30 Apr 2016

30th April 2016 The unexpected effects of cycling.


Saturday 30th 43F, 6C, windy with a heavy overcast and rain. It is supposed to clear up a little this afternoon. 

There are many complaints in Denmark about the poor condition of the roads. Councils [kommune] say they have no funds to repair, let alone improve, the situation. Some kommune [plural] are building or arranging new cycle superhighways and changing two way city traffic to one-way. Or even closing some roads to motor traffic altogether. Odense is an interesting example where a huge, wide, multi-lane road with multiple busy junctions and feeder roads was closed where it passed right through the center of the city. 

No doubt a great many driven journeys, along the now closed route, were simply passing straight through the city to destinations beyond. The motorway, which swings around the southern borders of Odense, has existed for years as the obvious, alternative route. A north-south motorway was also built to carry traffic down the island between eastern Odense and Svendborg. This has greatly relieved the weight of the formerly constant traffic on the older, main road routes. As I can attest from my own, newly-relaxed cycle journeys in that area. The difference has to be experienced to be believed! If a road is no longer a battered and roaring trunk road it can become a very attractive cycle route in its own right. It can be quite amusing to imagine oneself the last person on earth as one rides the silent, wide and  empty asphalt between once, horribly-blighted, rural homes.

There are a whole series of new cycle paths being built or are nearly finished on Fyn. These provide much safer routes for the vulnerable cyclist where they once shared the edge of the same asphalt as the [illegally] speeding traffic. The sense of hugely increased safety on these paths has to be felt to be believed. Given the [illegally] increased speed of the traffic on the same route, now no longer being baulked by cyclists, one hopes the drivers appreciate this aspect of the new projects. Nor should one forget the improvement in the surface on which the cyclist may now travel. 

A smooth path recognizes the right of the cyclist to travel in relative comfort rather than in the stone and gravel littered, and often potholed, gutter. Doesn't it strike you as odd that the cycle usually has no suspension at all yet must use the roughest and dirtiest section of many, busy roads? But you say the cyclist does not pay road tax! If the commuting cyclist is on their way to work do you suppose they pay no taxes at all? Do you suppose [for even one moment] that every penny of road tax actually goes to road maintenance and building new and nothing else? How many billions does it cost to build new motorways compared with the very modest sums for adding a new cycle path?

How much damage does the cyclist do to the roads compared with your car? How much space, noise and pollution does the cyclist cause compared to your car amongst countless many others? How many deaths and serious injuries do cyclists cause compared with the car? Do you suppose the local A&E is dealing with the dreadful carnage caused by cycling? How many hospitals would one really need if it was compulsory to cycle to work and back? What about the pandemic of obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and depression? What about the absolutely colossal annual expenditure on prescription drugs? All wasted taxpayer's money in a desperate attempt to repair the "exercise-free" society's right to total physical indolence! 

It should be remembered that a great many Danes routinely cycle to work in all weathers. If more drivers should notice the speed and ease with which cycling commuters travel they may give up their damaging and unhealthy behaviour. Who knows, youngsters may even be allowed to cycle to school by parents who know that they, themselves, usually drive badly and often illegally fast. Which has often prevented them allowing their own children to enjoy the exercise and fresh air in their lungs by cycling to start their school day. Many councils have banned cars from stopping near the schools in a vain attempt to stop the unnecessary but habitual school commuter runs. Though there are always parents who "know better." As they dump their overweight child with "severe attention, behavioral or learning difficulties" in the nearest available drop-off spot just around the corner.

Let us imagine a fairy tale land where cyclists have absolute right of way. Imagine, if you can, a land where traffic lights are controlled by and for cyclists. The motor traffic must always give way to cyclists. The cyclist enjoys an uninterrupted journey from A to B without hindrance or being aggressively cut up by cars or lorries. Cyclists always enjoy far better surfaces and the cycle paths are wide and smooth and well maintained.

Now imagine if car journeys were restricted to [say] mid-mornings or mid-afternoons in cities. This would obviously preclude commuting by car. The alternatives would be cycling or public transport. In this fabled land public transport is speedy, comfortable and free. It also has excellent facilities for carrying shopping home for every single seat. Public transport is not used as a cash cow to take from the impoverished who cannot, or will not afford, a private car.

Without the usual traffic, public transport can function unhindered too. So journeys are quick and effortless. Of course all the buses and minibuses are electrically and robotically driven so there is no noise and stink of diesel. With no gears to change, each journey is a smooth progression without jerks and heavy braking. Traffic jams are a thing of the past unless a rare accident occurs.

All shops and supermarkets deliver completely free of charge by small, electric, robotic vans best suited to the task. Most people no longer wander the aisles of the supermarkets and then queue endlessly for some surly teenager to deign to serve them. Shopping is routinely done online so packed car parks simply do not exist. Rapid delivery, on demand, by robotic, electric vehicle ensures forgotten items do not miss reaching the dinner table.

How far away are we away from this motor-free Elysium? Statistics prove that most car journeys are short. The car is only taken because it is convenient and has considerable carrying capacity. Though you still have to get in and out and lift heavy boot lids and empty the shopping trolley and it's all such a bore! Because car designers are far more interested in choosing alloy rims and low profile tyres and family radiator grill designs. Than [say] blocking the blinding and uncomfortable afternoon sun or having a shopping compartment for the free, take-home supermarket shopping trolley niche in the rear sides of the robotic car. Always assuming you were still clinging onto a private car when public transport everywhere is free and fast and even offers privacy.

Why do most cycles lack carrying capacity? This is slowly changing but baskets and even goods carrying cycles are available. An electric motor would ease the burden of climbing that hill back home with the potatoes and milk. But, the milk and potatoes are delivered free because all the shops know your shopping habits. They are delivered routinely to a daily/weekly or monthly schedule so there is really no point in thinking about it. Nor going without. And when you are bored with your routine meals? You use your effortless, mobile, virtual reality system to browse alternatives with all the stuff it knows you hate already rejected. So you don't have to plough through long lists or countless images of all the "nasty stuff" before you get to the really appetizing alternatives on offer. The Internet of Things knows exactly what you like and faithfully presents and delivers it on demand.

Oh, and by the way. Denmark already gives cyclists right of way at [non-light controlled] roundabouts, junctions and crossings. Drivers [except for individual predatory psychopaths] always wait for a cyclist [or pedestrian] to safely cross their exit before proceeding. Just imagine that in all those countries where car drivers think themselves infinitely superior to those who actually use their own energy to move forwards. While they sit there, blaring their horns in grid-locked, smog-laden hell on earth just trying [desperately] to reach the corner shop for a 480 kCal cup of cold coffee. Busily popping pills while they wait for their next, and final, heart attack. To be taken where the vast A&E is a vital part of repairing society's countless, human wrecks.

A late morning ride to the shops as usual.  The new cycle paths were flooded right across their width in quite a few places. I wonder why they didn't leave gaps between the granite sets to allow the paths to drain naturally into the road gutters alongside? Tradition? The way they have always done it?

The roadworks further on had caused a flood over half the width of the road. Drivers were belting along completely oblivious to the danger of hitting deep water at speed. I was overtaken precisely as I maneuvered around the water by riding in the opposite lane! I had given the following driver plenty of warning with lengthy hand signals. However, for them to have lifted off the idiot pedal would have required more than two brain cells to rub together. The absence of a third brain cell, to call their own, meant they passed me at well above the legal speed limit precisely where the water lapped over the white line in the middle of the road. 15 miles not wearing a life jacket. Perhaps I need a bigger saddlebag for such eventualities?

Had it been any other country I could have set up a camera to record drivers ploughing into the water at high speed for a YouTube video. But not in Denmark. Showing guilt by camera is illegal for the camera owner in Denmark. You'd think such videos would come under the freedom of speech laws the Danes will defend to the last breath. Hate speech against the Danes in the local mosque is perfectly acceptable. Showing morons risking other's lives by driving like raving lunatics is not?

Well, that's April over for this year. It felt mostly cold and miserable and was certainly much wetter than usual, but was till warmer than average according to the DMI. Greenland has been setting new records in heat waves. They'll be planting crops and spraying Roundup next. Global warming marches on.
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28 Apr 2016

28th April 2016 Battling excavators.


Thursday 28th 42-46F, 6-8C, cloudy but briefly bright and breezy. Rain forecast for the rest of the day. I'd better get an early walk in. It grew steadily more cloudy as I walked to the far woods. A cool wind was making my eyes water where there was no shelter. I passed four huge stacks of felled hedges within a few hundred yards of each other. A farmer was continuing the millennia-long battle to drain the undulating fields of winter ponds. These not only [literally] bog down the tractors and other machines but kill or stunt the crops which might have grown there. Often leaving large patches of bare earth later in the year. Or even worse, a crop of undesirable weeds which might contaminate the desired crop.

With so many natural corrugations in the landscape there is often no easy outlet for many of these field ponds. Which is why they have employed a larger excavator to dig a channel for the drainage pipes along to a marsh reserved for hunting and wildlife.

The woods are greening above a carpet of pinkish-white Wood anemones.

The huge, Case, double-tracked tractor is an ideal tug to pull trailers of sand for back-filling the drainage trenches. Many normal tractors are prone to sinking in the soft, silty soil. Which can leave ugly scars on the fields. Doubling up the wheels of agricultural tractors is increasingly commonplace to spread the load and improve grip on such soft soils. The local soil is rather strange with a high sand content over clay subsoil. It has a strange habit of being self-healing to footprints and being worked. Rain can easily flatten previously sharp furrows in some fields.

Somehow it remained [almost] dry for my ride. I took a chance and visited another, more distant village. The roads were wet at one point but I returned mostly unscathed. 19 miles. Nearly four months gone and I have only just passed 2000 km! [Insert red-faced smiley here of your own choosing.]

Friday 29th 42-46F, 6-8C, windy but bright start. Rain this afternoon and gusting to 40mph as a low passes just north of Denmark. I was just reading the Danish DR news about blog images being borrowed illegally by commercial businesses. The particular [lady] blogger they interviewed had a huge number of visitors per month and actually makes a living at it. Presumably from my pet hate: Advertising!

 A typical field pond or puddle caught in a corrugation in the landscape. The damage to the crops is obvious but the linear humps below are each tall enough to make drainage a real, or very deep, struggle. Made worse by the need to keep all the big machinery on the spray tracks. Any detour around a puddle throws the whole GPS/track system into chaos! Often there is no low point in the area which makes economic sense as a drainage reservoir.

The lady blogger's layout, presentation, content and imagery were all first class. Though admittedly not in subjects which would interest me enough to visit. Mostly food preparation, recipes and DIY home decorations. Though that is rather underplaying her total coverage the whole thing is very professionally done. I wonder how she manages to have more than one image side by side. Even with my stretched page width the pictures would have to be tiny to allow two images alongside each other. I tend to limit image size to avoid long download times for those still on the end of a wet piece of string. Being able to enlarge my images by clicking provides a better view. Though never as sharply as the ~ 3Meg originals, of course. So many of my pictures benefit from full HD [24"] screen that they often seem quite tame when seen on the blog page. There is no sense of immersion in the landscape nor much of a sense of perspective.

I am aware that my own blog must often read as one long series of complaints, usually decorated, at intervals, with pretty pictures. My text might occasionally[?] come across as rather negative. Though it doesn't usually feel that way at the time I am scribbling my thoughts. What I usually mean is that improvement is easily possible if people would just behave themselves behind the wheel. Or produce quality goods actually worth selling. Which precludes expensive gloves which sweat badly within a 1/4 of an hour's ride. Or [expensive] lopsided saddlebags with appalling standards of workmanship! I can obtain a very decent sports bag with absolute perfection in stitching, pocket complexity and build for a fraction of the price of the saddlebags I so regularly complain about. 

In reality, I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to walk and ride in such beautiful countryside so near to home. I also have my health and fitness well beyond anything others, often much younger than I, must suffer. The trick has been my wife's steady insistence on healthy food and consuming a good range of organic fruit and vegetables. Not smoking, consuming almost zero alcohol, avoiding takeaways and known unhealthy foods and sugar-laden drinks keeps my weight at an optimum level. Importantly, my energy intake matches my [not inconsiderable] levels of exercise. I have so many interests that I must try and spread my time evenly depending on each inspiration bubble of the moment. This all keeps my mind active as I flit from project to project like a butterfly. [According to the Head Gardener.]

Today, I walked a loop up to the woods and back via the marsh. The wind is already roaring in the trees and hedges. The few birds I saw or heard were travelling so fast downwind that there was a Doppler effect. Not a great day for a ride! A much better forecast for tomorrow. Rest day.

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27 Apr 2016

27th April 2016 The vital, man-machine interface.


Wednesday 27th 35F, 2C,  heavy overcast, windy and raining. The forecast is much wetter than yesterday's and supposed to keep it up until 9pm. 8.20am and wet snowflakes are now falling though without pitching.

I should have mentioned that I re-tensioned my Brooks B17 saddle last week. I find the effect of a drooping saddle constantly pushes me forwards. Which, in turn, places my support system on a narrower part of the saddle. The ideal positions for the sit bones are resting on the largest triangular areas at the widest point of the saddle and they should preferably be nearly flat and slightly flexible. A hammock offers no such support and the rider slides forwards to the lowest point.  Precisely where bits of their private anatomy, were never really designed for supporting their entire weight. Which leads to acute discomfort and even severe numbness and impotency in some riders.

I may have overdone it with the [factory pre-knackered] Brooks spanner and could have done less tightening to achieve the same desired effect. The added, cross-lace tie has saved the saddle from going south ever more rapidly. Which has saved my having to buy yet another new Brooks. Though at the expense of less immediate comfort rather than having to break in another B17 saddle from new.

Brand new, Brooks B17 showing how flat the saddle appears out of the box.Once it is broken in it will effectively become even flatter. This is the real secret of a comfortable saddle. Not some identi-wedge which tries to force your delicate sit bones apart!

The untied leather saddle's skirts flap outwards to the rider's weight and any shocks transmitted upwards by the machine. Think of the  rider as a heavy blob with very high inertia and little or no compliance [or suspension] at the vital interface between the pelvic sit bones and the saddle surface. So the MkI bod is, quite literally, an immovable object and the machine and/or saddle must provide any/all shock absorption. The saddle actually hammers upwards against the small points of the rider's sit bones. Though it feels as if the rider is hammering downwards on the lumps and bumps of typically badly maintained, modern roads.

The larger the saddle the lower the applied pressure [mass per square unit] as the rider's crutch spreads the load over a larger surface area. Unfortunately a large and soft saddle is relatively inefficient. Energy is lost to friction and squashing muscles which would much prefer some freedom to help the pedalling effort.

The saddle to sit bone interface is actually extremely subtle and varies widely from rider to rider. One man's [or women's] comfy armchair is another's instrument of torture. While all serious cyclists wear slippery shorts, these days, the degree of slipperiness of the saddle surface and any sweat build-up in the materials will radically alter the friction levels.

Leather does seem to have some very attractive properties regarding friction, breathability and flexibility. It is not for nothing that the Brooks B17, tensioned, leather saddle enjoys widespread approval from very high mileage, recreational cyclists.

The B17 often looks nose-up but it isn't snobbery. If you draw a line from nose to tail it will be almost level.

Meanwhile the pro racing cyclist often does huge mileages [including long training rides] but has other needs or limitations: Usually comfort is heavily sacrificed for lightness. The pro rider may even have his saddle compulsorily provided under sponsorship. Ironically this lack of choice could affect the rider's entire career unless he has the abilities of a fakir in riding on a "bed of nails." No doubt saddle soreness is rife in the peloton. Particularly given the present crop of over-hyped, but very similar, hard, plastic based, racing saddles on offer. Though it must be said that a racing cyclist leans further forwards and puts more effort into pedalling. These actions tend to lift some of the weight of the cyclist from the saddle. The downside is that they ride on rock hard, narrow tyres with very little natural suspension.

The rider who can pound out the thousands of miles in relative comfort may be far more likely to perform well. Rather than the opposite, with a "saddle-sensitive" rider constantly struggling with saddle soreness. Bibs [shorts with braces] and specialist [interface] creams, backed up with rigid hygiene standards, must help. The bib shorts are tensioned up against the rider's crutch without the inevitable creasing of simpler, but constantly sagging, cycling shorts. The creams should prevent friction between the [usually] foam pad and the rider's crutch. Well, that's the theory. Fashionable racing saddles still have a lot to answer for! I find that standing up and stretching the bib's crutch material sideways will often relieve the painful interstitial creasing.

The weekend warrior may slavishly copy his idol's equipment choice but may not enjoy the experience. Particularly if they "cheat" and wear underwear. Or simply have to add extra layers of clothing for warmth in cold weather mileage training. Few "skiing" tights or winter long-johns have perfectly flat seams and the seams will often lie at the vital rider/saddle interface. [Sit bones and crutch.]

Underpants may add warmth and greater social acceptability but usually ruck up and get sweaty when not allowed ample ventilation. Plus, the necessary seams, for fit, add their own discomfort burden to the vital interface. What works well up to [say] 40 miles can quickly turn very nasty indeed beyond that distance. Depending greatly on the rider and saddle, of course.

Despite my [steadily falling] annual mileages I still cannot confirm whether one really "toughens up" at the vital rider/saddle interface. Saddle soreness was certainly my limiting [debilitating] distance factor when I was riding nearer to 10,000 miles per year. The later purchase of decent quality bib shorts, for planned longer rides, increased comfort dramatically but only on longer, summer rides. I still have to ride year round and often in very cold weather indeed. Wandering the supermarkets and shopping streets "au-naturel" [in bibs] also has its [social] discomforts. A US café, once popular with cyclists, has actually banned the wearing of [anatomically correct] "Lycra" cycling shorts! Presumably this was in sunny California or balmy Florida. Chance would be a fine thing to be such "an exhibitionist" for most of the Danish year! 

The B17 saddles have certainly helped the comfort cause. As has careful selection of flat seamed, short legged, boxer shorts for when it is not particularly balmy in Denmark. Which is actually most of the time. Perhaps I should go "superhero" and wear my underpants on the outside? This actually makes a lot of sense if you really think about it. The pad in the bibs/shorts will protect me from the inevitably screwed up cloth of the under/over garment. Though I would rather not think about it too much and it seems like sharing [far] too much information already!

It automatically follows that any keen cyclist should have strict laundry and hygiene routines. As well as plentiful changes of carefully chosen, clean clothing to maintain comfort where it really matters. How anyone rides more than a few yards in denim jeans will remain one of life's mysteries. The hard knot of seams is always in exactly the wrong place to do anything but disrupt and injure the vital saddle/rider interface!

The design of a saddle is a highly complex matter of shape, length, width, curvature and padding. I find most saddles far too uncomfortable to sit on for even a few moments let alone go for a ride on the damned things. Promising saddles, like the Nidd and Cambium [B17 copies] proved to be hideously uncomfortable despite their similarities to the Brooks B17 in size and plan. Particularly the Nidd.

The Nidd [imaged alongside] had great potential but was fiberglass [GRP] reinforced underneath. To the point where it might just as well have been cast in concrete, carved from granite or pressed out of thick steel. It will never break in. Not ever! I tried soaking mine in a bucket of water but it never gave a millimeter nor became any more comfortable.

This  clearly belies the claim that the tension [hammock] saddle on steel rails automatically provides comfort. My belief is that the flexibility of the leather top is the most vital factor in comfort levels. Which is why a brand new and inflexible B17 feels like riding on a polished beach rock at first. Only when it is properly broken in does the saddle start offering any comfort at all. The triangles on the widest part of the 'bench' will sink and become flexible while the rest of the saddle should remain firm. Sometimes this desirable state of affairs can be a bit of a lottery.

Not all B17s are created equal and a pre-softened saddle may actually be too flexible all over. Man may have gone to the Moon but he has yet to come up with a perfectly broken in B17 lying in a presentation box. I tried that with their absolutely gorgeous B17 'Select' model but it was too soft all over and soon lost its shape. Badly enough to feel its twisted form while riding along. IT bwas returned for a refund and chose a B17 'Special' to replace it.. I now consider the Brooks B17 'Special' as coming close to perfection in a leather saddle. Whether you like the appearance of aging leather is purely a matter of taste.Though there is no denying it really is made of real leather and leather absorbs sweat. It shows as variable darkening of the leather over time. Black ids always a popular option.

The Cambium was a major disappointment despite it being promised [by the Italian makers] to be an ideal B17 replacement. One which they claimed was as comfortable as a B17 from day one, would last for years and not need any breaking in. Again it was completely spoilt by blind adherence to the hype artists at Selle rather than fulfilling its absolutely huge potential. Fear of replacement demands, under guarantee, meant that it was reinforced to hell! Just like the Nidd and that made both saddles completely unrideable! Unforgivably so!

A colossal mistake, which any owner of a broken-in B17 will confirm. Instead of using the natural flexibility of the rubber base they deliberately and literally killed it stone dead with fiberglass laminate!

Instead of aiming straight for the comfort of a broken-in B17 the drooling idiots in the Italian design department came up with a straight-out-of-the-box and heavily curved, absolutely rock hard sort of  B17 almost lookalike. With absolutely no chance in hell of it ever breaking in because "they" said it wouldn't. You could not make it up if you tried! Talk about an own goal! They believed their own bullshit/hype/propaganda/advertising and all they did was admire the racy lines without ever taking it for a bløødy ride! They can't have, or they'd know it was just another misshapen Italian boulder!

They even curved the thing sharply across the back like any narrow racing saddle. Because that is all they know at Selle and thereby they reduced the Cambium C17's active width by a good couple of inches! Had it been made flat it might have had a remote chance despite the ridiculous level of GRP reinforcement.

Perhaps they thought they'd be selling mostly to to the "big boned" American market. So were terrified of countless 30 stone Lycra "weekend weaklings" trashing their Cambiums on their very first ride? So it had to be heavily reinforced whether you needed it or not. One size fits all and that was mostly aimed at the 30+ stone American market. No choice is offered for those of normal girth.   

It was never meant to be a true B17 replacement IMO. Instead of which it was a blatant display of ingrained arrogance and ignorance, in equal measure, by somebody who had never ridden a touring bicycle in their entire lives. But whose absolute, iron willed, sociopathic authority could never be questioned by their mere underlings and sub-lackeys. The ruthless dictator does not surround himself with yes-men just to be questioned at every turn! The C17 is all too obviously a victim of rigid, internal, business hierarchy. What other possible explanation can there be for so dramatic, a complete and utter, total cock up? Where's my refund for fraudulent advertising of goods under the UK Sale of Goods Act? B17 replacement? Give me a break! Give me back my money!!!

The Cambium could easily have been cast in very thick and unyielding metal, covered [equally as badly] in raggedy canvas and there would still be no perceived difference in comfort. Because of its high retail price I persevered with the Cambium well beyond what common sense demanded. So much so that I injured my saddle "interface" enough to need a recovery period of greatly reduced mileage with the fully broken broken-in B17 'Special' safely back on the trike. Imagine if you had believed the factory's steaming bullshit and ridden off on a 'round the world' trip? I'd give you [maybe] 15 miles before you started looking for a bike shop to buy a new saddle and bin the Cambium!

The over-hyped Cambium "game changer" was just another mass produced, Italian saddle. All design and no comfort. In fact the Cambium has probably done so much real damage to the Brooks label's reputation that they [Selle] may well have intended this all along. Just so they could close down the Brooks "industrial heritage museum" and export the manufacturing jobs straight to Chinese assembly robots. With a nice fat bonus and the latest and biggest Audi for the manager who came up with this desperately clever idea. That of ridding themselves of the inherited Brooks workforce and Edwardian machinery without actually looking like the business Mafia they most probably are. All strictly IMO, of course. Can you be sued for telling the obvious truth? ;-)
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25 Apr 2016

25th April 2016 Spam, spam or spam?


Monday 25th 35F, 2C, overnight frost, bright but very cloudy. The wind can't make up its mind which direction it is coming from with the wind vane going around in circles.You'll be delighted to know that parts of Denmark did have snow and that it fell to a depth of 11cm in one place. That's over four inches in old money. Rain is forecast for later. As it was yesterday but didn't amount to anything. Had I believed them I would not have ridden to Odense.

An hour's walk up to the woods and back by the marsh. Upset the Mallards on the pond. A cool wind but still quite bright. My legs felt rather heavy but the walk quickly cured my initial back pain.

The forest tracks have been attacked by large wheeled vehicles. 

I keep getting spam comments from cycling-related businesses and always mark them as spam and delete immediately. There are so many crooks online that I have no more desire to click on untested links than I would post them on my blog to risk my readers' computer security. Do you want to know the really funny part in all of this? Google has deliberately made it impossible to post live links in Comments. So these spamming morons are doubly wasting their time!

We had flurries of snow around lunchtime but now it has settled to heavy overcast and rain. I may have been sprayed or walked too close to sprayed crops. I have a mild headache, fuzziness and dizziness. I even saw double for [probably] the first time in my life while completely sober! Rest day.

Tuesday 26th 35-42F, 2-6C, heavy overcast, windy and raining. No walk today. It kept raining on and off all morning with occasional breaks. I left mid afternoon during a lull and enjoyed a dry ride but only of 7 miles. The forests are now showing more greenery.

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23 Apr 2016

23rd April 2016 Bloody Sunday drivers!


Saturday 23rd 42F, 6C, white overnight frost, bright sunshine with light winds. I was undecided where to go for my walk. So I looped along the tracks inside the woods and back the same way. Disturbed two deer and a mid-sized, brown bird of prey. Lots of birdsong in the woods including Chiff-chaffs, Chaffinches, Great tits and Robins.

You have to have a good tilth. 
More wheels than a freight train!

Another hour and half expended in life-enhancing exercise and soaking up the green stuff. Swallows are still few and far between. I saw only one today.

The weather has gone crackers! After starting bright and cloudless and reaching 50F it turned grey and then nasty black clouds appeared. My 18mph cruise to the shops with a cross-tailwind had to be repaid with interest on the way home.

Miles away from the 1st [above] and yet more raking as far as the eye can see.

A scruffy white van with Polish number plates was speeding illegally in one village and pushed past me at elbow distance with nothing coming the other way. Pissed as a fart, drugged, registered blind or just another driving sociopath? Take your pick. Or take all of them. It's only another driver after all and there are no victims of bad driving. The death and injury statistics are lies or "They'd" do something about reducing the claimed casualties. So, apparently, it hardly matters in the grand scheme of things. We are all disposable to their greater need. Imagine if I had written a post heading: "Cyclist threatened by Poles outside supermarket!" But it was on the road so it doesn't count as threatening behaviour.

What about the raving fuckwit who overtook several cars in the village with his engine screaming as he reached [probably] 70mph or 110kph in a 30mph/50kph speed limit before disappearing rapidly out of sight. No cameras = no crime. We lay down our lives for their greater need. Martyrs to their whim to gain one, or perhaps, several car lengths to reach the back of the next queue of "bloody Sunday drivers". The true test of sociopathy is just to watch them drive.

Psychopathy is as rife as obesity it seems and one certainly does not exclude the other. As clearly depicted by a 40 stone blob accelerating hard past the shops as I loaded my bags onto my trike. Cars are the great equalizers. The modern Western Colt 45. No test of fitness for use required. Not even a license in many cases. The only qualification is ownership of the weapon. The rest is history. 
Ragged black curtains of rain were hanging like filthy underskirts from the inky clouds up ahead and the temperature dropped 10F as I neared home. Fortunately I made it safely before it started hitting the windows and the wind picked up even more. Tonight will be freezing again with a risk of snow in many parts of Denmark! 16 miles.

Sunday 24th 34-47F, 1-8C, continuing light NW winds. Overcast but fairly bright. We are promised early brightness followed by rain or wintry showers later. The willows are finally turning green but many other trees are probably still weeks away. No sign of snow or even a white frost. Just a half hour walk today to get the circulation going. After coffee I rode to Odense with what felt like a tailwind. I was averaging 16-18mph on the flat. Did my shopping and then headed home again. Lots of smashed bottles on the cycle paths near Bauhaus.

A couple of drunks noticed me waiting at a traffic light and started shouting. "What have we here for a three wheeled racing cycle?" I grinned, the lights changed and I was gone. Then I stopped at a bench beside the cycle path for my second sandwich. Three lads went past on their scooters and shouted that I had a very fine cycle. It spotted with rain and hail enough to wet the roads but went off. Loads of cyclists out training today. Not that I could stay with any of them. I came back by another much hillier route and stopped at the shops again. Just over 4 hours for 43 miles isn't bad considering all the stops. The sun has come out and the wind picked up now I am home.

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22 Apr 2016

22nd April 2016 Store Bededags coastal ride.


I had planned to ride down to the end of the Helnæs peninsular but that would mean at least ten miles into a headwind coming back. So I wandered the hilly, coastal lanes instead.

Panoramic view from the [brief] Civil War memorial stone.

Panoramic view from above Brydegård towards Dreslette.

Old castle mound at Hagenskov Slot near Ebberup. A dungeon 'pit' with a tunnel entrance still exists at the far end of the site from Slots Allé.

Hagenskov Gård is an impressive house which has an enclosed yard surrounded in historical agricultural buildings and homes for the former staff on a truly grand scale.

Slot's Allé is the first turning on the left after leaving the house and walled garden behind. It is a narrow, winding lane descending between ancient trees and past beautiful old, half-timbered estate houses and a water mill. I have shared images of these previously. Though probably not named them as such. Sadly quite a number of drivers use this romantic lane as a rat run. Though heaven knows why. A simple understanding of geometry would show that any two sides of the same rectangle save not a single yard nor meter over the other two sides.

Another view of the lane with the castle mound immediately on the left. The massive old pair of iron gates lead merely to marshy grounds and the ancient wooded collection area for water for the now, long disused mill.

The whole area absolutely reeks of nostalgia for golden times past. Only a walk or cycle ride does the Allé real justice. There is nowhere to stop in a car and passing opposing vehicles is largely a matter of luck and taking to the grass verges.

Signs prohibit stopping in the lane which separates the palace from its outbuildings. Even the animals quietly grazing in the extensive, unspoilt, partially wooded grounds add a wonderfully timeless quality to the scenes laid out below the road. Thankfully there was nobody to share the view and I could dawdle and take photographs to my heart's content.

This wonderful old farmhouse is one of many attractive buildings in the Brydegård area from once prosperous agricultural times. The modern farm buildings can be seen at the end of the drive passing the house. A number of houses in the area would easily pass as "stately homes" in British parlance. No doubt they all employed a great many workers in the past when only horse power was available.

I had better give you a view of the sea just to prove I actually saw it. [Several bits of it, in fact!] This is the view looking down the hill on Nymarksvej. [New field way.]

A small estate of summer houses nestles down by the sea beyond the woods. There are quite a number of similarly steep hills in this area. I shot down one hill in the forlorn hope of making it at least partially up the opposite side of the switchback. Only to have a horse transporter come over the top of the next hill blocking my safe passage. There ensued a long and breathless grind up the steep climb.

And another sea view. This time down towards Å. [Pron.Oh!] With Helnæs lighthouse almost dead ahead and nearly 6 miles away across the intervening sea.

Somehow I even managed to capture the steepness of the hill as it falls straight towards the sea in a series of undulating steps.

It was a gorgeous day of warm sunshine and the cool winds were light enough not to become a nuisance. Like the idiot I am, I put off eating my packed lunch until I returned home. Somehow  I could not quite find the right place to stop and eat. I was gone for nearly four hours but still only managed 30 miles with several shopping stops and lots of photographic pauses.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


20 Apr 2016

20th April 2016 An ICE panorama from MS.


Wednesday 20th 39-53F, 4-12C, breezy and bright. Lighter winds today gusting to only 25+mph from the north west. A cold and windy walk for half an hour. With tractors working on the fields I couldn't be bothered to walk my usual route out on the exposed tracks. It stayed windy but rose to 53F which made it warm in the sunshine but not quite warm enough in the shade. No reason to go out on the trike so another rest day pottering on projects in the garden with birds tweeting all around us. There is hardly a cloud in the sky but the wind remains cold in the shade. My almost brand new front tyre and inner tube were flat when I pulled the trike out of the shed. I searched for a thorn or a flint but nothing was visible. When I tried to inflate it I found the valve was loose. So that's another example of substandard goods from the same batch by Schwalbe. I used a pair of parrot nosed pliers to re-tighten the valve core.

This might interest some of you: A contact has kindly advised that Microsoft has come up with a free download of their panorama stitching program called ICE. [Image Composite Editor.] It can work on images or videos. This is a half width crop of how it dealt with my YT video of strange mists up on the plateau. I panned with the camera as I filmed the mist so ICE has combined numerous images to produce this stretched, panoramic shot covering about 90 degrees in width. There were actually two different halves to the picture because I had zoomed between taking two separate videos and then combined the two for YT. [Click for a better view.]

Thursday 21st 41-50F, 5-10C, bright sunshine, breezy. POO Factor 7. It is still struggling to reach 50F and it was an eye-watering experience walking back into the west-northwesterly wind. The litter pickers must have been out because the verges are looking tidy for a change.

Just another day in paradise. Strong head-crosswind going. Managing only 13mph. Cross-tailwind coming home at 18mph. Cycling is all about time dilation. When you are chasing another cyclist your relative speeds become like slow motion. When a faster rider goes past they seem to be travelling so quickly you can never hope to catch them. An energetic cyclist pulled out further up the road today and left me well behind with a strange jerky style I hadn't seen in decades. He was turning a high cadence but his bike kept moving from side to side with every pedal stroke. Very odd and strangely old-fashioned. These days it all seems to be about smoothness of style. 19 miles.

Friday 22nd 41F, 5C, bright sunshine, breezy. A bank holiday. It should be a fine day but still rather windy from the NW. With gusts up to 20mph, or more, making it feel rather cool. I had hardly set foot on the road before I noticed a hare pottering about a few hundred yards away. Though it soon saw me and disappeared into a garden. Then there was a gorgeous Greenfinch and Goldfinch in the same hedgerow in their best breeding colours. Walking a loop around a local village would offer a change of scenery and I was treated to a passing American 'muscle' car with a wonderfully deep rumble to match its perfect, black shine. This was quickly followed by a JCB and a yellow loader going the opposite way with young children enjoying their ride in the cab.

Then I spotted a large, very pale, bird of prey on the top of a tree sticking out of the marsh. It took off and circled for several minutes as if hoping for lift before giving up. As I was watching it though my binoculars I spotted a similar bird circling at least a thousand feet higher. Further on a pair of Mallards were dozing on the vicarage lawn where it slopes down to the village pond. They were keeping company with a pair of Coots. Whose large, untidy nest was resting on a sunken branch from an earlier windfall. Each of them eyed me carefully but decided I was no threat as I ambled on in the warm sunshine.

An elderly pair of humans were chatting across the car park wall outside the church. No doubt waiting for the service to start as a large Danish flag in the graveyard struggled to catch the intermittent breeze. It was just after that when I spotted a very large warbler on a large front lawn. Then I stopped to photograph the landscape and the eleven wind turbines stretching to the distant horizon. Before another pause to capture a beautiful, old, but rather dusty, Opel Kapitan. A popular car for restorers according to Google and I can well see why. After walking along the mud-caked village lane for a while, with great clouds of dust rising to every passing car, I took a shortcut back across the fields beside towering beech woods. Taking advantage of the dust dry soil on the spray tracks avoided my repeating my usual route home along the main road.

My ride follows in the next post.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


18 Apr 2016

18th April 2016 Getting the hump.


Monday 18th 42F, 6C, very heavy overcast, already windy with showers and higher winds forecast. 

Is it selfish to ride two-breast on a busy main road with blind corners and double white lines? Just because one can does not mean that one should. Perhaps they thought they were taking a commanding road position to avoid being overtaken on a blind corner? 

Defensive riding? That works for me where overtaking would be extremely dangerous but is endlessly practiced by foolish drivers. Given the [driving] Danes habit of cutting and overshooting every single corner this often places them directly in each other's paths. Cyclists merely add to the burden of brain fudge in those without the intellectual capacity to drive with even the slightest modicum of intelligence or common sense. Many cannot even manage a shopping trolley in the supermarket. Why, on earth, should we expect any greater skill behind the wheel once they leave the car park?

It became steadily windier and greyer as I walked the bare soil and tracks on the fields. I wanted to photograph and examine a long, raised mound recently exposed by the hedge clearances. No recognized burial mound is registered there on old maps of the area. I thought it might be an old farmhouse demolition but no buildings are shown on the maps either. Moreover building materials had value for new buildings or walls.

It was obviously known to be there because it appears as a blob on every map going back to the middle 1800s. On the earliest map it was the highest point of a small, rectangular copse ending at the raised mound. The far side is sunken in one place as if it might have had a protective ditch. Though the scale is rather small for an early fortified site. No  protruding rocks are visible. The mound is on the shoulder of the high point crowned by the forest and clearly visible from three sides for miles. High winds kept up with rain later and it felt horribly cold despite reaching 50F. I could have done with gloves when I was busy outside! No ride today.

Tuesday 19th 44-52F, 7-11C, bright and sunny start but with lots of racing clouds. POO 6.5. The wind is supposed to reach 40mph again later with possible showers. I have to go shopping anyway so I had better make it early to avoid the worst of the winds.

It was already blowing a gale by the time I reached the hump via different spray tracks from yesterday's. The sky was far more interesting and the view completely different in sunshine. So I have swapped the earlier image for one I took today. Waves raced across the shiny, grass-like crop as I was buffeted back and forth on the climb. While simultaneously trying to maintain my balance as I tip-toed on the giant zig-zags of the balloon tyre tracks left by the departed forestry machine.

Gulls rested on the fields all facing the same way like living wind vanes. Lifting off occasionally as a scare monger's rumour went around the flock. Bright sunshine made everything appear sharper as Shelducks pottered in HD, as seen through my binoculars, beside their large, but shrinking puddle. The huge stack of felled hedging proved to be the perfect foil for the wind. Stepping behind it was like throwing  a switch on a huge fan. The birds seemed interested too with lots of Wagtails, Chaffinches and Sparrows bouncing about in the lee. A Brilliant Yellowhammer shot across the ploughed surface and hid, in plain sight, in a 3' high bush beside the road as I walked back trying to keep my hat on. Muck spreaders roared past in both directions taking up 3/4 of the width of the road. With their filthy, squid-like arms dangling and swaying noisesomely.

They were still rumbling backwards and forwards on my ride. I was cruising at 20-22mph with the tailwind but struggling to get over 6.5mph on the way back. The locals seemed to be having a cross Denmark race today. I heard one car accelerating hard all down the shopping high street and he must have gone past me at 100kph into the 40kph speed limit. [60mph into 25mph.] It wasn't until he was baulked by another [speeding] car that he finally had to slow down. He was then followed by two more kids revving hard with noisy exhausts at least 20kph over the speed limit. Shame the police car wasn't there again today. No speed cameras = no crime. Only 7miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


17 Apr 2016

17th April 2016 To-ing and fro-ing.


Sunday 17th 40-50F, 4-10C, breezy, clouds racing across after a very windy afternoon yesterday. It is expected to gust to 17m/s later which is nearly 40mph.

The image is of thatching of a roadside, former farmhouse on the edge of Brenderup. The hazard sign is not very photogenic.

A later walk, after morning coffee, saw a number of keen cyclists passing in both directions shouting back and forth to each other. The wind was roaring in the trees and hedges with little audible birdsong or even visible birds. Not an ideal day for an outing on the trike. A lazy day, lazing at home, while occasionally tidying up the shed. It was sunny but the wind made it too cold to go outside without a jacket.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


16 Apr 2016

16th April 2016 Situation, situation, situation?


Saturday 16th 45-50F, 7-10C, light easterly winds picking up to 20m/s, 45mph gusts later, heavy overcast and distant mist clearing. 

I have a few images of an old fortified mound and ramparts which I have not shared yet. Known as Nyfæste Voldsted it lies in a rather marshy area close to the only railway which still crosses Fyn from east to west. Access to the historic site is via a track off a narrow lane between the villages of Gelsted and the more distant and much larger Aarup.

Many Danish place names are literal descriptions: Ny means new in English. Fæste is a shank. Vold means violence or a protective wall. Sted mean place.

The information plaque is mostly in Danish but suggests that it was a medieval fortified site in 800AD. The lighting was unfortunate on the day with the sun behind me. So avoiding casting my own shadow was difficult. Hence the 'misshapen' format.

The earthwork fortifications are surprisingly extensive when seen from the air. [Image taken from Grundkort Fyn.] 

The photographic foreshortening, as seen from the entrance, is an illusion. My own photographs below suggest [falsely] there is hardly room to swing a cat on the tops of the mounds. The small building [which is for sale] right at the bottom of this borrowed image is shown later in this post.

This is a general view from the entrance to the site via a [leaning/self-closing] clapper gate. Two raised walls and sunken ditches protect a prominent mound which was once crowned by a look-out tower. Or perhaps a masonry home for the leader at a later time. There is a record of inhabitation in the 1300s and 1500s and later as a farm in the 1600. It was designed to withstand a siege.

Ponds and marshes lie beyond the fortifications to the north. While a raised circle of low hills lies immediately to the south. Giving the impression of the site lying within the shelter of a half crater wall. A small stream flows around two sides of the site.

This is the view of the site from the lane just before the sharp turn into the gravel track. The twin mounds and sunken earthworks between them are just visible beyond the winter-bare trees which surround the site. Later in the year everything beyond these trees would be completely invisible. Which may explain why it gets [apparently] so few visitors.

The gravel track, which passes the medieval site, leads to farms and former farmhouses only a few hundred meters on. A café and shop there failed to prosper.

Here is another viewpoint with the ponds just visible off to the left, the twin mounds ahead and protective ditches in the foreground. The site is not easy to photograph with most unfortunate trees growing in the foreground ditches. These should surely be removed before they grow too large for easy removal without damage to the ancient structure?

A rather shabby, thatched cottage lies just outside the entrance and is for sale at a nominal price of 200,000DKK, £20k or $30kUS. 

At least the old cottage is highly reminiscent of an earlier time. With signs of timber framing having been rendered over. Despite the sales blurb suggesting the building is ready to fall down it would be a travesty if it were to be demolished. Only for a speculative builder to replace it with yet another, hideous, identi-kit, Danish bungalow! The old place has a timeless atmosphere totally in keeping with the ancient site next door! Bending the planning permission, of an existing structure, to build something modern should be strongly resisted! There are plenty of building plots elsewhere. Sadly there is not the demand to support a small café in the existing building and it would need expensive work to bring it up to minimum hygiene/living standards.

Sales picture above and link below taken from a small ads website:

[House in the countryside, New price/House/ Property - Buy and sale on YellowandFree.dk]

My walk took me along the track to the woods and then an exit via a fire break to bring me back along the marsh. Lots of birdsong everywhere I went and I saw my first Swallows, Goldfinches and Long-tailed tits of this year. I disturbed a large hare and two deer which instantly disappeared into the dense willow scrub. The Mallards took fright and dashed off to the other side of the pond. Though the Tufted ducks, in bright white a black, continued gently on their leisurely cruise. I returned home after an hour and a half of walking under a grey sky. With a thin wind, which belied the 50F temperature and occasional spots of rain. A ride will follow coffee and rolls as the first glimpses of brightness light up the Silver birches.

False alarm! It was already spotting from a heavily clouded, grey sky as I left. After seven miles I made it into the supermarket only for it to rain while I wasn't looking. The Brooks saddle was dark all over and wet! Coming back it had stopped raining and I thought I'd avoided the worst despite the sopping wet roads. Then  it started to rain and became progressively worse until it was pouring off my arms and into my MTB shoes. By the time I was home again I was soaked from head to toe except where the jacket covered me. Even there my racing jersey was wet below the waist. Only 15, rather soggy miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

15 Apr 2016

15th April 2016 Where there's muck there's...


Friday 15th 42-56F, 6-13C, POO 6.5, lots of cloud with a little blue here and there and becoming breezy. Showers possible early on but becoming brighter and windier. Fleeting sunshine on my walk. Lots of birdsong and lots of mud on the roads. The mud was so thick in one village that I took to the grass verge just to make forward progress!

I have some pictures to share from yesterday's ride of a hose-fed muck spreader. I came across it while riding down a country lane. A container beside the road held a roaring diesel engine which was pumping the pig's 'poo' down the very long pipe or hose. One of the large stainless steel tanker lorries was parked alongside to refill the container. These are a regular sight on the roads. They can look immaculate but the stink as they pass is unmistakable!

Here was my first sight of the muck spreading machine as it rose from a dip in the field after having been to the the far end. The feed hose still has lots of reserve on the reel so must be many hundreds of yards long.

The machine only moves at about walking pace but saves frequent returns to the farm for refills.

I would put the stink level at about 7/10 throughout. Bearable but very unpleasant. The main problem is the eye-watering levels of ammonia.

Here I have waited until the machine was approaching more closely to capture the full spread of the arms and dangling feed hoses. The 'pig's muck' falls continuously as an apparently solid but obviously liquid extension from the multiple hoses. 

The hose supporting arms are hinged and fold neatly alongside such machines by hydraulic power when they have to travel by road.

The long hose is carried on the huge reel mounted on the muck spreader itself. The hose guide roller can be seen on an arm extending forwards. It is important that the machine does not try to turn around during operation or the hose would be twisted. So the machine trundles back and forth always facing back towards the hose running from container.

The hose must be payed out and taken back in at the same speed as the machine moves or it would stretch or go slack.

To allow the driver to see where to steer the entire, under-slung cab rotates instantly and effortlessly by 180 degrees. All such machines keep as closely as possible to the field tracks to minimize crop damage. I presume these tracks are originally set up by tractor GPS because they are always very straight despite hills and traverses of inclines and even being completely invisible from one end of the field to another. The tracks also avoid overlaps from the long arms of sprayers or muck spreaders. Overlaps would double the dosage of whatever was being applied.

Despite the stink I still find such machinery fascinating. I cannot imagine the cost of such a complete set-up but it says something about the importance of pig's muck in feeding the soil. The lower image shows an average sized adult standing just beyond the machine as it came to a halt. It may all move quite slowly but the sheer spread of the arms covers a vast area in quite a short time.


It seems Mars foods has taken fright at the UK government's threat to label foods more usefully for the consumer. We are now told to avoid certain Mar's sauces as being sufficiently toxic not to consume them more than once per week. Too much fat, salt and sugar according to some sources. Thankfully, for Mars, it will need 5 years to change their "authentic" recipes. Not sure about how long they are allowed to delay the labelling.

Isn't it ironic how food kills millions a year globally but you never see an armed police raid on a takeaway or supermarket for selling dangerous "food?" There is a strong anti-vitamin movement amongst the politic-ooze in Denmark yet the majority of the crap Danes eat has no useful vitamins left in it. Nobody dies from vitamins but you are still allowed to sell antibiotic-soaked, minced pig's meat to obese children with lots of debilitating health problems? How does that work? Is there some global, political conspiracy to thin out the weakest members of the human race? i.e. Those unwilling [or unable] to question a diet which will shorten their lives by well over a decade in many cases.  Should save a pretty penny on reducing pension payment periods at a time when there is nobody left to pay taxes towards pensions. Pass the wrench please, Robot?

Today, I was repeatedly pulling off onto the verge to allow vast muck spreaders and stainless steel tankers to go past in the lanes. I was going quite well with no obvious problems after yesterday's ride. Saw several buzzards and a Jay over and in the woods. The Durano Plus tyres are more j-j-j-jarring over the cobbles! Only 10 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


14 Apr 2016

14th April 2016 New cycle path from Harndrup to Brenderup.

Thursday 14th 38-56F, 3-13C, calm and bright but with a milky sky. Light winds should be a reasonable excuse for a ride, but where? Brenderup! The new cycle path has just been surfaced to perfection. The path is lit at night for the entire length.

The eastern start at Harndrup about one hundred meters from the Coop. This busy stretch of road had no protection at all for cyclists. Not even a marked cycle lane.

The entire length of the path had to borrow the edges of the fields and even some front gardens to provide enough space for the path and sensible landscaping.

Looking back on the next stretch with smooth bends. The width is quite generous even though it will eventually be marked as two way.

The long stretch past the power sub-station with the plant grower on the other side. There is building and electrical work here which has rather muddied the cycle path.

It was here I was baulked by a vast woman walking a large dog without a lead. She was walking right in the middle of the broad, two-way path leaving no room to pass either side! And no, I'm not joking.

Looking back from well out in the middle.

The surface is unbelievably smooth for the entire length A super piece of workmanship by the asphalt contractors.

Hopefully the farmers will be bribed to keep their gravel from their drives off the path!

The long, deceptive descent down to the edge of Brenderup. Cyclists have the option of crossing the road here to enter the upper village. Though a marked cycle lane continues on down to the lower village for those who want to continue on the main road towards the junction to Middelfart or Bogense. [The 'g' is silent.]
Last stretch at Brenderup with the tar laying machine still parked beside the old water mill on the far side. The dry powder suggests the path was only laid yesterday or even earlier this morning. Though I sensed no heat or stickiness over the entire length. The path is two-way so could be considered as running west to east from Brenderup to Harndrup. 

Denmark has been trialing the idea of cyclists being able to turn right while traffic lights are at red. [The equivalent of turning left in the UK, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand and parts of South Africa, amongst others.] Only carefully selected light-controlled crossings have been approved so far to check for accident rates and conflicts. Presumably there would have to be safe cycle lanes on their exits to avoid faster moving cars on the cross road running straight into the emerging cyclists.

Following positive trial results, the government is now asking communes [councils] to check which of their crossings would be suitable for an expansion of the idea across the country. Cars and other vehicles will continue to obey the lights. Hopefully cyclists will soon be be able to escape before lorries and buses turn across their path. No doubt many crossings had a build-up of cyclists waiting at red. Making them rather vulnerable to being rolled over by the back wheels of long vehicles with blind spots.  It should be emphasized that not all crossings are affected and the suggestion for such a change has not yet been passed into law.

It is very commonplace in Denmark to see cyclists completely ignoring red lights when turning right. Which must increase frustration amongst drivers obeying the lights. It also causes irritation amongst other cyclists as the law-breaking cyclist often swings right without signalling. Or showing any other sign of intelligent life.

The big hill up from Brenderup to Båring and on toward Middelfart has a height gain of 45 meters. Having just climbed it I stopped at the plant shop/café entrance to capture the view. I should really have waited for a car to reach the bottom to give a proper sense of scale.

In countryside news: There is a call for farmers to clear their fields of young deer and hare before harvesting. The animals lie concealed in the tall crops and are then run over by the large harvesting and bailing machines. Some farmers have the help of local hunters to clear their fields of the young wildlife using dogs.

A tractor employing doubled wheels all around to reduce its ground pressure on the fragile soil. Note the extended lighting 'arms' jutting  from the sides of the cab. It can seem quite menacing having one of these coming at you in a narrow lane! There are very much larger tractors than this one and they can reach out to both sides of a whole main road!
Farmers can also start harvesting in the middle of the field and work outwards to give the young animals a better chance to flee. This is not a completely one-sided, animal welfare problem. The greater the number of surviving young animals the better for the hunters, of course. The farmer can, no doubt, charge more for a well stocked hunting area. There is also the serious matter of animal carcasses rotting in the plastic wrapped bales. This can cause botulism in herds fed on the 'contaminated' hay! 

An enjoyable ride making my own headwind though it never actually felt calm. Many of the wind turbines were quite still today but others still turning. I headed north and then west before heading south-east to get back home.  Despite lashings of 50SPF suntan cream before leaving my face is now quite red. I ate my sandwiches at sensible times along with a banana and two small cartons of apple juice. So I never ran out of energy just for a change. I wasn't feeling hungry when I returned but had a bowl of stewed apple and a cup of tea to help me re-hydrate. Eating when I come home from a ride just seems to make me feel overfull. The day's tragedy was forgetting to take a chocolate Muesli bar! ;-) 40 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.