29 Aug 2017

29th August 2017 Not my boy!


Tuesday 29th, 60-74F, 16-23C, cloudy but bright with quite a breeze blowing. Tomorrow is looking decidedly damp underfoot. So today is the day, if I'm to be allowed out.

The Danish coalition government is arguing about how much to reduce taxes for buying retro, diesel "smokers" to reduce the burden on city pensions. They badly need the money for a fourth, coal fired battleship to impress the world with their global, military aspirations against a common foe. πŸ˜‰ But I'm saving up my precious "fuckwits" for another news story:

It seems another copycat terrorist has thrown a rock at a car on a motorway. Fortunately it hit the car roof just behind the windscreen. The police are still no nearer a result on the murder and crippling of a German couple on holiday in Denmark. Their car was hit by a massive concrete slab dropped from a quiet, rural, motorway bridge. But, it seems, the terrorist's basic human rights must not be violated by having cameras watching their activities on quiet motorway bridges. It seems that no [illegal in Denmark] dash-cam videos were available as evidence.

So we shall just have to wait for a "fuckwit selfie" from these same terrorists. They're good at that sort of thing. Meanwhile other terrorists [in all but name] are shooting at innocent people in their kitchens in Copenhagen.

How do they tell them apart? The "terrorists" I mean. Is it because real terrorists are better shots because they've had much more practice at shooting innocent people? So one-offs and stray bullets don't really count on the terrorism scale? Four foot swords count over gang banger Uzis?

I'm still waiting for the "fuckwit video selfies" on YouTube or Facebook:  

"To all our loyal followers: This us us missing yet another gang banger [drug dealing] competitor target by a mile and hitting a petrol tanker driver instead. He swerved into pedestrian street before finally dying in the ensuing conflagration along with 300 collaterals and a dozen historic buildings. Sorry for the all long words but our drug dealing, gang leader has political aspirations as a future world leader.

Don't forget to Subscribe or Like our video down below!... 

Wow! 90 million views in three days! Our Google advertising account is making the gang an absolute fortune! We shall be able to afford shiny, new, heavy machine guns next time! I wonder if we should do burning kitten videos as a sideline? That should be a nice little earner too! 

But remember, YouTube fans, we're not terrorists! We just look like them! Boom boom!"

So that's alright then. Thank goodness Denmark will soon have four [coal fired] battleships to fight the scourge of "gang [gun] violence." Just as long as it's not called terrorism we'll all be safe in our kitchens.

Our meandering "hero" enjoyed another circuitous route over the stubbly, hilly fields thanks to the recent harvest. A pair of tractors was loading big bales onto a trailer as they moved steadily uphill towards my retreating figure. I ploughed on, capturing new views of familiar and favourite scenes for a rainy day. A chocolate brown White-headed eagle flew over and didn't like the look of me at all. So I continued across more fields fighting the stubble or wading ankle deep in slippery chaff on deep, harvester tyre tracks. You would not believe the sheer number of swallows around at the moment. Day and night they swoop overhead putting innocent lives in danger. Yet they never avail themselves of their superior flight technology to attack us.

It is already feeling very warm at 68F with a high of 75F threatened. I wonder whether they can call it a disaster area so they can claim EU emergency farming aid? Well, all that fawn does look a bit like a desert. [From the safe distance of a nearby, blind corner on the road. Or from the Brussels Bottomless [taxpayer's money laundering] Pit.]

Headed north with a tailwind helping me to a cruising speed of 19mph for several miles. The shopping village was empty. Hollywood alien mass abduction scenes have more extras! No cars [at all] in any of the supermarket car parks? What's that about? Coming home was a real slog at 8-10mph. Only 15 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

28 Aug 2017

28th August 2017 Misty-eyed lansdscape photography.


Monday 28th 52F, 11C, woke early to a quiet morning. Blue skies are decorated by small clouds. A wonderful mist hangs low over the newly harvested fields but is thinning rapidly. Yesterday's machine roar and movement are now safely stored on my computer for posterity. It's really quite exciting to see these huge machines so close to home. The dust they spew out the back is unbelievable but the light wind was perfectly placed to carry it well away from us. A large tractor and trailer accompanied the harvester to gather the grain and ferry it away at intervals. Leaving the soil littered with finely shredded straw and seed husks.

Of which I saw a great quantity today as I took the unique opportunity to cross harvested fields. My boots brushed through the stubble as I hopped over moraines of hay waiting to be baled. Everything looked slightly soft focus in the misty, morning sunlight. Only such gentle elevations would show such change when the crop is absent. Suddenly distant vistas are clearly seen for the first time in months.

Just having access to the fields offers new insights into the layout of the land. New opportunities for photography present themselves. The problem is choosing which images to share from the hundreds I have taken. Resizing them robs them of sparkle and the sheer scale of everything.

The moment I raise my camera the landscape is squashed down into a tiny box and never really expands back out again. I can never capture the 180° and occasional ten mile depth of the landscape at the same time. Zoom in and everything is foreshortened and squashed further into the limitations of a screen.

Then it all has to be shrunk in the wash as I prepare my images for the blog. Too large and people complain that they can't view my blog because it takes so long to download. After years of high speed fiber-net I have to keep these slow connections in mind.

I'd like to have the freedom to almost fill the page with an image, like they do in magazines, but can't. I usually resize down to 1000 pixels max dimension and keep the image size on the blog to no more than Large. There is the option of Extra Large or Original. So it all ends looking like a currant cake to me but what can I do? 😎

I expect my regulars will be sick of the sight of harvest scenes before I am finished. They're probably already hoping for a new rant about McSlob's litter or vehicular 'nutters' driving me round the [blind] bend. Well, you'll just have to be patient. It's my blog, so there. Start your own blog if you want to see something else on your own screen. I highly recommend it if you have anything to say. Or are burning to share images of your life and hobbies. You can never have enough blogs. Even if nobody ever reads them.

I had a nice email from a chap who's bought a long wheelbase, delta trike. With an electric assist front hub and disk brakes he's enjoying his new found freedom to roam. The nice thing is that the styling denies the narrow-minded the ability to auto-label the trike as suitable for the elderly and infirm. It looks like a smart and sophisticated recumbent and that is precisely what it is. I wouldn't mind one myself when I retire from perching high on a Brooks saddle with my nose on the front tyre and my bum in the air. Well, that's how it feels these days. Even though I rarely move my hands from the Campag brake hoods.

It's a perfect day for a ride, with light winds. I wonder if The Head Gardener will let me out? Nope! I was let loose on ornamental shrubs instead. Emphasis on the mental degree of attention to detail. She really needs a remote controlled drone with a hedge clipper attachment. It's called an "Under Gardener" in the gardening world. I don't have the attention span to qualify. I'm more your navvy, lopper and tree feller than arboriculturalist. More at home with a chainsaw than a dibber. πŸ˜‡

Click on any image for an enlargement.


26 Aug 2017

25th August 2017 Gotta stack a bale or three [hundred].


Friday 25th 64F, 18C, breezy and cloudy with bright intervals. Walked along the lanes and then cut back across the harvested fields. Too busy for a ride today. In rare, positive cycling news: Laura [ex-Trott] and Jason Kenny have had a baby boy. Congratulations! 😎

Saturday 26th  60F, 16C, dead calm, rather cloudy, slightly misty and humid. I took advantage of the harvested fields to make a serious tour of No-Man's Land.  I crossed and circumnavigated the huge fields to reach distant spots which take ages walking along the lanes. Lots of Skylarks hiding in the fields which would rise and move away. A buzzard sailed over just above my head after crossing a wood. The wind turbines were still again.

The difference in the efficiency of technology was very obvious as two farmers loaded small bales onto a trailer using small tractors under a blue haze of diesel smoke. Their vast field dwarfing their activities. Nearby, hundreds of big bales were already neatly stacked by big machinery. A statement of power over the corrugated landscape.

I remember visiting small, mixed farms, in my childhood in England. Where the bales were literally lifted and thrown up onto the trailer by gnarled hands, by wiry men and tough women. Stooks of hay [sheaves] being stood up, leaning against each other for support, to dry in the wind and sunshine. With all the family and friends helping with the exhausting harvest. That would have been back in the 1950s. When farms were full of dusty clutter, amazing timber buildings and the most wonderful, or awful smells. Little had really changed in decades or centuries. Now it's all vast, corrugated steel sheds and giant machines and the timeless magic has gone. Solitary drivers and GPS toil mechanically in the fields, these days.

I was allowed out for my traditional, Saturday shopping run to a more distant village. It wasn't long before the first sociopathic bully homed in on my position and overtook me. Brushing just past my elbow at high speed. As the only car in sight, along the two mile straight, approached. A skill no doubt honed and practiced throughout an interminably long childhood, for all of their countless victims. Now they rely on their silver grey, vehicular anonymity to escape censure. Small people in big cars. Where once they were big people in small environments with smaller victims.

Rotten to the core and incurable of their disease. As they wait to meet their Master in the burning basement. Meanwhile, they can tick off regular new 'wins' against those they despise as utterly inferior. Exchanging their former lives as slave drivers and torturers and minor Nazis for lower management in sickly, uncaring businesses. Where anything goes as long as it doesn't badly affect the bottom line too much.

As the talented staff soon see where the land lies and take off early into their expanding careers. Leaving an ever poorer personnel, shuffling through their day and constantly watching over their shoulders for the next verbal assault. Or the invasion of their private space. Where encouragement is as out of place as an offer of help with the ever rising workload.

I have seen it so often it must be a terminal disease for many businesses. Most despots will happily settle for less. Provided the small personal "rewards" are satisfying enough. Feeding off the dread as they gleefully lash the dwindling oarsmen of a slowly sinking ship. Nationalized industries are riddled with both types of failure. I suppose you could call them people sinks. Somewhere to loose a large but inefficient workforce of ne'er do wells where they can do least harm between fires and major accidents.

I was shocked to discover my tyres were only holding around 40 PSI despite feeling rock hard to the wrinkled MkI thumb. The track pump soon righted that lack and was instantly noticeable on the bumpy drive as I left. Going quite well in the light winds. Enjoying my remote-controlled freedom to roam.

Intensively reared cannon fodder.

They must have brought in the emergency flooding pumps to clear the fly fishing ponds on the stretch of newly resurfaced highway. We have similar standing water problem on a local corner. They left the only drain high and dry when they resurfaced with thumb sized rocks instead of using the traditional pea-sized gravel. Thereby adding 20dB[A] to the passing traffic noise which once went largely unnoticed. Another 'win' for some small but evil despot working away well above his pay grade due to a lack of real competition for the empty post. 15 miles.

Sunday 27th 55F, 13C. A light, northerly breeze and a few smudgy clouds. Famous last words! It rapidly became overcast from the north. Where's my sunshine gone? The sky seemed in a hurry today with constantly changing conditions. I walked to the village and back. No ride as I was busy on my project again.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

23 Aug 2017

23rd August 2018 It's raining hay, hallelujah!


Tuesday 22nd 55F, 13C, heavy, broken cloud but dry.

Q. How can a fat barsteward be a fly tipper?

Walked around the 3 mile block which is mostly fields with a quiet village in the middle. A Red kit was soaring over the village church and onwards. Then I spotted  two large birds of prey close together on a harvested field. One was very obviously a White headed eagle but the other was slightly smaller and looked rather scruffy. They both seemed to follow me home as they circled over the fields looking for a snack. I saw a large hare sitting in a field but the birds didn't seem interested.

Early ride to the shops to catch up on a day without. Blowing quite hard and managing 20mph for a while on the way. The headwind coming home laden wasn't nearly as much fun. 7 miles.

Wednesday 23rd 61F, 16C, warm, bright and still. Even the wind turbines are having a rest. Perfect weather for harvesting? Or tri-cycling? It wasn't to be. I had to collect heavy stuff in the trailer so shopped in the car while I was there. What a waste of a still day!

The London cyclist, on trial following the death of a pedestrian, has been found NOT guilty of manslaughter but GUILTY of "furious" driving. An ancient law from the times of horses and carriages in the previous century. When cyclists were apt to startle the landed gentry. Enough, it seems, to ban all cycle racing from the roads of Gravely Blighted for the next century and more. But that's corruption for you.

I'm still hoping his bike will be confiscated and publicly crushed for being illegal for road use. And, to send a loud and clear message to all the other fuckwits fashionistas riding around busy towns without front brakes. I do not use the term "fuckwit" lightly but it just seems so perfectly apt in this case. Deluded fashionistas should not be allowed anywhere near a bicycle. They might get their nose rings caught in their spokes with their handlebars set that low!

Hay was falling from a clear blue sky while we were working out in the garden. The still air and a harvester working hundreds of yards away can add its own drama to the rural environment. We even had a dust devil one year just after the harvest. With hay spiraling high into the air right beside the garden for a brief, few moments. It was very warm outside today as it spiraled towards 70F, 21C.

Thursday 24th 63F, 17C, light winds, rather cloudy with sunny periods. The harvester was still working after 11pm last night as it produced a huge spherical glow in its home-made cloud of dust.

Walked to the woods past the marsh. Where I disturbed three deer. A little later I came across three more. So must assume they were the same lot. I finally have confirmation of the source of the weird barking I hear in the woods. It is just the doe calling her youngsters when they get scattered. Or as a warning cry to get away from the strange old man with the camera. Walked back along the harvester tracks for a change of scenery. Late afternoon ride to the shops. Only 7 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

21 Aug 2017

21st August 2017 The desperately unfair war on speeding.


Monday 21st 56F, 13C, heavy overcast and breezy. The forecast is for dry weather today. 

The Danish police are having another 'go' at speeding motorists. Half of whom, the police suggest, are speeding on Denmark's rural roads. With the daily, ongoing, gang war, gun battles a daily occurrence in the capital, police are being "borrowed" from other regions. Let us pray there are still enough officers left to wield the nominal number of radar speed "guns."

It is odd that the "grossly unfair tax on sociopathic drivers" known as speed cameras are not more commonplace in Denmark. Half the driving population of Denmark would seem to be ready and willing contributors to increased taxes via speeding fines. However, with so few radar vans or police cars, to go around the entire road network, the chances of being caught for speeding makes a complete mockery of the law. 

I have mentioned it repeatedly that many Danish villages have a digital speed indicator board at their 50kph [30mph] signs. These have flashing orange warning lights on their faces. But, many of them are so slow to react that the majority of law breakers never see them. If they put flashing orange lights on the backs of the boards at least those downstream would get an early warning. The speeding driver might also see the flashing lights caused by their own illegal behavior. 

The cost of board conversion, at Danish council worker's [and chronic mobile phone abuser's] wages. Would no doubt make it cheaper to employ top Hollywood film stars, or even BBC Slebs. To wave at speeding motorists as they pass. I have had irate speeding motorists berate me for waving "innocently" at them as they drove past me at over 60mph in busy villages with 20mph speed limits. I bet they wouldn't berate a uniformed policeman on a bicycle! If there were any.

BTW: Why is shooting innocent people in a busy city street not classed as terrorism? How can they [possibly] tell them apart? Why is racing past unprotected village school playgrounds and adjacent, multiple supermarket entrances [in a 2-seater Mercedes sports car] not classed as terrorism? Just asking.

Walked up to the woods. Where a Red kite was trying to find somewhere quiet to sit and eat its breakfast. Until I came along. It flew all around the prairie with something dangling from its talons. Moments later a large doe tip-toed along a fold in the field keeping its head down. Obviously heading for the marsh to sit the day out in relative peace. It's really quite breezy out there now. Making it feel almost melancholy, as I walked the field tracks under grey skies.

While Denmark prosecutes those who publish images and videos of criminality online, British police are trialing a scheme. Where private dash cam footage will be used as evidence in court of bad or dangerous driving. In a startling irony, malicious images taken by evil Danes, of innocent people, in Denmark, are freely posted online. For millions of potential viewers to gawp at. Or to share obscene and derogatory comments without any apparent interest or protection from the police. Do they make up the rules as they go along? No ride today.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

20 Aug 2017

18th August 2017 Denmark's monsoon season.


Friday 18th 62F, 17C, windy with a heavy overcast. Last night's heavy rain is likely to be repeated this afternoon.Walked to the village under grey skies. A scruffy immature blackbird was sitting on the ridge of an old barn. It was calling at intervals and being answered, presumably by a parent, in a nearby tree. The effect was much like a sonic game of table tennis which was still going on when I passed on the way back home. A flock of some 30 swallows were taking it in turns to rest on a cottage roof. Or flying off to do a circuit of the lawn beside the church pond. The forecast now looks like three days of continuous rain! I waited for rain while I hacked at the hedges but still it didn't rain. I could easily have ridden my trike to the shops instead of taking the car.

Saturday 19th 55-65F, 13-18C, bright and breezy but cloudy. Another day of rain forecast. Staff at two UK branches of McSlobs are going on strike over wages and hours. The UN is expected to present humanitarian medals for lives saved by their selfless actions.  Yesterday, while I was out, I saw at least 6 people who had made themselves severely handicapped by overeating. Their huge thighs had grown so extremely bulky that they could no longer walk normally. But had to rock their vast bulk from side to side to make any forward progress. And there on the checkout belt, as always,  was the reason for their near spherical forms.

Walked to the woods and back via the prairie track in cool but bright sunshine. A rather damp fox was sitting bolt upright ten yards out from the forest edge. Despite being at the limit of my zoom it bolted as soon as I took out my camera. As I turned to retrace my steps a huge V-shaped cloud approached wearing navy blue knickers. Though it still remained dry.

A simple message for simple people.

On my ride it rained for quarter of an hour but I couldn't be bothered to stop to get out my sweaty X- Rage rain jacket from the giant new saddlebag. Eventually it stopped raining and I dried out. They were holding an annual fly-fishing contest on the new puddles on the recently resurfaced roads. Though I doubt there were many fish to be had with the traffic ploughing through the standing water at twice the legal speed limit. Only 15 miles but going quite well despite the wind.

Sunday 20th 57F, 14C, cloudy and breezy with rain. More rain forecast. I wonder if you can be banned from cycling? The driving license is a basic human right and cannot be removed even after repeated acts of homicidal lunacy. There is no cycling license to take away. Which leaves fines or prison. I'd certainly suggests that any bicycle without brakes and used on the road, is automatically confiscated and the rider made to watch while it is publicly crushed by a road roller. A scrap yard crusher has no obvious connection to the road so would be too lenient. What about a massive ankle bracelet? That would limit their ability to ride fixed.Though this would not be fair to cyclists because even drunken mass vehicular murderers don't suffer such sanctions.

Despite the protestations of road safety researchers, Denmark's government is putting up speed limits. The university professors specializing in road safety say that higher speed will lead to more deaths and injuries. Needless to say the consequences of increased global warming, through CO2 increases from higher fuel consumption, are being totally ignored by an increasingly right wing, coalition government.

The problem is that speeding drivers always add at least 20mph to every speed limit. Being completely insane they also want to be able to use their phones for texting and watching porn while driving at that illegal speed. They want to be adjusting their radios or music players. They also want to be putting on their makeup [all at the same time] and that is only the men.

These same men cannot even corner at 20mph on local blind corners in their luxury, 2-seater "sports" cars without overshooting into the opposite lane. They then accelerate up to an illegal speed along the following straight to show just how macho they are. Before braking hard and then making exactly the same stupid error on the very next corner. They do this every blΓΈΓΈdy morning! Week after week after week!

Q. What do they call speed limit signs in Denmark?

A. Typos.


Suit yourselves.

My morning walk was delayed by a shower just as I had accumulated my "vital necessities" and was waiting patiently at the tradesman's entrance.  It all went downhill from then on and it was soon morning coffee time. Finally I risked a window between towering masses of mashed potato. [Technical term for Cumulus.] Many of the cloud edges were badly frayed by high winds as they all scudded over in seemingly random directions.

I was passed by two groups of motorcyclists with a predominance of BMWs, both old and new.

It felt rather warm as I walked briskly back from my self-appointed goal. To suffer yet another near death experience as another drooling fuckwit moron clipped the inside verge on a blind corner at high speed. Just to prove, for the umpteenth time today, that he is totally unfit to drive on the grounds of inadequate mental capacity.

What if I had been the girl who occasionally walks her baby along this road in its pushchair? Well, of course, that would have been just another unfortunate accident amongst millions of unfortunate accidents, day in and day out, decade after decade, century after century. Fortunately, for me, I am pretty nimble on my feet and quickly jumped into the grass verge to avoid certain death. Nothing to see here! Move along please!

Chocolate box deer at full zoom and then the image cropped for even more enjoyable fuzziness. Anyone would immediately think they were absolute proof of UFØs, Aliens πŸ‘½ or Bigfeet 😼 [Que?] on YouTube, wouldn't they?

Then, just as I reached home the next shower arrived accompanied by the black-out curtains. The day was punctuated by absolutely torrential showers. With no particular need for a ride today I [sensibly] stayed at home. Though I am sure my Overboard [saddle]bag would have kept me dry unfortunately I can't easily fit into it. Am I having fun yet? More to the point: Are you?

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

17 Aug 2017

17th August 2017 A total Charlie kills innocent woman.


Thursday 17th 60-70F, 16-21C, light winds and warm. I walked past the marsh to the amusement of the ducks. Just beyond, along the track, three deer were grazing. I tried to go out around them on the harvested field but they bounded off around the corner of the marsh wood and out of sight. Eventually I found them hovering near the edge of the real forest. Whereupon they scattered in wildly different directions. There was a strange sound of deep panting in the woods. As if some vast animal was breathing slowly and steadily. Absolutely no idea what it might have been except, perhaps, more deer.

What have fixies, fashionistas and fixers got in common? No brains. Ask Charlie Alliston. The genius who removed his front brake to be a copycat of all the other brain dead fuckwits riding fixed wheel bicycles on the roads without front brakes. The genius who killed a woman because a front brake "makes no difference."

A fixed wheel uses the back wheel as a piss poor brake with very low efficiency via the drive train. Now assume a ridiculously low handlebar position and your weight is already well forwards over the front wheel. What happens when you apply any back brake? You throw your weight further forwards. Simultaneously unloading the back tyre of its vital adhesive qualities with the road. In other words you skid. Leading to further loss of braking and probably lose directional control into the bargain. In serious cycling terms this is called "being a total fuckwit." Try riding fixed in the wet and see how much braking you can apply! Makes no difference? Seriously?

On a cycle track, everybody is going the same way. Everybody has no brakes to avoid causing endless rear-enders. So track cyclists have to develop advanced skills, lightening fast reactions and learn to rapidly avoid obstacles like fallen cyclists. If you fall off you have a decent chance of sliding out of trouble on smooth tracks. Or into trouble.

A cycle race track is nothing like a public road. Which has vehicles, countless obstacles, distracted pedestrians, potholes, drains, street furniture and [hopefully] lots of careful cyclists. Charlie may be in denial but he is completely wrong. It is a legal requirement to have a front brake and has been for probably a century. The law is there for a very sensible reason. Protection of the public from total fuckwits who ride with no front brakes. Total fuckwits who give real cyclists a very bad name! Total fuckwits who berate a badly injured woman who is lying dying. Simply because the pretend cyclist blames everybody else for his own fuckwitted behaviour.

He claims that after working for three cycle messenger companies that he still had no idea that his brake-less machine was illegal. Keen cyclists are totally obsessed and never stop talking about their bikes and those of other riders. It is completely and utterly unimaginable that the illegality of riding without brakes was not a constant topic of conversation amongst his fellow riders from day one. How else would he know about removing the brakes in the first place? Because he watched videos of other fuckwits/sociopaths riding dangerously on public roads for the adrenaline rush and drooling admiration of his fellow copycats.

It should be made clear that this particular idiot has not been found guilty of anything, as the trial continues. My argument, as a lifetime cyclist, is that he was a bad accident just waiting to happen. To somebody else! His "accident" just happened sooner and quite probably caused the death of a pedestrian. It could easily have been a petrol tanker forced to swerve in a city center by a fuckwit cyclist riding fast and erratically without brakes. All because he's seen the American cycle messengers behaving like raving psychopaths in films. I saw a film about bike messengers on Netflix that and it was so totally unrealistic that the screenplay was obviously written by a non-cyclist. As was the director and everybody else involved. How else could they have committed such ridiculous nonsense to film?

I rode fixed wheel extensively in my younger days and knew the the thrill of braking with the rear wheel. But any fast cyclist quickly learns that good brakes make you much faster overall.

Brakes are vital insurance against meeting the unlikely and allow you to travel faster with much lower risks as a result. The more powerful the brakes the less you have to use their full power because they are incremental. I found another British newspaper reporting on the trial which says the police tested the "braking" of the track bike and found it needed 36' to stop. A racing bike took 12' and a mountain bike only 9'.

I wonder whether this complete Charlie used clip-less pedals or no clips at all? How much braking does that offer compared with our earlier practice of using shoe plates, toe clips and traps? Once locked in we could not remove our feet if we wanted to. Not without bending down and loosening the toe straps.The pictures online are too poor to see the pedals themselves but toe straps were visible.

Fast cyclists quickly learn that gears are much faster than fixed wheel. Single speed bikes are almost always in the wrong gear, even on the flat. So you have to sprint up to speed and then ride faster all the time and take foolish risks to maintain a similar average speed to a similarly fit cyclist with gears. I rode for countless miles with fixed wheel between 46 and 153 inches in my youth. Try riding down Wellsway on a 46" fixed wheel! You think you can spin? Though I rode mostly in the low 80s" for general riding or 111" for riding fast between cities.

In a hilly city like Bath or Bristol you can't ever be in the right gear with fixed wheel. Riding without brakes would be suicidal from the moment you firmly fastened your toe straps with your soul [sic] slotted deeply into the plates and clips. Mind you, we didn't need 'girly' names for fixed wheel back then to prove we were fashion victims. It was just called riding fixed or fixed wheel. It was popular for early season training and learning to spin the pedals so fast that you never bounced on the saddle. No matter what the gear or the speed.

I'm now looking forwards to a new law which allows fuckwit cyclists, without front brakes, to compete on their braking and riding skills in time trials on some of the steepest and narrowest descents which Britain has to offer between dry stone walls.

It could easily become a live TV sport show with the usual 17 BBC celebs simultaneously commentating. Or discussing their designer dress code for attending the following massed funerals. It could be called "Celebrity Cycling Darwin Awards."© We could all look forward to the weekly "have a go" by a BBC sleb showing how easy it is. If only!

Cyclist 'shouted' at injured pedestrian after fatal collision - BBC News


Click on any image for an enlargement. 

15 Aug 2017

15th August 2017 More rural nonsense.

Tuesday 15th 62-75F, 17-24C, windy and rather cloudy. Forecast for heavy rain and thunder storms overnight, tonight. I walked for half an hour and photographed and videoed a combine harvester at work. Another day attacking prickly hedges and being attacked in return.

It became very hot in the afternoon with several hours of humid 75F. Which made it quite unpleasant to work in the direct sunshine. Apart from a solitary rumble, just after 6pm, there hasn't been any rain yet as we near 7pm. The thundery stuff has sneaked past just north of us but the radar shows the rain isn't far away now with plenty of lightning embedded in it. No ride today.

Wednesday 16th 62-72F, 17-22C, light breeze and bright. The promised thunderstorms and cloudbursts must have gone elsewhere though there were a few rumbles and a heavy shower. Just a shortish walk to unwind tired muscles from days of attacking the scenery. It should/could be a good day for a ride with lighter winds forecast. Becoming very warm in the sunshine. Left  it too late to start on the hedges again. I'll have another go later. My ride amounted to 7 miles, returning heavily laden in continuing warm weather. Saw several cyclists out training.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

14 Aug 2017

14th August 2017 As if through a hedge, darkly.


Monday 14th 2017 44F, 7C, cool, calm, bright and sunny. Unusually cool this morning after a clear, starry night. I didn't get where I am today by having frosts in August. Actually it was just very heavy dew on the grass but it did look a bit like frost.

The imperious gaze of a sociopathic despot? 
I do hope it wasn't poorly.

Spent many hours yesterday climbing four different ladders to trim overgrown hedges. In an ideal world one wouldn't start from here but level them to the ground and start again with gentle privet. In twenty years we have never had a neighbour who enjoyed hedge clipping in any shape or form. The highest hedges are on the shared eastern boundary. Being horribly prickly with a tough variation on a bitter plum which we call "blackthorn." Though it's not an obvious sloe. We inherited tree trunks of the stuff and it went on from there. I am not allowed to fell the lot with a chainsaw on humanitarian grounds. At least, I think that's why The Head Gardener has put a preservation order on the hideous assemblage of vegetative nastiness. Perhaps She just likes to watch me suffer for my sins?

I don't really need to tell you how high this hedge is beyond the need for a double stretch ladder just to reach the top. Meanwhile, the innocent planting of a row of small and spindly larches elsewhere has, after three changes of occupant, resulted in the makings of quite a decent forest. We may soon be plunged into complete darkness! The migrating geese will have to alter their course, or climb over.

It now needs a tractor with a weapons grade hedge slasher to bring any semblance of order to the local scene, but it won't happen. No longer an amateur's wimpy electric hedge clipper and cheapo supermarket loppers job for Sunday morning. It requires a crack squad of lumber jacks with climbing harnesses and a team of shire horses to drag away the resulting mayhem. I believe there is a rule of 2.5 meters in acceptable altitude for shared hedges but what can you do? Hire a professional 'hit man' and send half the bill to the property developer landlord? Yeah, right!

It was a wonderful morning for a walk. With hardly any wind, cool enough for perfect comfort and bright sunshine.  Yesterday's hare had gone off to be recalcitrant somewhere else. Probably planning a revolution, if truth be known. The rotor from a vast harvester lay waiting patiently for another day's toil on the partially shorn prairie. Later, a hare and a deer pottered about their daily lives before heading for the shrubbery in feigned panic. A jet black crow rose as glossy as a grand piano as it struggled for height and distance in the still air. While the tireless, crop skimming swallows have no fear of humans. Even one like me. I watched a cluster of wind turbines slowly turning their heads to the fitful, but steadily rising breeze, from the vantage point of another hilltop.

More hours wasted attacking the prickly hedge. As I was delivering the damaged goods to the village recycling center I cheated and did the shopping in the car. A fellow hedge wrecker and I decided we did not like the spare containers being left in the entrance to the yard making life difficult for we customers with a conscience.

An over-industrious spider with no foresight regarding the inevitability of a combine harvester coming along eventually..

One of our neighbours burns the proceeds of his meager gardening activities on his front lawn. So that his smoke drifts straight across the main road due to the prevailing wind. That may be the way they behaved in Copenhagen, but we [lifetime without parole] serfs and peasants know better!

Well, some of us do. According to Article 999 Para 2b the burning of garden waste is strictly limited to daytime in winter except for recognized bank holidays. Though where the Danes get the nerve to "borrow" Guy Fawkes and then pretend he was their own private saint. And, then use another date as an excuse to set fire to all the thatched cottages, I have absolutely no idea.  I can only presume they were desperate for an excuse to have another beer with enough borrowed light to set off their fireworks.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

12 Aug 2017

10th August 2017 And don't call me Imelda!


Thursday 10th 63-74F, cloudy, calm but brightening. Yesterday, as I looked towards the woods, out across the 'prairie,' brilliant shafts of light ploughed across the crops in the very thin mist. Worthy of any UFO/mothership encounter, the effect was really rather amazing. Far more impressive than any film special effects but far too fleeting to capture with my camera. Today was brighter overall, still soft focus but less misty. It was warmer too, without yesterday's strong breeze to cool me off. No ride today.

Friday 11th 51-66F, 11C, calm and overcast. A grey day with light winds. Afternoon ride to the shops. I still haven't found the full capacity of the new saddlebag. Less risk of damaged goods too. NO special offers on display but my attempts to communicate with the infant, supermarket staff using gesticulation and waving their own special offers comic failed abysmally. I must have missed sign language when I went to the [completely voluntary] Danish classes on arrival. Only 7 miles.

I trimmed the length of the bag hanging bar [hose] extensions with parrot-billed secateurs. They produce a nice clean cut. I followed up by putting the bits of Pex hose over a bar in an electric  drill and spun it slowly against sandpaper on a block to smooth off the sharp edges. I also unpicked the stitching on the spare cloth handle padding. Once I had cut the first stitch it peeled off fairly effortlessly. So they must have had some empathy for those who have no need of extra padding on their cloth handle. Now the handle was nicely slim I used a small strap to fix it to the bottom of the Trykit rack for extra support and security. The devil makes work for idol[sic] hands.

Ostentatious bush bursting out of a roadside hedge. At first I thought Elm but I may have to settle for Hazel.

I had a haircut after lunch and returned to say that I felt like a film star. To which The Head Gardner retorted: "Which one? Chewbacca?" I would have been content with the slightest allusion to "Jason Statham" but it was never going to happen in my lifetime. At least it wasn't "Bruce Willis!" Heavy lies the head...

Saturday 12th 57-64F, 14C, overcast and calm with rain promised all day. Still no rain at 9.15 but it is getting darker by the minute. Not much to report from my walk. They are ploughing the fields immediately after harvesting. The birds are sulking this morning. Hardly any to be seen except for mink gulls.

 Dew fresh McSlugbait packaging.

Mid morning ride to the shops. Headwind going, but dry. The queues in the supermarkets were snaking back to the next village. This was due to the negligent employment of only pre-schoolers for staff these days. As the offshore big money tries to save peanuts at the major expense of customer service. A side effect of this economic lunacy is that no special offers ever reach the shelves until next week's offers come around. So now they can charge full price again. Having never displayed the goods at the reduced price as advertised.
Fraud by any other name, but what can you do when Denmark has absolutely no consumer protection? Even EU consumer protection has no jurisdiction here. All the supermarkets [except Aldi] are owned by the same of-shore money printer. So it wouldn't make any difference if irate customers went elsewhere. It's all the same monopolistic shopping chain. Just with different pre-schoolers and different carrier bags. And, the highest food and goods prices in Europe on top of the highest taxes on wages. But Denmark does have a large fleet of coal fired battleships to maintain its global importance as a sea-going, world military power. 

I returned from the shops in increasing rain until it reached Welsh Family Camping Holiday levels of sustained wetness. ["We'll keep a welcome by the till-sides.. but don't stop!" Sung to the strains of Land of my Fathers. [Pl?] Or even, perhaps Devon-Cornish levels of inclemency on the [adjusted] Dorset scale.

Farmer Giles' front lawn gets away from him.
Sending in the heavy mob shows real Claas.

I was overtaken by a convoy of mentally handicapped drivers as they each desperately pushed past me. Anything to reach the back of the queue behind the tractor and trailer which was averaging 0.0005mph faster than I was. About 15mph with a tailwind. Do tailwind rain droplets actually impel a tricyclist forwards? If so, I was probably cheating.

In fact I had to apply the brakes hard and wave the tractor past. Or he would probably have ended up following me along our drive. Then struggled to turn round again in our limited parking space. What with a long tailback of lost cars wondering why they had suddenly found themselves in a GPS black hole.

We don't get mobile phone or TV reception here either but I'm not paranoid. Though I do worry about the constant drones, helicopters and fighter aircraft overhead. I thought Denmark was neutral but that must have been some other country of the collective imagination.

Still happy with the Overboard Duffel saddlebag but would wish for another inch [or two] on the top straps. When the bag is full the straps put an unnecessary fold in the bag due to their being slightly too short. It's not a deal breaker but the cost of an extra 50mm on both straps can't break the bank.  Conversely, the side straps are far too long without any obvious gain except as hand holds. 15 partially wet miles testing the waterproofing. The bag was, but I certainly wasn't. [Waterproof, that is.]

Talking of water: I almost forgot to mention that sloppiness in asphalt leveling has provided a dual, combined car and cycle wash, on the new stretch. Had I not been riding my trike, and therefore able to balance without seeing the bare road below me, I could still be there. Still waiting for it to be safe to cycle around the two huge puddles in the road. As cars sped past at 60mph in a 30mph speed limit. Well, actually, they were all driving at 100kph in a 50kph speed limit [in New Money] but let's not get picky! You knew exactly what I meant.

It is quite possible, of course, that I am being far too cynical. [Moi?] I may, in fact, be badly underestimating the sheer genius of the road and drainage engineers. The first puddle is obviously intended as the wash cycle. While the second, at a precisely calculated distance, is meant to rinse off the now-softened grime. The [illegal] speeding, which follows, is the drying cycle to ensure no muddy drops are left to mire their now pristine paintwork.

Though, given the usual speed at which I travel on my trike, particularly on this uphill stretch, they may have grossly underestimated the amount of grime. Then miscalculated the degree of rinsing required and [finally] sorely overestimated the degree of drying. Particularly when I am already soaking wet and then being constantly sprayed by speeding traffic!

I was quite surprised that the [noisy] circling geese overhead did not alight on one of these artificial 'ponds.' However, they seemed more content with the artificial one provided in the reclaimed marsh, just up the road. The one with the constantly roaring pump, in the small wooden shed. That which looks for all the world like, but is clearly not intended to be, a bird-watching hide for interested visitors. So, they'll just have to wait for a Dane to independently invent the bird hide, as usual. [Janteloven has an awful lot to answer for! Not least, commercial competition!]

Sunday 13th 60F, 16C, bright clear and sunny. Wind expected to increase to 20mph gusts later. Enjoyed a quiet local walk to watch the swallows skimming a huge lawn. A large hare lay perfectly still in the middle of the lawn. Totally ignoring my approach to within 15' as I snapped away with my camera expecting it to get up and leave at any moment. When I returned the same way later it had turned by 90° but remained in the same spot.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

9 Aug 2017

8th August 2017 Bags I the yellow one!


Wednesday 9th 60F, 15C, overcast and breezy but should be a fine day.

I found some Pex underfloor heating pipe with the necessary 10mm bore to fit tightly over the Trykit rack's top crossbar. After cutting some short lengths I sanded the ends smooth to avoid any sharp edges rubbing through the new bag. I then tapped the two lengths of pipe over the ends of my elongated top bar with a plastic hammer. Now I could then slip the bag rings over the newly extended ' bag hanging' pipe. I then used a shoe lace to stop the bag from moving laterally by tying off to the rings. The plastic hose extensions could be a little shorter but I'll test them out first.

My usual test for bag security is tipping the trike almost horizontal. If the bag stays put, then it can usually be trusted on corners and ramps. The latter are the greatest test of safety. With occasions where a formerly secure bag jumps straight into a back wheel.

Zip-ties might do a better security job and are usually neater, but require a sharp tool to cut them. I know you can stick a sharp object into the "buckle" to unlock the little tab but there is usually some degree of haste involved when you really want them to be gone. Most thieves probably carry sharp objects to avoid any risk of apprehension. Their sociopathic "needs" are always far greater than the entire rest of the world's survival.

I'm still considering support options for the rack shelf. I don't want a 'beer belly' of bag hanging close to the sprockets. The applied load is not necessarily uniform so proper support is vital. I'm thinking self-healing cutting boards if I can find one large enough. This might be the problem getting one thin enough. Or even a baking grill would do.

Today was the bag's first ride in anger as I headed off north into a gusty gale. The trike felt lighter than usual thank to leaving the Carradice Camper at home along with the heavy canvas, sports bag. The yellow bag's remarkable capacity soon began to prove itself as I worked my way around the village supermarkets. A headwind coming back so I spent most of the time on the tri-bar extensions. Only 13 miles.

Initial irritation with the neck was soon solved by undoing the buckles on each end of the bag. This allowed the throat to open fully and extend well away from the saddle. Loading mixed shopping has never been this easy! The large area of the base, inside, allowed me to move heavier objects forward onto the shelf.  While the lighter or more fragile stuff could be brought towards me or placed on top. This was vastly superior to shoving the heavy stuff in the Camper and everything else in the sports bag lying [always slightly precariously] on top.

I even found an easy way to stow the hefty Asbo U-lock. The lower picture looks a bit untidy but first I had to empty the bag of shopping to find my camera. The whole caboodle looks much neater with a few things in the bag or with it rolled down tighter. The U of the U-lock points downwards right into the bottom of the mesh, outside pocket as I draw the cloth handle through the loop and catch it in a toe-strap passing through the Brooks saddle frame. Not only did this secure the lock, where it was easy to remember, but it simultaneously took up the weight of the bag. This saved it sagging over the narrower Trykit rack.

All in all, I am absolutely delighted with the new bag! Practice will smooth the routine of releasing the two, or four, excellent quick-release buckles each time I need to open it up. The webbing straps slide effortlessly on demand, but lock as soon as any tension is placed on them. Best buckles I have ever tried, so far.

What I don't like is the superfluous padding wrapped around the spare cloth handle. I may unpick the stitching and discard the padding. Then I can use the bare cloth handle for an extra level of security in securing the bag on the saddle pin. Though the handle is rather long and might need a turn, or two, around the pin to take up the slack. Or tucked down out of the way behind the seat tube and fixed to the rack.

There is no slop and the bag never felt as if it were moving about. Not even on the fierce ramps so typical of supermarket car parks. BTW: An adjustable padded shoulder strap is supplied with the Overboard Waterproof Duffel bag but I have no real use for it. There are no internal dividers and only one flat internal pocket. But I like that for the freedom to fit anything and everything in there if needed. I would use loose carrier bags inside if I need them, just as I always have.

This is the smallest of three models at 40 liters. Larger 60 and 120[?] liters are also available in Yellow and Blue and possibly black.[?] The 40L is highly recommended as a very large capacity saddlebag for tricyclists with a rear rack. I'm still searching for a suitable shelf extender. The plastic, kitchen cutting boards proved far too thick and heavy. A wire oven grill shelf might work but I am slightly worried about the likely localized wear. Anyone contemplating using such a bag for camping or [shopping] expeditions should consider having a deeper rack shelf if they are ordering one to fit their trike. I'll find something to extend the shelf eventually, but I am still searching for lightweight, totally weatherproof, non-wearing ideas. For the moment I'll have to make do with the cloth handle hooked over the saddle pin. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

7 Aug 2017

7th August 2017 "You keep off my mowing grass!"


Monday 7th 55-62F, 13C, bright with a light breeze. It has reached a scorching 62F with a decent breeze now I am back from my walk. Got a wave from the driver of combine harvester towing its lawnmower drum along the lane. The mink gulls were squabbling over their personal inadequacies. Not much else to say for the moment. The garden is packed to the gills with large peacock butterflies. Mostly on the purple budlias. The sky was full of swallows flying up to 500 ft or more.

Whether 'tis nobler to drive on the grassy slope, or to boldly go where farmer's ire is wont to clash with the evil, trespassing  public. The lateral [sideways] slope is so severe that 4WD tire tracks have cut deep into the crop to avoid toppling over. "You keep off my mowing grass!" [Unless it's huntsmen's 4WDs on their way to feed the pheasants and ducks to provide welcome cannon fodder.]

Just a short ride to the shops. Warm but windy. Lots of harvesters busy now.  7 miles.

Tuesday 8th 59-74F, 15-23C, overcast with a light breeze. Should stay dry until later this afternoon. Early  walk with several circling birds of prey out over the harvested fields. Probably hoping for  takeaway breakfast. Late morning ride to the shops. Brought back my yellow, Overboard bag. 7 miles.

First image, deflated and limp immediately after arrival. The yellow has a slight hint of orange but is still very high viz. Smells of PVC tent groundsheets. Seems good quality on first inspection. But as suspected, there is nowhere to fix my Asbo Mini 5cwt U-lock.

 After a bit of fiddling I found a way of fixing the bag using two rings and two toe-straps wrapped around the rack. [Ringed, right.]

Zip-ties could be used instead but would mean a real struggle to remove the bag in an emergency.  A longer top bar for my rack would really help. I'll see if I have any tube to slip over the present SS bar as an extension on each end. Then the bag rings can slide over the tube and the toe straps will pull straighter, instead of inwards.

The bag now seems stable enough for use and the handles could be hooked over the saddle pin for extra support. Which is what I usually did with the black 'bank' sports bag. Though the OB handles are a bit longer. I have removed the Carradice Camper in anticipation of using the OB as a fixed 'saddlebag.'

The next images show the bag stuffed to a comfortable level for the photo-shoot. Still plenty of room in there. It really is big even compared with the similar sized 'bank' sports bag. I think it looks the part. Though the cloth handles are more of a nuisance than  anything with a fixed bag.

The OB bag is actually quite floppy. So needs a plywood or plastic[?] board to rest its 30cm depth on the 15cm deep Trykit rack shelf. I am still searching for something useful for this task which wont quickly wear the cloth or mark the bag in normal use. Aluminium blackens everything it touches. As I quickly discovered when I made my first 'low rider' saddlebag crossbar.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

4 Aug 2017

Friday 4th 2017 Just when you thought you were safe..

Friday 4th 62-68F, 17C, heavy overcast, windy with showers or rain forecast, just as yesterday. And it was.

I saw a bright idea by an engineering student to save weight on washing machines during delivery. They might soon have refillable water tanks instead of the usual concrete blocks to stop vibration on the spin cycle.

Look at the [Trykit] rack on that! In retrospect I should have asked for a deeper shelf for the bigger bags I now use.

I understand the bike lock manufacturers are very unhappy about this amazing breakthrough and their shares have already crashed. Because their lucrative sale of reinforced concrete [b]locks to idiot, wealthy cyclists might suddenly end. Is there any other sport where the weight of the reinforced ballast increases as the machine gets lighter and therefore, far more expensive? Welcome to the wacky world of cycling!

All we need now is a means of filling a large water tank outside our usual stopping places. Well, it can't be any worse than carrying an Asbo U-lock, can it? They might have to change the law about urinating in a public place, though. So everyone and anyone can contribute to the cycle, Gold Standard, security tank. With the total lack of public toilets, and an aging population, this idea might actually catch on. Bulky Carbon Fiber bikes would be the obvious first models to fit with <cough> filling cocks and <cough> drain cocks. They could just leave the bladder in there during manufacture. I just need to think of a catchy name. Damn! 'Portapotty' is already taken. But remember, you patent trolls, you heard it here first. πŸ˜‰

Spent the day getting very lost in Odense [in the car!] after they closed the center roads [permanently] to build more houses and office blocks. No ride today, The Sun has gone away, tr-la!

I have gone overboard and ordered a big, bright yellow, Overboard, waterproof, 40L Classic duffel bag online. Ortlieb do a similar coloured bag but use a top zip. Denmark will freeze over before I trust another zip. After watching Overboard videos it seem the bag has a tall, folding/rolling trunk. A bit like the Carradice Longflap[s] but made of much better material. Weight is under 1kg or <2lbs.

Here's another, quite unnecessary picture of my all stainless steel,  shopping tricycle without so much as a [gas] bag on board. Pretty, isn't it?

You'll be the first to know when it arrives and is safely lashed to the Trykit rack. Very dark glasses may not be optional! I just hope the glare doesn't blind overtaking cars! How do you write two whole page of text about a yellow shopping bag? Dunno, but it makes a change from writing about traffic. Rest easy, there will be much, much more on this subject. Don't say you haven't been warned! 😎 Now I'm off to whittle a plywood base board for my new bag. While there's plenty of room for two bulging bellies, for and aft, on a trike, one does try to maintain standards.

Saturday 5th 59-66F, 15C, breezy, bright sunshine with all day showers forecast. I missed the showers yesterday but the roads were well puddled from previous downpours. Mustn't complain though. Dump is taking a holiday from the high temperatures in Washington but leaving the Paris Climate Agreement on the pavement. As President he has forgiven himself for Dumping in a public place. [The Earth.]

I must try to get out on the trike to keep my legs in good shape. I haven't noticed any untoward tiredness while riding but have certainly slowed while climbing. Getting out of the saddle has become much more the norm.  I've said it before but when I started climbing and sprinting, while standing up, I could barely manage 10 yards before it became too painful. Which is odd because I was still doing high mileages.

Now I sometimes climb 2-300 yard hills entirely out of the saddle. What I don't much like is the relatively upright position when I'm climbing. It just feels a bit like a child standing up on their first bike. So I grab the hoods and lean well forwards over the front wheel.

Finding the correct gear is critical to climbing like this. There must be a degree of resistance, whatever the pedal revs, or it all feels rather pointless. It becomes more like a knees-up on the spot rather than moving forwards.

Enjoyed a walk along the marsh to capture a few images of all the ducks. It has been an incredibly productive year for them with only about a half of them visible in this image . A pair of Moorhens were sitting and preening over on the left on the dead willows. Coots are very common on rural ponds but the Moorhens only rarely seen over here. The Heron took off for a sulking tour along with a pair of Cormorants.

Saturday ride to the more distant shops. A bit windy but mostly a crosswind. A bull passed me on a TT/triathlon bike. He was twice as wide as I am all over and the roar of his tires made me think I was being overtaken by a 4WD with off-road tires. Steady progress towards readiness of the new, roadside, cycle path. Though it doesn't look as if it will be raised on a kerb to protect the cyclists from the an-alphabet drivers. An-alphabet is Danish for not being able to read the speed signs and is remarkably common. Just as I was leaving the last shop it started raining and was soon heavy. I kept poking my nose out from the overhang on the supermarket roof but it was determined to keep going. As soon as I set off there was a gusty cloudburst so I had to retreat back to my inadequate shelter.  A couple of miles, later on, the roads were bone dry. 15 miles.

Sunday 6th 55F, 13C, very light breeze, bright start but becoming cloudy with showers possible. Too busy for a ride. Or even a proper walk.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

3 Aug 2017

3rd August 2017 An other bag crisis!


Thursday 3rd 60F, 16C, heavy overcast, windy and wet. [All day.] And it was. On and off. With torrential showers, with thunder, interrupted by occasional brightness and even some sunshine. No ride today.

Shopping is just not the same without the 'free' 45 liter 'donor bank' sports bag. Something must be done to restore my carrying capacity! I wish that straps were more normal instead of vulnerable zips. Or, that Carradice made a 45 liter 'Classic' saddlebag for tricyclists. If only! With such a tiny market I doubt there would be enough sales to warrant even making the trial paper patterns. The Carradice UPSO products looked interesting but there's nothing remotely suitable for my heavy duty, trike shopping needs. That said, it's not so much about weight as volume capacity. Bike oriented bags are working with bicycle limitations the tricyclist can simply ignore.

 Pro-Sports Waterproof Duffel – Waterproof Bag – Waterproof Sports Holdall | OverBoard

So I searched online for waterproof sports bags and found Overboard. They do two models in 40 liters which closely match my needs but are not cycling specific. Now I have to make the decision whether I want a large fixed bag, or want to carry it around the shop. Fixed would be nice if I just get rid of the long-serving, Carradice 'Camper' Longflap. Then I can shop with normal carrier or cloth shopping bags and return to load the 40 liter Overboard bag at my leisure.

A fixed bag really has to be just that. No swaying on corners or when taking fierce, 45°, supermarket, pavement ramps at a 45° angle and at considerable speed to avoid speeding traffic. These duffel bags do have D-rings which might be employed to fix to the Trykit SS [stainless steel] trike rack with zip-ties, straps or cord. I'd need a support base board of [say] thin birch plywood to stop the greater depth of bag from sagging like a beer belly over the Trykit rack. Aluminium marks everything it touches so that rules out this material as a bottom plate. SS plate is pretty [but] heavy!

Price and weight are reasonable for both Overboard Duffle bag models. Classic and Pro in 40 Liters. Though larger are available. I've spent literally years using secondhand sports bags bought for a 'fiver' equivalent from charity [thrift?] shops.

Rarely were these bags the correct size or even a decent colour. The ones I liked rarely lasted long. They might as well put flashing diodes on sports bags zip pullers as a warning against any false hopes of longevity. High viz yellow should be ideal on the back of a trike. PVC is quiet when riding along with no drumming like any kind of box.

I'm just wondering whether the roll top feature is a gain or a loss over a full sized, perimeter top zip with regards to shopping ergonomics. Loading takes place tightly under the rear of the saddle. I'd love to lose the short-lived zips of most sports bags. The longer lived Carradice straps are exposed where they are more easily accessible. Except that the 'longflap' on the Carradice always wants to fall forwards over the open top even when the poppers are normally done up. That's because I'm not using the saddle loops. Normally the saddlebag's "lid" would be flopped over the saddle out of the way.

The 'bank' sports bag tended to flop towards me when loading. So was always fully open when needed. The downside was constantly struggling with worn and sticky zips. I tried candle wax but it isn't the answer. Probably the bag with the tall, roll top will lean away from the trike to allow easier loading.

The various straps on the Overboard might be a bonus for fixing to the trike but are mostly removable or completely superfluous. Saddlebags usually have a rigid crossbar inside where they are hung from the saddle loops via short straps. I have an overlong top bar on my Trykit rack for hanging saddlebags lower than normal. This helps to keep the center of gravity low. Though pedants purists will argue that it increases the frontal area with dire consequences for drag. There's a joke in there about drag and an obsession with bags but I won't bother.

The internal [saddlebag] dowel is a valuable feature for bag stiffness with Carradice canvas. Stiffer[?] 'tarpaulin' PVC might not need this stiffening to retain a 'boxy' shape for easy loading. And, if it does, I can always make strap holes and dowel just as I did with the big, leather tool bag. Which despite its thickness and weight still needed a dowel for a backbone. It's not as if waterproofing is absolutely critical at this point because the rider provides a lot of protection from the rain. We'll just have to pretend that the rider never gets off when it is actually raining. To argue otherwise is simply unwanted pedantry and we won't go there.

The Overboard duffel bags are worth serious consideration I think. Their bright yellowness, with the much greater depth and height, is just what I badly need for a fixed 'saddlebag.' While the last 'bank' sports bag was all black, 50x30x30cm with shallow end pockets. Or 18"x12"x12" in Old Money. The Overboard is a pocket free, 52Lx32D x24H. Just about ideal since it won't be nearly so tight under the back of the saddle when loading. I just hope it doesn't bulge sideways to a ridiculous degree.

With sports bags I used to hang one cloth handle over the saddle pin and this was enough to support the sports bags until I used a toe-strap to secure the second handle after loading. Friction between the Camper's canvas and the canvas bank bag kept it all neatly in place. Though your definition of 'neatness,' and mine, may be worlds apart.

Adding 'slick' nylon bags on top of the resulting heap usually resulted in their sliding sideways into the wheels on corners. [THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED] These extra bags were employed for carrying lightweight but fragile items like frilly lettuce or soft bread rolls. Which is why deep bags [like panniers] are absolutely worthless on a shopping trike. You really can't reorganize a bag full of shopping outside a supermarket. It will end in more damage if the heavy carrots, spuds and milk cartons aren't already on the bottom. I tended to put those in the usually empty Carradice but that meant removing the sports bag to reach it. The one thing the Overboard doesn't offer is the Carradice's ever-ready, non-complaining, tough canvas, side pocket, waiting for the ridiculously heavy, U-lock.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

2 Aug 2017

2nd August 2017 Losing my image?


Tuesday 2nd, 60F, 16C, bright and calm again. Quickly became cloudy and breezy. The grass was very damp on my walk while safely avoiding traffic. My deaf, left ear is making listening for traffic on the blind bends insecure. I really shall have to see what can be done short of carrying an [ear] trumpet on my walks.

Can you just imagine me with an ear trumpet and the action cam parrot on my hat? I shall begin to look like a mobile, one-man-band busker on his way between rural gigs! I haven't yet decided whether this would actually be an upgrade from local, rural tramp. A role to which I have become accustomed and my performances well reviewed. I might lose my loyal public sympathy if I suddenly changed my image. Like Dylan going electric pop instead of spokesperson for a new generation already tired of profitable wars.

My public would have to learn to place coins in my stationary begging bowl. Instead of throwing them at me as they passed in their cars. Begging is now heavily outlawed in Denmark especially for evil alien invaders "incomers" like myself.

In previous years, convoys of Eastern Europeans would be bussed in, to sit outside Danish supermarkets playing a single chord or 2 note 'riff.' They thus avoided being tainted with the same 6" tar brush as "beggars" but became instead "buskers." So, you can see how careful I have to be about changing my image.

A foot across, looks like a polystyrene ball but weighs as much as a turnip. The giant puffball. Calvatia gigantea.

I was allowed out to stock up on shopping. Only 7 miles with a busy crosswind. No bags 'R' Us..

Click on any image for an enlargement.


1 Aug 2017

1st August 2017 Attempted murder or deliberate incompetence?


Tuesday 1st August. 63-74F, 17-23C, rather a grey day forecast with rain starting around tea time.

When does terrifying, deadly incompetence, behind the wheel, become indifferent malevolence? Yesterday, our cheerful, easy-going, morning walker returned slightly shaken but not stirred into my usual verbiage. I thought I'd give it time to consider my response to my near death experience.

I am not your rigid, pedantic, 'pound of flesh' sort of chap. I demand no prescribed yard of asphalt as if by some god-given right to pedestrians. I carry no wind-tattered banners for walker's rights. In fact I regularly take to the verges to allow larger vehicles to pass when approaching each other or myself. A wave or grin is often my only reward for such voluntary kindness. It is but a trifling matter to give way to a far larger and much faster traveler on a mission. 

Yesterday I watched as a metallic diarrhea-coloured saloon approached without deviation from its intended path. I am well used to the merely incompetent driving within a meter, or so, as I stroll along with one foot regularly brushing the grass verge. One has to make allowances for drivers with known, neighbour-like levels of grudging idiocy. Some genetic 'brain damage before birth' can never, ever, be undone. One makes due allowances and allow them a suitably wide birth.

Sometimes a vehicle appears to be taking an approach course like a guided missile with one's number chalked up on the nosecone. One can but hope for a late swerve away from the soft bodied tissue and fragile bone, as one hovers uncertainly on the edge of the overgrown verge. When the cruise missile makes a last second adjustment in one's own direction then I can but call that deliberate. It is mind numbing, calculated dehumanization of a lesser being down to that of an injured hare or even a road-going slug. Though I rarely travel either so fast nor so slowly as either of these two.

The evil barsteward passed within two feet of me and drove onwards without a change in course or speed to suggest I had even been noticed. I turned to see a snow-white haired women in the rear seat but little else. I couldn't even recognise make or model of car. Being a fully paid up and certified member of the Old Fart's Society I was far too slow to catch the number plate. I would not have remembered it beyond fleetingly. As I corrupted the signal-to-noise ratio on the very first attempt at repetition. As usual, the driver was invisible and anonymous behind the sloping windscreen and fast moving reflections of trees, cloud and sky.

Despite my usual diatribes on the subject of poor driving, or the politicooze, I really am no danger to society. I merely express my general dismay at the daily signs of incompetence, or snake oil salesmanship, with my gentle, double/edged, barbed humour.

If you really think my "rants" are serious then I suggest you engage Google Translate. Because that is never my real intention. I merely amuse myself with word salad, with lashings of extra sauce, at their expense. It is my way of letting off steam at the unchangeable. Knowing, full well, that my words will never have the slightest effect in improving their daft or dangerous behaviour. It is all part of the harmless fun. BTW: The legal minimum distance for passing is 1.5m or 5' in Old Money. Even for sociopaths, even for drug addicts, even for the registered blind, even for prescription drug abusers and even for Alzheimer's drunks with a license to kill.

Perhaps it really is time to place the action camera on my shoulder like a pirate's gaudy parrot? I feel like endlessly repeating the message: That pedestrians, and cyclists, might look dangerous to you alone. But that I am merely human, with human rights, underneath the seemingly, terrifying exterior.

If I add a camera to the top of my baseball cap, or winter bobble hat, will it change driver's behaviour? It would seem not, judging by the endless cyclist's videos of driver mayhem and raving lunacy on YouTube. After all, the sociopath, the dug addict, the drunk, the cowardly work bully and the demented really don't give a flying fuck for anybody else. It's only a pedestrian, or cyclist, and they "PAY NO ROAD TAX!" So probably deserve to die anyway. No doubt "The Jews" and "The Blacks" paid no road tax either. Look at the numbers who turn up to enjoy every public execution, burning and flogging. Mine's with sauce. Or "ketchup" for the clinically pedantic and "splatter" movie fan.