12 Mar 2017

11th March 2017. Eeny, meeny, miny, mope.


Saturday 11th 38-50F, 3-10C, grey, still and misty. Objects at 200 yards just visible as soft, darker, indistinct areas. Walked to the village and back. The coots were patrolling their roadside pond. Almost no wind so just tolerable on bare hands. It cleared to full sunshine out of a clear blue sky until it started clouding over again after lunch.

This image could have been taken at any time in the past. I could have cheated and "borrowed" one from my fading collection of similar images. My 1954 Higgins with Trykit 2WD.

Still working on the Trykit so it couldn't be ridden today. Though it was very pleasant working outside in the sunshine. Air temperature around 10C or 50F. The wind is picking up now [14.00] so it doesn't feel remotely so comfortable.

The motorcyclists are coming out of hibernation at the first sign of spring sunshine. They love this road with its twists and turns and rises and falls. Sometimes they come here in huge convoys. With their deep roars and the screams of their multi-cylinder engines as they accelerate enthusiastically between the sharp corners. Only a couple of bikers have fallen off in the time we have been here. Far fewer than the number of cars and vans which have ended up on their roofs in the adjoining fields.

With the Trykit still in pieces I decided to take down the Higgins from the shed rafters and ride that instead. I have no idea why, but it always feels faster and more lively than the Trykit. There is a strong sensation of rolling along. The downside is that it is still a stretch to the hoods and I can feel every bump in the road. I rode it for tens of thousands of miles before my back complained too much to continue. I kept adding shorter stems until there were no shorter one's available but it did not help.

The Trykit started off with a longer stem but soon shrank to a more tolerable reach. It is wider and a little lighter than the Higgins and feels far more comfortable. Its glittering, naked stainless steel is my official get-out clause from cleaning and maintenance. Given a free choice I would always choose the Trykit over the Higgins for any ride. The poor old Higgins badly needs to be stripped and repainted but it won't happen over here. One of the British restoration specialist would do a great job. But the return freight charges would be hideously unrealistic for a trike which is hardly ever ridden. So it will go back into the rafters and wait again. To be called upon as emergency, first reserve shopping tricycle.

I also have a smaller wheel mobility tricycle which I bought for small change at a flea market. Obtained when I was desperate to have a trike again. It has never been ridden beyond limping the few yards around the parked car. It came with a flat, low pressure tyre which I have never repaired. No doubt it will be inherited by the local recycling station, scrap container when I finally pop my cycling clogs. So that my lifetime collection of mildly eccentric detritus can finally be discarded as worthless. An "estate sale" would be too much to ask for. That which I once held so dear will become no more.

I have no desire to strip and repaint the Higgins myself. Its history would be stripped away along with the worn and bleached paint and all the original italic lettering and tatty Reynolds labels. It would become yet another 'original' medieval spade. One which has had three new heads and five different handles. Or like the completely fake Stonehenge. Rebuilt from scratch after the site was cleared to level the grass. Just to make life easier for the council workers with their ride-on mowers. Only 7 miles today.

Sunday 12th 35-39F, 2-4C, breezy, becoming cloudy. I woke to find the north eastern sky a gorgeous pinky-orange.  It gradually brightened, spreading right across my northerly view from my dormer window, before returning to the familiar grey. The Coots treated me with utter disdain as I paused to watch their perambulating around their roadside ponds. I have obviously failed to convince them that I am a serious wildlife photographer. So that the should adopt a casual pose worthy of such attention. Still, I'm used to being ignored. That's why I ride a trike. Blatant attention seeking. Yoo-hoo! It's me again!

Great tits and Yellowhammers were also being bolshy in the roadside hedges. Giving me the traditional: "You and who's army?" catcalls as I passed their nest building sites. Then a mob of wary Fieldfares drifted untidily across the road. To join the ranks of disciplined, clockwork Starlings at the breakfast table.

Feigned indifference, but I was still grateful for the fence. Coots can take your leg off if you catch them on a bad day! Or was that Swans? I can never remember.

The easterly wind was strong enough to make my eyes water on the way back. As drifts of gulls lifted and moved on in waves across the green swell of undulating fields. A gaudy, male pheasant and a jackdaw in a smart grey, Sunday best waistcoat were standing close together on a spray track opposite the church. An unlikely couple, they seemed almost to have struck up a conversation as they waited patiently for a snack to present itself.

Guess who couldn't find the spare 11-speed chain in the shed? So I spent most of the day tidying and going through every single cardboard boxes full of bike junk stacked floor to to ceiling on racks. Eventually I found the chain in the drawer right in front of what passes for my work bench. The Trykit had the clean of its life while it was still up on the workstand. Even the tyres had a scrub with rainwater and washing up brush. I even managed to park both trikes nose to tail after the storage chaos has been thoroughly sorted. It brightened up but no ride today.
Click on any image for an enlargement.


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