11 Dec 2015

11th December 2015 Does doing a 'century' over two days, count?

Friday 11th 42F, 6C, breezy, very heavy overcast, potential for showers. Windy later, with rain. An hour and a half walk up through the woods. Slippery underfoot with so much mud being churned up by forestry work. Disturbed a family of freshly-painted Bullfinches in a field hedge. Arrived home just in time to miss a heavy shower. Perfect timing! It had been looking quite promising with the clouds breaking up to a hint of blue and a threat of sunshine. Now it is so dark it could be dusk and the sky is uniform, dark grey. It is raining so hard it looks like thick fog as it turns to hail!

I told you it was overcast!

A mid afternoon ride returning in the dark. The gears were perfect at times and misbehaving at others. I think it is to do with stiffness in the Campag lever or the cable sheath [outer] on the handlebars. As it was spitting with rain and huge black anvils were coming up from the west I bought a dirt cheap [and further discounted] florescent cycling helmet cover. A label claimed 3M reflective strips. When I shone my bright "Scream" front light on it outside the shop the strips looked very dark! It wasn't until I returned home and saw it reflecting in the outside house light that I realised it is only reflective directly "on axis." Perpendicular incidence, if you prefer. I've finally found another decent sports bag in a charity shop. The bright pink one with the broken zip can now [finally] be retired. 14 miles.

Saturday 12th 40F, 4C, overcast, light winds. 

For those who wonder at the importance of a sports bag to a tricyclist: It is the equivalent of a decent sized saddlebag [for carrying shopping home] but without all the hype. The bag is hung by its own handles simply looped over the seat post and carries the lighter, or more fragile items, back from distant supermarkets. The trike scores heavily over a bike in having so much free space between the back wheels. My endless supply of cheap sports bags has saved me thousands of pounds/dollars/kroner in easily avoidable expense on petrol and car repairs.  Though I still have to pay the same road taxes as the road-weary rep for my miserable few hundred miles per year.

The fitness I gain from cycling to the shops, over a wide area, has probably extended my life and keeps my weight in check. The psychological benefits of cycling are too wide-ranging and obvious to need further explanation.

Cycling and blogging about it, supported by my constant photography, reinforce my interest in wildlife, the landscape and admiring the traditional architecture. I can share my hair-brained schemes  and inventiveness with the entire world without greater expense than normal, monthly Internet charges. Cycling has given back far more than it has cost in replacing worn out parts, improved components and tyres. It even gives me a strange form of social life despite being rurally exiled in a foreign land. People use the trike as an ice-breaker to conversation outside supermarkets. Often it is simply to satisfy their curiosity as to the whys and how far do I travel and where can they get one like mine?

The extreme rarity of sporting trikes on the Danish roads means that [probably] thousands of people recognise me from seeing me on their own travels. I see hands waving from behind windscreens wherever I go. The odd beep of a horn is usually accompanied by a wave. Though I haven't a clue who they are it hardly matters. I consider it my duty to reduce my impact on their progress and it must be appreciated by some. My average speed of 11.2mph [according to my bike computer] gives me sufficient range to reach much of the Island of Fyn in a single day and return home. Though not to the far reaches every day and it usually means traveling in a [fairly] straight line and back by another way. If only to reduce the duration to an acceptable level.

My wife is remarkably tolerant of my cycling though she does worry about the potential risks. It is indeed fortunate that cyclists enjoy far greater respect in Denmark than in the ultra-aggressive chaos of the UK's total anarchy of the road. The Danes are much more relaxed about hierarchy so don't drive around with huge chips on their shoulders. Nor do they waste valuable reaction time worrying about who has right of way in their thousand daily "games" of chicken.

Many Danes cycle and/or own a bike so they share a common empathy with each other out on the roads. Respect for [some of] the rules of the road and almost universal provision of cycle paths or marked-off cycle lanes reduces the impact of each form of transport on the other. If you must do it, then cycling, in Denmark, is probably as good as it gets anywhere. If somebody could do something about the wind and the cold of winter it would be [almost] perfect. At least it doesn't rain all the time! The icing on the cake would be for the supermarkets I visit to actually stock their heavily advertised special offers if only once in a while. Lies, damned lies and Danish supermarkets, eh? They must be inspired by the endless, empty promises of their politicians.

I walked around the edges of some very soggy fields for a change of scenery. Within a hundred yards I had seen Bullfinches, Fieldfares and several, large birds of prey. The mink gulls were much depleted in numbers today. Cold on my hands at first but the clouds have cleared to bright, but low, sunshine. Only a week to the shortest day. It's a good day for a ride if I can decide where to go.

I rode northeast at 11 am to the edge of Odense before looping back through Søndersø and then home. Tailwind going but the contrary on the way home. So that I needed the tri-bars quite a bit just to maintain reasonable progress. Lots of puddles and minor flooding in the lanes. At least the mud was regularly washed off the tyres and my new brake blocks. Like an idiot I only had one muesli bar and a small box of pure apple juice for company. Not enough for being gone for five hours when I missed lunch. So I was getting a bit tired by the time I neared home and dusk. Lots of birds of prey about as well as flocks of different kinds of birds. The gears were the same as yesterday. Mostly  perfect indexing but unaccountably stiff at other times. I shall have to investigate with the trike up on the workstand. 49 miles.

Sunday 13th 34-36F, 1-2C, still, overcast. Much colder and supposed to clear to sunshine with a slight risk of wintry showers. My walk was delayed while I dug out my Salomon boots from the rafters of the shed. I had left my best [£5 from a charity shop] Ecco walking boots to dry in the weak winter sunshine [then forgot them overnight.] There was half an inch of water in them presumably from overnight rain. Whoops!

Suitably adorned in my Salomons I clomped off around the rural block as the blinding sun rose into a now, cloudless sky. I had seen several buzzards before I had even let the drive. It was so incredibly still I could hear the high altitude airliners passing over which is unusual. The hedges were full of small birds moving steadily away from me as I plodded on to the sound of my boots. The Eccos are very much quieter.

A gaudy pair of Bramblings joined the blue Tits, Great tits, sparrows and Blackbirds at their game of tag. Until they finally lost patience and crossed the road for a rest in the opposite hedge. Cocks were crowing, geese complaining in their cottage back gardens, crows and rooks were calling as Jackdaws stood silent watch on the treetops. Ponies stared  as I passed, no doubt hoping for a treat, to break the boredom of their hay in their posh, bottomless, galvanized dispensers. A perfect morning was spoilt only by a cold breeze on the last leg of my triangular route. Making my eyes water and my hands cold in my jacket pockets. I'm hoping I shall be allowed out again. There is still a [slight] chance to reach 6000 miles this year if I can maximize these fine, relatively still days. A Sparrowhawk has just landed in one of our birch trees as I finish my morning coffee.

Deliberate case of déjà vu today.  Left again at 11am and headed north to cover exactly the same ground as yesterday. Only this time I found my goal thanks to some pre-ride swatting of an online  map service. I was passed by a dozen or so clubmen out training.  Lots of nice comments as they sprinted past. Not enough grub again though I did take a sandwich and a banana. I was so weak and hungry that I arrived home feeling distinctly wobbly. Which seems odd because I was doing 20mph on the tri-bars on the way home and climbing well.

Yesterday's headwind had turned into a cross headwind. A blinding low sun made me uneasy about cars overtaking but they all gave me plenty of room. Finished in mid dusk after a day without a cloud in the sky. My tinnitus came back for most of the day but the wind roaring in the other ear helped to drown it out. No time to sort out the gears but I think it's a lack of cable tension between the arm and the rear changer. It looks as the arm is moving too far forwards so that it hits the bottom bracket. 54 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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