12 Dec 2016

12th December 2016 Who'll start me with a fiver?


Monday 12th 38F, 4C,. It should be a day of sunny periods and light winds. I hope I can make the most of it. First, I shall have to attend to the puncture. I hate changing tubes when the tyres are wet and covered in flinty, winter grit and farmer's mud. It would be pushing my luck to wait much longer and keep pumping. Colder this morning with an easterly breeze. I saw loads of pheasants, a buzzard and the largest and smallest bird likely to be seen locally. A tiny Goldcrest, smaller than wren and a huge heron skulking the shores of a garden pond in the hope of breakfast. More bullfinches moving about between the trees. Talking of which, there is hardly a tree in the roadside hedges which are not in bud. 

I keep feeling guilty about my collection of old and much newer gear changers. Amongst all the other cycling detritus stacked in boxes of old pedals and chainsets and brakes all taking up valuable room. None of it is pristine so it will probably all sit in those boxes until I am too senile to recognise what they are. Then probably try feeding them to the neighbour's chickens.

More MacShite and Choker Colour  concentrated syrup adorning the countryside. What part of 'takeaway' do they not understand?

There is no Danish eBay, so getting rid of it all would be ridiculously costly in international postage even if I literally gave it away on the British market. Perhaps I should try my luck on one of the Danish online small ads websites? Get rid of it all for small change to someone interested in 'retro?' Or not too proud to buy secondhand kit.

It's all just a nuisance to me since I settled on Campag 22 speed with very wide ratios [36-11t thanks to Roadlink] on my Trykit. The Higgins just hangs there in the shed as a very rarely used reserve and I haven't touched the Longstaff conversion set for years now. I can still remember the excitement and gratitude when my brother sent the Longstaff axle over to me with a very pretty set of aero HP wheels. That axle became the base for an endless series of frame and equipment upgrades via recycled bikes bought dirt cheaply from flea markets and recycling centers. The latter are now only a memory since the 'powers that be' decided that nothing could be taken away from the council's recycling yards.

Now the only real cycle recycling is done by organized, Eastern Europeans who export in bulk. I hear the Danish police have been having great luck with registration plate recognition cameras in catching bike thieves' lorries. Plus thousands of illegal drivers without licenses, unregistered cars, MOT avoiders and spotting banned drunk drivers too. It's a shame the clever cameras can't be fitted with RPGs to save the cost and time wasted on investigation and prosecution. Bulldoze the wreckage into the gutter and leave them there as warning to all driving criminals.The rusting hulks will go well with the takeaway litter.

Anyway, as I rode the conversion trike around I longed for a "real" trike. Sadly my distance from Gravely Blighted made purchase a huge hurdle. Luckily I found an eBay vendor who was willing to deliver his Higgins to a decent, local, UK bike shop. Who packed it superbly for the trip over. I did many tens of thousands of miles on the Higgins in a few short years before a very modest pension payout afforded me the Trykit. As 70 rapidly approaches I am no longer willing, or probably able, to do the former and higher, daily mileages.

Anybody in Denmark who needs a 'sporting' trike to compete in the disabled classes can probably get help with their purchase of something more modern and much "posher." I doubt they'd be interested in a 1954, original paint, antique Higgins albeit with Trykit 2WD and mostly modern kit. The Longstaff, trike-axle conversion is probably beneath their contempt when they can have a shiny new Trykit axle with twin, rear disk brakes and a proper bumper.

Just in case anyone is thinking they can use a 'sporting' trike to overcome balance problems they should really look for something far more suitable. Racing and touring trikes are about as unstable as you can legally use on the roads apart from that other clown's favourite choice of the mono-cycle. Does anybody else think it odd that having one extra, or one less wheel, on a "bike" separates you from the rest of society?

There are some two wheel "boy racers" who are simply too snobby to recognise trikes. Tell that to Gaz who holds all the UK trike time trial records at speeds which would trash many a jumped-up 'weekend warrior.' As they all ride along in all the "right kit" and the £250 sunglasses on their fragile carbon fiber mounts to match their equally fragile egos. Even in my late 60s I was still fit enough, for a while, to show up many younger riders while climbing hills with 10kg of shopping on a trike already weighing three times as much as their fancy bikes with only a tyre sticking plaster in their "Lycra" back pockets! Try saying that sentence quickly without getting breathless. Talking of which: I'd better stop waffling and get that puncture fixed. My "audience" awaits my next exciting performance on the 'dodgems.'

The "puncture" proved to be yet another Schwalbe valve leaking. I remember having to use beak-nosed pliers to tighten all the valves in their threaded tubes before I could even use them. There was no other sign of bubbles in the water bath except from the valve. There are two machined flats provided for tightening. They must have had a bad batch because the valve units were literally falling out when I got the set of new inner tubes. It seems rather odd considering valve leakage and loose valve units have never been a problem in over half a century of cycling on HPs and tubs with Presta valves! So the Durano Plus still haven't had a "proper" puncture. I removed and checked the tyre inside and out, just to be safe, but found no embedded flints. Things to do at home so no ride today.


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