29 Sep 2014

29th September 2014

*
Monday 29th 50-63F, 10-17C, grey, very misty but it should clear quite soon. Very light winds forecast. I have finally broken the 5000 miles/8000 km marks but rather too late in the year. I should never have mentioned punctures! Punctured on a hedge clipping. Probably one of my own! Another day. Another 3 mile walk as the mist slowly burnt off. Sometimes when I stop it is so quiet that it seems almost as if I have gone deaf. Until, that is, I start walking again and the birds scatter in panic at the sound of my Salomon "Shriek and Squeak" boots.

A perfect day for a ride. Though I left it too late to make a real day of it. I didn't have enough food for a longer ride anyway. So turned for home at 30 miles.

The lake at Langesø where I paused for a mature cheddar, cheese roll. A stately home and associated, original farm buildings sits right on the lakeside. Surrounded in beautiful, hilly scenery covered in its own forest. A popular area for walking, jogging and cycling. With many different routes laid out through the woods. 
 
I enjoyed the very hilly lanes as far as Søndersø with my shadow on the road ahead. Then looped on the dead flat lanes to the next village beyond and across to Særslev. From there it was straight into the sun using the most picturesque route home. No ill effects from yesterday but my right quad felt a jabbing pain now and then but soon passed.

The half-pint sized windmill at Sndr. Esterbølle has been smartened up but I forgot to take a photo due to avoiding local farm traffic. The area around there could easily pass for an English parkland around a large stately home. 50 miles. Plus 6 more miles running an errand. I still had plenty of miles left in my legs.

Tuesday 30th 55F, 13C, heavy overcast, light winds, raining. Forecast to rain all day. They were right! Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

25 Sep 2014

25th September 2014

*

The new crops are growing slowly so far but give a tremendous sense of incline and contour. Best enjoyed full screen at full resolution on a large monitor. The trend towards viewing the web on mobile phones badly needs some means of projecting large scale, virtual images. The tiny screens, even on the latest, iSlave6 may need a pocket with arms, to carry them about, but hardly do justice to photographic images. Landscape images on my 28" HD screen are almost 3D immersive. The blog format, while a tremendous improvement on earlier iterations, still leaves something to be desired.

Thursday 25th 55F, 13C, very windy, overcast. Showers forecast. Walked to the woods to watch the pheasants scatter like headless chickens. Saw two ginger-brown deer grazing before they stepped delicately into invisibility in chest-high nettles. Eye watering wind coming back.

Rode to two village libraries via the rural lanes. Saw what I assumed were two different, buff-coloured, female Kestrels. One was retaliating to being mobbed by small birds. The other was trapped on the wrong side of a tall hedge and shot along like a rocket until it could find an exit. Kestrels are not at all common on my travels. Most of the birds of prey I see are buzzard sized. I stayed dry but my wife told me that several showers passed over at home. I was chased by a keen cyclist for a couple of miles into a roaring headwind. I could tell they were keen because they were wearing suicidal black.

The tarmac men are smoothing out the numerous level crossings from the now long-disused railways. It is an absolute tragedy that they can't fill between the lines to provide new cycle paths. Even Britain was far better served with old, railway bed cycle paths decades ago. The Danish tracks are usually reserved as dogs toilets and an occasional few, hired pedal trolleys in summer. Many of the old lines would make superb, direct cycle routes. With remarkably few inclines compared with the corrugated roads and lanes.

Unfortunately they will insist in using tarmac over here. Which must be far more expensive, though longer lived and lower maintenance, compared with self-compacting gravel. The narrow-gauge, Korinth-Ringe path was surfaced with tarmac but foolishly narrow. Worse, it further handicapped by a wider stretch of flinty sand for horses riding alongside. The project architect was obviously working well above his pay grade and a non-cyclist to boot. Probably never a parent either. Or they would know a pushchair leaves no room for a passing bike on a 1.5m [5'] wide cycle path. Another publicly funded tragedy which will probably set back further track conversions to cycle paths for decades!

A typical sign found at the edge of privately owned, Danish woods with public access paths and tracks. The added yellow text tells us that cycling is allowed on paths suitable for normal cycles. Which suggests that mountain biking is prohibited on more demanding routes. This seems rather vague and might well lead to some discussion as to its exact interpretation. Access is limited to the hours of 6am-sunset. 

Which reminds me that the Continental 4000S tyres have yet to puncture. Famous last words if I dare to venture to the Korinth cycle path. My first set of 4000S punctured repeatedly on the first ride and were left full of gaping holes thanks to microscopically tiny flints! 21 miles.

Friday 26th 56-61F, 13-16C, grey and windy. Walked for an hour. Nearly run over by a registered blind, post office driver of a postal mini-bus. The driver had 200 yards/meters of straight road to see me ahead but still swung over to the white line on the verge just before he passed me. I took to the grass verge. It stayed dry all morning as I continued the war against the thorny hedge. Heavy showers after lunch continued on and off all afternoon. No pressure to go out. Another rest day.

Saturday 27th 56-61F, 13-16C, light winds and sunny. Windy and cloudy forecast. 3 mile walk up to the woods and back another way. The wind had picked up to 25mph gusts by the time I left for a ride. It remained sunny and rather too warm for my least windproof winter jacket. I rode an oval loop along the lanes down to the south coast and back. Coming home I was buffeted by a gusty crosswind. 25 miles.

Sunday 28th 55-63F, 13-17C, heavy overcast, light breeze. The SW winds should remain under 20mph gusts but it will be rather cloudy.Walked 3 miles in an hour looping through the woods. Saw a couple of Jays. Went for a ride after coffee. Lots of birds of prey. The area above Fåborg is a gorgeous mix of hills, fields, steep lanes, ponds and and woods. I was caught by a chap on an electric bike and he rode alongside me while we chatted. He dropped me easily going up a steep hill once he decided to press on. Bit of a headwind building as I came home with sunshine breaking through at the end. I hit 30 mph on a very bumpy, winding descent and nearly lost it! Today's temperature was comfortable for cycling. I wore the knitted cycling jacket. Which helped to avoid overheating on the many climbs. Almost no traffic in the lanes making it a very enjoyable ride. 45 miles.


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

22 Sep 2014

22nd September 2014 Has winter arrived?

*
Monday 22nd 50-57F, 10-14C, overcast, very windy from the north. The temperature has plunged today. Threat of showers but it stayed dry all day. Spent more hours attacking an overgrown hedge from a ladder. What not to do when you already have sore knees? Lean your knees on the top rung while you hack away with saws and branch loppers.

Left mid afternoon to shop. It was like being bopped by a giant, down-filled bolster every time I passed a gap in a hedge. Still feeling tired. No idea why. First day this autumn with fingered gloves. Still wearing my bare knees though. Wore the Aldi rain jacket in the absence of my winter wardrobe being laid out.

It takes time to organise everything at the start of the cold season. Jackets, tights, vests, hats and gloves all need to be made ready so I have a free choice. I have at least three variations of winter jacket depending on the day's temperature. Several choices of gloves and several different thicknesses of tights. The difference between being cold and too warm is important on a trike. I suffered far too long from agonizing cold when I first started triking again.

Thank goodness for charity shops. Investing in a new winter cycling wardrobe from a bike shop would set me back hundreds of pounds. I still can't make up my mind about a new rain jacket to replace the Aldi. That was bought secondhand in a charity shop too. I probably paid half the new price! Having a decent, breathable rain jacket means I would no longer be at the mercy of wet weather. Normally, I would just take a rest day. It pays to go shopping for wet weather gear when it is raining hard.

At least I still don't have to wear the crappy, polyurethane coated nylon, mobile sauna of my youth. I thought I was setting a trend for wearing an orange cagoule. On the mountains and on the bike or trike all it ever did was get wet inside. Once I was wet I couldn't take the damned thing off in case of hypothermia. It was a nightmare when I was winter mountain walking and camping in Snowdonia! A new black bin bag a day would have been cheaper. Except that bin bags don't usually have arms. Riding 15 miles to work required a change of clothing and half an hour to lose the sweaty heat built up inside the jacket. Only 13 miles.

Tuesday 23rd 44-57F, 7-14C, sunny and still start to the day. Walked for an hour. Knees still hurting. I also have a sore throat after two days of feeling tired with a slight cough and thick nose. Left on the trike after morning coffee. Sunny but rather cool, with an increasingly strong headwind coming home. I kept my cycling cardigan on under the least windproof, lightweight jacket and it was just enough. Wore gloves to start and then shifted to mitts for the return journey. Two cheese rolls, a banana and a box of apple juice kept me going.

While I was out I visited a huge charity shop which has a barn/hall full of furniture, old bikes etc. There I discovered a Viktor mobility tadpole trike in almost new condition. All but identical to the one in the image. I was keen to have a go as I have admired the design for several years. A few bored furniture browsers glared at my daring but I'm well used to that.

Thanks to a handy corridor between the furniture I was able to ride about 50 yards. The trike ran very smoothly on the concrete floor and the clever steering felt very positive and natural. Though the track is probably too wide for most doors. It even has a small degree of inward lean designed in when it turns. Though I had no room to test this out in practice. I imagine this offers a greater feeling of security on corners. The front hubs and coaster rear brake worked really well too. Far more powerful than my own delta trikes with rim brakes and Ultegra blocks!

The problem came when I tried to lift the front end around in a very cramped space to ride it back. I was almost unable to lift it at all! Being fairly fit and used to lifting fair weights I am arguably in a far better physical condition than most likely buyers and users.

For example, I have just spent several days constantly moving and climbing 10' extending ladders as I hacked back 30 meters of overgrown hedge from the second top rung. I used assorted and lumpen, extended reach, power and hand tools. So I had to imagine myself as a rather frail Viktor owner having to bump the trike up over a typical pavement on a shopping trip. Or even over the threshold into my own trike shed. Did not compute!! It would be like trying to lift the complete trike over a wall! Or up a flight of garden steps.

I just checked online and the descriptive blurb on the Viktor says 30kg. [66lbs!] It really felt more like twice that weight! Almost as if there was a bag of cement in the front basket! I kid you not and I have been lumping bags of cement about only recently.

http://www.vanraam.com/t-bike-front-tricycle-trike-viktor/itm/14165

However much I might like the design from an aesthetic and technical standpoint I would have to say the design is a failure because of its quite incredible [unbelievable] weight. The rear end was not much easier to lift off the ground! The charity shop was asking ~£250 for the Viktor. A lot of money but only 1/7 of the new price of £1750!

Had it been 1/3 the weight I might have been tempted to smash the piggy bank and go without food for several months. As it is, I left it sitting there, feeling terribly disappointed at the crippling weight handicap of such a gorgeous and seemingly competent design. Does it really have to carry the burden of being built from heavy gauge water pipe? Perhaps it was the only way to make the beautiful, single tube design strong enough? Perhaps they wanted total stability and didn't care about the weight? Who knows? An aluminium model would be far more attractive but the price is likely to be even more prohibitive!

The width across the front wheels was easily too great even for my generous shed door anyway. Which may explain why I usually see them standing on lawns at sheltered housing units or in carports. The Viktor is what you might call; the triumph of design over functionality. Beauty and the beast. All rolled into one. 39 miles.

Wednesday 24th 54-57F, 12-14C, heavy overcast, windy. Forecast to rain from 9am-9pm. I walked for an hour in wind chill conditions. It hardly rained at all until a cloudburst mid afternoon. Then it forgot to stop. Though my knees are better today I still think a rest day is in order.


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

19 Sep 2014

19th September 2014


*
Friday 19th 59F, 15C, a bit cloudy, windy and sunny periods. Fine weather forecast again. Just another day in tricycling paradise. The same holds true for walking. A walk seems to fix my odd aches and pains. Probably because it uses different muscles. Which confuses my tiny brain and it forgets to feel the damage caused by the tri-cycling. I started the day with what I call my sciatic pain and my knees were a bit tender too. A couple of miles on foot and I feel fine already. Where shall we go today?

I saw this huge tractor on what passes for a main road in these here parts. It was using the cycle lane for its nearside wheels but still reached the middle of the road. I'm not very sure of the legality of deliberately driving along a cycle lane. Even if it does improve traffic flow. What would they say if a cyclist was foolish enough to ride along the road in the traffic lane? Sadly the beast was moving too fast for me to stop to take a head-on picture. I had just exited the nearby junction so had no chance for a decent picture. For all my criticism of the misdemeanors of the farming community I still have a child-like admiration for their over-sized toys. 

Note the unusually generous width and surface quality of the cycle lane. A cynic would say this was to cater for the farming traffic. It's still not much fun riding along here despite the pretty trees along both sides. Traffic noise is absolutely horrendous and there are almost always drivers intimidating the few cyclists by driving close to, or even over the white line. I presume they were bullies in infant's school and retained a taste for it. This road runs almost parallel with the Fynsk motorway for many miles. Giving the residents the best of both worlds.


Here is a picture of a pig's muck spreader on a very long 4" hose. The hose leads back to a huge shipping container with a large diesel-engined pump at the far end of the field. The container was being refilled at 10 minute intervals by large, tractor-drawn tankers from the farms around. The smell was awful but the technology fascinating. The hose on the drum must have been over half a mile long and was reeled in and out automatically as the machine moved. The cab could be power rotated 180 degrees to allow the driver to travel comfortably both backwards and forwards. Fortunately the wind was carrying the worst of the stink away. I had to wait ages to capture the beast in silhouette at the top of the hill. Fire breathing dragon and predatory dinosaur all rolled into one.     

My ride was accompanied at first by a cross tailwind. At times it felt like a 20mph headwind as my speed dropped to 15mph and at others I was doing 25mph and could still feel a strong headwind. Coming back I was brushed on a long straight by an infant moron on an illegally tuned scooter. Later a woman driver tried to run me over on a mini-roundabout. Let me know when I start having fun and I'll put on a party hat. Only 15 miles.

Saturday 20th 53-68F, 12-20C, brightening to another sunny day. Very low wind speeds are a rare offering from the weather gods. I spent over an hour wielding a very heavy, extended hedge clipper before coffee.

It was 11.30 before I finally left. Since it looked so promising I headed east for a goal 25 miles away covered mostly on rural lanes. It actually felt like a headwind going despite the majority of windmills standing still. It was slightly misty and the sun quite weak at first. Providing an almost autumnal feel. A noisy group of clubmen were catching me along one straight into a village as I cruised along at 15mph. So I accelerated up through 5 gears to 22 mph and dropped them. One of them tried to close the gap but gave up. I presume they were nursing a weaker rider.

I reached my goal in the silence of perfect, rural calm in 2 hours exactly. Having munched my way though a cheese roll and banana and taken some photographs I set off back again. I paused half way home to scoff another roll, a couple of digestives and drink some apple juice. The return leg took one hour and 50 minutes.

I keep thinking I ought to investigate clip-on, triathlon arm rests. They would make a lot of sense in this rather windy climate. I have a set of full TT bars which are bit lumpy and absolutely useless for normal rides. The cheapo clip-ons in the shed don't fit the A-head, over-sized 'bar centres.

I have caught the sun on my arms and legs again but felt physically comfortable riding this distance. Averaging 12 mph doesn't sound much but I was trying all the way as usual. With long periods of 16-20 mph going both ways. A high cadence helps. I was being bombarded by small, black flies all the way back. They were sticking to my suntan lotion and constantly tickling my face. A small price to pay for an almost windless day. 51 miles.

Sunday 21st 54F, 12C, breezy, heavy overcast. Overnight rain may continue for a while as showers. My knees had become painful later in the evening. Still slightly painful this morning when I go down stairs. I'll try a walk to see if that helps. One, rather outspoken, distance rider on YouTube suggests that lack of fluids can be a problem. I hardly touched my water bottle yesterday. I just don't enjoy drinking water from a bottle unless the weather is hot and my mouth is dry.

The Japanese Knotweed is in flower on quite a a few uncultivated sites and field edges. I see it everywhere on my rides and walks. Classified as the world's most invasive weed its march towards world domination continues even in Denmark.

I do enjoy pure apple juice and drank two small boxes on my ride yesterday. Probably not enough liquids for four hours of physical activity plus breaks. Though I made up for it with cups of tea when I got home it hardly helps. The fruit juice boxes aren't very user friendly for a cyclist. Peeling away and stripping the straw of its protective plastic, before stabbing the box, needs both hands and concentration. The roads are rarely smooth enough to manage that at anything above walking pace. I don't really fancy watering the pure apple juice down to put in the bottle.

Perhaps I should look at concentrated juice to make a watery mix for my longer rides? Though I'll probably end up as a target for wasps. Plus there is a greater potential for damage if it goes down the wrong way! Taking a swig from a water bottle often results in a bout of coughing. It isn't easy being me. A four mile walk through the woods as the sky slowly brightened. It was very quiet on the forest tracks despite the waves crashing overhead in the treetops. I disturbed two colourful Jays. Too tired and aching knees for much of a ride. Only 10 miles.


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

16 Sep 2014

16th September 2014 "Greenest government ever" gets red card from fellow MPs!

*
Tuesday 16th 58F, 15C, windy but becoming sunny after a cloudy start. Promised to blow hard at 30mph again later. Grrr.

I was just reading on the BBC News website that Cameron's "greenest government ever" cannot offer the minimum legal standards of air quality in London until [at least] 2030. They were actually taken to court by their EU partners [in crime] for failing to improve on air quality. In fact air pollution is getting worse in the UK after a steady, but slight reduction, up until 2013.

Never mind about cycle helmets being made compulsory... What about free gas and particle mask dispensers for cyclists and pedestrians at every city bus stop? The obvious pressure to finally do something really real about making cycling safer and easier in Gravely Blighted must occupy Cameron's and Boris' every waking hour. Or not.

They could always park the new aircraft carrier in the Thames. Save on fuel as they take off for their daily exercises over Britain's major cities. That will surely solve all of Britain's problems at a stroke? All food for thought in the capital of 2/3 [formerly] Gravely Blighted [Now Broken] New Britain?

They could always follow the Chinese example and close Britain's cities to motorised traffic on odd and even days depending on the vehicle number plate. With exceptions in the case of Party Members, the state police, industrialized sex slave drivers and vast military convoys actively putting down public unrest with live ammunition, of course. I am referring to China here. Just in case there was any doubt. We wouldn't want the NSA-GCHQ [Asymmetric Siamese twins] monitoring my blog for performing treasonable acts on an adult tricycle.

I wonder if they can enter a tricycle of doubtful colour in their global databases? It could bring the whole system crashing down if they can't tell violet from cerise or even damson. I know I can't. God knows how they'll cope with Shimergo! My wife swears a Reaper drone passed over our garden last week. And then there's the regular military helicopters...  The charges? Inciting tricyclists to ride on the pavement in a city?  I wonder what the Danish is for treason? I'd better ask for an independent translator. Or claim refugee status. That usually works.

Hmmm... I know I'm in permanent exile over here but perhaps I ought to fire off a  suggestive  suggestion Tweet to Our Former Great [and] Beloved Leader? As long as I remember to tick the box for "Do not track" it should be safe from prying eyes.

Rather windy but sunny for my early ride of 7 miles. Have to go out again. Gusty crosswind. Some farmers were having a seed drilling competition with several very large machines trundling up and down. Probably close to a million pounds worth of kit and they couldn't afford a shovel and broom to clear up the mud they left on the main road? 12 more miles.

Wednesday 17th 57-67F, 14-19C, windy, mostly sunny. Rode to Assens. Cruising at 18-25mph going. 10-12mph coming back home. Wearing only cycling shorts and a short sleeved racing jersey. I tried wearing a finely knitted cycling jersey once this month and it was far too hot. A farmer was using the road to turn round with his tractor and plough at the end of each row. He just reached the road after crossing his field and had to brake to let me pass. I stood up deliberately to ride over his muddy mess. It must be illegal, surely, even in Denmark, to deliberately cake the road with 4" of mud?

Four items supposedly on special offer were not in stock. These days the supermarket staff automatically blame their suppliers. Lies, damned lies and [Danish] supermarkets? Suit yourselves. They will. No point in pointing out that I had just ridden 32km to take advantage of their "special" offers.

I have been reading that 2014 could be in the top 3 for global temperature. Scientists suggested the increased annual ice loss would make a mountain 5 miles high the size of Manhattan Island. Just to give the deniers something to think about. Do they think about anything? Except the backhanders from the coal and oil industries, of course.

It has certainly been very mild here this year. Fortunately without it becoming too hot. A sort of warm wave rather than a proper heat wave. I'm really not a hot weather person. So I'm probably due for early extinction. Middle of September and we haven't had to light the stove once yet. It has been falling to 70-ish overnight indoors. With a maximum of about 75F. I've only needed a very thin, down duvet once so far and that was far too warm! Back to spinning like a top under the duvet cover alone. All thanks to the foot of rock wool insulation I installed when I rebuilt the roof. Shame we still have to burn the furniture every winter! 22 miles.

Thursday 18th 58-68F, 15-20C, quite windy, high, fluffy cloud clearing to sunshine. Promises to reach 20-22C again.[68-72F] I feel the need for another proper ride but the strong, easterly wind inhibits my usual enthusiasm. Walked up to the woods and looped around an overgrown trail. Two young deer were grazing and bounded off after a pause to see what I was going to do. A pair of raucous jays made a swift exit too. Lots of fungi at the moment. 3 miles.

It was warm and sunny as I rode north east into the wind. I used the narrow lanes and hedges for shelter as I tacked across gorgeous countryside. Using only the bright sunshine to guide me. Came back by another route with a much more favourable wind.

As I was travelling through a narrow village road a moronic builder nearly took me off! His van was facing the wrong way so his activities behind his van were completely invisible. Not only that, but he was unloading long, cladding boards from his completely invisible trailer. Not by the logical method of anti-clockwise rotation but the complete opposite. Sensing danger I swung wide just as the black belt in drooling idiocy swept two planks the full width of the road just as I overtook. Having done so he dropped the boards onto the pile from chest height to make a huge bang like shotgun going off! So taken up was he with his task that he had used up his life's quota of remaining brain cells. Leaving none to watch for passing traffic [me] which was being forced to the opposite side of the blind bend on the narrow road. If he saw me at all he certainly showed no reaction. Perhaps he was pissed? Many builders carry crates of beer to see them through the day.  
I saw two two red deer grazing and a large, buff, bird of prey with high aspect ratio wings. Lots of cattle with young in the fields. Going well but rather tired and a bit saddle sore towards the end. Lack of food as usual. Took loads of photographs to have some in stock for my blog. I passed the spot where they were having seed drilling demonstrations. The main road was still plastered in hardened mud. Arrogance and indifference in equal measure to a public which pays them billions for their muck spreading activities. Let's not dwell on the multi-resistant bacteria breeding farms and industrial scale animal torture. This is the unnelected EEC dictatorsheep, after all. 49 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

*


15 Sep 2014

15th September 2014 Darwin's theory of traffic evolution.

*
Monday 15th 60F, 16C, easterly gales, heavy overcast with showers. It is expected to blow up to 30mph later with only occasional showers. It was spitting with rain as I maneuvered around yesterday's puddles in the track up to the woods against a stiff headwind. I watched the nervous, scraggy, intensively reared pheasants for a few moments then began to walk back the same way. Bright stair rods were soon falling at 45 degrees as my clothing darkened rapidly. I cupped my hand over my binoculars and pressed on. The thin, Aldi's, polyester walking trousers clung coldly to my thighs as I climbed towards home and the oncoming traffic.

Is it really my duty, as a pedestrian, to have to hop onto the verge to avoid imminent collision with passing vehicles? 3 miles in an hour, with stops to try and capture the geometric forms of the newly sprouting crops. Sometimes an overcast provides an even light but it is hard to inject much life or excitement into the resulting image.

It's my blog and I'll laugh if I want to...

The supposed battle of wills between drivers and cyclists in Britain is nothing more than another tribal battle for scarce resources. In this case for dwindling road space. The two cannot easily mix. Any more than can oil and water. Though in this case the water is probably honest sweat diluted with lots of rain. Surely Goretex should be available on the National Health by now?

Cars mostly go along on oil-based products. The environmental and human cost of extraction and protection from later theft of those dwindling resources is the stuff of countless wars and more recent revolutions. The time of evil dictators, prepared to act as fences for their own nation's natural resources, is finally coming to an end. The hidden costs of which are all too obvious in the news headlines. The ordinary people have been deprived for too long and the resentment far too great to bear lightly. Nor to easily forgive.

Vast industries, right around the globe, toil to provide cheap vehicles, components and tasteless accessories for every deluded owner. Each seeking the illusion of individuality amongst hundreds of millions of all but identical vehicles. Cars have become far too affordable these days. Almost everybody owns one. Even the poor who can barely afford to smoke! While driving licenses offer the public absolutely no protection from drooling idiocy, physical and mental inadequacy, nor raving psychopaths.

Drivers have even gone into a pact with the banks to avoid all responsibility for causing hundreds of millions of so-called "accidents". Regardless of lack of skill or repeated bad behaviour, insurance against all responsibility for the deaths and carnage is readily available. Judges are rarely willing to take away the right to drive since it has become so "necessary" in today's so utterly dysfunctional, consumerist world. "See you at the pub, John?" "Nah, Mate, I have a meeting with the funny handshake gang!" 

The poor cyclist is at an immediate and obvious disadvantage. No billions are spent on advertising shiny new bicycles. As they are for the tin, identi-boxes selling to hundreds of millions of naive dullards. The winners of numerous Olympic gold medals, the Tour de France and Cycling World Championships are each as vulnerable as their next meeting with a [typically deranged] White Van Man.

Or some deluded, sociopathic, Audi cowboy. Who imagines himself on camera in the Top Gear studio."See me see my low profiles, Pal!" Thanks to their special number plate and exclusive, manufacturer's original, over-sized, exhaust tailpipe stub they imagine themselves as an outlaw of the road. Free of all regulations which apply to lesser drivers. Just because they have bought into the exclusive "racing" alloy rims and having the manufacturer's lettering removed from their tin, identi-boot. Let's not forget the genuine rally jacket emblazoned with the "works" factory logo and the crocheted back, classic, driver's mitts. With the subtle, but updated "factory" vinyl piping instead of real leather. Claimed to have had personal input from some has-been sports car racing driver whom nobody else remembers unless they look him up on Wacky-leaks.

All this, in a country with a 60mph maximum legal speed limit on most country roads and 30 or less in most towns and villages. Motorways don't count. On most roads the traffic normally drives nose-to-tail from morning rush hour to evening rush hour and often in between. Each driver growing ever more impatient with the "Sunday Bløødy Driver!" somewhere up at the front. Someone who must obviously be "some old fart" who is absolutely determined not to exceed the speed limit. At least not while their wife is back seat driving [from the passenger seat] as usual! You should see him go when the pubs are opening for a breakfast tipple!

Cars are very often sold on their "sporting pretensions" to countless, fat, deluded, desk jockeys with chronic immaturity. Each deliberately but slowly killing themselves with diabetes and heart disease. None of them with an ounce of road-craft skill or even the slightest grasp of corrupt, commercial reality in the real world.

They are so unbelievably daft as to be completely convinced by car advertising videos filmed on quiet Sunday mornings, on closed roads, in "backward" countries. Anything goes to avoid all sign of potential traffic jams or parking problems in this all too perfect, but completely unrealistic, advertising fantasy world. Remember that most [all?] TV adverts are aimed squarely at the sub-80 IQ band. So you may well find yourself amongst the target audience most of the time.

Every TV car advert is crammed with subtitles telling you [the speed reader] that the actual model shown costs three times as much as the more "humble" model. The price is flashed up in large [lying through the teeth] digits beside the be-stubbled, male model. Obviously chosen for his rugged look in a good [studio] light while wearing [very unlikely] violet contact lenses. Or you are [subtly] placed intimately alongside the digitally painted metro-slut. Chosen for her Photo-shopped, plastic-enhanced cleavage, impossibly shrunken waist and unnaturally flawless face and skin. You are obviously supposed to believe that your daily partner/mistress in your very own identi-car is this lanky supermodel. Yeah, right! Check your [vanity] mirror, sunshine! [I wouldn't!]

All this, so buyers of the filthy identi-boxes can sit comfortably, but often at a complete standstill, for the majority of their [supposed] driving hours. Usually in the same filthy traffic jam going absolutely nowhere. And, normally while on a ridiculously short journey. Easily able to be walked both ways in well under half an hour! You really couldn't make it up!

It's no wonder drivers don't like cyclists! Only the cyclist seems to have the freedom of the road the driver was falsely promised by the transparently dishonest, car sales hype. Only cyclists seem to be out in the fresh air with the sun shining in their hair. Just like in the car adverts. Instead of the hideous reality of being strapped down into a sub-tropical, sauna cabin. Usually immobile, ridiculously expensive to own and maintain, sensory deprivation tank! One which hasn't moved for at least 3 minutes and counting!!!

"Dad? Are we there yet, Dad?" "No, there's no ******* parking!! Again!!"

Cyclists glide past queuing vehicles all the time in town and city. Just as they have done routinely for nearly a century. Except where drivers cheat and exceed the speed limit to show who's boss, of course. It was always thus and forever shall be. A-bløødy-men.

Cyclists are very likely to be more fit, have fewer visits to the doctor and suffer far fewer chronic and terminal illnesses. Despite the energy poured into their pedals (and often their grimaces too) the cyclist usually has absolutely no need of 2 liters of Croke per hour. Nor the sickly sweet [or just sickly greasy] drive-in snacks. Which the average driver so desperately needs "just to keep going". Isn't it odd how they'll queue patiently at a drive-in, grease bucket but go absolutely ballistic if a cyclist causes them 0.02 nanoseconds of delay? It's that hierarchy thing they learnt at the feet of St.Jeremy.[Clarkson].

"Cyclists don't pay to use the bløødy roads!!" A favourite excuse for bad tempers and even poorer driving behaviour. Safely ignoring the fact that only a fraction of "road taxes" actually end up being spent on real tarmac to fill the countless potholes. The ones "they" apparently can't afford to fill despite the outrageous car tax. Moreover, many adult cyclists are also drivers and income tax payers. Do you stop them and ask, [just to make sure] before [or after] viciously cutting them off? Always a difficult choice.

The endlessly moaning driver could also have walked, or cycled(??) to their destination. And back again in far less time than the entire car journey [including searching for their car keys and wallet.]

All drivers are safely ignoring the vast cost to the taxpayer in propping up all "those other people" in a hospital bed in middle age. Thanks to a life completely devoid of any form of useful exercise. But then, you always fancied yourself as "idle rich" or even remotely related to royalty, didn't you? It's really quite amazing you don't have gout!

Driving is always a deliberate choice. Even if you don't usually bother to think about it. Just as walking and cycling are deliberate choices. Are you scared to let your kids walk or (gasp!) cycle to school? Then perhaps it is because you harbour deep-seated guilt about the way you often have to brush past that child on her bright pink bike outside the local school. Just so you could park your bus illegally (but briefly) on the double lines. Just as another, illegally parked "people carrier" [overweight family mini-bus] moved away in the nick of time to let you nip in! Thank god, for that! You'd already been around the block twice and you don't need the stress before your day has even started!

Of course you had to dash off again to avoid the glares. So you had no time to watch your child amble off, like some tubby, cartoon, Shrek Jnr. No doubt to be bullied [unfairly!] by their, far more slender, cycling and walking classmates. But then it's not your fault your child never gets any exercise and still has an amazing appetite for crisps, burgers and [so-called] "soft" drinks. Is it? After all, when all is said and done, they are just "big boned." It must run in your family.

Meanwhile, back at the trike: 21 miles on a hilly route. It's amazing I have enough wind left to type so furiously! 

*

10 Sep 2014

10th September 2014 Born to be wild!

*
Wednesday 10th 65F, 18C. sunny and becoming windy from the north. Started with a 3 mile walk.
Then rode to Assens. Where I obtained a refund on the old-aged GPS logger.

I met an ex-colleague who had just been enjoying a sports centre. She asked me if I rode a trike because I was infirm. Saying that people noticed my trike and asked her what was wrong with me. I told her my only real handicaps were being English and slightly eccentric. She laughed. A cross headwind going and a cross headwind coming back. These things are sent to try us. I have been sprayed twice this week already. 21 miles.

Thursday 11th 63-67F, 17-20C. rather windy, mostly sunny. 5 mile walk exploring new areas of the woods. Where I had good views of a rather tame Nuthatch and a Jay. Still plenty of swallows, dragonflies and butterflies about.

A 22 mile ride. Cross headwind going. Tail crosswind coming back. Going quite well. I saw two enormous, double-tracked tractors today several miles apart. They travel at a remarkable rate of knots and draw huge implements at the same time. So they can cover a "prairie" in no time at all. The problem is that they need a prairie to make economic sense. So the hedges, copses and field ponds rapidly disappear in the name of efficiency. It is rare to see a small machine trundling round a small field these days.

Even rarer to see a horse on the road these days. Odd to think how many horses once pulled the implements now used as decorative objects on the manicured lawns of countless, small, ex-farmhouses. The modest ex-stables are often still standing as useful housing for the car and usually several bicycles. I can just about remember working horses in my childhood in Britain back in the 1950s. Their sheer size and the sheen on their coats and the noise of their hooves as they moved around on cobbles. Farms were exciting places with rusting old machinery and even older motorbikes and all the strange smells and general untidiness everywhere. There were no cranes back then. So most things just lay where they finally came to a halt.

Friday 12th 55-66F,[?] 13-19C[?] misty, still and sunny. It was warm on my walk with hardly any wind. It looks promising for a ride if I can decide on a suitable goal. The wind is supposed to be mainly northerly all day so that might affect my choice. I'll stay away from the motorway. The police stopped nearly 2 thousand vehicles yesterday and recorded 10% with an offense.

I chose to ride east to Ringe. It felt more like a headwind all the way there but was occasionally a crosswind. Coming back felt more like a crosswind with a hint of a tail. I was cruising at 18-20mph almost effortlessly for some miles. I remained comfortably energetic until the end. Caught the sun on my forearms and neck again despite the SPF30 and previous tan. I wasn't at home to record the day's highest temperature. 51 miles.

Saturday 13th 58, 14C, breezy, misty start but clearing to sunshine. No ill effects from yesterday's ride. I'll start with a walk. I was able to use recently harvested fields to reach new viewpoints. The hedges are full of berries and fruit. The woods full of literally 100s of intensively reared pheasants. Hunting pheasants in these woods must be like shooting goldfish in their own bowl!

Quite windy by the time I went out on the trike. Hit 24 mph going but slower coming back. The libraries are open all hours these days provided one has a card to get in. I cannot imagine this being remotely possible in Britain. When there are no staff present they would probably ransack the village libraries, steal all the computers and then burn the libraries down!

The Danes are consistently called the happiest nation on earth. Perhaps they should also be called the most relaxed. Most Danes do not suffer the constant threat of violence, robbery or vandalism. Most are relatively comfortable, despite the heavy tax burden and sky high prices.

I read a news headline recently about Danish homes being wide open to burglary. It would be shame if trust was lost and the Danes had to start closing their doors while they are out at work. Particularly when their garages are full of highly visible garden tools. Or they had to wire off the industrial estates and building sites. Most home building goes on without any security at all. Brand new windows, doors, timber and roofing material are just left lying outside (usually wrapped in clear plastic against the weather) until required. Sometimes it lies there for months on end. Right beside rural roads and often without any oversight by neighbours.

All of which has nothing to do with tri-cycling but gives you an insight into how it feels to live here. Let there be no doubt, that I would not swap the delights of Danish roads and drivers for another minute on British roads at any price. I may moan about the speed at which most Danes drive and the occasional conflict. But, I wouldn't give myself a year [on my trike] on British roads before I was hospitalised, or dead.

I can hardly imagine the shock to their system of a Dane going for a cycling [or walking] holiday in Britain. It might as well be a holiday in a war zone! The toxic mix of aggression, impatience, arrogance, drooling idiocy, incompetence, colossal selfishness and sheer bloody-mindedness of many British drivers has to be experienced first hand. Otherwise one has no clue as to their sociopathic, anarchistic mentality behind the wheel. I speak as one who drove all sorts of vehicles for decades on ever-busier British roads.

The rules to which the Danes adhere, without so much as a second thought, are fiercely ignored in the UK. As if it were a basic human right inscribed in granite. While cyclists have unquestioned right of way under many circumstances in Denmark, as do pedestrians, it would be a very sharp awakening for any Dane going to Britain. If they somehow managed to survive the first hour! Right of way across a junction? Forget it! In Britain, even their own World Champion, Tour de France winner and multiple Olympic gold medal winner is as vulnerable as the next white van man or deluded, Audi thug. 17 miles.

Sunday 14th 58F, 15C, very heavy overcast and windy with continuous heavy rain. Rather unusually our north facing windows are wet with rain. While the south facing windows are still dry. The forecast is more of the same all day. I don't think any of us should be holding our breath in anticipation of a ride today. A rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.   

*

8 Sep 2014

8th September 2014 "Shall we have a pink washing up bowl, Carl?"

*
Monday 8th 51-65F, 11-18C, increasingly windy and cloudy after a clear, still start. Enjoyed a walk up to the woods and back by another way. Saw at least a dozen large birds of prey within a quarter of a mile of each other.

I see lots of classic American cars on my rides. Thanks to a lack of clutter in the background these two were deserving of a snap. The magic goes of out of picture when a classic car must share a normal street scene. It is rather like having garish wallpaper behind a model railway layout. One can't use one's imagination to make it seem like a scene plucked straight from the item's own history.

The ride went quickly for the first half hour. Then it started raining from a darkening sky. Becoming steadily worse until it was falling like stinging stair rods. I sheltered for five minutes in a dry spot under a big beech tree but became bored and pressed on. My clothes and shoes were rather soggy by the time I reached home. Just on the margin of evaporative cooling making it uncomfortable on my wet hands in fingerless mitts. 19 miles.

Tuesday 9th 61F, 16C, windy, rather overcast with occasional sunny periods. I was leaning against the wind on the return leg of my 4 mile walk. Though the promised showers have yet to arrive. It has been mostly sunny all morning but I have been too busy for a ride. Time to put that right. It was much more threatening and very windy after lunch so I kept my ride short. As it began to spit with rain as I headed home it felt as as if I was fighting a 30mph headwind. My speed dropped from 18 to 8mph as I escaped from the woods and an ugly plate of black cloud rolled over. It must have dumped its load of rain further on because I stayed completely dry. Only 10 miles.

Gulp! My helmet will save me! Will save me not. Will save me! Will save me not? Oh, bugger!!

There is discussion in the Danish media on whether cycle helmets should be made compulsory. Two thirds of those who responded said no and complained about the already high number of rules covering cycling. Don't even get me started on the ridiculous fines! Many respondents suggested that making helmets compulsory would put lots of people off cycling altogether. This at a time of falling numbers of cyclists in Denmark. Though I blame the appalling standards of most cycle paths and lanes for the reduction. Many councils are obviously falling back on their dusty laurels and saving money on the cycle network. While simultaneously planning ever more places to form traffic jams in town and country.

I should admit here that I never wore a cycle helmet for nearly 60 years before I finally tried one. Now I am not allowed to leave the house without one! I am, of course, referring only to time spent out on my trike. Or "running away" as my wife likes to call it.

Present helmets are not nearly as efficient as they could be and many fail to reduce severe head injury. Being made of a highly insulating material with a decorative skin they are also very hot to wear in warm weather. Meanwhile, cars and lorries are made of steel and travel much faster than most bikes. It's a very one sided battle for survival of the fit against the unfit for purpose.

I cannot understand why helmets aren't spun like a nest or a web. Formed in a female mould from a nozzle of continuous strands of some suitably sticky material. It would set to provide a rigid but open and breathable structure. There would be overall covering of the skull without large, open slots almost demanding penetrative injury. Being non-absorbent the non-woven fibrous material could be simply dunked in a bowl of detergent and rinsed off to clean it.  Some domestic cleaning and abrasive pads are already made of a likely material. The stiff web of fibers would crumple far more efficiently and reliably under an impact from any direction. Yet still keep the rider cool by allowing overall ventilation. Given the very low cost of fibrous cleaning pads helmet prices could come down considerably. [But wont!]  To take a cycle is to be robbed. I think Pepys said that. 

A quick snap of an unused pan scourer for inspiration. 

The present crop of helmets seem to present the triumph of appearance over intelligent design. One can only imagine that the escalating retail price does not remotely present greater safety. In fact recent tests proved that the cheapest helmets were far safer than some much more expensive ones. Moreover, some expensive helmets failed to meet even the present, doubtful standards. Which vary widely around the world. Suggesting that nobody important has a clue how to test cycle helmets properly. The ubiquitous, rigid polystyrene foam design offers very little reduction in impact loading and may even contribute to serious brain injury.

My own helmet has convex corrugations over the temple which leave large dents in my forehead when I take it off. One can only imagine that these same bumps would lead to highly localised impact loads on the skull in any accident. The flimsy foam spacers stuck onto the inside were so decorative [and thin] that they simply fell off in use. What intended purpose they might have served is rather open to question. I seriously doubt the designer gave a second thought to this pathetic padding. Otherwise the skimpy pads would not have fallen off on the first wearing!

In the absence of any other helmet offering greatly increased safety or even a better, alternative design, I shall just have to continue wearing mine. Given that rain runs straight through the ventilation slots one can only imagine that cycle helmet manufacturers laugh all the way to the bank. The method of manufacture and obvious lack of serious safety research strongly suggests the material costs are absolutely trifling.

Styling and restyling no doubt take up the vast majority of any casual thought which might go into the actual helmet design. One can just imagine an annual meeting of the design team. Probably arranged in some trendy bar to allow a free flow of new and original ideas. The meeting probably went like this:

Shall we have a pink washing up bowl, Carl?
[With apologies to Victoria Wood]


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

5 Sep 2014

5th September 2014

*

Friday 5th 55-65F, 13-18C light breeze, mist clearing to sunshine. I enjoyed a long walk through
the woods and back across the harvested fields. Very quiet apart form a distant tractor. Several birds of prey resting on the edge of the woods took off, complaining about my intrusion. Large flocks of starlings on the fields moving away as I progressed along the track. The sun fought its way gently through the mist but retreated repeatedly before winning the battle. Then it became much too warm. I'll have to find a way to carry excess baggage but not a sweaty rucksack.

Variable cloud, warm and occasionally windy. I had managed to trap the Cateye "Cadence" cable in the fork crown. So lost my speed and distance readout but kept the cadence. It was fun climbing at 120 rpm for a while but my average was somewhere around 105 rpm on the flat. Rode NW for 34 miles total. Luckily the Ventus G730 GPS logger behaved itself today. The device has been discontinued by Ventus. I will need to find an alternative. I feel rather lost without my route drawn on a map.

Saturday 6th 71F, 22C, light winds and sunny. Another ideal day for a ride. I performed microsurgery on the Cateye computer cable first. Where it had snagged in the fork crown. The twin core cable had insulation on only one core. This proved to be quite tough and very resistant to multicore solder even after I though I had bared the copper carefully. After several attempts I finally managed to get some solder to wet the copper strands together. Then I used half a car cable connector on each core as a belt and braces approach to overkill. A final zip tie secured the mess to the fork to avoid further tangles. Anyway, the computer now works again!

It kept working too as I rode up to Bogense on the north coast of Fyn. Where I visited a couple of plant nurseries. I did 15 miles in the first hour despite all the hills. The beneficial wind, which had allowed effortless 20mph cruising on the way up, was now a hindrance comping back down. It remained very warm and sunny all day. Leaving me with new red stripes where I already had a good tan despite the 30 SPF suntan cream. With only a cheese roll, a banana and a small box of apple juice to keep me going I ran dry of water and energy towards the end. 44 miles. The GPS logger recorded only half the journey. I'm still looking for an affordable replacement.

Sunday 7th 61-68F, 66-20C, misty start. Almost perfectly still. With weak, warm sunshine glaring though thin overcast. A warm, 3 mile walk. Now I have a couple of goals for a pleasant ride. I just hope the threatened, thundery showers don't find me on an exposed road!

It stayed dry with light winds but rather grey at times. Some pleasant miles exploring the lanes away from the traffic.  It hasn't been a bad week for tricycling. Though I have felt a bit tired at times I am always trying to keep up a good pace. I have never learnt to dawdle. It's great fun to cruise at 20mph, even uphill,  until overtaken by another cyclist taking advantage of the same tailwind. The price of such effortless speed always has to be repaid with interest when returning into the wind.  We do tend to get southerly to southwesterly prevailing winds. Typically forecast to gust to 15 m/s. Which is about 30mph. It often feels as if the gusts are continuous when fighting my way home back down the map. 33 miles today.


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*

1 Sep 2014

1st September 2014

*
Monday 1st 57F, 14C, breezy, heavy overcast, showers forecast. 2014 has been the 4th sunniest summer since Danish meteorological records began in 1857 with 736 hours of sunshine. 1959, which was 55 years ago, was the previous sunniest summer.

I found a waterproof florescent cover for my Camper Longflap saddlebag in a supermarket. It fits perfectly and has an elasticated hem to keep everything snug. Only 25DKK or £2.50. It even has a wide reflective stripe to add to the glare in following car headlights. Brilliant! :-)

I also found the X-flash, rechargeable bike light on special offer too. Though that was 200DKK or £20 it claims a Cree diode. Excellent value for such a bright light in a compact format! For scale, the head is about 42mm in diameter at the silver end. Interestingly, it is not registered as a cycle light for use in Denmark. So would have to be additional to lawfully acceptable lights. In fact it says not for use in traffic. Which is odd.



It offers main, cruise and flashing beams to taste. With coloured diodes on the charger and lamp to indicate battery condition in use and and during recharging. A 3 hour recharge for a two hour main beam battery life. It has strong rubber O-rings in two sizes for mounting on the bars via the attached hooks. Or a 3-strap headlamp band to fit a helmet. Not a bad bit of kit at all!

The image above shows the saddle bag cover illuminated by the LED light from 15' away. The reflection was so bright it made everything else in the image dark despite it being [overcast] daylight!

I know it's only a pretty bag but it makes a huge difference in visibility over the olive drab Carradice. Even more so if fitted over a black saddle bag. The reflective panels fitted by Carradice are very short lived. Though the cotton duck canvas is very long lasting. The florescent cover was being sold for kids to put over their school rucksacks. To make them more visible in winter traffic. They start school very early in the morning. I might buy another cover to have a spare. Since they are unlikely to make it a stock item.

It stayed dry, but very grey, all day. Going well but only time for 14 miles.

Tuesday 2nd 64-67F, 18-20C, light easterly breeze, warm and sunny. Is summer back? Too warm in my jacket on my walk to the woods. Saw a single deer then three more. Several large birds of prey. I rode to Assens, detouring through the rural villages and along the shore. 26 miles.

Wednesday 3rd 62F, 17C, still and sunny. Heavy overnight dew. An early start. 7 miles. Going well. While I was out we had an early visitor on the doorstep. Duly captured by my wife with her camera. She quipped that it might have been more comfortable in open toad sandals. Well, it made me laugh! :-)

Added another ten miles. Still have to go out again later. 7 more miles for 24 total. That's twice this week I have cycled past a field being sprayed.

Thursday 4th 62-69F, 17-21C, sunny and breezy with slight mist. Cool, early start but soon warmed up. 7 miles so far. Plus another 21 miles. Chose a hilly route. Warm but rather windy from the east. Large branches swaying. Still lots of butterflies, dragonflies and bees about. The birds are still gathering in large numbers. Many flocks of sparrows must number one hundred more. The fields are home to dozens of wagtails. Which fan out away form me as I walk the track to the woods. They seem to enjoy playing tag and vertical acrobatics with each other.

The farmers are busy cultivating and sewing endlessly at the moment. Leaving their "droppings" on the roads to be battered by the passing traffic into rock hard mushrooms up to two feet across! I stopped to let a farmer reach his field with a seed drill today and had a cheery wave for my trouble. He waved again when I returned the same way. A contact remarked that I must be infamous by now. Complete strangers do stop outside the supermarkets to say that they have seen me everywhere they go in their cars. Given the incredible rarity of trikes, with any sporting pretensions, I suppose I do get easily noticed and remembered. A vanishingly small number of tricyclists in Denmark must wear racing shorts and jerseys .

I must seem as rare and exotic as this hot air balloon panting slowly across the Danish skies this week. They used to be almost a daily occurrence in warm weather in the English West Country. Often in large numbers and very weird shapes. 

I have begun to see it as my duty to pull into junctions and drives to let people go past rather than hold up queues of traffic. It seems to be appreciated and I often catch a subliminal wave from drivers passing the opposite way. Though I rarely have the slightest idea who they might be. I remember commuting and seeing the same cyclists every day. So that one developed a sense of knowing them. Though our paths never crossed otherwise. I have just retied my Brooks B17 'Special' saddle. The lace had come undone due to a lack of length to tether it securely. I also added a turn on the tension nut to take some of the sway back out of it. The subtleties of the leather saddle are indeed complex. I actually find the floppy state of a B17 more uncomfortable now. Preferring the more rigid, flat backed condition for comfort and pedaling efficiency.


Click on any image for an enlargement.
*