29 Aug 2016

29th August 2016 The iRottenApple iRat 7? ®

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Monday 29th 60-63F, 16-17C, heavy overcast with light winds building to 15m/s or 30mph. Early showers clearing to some sunshine later.I stayed dry while I looped out over the stubble prairie in front of the woods. The wind was strong enough to feel slightly too cool. Large areas of the harvested fields are already raked or ploughed and inaccessible. So I am making the most of the freedom to roam before it all becomes sticky, bare soil.

The ducks were in a jolly mood on the marsh pond. Just after that I spotted a young deer with two tall spikes for horns hiding in long grass. He stayed perfectly still as I wasted time trying to separate him from the tall grass and nettles with my camera. It was never going to be a great picture. The eye is far more forgiving of foreground obstructions. Now it has brightened up to sunshine but the wind is even stronger. Was busy working on a project in the garden so another rest day. It only reached 67F but it felt more like 90F in the blinding sunshine.

Tuesday 30th 55F, 13C, dead calm again and the earlier, heavy overcast has already cleared to blue skies and fluffy clouds. It will be windy later on. Danish motorists must be eagerly looking forward to the imminent release of the iSlave 7. Chatting and sexting [sic] behind the wheel with the latest offering from iRottenApple is a popular pastime on local roads. Somebody clever ought to have offered "genuine" clips by now so iSlavetablets can be clipped to the steering wheel. Now that really would be Hands Free! Perhaps iRottenApple should offer a round model "iRat" ® specially for busy Danish drivers? For those not familiar with modern Danish rat means "steering wheel."

I hear that nice Mrs Vestager has been putting her years of well-honed practice on taxing the poorer Danes to good use. iRottenApple is about to be stung by a colossal tax demand by the EU for illegal money laundering tax  evasion avoidance US/EU subsidy of a private US company in iReland. With iSlave sales falling through the [vault] floor [where they keep their $153,000,000,000 bank deposit in unpaid Asian (living) wages] iRottenApple might like to make me a decent offer for my patented and registered round steering wheel 'rablet' idea. You know where to reach me. I'll be the only one not using an iSlave. Strictly on moral and technological grounds. I hear they have crap aerials so they would be utterly useless around here. I wonder if all those drivers using their iPhoneys are simply trying to get reception by constantly driving around with their one good eye on signal level? Can we now blame iRottenApple for global warming too?

My walk took place almost entirely on stubble as I enjoyed another route opened up my inability to do any damage. The moment I stepped into the bare fields three deer looked up. But not at me. They were looking at the nearby road. Which they had studiously ignored until my arrival. I don't know who was more confused but I'm getting used to this sort of thing. Another clearly marked bird of prey went over. I'm sticking with Marsh harrier for the moment as an undersized Red kite. Don't quote me though.

Rode to Assens for a change. Haven't been there for ages. Straight into a headwind with variable cloud cover. The high street cobbles were rougher than  I remember. One of a bunch of bikers wandering about on foot admired my trike. He said "nice bike" in English but then swapped back to his native language to chat with his mates. Beneficial wind on the way back. Should have taken a drink because I was parched on the way back. 20 miles.

Wednesday 31st 55F, 13C, bright sunshine and dead calm with low mist over the fields. I wonder if I'm allowed out to boost my August mileage? Last chance today. Still using the stubble fields for my walks. Ten days after the terrorist murder of a German woman on the motorway near Odense the police report the slabs were stolen from an Odense building site. The murdered woman's husband remains critical in a coma. One of my alter egos was busy with a project so the entire day passed without turning a pedal.


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27 Aug 2016

27th August 2016 No smiles without miles.

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Saturday 27th 60-67F, 16-20C, dead calm and sunny after a misty start. There was heavy dew as I walked my usual forest loop in an anticlockwise direction. I took 34 pictures in about an hour trying to capture the contours of the fields in the aftermath of hay and harvesting. It felt cooler and much more pleasant now.

If this is a forest track then where do I queue for my refund? 

The forest was gorgeous in the crisp sunshine but the overgrown tracks left a wet, high tide mark on my trousers. Crows rose from their foraging in the stubble to chase off a bird of prey. It had the usual markings of a Red Kite but was probably the smaller Marsh harrier. Later I disturbed two buzzards in the pheasant breeding pens contemplating a hearty breakfast. My arrival scattered the pheasants in all directions. The birds of prey lifted off and left their meal, complaining loudly as they soared with fixed wings straight through the forest canopy.

I have to do my familiar Saturday morning shopping run but that won't rescue my derisory mileage for this month. Perhaps I could ride a loop and do most of the shopping on the last leg?  First, I had to clean the trike with ScotchBrite. The sunshine was making it look tired.

A so a loop it was. Collecting a bag of miniature, curly cucumbers from the organic growers before wending my way south through hamlets by empty, winding lanes. Lots of cyclists out training in the warm sunshine. Some of them standing in a queue at the bakers and losing the unofficial race to the poor, old, panting tortoise! My legs were aching again. I must have fallen below the minimum mileage for fitness. Or the minimum fitness for such a poor mileage? Only 27 miles. That means I have just passed 4000km for the year when it really ought to be in miles by now. [Miles = km x1.61]

Sunday 28th, 58-67F, 14-20C, heavy overcast and breezy. Overnight showers with thunder and lightning woke us at 4am. There might be a window of opportunity for a few more miles before later rain arrives. I avoided the roads and walked loops on the stubble fields. Where I came over a brow to see a deer and a fawn or calf standing right out in the middle of the almost bare field. I took a couple of snaps as I drew nearer and they stared back. Taking a sharp left turn to avoid them only spooked the pair into a mad dash away and across the road. The complete opposite of what I had intended. I returned home via the fields on the far side of the same hedges which I have walked and ridden beside for years.

The wind is all over the place. Swapping direction by 180° at short intervals. Another day of closed windows thanks to the neighbour's demolition timber smoke. Anybody who can afford that many cars for one family can damn well afford a solar panel or two and an accumulator, hot water tank. Temperatures in the mid-80s F and they have an indoor, wood burning water heater going all day? Only in Denmark!

Rode off on semi-dry roads into the wind with the promised rain waiting in the wings.[According to the DMI radar] It rained on my Brooks B17 while I was in the second shop. Coming out of the air-conditioned supermarkets was like stepping into a sauna. Then it continued raining during my third stop. Deep sigh of relief as it quickly petered out only to leave the roads saturated. See me. See my tyre spray! Only 7 miles.

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25 Aug 2016

25th August 2016 Fyn? Isn't that a takeway on the motorway somewhere?

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Thursday 25th 63F, 17C, bright sunshine in an almost cloud free sky. Just a few small stripes but more cloud on the northerly horizon. The forecast is warmer still. Though not [remotely] the mid 90sF seen in parts of England yesterday.

Still no sign of the motorway, paving slab terrorist. Apparently Copenhagen does have security cameras because they have found somebody to question over multiple vehicle fires. It seems that [presumably insured] financial [vehicle] loss in the capital is infinitely more important than murder in a Danish "backwater" like Fyn. I wonder how the numbers of policemen and their resources per crime stack up against each other? The Danish news is all about the apprehension of a suspect. The terrorist murder on the motorway is now noticeable by its absence from the DR News website. Perhaps there's a gagging order to hide the terrifying vulnerability of the Danish/Scandinavian/European road infrastructure to an attack by a single [possibly teenage] actor armed with stone age weapons? Is concrete stone age? Whatever. God help us if Denmark is ever attacked by an advanced species from the sky!  

The main DR headlines are just the usual posturing of the politicoze as they play musical chairs on their exclusive gravy train and seek new ways to disguise their paybacks to their election sponsors in reduced taxation for the glitterati. Just the everyday corruption of the national politico/journalist's mutual parasitism of: "You rub my back and I'll rub yours." Rest day, sweating over a hot lathe at 82F in the shed. And no, She didn't make me do it!

A little grain loss on the corners is everyday fare on Fyn. We once drove north for 10 miles following a continuous 4" deep trail of grain in the gutter. Farmer's trailers and a complete lack of grain tightness must an absolute godsend to the poor old rats! And they wonder why there is a plague of the things? There are two dead rats on the road within spitting distance. So handicapped by stuffing their faces with free grain that they could no longer avoid speeding motorists. 

Friday 26th 65F, 18C, breezy and fairly bright with thin, high cloud. This should be the last, warm day for this year. I have never enjoyed hot weather. Now the sun has broken through and the sky is lit up with feathery, ice clouds. It looks quite promising except for the repeat performance of 20mph gusts. Which basically means a steady wind speed of 20mph with little variation. I wish they'd hurry up with having corner shops offering 5D printing of Graphene so I can build a lightweight fairing for the trike.

I made a Perspex screen for my secondhand bike when I was still at school. Then dropped it on a sharp uphill corner in the wet, on its very first outing and smashed it! That put me off Perspex for life! I'm really not keen on Tufnol either. Nor low pressure tyres and rubber pedals but we won't get into that. I don't want to start any more rumours after last week's foolish admission on the subject of leather saddle bags. Don't even mention tarpaulins!

You would not believe the slope these machines were traversing off to the left. I waited until both were in the picture but they were well off the slope by then.

It had already reached 75F by the time I tootled off on my morning walk. Wearing my lightweight trekking trousers and thinnest t-shirt, with trekking sandals on my feet, I hoped for the some good old fashioned coolth. It worked up to a point, in the shade of the roadside trees, thanks to the cooling breeze. But even a glimpse of the sun was enough to melt chocolate had I been daft enough to be carrying any with me. Which is my favourite trick when I carry dark chocolate muesli bars. I put them in my cycling jersey back pockets to warm them up to save breaking my teeth. Then forget to eat the damned things!

A couple [sic] of young cyclists passed by on their racing bikes in all their proper togs but weren't making much progress. They were actually being caught uphill by the local pensioner who does a hilly lap every morning with a cadence measured in plate tectonics. He usually rides single file with a lady of similar maturity but I haven't seen her in quite a while.

How do people in hot climates wear baseball caps? Despite its value as a sun visor I spend more time carrying it in my hand just trying to stay cool! I had better get off now before I alienate anybody else. I have been officially informed [by The Head Gardener, no less] that one does not deliberately choose to do a long ride on the hottest day of the year. So that's that then. Shopping it is, but without any of the usual <cough> "heroics." Or did She mean histrionics? Unless, of course, I am allowed to claim heroic status for bringing home 35lbs of shopping? Only 7 miles in mostly a cross wind that felt more like a headwind going both ways. My legs are aching again. Lack of mileage or standing up for too long yesterday? It had peaked at nearly 83F, 29C on my return. That's almost like going south for winter training but without any of the altitude. 

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24 Aug 2016

24th August 2016: PodRide quad velo.

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On a lighter note; a Swedish engineer has come up with a fascinating and very clever, little quad velo-car which he hopes to produce as a construction kit:

 JMK-Innovation | Konstruktion och utveckling.

[Construction and development]

The YouTube videos show a remarkable level of stability on ice covered roads and packed snow. It can even manage a BMX course with vicious humps and fierce turns.

The PodRide's turning circle is tiny. A valuable property for any machine used on narrow cycle paths. Particularly if you can't put your feet down and bodily lift the machine! I used to be able to do that with a bare 1WD trike. The mere addition of a saddlebag and U-lock made it much more difficult. Two wheel drive makes it all but impossible!

I have always liked the idea of quadricycles. They make far more sense on corners than a trike with the latter's very marginal stability. Though, ironically, that is precisely why trikes are so much fun! The main downside of the quad is the extra weight of the inevitable, fourth wheel and axle.

The PodRide seems to have ticked an awful lot of the right boxes and is being crowdfunded for future production. The successful prototype has commuted to work for over a year including in icy Swedish winter conditions. It has an aluminium frame with stressed skin cloth covering. A differential, pedals, gears and an electric motor provide the power. The designer seems to have thought of almost everything except the limitations of the short wheelbase for emergency stops. Even here it maintains excellent straight line stability with the back wheels right off the ground!

I have often wondered how well a pedal quad would perform if it was built from a tadpole conversion on a delta racing trike. A Newton/Trykit melding done properly would be fun. Though I fear the trike/quad frame in the middle would suffer from catastrophic twisting loads. [torque] Particularly when all four wheels of a rigid machine were not the ground. Independent suspension on the back wheels would help but increase both weight and complexity. The alternative, using a central, horizontal pivot somewhere between the front and back axles would need careful design not to turn the machine into a useless jelly.

The simple diagram shows the massive stability difference between a trike and a quadricycle. Both machines will tip on corners or adverse camber along a line joining the front and rear wheel contact patches. You can think of this line as a hinge on the ground. When the lateral [centrifugal] forces exceed downward forces from gravity the machine and rider will tip outwards.

The width of the effective track of a trike, at its rider/machine center of gravity, is only a fraction of the quad's. Which is why only a very few enthusiasts drive three-wheeled cars, motorcycle trikes and sporting pedal trikes. All others, very sensibly, choose two, or preferably, four wheels.

Is it really worth the expense and effort of building an upright, pedal driven quad? Even with 20" wheels it will be far heavier than any bike or trike. The quad's potential stability on corners would completely trash any upright trike. It cannot be otherwise. Is the ability to corner like a grinning lunatic worth the hassle and weight handicap? Probably not if the pilot must sit up high in the self-made breeze. A lower, semi-recumbent position makes far more sense from a wind resistance perspective. That fourth wheel and its supporting axle also has to be shoved through the uncompromising air and dragged up steep hills. Electric assistance makes far greater sense than a purist, upright, pedal-driven machine.

The advantages, apart from the 'bomb proof' stability? Massive carrying capacity and being the center of attention wherever you go. Upright trikes attract public attention like a UFO in the high street. People notice you and remember you wherever you go. Then they will stop you outside the shops and tell you about it. Which can be quite handy if you have a poor memory. If you should have to prove your whereabouts on a particular day all you need is a police appeal to be inundated with responses.

Lest thee begin to sneer [out of ignorance] at the whole idea of a quadricycle just remember that the first Mercedes Benz was a motor driven quadricycle. Four wheeled "bikes" were around long before "real" cars. Many different forms of pedal driven machines were tried in their heyday before they were driven off the road by poor [but filthy rich] drivers. Just do a Google Image search for <quadricycle> for examples.

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23 Aug 2016

23rd August 2016 Whingeing Limeys and battery heads!

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Tuesday 23rd 64F, 18C, heavy overcast but still. The forecast is dry with cloud clearing to sunny periods. I walked new stubble fields to capture rarely seen views.

You have to admire the sheer, crippling inadequacy of drivers who overshoot blind corners by 2m, 6' or more. The manufacturers spend billions perfecting the handling of their cars. Then all it takes is some jumped up chump who can afford the purchase price to drive like a compete and utter twonk.

From the top of the local <cough> "hill" I spotted a tractor and trailer about to lime a field. This demanded a closer look. The problem was being downwind had I remained there for long. Lime between one's clenched teeth might not be very beneficial to my health. Fortunately the driver set off on an anticlockwise tour of the large field. Which took him and his comet-like, "special effects" tail to a nicely distant viewpoint. I snapped away as long as I dared and then beat a hasty retreat.

I remember a contractor liming the 20 acre field beside our rural cottage in a roaring gale back in Wales. Our window sills had collected up to an inch of white dust by the time he had finished. The glass on every windward window was opaque! I have no idea if the lime benefited the garden but the rhododendrons seemed quite unscathed.

Jet propelled tractor?

A late morning, hilly ride through the gorgeous beech forest with a tailwind. Lots of teenage cyclists riding single file going through a village. A headwind coming home. Only 10 miles.

Wednesday 24th 56-75F, 13-24C, bright sunshine from a clear sky. A day of lighter winds. Which means 20mph gusts in these here parts. The Danish rail service is buying electric locomotives to replace their fleet [?] of "inadequate" diesels. Since the new locos will run on electricity they can be fed with wind power. A win-win scenario I would think.  One small Australian village is going off the grid. They plan to install solar panels on most of the town's roofs. Quite unbelievably they needed permission from the electricity regulators.

Tesla's Mr Musk claims a new breakthrough in battery development. This will allow his sportier cars to accelerate faster than any other production car on the planet. It will also extend the range of the car significantly to well over 300 miles before needing to charge. It therefore follows that skilled drivers can expect even longer mileages. Only the leaden footed "battery head" will want to risk their license and vehicle at the next set of lights. A habit usually reserved for the inadequate owners of so-called, super sports cars with many more high currency notes than brain cells. There is an "electricity" joke in there somewhere for the hard of reading. ;-)

Rode with the wind on a wasted journey at up to 23mph on the tri-bars. A headwind coming home. Still managing to cruise at up to 17mph on the tri-bars but glad I didn't go on a longer ride today. A rather warm and sunny ride for 20 miles mostly on main roads.


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22 Aug 2016

22nd August 2016 That bird again?

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Monday 22nd 62F, 17C, breezy with sunshine but some cloud. The brightness was very short lived as it soon turned to overcast. I walked a loop out on the local stubble fields looking for new, photogenic views but failed. The heavy cloud and haze spoiled any chance of sharpness or 'sparkle.' The sky is darkening towards the threat of the forecast showers as the wind builds for a downpour.

I interrupted a cat in its hunting in a field hedge and it slunk off in a huff. Then I spotted a large pale bird resting on a big bale about a hundred yards away. At first I was trying to make it into a heron. It was certainly the correct size but took off as soon as I lifted my binoculars but then it perched on a more distant tree. It was easily the whitest bird of prey I have ever seen. With hardly any dark plumage at all it was standing out like a beacon against the dark foliage. Now I remember a similarly pale bird not far away in the spring. It may even be the same bird. That one perched on a copse of dark conifers and could easily be seen for miles for those who were looking. Thank goodness this is not Scotland!

The police have confirmed that the woman killed by a paving slab thrown from a Motorway bridge on Fyn was German. Copycat fuckwits have thrown stones from a bridge at a worker's car on the new [as yet unopened] motorway at Silkeborg. No injury is reported. Though brain damage is heavily suspected in the culprits.

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21 Aug 2016

21st August 2016 Was your murder really necessary?

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Sunday 21st 

Was your murder really necessary?

The Danish news was headlined by some raving fuckwit throwing a heavy paving slab off a motorway bridge. The driver of the car it hit was killed instantly, a female passenger injured but a child in the car survived unhurt. This occurred at four in the morning on a bridge where very heavy paving slabs had been thrown before. Is it mere coincidence that it is a very quiet road with very little traffic? I have often ridden that way to get to the delightfully picturesque lakes, hills and forests of the area. The whole area is interlaced with narrow, twisting lanes and steep little hills. It is not a suitable route to get anywhere in a hurry.

The police are now treating the case as murder and/or attempted murder. This is because an adult or adults must have been involved due to the sheer weight of the missiles. Not to mention the premeditated use of a vehicle, trailer or wheelbarrow[?] to bring the murder weapons of choice to the crime scene. The motorway was closed for four hours as the debris was cleared up. Vehicles had been hitting lumps of concrete on the carriageway at high speed. Though, thankfully,  nobody else was reported injured.

The police never solved the previous case[s] of missile throwing from the same bridge. Unfortunately, it is a basic human right in Denmark that cowardly killers be not overlooked by security cameras while trying to mass murder innocent human beings on motorways. So clues are unlikely from that source. What a shame a posh jeweler hadn't a shop full of priceless baubles on the bridge. There would certainly have been security cameras then. And probably a specialist [armed] police task force to respond instantly to "unsuitable" customers.

This horrific tragedy was compounded by the completely random, innocent victims not even being Danes. Hopefully the investigation will be taken rather more seriously now to rid society of potential mass murderers.

Just imagine if the struck vehicle had been a large or even a double, bulk petrol tanker? Or the driver of a coach full of innocent people? Or both? There is a busy internet stopping point nearby with fuel pumps and a restaurant. It can be easily seen on the right of the motorway in the image above. Imagine if a petrol tanker or toxic bulk carrier had careered up the slip road and exploded amongst the other parked petrol tankers and toxic bulk carriers? 

It might even have made the international news headlines for all of several minutes! The fatality of one innocent driver on a motorway hardly warrants a mention under the latest, multimillionaire, footballer transfer. Or drunken, night club assault by one multimillionaire footballer on another. There would have been security cameras to undermine the footballer's momentarily expensive defense barrister in court. Not in Denmark.

I find the hideously premeditated and completely random nature of this evil motorway incident both horrific and horribly depressing. This was terrorism against the entire travelling public of Europe.

Those four narrow lanes of asphalt carry every single vehicle traveling east and west across northern Europe to and from beyond tiny Denmark's capital of Copenhagen. There is no other sensible way for innocent drivers to reach Sweden, Norway or even Finland and beyond to Eastern Europe. Or for those same nations to travel south into mainland Europe.

A few paltry hours of community service will not suffice for the perpetrator[s] this time. How many accidents will be now be directly caused because drivers are monitoring lone standing figures on motorway bridges instead of watching the road ahead? How will children cope with a journey by motorway if it involves passing under these same bridges on their way to school? This is terrorism.

Update: There have been several more cases of missiles thrown from local, motorway bridges in this last week alone. The police have reported that it was not the male driver but the women passenger who died early on Sunday morning. A man in an Audi had his car destroyed earlier in the week when a tree trunk was hurled off another nearby bridge. It struck the radiator with such force that it bent the car's chassis and the car had to be written off as irreparable. He was incredibly lucky not to have been killed!

In another case a paving slab landed on the roof of a passing car. A fraction of a second earlier and the slab would have gone through the windscreen. Obviously a bad case of mistiming by the callous, would-be murderer of random innocents.

Premeditated intention to cause death and injury is no different whether the weapon be a car, a paving slab, a gun, a knife, a crowbar or a bomb! This is going to need more than just sending a junior constable round to check whether the terrorists have already left the scene! If cameras can be used to monitor traffic on the motorway then they can also be pointed at the bridges which cross it. If only to monitor the traffic if they really need a legal loophole that badly. What is the alternative? Fence every single bridge and viaduct in Denmark to protect Europe's innocent motorists and train passengers? 

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19 Aug 2016

19th August 2016 Verge Hopping for Dummies.

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Friday 19th 62-71F, 17-22C, calm with bright sunshine. The wind turbines will be getting another well deserved rest this morning. Every sound has a lisp now I have had my ears hosed down. My left ear is still muffled and limited in frequency range. Having to lead with my right ear means I may never walk the same again.

It looked more dramatic than the picture suggests as the massive machine shot into the tunnel. I guess you had to be there.

A steady stroll along the lanes was interrupted by a huge, rubber tracked, combine harvester towing its own "lawnmower drum" or cylinder.  It came quickly, whining around a blind corner. So, by the time I had hopped onto the verge, to let him pass unhindered, I hadn't time to capture it properly with my camera. Some of the local fields are only half harvested so I rather hoped he would stop soon for a portrait. Alas it was not to be as it turned off and disappeared down the main road.

A harvester drum/cylinder resting beside the road. The sun was end on so most uncooperative. Note the Archimedes screw on the shiny feed roller. I had no idea Archimedes had invented the combine harvester!

The next hop onto the verge was for a forestry tree harvester on a vast, low loader. Seconds later it was an old chap on a clapped out tractor who seemed very unlikely to go around me. As expected, he didn't waver from his wobbly path! So it's a good job I am not stubborn. And dead. Still not a breath of wind and it was warm walking up the slopes. No ride yet as I have chauffeuring duties and still no smart cap. I may be able to sneak a ride in this afternoon.

And did. Go north young man! Stiff crosswind both ways. Cruising on the tri-bar extensions at 19-20mph. Topped out at 32.4mph on a descent. I was shoulder charged by the automatic doors at the library!  Loads of farm machinery going in all directions. A vast tractor with huge doubled wheels and spacers was the entire width of the main road with a plough the size of a double-decker bus behind. It was quite exciting on the blind corners for the dozier commuters. But that's just evolution at work. Only 13 miles.

A Lesser speckled rat fails to limbo dance under road markings and pays the toll. 

Saturday 20th 60-65F, 16-18C, heavy overcast, light breeze, rain or showers forecast. I left for a walk after a shower and it stayed dry. Rather than risk going too far from home I walked a big loop on the be-stubbled prairie. The ducks looked few from a distance but I know they like to congregate in the reeds on the near shore. It is only when I walk past that they emerge to fill the pond. Not much to report except for a pair of Pheasants walking out together. I detoured to avoid spoiling their day.

Late morning ride into the wind. The new cycle paths have been resurfaced to bring them up to the white granite kerb stones. This should ensure there are no more large puddles as they can now drain naturally over the edges. Once I had left the paths behind I was back to riding in the same lane as the traffic with a very broken edge to the asphalt. A driving school car caught up with me but would not overtake as I pedaled straight into the wind. Several cars drove right around us and overtook. I was sitting there for over a mile doing 16mph at 110-112rpm with a following car. Eventually the road widened enough for them to pass still on double white lines.

I had nothing in my legs on the way home until a big bloke overtook me on his bike pedaling very slowly. I quickly caught him up and sat in his draught for a hundred yards or so. Then overtook when he slowed for a gentle rise and had put 1/2 a mile into him in the next 3/4. I looked back at the end of a long straight and there was no sign of him by then. Silly old sod! Me, not him. I was probably carrying as much weight in shopping as he was in extra fat. My own weight is creeping slowly upwards towards 12.5 stones 175lbs with my much reduced mileage. I should reduce my usual diet on rest days to match my lower energy consumption. 15 miles.

Sunday 21st  64-68F, 18-20C, light breeze early on becoming windy. The promised showers waited until mid-afternoon. A long walk this morning taking my usual loop anticlockwise and then adding more. I saw a guilty-looking heron standing by a field pond. My suspicions were confirmed when it couldn't look me in the eye and took off. The forest tracks are becoming increasingly difficult to fight through the brambles, waist high weeds, nettles and thistles. My once, daily familiar routes are now considerably reduced to the main track only. Even that was hideously reinforced with coarse builder's rubble. Whole house bricks, breeze blocks and other rubbish were strewn along its length seemingly at random. Presumably to enable the heavy lorries to bring out the harvested trees. No ride today.


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18 Aug 2016

18th August 2016 "Bales may safely graze."

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Thursday 18th 64F, 18C, bright, breezy from the north and rather cloudy but dry. The very first bird I noticed was a Coal tit foraging in the hedge while gulls screamed high overhead. Then I noticed a tractor and baler parked in the corner of a distant field. So I decided to photograph it and the row of huge bales it had made earlier. Just as I closed on the baler two farm workers arrived in a car to take the tractor and baler to a new venue. I gave them a wave and they carried on after the initial surprise of finding a [very] strange bod on their field.

That's a five tread ladder just to reach the cab and this isn't even remotely one of the largest tractors around. I measured myself against one of the bales and it came up to my t-shirt neckline. It was considerably longer than its height and depth. This helps to give some idea of the remarkable scale of the machine and matching tractor. One slight oddity is that a bale always seems to be left in the back of baling machines to be pushed out by new bales at the next session.Which begs the question of what they do with the last bale at the end of the season? Do they keep a pet goat or lamb on the end of a long length of harvester twine to steadily gnaw the bale away over the winter?

After coffee I rode off to have my ears syringed. I was averaging 17-19mph on the tri-bar extensions but the Brooks B17 saddle is very uncomfortable riding at that low angle! My right ear has improved but my left is still deaf to lower frequencies. It seems I may have to take an audio test and even consider a hearing aid. Pardon? It is a damned nuisance not being able to hear properly. Conversation in foreign languages becomes even more difficult and TV/Netflix too loud just to hear the dialogue clearly. Probably the worst is that I can't hear the sociopaths racing around the blind corners towards me.  Only 7 miles in a cross/head gale going both ways.


"Bales may safely graze."

It stayed cool all day as I tidied the trike shed to the sound of farm machinery working hard on the surrounding fields. In case you were interested: The leather saddle bag weighed all of 6 lbs to the Carradice Camper's modestly emaciated 1.8lbs. I emptied both bags to avoid any potential bias. I don't think I'll bother going back to whispered accusations of leather fetishism. Which still leaves me with an alternative to the Camper + sports bag conundrum. What will he do next?

A very large, White-tailed eagle has just been circling over our garden. Distinctly white tail, pale head and a huge yellow beak seen easily through the binoculars. Massive dark wings outstretched with 'finger' feathers at the tips as it soared effortlessly at least 200' overhead. Too high for my little TZ7 camera to capture anything useful.

I hear the Scots landlords are still mass slaughtering their "protected" birds of prey. It's like there's no profit or fat bonuses in having them around the tame shooting bird galleries. The birds of prey keep disappearing off the satellite tracking system and these trackers are utterly reliable by now down to the nearest few yards. No doubt the bird's heads are adorning some local pub wall to amusement of the gathered "investment banker gentry" as they pay through the nose for re-bottled, piss-poor, local malt whiskey instead of enjoying the real stuff from Aldi. Wouldn't it be great fun if somebody sent over a drone and took out the real Eco-terrorists for a nice bit of target practice before going off to war to defend "their betters?'  There's a certain irony in vengeance raining down from the air.


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17 Aug 2016

17th August 2016 Green hypocrisy on a national scale!

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Wednesday 17th 54-70F, 12-21C, calm with bright sunshine and a bit of thin, high white cloud. Walked around a loop out on the harvested prairie. I should have gone for a ride in such perfect weather but didn't. Most of the day was completely cloudless. Late afternoon ride for essentials. Only 8 miles.

In breaking news:

Round 1: "Green" Denmark has been ignoring warnings of inner city traffic pollution for ten years in Copenhagen. Their solution? Move the sensors away from the traffic! Woohoo! The EU is warning Denmark of a breach of the EU [diesel] Tractate to which Denmark is a signatory. The reason for the pollution is allowing diesel lorries and cars in the city center. Remember how diesel car owners were subsidized by fuel tax reduction? It's happening again with a reduction in NO2 targets and charges despite the VW software fraud on diesel pollution tests. Woohoo! Diesel heads 10:  Poor human beings 0. <cough-cough>

Round 2: "Green" Denmark's Motorist's club FDM has criticized "Green" Copenhagen's desire to have 500 parking places reserved for electric cars while simultaneously providing them with charging facilities. It seems these special parking spots are underused when Copenhagen is absolutely desperate for parking spaces. Yeah, right! You can never have enough handy parking spots for the poor old car commuters. How do you encourage electric car ownership? Provide parking spots. How do you encourage the status quo? Give motorists enough parking spots to continue their antisocial behaviour. Woohoo! Petrol Heads 10: Poor human beings 0.

Round 3: It is official: "Green" but poverty stricken Copenhagen cannot afford a single Car Free Sunday this year. So they are going to close [only] 5 roads to traffic for [only] a few hours of the year to coincide with the city's half-marathon. Ideas are being sought for events to fill these [only] FIVE traffic-free roads for [only] several hours on [only] ONE Sunday in September in the entire year. No doubt the cost of policing these FIVE road closures, for [only] just a few hours on [only] one Sunday in the 365 day x 24 hour year [8760] is the major expense. Petrol heads do have their basic human rights to speed drive, at will, after all. Woohoo! Petrol Heads 10: Ordinary human beings 0. Many Copenhagen inhabitants do not own a car. They prefer to walk or cycle in their 364½ days of traffic congestion and pollution.  

Round 4: Cyclists can be heavily fined for <cough> cycling in pedestrian zones in "Green" Danish city centers. Meanwhile vehicles may freely use these same "traffic free" streets for "business related" loading and unloading. How can you tell them apart from ordinary motorists cheating? Answers on a postcard, please, to The PM of "Green" Denmark.

Many pedestrian streets are literally blocked by parked cars and vans and lorries. Even by articulated lorries! But cyclists must always dismount? Woohooo!  Cheating petrol heads 10: Cyclists and other nice human beings 0.

It's great fun walking my laden trike along a pedestrian street and having to continually pull to the side between parked vehicles to let another vehicle pass. The police often have "stings" on pedestrianized streets where those nasty "outlaw" cyclists fail to dismount. The fine for riding a cycle exceeds that for illegally speeding in a car! Woohoo! I keep thinking I might get away with racing around the pedestrian zones by pretending it's a mobility trike and being a Johnny foreigner that I no understandee dee Danisk, isn't it? Fat chance! What's Danish for "I'm 69, you know!"

Round 5: This rant was brought to you by a cyclist who would really like a very small electric car but Denmark heavily taxes every new car sale by 180%!!! The fledgling electric car sales in "Green" Denmark were killed overnight by the reintroduction of the 180%!!! registration taxes on imported electric vehicles. Denmark doesn't make any vehicles as far as I am aware.

When we moved to Denmark nearly 20 years ago we brought our ancient Volvo with us. It's street value in the UK was a couple of hundred quid with a following wind. But we still had to pay the minimum Danish car import/registration tax of well over a £1000 quid in real money! Plus hundreds of pounds equivalent making it MOT worthy for Denmark. This was despite it having a brand new British MOT just before we left! The Danes have a saying. "Own one car but pay for three." I have another saying about daylight robbery but I'm not telling it here.

I wonder how much the politic-ooze classes pay towards their chauffeured limos and worldwide Ist class jet "business" trips to "important environmental gatherings?" I'm still waiting for one of them to deny AGW exists. Any day now as the electorate leans ever further to the right to combat the previous decades of open door immigration. They wouldn't even let me in these days and I really can't blame them! Talk about biting the hand which feeds me! It's a good job I'm an unpaid, walking talking ambassador for gorgeous rural Denmark. I'm probably worth my weight in JPEGs by now!  ;-)  




This one is for my brother. Who likes to read a good rant over his Danish bacon and MRSA.


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16 Aug 2016

Individual UPSO bags by Carradice.

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Carradice, the famous cycle bag people, have come up with a brilliant new line. They are "upcycling/ recycling" lorry side curtains, car seat belt webbing and fire hoses into a variety of bags and calling them their UPSO line. They claim they are highly selective with their choice of material and it is thoroughly cleaned before manufacture. Being a bit of an Imelda M. when it comes to bike bags I'd kill for the faded magenta series if only one of them exactly matched my tricycle rack shopping needs. Which basically means 50x 30cm [19"W x 12"H]  and at least 20cm [8"] deep from front to back [F>B].


Here I have 'repainted' the red UPSO "Ferrybridge" folder bag in magenta. Not with a great deal of artistic skill but just to show the potential colour match for my trike. The 'Ferrybridge'  is actually far too  small [on its own] for my shopping use hanging at the back of the trike due to a lack of F>B depth.

The UPSO 'Corley' cabin airline overhead locker bag is about the right size but is [rather sadly] built on a 'portrait' format rather than 'landscape'. While the 'Ferrybridge' Brompton front folder bag [shown above] is potentially a better shape it lacks the generous dimensions to allow me to lose the inevitable sports bag. That which always dangles so precariously over the top of my Carradice Camper saddlebag.

What I'd really like is a Camper Longflap in that gorgeous faded magenta of the 'Corley' cabin at lower right. But one which is far more generous in depth from front to back. It can also be slightly taller if the fixing straps are re-sited downwards to match the Camper's Trykit rack matching dimensions. My Camper saddlebag just doesn't have the necessary F>B depth for two rows of 1L milk cartons. This means they have to go single file right across the width which severely limits my capacity to carry anything else. Hence the inevitable sports bag. I have learned from years of practice at tricycle shopping that milk cartons need to stand up and not be crushed. Having milk running through ones bag[s] is apt to require disciplinary action by The Head Gardener! [Usually in the form of a verbal warning for the over-curious.]

I am often tempted to try a pair of boxy rear panniers for their greater flexibility and load carrying capacity. Instead of using a broad bike rear rack I'd hang them from a simple longitudinal pipe [rack] fixed above and between the rear wheels. Since there is no need to make room for a revolving rear bike wheel [in the middle] the rack bags could be hung literally back to back.

The problem is all the fixings and hardware usually attached to pannier bags for which I have absolutely no use. A simple pair of straps or a connecting flap to hang them both over the top bar [much like a cowboy's horse panniers] is all I really need. I just need to ensure I have heel room and easy top access to the two bags without anything dragging on the cassette. The latter's circular-saw like abilities is best known for milk cartons and always results in an infraction.

I have become used to carrying a large sports bag over the years and take it into the shop with me. This minimizes having to reload everything outside from flimsy carrier bags in the rain. The heavy and rigid or tinned stuff goes in the fixed Camper. Leaving 'bags' of room for the lettuce/eggs and other more fragile stuff in the sports bag. This works, but looks bløødy awful having a ginormous sports bag swinging off the saddle pin at the back! Tempting as it might be, I remain stubbornly fixed in my desire to avoid dragging a trailer of any kind. Nor do fixed boxes do it for me.

The big, old, leather bag was great fun for a while. I slowly went off using it when the original and vital leather straps gave up their struggle for longevity. Their sturdy, almost industrial and weathered appearance was a major part of the bag's battered charm. Despite endless searching online and in charity shops, I was unable to source anything new [and affordable] with original roller buckles. Even if the belt was affordable the postage was twice as much! I thought eBay had stamped out that con?  Rollers are an essential part of the enjoyment of strap tightening and are highly therapeutic. Even for those not heavily into leather. [sic]

Despite pretensions to grandeur as a possible, rural doctor's bag it was probably meant as a tool bag for a stone mason or rough carpenter. It had a tool rack inside for just such implements as they were likely to use. This gorgeous bag cost me all of a fiver [£5GBP in old money] at a local charity shop. It required some work to make it attach firmly and neatly to the Trykit rack.

Perhaps I should stop dreaming of weathered, magenta, lorry side curtains and try harder to find some suitable replacement straps. The leather ran quietly enough even on bumpy roads. Though not with the absolute silence of Carradice's superb cotton duck. If only Carradice made bigger bags!! The thick, hide leather retained its boxy shape which was ideal for protecting the shopping. The depth was just right for two rows of milk cartons in the corners while leaving plenty of room for other stuff. Even it's weight was not much more than the Camper Longflap. [Not true! I checked again: 6lbs : 1.8lbs] No outside pockets for U-locks and spare inner tubes either. Maybe not ideal, then.

Plus 4 more miles for 11 today. My poor old car is now repaired and tested and can now sit [almost] unused for another couple of years. At this rate it would be cheaper to hire a Ferrari when we actually need a car. The Head Gardener has lost interest in "outings." Though that sounds much worse than it actually is.

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Tuesday 16th August: Redefining "brick shithouse."

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Tuesday 16th 50F, 10C, overcast at first but already cleared to sunshine from a milky sky. I have an appointment and should collect the car if it is finished.

It had cleared to cloudless blue sky by the time I left for my walk. Having now reached 63F it felt like a heatwave in the hot sunshine as I strode towards the woods between strip of drying hay ready for baling.  Then I stepped into the shadow of a tree and the temperature felt as if it had plummeted by 20 degrees. All this free solar energy and we still don't use the minutest percentage of what is falling on every square yard untapped. I saw three buzzards today. The last of which had suffered an injury to its wing with a gap and oddly protruding feathers. This seemed not to have hampered its flying and gliding abilities.

The climate is setting new global warmth records every month now. We are already at the +1.5C level which the lying, politic-ooze, barstewards set for themselves at the umpteenth 6 star dinner and dance. 2016 has already broken every previous record. Countries around the world are already suffering from intolerable heatwaves, endless droughts and massive flooding. The answer? More of the same!

And these same chumps sneer at cyclists as second class citizens and want to build more motorways? To ease congestion? That's what they said back in the 1950s as many national and local government officers grew fat on road building as the cities grew thin on history. This is 2016 and the numbers of cars still  rises exponentially around the globe. The rural buses are empty while they sit in queues of commuting biobots with deliberately corrupted software.

It is absolutely hilarious to see that same sneering look from a morbidly obese driver struggling to rise from their flattened car seat at the supermarket. As I load my trike with healthy food they are on their way in to buy a few more cylinders of CO2 laden with lethal doses of sugar. To wash down the endless stream of toxic cakes and sweets they constantly stuff into that badly designed hole just beneath their noses. Why couldn't evolution catch up and make their slavering gobs several times larger to save time and effort? Doesn't their DNA know they keep having to lift a vast ham up to drooling chin level? Life is so unfair without having to live with this physiological handicap. Another hod of house bricks sweets falls onto the supermarket belt. They have a takeaway to reach before lunchtime and they're still peckish!

I suppose it saves on antidepressants. I could do with some myself after watching them all waddle around the supermarkets. A great many teenagers can no longer pass one thigh past the other. My generation looked like Belsen victims compared with this one! In my youth a "brick shithouse" was a big bloke covered in muscles. He was the walking-talking equivalent of those small privies built at the end of countless yards during the British industrial revolution. Now it matches the appearance of many self-harming, slow suicides.

While the politic-ooze argue about how much to save oil billionaires on their offshore taxes the real people have grown ever more depressed. Their depression is demonstrated in unwanted flab and self-induced physical handicap. It is  now so dangerous and damned unpleasant to walk or cycle beside the traffic that many never learn the delights of fresh air in their lungs. Kids no longer ride or walk to school. So any potential sports physique and natural health benefits are lost almost from birth. Diabetes and heart problems are pre-programmed into the entire world's population. Parents overfeed their children with as clear a sign of abuse as any court should need but waddle Scot free.

Many of today's teenagers have to move their feet in small arcs just to waddle forward. The humble shopping trolley has become a vital walking frame for many obesity victims long before they become pensioners. If they ever last that long with the health burdens they carry with them to an early  grave. They slouch over the handle of their shopping trolley, usually full to the brim, but containing nothing remotely  nutritious. Don't they have endless nightmares about being chased and being unable to run away? Having to lift and carry a huge rucksack and twin panniers full of house bricks everywhere I went would terrify me. Day or night! Meanwhile I often can't lay my hands on decent organic fruit and vegetables. Life's just so unfair!

The repaired car hadn't been re-tested yet so I did the shopping on the trike. Only 7 miles.



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15 Aug 2016

15h August 2016 Doing the duck walk.

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Monday 15th 60F, 15C, breezy with sunny periods between overcast[s]. Early start delivering the car to the garage/workshop for MOT repairs. Took the trike on the tow hook rack and rode back home into the wind. Then changed into my walking gear and tootled off across the fields to the woods. Four Whooper swans flew over silently with a large heron going the opposite way. Returned via the marsh track to massed hilarity from the ducks. The picture shows only about half of them. My arm waving to get them to bunch up a bit for a group portrait fell on deaf ears. 

They must have had spies out because they were already laughing raucously when I was still a good 100 yards from reaching their pond. Once I had arrived they all moved out into the middle and just sat their giggling to themselves. Worse was to come when I gave up trying to stare them out and decided to potter on. The entire marsh erupted into a cacophony of uproarious laughter! It was if a whole school had been taught to simultaneously blow a blade of grass between their thumbs for a Guinness record attempt. I'm taking my SPL meter and ear defenders next time. That's show them I'm not putting up with any more of their nonsense!

On a lighter note: [Mood, not the carnage it causes!] With 1/3 of the world's adult population on antidepressants and other drugs, it is no wonder they can't concentrate on their driving! The side effects, not to mention the alternative reality these drugs cause drivers, ought to be the subject of very serious enquiry. Half the world's driver's seems to go around in a complete daze. With roadworks and parked emergency vehicles regularly on the receiving end of inattentive drivers. Even trees are not safe!

I am literally taking my life in my own hands by leaving home on foot or cycle. I have lost count of the number of near misses while out walking. As drivers swerve away at the very last moment as if my [deliberately chosen] "dayglo" clothing was completely invisible. They often have a long straight to catch sight of my solitary presence walking along right beside the verge. If they can't concentrate hard enough to see me from that distance what hope in hell is there for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users?

Probably one third of drivers use their mobile phones as if they were surgically attached, prosthetic limbs. Even the hands-free sets are proven to radically alter the driver's attention while in conversation. Now add in the GPS, radio, music center, papers, SMS and maps to be read during the journey. Nagging partner, kids, work worries, hangovers, failing relationships and wandering minds all detract from the serious business of driving. Driver-less vehicles make more and more sense as the drug-addled populace can only continue to pretend they have the necessary skills. The driver has an air bag to protect them from their own lunacy and folly. What do other road users have? Only 3 miles today.


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14 Aug 2016

14th August 2016 Silicone gargle, Sir? Suits you, Sir!

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Sunday 14th 61F, 16C, bright start but quickly clouded over to heavy overcast. Breezy with showers forecast. A brisk walk down to the village and back. A driver, who almost filled the front two seats, nearly knocked me down on a sharp corner in his small car. He had plenty of time to see me from well over a hundred yards away but chose a racing line on auto pilot. Of course this put him on the wrong side of the double white lines on his exit after a last second, violent swerve to avoid me! Sunday bløødy drivers! He was probably day-dreaming about [more] food.

Mid afternoon ride to the shops to buy yesterday's missing items in the local supermarkets. "If you can't see it on the shelf then we don't have it." To which you respond: "But it's the first day of the special offer!" Followed by the inevitable, helpless shrug of a pre-teenage, forced labour, child slave probably earning more than many highly skilled, middle class Americans. [According to Trump's election rumours.]

A cross headwind needed the tri-bars to make some decent progress. Showers threatened but missed me and left the roads damp in short stretches. My lungs, or throat, are all bunged up again with silicone aquarium adhesive. <spit!>

I bought another X-rage rain jacket at the supermarket. The new offer was in translucent florescent yellow instead of the former translucent white. These jackets aren't the last word in breathability but they are totally windproof and quite waterproof for a while. The material is nicely "floppy" and packs down tightly enough to go in a racing jersey pocket if necessary. A handy "life jacket" for when there is an unexpected shower or it suddenly turns cold. Ideal to get you home safely after an evening training ride or TT.

Affordable at 130dkk [or £14.50GBP in old money] and a nice slim fit all over which avoids rattling cloth. Cut long at the back for those who cannot afford mudguards on their £10k S-Works. It also has a large zipped, rear pocket and a generous vent across the back, elasticated wrists and a lightweight zip. I thought the bright florescent colour might give me an extra margin of safety amongst the driving sociopaths. Or offer me up as a highly visible sacrifice to all the poor, sad, deluded and totally inadequate nutters. Who hide behind the wheels of their very own, shiny, bumper cars because they don't have a real life. I was overtaken in a village sporting "Children on the road" signs at the entrance. This nutter was doing over 60mph in a [nominal] 30mph speed limit and producing enough smoke for a 19th century, coal-fired coastal steamer, which had failed its MOT on emissions grounds. 13 miles.

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13th August 2016 Just more rural bliss!

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Saturday 13th 60F, 15C, heavy overcast and breezy with more showers forecast. If I understand the news correctly the Danish government is going to do a whitewash job of the EU at taxpayer's expense. I had no idea recently empty horse stables were still subsidized by remaining EU taxpayers. The rich having already bolted to their tax havens. I suppose it makes a change from handing the EU Mafia several billions to build cycle paths to nowhere. ;-)

Talking of which, I passed a workman pushing a motor powered, cylindrical brush along a recently built/laid cycle path. Having just negotiated my way through hundreds of sharp stones up to golf ball size I wondered exactly where he had started his journey. I would have thought a rubber tracked bulldozer would have been far more appropriate!  As would "berms" to stop rain driven, sand landslides from flowing across the new cycle paths from recent landscaping. Why do they never think of this?

Now all they need is a few legal order notices to inhabitants of roadside houses to keep their drive gravel and vehicles off the new paths. You'd think they'd be happy having a nice cycle path between themselves and the busy road, but no. They obviously preferred being able to shoot straight off their loose gravel drives and straight into the traffic.

Many village cycle lanes are also blocked by illegally parked cars. They should be parked outboard of the cycle lane but mostly straddle the marked lane instead. Their paintwork must mean far more to them than [the very low risk of] fines for obstruction.

I had a bright idea for ensuring rapid assimilation of immigrants into "World's Happiest" Denmark. Give them all antidepressants so they don't feel left out. Recent research shows that antidepressant prescriptions are skyrocketing in the "cheerful" Scandinavian socialist countries. Most of which can now lay claim to over 1 in 3 of the entire population constantly "fixing" their smiles.

I enjoyed a walk under grey skies to a quiet, marshy area at the bottom of a shallow valley. There was a small area fenced off for breeding pheasants with the token white hens. I am never sure whether the hens are for incubating mass produced pheasants eggs or for imprinting parenthood and ensuring easy targets for blunderbusses.

Anyway, there had been some drainage work on the adjoining fields leading to the dense strip of willow growth. Narrow, open channels of water provide space for ducks or other water birds should they be so inclined. Though I saw none except for a loose and rather tame, immature pheasant today I have often seen large Herons perched around here. You wouldn't think herons would find trees particularly comfortable but there they are.

This whole valley bottom is inhabited by lots of different birds. They nest and feed on the large quantities of wild flower seeds and insects which enjoy the largely undisturbed habitat. The reason for all this wildlife 'philanthropy' is obviously for shooting. The perfect, marshy habitat is almost an accident but still very attractive if you like that sort of thing. Tracks of rough grass allow easy access by 4WD to the bod who comes to feed the pheasants. Or for the much rarer pedestrian armed only with binoculars and camera. Even at the weekend one is very unlikely to come across another soul on the gravel track which slopes down and across the valley. I hung about taking photographs rather than pressing further on towards the more distant forest due to threatening rain spots in the cool breeze. Though the "showers" never amounted to anything serious it is brightening to light grey now. So no excuse for another rest day clipping hedges and mending things which have fallen off the happy home.

Rode into a crosswind with aching legs. It tried to rain at halfway so I detoured down to the new wildlife lake. There was a new wooden shed which I took to be a hide. Nope. It has a whining water pump in there.  Ever onwards on wet roads. Shopped, or would have, if they had any stock of their special offers! It rained harder and longer and even provided a headwind on the way home. I tried the tri-bars for a little light relief but my legs weren't in it.

My TEC12 yellow sunglasses have finally died after 3 years of occasional wear. Both ear pieces split wide open to reveal a hideous green mess from the sharp, brass, stiffening wires encased in some kind of liquid jelly. Silicone? Botox for floppy ears? Who knows? I didn't notice anything until I stabbed myself in the ear with the brass spike while putting them on under my helmet! They were my first pair of serious cycling glasses and cost me well over £20, if I remember correctly, but they are now dustbin fodder.

I have been suffering from a red 'butterfly' mark above my eyebrows and have been trying to pin down if any of my cycling sunglasses were responsible. I tend to rotate through my modest collection of cheapo supermarket and one pair of "posh" cycling shop bought glasses. I also wear cheapo supermarket reading glasses while on the computer. So it is hard to tell which or what is causing this ugly allergy.

I "broke out" in my youth when I first needed prescription glasses for driving and made the mistake of going to Boots. Their cheapest metal frame glasses made my face explode into a nasty, red, itchy rash. So then it was onto their self-destructing plastic frames. These had an expensive habit of breaking where the oversized lenses were forced into too small eye frames. Though, of course, this was NOT THEIR FAULT!!

Taking up cycling seriously finally cured my decades of 1 dioptre distance vision error. It happened inside a couple of years, in my mid 60's. I still need reading glasses but I couldn't read a wall clock from any distance over several yards only a few short years ago. Now I can see the leaves on trees on the horizon. No doubt DC Comics will soon be sketching out a series on the curmudgeonly clown on the tricycle with superhuman vision. 15 miles, out, but not out. If you get my drift.


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13 Aug 2016

12 August 2016 Gotta climb a ladder or two.

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Friday 12th 55F, 13C,  almost calm with a heavy overcast. Showers possible later. The farmers were harvesting noisily by multiple headlights at 11.30 last night. I was too tired to stay awake and listen to their activities.

Left for an early walk to play chicken with the mesmerized commuters.  Have they absolutely no concept of the sheer lunacy of sitting on each other's tails? Have they never questioned this weird behaviour? The road is humped and winding and marked continuously for miles/km with double white lines prohibiting overtaking. How do they respond? By sitting in a low gear on the bumper of the car in front waiting for an opportunity to overtake. Dugh? Dogh.

I was able to cross large, stubble fields where the harvesting was complete hoping for new viewpoints or even a temporary short cut. Then had to return to my starting point when a single, adjoining field had yet to be gathered in.

Lots of swallows tirelessly patrolling the fields. I tried to photograph about 20 of them sitting in neat rows on a large TV aerial but they took off when a car passed.

Hooded crows in their smart, grey jackets were perching on large bales after they had driven a Red Kite away. Later, small clouds of sparrows moved around nervously as they picked over the insects knocked down by the fast moving traffic. Quite a risky breakfast for the inexperienced young who were not yet strong fliers. Several feathery corpses lay flattened on the main road. A long, grey, rest day dangling from assorted ladders in the service of The Head Gardner.


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10 Aug 2016

10th August 2016 Lies, damned lies and advertising.

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Wednesday 10th 52F, 11C, bright and breezy. Showers forecast for most of the day with thunder possible. Temperatures continue to fall. I walked anticlockwise around my usual route up to the woods in bright sunshine with a cool wind at times. It was comfortable enough once I had warmed up on the climb. The Beech woods were as shady and chilly as they are likely to become. Only a single hare today and not one deer. Swallows and Martins cartwheeled around me. Pulling such sharp turns they were often difficult to follow with the eye. It is hard not to embew their aerial antics with sheer enthusiasm. More of the fields are being harvested. Closely followed by ploughing and sewing a new crop. New walking routes are presented while others disappear. Another rest day.

Thursday 11th 51-58F, 11-14C, almost calm with bright sunshine. A short walk to capture some pictures of hay bales and trailers.

I keep getting spam in my blog post comments. I can only presume these are sent out using automatic software. Even a sub-normal, idiot human being would know that Google does not allow live links in blog post comments. So, even if I allowed the comments, which are always so full of glowing praise for my blog, their real message and commercial source would never, ever appear! It might actually be fun to post the comments if only to read their effusive admiration for "my work" once Google has stripped away your real message.

If only these chumps knew how much I detest any form of advertising. After decades of exposure to the repetitive, sub-infantile, retarded lies in every break on UK-ITV, I have become highly allergic to advertising. I will literally avoid anything which is loudly promoted. Particularly as unwanted and obtrusive attention seekers in my everyday or online life. I place those who "work" in advertising firmly amongst violent criminals, pedophiles, estate agents and people traffickers. They promote crap which people don't need by inventing false exclusivity. So I hope they get my message. Just don't bother. I am far more likely to badmouth your product and outlet than allow free advertising at my expense. Clicking the spam box and deleting your crap might be fairly effortless but consumes the limited man hours left to me. Just like all advertising it steals people's time by false pretences.

Which is precisely, of course, why so much advertising is gutter level dross and transparently twisted lies. They know that attention grabbing and highly irritating works. Simply because it demands the attention of the viewer to correct misinformation before moving on.

The corrupt crooks who first allowed subtitles in TV advertising must be living in a gilded, marble palace, in tax exile by now. I just hope their remaining time on this planet is both very long, hideously expensive and excruciatingly agonizing! You deserve no less.

I rode to beyond Fåborg by the hilliest possible route. Which included Trunderup, Håstrup, Ny Stenderup, Svanninge, Diernæs and Pejrup. It was fun attacking all the small rises out of the saddle. My legs felt stronger than my lungs on the longer climbs though I rarely dropped much below 8mph. I only used the 36t sprocket briefly, a couple of times, just to keep my cadence. Coming back was into the wind so I was using the tri-bar extensions quite a lot. I was seeing 17-22mph on the flat despite the cool headwind. Rode back by a similar route with just as many hills. Lots of harvesting and cultivation going on. Many birds of prey including a very large bird with Red Kite-like markings. Too far away to photograph as it moved away. It had been perfectly happy sitting on the stubble field while balers and loaders roared around. 59 miles.


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9 Aug 2016

9th August 2016 Deer to the right of him. Ducks to the left...

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Tuesday 9th 53F, 12C, breezy with bright sunshine. The forecast is for showers and very windy again. The good news is that some supermarkets are stocking my favourite digestive biscuits again. There was a hiatus while some sugar-laden and palm oil polluted alternatives were offered but these did not meet with my high moral standards. Nor my approval of their texture and greasy aftertaste. Try My Price digestives if you can get them. I think you will agree that nothing remotely compares. I haven't tried any other of their products nor really care to.

This morning I enjoyed a pleasant walk up to the woods via the marsh. There was almost perfect silence once I had left the morning traffic to its own devices. The usual culprits overshot their corners or cut right across into the path of others [including myself] on the sharp, blind corners. Everybody should have a hobby, but this is ridiculous!

The ducks on the pond saw me off, with a brave show of hysterical laughter amid serried ranks. They must have a new warlord to behave in such a brash and confident manner. Having moved quickly out of range I continued on around the edges of the prairie via the spray tracks. Five individual deer were hiding in the crops or wandering along the tracks and all quickly left the scene in disgust at my unwanted intrusion.

The woods were looking fine in bright sunshine after considerable tree and undergrowth clearing in the past couple of years. This had left a lot of bare and sticky mud. Nature has made a good job of repairing the damage if you don't mind wading through chest high, wet weeds, nettles and brambles in places.

It is lucky I can still lift my feet high enough to be able to press my way down through the taller brambles. Fortunately there is nobody, except myself, to chortle at my foolish antics! Nor, presumably, anyone to find my corpse, at least in the short term, should I do a face plant. Which, I believe, is modern US parlance for the UK colloquialism of going arse over tit.] The active blogger should always remember that one has an international audience. ;-)

A mid-afternoon ride north with a fierce and gusty crosswind for unwanted company. Every time I came out from behind the hissing and roaring hedges I had to be careful not to be blown off course.

After years of having my large sports bags slide into the wheels on transverse ramps, when taken at high speed, I think I may finally have a solution:

Two bog standard, toe-clip straps threaded through the shoulder strap buckles of the big sports bag. They are then passed through the previously unused D-rings of the Carradice 'Bijou' Camper Longflap saddlebag and tightened.

Since the saddlebag is firmly strapped to a crossbar affixed to the top of the Trykit, SS trike rack, none of the above odds and sods can possibly move very far. Having just purchased the toe straps I cannot confirm any remarkable, new-found stability for my errant sports bag. I had tried short lengths of cord through the aforementioned receptacles before but it was all too fiddly to undo and retie again outside every shop and supermarket. Basically I'm a lazy git when I am allowed to get away with it.

After arriving safely back at home I re-attached the excellent Profile Design tri-bar extensions. Fighting the wind is already hard enough on a trike mounted with assorted drogues, braking parachutes, counterweights and bags. So being able to reduce one's frontal area is usually worth a couple of free miles per hour on the flat. Even more on the vertiginous stuff. The extensions have the advantage that one need not adjust the dropped [road] 'bars for a lower position. So one gains at least two more handlebar positions for those longer rides when one's wrists begin to tire.

The bar extensions weigh remarkably little for being aluminium alloy. While the handlebar clamps are really firm without any slip so far. The extensions are also very handy for leading the trike by the head. The extra forward extension avoids one being run down by the trike's nearest rear wheel. Handy for those moments when one has to suddenly sprint, on foot, across a busy road. Usually when a driver kindly gives way to the poor old fart. "I'm 69 you know!" (To be read with a Spike Milligan accent) :o))

Another advantage of the tri-bars is being able to mount the computer so it can be easily seen from a comfortable angle. It improves safety when one is monitoring one's speed or cadence for an extended period, without having to look downwards and backwards.

The Sigma Cadence 16-12 STS wireless computer has been by far the best I have ever owned. It has worked flawlessly provided I replaced the cheap [watch style] batteries when it reminds me in the cold of winter. Offering more readings than any cycling nerd could possibly wish for, my only complaint is the confusion between the round-headed, italic style 2s and 7s. At least they are large enough to read without having to carry a tunneling electron microscope in the saddle bag.

The Sigma's rotatable base [shoe] has proved a godsend when changing its position on assorted handlebars. The head also locks into place with a rotating bayonet fitting instead of the usual linear clip design. Which often deposited the computer head onto the road during rough intervals going on my own previous experience. The Sigma has always remained calmly in place. Only 12, windy miles today.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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