably read them.

Now I type furiously instead. Which only makes my nonsense more obviously legible. The true meaning of the content probably remains just as obscure to all but myself. The question always comes back to why anyone would follow my diatribes and rants? What could I do to make readers more welcome or increase in numbers? More pretty pictures perhaps? Is seeking greater popularity even a good thing?

I feel I have done the technical side of tricycling to death. [For want of a better word] The Trykit trike continues to perform exactly as expected as my mileages steadily fall. It must be true that my regular "patch" has grown rather stale of late. I need new sites and sights of interest to stimulate me into riding longer and further again. To have new experiences and places to share with yet more words and many more pictures. Despite having an appalling short term memory I can recall almost every picture I have ever taken. Picasa tells me I have over 120,000 digital images on ever larger hard drives for backup. Re-posting the same images or anything closely similar always feel like cheating.

I desperately need new inspiration from pastures new. If only it were that simple! Despite the stagnation of rural property sales, even largely uninhabitable hovels remain beyond our financial grasp. Selling our present home would not help much either as many local homes have been up for sale for years before selling for pocket change at compulsory auction. Too old for a new mortgage, too poor to buy anything outright.

To make matters worse we are tormented by neighbour's stinking smoke from east or west on an almost daily basis. I can escape on my trike but still the stench lingers back at home. Where my wife's love of gardening and being outside is often sorely tried. Can you even imagine living next door to somebody who has a waste wood fire, all day and every day of the year, even in heat waves? Can you even explain it? Every member of the family owns a decent car so it can't be fuel related poverty. 

Smoke does not rise in Denmark. It is a fact because Denmark has a permanent inversion layer. Smoke always travels horizontally regardless of chimney height. You never see that picturesquely idyllic streak of smoke rising almost invisibly from a cottage chimney. That line is always thick and visible and always level with the ground. You could probably use it as an over-sized level to check your roof was straight! Which means literally hundreds of thousands of innocent Danes suffer from stinking smoke coming from their neighbour's wood burning stove. Or [very] old fashioned water jacket heater on a regular basis. Even contacts in central Copenhagen suffer from woodburning smoke! Which is completely and utterly insane!!!

Producing firewood is the Danish national hobby and one which plagues many villages and hamlets. The firewood producer is clearly a psychopath without the slightest empathy or sympathy for his neighbours. There is absolutely no other explanation. Nobody with an active conscience can subject his neighbours to the loud and repetitive racket. The firewood psychopath will use a chainsaw from morning to night without a qualm in a built up area. More often than not a saw with a piss poor silencer from abuse and over-use. The firewood psychopath will run a tractor all day, in a built up area, to provide hydraulic power to split logs or demolition timbers alike. By their own strange set of rules the tractor must be left running while the psychopathic firewood producer goes in for lunch or to watch the football. All this is happening only 6' from one's own home. Often a large circular saw literally screams all day in many a Danish village. The scream can literally be beard for miles. I know this because I can still hear hear them clearly from miles away on my forest walks! The endlessly repetitive nature of the task is a form of audible torture which is denied even to the CIA stalwarts by international law. In Denmark it is merely the everyday, rural norm.

Once must inevitably ask oneself, again and again over the long years, whether there is any economic sense in private firewood production. Just think of countless hours wasted in felling and fetching and sawing and stacking and bringing it all indoors in dribs and drabs, in all weathers, just to burn up the chimney. Such unpaid activity must surely make a complete mockery of any minimum wage? How can it possibly save them any money [at all] over any other form of fuel or heating? They pay the driver for a lorry load of mixed [and illegal] demolition timber to be dumped on their front lawn. The stuff still has to be made into stove-sized lumps which takes them days or weeks of chainsawing. Which consumes several kinds of oil and petrol and usually electricity. Are all firewood producers registered as unemployed or [merely] mentally ill? How else can they possibly find the time to work at it all day and every day? Nothing else makes any sense and absolutely no sense at all! And if it is for private consumption why are so many trailers leaving the "wood yard?"

If only one could subtract the loss of home values in the area from their supposed woodburning "savings". What about the psychological suffering from their maddeningly repetitive noise? Don't even get me started on the soot particle inhalation and toxins from burning illegal timber sources! Imagine the torture of knowing that they are receiving regular lorry loads of [illegal] painted chipboard, painted plywood, painted hardboard and painted ceiling beams from a highly toxic era with substances now completely banned from use! The woodburning psychopath will cheerfully feed their stoves with this crap. All day and every day [and night] of the year. And if they burn it then their neighbours must inevitably "enjoy" it too! Where's the choice? There is none. [At all.]

Did I mention how many villages literally stink of creosote from burning wet wood? Or that the private, but annually compulsory, visits from sweeps have almost no effect. They use round brushes on long steel strips to "polish" the treacle inside the chimney, by hand, from above. Resulting in several chimney fires locally immediately after the sweep's visit! One of these homes was thatched! Despite having to pay for the service, through the rates, these private sweeps seem to have absolutely no organization at all. Since they work only during the day the occupants of almost every home are usually out at work. The majority of women in Denmark work and their children are in day care [all day, every day] from a very early age. [Think baby.] You'd think the sweeps would have a proper contact system by now. Instead of which they drop a card through the door after several attempts at sitting around for endless hours in their vans hoping to spot any movement in the area. A "nice little earner" if ever there was one!

The sweeps had a nice scam going selling costly rungs to be fitted permanently to the roof. Just so they didn't have to get their own ladders off their van roof! Disfiguring rungs on the roof all year round for a ten minute annual visit just to save themselves the effort of using their own bløødy ladders? The papers carried stories of the bullying of pensioners into having these rungs fitted. Given the price of the rungs it would have been cheaper for many pensioner to buy their own, professional roof ladder and set it aside for the sweep's use only once a year! Our own sweep, over whom we had absolutely no choice [as they won't cover other sweep's fixed patches even when bribed] was a racist, bullying and very deliberate vandal! They say power corrupts. It certainly corrupted our very own Master Sweep!

After demanding to know, on several previous annual visits, where I worked [and not believing me] he went straight up onto the roof. Where I had already prepared a professional quality roof ladder tied to a tradesman quality, builders ladders down to the ground. He had not even checked indoors to see if the access plates were in place and the stove vents safely closed. Then this Master Sweep [I kid you not] thrust his polishing brush down the chimney so hard that he knocked the indoor access plate right off the wall! Which he then followed up with a thorough brushing of our living room furniture with his filthy brush as it extended two meters from the broken hatch out into the room! You are now left to imagine the layer of soot on every surface. Professional to a fault, eh? Despite his unbelievable behaviour we still have absolutely no choice of cowboy sweep! Welcome to environmentally friendly, compulsory everything, including annual bullying, Denmark, at our own £34 [equiv.] annual expense!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: I rode south to the coast on mostly wet roads with plenty of puddles. It tried to spit with rain a few times but quickly lost interest. There are some quite fierce hills down there including some fun switchbacks if a trifle bumpy. Having a bad day with straps! One of my original, leather, saddle bag straps broke from old age. Then the shoulder strap of my sports bag gave way at the stitching and dropped my shopping from chest height at the checkout! Aaargh! Two dented cans but no other obvious damage. I'll have to find two, matching, heavy leather belts with roller buckles as the second saddle bag strap looks just as tired. Black leather, 30 wide x 3mm thick shouldn't be too hard to find online. Needing a matching pair, with nickle plated, roller buckles, makes them a very unlikely find in any charity shop. 26 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


16 Oct 2015

16th October 2015 Joined the Dangerous Sports Club.

Friday 16th 48F, 9C, breezy, heavy overcast.  Walked around the [rural] block. Not much wildlife but lots of cats out hunting or exploring. WW3 seemed to have broken out in some woods. Have you ever noticed the similarity of a shooting party to a badly choreographed stacking of two short planks?

I haven't mention the elderly driver from the other day. He overtook me on a hump backed railway bridge in a narrow lane.[Yes, Denmark does still have some trains but very few stations outside the cities. Elysium, and all that sort of thing]

Anyway, thanks to my elevated position on the trike I could easily see an oncoming car coming up the other side. So I started frantically flapping my offside wing like some ungainly wounded bird. Still the over-taker pressed on regardless! Fortunately the other car saw my arm waving and stopped short of the brow. Just as the drooling moron overtook me on completely the wrong side of the road right on the blind hump! Aarghh!

Just think of the potential mayhem! Having to answer probing questions on the Danish TV news: About how the cars  collided on the blind brow and one went over the parapet and hit a train of petrol tankers. Which then rolled on for half a mile and destroyed the entire village of a 1000 people! And all in my garbled pidgin Dansk. And you know I'd make an awful witness at the public inquiry in front of all those cameras and thrusting microphones! And did I want to tell my life's story! And did I want to pose for a center-fold for Playgirl on my trike?

Senility? Registered blind? Drunk out of his tiny 1.25 brain cells? Pharmaceutical drug overdose? Suicide pact with his similarly aged wife? Psychopathic serial killer hoping to enter an exit road to the motorway? [Don't laugh! This happens almost weekly in Denmark!] I'm talking about the overtaking driver here in case you just lost the plot. Well, he swerved around the other car without so much as a pause or even a touch of brake lights. Then drove straight on, still sitting there like a crash test dummy, jammed behind the wheel.

I have officially joined the Dangerous Sports Club. Not for cycling, as you might well have thought. Nope. As an ordinary pedestrian walking beside rural roads my life is constantly threatened. Some car drivers make absolutely no attempt to steer away from me. With nothing coming the opposite way they still continue on the same line regardless of my presence.

As backup to my daring hobby as a death defying pedestrianist I have added potentially dangerous hand gestures: In one busy village a car was coming the other way at well over 50mph. So I gave him the traditional circling finger around the ear to suggest his lunacy had been duly noted. He was just passing a school divided into two sites by the road on which he was traveling at nearly twice the speed limit for a built up area. The same speed limit which continues for miles in the direction he was traveling.

One might [quite naturally] assume the perp was a heart surgeon in a desperate rush to perform an emergency procedure such was his haste. Further assuming that this particular heart surgeon drove a scruffy old VW estate. But no, having driven at least another mile, before finding anywhere [at all] to turn around, he had retraced his rally route. All in order to speak to me, as a matter of some urgency, as I rode along the parallel cycle path. Having shared my observations on his lethal driving habits, particularly while passing two schools, he muttered something incomprehensible and drove off. I was just grateful that I was no longer being accosted by this kerb crawler. As I do have my reputation to think of. I'd hate to be thought of as the "town trike!" Even if I am the only one in the village.

So, children, never assume that a speeding fool is ever in a hurry to be somewhere else. He has all the time in the world. [Allegedly] Even time to return by the same route to question an amateur critic of his own lunatic driving behaviour. [As if any confirmation was needed.] Then to drive off in completely the opposite direction to his earlier Danish land speed record attempt. I'm ignoring the dual direction requirements for a valid record attempt just for the sake of argument here.

Mmm! Simple McLardy's litter for simple folk. [It says so on the packaging! Read and learn. Burp!]

There are no turnings [at all] for several miles on his chosen exit at the next roundabout. So one can only assume that his speeding was his own example of wishing [forlornly] to be a member of a Dangerous Sports Club. Except, of course, that he was in no personal danger whatsoever [except perhaps of a paltry fine.] Though the small children at the school were automatically raised to full membership by default of his own behaviour.

18 miles, not out. Thank goodness I was tri-cycling, eh? Just think what might have happened if I'd been walking! I might never have returned alive to tell the tale. Mown down by a local zombie without anybody ever knowing the awful truth that they are living amongst us!

Saturday 17th 48F, 9C, very light winds. Rain promised for later so I had better get moving. There is the heaviest overcast imaginable this side of "The Road" but slightly more fun. Viggo Mortenson is a Dane so that's probably where they got the idea from. Just think.. if it hadn't been so overcast in Scandinavia there might never have been the Danes and the Viking invasions. They would all have been too busy sunbathing by their summer houses instead. While the men enjoyed their extended maternity leave.

I'd better take my shiny, new Aldi LED torch on my walk. I can flash it at oncoming drivers who refuse to recognise my existence in their myopic little [mobile sensory deprivation tank] world. My memory may not be 100% these days but I swear I have no recollection of having forfeited my right to immortality in exchange for blogging fame and a tricycle. I don't even know the Devil. Let alone having made any secret pacts with him!

Perhaps VW-Audi is the real devil? <cough-cough-cough> I just had a thought: Shouldn't all those millions of drivers with VW's dodgy software be prosecuted for breaking the law on "Chip tuning" their diesels?  Just askin'. ;ø)

Psst! Wanna buy a filthy diesel? Only one lady owner and she only drove it to her coven meetings on Black Fridays when there was a full moon. She never smoked in the car. At least, not unless she was caught in direct sunlight.

I was half way through the woods when I saw a number of small birds foraging in badly stacked undergrowth from the tree thinning work. I spotted several Goldcrests, a Robin and a Nuthatch together in the same small area. Shame the forestry harvester hadn't cleared my usual route to the other exit. I suppose they might get around to it next.

Suddenly there was the sound of erratic gunfire! A band of pheasant terrorists had obviously ambushed a group of innocent huntsmen in a fierce but highly asymmetric skirmish! It was bang on 10 'clock so it must have been pre-planned. The sound of gunfire seemed to be coming from behind me in the same forest. With cowardice being the better part of valour I beat a hasty retreat back the way I had come. I reasoned that the lack of upmarket SUV's on the track might be a sign of a safe route out of this unofficial war zone. I am still unsure whether I would actually qualify for refugee status now that Margaret Thatcher is no longer tyrannizing the UK. 

I never met the huntsmen on my long walk back. Though I might well have advised them to avoid these dangerous woods earlier or later than 10. That might have put the evil pheasants completely off their stroke and the huntsmen might even have missed being caught up in the firefight altogether. I shall have to monitor the local paper to see if there were any casualties amongst those poor huntsmen. I don't know what the country is coming to when you can't go for a quiet walk with your friends and dogs in the woods without some sort of bloodbath!

I am breaking in a new walking hat. It is an ex-US-army-fatigues-inspired, peaked thingy in olive drab. "Fatigue" being the operative word where I am concerned. As I have absolutely no ambitions to actually serve in an armed conflict. I couldn't even put down a pet fish if its life depended on it. The Head Gardener is trying to wean me off my Eastern European, national baseball cap. The one with the rather too toxic script in these very difficult times. The problem seems to be the depth over the crown [of the new cap] is far too shallow for me. So that I have to tighten the strap unduly just to keep it on. I am not sure whether this is due to poor design. Or perhaps the manufacturers simply knew the cranial capacity of their original clients better than I do?

Well, I had better get on my trike before the CIA homes in on my location and sends another drone. We made a large pond in the crater from last time. Which was nice because it saved me an awful lot of digging. There were no civilian casualties but we never saw our poor old tabby again. Shame we lost the only decent parking space.

Rode to Assens after coffee and rolls for a change of scenery. Bit of a tailwind going and the reverse coming back. Started to drizzle just as I reached home. Nothing much else to report. But that's Assens on a Saturday for you. 19 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


12 Oct 2015

12th October 2015 No snake oil involved.

Monday 12th 43-45F, 6-7C, overcast, light breeze. Any early showers should clear to brightness with light winds.

I passed this large barn under reconstruction on a country lane. It is very unusual to see traditional farm outbuildings being repaired or restored. Modern building economics must make it cheaper to demolish and put up a tin shed.

A glance through the decorated entrance on the left showed new steelwork had been erected on concrete pillars to completely clear the floor of the original wooden support posts. The internal, dividing walls had been demolished to provide hardcore for a new floor. New rafters had been strapped to the originals to provide a safe and flat roof surface for the new tiles in the foreground.

The imposing portal on the front is also new work to allow larger machine access. The sheer scale of the building is difficult to judge until you see the two men working up at the ridge. [1/4 of the way from each end]  I have added a Google Street view image of the barn as it was originally. The asbestos corrugated roofing has obviously required earlier replacement on the left after storm damage. Such fiber reinforced, corrugated cement roofs are remarkably commonplace in Denmark for industrial, farming and countless homes. Eternit roofing was light enough to provide an affordable replacement for expensive and fire prone thatch. Which was still remarkably widespread even in the 1950s. As can be seen in the many archived aerial photographs which are freely available online.

After a morning of digging and relaying timber foundations for our greenhouse I went for a ride after lunch.  It stayed dry with sunny periods and the winds remained fairly light but definitely feeling cooler. 20 miles.

Mmm! McLardy's slug bait. Burp!

Tuesday 13th 45-47F, 7-8C, mostly overcast with a cool, but light wind. My planned, usual loop up through the woods was curtailed by spraying on the field beside my normal exit track. Without wishing to retrace every step I tried to walk beside the edge of another field. But, as usual, it had been cultivated right to the hedge. Forcing me to plod the tractor tracks as I accumulated enough mud to plant my own lawn.

I was going to have a tootle on the trike after lunch but it started raining. With no pressure to go shopping I took another rest day.

Wednesday 14th 44F, 7C, another day of cloud and showers.Walking to a more distant section of the forest provided new paths to explore as leaves fell like gentle snow. I spotted a Kestrel hovering busily over bare fields. Kestrels are not very common for some reason despite the huge numbers of other birds of prey. Hardly a day passed when there was not a kestrel overhead at our last place.

 Just as I was readying to take a picture in the woods two deer rose up and bounced off into the background conifers. I still managed to miss capturing their flight with my camera. It impossible to do large trees adequate justice with a compact camera. Or any camera at all, for that matter. The trees soar but look like mere matches in an image. Later, I was regretting the lack of small birds when over 30 Chaffinches moved in fits and starts across the nearest field. My last hundred yards in the drive were at a snail's pace as I allowed a mixed flock of fifteen, heavily armed pheasants to disperse at their own pace. It had stayed dry but a niggling wind had picked at vulnerable trees and my bare hands for an hour and half.

My ride started with rain but stopped before the first shops arrived. The wind was more beneficial on the way back. I pulled off for a large, verge-trimming tractor but caught it again at 26mph on the next descent. My wife gave me a spectacle case for my shopping reading glasses but I lost them again just the same. Fortunately they cost little more than a fiver in old money. Lack of [optical] accommodation is nature's punishment for my surviving long enough to become forgetful. Has anyone seen my reading glasses? I need them to read the microscopic print on food labels. Just because you can nano-print does not mean you should!

I have probably mentioned it here before but cycling cured my long distance vision problems. [About minus one dioptre] I needed glasses to read the wall clock for nearly a decade. That was before my employment was exported in exchange for a fat director's bonus and a smart new Audi. [His, not mine] It took them another three years to close the whole factory with its globally unique and desperately needed products. I still see colleagues at the shops with no real hope of employment.  The government was talking about dispersing jobs from Copenhagen to the outskirts of Denmark. Those involved were being offered crisis help for their potential psychological problems! Only in Elysium! 10 miles.

Thursday 15th 46F, 8C, breezy, heavy overcast, light local showers. Another sad, grey day. Busy, so another rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


10 Oct 2015

8th October 2015 Olympic cyclist.

Thursday 8th 48F, 9C, windy periods, heavy overcast, more rain forecast but less than yesterday.Winds down to 20mph instead of yesterday's 30+. Had a damp walk with fine drizzle falling. Just lucky to get home again before it tipped down.

The good news is that self-driving cars will be here before we know it. The bad news is that it will be limited to only a few, new cars. The technology involved is obviously vastly superior to human drivers in almost all respects. Though why they didn't start with compulsory distance/speed sensors and heads-up indicators for all road-going vehicles I do not know.

Watching the traffic this morning it was clear that the vast majority of drivers haven't a clue about vehicle separation based on their speed. The advice used to be a minimum of one vehicle length per 10mph in the dry on good road surfaces. With a much longer gap in wet or icy weather. The local practice seems to be one yard per 10mph even in the sopping wet.

My favourite track in the woods is becoming overgrown again.

If all vehicles had sensors to accurately judge braking distance, in all road surface conditions, then 99.999% of all drivers would not be able to corner as they do. How can you possibly corner at any speed beyond your visible braking distance? [Including reaction distance before your foot even starts heading for the anchor pedal!] Answer: You can, but only because you haven't a clue what you are doing. You also share a lunatic level of optimism along with the rest of the [driving] human race. Now add in a humongous excess of overconfidence in your response times and braking/driving skills. You know that moronic neighbour or colleague who hasn't two brain cells to rub together? Well he/she drives. Don't get too smug though. He thinks exactly the same about you. And you drive too! Welcome to the human race.

You certainly don't need AI to count the daily, monthly or annual death toll and countless serious injuries with humans in charge. Driving is much like gun ownership. The one, seemingly vital component which they have never been able to do without [until now] is the fuckwit. And they worry about putting AI in charge of battlefield weapons and policing? Gimme a break! Bring it on!

After an early shower it stayed dry for the rest of the day. It was lucky wife rang me to check my progress as my watch had lost an hour! I had been killing time exploring rural villages while I waited for a shop to open at 2pm. I had begun to wonder why I was feeling hungry! The wind picked up in time to become a noticeable headwind on the way home. 38 miles.

Friday 9th 48-51F, 9-11C, light winds, heavy overcast. A hilly detour to stretch the mileage but still only 10 miles.

Saturday 10th 48-50-46F, 9-10-8C, light breeze, early cloud has cleared to bright sunshine. Spent several hours attacking the ten feet high spiky hedge. Despite being tired from the ladder work and hoisting a heavy, extended hedge clipper above my head I set off north to avoid a headwind. 21 miles later I reached the shops!

I came out of one supermarket to discover an elderly chap admiring my trike. He was a Dutchman in his early eighties who had cycled at The Melbourne Olympics in 1956. He said he had gone on to coach track racing in Europe. His memory, intellect and command of English were still razor sharp as he discussed Reynolds 531 and how they would butcher Brooks B17 saddles for track and road use. He said he remembered tricycle racing in England back in the 1950s.

His bike had been left behind in Australia but had been recently discovered by somebody who was restoring it to original condition. Apparently he was contacted through the Danish cycling federation and was able to send his original "butchered" saddle from the 1950s to complete the bike. His name sounded like Jan Boys [Boyce?] but I may have the spelling wrong. My wife rang me to tell me off for being out late. So I had to head straight home on the tri-bars by the main road. Though my 20mph cruising speed was rather short lived as I began to feel tired and hungry.

Passing the Assens County Council sign was like crossing the border into Communist Romania. Suddenly the perfect road surfaces became absolutely appalling! With missing lines, potholes, patches, sand dunes and huge humps in the tarmac. I almost expected to see an ox-drawn cart! Except that nobody was sticking to the speed limit. 39 miles. A perfect autumn day became cooler and breezier later.

Sunday 11th 43F, 6C, light breeze, cloudy but bright. Showers possible. I woke feeling rather achy from yesterday's aerial, hedge clipping acrobatics. An hour's brisk walk around a prairie under rather grey skies helped. Walking such rough tracks is excellent exercise. I forced myself to remain on the tussocky grass in the center of the well worn track on the way back via another route. When the body has no idea where the next footfall will land it cannot predict how much effort will be required to counter gravity and the bod's untidy mass. You get a whole body massage without all the touchy-feely nonsense. City dwellers can rarely enjoy such rough going and must plod their grey and two dimensional boredom as apt reward for mere convenience. 

The ducks' laughter on the well hidden lake was short lived as hundreds shot off across to the other side. To glide into the excellent cover provided by scrubby willows and reeds. Or took off to circle and monitor the noisy mayhem below.

The divisions of scruffy, teenage pheasants guarding the woods must have been better fed than the usual despot's conscripts celebrating 70 years of hunger and bullying tyrants. The birds had more to live for and rapidly vanished into the undergrowth. Bolsters of grey cloud rose threateningly from the east but managed only brief sprinkles of droplets. Hardly an after-breakfast dash up Snowdon but the views were pleasant enough for all their familiarity. The weather, the light, the season and the farmer's muddy exploits all help to keep my walks, and rides, a fresh and unique experience.

There were brief showers all day. Without a good reason to go out I pottered at home instead. Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

5 Oct 2015

5th October 2015 Jumped by a green light!

Monday 5th 47F, 8C, thick mist, overcast, dead calm. If the mist clears I shall have a decent ride today. I have more wants on my life's list which are, quite probably, lying waiting for me some 20 miles away. A number of potential sources are only open on Mondays. Then closed mid-week before re-opening on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All the plans of trikes and men.. Two of the shops were closed on Mondays. The one that was open closed at lunch time before I reached it. A third doesn't open until 2pm. One of those which was open is closed on Fridays. How may miles did the tricyclist travel? Answer: 40 miles. Having been twice disappointed  by closed shops I ended up going even further to reach another shop. I knew it would be open but still returned empty handed.

With only a muesli bar for company I was suffering from hunger knock by the time I returned mid-afternoon. There were a lot of flies and clouds around today. The steady drop in temperature can definitely be noticed. Despite a light headwind coming back and occasional sunshine I kept my jacket on all day.

Tuesday 6th 53F, 12C, windy, overcast. A strong easterly wind will gust up to 40mph later with two days of rain arriving after that. Any thoughts of a ride had better be made early. In farming news: The beginning of pigs diarrhoea spreading season reminds me of the news headlines. Multi-resistant bacteria are increasingly being found in Danish hospitals. To make matters worse the Danish pig farmers are giving their month-old piglets so much zinc [instead of more costly antibiotics] that is making the multi-resistance far worse and has contaminated fields, equal in area to the size of the island of Fyn, 200miles^2, with dangerous quantities of zinc and other heavy metals. Only one in seven of Danish farmers is in profit. Pigs you win. Pigs you lose. By the way.. most of the Danish pig feed is being imported from former Rain Forest so think on before you order your third meal of the morning. The reason for so much zinc is the diarrhoea caused by the piglets being taken away from their industrial breeding units mothers at only one month old. You've had your [cheap] bacon. Now wallow in it.

I walked for an hour and a half in my usual loop through the woods. Hundreds of ducks on the pond. Birds of prey calling overhead as were a number of chevrons of geese heading south. Getting quite blowy already.

I left after coffee into a stiff headwind. Having fought my way there I headed back with a nasty crosswind buffeting me in the gaps between the hedges. I think the fine for running a red light on a bike is about £100 equivalent in Denmark. I'm wondering what the fine is for killing a cyclist with a green light! I was within two seconds of reaching a temporary traffic light when it suddenly fell across the road in front of me with a huge crash! We aren't talking about some piddling little thing either. It was full sized head on a tall pole and blocked the entire lane. I managed to ride around it but the traffic coming up behind me unable to get past. A worker crossed the road to pick the light up again but I doubt he thought to stabilize it properly for the very windy conditions. Where do I queue for my course of crisis therapy for severe PTSD? 15 miles, not quite road kill [yet].

Wednesday 7th 53F, 12C, gales and rain all day. Rest day being busy at something else.

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1 Oct 2015

1st October 2015 Mud, inglorious mud!

Thursday 1st 50-56F, 10-13C, light breeze, overcast. Sunshine promised for later. I left mid afternoon with a moderate tailwind pushing my speed up to 20mph at times. Shopped and returned the same way at a far more modest 12-14mph. Only 17 miles.

Friday 2nd 51F, 11C, light breeze, overcast but sunshine promised for later. Denmark has been enjoying its highest barometric pressure since records began. 1041.3hPa. Not quite an Indian summer but the weather has been very stable, dry and pleasantly warm reaching around 60F every afternoon.

A pleasant walk up to the woods where many of the fire breaks have been cleared. Several dozen pheasants guarded the entrance but put up a poor fight.  A deer shot across a gap between the conifers. Diffuse clouds of gulls rose and fell to the tides of rumour and speculation. While small, depleted squadrons of fluttering larks climbed steeply into indifferent skies to perform their ritual acrobatics. Vast, roaring tractors plied lane and fold on urgent missions of both extent and duration. Dwarfed only by jostling container trucks competing with dodgem cars on the endless Scalextric tracks of real life and near death experience. A neighbour's tabby cat had given up its last life to the curiosity of a 2-dimensional hedgehog.

Unlikely gap in a hedge. 

Just a short ride in bright sunshine. Quite breezy but only for 7 miles.
The Danish police have been having a go at cyclists again. 1400 cyclists were fined out of 2000 stopped. Ironic in a country where at least 90% of drivers ignore the speed limit and double white lines. Many drivers also use their mobile phones continuously. Now I can't make my mind up whether to have an Afro hairstyle or Deadlocks while I'm out on my trike.

Saturday 3rd 50-57F, 10-14C, slightly misty, feeling cooler despite being almost still at first with a grey overcast. Tractors are working the fields around us. Just a stroll down to the village and back. The hunting season must have started. Peace and quiet of the countryside? A nice quiet weekend? Yeah, right!

Quite a chilly start to my ride but it soon warmed up when the sun came out.

As I was riding into a [50kph/30mph] village 1/3 of the road width was still almost unrideable from major roadworks finished many months ago. Cars were still insisting on overtaking me at above the speed limit as I stuck to my side of the road but outboard of the "tank training track" of ploughed tarmac. The parents of two tiny kids were standing on opposite sides of this incredibly busy road. The mother was obviously planning to send the children across the road on their tiny bikes towards their father.

Just as I, and a car approached from opposite directions, the boy decided he knew better than to wait. He set off across the road without even looking. I and the car were forced to brake to give the child plenty of time to cross. Moments later, coming the other way was was an immature, teenage fuckwit who floored the pedal of his decoratively "tuned" and noisy car because he could see a long [30mph] straight ahead.

Almost as much mud as I ran over on the roads this morning.

Tragically, he is not alone. Probably 70-80% of all drivers accelerate along this straight and take the completely blind corner out of the village at probably 50mph into the teeth of the opposing traffic. Which is, almost always, racing around exactly the same blind corner at an average of 50mph despite having passed the 30mph signs and village "gates" and large, speed indicator board well over 200 yards earlier. Most of these vehicles, including buses, 7 axle intercontinental transporters, builder's vans and Mr and Mrs John Doe will all be on the wrong side of the road despite the solid, double white lines running continuously for miles back the way they had come.

The mother managed to grab the tiny girl before she too set off blindly on probably the last journey of her very young life. The boy was fielded safely by his father who rushed into the road without looking. Just another day on a road through a village somewhere.

Mmm! More McSlugbait.

I read in the Danish press this same  morning that a driver had his car confiscated for doing 80mph in a village with a 30mph speed limit. Hardly unusual at all, in fact, except for the vehicle confiscation. Keep death off the roads. Don't drive. You know it makes no sense. Only 17 miles.

Sunday 4th 49F, 10C, thick mist, overcast, calm. Promised to be bright later with light winds again. I was just reading that when Paris had a car free day pollution dropped by a third. I wonder how it would fall if Copenhagen did the same with a cycle ban? [Think about it.]

It was damp and very misty on my hour's walk. Three more items of McLardy's patented, genocidal packaging lay on the verge. I have a theory that it is one of Lardy's regulars. Someone who needs one and a half car seats just to get home. He fears discovery that his gluttonous habits are killing him. So he discards the evidence to avoid criticism by Mrs Wobbly. Perhaps the litter lout is a bus driver?

 As I packed my shopping into the capacious Goth saddlebag, the other day, a bus drove into the supermarket carp park.  I could hardly  believe my eyes! Who drives a bus into a busy, supermarket car park? Then turns the bus around and parks right by the shop entrance? So that he physically  blocks access to a dozen customer's cars?

The answer could only be the driver. When he dismounted his stomach was so distended [a conservative 30" linear, forward extension from merely chubby] that he could have been only moments from giving birth to long-overdue octuplets. His arms seemed of quite normal length so how he reached the steering wheel of the bus must remain one of those baffling mysteries. He disappeared into the shop and I left to ride home. Who knows? The McLardy's trough filling staff may even be on first name terms.

There is much talk at present about all the "scrounging economic refugees." Complaints about them taking taxpayer's money, housing, heating, health and social benefits without ever having contributed a penny. Why does nobody moan about the much larger numbers of self-inflicted obese? Many of whom are very likely to be taking up most hospital beds in the near future. As they lie there dying from the results of their deliberate and wanton gluttony at taxpayer's expense. A headline on the newspaper board outside the garage suggested that over 50% of the population are now clinically obese. Where do I queue for my tax rebate for keeping my weight healthy with exercise and dietary self control? Thus saving the rest of the remaining taxpayers from having to pay for yet another freeloader. [Crane or forklift optional!]

As you will probably have guessed, by now, it hasn't cleared to sunshine. The mist is still far too thick to risk a ride as we approach 11.15am. I was quite looking forwards to a longer ride in such light winds. There is hardly a breath of air in the birches. It cleared up after lunch but the wind increased. My nose has started bleeding regularly again.  Probably all the heavy lifting. Just a short ride for 10 miles today.

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