14 Jan 2017

Friday the 13th! Mind that car! Use a mirror!


Friday 13th 33F, 1C, almost still, thick mist, heavy overcast. Wish me luck! I walked my familiar forest route anticlockwise in thick mist. Only one, middle-aged woman tried to run me down on the last leg along the road. I'm blaming the fog of compulsory anti-depressants which form a large part of the Danish diet. A dog barked incessantly throughout my hour and a quarter walk. Even at my most distant point I could hear it clearly. Yet the sound of the traffic was subdued. The sun started to break out just before I arrived home. Which is finally burning off the mist to clear blue skies. Another busy day at home avoiding Friday 13th drivers.

Saturday 14th 33F, 1C, thin snow lying, clear, breezy from the SW. I made it to the woods as the sun climbed from behind the clouds. A little care was needed to avoid puddles hidden by the half inch of snow as I returned via the spray tracks. The dog was silent today. Though the hunters were doing their best to disturb my meditative plod. A buzzard was moving away from their racket just as I arrived back on the road. I don't think it was personal, but it seemed more intimidated by me than the rapid gunfire from whence it came. It is promised to be rather breezy [20mph gusts] but Saturday morning shopping beckons. With an almost clear blue sky and bright sunshine defying the forecast of wintry showers.

It stayed dry but not still for my ride. My outward route curved from easterly to directly south. So I 'enjoyed' constantly changing wind directions. The same on the way back. The bike path "works" seem to be largely on hold for the winter. Though large machines are making what looks like a new drainage pond where once there were woods. These emergency overflow ponds are popping up everywhere to cope with threatened, future cloudbursts.

A large bird of prey landed on a roadside tree under which I was just about to pass. Luckily there was no traffic so I could safely skirt around the potential 'splatter zone.' A rear view mirror is essential for such moments. Cyclists have no idea what they are missing by not having a lightweight rear view mirror like the Zefal Cyclop on the offside. Mirror coated, polycarbonate is weightless and avoids all risk of smashed glass. The moulded shape is very 'racy' and ideal for its purpose. Moreover, and vitally, the flat mirror surface does not diminish the size of overtaking vehicles.

There is a smaller mirror, the Spy, in the Zefal range for serious racing bikes. You just need your head to be closer to the mirror to make best use of the smaller reflective surface. Fine if you are riding on the drops but rather small if you ride on the hoods or tops while sitting almost bolt upright. Try the larger Spin model if you tend to ride perpendicular. Or the excellent Cyclop, of course. All models are designed to fit as adjustable expansion plugs in the handlebar ends. I usually get at least two years out of a new mirror and could get much more on a bike or a trike with mudguards. The mirrors don't wear out. They just get wet sandblasted by my trike's rear wheel spray. Wipe that with a coarse, canvas, winter glove and the sealed mirror surface is bound to become slowly degraded. The trick is to ignore the splashes and leave it to clear itself automatically. It doesn't usually take long because there is always the next stretch of wet road or the puddle to rise it off. Learn to leave it well alone and it will usually take care of itself.


The sense of relaxed ease [at all times] when you can monitor every overtaking vehicle is well worth the modest expense. The clamps and joints are all lightweight and work perfectly. They are also long enough to allow a clear view behind and well out to the side. I fold the mirror up by its hinge when I stop outside a shop. Then a single action returns it to exactly the correct position without any slop, vibration or messing about. The Cyclop still works well on massive cobbles! I even miss my mirror when I am out walking along the side of the road. [Facing the oncoming traffic of course.]

Having to turn around just to see what is coming up behind is dangerous and an absolute bore. Particularly on a trike where you need a clear yard/meter wide strip of road ahead.

You even see YouTube cycling safety vloggers turning their heads with helmet-mounted cameras. What right have they to lecture on safety if they have to turn round just to monitor overtaking traffic? A complete and utter nonsense! Do car drivers and motorcyclists constantly turn round to look behind them? Try that on the motorway and see how long you survive!

Leave the mirror-less idiocy to scooter riders. That "special" race of lazy people. Who often fold their mirrors to useless positions or block them with midriff fat. Then swerve out around cyclists as they overtake them without [ever] checking behind!

Keeping the chain oiled enough to resist the road salt requires discipline I usually lack. My bike computer batteries are suffering from the cold too. I sometimes get battery warnings or blank readings after a hard overnight frost. 15 miles.

Sunday 15th 32F, 0C, rather cloudy with a light breeze. Another half inch of thin snow lying. Winds promise to be light today. I see from the BBC news website that fat tired bikes are being ridden and raced in the snowy mountains. Graphene is also being used in racing tyres to resist punctures. That should add an extra nought to the retail price! How long before all cycle tyres are fully puncture proof? Better not ask Continental! Walked around the rural block in low, blinding sunshine. Lots of birds about including a chevron of Geese.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


No comments:

Post a Comment