20 Feb 2017

20th February 2017 Yeuk!

Monday 20th 41F, 5C, heavy overcast, mild, wet and windy. Not necessarily in that order. And meteorologically yeuk it was for most of the day. Wet, windy and grey sums it all up as I busied myself in the shed on yet another project. Or as my long-suffering wife refers to it: Attending to my Butterfly Syndrome.

Tuesday 21st 44/46F, 7-8C, windy, highly variable cloud cover. It was shifting from fully overcast to occasional sunny periods on my walk to the woods. I dodged puddles as glory lights illuminated my favourite, skyline trees. It cannot be long now before the hedges regrow and completely change their sense of stark isolation. The clean, bright light added its own mystery to misty, distant woods.

I chose to follow a loop along the muddy forest tracks and return by the same way. Jays complained loudly and repeatedly at my presence. They were moving about in the canopy but were too shy to show themselves. The first Skylarks are here and in considerable numbers out in the low, grass-like crops. Though they are yet to practice their familiar songs. The first bronze leaves are appearing on some of the trees as the wind roars through the tops. 20-30mph gusts are promised for today.

It became progressively brighter but gustier as I fought a crosswind with more than a hint of  headwind. Though it was windy enough to mean gusts could come from anywhere. It was quite a struggle, at times, keeping the nearside wheel on that variable 4" gap between the heavy dotted line and the rough grass verge. What I call the main road is decidedly non-cycling friendly. With lorries, buses and tractors affecting the crosswind as they passed. Returned heavily laden. 13 miles.

Wednesday 22nd 43F, 6C, heavy cloud, overnight rain and wind reducing for a while. A storm is forecast for tonight. It was a sunny day but the wind was roaring with no real need to go out.

Thursday 23rd 38F, 3C, pink clouds and breezy. There is a weather warning for heavy snow in a belt across southern Denmark starting at lunch time. We hardly noticed the promised wind last night. It was supposed to gust to nearly 25m/s or 50mph. A ride today had better be early. It rapidly became overcast with light winds. Lots of birds about today. I hope they've read the forecast! Up to 8" of snow possible over 6 hours.

A short, early ride to catch up on the shopping. Cruising at 16 to 18mph going. Lots of organic fruit and veg about at the moment. Back well before the threatened bad weather. Only 7 miles.

Friday 24th 31-38F, -1+3C, light westerly wind and bright sunshine from a clear blue sky. The promised 6"-8" of snow only reached a depth of about 1" overnight after a dismal earlier showing being washed away by later rain. I walked to the village in a cold headwind and returned to be blinded by the sun. The Skylarks have started singing. The snow won't last long now wherever the sun can reach. Bits of the lanes were icy but the main roads were wet and clear from the salting.

Left late morning for a ride into bright sunshine. On the way back I was a fighting a cold headwind all the way. 17 miles.

Later I replaced the downtube gear cable adjuster. I had tried a Campag adjuster but the thread wasn't standard. The gears had been getting erratic or refusing to change reliably. Back to the normal adjuster which has very fine knurling. Making adjustment on the fly all but impossible. Perhaps the coil springs aren't really necessary? I have never tried them without. The springs take up a lot of room on the thread. Which rather limits the available range of adjustment.

I know the chain is completely knackered. So that complicates the issue of gear changing on an 11 speed hybrid system. Particularly when  using the Road Link to push the rear mech down far enough for a 36T bottom gear. I tend not to use the 36 very much [at all] so a cassette ending in 32 might be a better option. There weren't any cassettes with 34T when I was searching.

With the winter roads sloshing in salt spray it is about a month premature to be changing the chain yet. I just keep spraying it regularly with chain oil and hoping it will last. While the cable was slack I had the chain on the second largest sprocket, of eleven, and the changer relaxed to top gear. Usually the changer should only manage to drop a couple of gears because of the correct stiffness of the chain.

Saturday 25th 32-38F, 0-3C, light breeze, clear but milky sky. Two days unbroken rain forecast for 11am. I had better start early! A brisk walk to the village under thickening cloud. Followed by a brisk ride to another. Cold and uniform grey. Only 7 miles.  Still no rain at 12.00. Swapping the downtube cable tensioner was remarkable in correcting the previous issues. Without any adjustment [at all] I had perfect indexing up and down the cassette.The slight dogleg caused by the Campag tensioner no longer being threaded properly had completely spoilt the gear change. Whether it was from unwanted flexibility in cable length or increased friction I have no idea. Indexing works on the principle of rather small and equal changes in cable length. It doesn't take much to spoil the game as the number of gears increases.

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