27 Jul 2016

27th July 2016 Not a lot.


Wednesday 27th 58F, 14C, bright but rather cloudy with hardly a breeze. 3/4s of an hour walk. Late afternoon ride for 7 miles. Strong head-crosswind going out under a grey sky. I returned safely before the sky tipped down briefly. There are a lot of peacock butterflies about at the moment. An Emperor dragonfly bounced off my arm.

Thursday 28th 61F, 16C, bright sunshine with no wind. The wind should remain light for most of the day. Potential ride day? Not. Rest day spent in the workshop. What a waste!

Friday 29th 64F, 18C, sunshine and showers. I walked the borders of the prairie to the woods via the spray tracks. Just the gentlest of drizzle as an omen sent me heading for home. Whereupon there was a terrific cloudburst. Which I could safely watch from indoors. Perfect timing to the second! My legs feel like lead after a day of standing at my lathe. The same on my short ride. Though they felt better on the way home. Only 7 miles.

Saturday 30th 62F, 17C, heavy overcast, showers promised with a clearing to sunshine later. I left for my walk with threatening dark clouds on the horizon. Before long there was a cloudburst just as I had reached an avenue of Horse Chestnuts. With more rain threatened I headed off across the fields via the spray tracks. I saved a considerable distance but was soaked from brushing through the crops. Yet again I reached home just before another cloudburst. It showered all morning so the familiar Saturday ride is postponed until this afternoon. Not much to report except for a headwind coming home. 15 miles. A bit breathless today.

Sunday 31st 64F, 18C, sunshine and heavy showers. I walked to the village where I saw two deer resting in a spray track right beside the road and close to a farmhouse. My presence prompted them to move a yard into the crop and sit down with only their ears and one with small antlers showing.  The sparrows seem to have joined forces with upwards of 50 birds moving about in flocks. Plans for world domination? Probably not.

Any thoughts of a ride were quashed by sudden downpours and rather more wind than one is wont to enjoy on a trike. So that was wet July. I keep telling myself that I have absolutely no need to justify my shrinking mileage. Is there some minimum distance under which one is no longer able to call oneself a "proper" cyclist? My plan was for fewer but longer rides. Instead of which I just seem not to be riding much at all.  Perhaps if there were less rain... ?

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

25 Jul 2016

25th July 2016 Froome, Cavendish, Yates, Thomas, Cummings...


Monday 25th 76F, 25C, bright with cloud and light winds. Neighbour's smoke from demolition timber forced us to close our windows again. A walk to the village and back. I was just crouching on the edge of the verge to photograph a gorgeous Small blue butterfly when a truck went past and drove it off. Grr? I could carry an DSLR with a longer lens but it would dominate my walks and get in the way of my binoculars.

Froome wins his third Tour De Farce and continues to re-write the record books along with Cavendish and a number of other remarkable British riders. It seems the Continental Pros can't compete 'clean' as per their decades of corrupt, blinkered leadership by the cycling "authorities". A loose term covering a huge number of sins.

Some of the several million jay walkers will now have to return to their lunatic asylums for yet another year of compulsory incarceration for their own safety. 

Warm and sticky again. I really don't like this warm weather! It makes me tired and head-achy. Yesterday's flock of swallows [not Martins] hung about all afternoon. With the young perched on the roof being constantly fed by swooping adults on the wing. The long swallow tails only appear in adults. Checking through binoculars showed the red faces of Swallows. This morning there were still lots of young sitting in a row on the ridge as I walked back along the drive but they left just as I approached.

The very full, TA Summer Edition of the Gazette has arrived via PDF. Far easier to read on the screen than an original printed edition. I've just been looking at the printed Danish Post Office prices leaflet to find the cost of sending a packet. I really cannot believe the sort of knuckle-dragging retards who would dare to release a public service leaflet with sub-micro-print!

Even with a decent magnifying glass and my best reading glasses it was difficult to read the "subtitles." Of course there was plenty of room for the huge graphics to soak up the acreage on the available area of paper. Guess what? I had already decided to send the packet. All I wanted was a clear scale of prices against weight. How difficult can they make it? I didn't need to be "sold" a packet sale with garish advertising graphics like the lower class "box shifters" do with their online pop-ups!  Heads should roll for this sort of thoughtless [brain dead] crap! Everywhere you look the entire world has gone over to micro-print. Packaging on medicines, food and consumer items all printed on the atomic scale. Just because you can does not mean that you should! I put it down to the drooling idiots pulling rank well above their pay grade. Or the Post Office paying a fortune for some consultancy firm to design their leaflets for them!  It's not rocket science, people. A group of bright children could get it right for the price of a school laptop. It doesn't need "mates" in the advertising industry to produce a postal price leaflet.

Afternoon ride with a crosswind tailwind going. A headwind coming home. I completely missed the showers at home which left damp roads. Only 12 miles.

Tuesday 26th 62F, 17C, overcast, light breeze. It should be cooler today with a more comfortable maximum of 20C, 68F. There were floods from cloudbursts on Jylland. Roads and rail lines closed and cellars flooded.

It was a delightful morning for a walk. With constant sunshine despite the cloud shadows floating across the ripe fields. The warmth of the sun on my back was moderated by a cooling breeze to keep things very pleasant indeed.

I saw a doe with her calf very near the road. Obviously untroubled by the passing traffic, they were enjoying a rest on the main track to the woods.  My arrival, with camera lens at full zoom began to trouble them and they eventually took off down a spray track towards the marsh.

Where the pond was populated by literally hundreds of female Mallards again. They moved slowly in a packed flotilla, clockwise around the edge and then across the distant shoreline. Where a large Cormorant was standing stiffly to attention on a jutting branch as it dried its plumage.

I continued on around the marsh and then along the edge of the prairie by spray track. There was a hint of spray propellant so I kept my extremities away from the crop. Eventually I reached the top of the hill where I ducked through the woods to avoid standing crops. To exit on the long track, all the way downhill to the road. Another deer was browsing in the crop beside the path but soon bounded away. A severed deer leg lay on the track for some unknown reason. The same area was covered in bird feathers so I hope it wasn't a poison trap for birds of prey. The warblers continue to sing from almost every tree months after I heard the first. Just before I reached home a large, almost all white buzzard mewed its way across the cliff face of the beech woods. Rest day.


24 Jul 2016

24th July 2016. Heads you lose.


Sunday 24th 68-80F, 20-27C, bright sunshine with a light breeze. Likely to to be another warm one. Just a half hour walk down the lanes to the sound of birdsong. The crops are looking increasingly pale but only a little harvesting has begun so far. The wind turbines are moving today but it's hard to detect any real wind. A flock of perhaps fifty Swallows with young has taken an interest in our biggest plum trees. They are swirling around and even settling briefly.

In breaking news: A horse fly followed me into the trike shed and bit me on the leg. Fortunately, The Head Gardener provided Medivac and then applied a topical solution of Sodium Bicarbonate [Baking Soda] for instant [and continued] relief. Highly recommended! [i.e. The Sodi bicarb. You can't have The Head Gardener because she's spoken for.]

A financially depressed Danish county council has swapped the traditional coloured asphalt on their cycle paths over to rolled, coloured gravel. This has allegedly caused some cyclists to complain about falls due to low tyre adhesion on the loose gravel. However, the savings are considerable enough for the council to be invited to Copenhagen by the national minister of transport. Thereby wasting almost all of the potential savings on gravel v asphalt, no doubt. The commune concerned has promised to roll and then send a suction cleaner truck over the paths to remove loose gravel after a lengthy settling period. [Some months.] Since asphalt never needs to be swept [or anything else, going on past form] any savings are likely to be rather modest.

My main worry would be rain dragging the gravel surface forever downhill. As happens all too frequently with the strip of loose gravel between the verge and asphalt on many rural roads. Moraines of loose gravel are extremely commonplace at the foot of hills so treated. Corners, with the gravel strip treatment, are highly prone to scouring by the tires of trucks and agricultural vehicles taking the shortest route. In places this can lead to a sharp drop of up to 25cm[10" in old money!] at the edge of the asphalt. This is precisely where cyclists are expected to travel on unmarked roads even in the dark. I have nightmares about dropping a trike wheel over the edge into the abyss on a local main road with just such a large drop!

It's not all bad news though. A number of new cycle paths are finished or under construction on Fyn. There is a double-edged advantage here of course. Lifting the cyclists from the "race track" allows the cars to comfortably speed without having to avoid the usual, slow moving 'skittles.'

The huge sense of relief in being able to get away from the obvious traffic dangers makes cycling on segregated paths much more relaxed than on "painted lanes." Though it has to be said that there were no painted lines on the busy 'main' roads where the new cycle paths have been laid. The cyclist was literally riding in the same lane as the motoring sociopaths with no protection at all. Speed limits in Denmark are a moveable feast. The speed "lollipops" are completely meaningless and largely invisible furniture to most drivers. While roadworks speed reductions might as well be non-existent.

Meanwhile, cycling journeys in "cycling friendly" Denmark are falling steadily from 5% in the past to nearly 3%. In some cases this is due to the closure of many rural schools. Countless children, who would normally cycle to their local school, are now driven to a town school instead. It doesn't take a genius to turn healthy and lively kids into obese slobs with poor health and behavioural problems. But at least the farmers aren't spraying the children as they hang about, immobile, while bent double over their mobile phones in the village school playgrounds. [The children, that is. Not the farmers.]

The farmers usually sit bolt upright on their mobile phones behind the wheel of their gigantic machines and tractors. I believe they can even have their hands welded to their ear by sympathetic plastic surgeons supported by an EU agricultural grant. I can't honestly say I have ever seen a farmer with a "hands free" phone but one must surely exist somewhere. I should probably check the Guinness Book of Records to find out.

Being somewhat of an old fart and being averagely slow on the uptake I am often surprised by strangers suddenly speaking loudly in the shops and the general outdoors. I am never sure precisely what the etiquette is for dealing with these public order offenses. So I have settled for a withering glare.  Even this can be a potential minefield. With occasional strangers addressing me directly as if my being a [weird] tricyclist made me their long lost buddy! Owning a [weird] upright tricycle makes one  a marked man and many drivers recognise me from my [all too numerous] travels.

Being buttonholed outside supermarkets is almost the norm these days. Four complete strangers accosted me the other afternoon! I have absolutely no idea how the likes of Michael Caine cope with instant recognition. Mobile phones have a lot to answer for but at least nobody has demanded a "selfie" yet. I just pray it isn't Michael Caine with his phone stuck on the end of a stick!

I could launch into a diatribe here about '1984' and constant public monitoring by the "powers that be" but it's been rather done to death by now. Even I, have dangled an action camera off the end of a pole behind my trike. Being modest in nature I was careful to hide my be-shorted bum from the field of view. Though this produced a somewhat bizarre effect. It was quite impossible to tell when I was standing up on the pedals. I couldn't use a longer pole without falling foul of the special regulations related to vehicle length. One taken to absurd lengths in the case of record braking wings for offshore wind farms.

For those who absolutely insist on sharing their bum with an online audience I can only recommend a camera with a wider field of view than the Sony action series. Given the usual barrel distortion and field curvature associated GoPro wide angle lenses the: "Does my bum look big on this tricycle" takes on a whole new meaning. Though I'll do my best to avoid the most obvious comments like "whale ahoy!" Or even the mention of a barrage balloon being overhead. [I may be showing my age here.]

Perhaps this is the real reason why the climbs on the Tour De France are so heavily populated?  Not that it's any of my business where their peculiar interests lie. For myself, I never know quite where to look. And no, I do not have a saddle fetish.  I am [merely] a collector and spotter and usually avert my gaze towards such safer ground. As in: Fyzik. Sella, Brooks.. Or, was that the latest Ultegra, electric rear changer?

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22 Jul 2016

22nd July 2016 A littery puzzle.

Friday 22nd 74F, 23C, breezy, very warm, cloudy, sunny and sticky. Acrid smoke coming across from the neighbour so we had to close all the windows again. A [demolition waste] wood fire in a heat wave? Only in Denmark! Walked down the road to find the source of heavy rumbling. It was only a tractor turning the hay before the baling continues.

Slightly misty, rural summer scene. 

The Danish farming news is that 2 out of 3 Danish pig farms are infected with MRSA.  The good news is that being tested for MRSA is entirely voluntary in Denmark and that most pig meat is "safely" exported.

Another story dealt with all the things which end up on the Danish roads. I have mentioned before how "special" are the visitors to the recycling centers with their [traditionally] un-roped, un-netted and generally uncovered trailers. The other day I was overtaken in a village by a car traveling at an illegally high speed as its trailer dropped large branches from hedge cutting at very short internals until it was far into the distance and still accelerating. A better mathematician, than I, could probably calculate how far they'd have to travel before they discovered their trailer was completely empty on arrival.

Unknown flower in a swathe of field poppies. Toxic mutation?

Household, builder's and garden refuse are often to be found along the local verges these days. Fortunately the council workers come along every decade, or so, to clear it all up again. Keep Denmark Tidy? Close the council recycling stations to unsecured trailers. How difficult can it be? That damned Janteloven? Thought so.

I haven't mentioned the privatized dustbin lorries recently. The new national sport is rural bin lorry racing from A to B. Based loosely on the Race across America but closed to all but professional racing licensed, refuse disposal operatives. Many of these highly competitive drivers are souping up their engines and fitting wide, low profile racing slicks on smart alloy rims. Watching them corner at high speed is [easily] enough to take your breath away!

Danish crop circle. You can see where the UFO's high temperature exhaust radiation has destroyed the soil's built up toxicity and even allowed real plants to grow. [In case you were wondering: This is a weak joke on so many levels.]

Saturday 23rd 70F, 21C, rather overcast with only brief, occasional brightness. A quiet walk to the village and back. The absence of traffic must be due to the lack of weekday commuters. I followed this pre-amble with high altitude, acrobatic hedge clipping to Olympic dressage rules. Returned indoors dripping and exhausted to update my blog. Still no sign of coffee and rolls prior to Saturday's routine shopping ride. A hedge clipper earns no respect during his lifetime. The Head Gardener should be grateful I didn't go off-piste and practice my high diving skills! Or, rather, lack of. I won't use an indoors stepladder outdoors any more after several sudden listings threw me off. I am incredibly lucky to be still able to bore my readers after a backwards flip from gutter height onto concrete. Fortuately I landed on my head so avoided serious injury.

Late morning ride in almost still conditions with a home made headwind going both ways. Returned heavily laden in more warmth than I enjoy. It reached 80F or 27C. 15 miles.

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20 Jul 2016

20th July 2016 Froome wins Tour De Farce TT.


Wednesday 20th 69-78F, 21-26C,  bright sunshine, light breeze.

A baler passed close to the road yesterday.  The huge bales are gently dropped by the tail platform as it travels along. The sky tells you everything about yesterday's cloud.

Today's walk on my usual loop up through the woods was warm and sticky under a clear blue sky. The exit track from the forest had been mowed but the woods needed a frogman's suit and snorkel to get through the sopping wet undergrowth. So I took to the densely packed trees instead of the track to reach the edge of the forest without needing a bath towel and flippers. Several hares temporarily blocked my route while birds of prey flew low over the crops still looking for breakfast.

Mid-afternoon ride in hot sunshine. It reached 78F in the shade for the warmest day in a rather cool and wet July after a warm June. Legs rather leaden. 14 miles.

Thursday 21st 64-78F, 18-26C, overcast, windy and wet. I started off on a walk but the rain returned. As did I. It has remained dry since then. Grr?

Froome wins the individual time trial convincingly in the Yellow Jersey. Mark Cavendish leaves to concentrate on the Olympics after winning four stage sprints and wearing both the Green and Yellow Jerseys. His tally of stage wins now stands at 30. 

 Another stealth harvester wearing the Yellow Jersey hiding in plain sight in the Danish countryside. It has been strongly suggested that these machines be made to proceed the Tour De France riders on the big climbs.

Yet again the Tour De Farce riders were repeatedly blocked by so-called "spectators." [and, as usual, I use the term loosely] At which point it seems I shall have to issue a correction on behalf of the international, sports science community:

For years the scientific consensus has been that those who deliberately blocked the road were, very obviously, severely mentally ill, "educationally challenged" [or whatever PC term passes for the mentally retarded these days] and hideously obsessive, attention seekers to boot.

Long and careful scientific study of single frames from the HD live camera coverage has now shown that, while all these interpretations are simultaneously accurate, at least for the vast majority of "road blockers" ...

The harvest is all downhill from here.

...the real problem seems to be that they are all simply so damned ugly. Otherwise they would not be standing in the middle of the road and might even be able to hold down real jobs. Perhaps doing things like litter picking after outdoor pop concerts for example. Their proven track record, where road discipline is concerned, suggests that litter picking the verges would be far too dangerous for other road [ab]users. Or, these same, raving, "all about me" jay walkers could while away their empty 11 months [and a week extra] less harmlessly by playing the latest computer games indoors [despite all their other severe handicaps.]

This new report may seem harsh for those with weak, multicultural stomachs but the data speaks for itself. We must all pray that no "road blockers" have ever been allowed to breed. Certainly not with each other!! It doesn't have to be like this. For the cost of one baldy's barber's salary, France could easily afford enough crowd barriers. Non means no! [Allegement]
Late afternoon [hilly] ride in yet another sweaty, 78F, 26C day in bright sunshine. Only 10 miles. I have just re-invented solar water heating. The instructions are very simple: Place ridiculously expensive plastic water bottle in ridiculously expensive plastic water bottle cage. Ride for five minutes in warm sunshine and enjoy a nice swig of luke warm, bath water. Campagnolo is bringing out a Super Record Electric Bottle Cooler to fit in Weekend Warrior's bottle cages. Prices have yet to be announced but Donald Trump has apparently ordered the first to come off the production line for his personal [chauffeured] gold plated, golf kart's, cocktail cabinet in faux, Louis 14th style.

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18 Jul 2016

18th July 2016 Tunnel Vision.


Monday 18th Bright start with sunshine, a light breeze and blue skies. Quickly clouded over with a threat of showers in the forecast. I walked around the rural 'block' trying to capture the remarkable range of crops beside the roads and lanes. The single field of Oil seed rape had been cut but still lay drying in stripes beside its bare stalks. I hear they have a blight of bugs this year despite the constant toxic spraying. The rest of the fields were full of grain crops in about half a dozen varieties. None of the fields [or prairies in some cases] has been completely immune to weather damage. Some with extensively flattened patches presumably caused by down-draughts while heavily laden with rain.

This being Denmark there are no crop circles. Perhaps it is because Danish "artists" produce nothing but ugly, infantile daubs and their crop circles would never be recognizable as such.

 I'm calling this daub  "Danish Summer Day!" ©

OMG! This could also mean that all these flattened areas in the crops are actually all made by leading Danish "artists" but their origins have gone completely unnoticed until now.

I'm afraid I belong to the school of thought which believes that real art is something which a first day 'student' at pre-kindergarten could never copy unseen in their disposable nappy. These great "art institutions" are known as "vuggestuer" in Denmark and their "artworks" are internationally known and collected by billionaires. Fortunately the vuggestuer have disposable "canvasses" readily available on demand or the market would swiftly become completely saturated. It seems many Danes need never see their own offspring until they grow up and become revolting.

With Danish schools paying hundreds of thousands for a single class to go on a "school trip" that wouldn't leave enough money for brushes, paints and huge canvasses to mass produce enough pre-school "artworks" to hang in all the council offices. Perhaps Odense zoo has rather more finger painting monkeys than they are really letting on? 

I have been seeing several large birds of prey with long narrow wings and fingertips, locally. They might have been Red Kites but for the lack of obvious markings and colours. No ride today.

Tuesday 19th 60-70F, 16-21C, dead calm with a heavy overcast. The only movement in the trees is from the birds.

This one is called: "Danish piss artists at work." 
Or, alternatively: "GPS crop failure!"

Apparently, four cyclists have put the wind up the railway tunnel authorities between Denmark and Sweden. The cyclists set off to play in the tunnels but were spotted entering. So the trains had to be stopped for safety.

Wouldn't it make far more sense just to leave the trains running? Otherwise "other nutters" will see how incredibly easy it is to bring rail communications between two countries to a complete standstill. And, all without the need for smuggled axes, machetes or knives as is [allegedly] legally required for the one million German "refugee" train passengers before being shot "for their own safety." I hear every train carriage in Europe will now need its own armed and highly trained security guard. Add in the cost of metal detectors at every minor railway station platform right across Europe and their non-contributory social security is going to take a knock. Brixit's Transport Minister  must be laughing his flabby wotsit off this morning!

The Danish transport authorities openly admitted that they hadn't a clue where the cyclists were 'playing.' So there are no security secrets in Denmark? At all? Did the spokesperson use a loud hailer to make this public service announcement? Or did it come over the passenger intercom?

Village racing Coots out training. Their mother does seem unnaturally competitive. This may well be due to toxic run-off or spray drift. 

That'll teach the Danes not to lay a cycle path on all their major bridges! Can you even imagine the cost of taking my camping-trip laden trike on  a cycle ride over the bridge to Sealand via rail in "cycling friendly" Denmark? That would be some cycling 'day trip!' What with trains constantly being cancelled for rail repairs and billions worth of non-runner Italian train sets lying rusting in the sidings. With passengers regularly sent forever onwards by convoys of buses! I wonder whether they allow chickens in cages on board? Do they have a carry-on, weight tariff for weapons or just for laden trikes? Or is this just another "Carry on" rip-off with Danish subtitles?

The reason there are no cycle paths on the bridges is obvious. The vast clouds of dust blowing up from the unswept cycle paths might encourage lunatic drivers to go even faster! With the tendency to prevailing Sou-westerlies, I suppose much of southern Sweden could even be blanketed in dust storms from the shifting dunes on the [missing] bridge-crossing, cycle paths.

Google Earth suggests it is 190-odd km to Copenhagen from here. That's about 120 miles in old money. With a typical following gale I could pedal there in a day if it wasn't for the no-cycling, giant bridge hurdle in my path. So, why is my freedom of movement under the Schengen Treaty being denied to me? Is this all part of the deliberate social inequality being foisted on the Danes by their ever more right wing politicooze?

Had a short, half hour walk under grey skies to un-wrinkle the knots. A Skylark insisted on playing the drama queen as I passed, going both ways. Vaughan Williams would be spinning in his grave! Instead of sitting here writing nonsense I should really be spinning my pedals.

Somewhat unexpectedly, I was actually allowed out on my trike today. The towering hedges will have to wait another day. I decided to head for Ringe to have a look in the big bike shop. Having joined  at Espe, I had the narrow gauge cycle path entirely to myself until well inside the town of Ringe. The roads were wet in places but I missed all the very localized showers. Coming back was into the wind and my collection of storm flies grew apace. By the time I reached home again I was covered from head to toe in them and it felt as if my skin was crawling. Thankfully a shower got rid of them all and the itching. 48 miles under mostly grey skies.

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17th July 2016 Chris Boardman's mum killed while cycling.


Monday 18th

I have just read that Chris Boardman's mother has been killed while cycling in North Wales. The police are appealing for witnesses. The irony will not go unnoticed by my cycling readers. I'm sure they will all share my condolences to Chris Boardman for his tragic loss. 

15 Jul 2016

15th July 2016 Put a lid on it!


Friday 15th 58F, 14C, overcast and breezy. It should stay dry but with winds gusting to 15m/s or over 30 mph. I walked past the marsh then along the spray tracks to the top of the forest hill and returned via more spray tracks.  I wore my gaiters but the vegetation was all very dry. The sky remains grey and cloudy with a stiff, westerly wind.

I should have mentioned that I bought a Catlike 'tako' helmet. My last helmet, an Orbea 'Rune' used to impress deep dents into my forehead even when it was worn loose. The thin, internal padding was really pathetic and fell off when brand new. I had stuck cloth tape around the edges to save having the bare foam resting directly against my skin. The lumps across the forehead might suggest that it would cause severe localized trauma on any impact. It also had an awful ratchet arrangement requiring two hands to tighten or loosen the headband.

The Catlike was about £50 equivalent and very comfortable with a nice, simple, tension wheel adjustment. It was also one third of the price of the very uncomfortable Catlike when I last went looking for protective headgear. The Catlike felt marginally cooler than the Orbea and seems to wrap lower around my head. Rather than sitting on top, like a huge pompom on a bobble hat. I have always liked the "hole in the head" style of Catlike's helmets as a refreshing change from strips and slots. Another rest day.

Saturday 16th 55F, 13C, cool, grey and overcast. Possible showers allegedly clearing this afternoon. No news is good news these days. Our world seems to be falling apart. A grey, breezy walk along the lanes trying, and failing, to capture the fields just before they are harvested. I'm trying 3:2 picture format instead of 16:9 or 4:3 just for a change. If the idea was to capture more of today's sulky sky then I don't know why I bothered.

After a day of frequent showers it finally cleared after three pm. Allowing a short ride with the wheels spraying up from sopping wet roads. Only 7 miles in bright sunshine under blue and white skies. Cavendish wins fourth sprint for 30th stage win in the Tour De France.

Sunday 17th 60-62F, 15-17C, calm and sunny with a few, thin plates of ruffled cloud. Showers possible around lunchtime. The wind picked up and heavier plates of cloud passed over as I walked the track to the woods. The verges between the crops and the track were littered with wild flowers. The periods of sunshine became briefer as time passed quietly until it was almost overcast. The crops seem to still the noise of human activity. Providing a gentle blanket of peace to the background of urgent birdsong.

It started spitting as I left. Then continued raining unabated right up until the moment I turned into the drive on my return. A few stalwarts/optimists out t'raining with no rain jackets. You'd think they twig the similarity in verbs. Plenty of drivers whom haven't heard of tire spray nor giving a cyclist a minimum 1.5m clearance. [5' in old money] Now add in the Danish national sport of speeding well above the legal limit. So I'm soaked from head to socks despite the cheapo [bin-bag quality] rain jacket. Still, the temperatures were pleasant enough and the winds never too much of a chore. 22 miles.

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13 Jul 2016

13th July 2016. If it's not Brexit don't fix it.


Wednesday 13th 65-70F, 18-21C. Bright and breezy all day despite warnings of possible showers. Mid morning ride to buy some screws but no stock. 20 enjoyable and hilly miles. 

Cameron gone. May greets Larry the cat as head of the household. Heads you lose. Tails you lose. Hollande's hairdresser enjoys a huge salary for doing only half a job. Have you seen Hollande's shiny bonce?

Sagan enjoys a hugely deserved stage win with Froome contesting right to the line in a four man breakaway. Great cycling! Poor old Cav had a gear problem as did a Tinkoff rider. Look no [electric] gears! How much do these mechs cost? HOW much?!? And how much did it cost Cav in potential earnings or glory? Damned cycling! Must not have used those massively advertised batteries whose name thankfully escapes me. The 13th is highly subjective, isn't it!  I haven't been taking many pictures recently and it shows. Unlucky for some.

Thursday 14th 56F, 13C, breezy and bright. It seems Cavendish's gears took a knock before failing. Fragility seems like a piss-poor characteristic for a top of the range [i.e. ridiculously expensive!] cycling component. Watching a mechanic hanging over a cycle to adjust the gears while they ride alongside the team car screams amateurish. Not clever! Talking of amateurish I was going to ride 40 miles to collect something I had ordered online. However, it seems holidays interrupt 'service as normal' for some small businesses. I have been having similar problems from an other 'amateur' online supplier. Once bitten twice shy! Buy from a reliable company and sod the slight increase in prices or freight charges. At least they don't all go on holiday without leaving anybody in charge!

I left at nine to go to Odense with a tailwind to buy some screws at twice the price. Cruising at 16-18mph was good fun. Coming back was not! Now straight into the wind with patchy drizzle and 9-12mph. A bit tired towards the end despite eating well throughout. Burp! 44 miles. I am [almost] ashamed to admit to having just passed the 2000 mile barrier for this year. I am now somebody who cycles rather than an OCD tricyclist who eats and sleeps in between rides.

The Tour de Farce descends to a whole new level of disorganized idiocy. Perhaps if they'd spent that ugly, bald bloke's hairdresser's salary on a few more security barriers? They might have reduced the inevitable carnage that the annual release of Europe's raving lunatics always causes. It was interesting to see a couple of the motorbike riders actually trying to push the worst of the raving lunatics back from the road.

If the results stand I hope the riders go on strike as Chris Boardman has predicted. The riders put their lives and unbelievable efforts on the line only to have the Tour de Farce take the money and run every single time. I said years ago that they should put blades on the motorcycles to clear the way through the raving lunatics on the climbs. Raving lunatics 1- Froome 0. Tour de Farce? Who knows? But I bet it will dent their bottom line if sponsors start to waver at an annual show of complete and utter madness. There's nothing like a loss to concentrate obscenely greedy people's attention. A final word of advice to Froome, if I may be so bold, try wearing MTB shoes next time you fancy a jog up the Ventoux. I'm fairly sure I've seen them in yellow.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

11 Jul 2016

11th July 2016 Avoiding getting wet in the dry.


Monday 11th 60-65F, 16-18C, breezy and overcast. There was very heavy rain and thunderstorms last night. Today is about possible showers. During an early walk I was treated to the sight of a Red Kite hunting, with wings widespread,  low over the fields. It eventually alighted and completely disappeared into the crops. A few light showers this morning but it should brighten up. I spent an hour of so using a heavy, extended hedge clipper just in case I wasn't getting enough exercise. Heavy showers all day. No ride today.

Tuesday 12th 61F, 16C, breezy with showers. It rained while I prepared to deliver the car to the workshop but stayed mostly dry as I rode back home. Bike racks are essential for trikes. You can't just bung them in the boot unless you want to remove the wheels. [AND, remember to take the tools to fix them safely back on again!]

Wearing ordinary clothes while cycling is a very warm experience and best avoided. I had forgotten quite how hot it can be. Those who commute in their daily wear should seriously consider wearing shorts and thin polyester cycling wear to stay cool. It's certainly not showing off. It's just dressing appropriately for the heavy exercise involved. Clothes intended to keep you warm and dry while standing at the bus stop are not remotely suitable for even a quite a gentle ride.

I find bare legs are one of the best ways to stay cool from Spring to Autumn. Even the thinnest [supermarket] "skiing tights" will do in winter down to well below freezing. The pedalling bod provides all the warmth necessary. Which is why you don't need a duvet jacket on a bike even at -10C.[14F] I have ridden below -10C wearing fleece jackets and trousers. Absolutely hopeless! Hot and sweaty on the climbs and freezing cold on the descents.

Wind-proofing is essential as temperatures drop but not insulation. [Except for your hands.] Your wind-proof shell material must be breathable or you quickly become a mobile sauna. If a jacket doesn't breathe then you have completely wasted your money on a very fancy bin/trash bag!

You will start sweating within seconds and soon be as wet as if you have fallen headfirst into the canal. I kid you not. Assuming you had fallen into the canal what would you do then?  Change literally every item of clothing? Do you have a complete change of clothing in a sealed bin/trash bag stuffed into your saddle bag or in your works locker?

If you really think that wearing your sweat-saturated clothes will soon dry them out then you'd better get rid of that jacket! Remember that it is waterproof both ways. The sweat can no or evaporate indoors than it can outside. What if it's windy at your destination? You'll freeze! Just as you'll freeze on every descent once you are saturated to the core and have lost the damned jacket.

Climbing and hill walking took a serious dive when polyurethane sealed, nylon shell jackets took over from traditional, natural materials. A proofed, tightly woven cotton anorak or even a decent tweed jacket was far better. Unless you intended to stand completely still in the rain on a cool day you'll sweat in any proofed nylon jacket or cagoule.

Remember that tweed was a response to dressing outdoor workers who desperately needed all-weather comfort in all seasons. Look at old pictures of cyclists [or manual workers] and you'll see tweed jackets. A century before proofed nylon clothing came along they could still climb the highest mountains and cycle from Land's End to John o' Groats in all weathers. They could also work outdoors all day long on every day of the year in the pouring rain, frost and snow! Ireland is a perfect example of traditional wear to perfectly suit the very wet climate. Coincidence, or not?

Watch serious cyclists in the wet and cold of winter and you'll be astounded at how thin their clothing really is. The best, modern materials provide breathability as well as shower proofing. They had to invent this very expensive material because the cagoules and anoraks were killing off too many people through hypothermia in the wilds! Very tightly woven cotton and naturally greasy wool provide wind-proofing and warmth and can still be reasonably rain proof if treated with the correct proofing materials. More importantly, the wearer's sweat can still evaporate so they can walk or cycle themselves dry again after a shower.

Those of us who have tried camping in single skin, proofed nylon bivouac tents will remember how wet they got inside. That wetness was not leaking rain. It was your own sweat and your own breath condensing inside the [bin-bag] waterproofed material. Handy for a bad case of hiccups? Dunno.

"Proper" nylon tents had to have the same flysheets that their older cotton cousins always did. The breathable inner tent is just a physical barrier to stop you from touching the nasty, cold and sweaty, flysheet or outer shell.

Choose a breathable jacket for cycling after reading lots of online reviews. Or just wear a bin/trash bag with holes cut for your arms and neck instead. Take the jacket [or bin bag] off as soon as you can without discomfort. Staying cool makes you a cool cyclist however short your journey. Most cyclists know the sweaty feeling that comes shortly after they have arrived at work, school or are even visiting the shops. The body has a flywheel warmth effect which follows every ride. So avoid overdressing until you have returned to your normal comfort level. Stay as undressed as your social conditions allow as you get rid of that heat from healthy exercising. If you normally wear a suit then leave the jacket on your office chair while you cool.

I commuted 15 miles to work and 15 back again on bikes and a trike in my youth. I wore a jumper or two but in winter the wind blew right though me and out at the back. So I started tucking a newspaper inside my jumper. A trick which even the Tour De France riders employed until very recently for the mountain descents after a long, hot climb. However, my jumpers were loose and the paper kept wanting to fall out and was really a damned nuisance. It was no good, at all, in the rain.

Then I found a branch of Blacks of Greenock and fell in love with brightly coloured nylon jackets. I wish I'd never heard of their damned, polyurethane proofed nylon! It followed me to the mountains too. Where I sweated up every climb. Then couldn't take off the damned jacket or cagoule to cool off on the summit as I stood up to my neck in a 3560' deep pool of my own sweat! Proofed nylon is only useful for coarse fisherman. Or those who never [ever] move a muscle and feel they must sit or stand in the rain on a cool day to pass the time constructively. On a warm, wet day you'd be better off in a bin/trash bag. At least your arms will stay cool!

I still manged to get a ten mile ride in today.


4 Jul 2016

4th July 2016 Cav x3, Cummings and now Froome!


Monday 4th July, 53F, 12C, inky black overcast during another cloudburst. Cleared to bright blue skies and fluffy clouds with no wind. The forecast is showers all morning. The cold symptoms continue with dizziness, violent sneezing, bunged up chest and nose, coughing, runny eyes, depression and general fuzziness.

Much the same could be said for the weather. Yet again there was a parting of the ways as huge plates of angry cloud passed to the north and south of me. There seemed to be distinct, dark stripes running through them. Even a hint of a corkscrew over the forest as I risked a walk to the village to watch the birds perform and returned unscathed. Despite the sky passing rapidly across it was almost dead calm at ground level with the turbines standing still. No ride today. I just became more unwell and felt more dizzy all day. Cavendish does it again with another sprint win to bring his TdeF total to 28.

Tuesday 5th 55F, 13C, heavy overcast, almost still. The forecast is for rain all day.The DMI radar showed the wet weather passing north of us. So I took an hour's walk with only a drop or two of rain despite the dark skies. A Black cap was foraging on the thistles on some waste ground but seemed not to care that I was standing only a few feet away. Rain and wind all day. No ride today.

Wednesday 6th 53-65F, 12-18C, overcast and very windy. After yesterday's deluge today's forecast is mostly dry but windy with some sunshine. It could gust to 17m/s which is nearly 40mph.[m/s x 2.24 = mph] Perhaps it's just the weather gods forcing me to rest until I recover from this virus. I walked along the edge of the marsh and then skirted the woods to return by the main track. There were probably one hundred immature and/or or female Mallards on the pond which scattered away as I passed. It was blowing a gale throughout so I was grateful for my very thin jogging jacket. I met a very soggy, rather small, tabby cat, out hunting in the long grass by the marsh. It was flattened on the ground and glaring at me so I left it to itself. The roadside trees were bending alarmingly in the wind. Not well enough to ride today.

Thursday 7th 56-65F, 13-18C, bright, calm and sunny. Winds expected to gust to between 20 and 25mph later. I'm still bunged up but not so dizzy today. It stayed bright but breezy for most of the morning. After an early walk and coffee I set off for the shops with a crosswind. Went out again after lunch as it gradually became windier, cloudier and darker but still dry. 23 miles. A bit breathless on the climbs. Cav wins his third sprint on 2016 TdF.

Friday 8th 62-68F, 17-20C,  bright and breezy. Rain forecast for this afternoon. No walk today as I had to have my elderly car looked at. I hardly drive any more but the two yearly vehicle safety test still has to be taken. It would be far cheaper to use buses or taxis, I suppose, but they are not convenient for those rare occasions when I really do need a car. Living out in the countryside makes an "emergency" vehicle too handy to give up completely. Electric cars are still far too expensive for my pocket.  I also have to think seriously about renewing my British driving license. I will probably be expected to obtain a Danish license. Then what happens if all the Brits are sent home by the EU dictatorship following Brexit? The unnelected EU "leaders" are likely to make an example of Britain to avoid too many copycat referendums amongst the ranks.

Mid-morning hilly ride into increasing wind and cloud. A few cyclists out training in the earlier sunshine. Meanwhile I was being tickled to death by thousands of tiny 'storm' flies. Once it started raining after lunch it forgot how to stop. 21 miles.

Steve Cummings wins today's stage by a mountain! Just as the TdeF triumphal arch decorations become a rapidly deflating farce! Not so much "mind your aches" as "mind your arches!" Could all these British successes be the result of competing against a clean peloton?

Saturday 9th 57F, 14C, heavy overcast, showers. I made an early start on the car to see if I could save the considerable expense of replacing the front ABS sensor. Having removed the wheel I found the sensor was jammed fast and made of a weak material which did not accept tapping or leverage. It was all very clean and looked as if it had been replaced very recently. Possibly at the last vehicle check when the front disks and shields were replaced. My very low mileage had not given the area a chance to build up the usual layer of mud. It started raining repeatedly and heavily. So I replaced the front wheel and must face the bill knowing I had done my best. Any brutality would simply have destroyed the sensor. The ABS warning light remains stubbornly lit.

Fortunately it stayed dry for my ride though the first half as into a strong headwind. Coming home was easier. 18 miles.

Chris Froome showed remarkable style in descending rapidly away from the remaining field at the summit. Then adopting a strange pedalling style from an aerodynamic crouch over the front wheel for the stage win and Yellow Jersey. If Cavendish can finish within the allotted time there will be three jerseys worn simultaneously by British riders . Yellow, Green and Dan Martin in White. The UCI will be furious and banning British riders from getting out of the saddle ASAP.

Sunday 10th 61F, 16C, gales and raining. Expected to clear up this afternoon.Which it did just long enough for me to have a short ride and return unscathed. It wasn't too windy by then. Only 7 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


1 Jul 2016

1st July 2016 Cav in Yellow!


Friday 1st July, 61-65F, 16-18C, dense cloud to overcast, breezy from east to south east with the promise of more rain. I managed only half a mile before it started pouring down. So I turned round and walked back. The afternoon brought a tempting, but short-lived brightness. Did I mention the rain? I should have taken my Wellies. Only 7 miles.

Saturday 2nd 59-65F, 15-18C, light variable winds with lots of cloud. Rain or showers are forecast again. The decision to wear summer MTB shoes seems to have been premature. The winter boots are waterproof thanks to a lack of ventilation. The Head Gardner and I have both been having cold like symptoms for the last week. It seems unlikely we would both suffer from exactly the same allergy. Meanwhile there has been a lot of spraying on the fields around our garden.

No walk but I left into a grey sky on the trike. The rain stayed away while I was out and there was even some sunshine. Rather windy from many different directions with the trees thrashing about. Looking at the DMI's rainfall radar shows all the showers passed well south of us. 15 miles. The Tour-de-France 2016 starts today. And today's sprint, stage win and Yellow Jersey were won by a very well deserving Mark Cavendish.

Sunday 3rd 54F, 12C, bright at times but mostly overcast, raining, windy. The forecast is for rain or thundery showers for most of the day. I see the BBC has finally added Cavendish's Tour De France win to its news website. When the ex-girlfriend of the second cousin of a South American footballer's third wife gets a splinter we get a blow by blow account and in depth discussion of her chances of a full recovery and how it will affect the known universe.

When a British rider makes sporting history in the world's biggest cycle race some deluded snob of an apology for a spectator sports journalist at the BBC decides it is unworthy of mention? Can they even ride a bike, unaided? Perhaps they should try a trike? Should the ability to ride an upright racing trike be a condition of BBC employment? That would certainly sort a tiny number of men from an awful lot of boys. I mean, anybody can ride a bike. Can't they? 

Enjoyed a pleasant but breezy walk to the village and back. The weather gods kept hurling their plates of cloud over, each dragging their filthy underskirts, but they all missed. It was the Swallows turn to put on an acrobatics display. With heavy showers on and off I had no need to don a full rubber suit today.

Click on any image for an enlargement.