16 Nov 2015

16th November 2015 Let there be lights.

Monday 16th 50F, 10C, windy, overcast, rain or showers on and off all day. A grey, miserable day. No walk and no ride. Tidied the shed. [A little.]

Ten feet [3m] high Japanese Knotweed fighting a pitched battle with brambles on a demolition site. The Knotweed arrived with the lorry loads of landscaping soil.

Tuesday 17th 44-47F, 7-8C, calm with a heavy overcast. The forecast is wet this morning, brightening up later though still with showers. October was the 7th month in an unbroken series of record warm months and itself set a record as the warmest ever since the earliest records in 1849. The temperature is supposed to drop 10 degrees C to around freezing at the weekend. A block over Ireland will stop the usual procession of lows over Europe and bring northerly winds. Possibly with snow. Whoopee! There are no toxic, brown smoke chimneys, from burning painted, demolition waste, north of us! A walk up to the woods under grey skies with only the gulls for company. It was horribly soggy so I had to turn back just as it started raining. A robin was tweeting in a tree by the gate and refused to leave as we stared at each other. Obviously nobody had told it that it was a timid European robin so was acting badly out of character. I kept up the showers all morning but I am still hoping to go for a ride after lunch.

The roads were sopping wet from another downpour just before I left. I stayed dry despite huge, threatening plates of dark cloud going over.  Lights on as I rode home at dusk. 19 miles.

Wednesday 18th 48F, 9C, very windy, mostly overcast. Showers all morning again. Left mid-afternoon towards half a blue-black sky.
 Fortunately it passed over before I reached it.

Bought a new 'Smart' back light to replace the one that was stolen. Very bright indeed with 28 tiny diodes in a strip, two flash patterns and steady beam.  Lasts for ages on 2 x AAA batteries provided you put the cover on the right way around. Supplied with a strong rubber band fitted with a hook, multiple tension holes and the locking light clip. It is so new that there aren't any images online yet. I fixed it to my saddle pin to ensure I am better seen. Though I'm not leaving lights on the trike again without supervision. I don't know why the manufacturers don't mould a loop onto the back plates to allow a thin tie-wrap to secure the lights against casual theft or just being dislodged. 14 miles.

Thursday 19th 46F, 8C, heavy overcast, raining, gales. It is supposed to keep raining for most of the day with gusts up to 45mph+.  Not a great day for cycling! Nevertheless, our hero braved the wind roaring in the trees for a short ride between showers. Only 7 miles.

Added some images of the Smart 261-28 rear light. From top: Flash photo to capture reflector, strip of 28 LEDs with Smart's complex flashing to draw attention and finally,  third flash option from edge to center. Wasn't there a robot with a strangely lighted slit for eyes like this? "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

I just turned the light on and am now seeing a row of tiny, bright green dot's by persistence of vision which lasted for ages. It really is that bright! It's all a far cry from carrying two, rusting, EverReady tin boxes with yellow-orange, incandescent bulbs and constantly flat, 3lb 4.5V batteries of my distant youth. I can actually remember acetylene lamps and their strange smell involving calcium carbide. Though I don't remember owning or using such a lamp. Which suddenly reminds me of orange streetlamps which made my cub scout uniform look black. It 's supposed to be a sign of senility being able to vividly remember your youth but not what happened ten minutes ago. Was I there?

Friday 20th 42F, 5C, almost still, the overcast seems to be clearing after earlier rain. More normal winter weather and temperatures are promised for the weekend. Light winds are forecast for today. I was just reading that Denmark has by far the lowest natural area in the EU. About 8% of the land is natural. Even some of that is used for agriculture and hunting. Hang on though; if they counted the mud on the roads as natural they could claim a greater area. We have been invaded by flitty Fieldfares. The numbers in the flock must be up to around 100. They like to perch in our trees. All facing the same way and looking alert. There was lots of standing water in the  fields and the track was even wetter than usual. Like walking on a wet sponge for most of the way.

This is the time of year when the wild roses pop out of the hedges and try to re-take the roads. Cyclists, joggers and walkers are in the most danger as long tendrils reach right out. Council hedge clipping eventually cuts the spiky growth back but it is a clear indicator of the speed with which nature can reclaim man's slender grip on the land.

Later, I headed north into light winds and rode in a wide loop towards my goal. The new cycle paths were open between Harndrup and Brenderup but were still rather muddy, with stones, sand and gravel in places. There were stretches where the saturated fields were running off right across the path. This was due to some odd landscaping decisions where the field was banked up right beside the path. Apart from a couple of badly sunken drains and a flooded junction the surface was mostly fine and nicely smooth.

All this may seem as if I am being rather negative but not really. I am grateful that cyclists can now ride beside this busy road without impeding the traffic. The width is excellent and obviously designed for two way cycle traffic. Though the white lines have yet to be laid. Masses of short lampposts have been planted but have yet to have their light heads fitted.

A mud-bath building site was carrying thick mud and stones across the brand new path onto the roadway. But nobody cares. The relevant authorities probably just pretend it is just another farmer mud spreading without clearing up after them. I can remember a new build school site being literally shut down 40 years ago in the UK over mud carried onto the road outside. Many Danish roads are left infinitely worse than that example. Some Danish farmers have smaller tractors with cylindrical brushes on the front. Not all farmers use them. It is no fun riding over golf-ball sized flints and stones embedded in the thick mud. Not to mention the lack of adhesion and the severe damage caused to the brake rims by the abrasive crud.

My rear changer gear cable broke inside the Ergo lever some 20 miles from home. So there was quite a bit of climbing in top gear [84"] before I finally decided to stop and rig some cord to tension the gear cable. This allowed me to use 2-3 gears at the back and both chain wheels. The most difficult part was trying to lift the loaded trike to get it into bottom gear. That proved impossible with 2WD so I had to ride it away uphill while pulling up on the cable by hand. Not an easy  task with an 11t  top gear. Riding home was easier but meant a lot of very high speed spinning. It was that, or find myself constantly over-geared. Returned at dusk for 50 miles today. It never did brighten up except for my own lights.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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