21 Nov 2016

21st November 2016 On the dodgems.


Monday 21st 43-48F, 6-9C, heavy overcast, rain and calm. It should clear to some sunshine later. The winds were upgraded to storm force gusts for our area yesterday evening but passed largely unnoticed. No visible damage outside. Nor on my walk to the village. Except for a dead, juvenile gull. Which might have been struck a vehicle in bad wind conditions. There was no obvious sign of injury. It is very unusual to see a dead gull. Blackbirds, sparrows and pheasants are the usual road kill victims.  Blackbirds have the dangerous habit of swooping low in front of speeding cars.  Worse, they cross the road when there is absolutely no need to break cover. Perhaps they are playing "chicken" to impress the others? Young sparrows are rather weak fliers for a while. Pheasants are as thick as a brick. They haven't a clue which way to go when they perceive a threat.

An after lunch ride to the shops via the hilly lane then down through the beech forest. It was spitting as I left and rained steadily harder. Fortunately there was a tailwind coming home so it didn't take long at 16-18mpg despite the weight of shopping. By 3.30pm it was easily dark enough for lights. The Smart rear lights are amazingly bright and have a flickering flash to attract attention. The latest ones seem to have doubled up on the focusing lenses. Mine are still the older single lens plus a red reflector area but still excellent from a great distance. They must use a red LED because the lens is clear. To think of the decades before LEDS came along. It's amazing cyclists survived. Particularly as many cars did not have the brilliant headlamps of today.

10 more miles to break the 5000km barrier for this year. Thankfully I have cured myself of trike riding OCD. The gnawing emptiness of a rest day has passed to be replaced by a slight sense of guilt. At least the pain in my right hip/buttock has subsided. I cured the constant pain in my shoulder by lowering my mouse mat surface to just above my thighs. My elbow can now rest on the arm of the chair. Previously I used a raised mouse mat surface. The muscular tension from long hours at the computer gave symptoms of severe shoulder joint problems. The X-rays and scans showed nothing untoward. As did those on my hip. I was [inadvertently] causing my own severe pain. Now I just have to be careful about lifting heavy weights or the back pain comes back. Though it doesn't hamper my ability to carry large sports bags around stuffed to the gills with potatoes and 1 liter milk cartons.

I don't mention all of this to gain sympathy. But rather to point out how one's own life choices can easily destroy mobility and fitness. My morning walks are vital to unwinding aching muscles and freeing up my joints. Some days I almost hobble away from the garden gate clutching my back to try and straighten up. Only to find myself walking effortlessly within a few hundred yards. Walking on rough ground seems highly beneficial in my case. Which is why I usually choose to go "off-road" as much as possible. No doubt the beauty and soft green tones I see in the gentle Danish landscape provide mental rest and stimulus to help balance my thoughts. Walking on the road and avoiding poor drivers winds me up like a clock spring.  Unfortunately I have no choice until I reach my familiar and grateful exits to the real countryside.

Many driver's skills are seriously inadequate when they find an unexpected obstacle to their illegal speed or idiotic behaviour. Many commuters could easily be confused with a Hollywood FBI convoy as they drive nose to tail at above the speed limit. Many haven't a clue about how to corner properly and safely. "Braking distance" is a term completely outside of their understanding. The sooner computers take over the task of driving the fewer "accidents" will occur. I can only presume that these inadequate drivers have absolutely no pride. All of it is invested in their vehicle. None in practicing the fine art of controlling it with skill and thought.

I have been driving [and cycling] for decades and still apply full concentration and defensive driving skills just as I was taught by a professional instructor. How can anyone "read the road" properly with their mind elsewhere? Or while talking inane bølløcks on their mobile 'phone to another social inadequate? How does anyone dare to turn to their passenger or even the child in the rear seat while the vehicle is in motion? Is it a learned failure taught by Hollywood's [educationally challenged] film directors? The hint must surely be in the use of professional stunt men for all the driving scenes?


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