6 Aug 2016

6th August 2016 Cyclists going off the rails?


Saturday 6th 58-62F, 15-17C, occasionally gusty wind but almost dead calm in between. Overcast, showers promised but clearing later. Legs still a bit achy from yesterday's ride. I had better have a walk despite the wet forecast.

Over 90° wide landscape image stitched together in MS I.C.E. A bit underwhelming? Sometimes, I don't know why I bother.

[My oft- repeated suggestion for] using old railway tracks for cycle paths is back in the news again. There is an argument over the use of occasional rail cycle rides [for private profit] or, providing a 'proper' cycle path for all.  There are many miles [kilometers] of unused railway tracks on Fyn which would make excellent cycle paths with very gentle inclinations. These old railway lines are largely unused except for the occasional hired rail track cycles. Most tracks still have their original rotting sleepers, coarse gravel and rusty rails. Presumably somebody must be clearing overhanging trees to allow reasonable progress. The old rail tracks are often in gorgeous scenery and make superb and safe cycle routes away from traffic when done well. There are usually hinged bars on either side of the roads they cross to stop rail cycles from running straight into traffic. These bars are secured with padlocks to further reduce accidents.

I was rather scathing about my first ride along the very narrow gauge cycle path between Korinth and Ringe. This was due to the narrowness of its asphalt but very generous width of sharp flinty sand alongside intended for pony riding. What happened, in practice, was that the ponies used only the asphalt as a toilet and kicked razor sharp flints across the asphalt. Avoiding great heaps of horse dung on a narrow path was bad enough. Avoiding the sharp sand was impossible! I punctured twice on brand new Continental 4000S tyres and met others who told me they had also punctured. Including one very old man, in shirt sleeves, who had pushed his punctured bike for many miles just to get home. Had the weather changed [on a day of sunshine and showers] he could have been in serous danger of exposure or even pneumonia! My later visits show that grass has taken firm hold of the earlier sand and helps to keep it under control. Only near some villages does the grass get worn through and the sand begin to stray again.

Politicians at Randers want to make a 'proper' cycle path but some locals want to retain the railway and the hired rail cycles for historical and cultural reasons. A combination of surfaced strips is suggested but [IMO] this risks becoming far too narrow for safe overtaking. Not to mention the danger of cycle tyres getting stuck in the "tram lines" between rail and asphalt.

A family outing on a rail cycle near Ebberup on a wonderful, sunny day. What a magical scene! The excitement of running ahead to open the next gates to discover a new lane exists in a once familiar and blinkered world. Surrounded in overhanging greenery, unspoilt nature and fresh air and the freedom to be unrestrained and to be so alive. All without that constant nagging fear of a driving sociopath spoiling days and lives just because they feel the desperate need. The unlikely combination of pedalling and rails. History and culture and technology and the amazing racket it all makes! Unfamiliar gravel and sleepers under your feet and the rattle of metal on metal under your bum and in your head. Like no laptop, UHDTV or tablet will ever compare. Childhood memories burned into the innocent soul are never childish memories. They take on a reality which can never dim with age. To warm and delight with their utter perfection without payment nor expiry date.

[I don't usually take pictures of people but they seemed so delightfully happy and excited as I rode alongside the old railway. So I rode ahead and caught them approaching the next crossing.]

It should never be forgotten [by the taxpayer funded politicians] that cycle paths are also used by dog walkers, pram and pushchair owners, wheelchair and mobility scooter users and whole families wandering on foot [usually] in a completely undisciplined manner. Cycle path is merely an overall description. Maintaining any kind of a normal cycling pace is often completely impossible! Though I have enjoyed many miles on the Korinth-Ringe path, more recently, without seeing a single other human being. Using the path on weekdays helps.

The following link is to the news story, in Danish, but the image tells most of the story:
Only a pedant would point out that rail cycles also have wheels so I won't mention it.

Cycles on rails or cycles on wheels:[?] Politicians and citizens argue in East Jylland.
Cykler på skinner eller cykler på hjul: Det strides politikere og borgere om | Østjylland | DR

My morning walk was interrupted by a lengthy downpour. I was on the opposite side of the fields from home and could see the rain arriving as a heavy mist obscuring the upwind woods. The mist was even darker and thicker further north and east as the landscape completely disappeared from view under a black sky. I hovered under increasingly dripping trees for ages before daring to venture into the open. Where there was no shelter at all and the rain was falling at 45 degrees in the crosswind.

The traffic was its usual, sociopathic self and produced some distinctly non-PC thoughts! Are they completely unaware that passing close to a pedestrian or cyclist will spray them with road filth from head to foot? And, if they are [aware] what gives them the right to do so? Have they not heard of the 5' [1.5m] clearance rule? Grr.

Drivers insist on staying inside the double white lines on the straight, as they pass too closely. Then they cut several yards across the lines on the very next, completely blind corner! This is the Danish national sport. Sadly the Olympic committee would not let Denmark compete in 2016 dangerous sports games. This was simply because Danish drivers would win all the medals completely without effort and thid wasn't considered very fair. So, having been repeatedly sprayed and rained on I was forced to strip off all my cold and wet clothes on my arrival back at home. Grr. [Again!]

A mid afternoon ride with a strong crosswind gusting to 25-30mph. Coming home it was now an exhausting headwind. Lies damned lies and Rema1000! I was going to buy some organic raisins but the crooks had already put the price up! The offer, according to their lying special offers comic, doesn't end until they close today at 8pm. I was there at 3.30 and they had plenty of stock. I even asked the pre-teenage girl on the checkout for a price check. Because I know from very, very long experience that "Danish" supermarkets can never be trusted

Loads of offer items advertised but no stock in several supermarket chains. You used to be able to rely on the Coop [Super Brugsens] but they are just as bad as all the other cowboys and outlaws these days. All part of some foreign investment funds like most other "public services" are today. Have you seen who owns the crap, "Danish" mobile phone services?  The answer is NOT any Danish companies! Foreign investment fund managers profiteering again with no responsibility for crap service as long as the mugs continue to pay. Keep taking the fat bonuses! You'll get a another fat bonus even if you are forced to leave after bleeding the investors dry! 

Sunday 7th 58F, 15C, heavy overcast and windy at times. Showers expected. The DMI is still showing weather graphics completely at odds with its own text. Despite regular investment in new supercomputers they still can't forecast last week's weather. I walked my usual loop up to the woods via the wide spray tracks. A young deer suddenly popped up only a few yards away. I said hello and it seemed curious abut me. Even trotting towards me for some distance. After staring at me for a while the Bambi trotted off along the spray tracks to find somebody more interesting to play with.  It started raining on the descent to the road and I feared another soaking. Fortunately the rain became slowly weaker with time and distance. A whole day of showers and gales. Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

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