2 Jan 2016

2nd January 2016 A martyr to reach.

Saturday 2nd 36F, 2C, easterly gales, overcast but dry. The weekend forecast is for two days of 20mph base winds. With gusts to 35mph+ and temperatures down to -5C. [23F] Which may sound like a perfect time for a stroll along the beach to those who live in really cold places. Everything is relative. One man's heavy dew is another's 6' of floodwater. On my last walk my route along a field track was blocked by flooding and I had to return the same way. A slight inconvenience compared to having one's home flooded or washed away. I don't know what it is about "there and back" but I strongly dislike having to cover the same ground twice. 

My replacement Ergo levers, ordered from Wiggle on the 15th December, are now expected to be delivered on Monday 4th January. Eighteen days without any tracking and hopping up and down every time we thought there was a van in the drive. It's enough to drive one to distraction! Not to mention weeks of not being able to ride the Trykit. It certainly isn't my idea of instant gratification! My back has been aching continuously since I started riding the Higgins again. Though I did remember to turn over the stem ['bar extension] on the Trykit to lift the 'bars a little without increasing the reach.

The Brooks B17 'Special' has very little adjustment room on the rails. So I just pushed it back as far as it would go. Which was only about another 6mm or 1/4". Every little helps, I suppose. Brooks saddles come from an era when short, pressed steel clamps, sitting on top of narrow steel seat posts, were the norm. The modern trend to all-alloy uses up far more of the rails with clamp length. Which stiffens the rails [removing suspension] as well as reducing any allowances for for-and-aft adjustment.

Modern clamps are mostly crap for micro-adjustment of tilt. The 'teeth' which help to lock the angle of the saddle are simply far too coarse. A strip of tough rubber sandwiched between the toothed surfaces might be an idea. Then the teeth need not coincide but would still grip strongly via the rubber. More backwards progress in cycling technology just to obtain that "clean" look with modern, foolishly narrow, plastic, cutaway saddles. The old cross-bolted and very rust prone, Brooks saddle clamp would catch on the rider's shorts these days. There are backward extended. 'layback' seat-posts, of course, but it seems a bit daft when my Trykit was specifically designed to shorten the reach by being very upright with a short top tube. 

8am and it is still pitch black outside. I may be able to get a walk in if it isn't too bad out there. I badly need some current "landscape" photos. I don't like posting old images or when they are obviously out of season. It feels like cheating unless I am making some technical  point or other. The flat, boring greyness of the continuous overcast doesn't provide any sparkle or interest. An hour and half walk battling the roaring wind under a leaden sky. Proofed shell jackets may be sweaty under the wrong conditions but at least they are completely windproof. It was very exposed out on the fields, so I wore some fleece cycling gloves. Then had to keep my hands balled up into a fists, in the pockets of the jacket, just to keep my hands warm. Though I warmed up nicely after the climb up to to the woods. I had the wind on my back for the last leg and it felt quite comfortable.

This afternoon the temperature is dropping steadily below freezing with 30mph gusts. The chill factor is below -10C in still air. I'd prefer it cold and still! I can add my own forward motion on the trike to achieve any wind chill factor to taste. It is certainly very noticeable as speed increases on descents in cold weather. When it is really cold below -10C it can be very uncomfortable to increase one's speed. I have ridden normal shopping routes at -15C before I had proper clothing and gloves and the pain was incredible. I'm fairly sure that was well into frostbite territory for bare flesh or that which is inadequately protected. A blue nose and black patches on my feet in the bath used to be rather too commonplace back then. A pair of ski goggles can reduce eye watering but are usually far too dark. Presumably for reducing blinding sunshine with masses of eye-damaging UV on bare, glaring snowscapes. Doesn't anybody ever ski under an overcast? Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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