10 Nov 2016

9th November 2016 Do you want ice with that?


Wednesday 9th 30-33F, -1+1C, light winds, heavy overcast, 2-3" of overnight snow lying with very light snow still falling. We are promised a clear up with sunshine. No sign of it yet. There is no problem with adhesion on modest snow depths with a two wheel drive [2WD] trike.

A snow plastered, roadside oak tree showing the  perfectly clear asphalt. The sky is as wintry as it looks with the threat of more snow.

The main problem is how incredibly wet and corrosive the roads are after ploughing and salting. Plus my holding up the traffic where the roads are considerably narrowed by the snow banks at the edges. It is not always possible to pull off briefly [and to brake safely] to let the traffic go past. As I often do with buses and lorries on the narrow and twisting roads. The entrances to farmyards and private drives are often invisible due to the snow clearing blocking exits.There never was a break in the grey skies but it didn't snow any more and there was a gentle thaw. No walk or ride but I spent a couple of hours working in the shed at 33F,1C. A down jacket is superbly warm and thin workshop gloves take away the pain of handling cold metal.

Thursday 10th 31-34F, 0-1C, white frost, very light breeze, distant mist, risk of sunshine. Snow still lying where it had not been cleared. I could hear tractors as I left home so I went to investigate what they might be doing in the snow. It turned out that they were bringing the large excavator back from the far end of the field where they had been making drainage trenches.

It is quite amazing how easy it is to hide things in the corrugated Danish countryside. I kept moving down the road trying to capture an interesting shot of the machines moving slowly in convoy as they appeared and as quickly disappeared again. They finally stopped alongside a JCB and I snatched a shot across the snow covered fields. It all looked very Xmas cardy but lacking the usual sparkle.

They had been using their huge, multi-purpose, Case II four-tracked tractor to tow an earth-moving trailer in largely soft conditions. The cold easterly breeze was not comfortable on my bare hands despite its lightness as I kept taking out my camera for a distant shot. The roads were clear thanks to the regular salting lorries. I saw the flashing lights approaching and ducked behind a road sign to avoid being sprayed by one as it passed. No reason not to go for a ride after coffee with the roads in this condition.

After coffee I was sent to Assens to buy myself a bottle of <cough> cough <cough> mixture. Half an hour to get there with the light tailwind. 40 minutes to get back back. When it is this cold one becomes highly sensitized [literally] to the slightest wind. Reaching 15-16mph with a light tailwind was noticeably colder. I wore the fleece neck sleeve half the way there and it was cosy. However, I had to take it and the scull cap off off because I was overheating. Not wishing to return with only a small bottle of cough mixture I bought some replacement frame clips for my Smart rear lights. Which I'd lost over the summer somehow. Coming back I had to stop and put my warm GripGrab cap back on to stop my scalp and skull from aching in the cold headwind. I need all the brain cells I can muster these days so wasn't taking any chances with ice crystals.

Wind chill increases rapidly with falling temperatures. [Do a search for wind chill table] I could feel the cold pressing against my forearms through my best winter cycling jacket. As usual I was wearing only a normal [recycled] racing jersey over the thinnest, thermal, long "skiing" underwear. Bought for about a fiver each in the supermarkets they last for literally years despite being washed every day throughout the long winters. My legs never felt cold in equally thin Long-johns under normal racing shorts. The polyester material is no thicker than some women's tights. My feet stayed comfortable in NW, unlined MTB boots and loop-pile socks from the local, farmer's supply shop. I bought several pairs of socks they were on offer at a fiver per pair but they had risen to £7 by the time I was told to buy another pair to smooth out the daily washing routine.

To think of the agonies I went through on my first Danish cycling winters! Apart from the NW boots [£150?] I usually buy my clothing at charity shop and supermarket prices. Though my [Wiggle] shorts and more occasional [longer ride] bibs cost more. I couldn't go back to cheap shorts now after being spoilt by decent padding. Not that the quality extends to the graphics and cloth with some of these. They can't tolerate such regular machine washing even at the correct [low] temperature. My first pair of touring bibs lost the will to live around the thigh bands and went all floppy. They now look as if a certain French sprinter had borrowed them overnight. Which is ridiculous considering how little wear they have had. I usually only wear bibs for over 40 mile rides. 

For eye protection, in typically grey conditions, I continue to wear a dirt cheap pair of yellow lens safety glasses intended for industrial workshops. About £3 from the local supermarket from fading memory. They enjoy a broad single lens with subtle hints of 'visor' and have adjustable ear-leg length. No pair of "cycling sunglasses" I have ever tried offers remotely as much protection from eye-watering cold. Do the "designers" of cycle wear ever try their "creations" before sending the drawings off to China to be stamped out?  I have tried finding more yellow sunglasses at the builder's merchants but they all cost £15 and have toxic, Chinese rubber, nose pieces. Which bring my face out in a hideous, permanent rash somewhat reminiscent of a sci-faux Martian.

The lake by the stately home was thinly frozen over but parts of the moat remained clear in places under the gorgeously antique, pedestrian suspension bridge. The open water was thanks to the channeled ripples from the Easterly wind.  The autumn beeches looked stunning but I couldn't/wouldn't stop for photography. Only 17 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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