2 Apr 2016

2nd April 2016 Caught short on a long ride in Denmark?


Saturday 2nd 41-52F, 5-11C, grey overcast, breezy. POO scale 6.5/10. We might see 50F today but it will be cloudy with up to 25mph southerly gusts. I gave a ride a miss yesterday after fiddling with the new tyres and tubes. It seemed sensible to have a complete rest because I kept feeling starving, nauseous and weak all day. My aching knees improved steadily until I soon stopped noticing them on our steep stairs. It's odd that it hurt a lot more going down than coming back up. I'm fairly sure I wouldn't be half as fit if I lived in a bungalow. The stairs are vital exercise as well as excellent practice at agility and balance. The stairs are angled upwards at about 55 degrees which felt extremely dangerous when we first moved here. I had no obvious muscle discomfort at all yesterday, nor today.

At least this takes the pressure off my doing another long ride for a while. I'd really like to do a 100 mile ride, before it's too late, but it will need careful preparation. Not just setting off with a distant goal and a cheese sandwich on a windy day! That was just, plain daft. I have worked out some 100 mile, roundtoit routes which would keep me within safe reach of home if I did need to bail out. Will I have the psychological stamina NOT to take the short cut home?

Perhaps I ought to do a bit of training at longer rides and build up to it? Ensuring, above all, that I have enough tasty, energy giving foods to keep me well within my reserves for the likely ten hour duration. I don't think I'd enjoy eating too many energy bars or even Corny dark chocolate muesli bars. Bananas may have energy reserves but can get a bit too much beyond two or three in a day. Sandwiches are quite hard work with a dry mouth particularly on a warm day. As are digestive biscuits. Getting enough fluids is another major problem as I don't much enjoy anything but pure apple juice out on the road. Only when caught out by a very warm day have I consumed very much plain water. Though I don't think I've ever drunk more than three normal, cage bottles of tap water in a whole 8 hour, 80 mile ride. Perhaps once.

I went into a town's only bike shop once, hot, tired and desperate for water on an 80 mile ride. Only to be told by the owner to use the filthy old hose lying out in the yard! I could see the stainless steel sink right beside him in the workshop and I was dressed in one of my usual, smart racing jerseys and bibs. So I wasn't some scruffy tramp just wandering in off the streets! I declined his "kind offer" and found a Coop with a sink in the toilets for a much needed refill just down the road. Needless to say I have never bought anything in that cycle shop ever since. Though I do enjoy having a really good browse while the owner hovers impatiently instead of returning to his detached workshop out in the yard. Where, no doubt, the old hose still lies on the filthy gravel.

Anyone cycle touring in Denmark should remember that many rural churches have a toilet with a sink/washbasin. The toilet buildings are often placed out of sight at the far end of the church grounds but can be very handy in an emergency. They are always spotlessly clean in my own, rather limited experience. Denmark doesn't have many public toilets. Brugsens [Coop] and the tax-payer subsidized churches are the usual point of call. Some other supermarkets will usually allow the use of the staff toilet. Though I was once refused access by a teenage staff member at Fakta in Svendborg harbour. Fakta is a downmarket branch of the Coop. They sell the same stuff but at two different price levels and employ even more [surly] staff at Brugsens. I think they must breed them specially. One very large Brugsen closed after management deliberately placed a sour, racist dragon continuously alone on the checkouts. This increased my mileage considerably but did manage to lower my blood pressure to a safer level. Shopping there was like running the gauntlet with the "Hounds of the Baskervilles!" I kid you not! My hands used to start shaking as I approached the automatic doors!

I walked my usual loop today up to the woods but kept to the field tracks on firm, dry ground. I only realised today that I can glimpse the distant sea from a particular high spot just in front of the woods. With Jutland's dark coastline [Dk.Jylland] silhouetted beyond. A grey, breezy start and just cool enough to feel it on my bare hands when I left. Though it, and I, soon warmed up and I was comfortable as it approached 46F on its way towards 50F. [10C] @ 11.15am.

I disturbed a tiny male Kestrel which was sitting on a post. It was certainly the correct coloration and shape for a Kestrel but it did seem rather small. Checking online suggests a migrant Lesser Kestrel. Which I had never even heard of before today. Three Skylarks jostled for position overhead as male Chaffinches sang from each of the trees in the field hedgerow. One had a female Greenfinch sitting within two feet of it. Though neither seemed perturbed by the presence of the other. A Song thrush was busy singing too but lost in the scruffy hedging. Unlike the far more common Blackbirds they don't seek out a high point to sing. In fact I only very rarely spot thrushes in Denmark. They are almost as shy as Robins over here. Though we do catch an occasional glimpse of one on the lawn. Clockwork Starlings are appearing in ever larger numbers now and I watched one for a while through my binoculars. As long lengths of dried weeds were being dragged in through the hole of a nesting box.

A background drone of a tractor proved to be a pig's muck dribbler. Which raised the POO scale from 6, at home in the garden, as I put on my boots and gaiters. To a definite 7/10 once it had wafted downwind to me as I walked back along the road over half a  mile away. It will usually make your eyes water and bring on a regular cough at that level of toxicity. But let's pile on a whole lot more to save the farmer's from imminent bankruptcy! The politic-ooze argument about quantity and placement still rumbles on. As coalition parties wrangle over house points in the desperate hope of any media attention attracting a few more voters in the next game of musical chairs on the gravy train.

A late morning ride in POO 7/10. The roads were plastered in dried-on farmer's mud. I shall have to go out again after lunch. Yet again a new set of Schwalbe Plus surprised me with their rubbery and energetic sense of urgency. I remember this from the last time I tried them. They certainly aren't light but they just seem to roll well. Happily sailing over lumps and bumps, gravel and stones on the road.

A Volvo estate driver was so insanely determined to push past me in a bottleneck and against oncoming traffic that I swear he clipped my mirror. Then I was overtaken on a blind corner by another registered blind, drunken, drug abusing, educationally challenged, drooling moron just as an electric mobility scooter approached with overtaking traffic. It's really no good my blaming these nutters for their raving imbecility. I am just going to have to accept the the fact that they haven't two functional brain cells to rub together and be done with it. I'm all for inclusion in society but why the hell are they allowed to play with toy driving licenses? What is that saying..? "Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." I'd settle for a 45 Colt and shooting lessons. Or, better still, handlebar mounted RPGs. As long as they didn't affect the steering. Too "over the top?" Thought so. ;-) 15 miles so far and counting. I forgot to buy milk and The Head Gardener is not amused!

2nd Stage: I wore my NW MTB shoes with the replacement buckles for the first time this season. They felt tight and made my toes feel very hot! The same headwind was roaring in my ears but worse than this morning. Two long stripes of smashed glass in my traffic lane in the village. I wanted to ride between them but a psychopath in a van was coming the other way in the middle of the road driving at over 50mph and still accelerating in a 24mph speed limit. I stood up to lighten the impact on the wheels and then jumped off to check my new tyres once I was clear of the sparkly, road decorations. No visible sign of damage thank goodness.

Which is more than I can say for the wonky stitching on the lid strap of my Carradice Bijou Camper Longflap saddlebag. It has obviously become bored with my endless complaints about its emasculation, asymmetry and absolutely pathetic [nay downright shoddy] manufacturing standards. The said strap is now [literally] hanging by a thread M'lud. Not a happy Camper? Suit yourselves. You will anyway. I have an ancient and knackered 'Junior' saddlebag in the shed and that hasn't had any problems with its stitching. Perhaps it has something to do with the leather straps being twice as thick as the modern tat and properly sewn with suitable thread? Surely not? As I had ordered it direct from't mill it is just possible they found themselves caught short. So they did some reject dumpster diving in an attempt to satisfy this eternally grateful customer? A Northern English accent is considered obligatory to get the most from't last few sentences. I did a two post review when it was brand new in 2012. 22 miles total today.

Jun 2012 Carradice-camper-longflap-saddlebag.html

The Carradice Camper is now £85 and they still claim it is 23cm from front to back! Spot the porky!

Carradice Camper longflap saddlebag

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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