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.

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