20 Nov 2017

20th November 2017

Monday 20th 33F, +1C, calm, light frost on the grass and sunny. The Danish news website was discussing road rage. It seems that cyclists are more likely to want a fight. While drivers are apt to give a rude gesture. Perhaps I'd better sign up for a martial arts class! They say it is never too late.

Two Whooper swans flew noisily overhead as I headed to the village. At the same moment a huge DSV, articulated lorry came around the first blind bend completely on the wrong side of the road! I jumped onto the verge as he snaked back onto the correct side with another wild 'twitch' along the straight. Later I scattered a clutch of buff, field birds and then had some fun with the mink gulls. They are always reliable. There were plenty of pheasants too.

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13 Nov 2017

13th November 2017 A robin isn't just for Christmas.


Monday 13th 29-41F, -1+5C, white frost, clear sky with sunshine. Enjoyed over an hour in bright sunshine walking to the distant woods by track and lane. Took lots of pictures of the sharply lit landscape under a feathery sky.

I walked back with a cold, northerly wind on my right cheek with the warmth of the low sun on my left. 'Steam' was rising from thickets of weeds as crows harassed a buzzard up on the hill. I haven't seen a hare for what seems like ages.

As I had to collect heavy materials in the trailer again I shopped in the car. It was a a beautiful day with almost constant sunshine but rather cool.

Tuesday 14th 40F, 4C, heavy overcast, drizzle and breezy. With rain and wind forecast for this morning. Possible brightening later. A horribly wet, cold and miserable morning. No walk but I was able to work outside for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

Wednesday 15th 41-48F, 5-9C, misty and overcast but with brightness promised. The mist was clearing rapidly as I walked towards the village. As I glanced across towards the woods I could clearly see a well defined top to the mist. I hovered to catch the early morning light through misty trees. However, clouds soon came across and the mist descended thicker than before. A pheasant crossed the lane in front of me and toddled off across a large, bare field. When it had perfect cover only yards away behind a hedge.

The mist remained under a heavy overcast until mid afternoon and then some sunshine. Too busy for a ride.

Thursday 16th 43F, 6C, light winds, very heavy overcast, slightly misty. Rain or showers forecast. Rain and showers duly supplied in abundance.

Friday 17th 36-45F, 2-7C, calm, smudgy clouds, brightening. A cool but pleasant walk in bright sunshine. A small bird of prey, not much larger than a blackbird, went low and fast along the verge before landing again. Then an immaculately dressed, Hooded crow landed nearby and strutted about on the lane. Too busy for a ride on an otherwise perfect day for one.

Saturday 18th 42F, 6C, breezy with a heavy overcast, wind and and rain, or showers, on the menu. Walked into drizzle on the way to the village. It stopped on the way back. Everything is saturated with puddles on the roads and the drive thinly flooded from end to end. Too busy for a ride.

Sunday 19th 40F, 4C, overcast with pouring rain. Expected to brighten later. Quite a keen north-westerly wind as I took an early walk. The sun was struggling to make headway through the mixed, fast-moving clouds. Conditions remain extremely soggy underfoot. A robin perched briefly on my handlebars after I parked the trike outside to tidy the shed. In Gravely Blighted a robin would pass almost unnoticed. Here in Denmark robins are very shy and rarely seen in my own experience. I doubt I see one in several years of active bird watching on my walks and rides.

I was allowed out for a ride in bright sunshine but strong north-westerly winds. Saw lots of birds of prey. Flying, perching and wandering the fields. Going well. 20 miles.

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12 Nov 2017

12th November 2017 Them clouds, eh?


Sunday 12th 37F, 3C, pinkish clouds with a bit of blue and dead calm. There was ice on the car yesterday evening but no frost on the grass today. Supposedly dry but more cloudy than yesterday. I looked out of the window in the afternoon to see the most amazing, anvil shaped clouds following each other. They were soft focus as if fiercely brushed by the wind.

Another, huge, arched cloud looked as if it were produced by smoke. With dark trails of convoluted cloud twisted grotesquely down below. Even the trace of a comic superhero going supersonic in a splatter of condensate. Don't expect a scientific description of clouds from me. I was deliberately dummed down by the BBC, for several decades, before escaping their dark, satanic mind control.

India and China are competing for filthiest air on the planet. With India winning easily by density but losing out badly on mask availability on the grounds of deliberate, long term poverty for those who work very long hours in the open <cough> air.

What sort of collective, global insanity is it which allows farmers to illegally burn their harvested fields?  Or for ordinary people to consider sitting nose-to-tail in traffic, for hours on end, every single day, is a useful pastime in an increasingly limited lifespan?

Gravely Blighted was the same in my youth. I could cycle, or tricycle, the distance between Bath and Bristol faster than the traffic from center to center. I would see the same vehicles every single day at both ends of the journey. As I wound my way past the often deliberately obstructing traffic.

Raving lunatics would risk their own and other's lives, by desperately overtaking each other to claim one car length in the daily gridlock. Woohooo! Spot the loonies! The offspring of these same nutters are doing exactly the same today! Shame they closed all the big asylums. It's all "care in the community" these days and they are all allowed to drive. It's a basic human right. Which is just wrong on so many level but does at least keep the A&E factories busy and nobody likes unemployment.

A cool walk in modest sunshine. The mink gulls were being noisy but not enjoying their usual tornado, debris field antics. A convoy of 4WDs were looking for something to shoot. As the melancholy village church bell called pointlessly to a non-existent congregation.

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11 Nov 2017

10th November 2017 R.A.W. and hansom cab droppings!


Friday 10th 44F, 7C,  very heavy overcast, light winds. A wet and stormy day for many in Denmark. We seem to be luckier, this time, with only 30 mph gusts but all day rain. I managed 3/4 mile under a ragged, mixed up sky before I heard the patter of rain on my jacket. It soon stopped but I was heading home by then.

I'm definitely going to register RAW [Rural Asphalt Walking] as a Dangerous Sport. Walking on mud-plastered roads, while dodging NDEs [Near Death Experiences] by ZDs [Zombie Drivers] totally eclipses any Everest climb in winter. Or even hopping, with one pink sock and one red sock, across Antarctica, to capture their latest GBR "proficiency badge" and a brief moment of fame.

I'm amazed nobody has picked up on the thrills and spills of a quiet, rural morning walk for an exciting computer game for immature psychopaths. Perhaps it could be included in the next Olympics if the selection jury can be presented with enough <cough> artificial sweeteners? Keep death off the roads. Go Waymo! 😉

I had to collect some fuel blocks for the stove so went shopping in the car. There were several cloudbursts. Leaving the roads very wet and heavily puddled. Even streams running across from one verge to the other in a couple of places.

Saturday 11th 38-42F,  3-6C, the wet day which was promised looks much less threatening now. A mixture of pink clouds and blue sky and even a threat of sunshine.

I was just thinking yesterday how many car makers are heading for the dinosaur's graveyard. Just like steam locomotives and horse drawn carriages before them. Meanwhile the Chinese are going to become the new transport hope for the masses. Just as Japan was in the 1960s with affordable cars, high performance motorcycles and a whole range of exciting and affordable, new technology.

Many of my parent's generation still remembered the Japanese war atrocities and nobody could pronounce the strange new names in the shops and showrooms. Yet still the Japanese sold lots of product and dragged itself up by its own bootstraps. Many European business are still wondering whether they should introduce manufacturing methods already practiced by the Japanese over half a century ago.

Every time it seems the dinosaurs are caught napping. As a new raft of technology sweeps away the proud names of yesteryear. The writing is on the wall for the filthy, oil-fired, car makers. As China spends billions on electric vehicle research. Add in robotics and AI and the guys who presently pay themselves big, fat bonuses can soon retire to an early, booze-sodden grave. To leave vast fossils of empty factories on the ever-changing, consumer landscape.

Anybody want to buy some hansom cab, horse droppings, for their roses? Going cheap, in our closing down sale! No reasonable offer refused!

Somebody had really messed up this morning's cloud arrangements! Probably put out to tender and the low bidder had used worn out, pre-teens, discarded by the offshore-owned, monopolistic, Danish supermarket chains.

Phozzy, the itinerant pheasant, was hanging around outside the gate again. Probably hoping for a free pass from The Head Gardener to avoid certain death at the hands of the local shooting parties. The Head Gardener is a soft touch for such wildlife, sob stories.

I pretended I hadn't seen him and walked on into the wind past the swirling McSlob's debris and rolling beer cans. My eyes watering and my hands aching from the unexpected drop in temperature. Old pharts, like myself, suffer from considerable inertia and it can take a while to adapt to climate change.

Once again I was treated to the patter of tiny drops on my jacket but I am becoming quite adept at pulling 1-80s on the mud-caked roads. To plod homewards with only half a decent walk to my name.

I returned to find Phozzy had gone to an even higher authority. He was standing defiantly on the ridge of the trike shed in full dress uniform and complaining bitterly about his treatment as a refugee. To which I pointed out that he wouldn't exist if he hadn't been bred by the shooting crowd in the first place. He muttered something about Soylent Green and flew off to scrap with other, pompous, deluded males in the back fields.

I was allowed out for a Saturday ride in bright sunshine but a rather cool crosswind. One of the supermarkets was having a serious huff and ignoring the discounts they themselves had advertised in their own, special offers comic. This is illegal, as far as I know, but customer service has always been at the [very] bottom of the agenda in there. As in: Never dare to get in the way of the shelf filling staff. Who's work is infinitely more important than your right to be there. And, don't dare to ask where in their apparently random collection of detritus one might find some particular delicacy. If they didn't stock unique items, not found at the other offshore monopolies, I wouldn't bother with them at all except for amusement.

Queues, miles long down the aisles and ridiculously few and surly checkout staff is the norm. Now they have some major competition, right next door, they may have to buck up their ideas. Though I'm not holding my breath. Their always heavily littered car park is usually packed on Saturday's but now it was quite literally empty! Except for the scattered, fallen branches from the boundary trees. Which have been there so long they are beginning to fossilize into the concrete blocks. Oh, dear, never mind. 😊

There were a few predatory psychopaths driving around this morning looking for victims . Sadly they had to make do with me. As they brushed closely past on wide main roads, at more than twice the 30mph [50kph] speed limit with no oncoming traffic. Perhaps they aren't really predatory psychopaths after all? But merely very ordinary, retarded, inadequate, registered blind, senile, drug-addled old drunks, driving without a license, car tax, MOT or insurance? Whatever. There's plenty of them about. 14 miles.

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6 Nov 2017

6th November 2017 A proper ride?

Monday 6th 34-45F, 1-6C, clear sky, white frost on the grass, calm and brightening to full sunshine. No walk, so I left about nine am. on the trike. Hint of a tailwind as I cruised comfortably at 14mph. The center of Odense is being dug up and it completely messed up all the cycle routes straight though the middle.

Shopped and then returned into a cold headwind to average about 10mph overall. The Vetta saddle wasn't too bad. Not too tired after a four hour ride with an hour for shopping and countless traffic lights. I made sure I ate my mature cheddar sandwich, two muesli choccy bars and a banana washed down with pure apple juice. 42 miles. I felt tired and headachy later so sipped water in case  I was dehydrated. It seemed to help.

Tuesday 7th 35-47F, 2-8C, white frost, clear skies and calm. It should be another pleasant day though remaining cool. The long range forecast is for a cold winter. It was quite chilly on my hands on my walk to the village. A gentle mist hung over the church pond but the sun was confusing the camera at the best angles. There were bullfinches in the hedge. A shopping ride for 7 miles. No ill effects from yesterday's ride.

Wednesday 8th 34-46F, 1-8C, white frost, calm but rather cloudy. Walked to the village and back. No ride today.

Thursday 9th 42F, 6C, heavy overcast, calm with wind and rain later. A 15 year old boy has been prosecuted for throwing chewing gum at motorway traffic. He was given a two weeks suspended prison sentence while his younger brother was beneath the age of criminal responsibility.

A terrorist, who threw a huge concrete block onto a German tourist's car, killing the mother and very seriously injuring the father, is still at large. Further stones have been thrown from bridges in the same area without identification of the perpetrators.

Danish bridges remain free of the potential dangers of security cameras. Cyclists or pedestrians should not take the law into their own hands by employing any cameras while crossing motorway bridges and should ideally turn them off. Otherwise they face the distinct risk of prosecution for disturbing the right to privacy of all terrorists.

Ironically, should a serious incident take place, the police will canvas camera owners who might <cough> "accidentally" have recorded a terrorist incident. Should the owner of these same images share them publicly they will still be prosecuted for a breach of all terrorist's basic human rights to absolute privacy while committing an act of terrorism.

A Danish council is being prosecuted for killing an 81-year-old when one of its signs blew down. I have had a couple of nasty moments when first, a temporary traffic light blew over right in front of my trike as I was riding along a main road. One second later and I would have been flattened! The crash suggested the top part weighed a ton. Last week, some deluded idiots who were setting up election placards and lost control and the placards blew down onto the road right in front of me.

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5 Nov 2017

4th November 2017 Autumnal melancholy.

Saturday 4th 48-50F, 9-10C, heavy overcast, light winds. There was shooting around local copses so I stopped to watch. The several dogs present were wildly enthusiastic but rather erratic. Perhaps it was because their ears were stuffed with ear protection? Several pheasants were brought down but one escaped numerous  wasted shots. I am always surprised by the huge variation in the noise made by the guns. Some seem almost slow while others make are very short 'crack.' A large bird of prey was watching from a local mound and seemed to be moving steadily closer. Fortunately it changed its mind and flew off in the opposite direction over the village.

Enjoyed my usual Saturday ride to more distant shops. Only 16 miles. Going well.

Sunday 5th 48-50F, 9-10C, heavy overcast, light winds, showers or rain are forecast. Though it stayed dry for a longer walk up through the woods and back long the quiet road. A couple of small deer dashed away as a female kestrel hovered busily. Until shooed away by a U-turn crow. The sodden ground squelched beneath my darkly wet boots. My flapping trouser legs blackened to the knees from brushing through unkempt reed on grassy, brambled, lumpy ways.

There is a delicious melancholy about the somber and muted tones of autumn. It is easy to become lost in nostalgia as the wind itself carries a forlorn mood under ragged skies. The dimly remembered chill cuts through thinning trees and straggly hedges and across sparsely cropped fields. Known landmarks sneak back into clear view in the absence of crops with the trees suddenly bereft of leaves.

Temporary field ponds reflect distant woods and dismal farms. Distant, newly naked, tree-lined lanes appear unexpectedly as the light is finally able to reach damp asphalt again. Small, mixed flocks of birds move nervously along hedgerows or scatter untidily across the wide spaces. Solitary crows flap like oily rags through the drab landscape under untidy, leaden clouds. On endless, unknown errands to be somewhere other than just here, right now.

No ride today but I may be allowed out for a longer ride tomorrow. Sunshine promised all day with light winds and a trip to the city in prospect. 40-45 miles should still be well within my capacity despite tailing off my mileage this year. The Vetta SL saddle hasn't been a pain yet. At least, not on shorter rides.

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4 Nov 2017

3rd November 2017: Bags I, going Overboard.

Friday 3rd 45F, 7C, overcast but dry. A short, grey walk counting McSlob's McMulti-Litter.

The Danish news tells us that, on average, a stone is thrown at traffic every four days by fuckwitted copycats in Denmark. The latest 'victim' worthy of the headlines, was a stone breaking the roof window of a bus. I wonder how that score's on the fuckwitted, young cave person's register of success? Does it score as highly as [say] a stone through the windscreen which kills the driver? As one did the poor German women and which left her husband in a coma and a child without parents. No cameras? No crime. No results. The perfect terrorist murder is as close as the nearest motorway bridge!

In Denmark, the fuckwit terrorist's basic human rights to privacy exceed all other's right to life. So no security cameras are allowed on motorway footbridges. That's alright then. I'd dangle the fuckwits by a rope from the same motorway bridge on which they were caught.[If ever!] Then let articulated lorries play 'conkers' with them.

The serial McSlobs litterer is continuing its campaign. I counted five items within a couple of square yards/meters from one simpleton's lardy, face filler.

You only need one graphic example to put the fear of maturity into these brain dead, plagiarist, rock throwing scum. What part of "terrorism" don't the politicooze understand? If it's carrying a loaded gun in a public space then it's a bløødy terrorist. Not just another brain dead, drooling gang member. If its hurling large rocks off bridges onto oncoming traffic then its a bløødy terrorist. Not some immature, human excrement playing silly boy's games to impress their fellow morons.

The election placards, demanding another free pass to the corruption of the gravy train, are littering the lampposts and verges at the moment. To be left to rot in the winter rain once the 'musical chairs' results are handed out. Democracy? Isn't that where individual elected members of an assembly get a vote in making decisions based on their conscience? I don't know they they bother with elections. What the party leader says is Law. Disagree and the member is no longer a loyal, party drone. So they might as well print cardboard cutouts of the party leader to place on all the plush, musical chairs.

The sky was black to the north as I set off in golden, afternoon sunshine. With the autumn woods lit up with an LSD color pallet against the blue-black sky. It remained dry until just after I returned seven miles later. A crosswind going both ways.

Still enjoying the big, yellow "Overboard" saddlebag. I can hardly believe the years of using recycled [charity shop] sports bags hooked and swinging freely over the saddle pin. Then the sports bags hanging over the "shrunken head" Carradice "Bijou" Camper Longflap. With too little room for even a single row of 1L milk cartons!

The "floor space" of the Overboard duffel bag allows two full rows, plus loads of other stuff. There is so much room the shopping can be sorted and resorted, at will, without damage. The Super Dreadnought Abus Mini-U Ship's Ballast lock sits silently, immovably and readily available in the rubberized, external, net pocket on top of the bag with Velcro security top closure.

Lots of reflective surfaces and bright yellow is as high visibility as you could ever hope for to defend you against White Van Man and deluded Audi driving psychopaths. There are black and blue options of the Overboard Duffel Bag if you are feeling suicidally "Sky Team" over the winter. Though you'll probably end up black and blue yourself if you're really that daft!

The image left shows the bag fully raised for loading. The mouth of the bag is wide open for feeding its hungry maw. In theory it could be used stuffed right to the top, just like this, but the top straps are too short to allow secure closure. The side straps are supposed to pull the rolled top down tight to make it fully waterproof but they just flap in the spokes unless I tuck them away around the buckles. The length of the unwanted side straps would have been much better used to extend the top straps to make them much more useful.

This is about the only criticism I have of the 40L Overboard Duffel bag. Every touring tricyclist should have one! You do need a proper trike luggage rack and I have extended my Trykit rack with a a cut-off draining board tray for more even support.

I use the cloth carrying strap over the saddle pin to keep the bag securely on the tray. Without a rack the bag is probably too soft to avoid the whirling circular saws of the cassette just below. I know from long experience that you can't rely on the trike's top axle loop to keep a loaded, soft bag safe from a chainsaw massacre!

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1 Nov 2017

1st November 2017 Butt ugly does as only butt-uggly can?

Wednesday 1st 52F, 11C, mild, grey, misty and wet. Just a short walk in fine drizzle while trying to avoid the road spray from cars and lorries.

Another of those butt-ugly, cowardly terrorists has tried to boost his failed manhood by running down innocent cyclists, on a cycle path, in Manhattan, New York. I suppose all terrorists, abusers and other criminals are cowardly, infant school bullies who never grew up. Every new mug shot seems to get uglier than the last. If that now-infamous film producer had cast himself as an alien slug, people would have run screaming from the cinema because it was too, hideously real!  

Thursday 2nd 48F, 9C, bright sunshine with a cool wind. Walked to the village and back under a cloudless sky in light traffic. It steadily clouded over all morning and then began to drizzle mid-afternoon. No ride today.

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30 Oct 2017

30th October 2017 Practice makes perfect?

Monday 30th 33-43F, 1-6C, calm and bright with white frost on the grass. Fortunately the massive flooding over north Fyn never quite reached the heights of the dire forecasts. Better to be prepared than not.

A gorgeous sunny morning though a little cool on bare hands. I walked up to a local high point to capture the unusually clear views of the landscape. The green blush of the immature crops provides a nicely decorative touch to the drab earth. Autumn colours lift the normally dark uniformity of the trees and woods. Another beautiful day without a ride.

Tuesday 31st 45-49F, 7-9C,  rather grey at times with rare sunny periods. Almost no wind. Had a longer walk up to the woods for an hour and half. The first bird I saw, apart from the dozen or more nutty blackbirds was a large bird of prey. Then I saw a very large heron land beyond a hump in a field and thought it was a stork. I never saw it again so could not confirm its identity.

A small robin lay dead by the verge. I doubt we see one robin per year over here. Back in Gravely Blighted we had robins feeding from our hands in the garden and standing on our gardening tools. Their tinkling song was constantly in the background in the countryside.

While I was up on the ridge this morning a whining tractor went along the road at the bottom of the hill. It was odd to hear it at intervals where there were breaks in the hedges or landscape until it was probably a good couple of miles away. The autumn leaf fall and bare fields have revealed new vistas and alignments.

The Head Gardener and the tricycling clown have now been officially married for 50 years. Nobody gave us a chance of ever staying together because we never stopped arguing right from the very beginning. We are still arguing and still together. Practice makes perfect?

A tour to the more distant shops. Gentle crosswind going at 16mph. More of a headwind building on the way back. Rather cool on the way. Overdressed on the way back. Progress is happening on the new stretches of cycle path but still no asphalt. I'm wondering if the powers that be are reading my blog. They have been filling in the potholes I complained about last week. The regular ponds on the new road and cycle path have now been drained.  Still no progress on the excavation on the new cycle path. It must be two years since they put down a plastic mat and two marker poles over the hole. Let's see if they are gone next time. Only 14 miles.

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28 Oct 2017

27 October 2017 Cash cows to fund major navy expansion!


Friday 27th, 48-54F, dark. Very, very dark. Walked for an hour and half through the very damp woods. Not a bad forecast today, though windy. A storm is promised for the weekend. Today wasn't a bad day but I was too busy for a ride.

McSlobs have spent billions perfecting their litter and it shows.[Everywhere!]

Saturday 28th 50-54F, 10-12C, overcast with a storm on the way for the early hours of Sunday. We could see gusts of 30m/s or 65mph from the north west. This is our most sheltered wind direction provided the trees stay standing. It has been very wet of late and that makes them vulnerable. Our largest tree, a vast, multi-stemmed willow is still in leaf. Today is less windy with showers and gusting to nearly 40mph.

The Danish government has announced that 11 speed cameras are to be erected on known, dangerous, main roads. I think it is safe to assume that orders for a further two Dreadnought class, coal-fired battleships have already been placed on the expectation of rich pickings from the countless <cough> cash cow victims.

As the vast profits become  regularly available [from more helpless victims] I would expect a full nuclear deterrent to be next on the Gov.dk shopping list. News of orders for several, coal-fired, nuclear-armed submarines are very likely to follow. This is provided, of course, that enough North Korean slaves can still be mustered for the Polish shipyards. Should be no problem following more idle threats of sanctions against the Kim cult's ugly leader.

Halloween cat, trick-or-treating field mice. Though strictly speaking it doesn't exist until a Dane independently invents Halloween under Janteloven rules.

The rigid Jante's Law prevents Denmark from having a cocaine-powered nuclear deterrent. Unlike the UK which has no such qualms. Do you suppose they all had to snort simultaneously in the interests of security? Denmark must wait until a pure bred Dane independently invents the technology. However, all of this assumes that the entire wealth of the country is not simply handed over to some offshore crook in the form of completely false, VAT repayments.

A sudden sharp shower delayed my walk by moments but it stopped just as abruptly. Rather cool in the gusty wind under grey and threatening skies. Much the same for my afternoon ride but, yet again, it stayed dry. Only 7 miles.

Sunday 29th 44F, 7C, dark, cloudy with showers and strong gusts. Thanks to its unusual, NW-northerly orientation the overnight storm went all but unnoticed. It is just getting light enough now at 7.50 CET [6.50 Winter Time] to see the trees against the leaden sky. We seem to have avoided any visible damage.

A good day for proving the reality of wind chill as I pressed against the headwind on my way to the village, eyes watering and my hands deep in my jacket pockets. It felt rather like reaching 30mph when descending a local hill. Unfortunately I forgot to take my pocket anemometer so have no solid data on wind speeds. A large, grey shrew dashed across the lane in front of me. With its legs moving too fast to see clearly.

Coming home provided a little extra impetus on the climb as the trees roared overhead with a distinct chill at my back. There was plenty of evidence of the storm in small twigs and leaves lying everywhere but no obvious structural damage. It is clearing to sunshine now with the wind slowly dying down. The leaf rake will get some serious exercise this morning. Provided, that is, the Head Gardener allows it to be booked out against my signature and duplicate proof of identity. Which were subsequently denied.

Far too windy for cycling today despite glorious sunshine. There is talk of very serious flooding due to the huge water mass being pressed onto North Fyn coasts and estuaries by this morning's storm Ingolf. 1.8 meters [6'] is being called a once in a century flood. Thanks to comprehensive online mapping I was able to select the effects of 1.8 meters flooding due to climate change. A shockingly large area could be affected including parts of Odense, Bogense and Nyborg. Odense is the major city on mid-north Fyn and has an estuary, ship canal and harbour.  

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23 Oct 2017

23rd October 2017 Flower power.


Monday 23rd 49F, 9C, heavy grey overcast with light winds. Rain promised for this morning but brightening later. A grey walk expecting rain. It never did. So I could have gone out. Any mention of sunshine was a complete exaggeration.

Just for a change: Here's one from the Head Gardener.
For Dave, my gardening brother:

Tuesday 24th 51F, 11C, light winds and heavy overcast. I was already spitting with rain as I left the house and continued to increase as I walked the quiet lanes. The forecast is for two days of rain or showers. I worked outside all morning before it turned very wet after lunch.

Wednesday 25th 56F, 13C. Heavy overcast, windy and wet. Copenhagen cyclists are complaining about the lack of cycle parking facilities. It was so wet I went shopping in the car.

Thursday 26th 51F, heavy overcast, breezy from the west. The cloud was breaking up enough to show blue patches but still no sunshine. Walked to the village and back. A large bird of prey went low overhead in a beeline for the church trees but became tangled in restless mink gulls and aggressive jackdaws. A small black cat was hunting on an overgrown lawn. It drew itself up and pounced but was disappointed.

Wot's your empty lane like for your morning walk?

The BBC News has a short video about the police monitoring the 1.5m [5'] minimum overtaking clearance from cyclists. Yeah, right! Most drivers thought the minimum distance was less than 6" provided it did not involve damage to their precious paint. Besides the mirrors fold back when you hit cyclists hard enough.

I can well remember posts on one online discussion forum. Where the cavemen drivers objected to the projecting, orange 'lollipops' some cyclists used to warn drivers against getting too close. Some drivers saw these as a direct affront to their basic human rights to own the road. Red rags to a bull, it was!

Can you even imagine if driver-free cars become the norm? One should never use the term driver-less because it suggests that drivers are somehow as remotely as good at driving as the machines. They'd definitely have to have an override button for the robot drivers. Just to avoid many drivers having a complete meltdown if the car would not immediately overtake to push every impeding cyclist right off the road.

It has never failed to amaze me how many human beings are still being allowed to drive. In "real life" they can barely function adequately. Yet they are still allowed behind the wheel of a car to perform  parallel processing, multitasking, have lightning reaction times, show constant high levels of concentration and terrifyingly acute observation skills.

Driving is, quite literally, one of the most demanding tests of human performance if done properly. Yet, almost anybody can get and keep a driving license to perform this supremely advanced skill,  almost at will.

So astonishingly competent are they at these incredibly demanding and taxing tests of ability that they can even smoke, eat, text, talk and read. While simultaneously and completely safely, exceeding local speed limits, often by 50-100%. The human race really is utterly amazing! We are so incredibly lucky there are no deaths or injuries on the roads. All because the entire human population is able to drive with such absolute levels of perfection. Even when drunk, drugged, registered blind, tired and totally, doolally senile. Mind that BIKE!

Just rode into town to collect a parcel. It was there yesterday according to Track and Trace but, as usual, no message from the Post Office. Unfortunately it went via what passes for the terminally ill and dying, Danish Post Office instead of the excellent GLS parcels service. So my journey was completely wasted.  Having spent another 12 minutes waiting, yet again, for Post Office customer services to answer their phone, they confirmed the parcel really was there. So now I get a a second ride. And did. 13 miles.

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21 Oct 2017

21st August: Puncturing psycho's egos.

Saturday 21st 52F, 11C, almost calm, heavy overcast. Walkies! A grey and miserable start with misty drizzle as I tried to capture the rather drab mood of the landscape. I watched in amusement as a jackdaw paddled bow-legged in a field pond beside an immature gull. They both eyed each other as the jackdaw pushed the gull's social boundaries.

Then, just as I thought it was a quiet start to the shooting season, rapid gunfire erupted from the woods ahead. I decided to do an about-turn rather than entangle myself in a potential conflict of interests. The farmers and landowners tolerate my muddying my boots all over their property. So a bit of give and take is obviously desirable.

I had punctured by the time I reached the village. Probably small flints carried freely onto the roads with their generous quantities of mud by the farmers. There has also been a lot of broken bottles on the cycle paths recently. So a local psycho may be expressing their artistic talent for glass arranging.

On the way back an evil, registered blind, senile, drug addled, drunken, psychopathic bully brushed my elbow with his wing mirror. Then accelerated away on a straight road. Shame action cameras are illegal in Denmark or I'd have his registration plate and the police could have a word with the raving lunatic.

Perhaps they'd also do something about pushing cyclists straight off a raised pavement cycle path into the traffic just as the road is narrowed by bollards outside the school. Further spoilt by broad asphalt ramps for several private drives. They'll easily recognise the spot by the huge, scattered potholes which have been there for longer than living memory. Several cave divers have gone missing down there but nobody cared. They couldn't hear their desperate calls above the roar of 7-axle, rat-running articulated lorries and speeding Audi and Mercedes drivers being self-important. What price a single traffic camera pointing in each direction to curb the folly?

Ironically, the immigrant drug gangs in the cities have been painting over the lenses of literally hundreds of security cameras to hide their illegal activities. You can well imagine what that has cost the ratepayers/taxpayers! I didn't even know these cameras existed.

Only 7 miles, limped home on the flat tyre. It's daft to get filthy from gritty tires mending a puncture so close to home. I have had new tyres and tubes resting in a box in the shed for about a year now. They were just waiting for en excuse for an airing. The old tyres are worn flat across the treads like a steam roller. So their days were numbered even with my present low mileages. I can't remember puncturing this year but have probably forgotten.

There were a few tiny pale blue dots where the tread was showing the protective under-strip through very small holes. There were no cuts though. So they can't be what passes for Continental "rubber."  I'm still using the Schwalbe Durano Plus in 700x25C. A recommendation from a bike shop, wheel builder in the UK a few years back and very reliable. These tyres still have a liveliness about them despite their excellent puncture protection.

 Though smooth on the treads they are too heavy for a racing tyre. I run mine at about 90psi after some experimentation. Quite an attractive tyre it doesn't look odd, at all, on a racing bike or trike for commuting or touring. Still unsure about the Vetta saddle. I was shifting about more than usual. Still trying to find the sweet spot. A good saddle should be easily forgotten. Not draw attention to itself.

Brand new and already muddy!

Sunday 22nd 59F, 10C, heavy overcast, light winds. Possible sunshine this morning. Rain this afternoon. There were a few brief flashes of sunshine but not many. Walked to the village and back. No ride today.

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20th October 2017. More on my Tektro R725.


Friday 20th 53F, 12C, very dark overcast with distant mist. More rain promised as the trees move gently back and forth to the wind. Walked to the village and back.

The previous 'chapter' was getting a bit long so I have divided it here.

Another hour, or rather three, spent on the Tektro front brake pivot in and out of fine drizzle. I finally managed to free the pivot by holding the rear bridge firmly but gently in the grooved, plywood jaws of a B&D workbench. Then used an adjustable spanner on the brake block arm to gradually increase the distance it would rock back and forth. The brake is now usable but I'll keep adding oil to help it free up further. I wasn't able to get the arm off the pivot for a proper clean. And doubted my ability to get the return spring back on by the time I had rescued it from the nearest treetop or hedge!

It may be the regular winter salting on the roads has crept in unnoticed and corroded the steel pipe of the pivot. Hard chrome treatment was used way back at the beginning of the last century in some industries but not even now for modern cycle accessories it seems. Treat this verbiage as a reminder to check and oil your own brakes and their pivots. Do it now but keep the oil off the rims and blocks!

After repeated attempts I realised that the Tektro rear brake was rocking back and forth on its round nut. Doing so no matter how much I tightened it. There was nothing else for it but to rough out an inverted-U, packing piece of the same shape as the rear bridge to clear the tyre. So I quickly chain drilled some scrap aluminum by eye and then used an angle grinder for a quick and dirty shaping.

A hole was required for the Tektro's rear, hex socket head, 13mm diameter nut. Fortunately I had a 14mm drill for a clearance hole and used the slowest speed of my large pillar drill. My machine vice safely avoided too many lost limbs.

A washer was also required to provide a flat bed for the Tektro nut on the back of the fork crown. Then it needed two 10mm holes spaced at 40mm to clear the Tektro's rear projections. Finally the brake was fixed immovably and I could align the brake blocks to the new position. I may tidy up its appearance once I have proven the alloy packing to work as well as I hope.

Tektro's rear nut is an oddity and you really should check your rear brake for rocking if you are using paired Tektro R725s on your trike. Or a hidden R725 behind the fork crown on your legally roadworthy, track bike. A special model of the R725 is needed with a much deeper stirrup/bridge. [see image] You'll also need a properly and accurately drilled fork crown. This is definitely not a job for a borrowed Black & Decker on your Carbon fixie!

A rocking brake mechanism will either cut a groove in the tyre bead with the errant brake blocks. Or wear away the paint inside the brake track of the rim. I've had both problems without a clue as to why it was happening, until now. The brake blocks always looked well aligned when the trike was standing still. Grr?

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20 Oct 2017

19th October 2017: Ow, me Tektro!


Thursday 19th 51F, 11C, light breeze with a dark grey overcast. Damp but not raining for my walk. Mink gulls quiet and settled today.

No ride again, but I worked on the trike for a couple of hours. I hadn't used the tri-bar extensions in ages so they had to come off. Followed by a new overlay of black, sports injury tape. Nicely elastic but thinner and slightly more prone to wear than 'proper' cloth handlebar tape at several times the price of the 'disruptive' tape. I moved a narrow spacer from above to below the A-head handlebar extension. Which forced me to remove the brakes because the cables are now too short after frequent clipping off the alloy end stops.

Then I swapped the 'tied' Brooks B17 Special for a C17 rubber saddle out of respect for my age. More seriously, I was fed up with coming back to a leather saddle made dark and wet by fleeting rain. Brooks Proofide has zero effect on waterproofing. It is merely food for the leather to stop it cracking and is best used sparingly to avoid the leather softening too much and losing shape.

I have reduced the tension while the B17 is 'resting' because the large, copper, nose rivet was rising above the leather! I have a spare B17 in case of emergencies but don't want to start breaking it in over the winter.

So I looked at my alternative saddles, because the C17 is ridiculously curved across the back entirely for Italian fashion reasons. I found the C17 very uncomfortable indeed when I tied to use it last time. It did so much damage to my saddle support area that the leather B17 took quite some time to heal the wounds.

The rubber jobby is also ridiculously heavy for the 21st century. Probably on a par with the leather B17. Ignore all claims for rubber giving just like leather. Brooks had to armour plate the rubber with immovable, weapons grade, glass fiber and resin. This was a vital but absolutely crippling modification. Made out of fear that 45 stone, American <cough> racing cyclists will make massed claims against the lifetime guarantee. With millions more in compensation for their hurt feelings in a class action brought by some worthless 'ambulance chaser.' So all we "normal" cyclists have to suffer because of the funda-mental extremists again.

I may still change to the Vetta SL saddle which came with the Higgins. [And did! The Cambium was just too hard to sit on even for a moment!] The Vetta saddle is relatively flat across the back and nicely light. I think it was a lady's MTB saddle of the Vetta SL range. Making it probably as rare as hen's teeth. It was a reasonably comfortable seat when I first started building up my mileage on my trike. A peek under the loose vinyl suggested the rear portions are moulded into pockets to make room for deeper foam. It was one of the very few saddles on which I didn't feel immediately uncomfortable. Though it does demand a degree of forward lean on the rider. I wouldn't call it a saddle for very upright riders. You still see ads on eBay for Vetta saddles. Some claiming they are from the early mid 90s.

Sadly the black vinyl is beginning to come unstuck around the edges and overall it looks quite tatty. I am tempted to recover the base with more vinyl but the thin, resilient foam might come off with the old cover. No idea where one can obtain thin but firm foam to avoid the Unica Nitor effect. Which basically means you'll never walk quite the same again. And I speak from very long experience of riding a Black 'Road' Unica in my youth.

The major problem as I "winterized" the Trykit was the Tektro R725 front brake which had seized solid on one brake arm pivot. I removed both brakes and tried to free it by leverage but it wasn't having any. I was terrified I'd break the spindly arm right off! Though I was levering on the brake block arm against the base plate. NOT the longer cable actuation arm! I gave it repeated soakings in a variety of lubricants but only managed very grudging movement.

I can see from the 'good' side that there is a typical bronze sleeve bearing. Corrosion has hidden the bronze sleeve on the stuck side. With all the screws removed I've had to leave it soaking overnight in a good spray of very thin chain oil. I am excused WD40 on the grounds of extreme toxicity. As I don't presently own a full Hazmat suit and matching, positive-pressure mask.

It's not as if I had completely ignored lubrication on the brake pivots. In fact I had used cycle oil on them and their rust-prone springs several times only recently. I hadn't noticed the pivot problem until I had a closer look during cleaning. It certainly hadn't affected the braking.

The Tektro R725s look slim and very compact but are remarkably powerful for so called, TT brakes. These are one of the few, lightweight, side entry brakes. There is one brake mechanism in front and another behind the forks on a single bolt with hex socket nut on the trailing side. Which avoids the usual, ugly front extension so common to "classic" trikes using two brakes mounted in front of the fork.

I tried loads of different brakes on the Higgins from recycled bikes but was never really happy. The Tektros will easily allow me to lift the back end of the trike off the ground with one finger on the Campag levers. I just need to push hard enough against the handlebars with the trike standing still while applying each brake in turn. They have always felt very safe when I am riding furiously through  pedestrian precincts packed full of Kerb Lemmings on their Foxconn i-Phoneys. [Humour alert!]

If the brake pivot does free up I promise that you will be the first to know. Apologies for going off on a tri-cycling tangent instead of the usual soap box monologues.

Now there's a thought! What if Triathlon competitors had to race upright tricycles? That would be a real shot in the arm for racing trikes. The riders and governing body are far more interested in improving the cycle breed than the hideously corrupt, Iron Age, UCI despots.

The Tektro R725s have been on the Trykit from new [3.5 years] with all too little cleaning or lubrication if I'm honest. The little O-rings on the clever cable clamps are a short-lived joke but overall I have been very pleased with the Tektro R725s. Just don't [ever!] try to dismantle them over grass or gravel or you'll be sorry! There are some tiny but absolutely vital parts just looking for the empty nooks and crannies of our universe.

To be continued: See Friday's next exciting episode in full colour!

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16 Oct 2017

16th October 2017 The sky is falling!


Monday 16th 56-62F, 13-17C, dark, heavy overcast and misty with a light breeze. We are promised some sunshine again. We shall see.

Left early for my walk. Managed an hour and half going the length of the distant woods and back along the road. Very mild with warm sunshine at times. Too busy for a ride.

Tuesday 17th 56F, 13C, rather cloudy and windy. A blood red, alien sun was occasionally visible behind low, smudgy cloud. I kept snapping away in the hope of capturing its colour before it became too bright. My camera wanted to brighten it far more than it appeared to the naked eye.

Can you imagine the superstitious idiocy of the past dealing with a fierce storm followed by a red sun? Thrice woe! It must be some omen for the kingdom or even the whole world.

Surely the return of some religious deity is indicated? We should all behave much less like we normally do. Particularly the corrupt and perverted clerics themselves! Though it probably went unsaid at the time.

The reason for the red sun is simply due to hurricane Ophelia's lifting of dust from the Sahara on its long journey north. There was also some soot from the forest fires in Spain and Portugal. It was incredibly dark this morning despite enjoying our normal breakfast time.

Fortunately the storm was tracked and understood well before its arrival in Ireland and Scotland. The absence of normal traffic probably kept death off the roads, rather than the reverse.

The selfish, attention-seeking plonkers who fancied a dip in the raging sea should have been charged a life-changing fortune for any rescue attempt. Or simply left to become fish food. The fallback, life insurance of a rescue for thrill seekers should always have a very high premium. No ride today.

Wednesday 18th 53-58F, 12-14C, heavy overcast, almost calm. If I'm not allowed out today we shall both go hungry! A walk under grey skies watching the birds being silly.  The main road was plastered in mud left by a crop sprayer. Spitting with rain throughout my short, 7 mile, shopping ride.

I was just reading on a news website that there is a pandemic of road deaths amongst cyclists and pedestrians, in the US, from fuckwits using their mobile phones behind the wheel. I suppose it makes a change from all the deaths caused by guns and drugs.

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13 Oct 2017

Friday 13th October 2017 Double, double whoops!


Friday 13th 46-59F, 8-15C, calm with thin cloud. A supposed bright start followed by increasing cloud. A disappointing news featured a Danish professor complaining about the vast quantities of CO2 involved in electric car, battery production in China. A 40 minute walk to the village and back dodging traffic.

Late morning ride to the more distant shops in a light, but blustery wind. No stock of the usual items. Green fur all over the premium Danish, cherry tomatoes.

Experimental shot taken during heavy rain.

I came across the car of a fat, old, retarded psychopath who had parked diagonally across the brand new, raised, cycle path/pavement and was, consequently, partially blocking the main road. All just so he could stand and gossip with a roadside home owner!

Our tricycling hero had to slow right down before I pushed back his protruding wing mirror so I could pass more freely on my trike.

Of course he went berserk. He jumped back into his shiny new car and chased me along the road while I continued riding steadily along the cycle path. Now he was blocking the moving traffic from behind him. As he maintained my own pace completely oblivious to anything else. All the while he continued shouting childish insults at me through the open, nearside window. Thank god for electric windows! Then, as soon as the kerb dropped for a business entrance, he actually tried to run me down on the cycle path!! I kid you not! I swerved away and shouted that I'd report him and his number plate to the police and then he finally stopped chasing me.

I handled it completely wrongly. I should have stopped, photographed him, his car and number plate while his car was dangerously and illegally parked diagonally across the cycle path. Then, when he retaliated to my mirror "adjustment" called the police to report his dangerous driving.

In Denmark I'd be posthumously prosecuted for even owning an action cam. Let alone using it, just before I was mown down by a raving psycho. Summary execution for any tri-cyclist daring to touch his precious mirror? Thereby reminding him of his illegal parking on a dedicated cycle path? And, he is still allowed to own a driving license? How does that work? Only 17 miles. Still not out! 

48% of Danes would like speed cameras to be sited near their homes to stop speeding. 52% want to continue driving at whatever illegal speed they like because there is no police presence, nor any speed cameras.

Just think: They could afford an eighth, coal-fired, Dreadnought class, battleship with the proceeds from the speeding fines in the very first week of camera introduction. Soon, they'd have the same firepower as the entire Russian fleet! The Prime Minister could live in the real, Louis 14th palace he so richly deserves as an all-important, world leader of only 5 million people. All provided, of course, that there are enough North Korean slaves to do all the shipbuilding work in the Polish dockyards.  Cheap, East European, forced labour? Even they can't compete with properly organized slavery. Now we must pray that Kim's slaves have all signed the Danish Official Secrets Act!  😉

Saturday 14th 58F, 15C, very dark, with a heavy, dark grey overcast with light winds and showers forecast.

Enjoyed a longer walk up through the woods in steadily increasing drizzle and SW winds. I heard shooting as I entered the woods  but it seemed far enough away not to be a nuisance.

A flock of perhaps 100, small birds were circling wildly over a roadside field. They were joined at intervals by further groups until their numbers were doubled. The erratic gyrations continued even when a kestrel passed straight through them like a fluttering  arrow. Within a minute or two the flock broke up and went their separate ways. Three larger deer bolted from a fold in a field as a small one went off in the opposite direction. There are pheasants everywhere. It's absolute chaos out there! The drizzle continued. No ride today.

Sunday 15th 57-59F, 14-15C, misty, light breeze with a heavy overcast. Very mild, with fairly constant temperatures, both day and night. We were promised some sunshine by 9am! Grr? Misty drizzle on my walk again. It finally brightened up in the afternoon but I was too busy for a ride. 

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11 Oct 2017

10th October 2017. Whoops!

Tuesday 10th, 45-51F,  7-11C, calm but, oddly, the windmills are turning. Perhaps they keep giant AA batteries in the towers for days like this?

I enjoyed a longer walk through the woods and back in a beeline across the undulating stubble fields. It was very quiet in the forest. A pair of small deer dashed off as I exited the trees. Lots of mushrooms and I think I even identified a highly toxic Green fly mushroom.

The garden is full of blackbirds at the moment. Though I had a surprise yesterday as a pheasant shot just over my head to escape from a colourful, but complaining male. Which then strutted along the ridge of my shed as I rattled lightweight tarpaulins just below to compete with his strange chatter.  There were dozens of pheasants out on the fields today.

No ride today due to rain. The Danish news is full of a story about a pair who raised over £4.6 million! via crowd sourcing. The folding, electric bicycle they "came up with" looks identical to a readily available Chinese model. One which is sold at discount supermarkets but sporting another name/logo.

The pair have subsequently dropped the "Danish design and quality" from their advertising after a national DR TV consumer exposé. Where they were unable to suggest how their bike differed from the Chinese version other than their own choice of accessories. The "Danish" machine has had very poor reviews for reliability and safety and is a "rust magnet" according to some owners. With what sounds like non-existent customer support it sounds as if we shall hear much more on this story.

Discussion of electric bikes had me checking what was available these days and at what cost. Some electric bikes cost over £5k equivalent! At this price level you can get an awful lot of high performance, multi-geared, motorbike! Methinks there is room for prices to come way down on electric cycles. As far as I am aware this is not an emerging market for the upper classes to show off their wealth. As occurred at the beginning of the 20th century with the infernal combustion engine.

A difficult subject, easily seen with the naked eye, but I failed dismally to capture the dead, hanging branch resembling a huge spider.

Wednesday 11th 53F, 12C, heavy overcast, breezy and wet again. Just a short walk under heavy, grey skies avoiding bow waves and cometary tails of spray from dehumanizing juggernauts. Wet afternoon, so I shopped in the car while I was collecting [really] heavy stuff.

Thursday 12th 52F, 11C, very heavy overcast with a cloudburst as I type this just before 0800. A day of sunshine and showers is promised with high winds gusting to 40mph later. Just a short walk between cloudbursts. Had to shelter beneath a roadside tree as a squally shower roared through. The whole day was punctuated by heavy showers. No ride today.
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9 Oct 2017

9th October 2017 A [deliberate] absence of miles.

Monday 9th 38-51F, 3-11C-, calm and clear. There was a gorgeous, "Hounds of the  Basketballs" mist hanging low over the front fields when I first looked out. The top of the mist was moving mysteriously, but it was soon all gone.  My walk was decorated by brightly sunlit, autumn berries and rose hips under a feathery sky. I could hear a tractor working hard quite nearby but could not see it. Jackdaws pottered about their daily business at being jackdaws.

Not a bad day at all, weather wise. I set off in the later afternoon for the shops. Going well and cruising between 14 -16mph. Returned well loaded. The lower temperatures are much more noticeable now. My hands were fine in fingerless mitts but it would have been very different in the wet. I am wearing my skiing tights, under my shorts and cycling cardigan on every ride now. The cardigan offers a little extra warmth under a light jacket once off the trike but is too open to the wind when riding. Only 7 miles.

It may sound rather odd to wear 'proper' cycling clothing for such a short ride. However I soon learned that the damage done to the saddle area by ordinary clothing would make longer rides very uncomfortable indeed. As did cotton T-shirts once they were wet with sweat. I have spent years wandering around in wet clothes after a ride so now take measures to avoid it completely. Racing jerseys, shorts and thin, thermal underwear are an almost perfect way of avoiding dampness on a ride. As soon as I feel that prickle on my back I take something off as soon as possible.

Winter is the most difficult time because one is inevitably wearing more clothing [in thin layers] to avoid the chill. A scull cap is worth its weight in platinum under the helmet on a cold or wet day. GripGrab makes autumn and thicker winter models. Both of which mould themselves to the head to protect the ears. I find removing the cap on a long climb is like turning down the thermostat. It takes only seconds and the lightweight cap can be stuffed safely away until needed again.

I never [ever] dawdle so I am always working hard on every ride at a high cadence. So I wear proper racing shorts and jerseys which go into the wash shortly after every ride, no matter the mileage. I don't wear bibs for a short ride but braces are an excellent substitute and really raise the comfort level of quality racing shorts like Wiggle's better DHB. I can't remember the model name now but the Aeron looks similar. These have lasted incredibly well without anything more than fading of the printed logos despite tens of thousands of miles and countless washes. I bought all my racing jerseys from charity shops. None seem to offer any advantage over each other than slight differences in thickness. Shimano seemed to most likely to be found on the shelf. The Head Gardner would wash them several times before I was ever allowed to wear them.

Braces keep the shorts from catching on the nose-piece of Brooks saddles when climbing out of the saddle. Which I do as often as possible, to get a good workout and maintain my speed on short rises and longer hills. As my mileage steadily drops I have to work harder to remain fit.

A 15-20 mile ride is still well within my capacity, pushing on, while fully loaded with shopping, but without tiring. Though I haven't been much further for quite a while. This was a deliberate choice to <cough> break the cycle of [almost] living on my trike.

I deliberately developed major building projects instead. Which ensured I had a reason to stay at home rather than use any excuse to go for a ride. Or "running away" as the Head Gardener now calls it. It also keeps my mind active as I get seriously creative. The combination of regular exercise for mind and body is hopefully staving off the day when my last few, rusty ball bearings roll out of my ears.
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7 Oct 2017

7th October 2017. Keep on bailing!


Saturday 7th 48F, 9C, overcast, continuous rain. I knew I should have gone out yesterday. Tomorrow's forecast is for sunshine.

We really have had a run of very wet weather this year! It's been almost like a long, summer, camping holiday in the West Country of Gravely Blighted, back in my youth in the last century. One of those holidays where you return from a fortnight's holiday looking much paler and far more wrinkly than when you left! Falling asleep in the bath for an hour or two has similar, but milder, effects

It was much like one of my earlier rehearsals with the Cub Scouts. When I made an involuntary escape from the tender care of my parents. To be returned an eternity later and deposited at my own front door. Wearing only my damp underwear and a very soggy, navy blue, school gaberdine! The stuff of endless re-tellings of such legends at later, family get-togethers. I can only assume my misery was all too evidently visible at first glance.

The large, Wolf Cub campsite had been situated in the sump of a Lake District valley beside a rushing, brown river. A geographic and topographic calamity, on the Richter scale, just waiting to happen. Which meant that the overnight torrents had run quite literally down the steep hillside, through the heavy tents and over the loose canvas ground sheets. Where we innocents had lain like sleepless lambs to the slaughter under our coarse army blankets. There no lights back then because we were all victims of post war, Ever Ready batteries and torches.

Only one, fellow Wolf Cub, had escaped the deluge by deliberately injuring himself with an axe. Which had required his being rushed to hospital. A lucky escape, in my expert opinion, compared with our own, cruelly extended water torture!

The following morning was just like watching an endless replay of the much later, zombie movies. As a hundred, or so, utterly exhausted young lads staggered about in a living nightmare of sleep deprivation, saturated clothes, squelchy shoes and even more, wet weather to be enjoyed on what was previously, long, wet grass. Though it soon turned to a universal quagmire. So that many a poor young soul found they had lost a shoe on their way to the latrine trench. Unfortunately, expensive trainers had yet to be invented so the loss of one's only school shoes was like losing a limb. Or might well lead to the loss of limbs if one returned home without them. This was, of course, long before corporal punishment was reserved only for the upper classes.

Alas, the "Annual Camp" had to be abandoned before mass exposure really set in. The national 'papers might have got wind of our collective misery and torture at the hands of so many cheerful and willing, adult volunteers! The antique motor-coach was recalled and we gratefully escaped "a fate worse than death." They made me Chief Sixer after that but it was inadequate compensation for my stoicism during my suffering. I resigned my commission shortly thereafter and left the Wolf Cubs to to become just another, shiftless, civilian youth. The term "teenager" had yet to be dropped from a single, downy lip.

Later, family holidays inevitably involved sheeting rain and even frequent storms! By which time I was an acknowledged expert in tensioning storm guys, placing crossed tent pegs and setting flysheets. We spent many a holiday almost alone on a bare camping field listening to the roar of torrential rain on the tent roof as it kept redoubling its efforts. We were still there, often long after everybody sensible had up stakes and gone home to begin their dehydration therapy.

At least I had learned by then that the top of the field was arguably safest. Provided, of course, there was some shelter from the vicious sou-westerly gusts! If heaven is reserved for the good, then eternal camping is almost certainly where the really bad ones go. What it says about me, and my repeated living hell, is open to conjecture.

Don't even get me started on my winter camping trips to Snowdonia! Where a level of abject misery was achieved which [almost] eclipsed all previous drenchings.

Imagine, if you will,  the combination of an all-cotton, two man, mountain tent with A-poles, ridge pole, cotton flysheet and days of heavy, continuous rain. The whole lot to be carried by our hero, alone. To be enjoyed long after all hope was lost of a single dry hour. Let alone a whole day of kindly, leaden overcast and occasional, heavy showers.

Even proofed, Egyptian cotton gains weight which puts a terminal McLardy's victim to shame. The weight of my mountainous rucksack was probably against international human conventions for fit young marines, the SAS and special forces. While my personal hero was always on the back of a long queue of skinny runts of the litter. I was once described by the local Job Center as too under-muscled for serious work. They had left my file open on the public desk while they went for a fag break. They weren't half cross when they returned. To find me reading their glowing report of my failure to fully emulate Arnie. In my case I had, quite inadvertently, invented near invisibility merely by standing sideways on to the confused observer.

What did they know? I had just previously been carrying endless 1cwt sacks of cement for 50 yards each time, for a vast, indoor tiling job at a local meat factory as a builder's labourer. In between ferrying bags of cement I was swinging a sledge hammer or a navvy's pick for hours on end to break up old concrete floors. That was so long ago my thrice bankrupt employer hadn't heard of wheelbarrows or even sack trucks by then. Though he had heard of pneumatic drills and had me use one of those for a while. Of those who expressed a preference I'd always vote for the sledge hammer. It was quieter for those born without natural ear plugs! Pardon?  

Meanwhile, back in inclement Snowdonia: I called in at a Youth Hostel and desperately requested shelter and warmth. To be told they were closed for the winter. Well, of course they were! Who would be daft enough to wander the roads of North Wales, carrying twice his own body weight in saturated clothing and camping gear, during the year-long, winter monsoon season?

Sunday 8th 40-50?F, 4-10?C, and now for something different: Clear skies and calm with all day sunshine promised. I wonder if I'll be allowed out on my trike? Nope. Too busy. Though I did enjoy a slightly chilly walk supervised by a low, gibbous moon in the east. The first gunfire of the hunting season erupted later.

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