31 Mar 2017

30th March 2017 It's still a blΓΈΓΈdy accident!??!

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Thursday 30th 44F, 7C, grey, wet start and breezy. Rain until after lunch. I wonder if I'm still waterproof enough for a walk? I hear it can wear off with age. My trouser knees became damp as I strolled down the twig-littered road. The tractor had been along and spread its spiny hedge clippings as far as the opposite verge. I amused myself by kicking anything over thumb thickness, or over a meter long, or both, into touch. There was also much jumping onto the verge, to avoid a free [but involuntary] car wash with every passing vehicle. So I enjoyed quite a decent workout in the half mile, or so, before deciding to turn back to face the wind and increasing rain. It is becoming quite misty now after a much clearer start. A rest day being busy at home.

Friday 31st 50-64F, 10-18C, grey but dry and quite breezy. The forecast is up to 18C, 65F and windy [25mph gusts] mid afternoon. The Danish news is all about traffic speeding if you ignore the choreographed, political dance of the seven veils. One million flashes in one year of the speed camera vans in a total population of only 5.6 million. The cameras only flash when a driver exceeds the speed limit. These million flashes represent only a tiny fraction of those exceeding the speed limit. Because, quite obviously,  the police vans can't be everywhere, all of the time. Not even a minuscule fraction of place and time.

The news articles emphasize that speed is directly responsible in 50% of accidents. That increased speed greatly increases the risk of injury and death. I have always thought that speeds should be equated to heights of free fall. If you fall involuntarily off a chair you are unlikely to be seriously injured but it will probably hurt like hell if you don't land on bent knees. Try falling off your own roof. Does that hurt?

It's not the fall which hurts you but the sudden deceleration. Most road accidents involve violent deceleration. The car hits a solid object or [far worse] oncoming vehicle. The human bod continues at the original speed of the vehicle until it hits something. Soft air bag or hard windscreen and steering wheel? Choose your accident vehicle with care.

Or acceleration, where a vehicle hits a soft object like a human being. People aren't designed to go from 0 to 40+mph in a fraction of a second. Nor to stop from that speed in a similar time. Hit a cyclist with a heavy car and their machine is whipped out from under them. With luck, they free fall onto the road [or verge] without being struck by the vehicle or their own machine. The problem is that such a fortunate set of circumstances is highly unlikely. Once the bike has gone the cyclist falls straight into the path of the same vehicle. To be brutally accelerated to the impact speed of the vehicle. That is very likely to hurt more than a simple fall! Strangely only the lethal driver is protected by an air bag. An airbag on the front of the vehicle would spoil the manufacturer's carefully groomed, radiator styling.®

Being hit on the head with a hammer at a modest 15m/s or 30mph is very likely to kill you. Imagine being hit much harder with a huge hammer weighing well over a ton and moving at twice that speed! You get killed several times over if that helps your surviving family.

Hit somebody with a hammer and you are looking at very serious prison time. Hit a person with a car and it's always an accident. It's still an accident even if you were texting or speeding or talking on your mobile phone. It's still an accident if you finding a radio station or music track or reading a map or reading a written address or listening to GPS directions or drunk or drugged or affected by medicine. Or [even] turning around to admonish your devil's spawn for fighting in the back seat while you are driving along, above the speed limit, in deep snow.

Is it still an accident if you were overtaking at high speed on double white lines on the blind brow of a hill on a blind bend in thick fog? You can't usually prove premeditation when the victim is taken away in several plastic bags. Even if you were "accidentally" doing all of the above instead of driving like a normally intelligent person. One who knows and understands the problems of driving safely and well with all the relaxed concentration and care they can possibly muster for such a complex and difficult task.

Walked to the village to find one of the Coots building a massive nest of dead pond leaves amongst the Irises. The other tootled around the pond showing no interest at all despite the vocal protestations of it's erstwhile partner. The sun is breaking through now. To scatter brightness amongst the clouds with some difficulty. 11am and it is already 60F. [16C] By far the highest temperature, so far, this year.

Late morning ride to the shops. Headwind going. Tailwind coming back. Only 17 miles. My knees have been hurting recently. I think my cadence [pedal revs] has dropped. I shall have to make an effort to pedal faster again.

It reached 64F [18C] this afternoon. Several parts of Denmark had the warmest day in 27 years with 21.3C or 70F. I have just seen a Robin! First in ages. A shy, retiring creature over here in on the Continent. In Gravely Blighted they feed from the gardener's hand and their tinkling, bell-like song can be heard everywhere.

It seems the Danes have had enough of wind turbines. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get permission to erect any new turbines. Those with turbines in their neighborhood cannot sell their homes. The low frequency noise is claimed to harm lots of people.

Only the landowner where the turbine is sited and the investors gets anything out of the deal. The locals get no share in the turbine's income despite their own proximity and all the disadvantages of LF noise and flicker from the constantly moving shadows. Even plans for sea based wind parks are being scrapped amid demands they be sited literally far enough away to be out of sight. The Swedes ensure the locals have some income from the turbines. This is seen as a possible remedy to stop the major groundswell of resistance against them. The pressure on Danish councilors is becoming intolerable if they do not reject new plans for wind farms.

I sometimes pass windmills [turbines] quite close by on my rides but haven't noticed much noise except in strong winds. Though I can well imagine that some rooms of nearby houses will become excited by the LF noise. Certain dimensions and volumes can easily be excited at a distance by LF noise as if they had an inbuilt, audio subwoofer. Even open or closed doors can have strange effects.  The problem is exacerbated by the wings passing their tower. The larger the wind turbine the lower the frequency of generated noise and the trend is towards ever larger turbine blades. With new records set for blade length and power output constantly being broken. The west coast of Jylland [Eng.Jutland] has the best onshore winds for power generation and it is here that many hundreds of windmills are sited.

It is a shame that rooftop solar electric panels cannot be far better democratized if green energy is really to be prioritized. Solar electric proved to be an expensive burden on the taxpayer when ridiculously over-generous payments were made to panel owners. The middle classes suddenly found themselves being handed huge tax breaks. Which allowed them to pay off the cost of their installation on borrowed money in a few short years thanks to the guaranteed payments for energy generated. With the banks offering no interest on savings solar electric rewarded those who invested beyond their wildest dreams. Many farms sprouted huge areas of panels on barns. Once the installation cost of the panels had been paid off [under five years] the income from the power companies was pure profit.       

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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28 Mar 2017

28th March 2017 Misty eyed misgivings.

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Tuesday 28th 38-54F, 3-12C, grey, with thick mist and almost calm. If the traffic had slowed for the mist it was not readily apparent. The routine urgency of their journey heard in their roaring engines. Visibility was down to 100 yards for the sudden, complete and total invisibility of the speeding vehicles! Including a vast tipper truck, absolutely festooned with small, dim, red lights. It, too, vanished abruptly into nothingness like some low budget, Hollywood special effect. Only a few yards more visibility was gained for those rare vehicles which actually had their bright red, rear fog lights lit. The air was full of bird sounds as the trees dripped huge droplets onto otherwise dry roads. Leaving dark patches beneath and streaked further by the passing tires. I protected my binoculars with an arm draped modestly across my upper chest and plodded on. Head briefly bowed to avoid drips running down my neck. A a small chevron of geese passed over and instantly vanished from sight. Spooky.

Just a short ride for seven miles in bright sunshine. 18-20mph going through the woods. 12 mph crawling back unaided.

Wednesday 29th 39F, 4C, dark grey, breezy with some rain promised.

Another rant/

I was just reading that the Brits are going to install average speed cameras on a dangerous section of road in Scotland. Isn't that a silly term? Roads are not dangerous. They are just passive stretches of asphalt. It is the incompetents, the deluded, the psychopaths, the senile and the drunks who are dangerous.

Rather than  causing a short bottleneck where the usual speed cameras are sited, they will register vehicles speeds over some distance. So the hard braking, leaden-footed cheats are in for a bit of a surprise. Those responsible for the cameras claim a halving of accidents using average speed monitors. Prepare for the usual furore as the psychopaths have no excuse for their antisocial and dangerous behaviour. It will all be the cameras' fault, of course. "They made me do it!" What were the camera's voices telling them to do?

Now we just need a camera drone which sends out a robotic arm, smashes the side window and wrestles the mobile phone from the iron grasp of the texting psychopath. If lorries can have cameras watching the driver's behaviour then why not monitor every car driver? The data would remain untouched, in the Cloud, until an "accident" occurred. Then the "horror movie" would surface to ensure the removal of that last, most basic, human right. The totally untouchable driving license of the cold hearted, casual killer behind the wheel. The Brits suddenly have an answer for this too. Six points on their license and a hefty fine. What took them so long? Were they hoping that Broxit would cover their slight of hand? [I can't be doing with Brexit because it sounds like a sugar coated cereal.] All the research shows that an idiot with an active mobile phone behind the wheel is an even worse idiot. If that were possible. I see lots of "worse idiots" on my travels. Many lorry drivers are so afflicted. The "professionals of the road" have no more sense of shame than the poor commuters.

Rant\

Walked to a more distant lane, lined with mature oaks, to capture a bit of the misty atmosphere.  I took one hundred shots! It is difficult to balance the mist against contrast when preparing the image for the blog. Increased contrast and reduced gamma sharpen everything up so that the melancholy mood is lost.

I was listening to the deep 'bock-bock-bock" of a woodpecker in the woods and thinking I hadn't seen a hare for ages. A distant, protruding rock volunteered itself as a token hare. So I lifted my binoculars to check. It was only a lichen covered rock, after all, but in the background, almost lost in the mist, was a large hare. It was lolloping across the bare and open field, quite invisible to the naked eye.

I need to go to the city but am unsure whether I am ready for a longer ride. I have been getting upper chest pains when I exert myself and start panting deeply. Probably the remains of my forgetting to take a toboggan while sliding down the stairs on my back. I have also been working on a project in the garden involving rather a lot of heavy lifting. 40-45 miles may be too much, too soon. Particularly when my mileage has been much lower of late.

It was lucky I did not ride to Odense. I would have been struggling against a gusty headwind all the way home. Despite reaching 49F today it felt much colder than the last few days. Recently I have been working out of doors in 54F and bright sunshine and could easily have ended up in just my shorts and socks. My rides earlier this week had been in fingerless mitts with an internal discussion over naked knees. Today I wore a jacket, scull cap and normal gloves. Only 7 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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27 Mar 2017

27th March 2017 NO PRESS PLEASE!

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Monday 27th 38-54F, 3-12C, heavy overcast, thick mist, almost still. More sunshine threatened for later. I am still suffering odd aches and pains from my freestyle, base-jumping off the top of the stairs. Princess Diana enjoyed huge publicity and public sympathy for her supposed [and supposedly] deliberate header. All I got for my trouble was a few extra visitors to my blog. Perhaps it was the huge sign I put on the gate? NO PRESS PLEASE! 

Rant/
It's a good thing I have such an acute sense for the ridiculous. Despite the frequent rants I really don't go around with a chip on my shoulder. I drive my wife mad by chuckling at some items of the news and life's little setbacks. Perhaps it is just my way of coping with completely outrageous, global lunacy. How else can you describe a world so befuddled by such "unfortunate" behaviour? There is no depth to which many people will not sink to make a quick buck. Or gain a leg up the shaky ladder to see over the mountains of their looted possessions.

When they closed all the large mental hospitals they put most of their patients in the prisons. Where they were considered far too dangerous, for normal prisons, the real 'nutters' were safely steered into politics, big business or became professional commuters.

Somewhere between a rock and a hard place? Brooks Proofide produces a deep, warm glow!

Our world's problems are not really a lack of anything. It is the deliberate, sociopathically-inspired withdrawal of goodwill and basic human rights by a bunch of meddling, tinpot, tribal leaders, who always know best. They can all see through each other's transparent corruption so must stick together to keep themselves in power. My sympathies go out to the future's historians. Whom must desperately try to unravel the intertwined ravings and petty habits of a bunch of complete and utter nobodies.

Well, it must be time for a stroll along the linear, lunatic asylum they call roads. Well, the commuters were all quite well behaved today as the mist cleared. I saw a pair of Bullfinches and the pair of coots were back on the church pond. Both coots were completely ignoring each other, as usual. There were no young last year so perhaps they need marriage counseling? The shared vicar may be able to help.

A seven mile ride in the late afternoon to fetch the everyday items, which were out of stock, at several supermarkets yesterday. The yellow butterflies have reached our garden but refused to pose for my camera. Nature in the raw.

The Danish government is trying to save money, to provide increased tax breaks to foreign billionaires, by getting rid of police-manned, speed control, camera vans. They tried to use cheaper labour in the camera vans but the staff were often threatened or even assaulted by the raving crackpot, driving psychopaths.

The manned vans will be replaced by fixed cameras only at known accident blackspots. Traffic researchers warn of an increased death roll. They say that fixed cameras only have a very local preventative effect. Often for only a few seconds and only at the precise point where the camera is shown to be sited by the large warning signs. As soon as the "danger" [to their illegal behaviour] is passed/past then illegal speeds go right back up again. Only a "serial texter" would fail to notice the warning signs. So only they would pay a speeding fine. I suppose it's a kind of accidental-lopsided justice.

I could tell them where to stick their cameras! There are plenty of local villages where the traffic often averages double the speed limit. The flashing orange lights, meant to indicate illegal speeds, never stop blinking on some stretches! The other problem is that the indicator boards often read up to 6 or 7km slow. Every time a vehicle passes! All this is doing is steadily programming drivers to believe that their own speedometers are reading fast. What other explanation can there be for an officially installed piece of street furniture?  To make matter worse, the flashing warning lights are so slow to react that they only ever light up once the criminal driver has already, long passed! How daft is that? Woohoo! 😏

Only the vehicle behind ever sees the flashing lights caused by the speeding vehicle. And is often shown a totally ridiculous, completely random speed, when they themselves may be traveling at the correct speed. So the safe driver, progressing at a perfectly legal speed suddenly slams on their brakes to avoid driving illegally. [Insert exclamation marks, to taste, or as appropriate!] Woohoo! 😏

I have regularly seen a 50-60kph speed indication as I have trundled past on my trike at a measly 20kmh or less! This is always call for a raised hand in a victory salute as I cross the finishing line! Well, you have to, don't you? πŸ˜‡

 It's absolutely no wonder [at all] that the Danes often ignore these warning notices and flashing indicator boards! They are a rather sick joke if they are actually meant to be saving lives. What is the real message to drivers here? We spent billions, of your own money, installing these speed indicator boards but really couldn't be arsed to install them correctly. Nor even bother calibrate them correctly.

The flashing orange warning lights are really just there as entertainment for following vehicles. Any fool could see that putting more flashing lights on the back of the sign would provide an early warning for those downstream of the approaching psychopath. Imagine how many stares of condemnation that would provide to shame the psychopathic driver. Many drivers speed locally through familiarity. Most accidents occur near the drivers home. How much extra would it cost to put an extra flashing light, or two, on the backs of these boards compared with all their other daft ideas?

There is a regular campaign every year to put up temporary road signs asking drivers to slow down a little. Many drivers use them as a sign to drop a gear and put their foot down. Many signs end up being damaged by psychopaths. They represent an affront to their dignity as driving psychopaths. After all, it's always the fault of somebody else.  
 
I can confirm that several, brand new, recently installed examples of speed indicator board are no better than  those which have been behaving badly for the past 20 years! Some are so badly aligned that the traffic has passed before they even show a speed or flashing lights!

Save a penny on unskilled, uninterested installation workers and waste a valuable safety resource worth billions in avoided accidents and emergency hospital care. The cost of every injury-related accident, including all the associated costs is absolutely enormous! Every single, extra kmh/mph, over the speed limit, greatly increases the risk of injury or death to pedestrians, cyclists and [perhaps] drivers.

If this is a <cough> indication of traffic calming technology then the fixed speed cameras are very unlikely to be an improvement. They will only provide a highly localized preventive slowdown before the leaden feet go back down on the accelerators.

I'd suggest these cameras should be tested for accuracy before every single conviction. Except that's not how it works. A fixed penalty notice is sent in the post. Pay it and forget it. A victimless crime. Going to court, to argue your case, is made deliberately costly. How do you prove that the camera is not accurate? You simply can't. At least with the manned police vans the officers were required to test and calibrate the speed indicated by their equipment. What will they do with these fixed speed cameras? Send a police vehicle past once a month to measure their accuracy by eye?

What about all the other roads where there are no cameras? What about all the villages with 50kph/30mph speed limits? Those with roadside schools, where drivers speed past at twice this speed? Where the driver's need for speed is always greater than a bunch of little children waiting patiently at the kerb. As the brightly illuminated 30kph [20mph] LED sign is routinely ignored. Once past the waiting children the driver turns sharply into the supermarket car park. To loll on a shipping trolley like a zombie movie replayed in slow motion. Another victory for common sense!

The most obvious and democratic speed reducer is the traffic hump. Even here the councils have removed them when they caused irritation to those living alongside. Perhaps the humps were simply too damaged, too often, to keep maintaining them? They were always heavily scarred by vehicles which had scraped them through excess speed bottoming out their suspension. The locals knew it was there and, over time, would steadily increase their speed until they could cross it with the minimum of discomfort and maximum velocity.

The major problem with road humps, apart from the constant racket, is allowing emergency vehicles to pass safely. There were some experiments with rubber humps which could be rapidly deflated by approaching emergency vehicles but I haven't seen any myself.

I have a regular fantasy that those rising bollards, which they have in British bus lanes, would suddenly pop up in front of speeding vehicles at village entrances. The driver would automatically be treated as uninsured, by law, and the vehicle sent straight to the breakers yard. Well, one can dream. After all, it's not as if lives are at stake. Is it?

πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡

These are only, annual, road death statistics for Denmark. Not real people and certainly not something to be taken seriously. 😎 Not when savings must be made so that billions can be handed over to foreign crooks by the Danish taxman.

Rant\

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25 Mar 2017

24th March 2017 Craning my neck.

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Friday 24th 29-54F, -2+12C, white frost on the grass, still and bright with thin high cloud. Sunny with light winds promised. Walked briskly to the village and back. The Coot on the village pond is  now alone. Rode away after coffee. Going well despite the pain in my chest and back. Bright sunshine with winds light enough not to be a nuisance. Two bright yellow butterflies almost collided with me as I rode through the forest. A bit early for them, but the flies were out too in the 54F sunshine. 24 miles.

Saturday 25th 40-53F, 4-12C, uniform grey with light winds. Some sunshine and 12C promised for later.

Thank god I wasn't daft enough to fit an action cam to my trike and post the videos of criminal driving behaviour online! A women, who captured images of a flasher and then posted the images online, is to be prosecuted for a second time. Her crime: Publishing images of crime or criminal activity without herself being registered. [Whatever that means.] My understanding is that Danish whistle-blowers, who share images or videos of crime, face far heavier sanctions than the criminals themselves.

This story makes the Danish headlines at the very same moment that Danish politicians are passing a law against gang members and rockers. Which some claim goes against their basic human rights to be criminals. These same gang members will not tolerate police security cameras on their 'turf.' Nor may shops point their security cameras at public areas. Nor share images to warn fellow shopkeepers when they have evidence of shoplifting or crime on their own premises. Nor will the police guarantee to attend and arrest shoplifters. Nor may the public point their private security cameras at public spaces in order to protect the privacy and human rights of potential criminals. The unbelievable irony of all these parallel dimensions may not escape you.

Walked up to the forest and looped around fire breaks as the sky cleared. Lots of birds, including a large Crane foraging beside the strip of corn between the woods and the fields. The image is taken at full zoom on my TZ7 with further cropping to make the bird just visible.

Late morning ride to town in a strong cross-headwind. My chest and back continue to ache. Returned tired and hungry. The council had been slashing the roadside hedges and spreading the debris right across the roads. I had to stop to remove a twig which had embedded a thorn deep into my tyre. Then another twig flew up in my gears and shoved me straight into top gear on a steep climb! Grr? 19 miles.

Sunday 26th 41F, 5C, grey but still. Summer time has arrived. Which means three weeks of trying to get up at 6am instead of the usual 7am. My walk was interrupted by several Saturday night drunks behind the wheel. A mile apart and going in opposite directions they were clipping the verge on tight, blind corners at high speed only to be confronted by "our hero" cowering mid-corner in his bright orange jacket. They swerved out round me and nearly connected with drivers going in the opposite direction with their wheels well across the double white lines, as usual.

Perhaps I should start a support group for drunken, retarded, drug addicted, registered blind drivers with dementia? All I need is a catchy name. I know! What about: "The Raving Fuckwits?" That should being them in droves. I plan to start reprogramming them with leading oxen to try and understand braking distances. From there they can go onto mules and cornering. Then donkeys for straight line speed and practicing emergency stops. Who knows? In several years of intensive training they may even be up to pushing prams. Though, god know, they [asses] really should never be allowed to breed!

If dangerous driving was a "victimless crime" it might not matter. But Denmark's drivers manage 200 fatalities per year. No day passes when at least one driver, on local roads, does not severely risk my life as a humble walker. I take every care to use as little asphalt as possible and regularly take to the verge to allow lorries to pass more easily. Often getting wave of thanks that they did not need to risk oncoming traffic to a fast moving obstruction on a "difficult" road. The road is twisting and humped so that safe braking distances are often far shorter than straight and flat roads. Yet some of these lunatics see it as a race track to prove their idiocy if any doubt still existed.

No day passes when I do not see drivers overshooting the same, blind, sharp corners. Often by a full vehicle's width beyond the protective double white lines into the opposite lane. Now add in the vast majority of vehicles crossing those same double white lines as they cut every single corner they meet and there is a recipe for mayhem. It goes without saying that I often see driving instructors, traveling alone, often at illegal speeds, performing the same, extremely dangerous maneuvers. So one can only presume that they are teaching their students how not to drive.

Later, and having recovered from my walk, I rode north at 16-18mph with a tail-crosswind. I may have to fit knobbly tyres if the farmers continue to build mud dykes across the cycle paths. More of a headwind coming back. Had to revisit several supermarkets after finding no wholegrain bread, no organic low fat milk, no organic eggs, no organic spinach leaves and no adult staff in any of those on my shopping list. If the kids behind the checkouts get any younger they could become police officers. Only 13 miles.


Click on any image for an enlargement.

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20 Mar 2017

20th March 2017 Braces'Π―'Us.

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Monday 20th 40-46F, 4-8C, overcast, misty and breezy. Another wet day is promised. This might just be my personal tricycling gods enforcing a rest to recover from my parachute-free descent of the stairs. Very steep stairs, too, I might add. They'd never get away with this in Gravely. When I think of the thousands of times we both climb and descend these stairs per month it is statistically unlikely that accidents would not happen. While descending one can feel the last stair tread pressing firmly into one's Achilles wotsits. I blame my cycling prowess on the number of times I climb the precipitous "ladder." 


I may have a  clear opening for an exploratory walk before the deluge arrives. The chart shows inclemency at about 9am but the text suggests a lunchtime onslaught of the wet stuff. We even had a brief flurry of snow yesterday. While that might have been acceptable in the recent past, I have been saving up my CO2 allowance in expectation of an early spring and will not be disappointed!

Walked to the village and back. Mist is clearing. Later I was ceremonially handed back my [shorts] braces and cycling boots and sent off on a shopping expedition. Only a little pain in my back but my chest was really bunged up. I kept coughing and spluttering until I reached the village. Going much better on the return at 16-18mph with a hint of 20mph despite being well laden. The cross-tailwind may have had something to do with my new found form. It started raining on the way back. Enough to wet my knees and blind my yellow sunglasses. Am I having fun yet? Only 7 miles.

Tuesday 21st 38-45F, 4-7C, highly variable cloud and wind. With sunny periods, inky skies and rain in between. Walked without pain to the village. The "stair burn" on my upper thigh has turned into to an occasionally painful scab. Since I shan't be wearing a triathlon bikini, I can safely ignore it. Luckily it doesn't seem to cause distress through normal flexure. But that may just be the way I walk. It was not supposed to rain until lunchtime [again] but it has already broken every unwritten rule in the meteorological handbook. 35-40mph gusts promised for this afternoon. It's a shame I gave up kite flying. The first hint of leaf buds on the willows and birches. A strange day of gusty winds and wintry showers without a ride.

In breaking news:  The Copenhagen, cycle hire system is broken. They are hoping somebody else will take over the service to avoid the huge expense of collecting loads of bikes scattered all over the city. In  further news: Denmark has paid off all its foreign currency debts thanks to a single speed camera in the local village.

The blog author wishes to apologize for the severe lack of pictures. Normal service will be resumed ASAP.

Wednesday 22nd 35-48F, 2-9C, bright, sunny and almost clear, but breezy again with possible showers. I was caught in a brief, snow and hail storm yesterday afternoon while trying to work outside. The temperature was 45F or 7C. A walk to the woods and loop around the firebreaks and tracks. Very soggy underfoot with lots of animal tracks in the wet mud. Managed a few snaps in the soft light.

Late morning ride in windy conditions with variable sunshine. Going quite well. 18 miles.

Thursday 23rd 35-50F, 2-10C, white frost on the grass, bright and potentially sunny but with thin, high cloud. Just a walk to the village and back under changeable cloud cover. The air is full of birdsong. We had a Hawfinch in the garden. No ride today.

Friday 24th 29-54F, -2+12C, white frost on the grass, still and bright with thin high cloud. Sunny with light winds promised. Walked briskly to the village and back. The Coot on the village pond is  now alone. Rode away after coffee. Going well despite the pain in my chest and back. Bright sunshine with winds light enough not to be a nuisance. Two bright yellow butterflies almost collided with me as I rode through the forest. A bit early for them, but the flies were out too in the 54F sunshine. 24 miles.

Saturday 25th 40F, uniform grey with light winds. Some sunshine and 12C promised for later.

Thank god I wasn't daft enough to fit an action cam to my trike and post the videos of criminal driving behaviour online! A women, who captured images of a flasher and then posted the images online, is to be prosecuted for a second time. Her crime: Publishing images of crime or criminal activity without herself being registered. [Whatever that means.] My understanding is that Danish whistle-blowers, who share images or videos of crime, face far heavier sanctions than the criminals themselves.

This story makes the Danish headlines at the very same moment that Danish politicians are passing a law against gang members and rockers. Which some claim goes against their basic human rights to be criminals. These same gang members will not tolerate police security cameras on their 'turf.' Nor may shops point their security cameras at public areas. Nor share images to warn fellow shopkeepers when they have evidence of shoplifting or crime on their own premises. Nor will the police guarantee to attend and arrest shoplifters. Nor may the public point their private security cameras at public spaces in order to protect the privacy and human rights of potential criminals. The huge irony of all these parallel dimensions may not escape you.

Walked up to the forest and looped around fire breaks. Lots of birds, including a large Crane foraging between the woods and the fields.


Click on any image for an enlargement.

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19 Mar 2017

18th March 2017 Extreme inactivity.

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Saturday 18th 41F, 5C, overcast, light breeze with showers at first. Injuries less painful today, but I'm not sure I'm allowed a ride before the Chief Medical Officer has signed me off. I suppose that means I shan't be allowed my vital asthma medicine like all "proper" cyclists have in their water bottles these days. It seems I may have to shop in the car provided I can still depress the clutch with my sore foot. I'd better wear my walking boots despite being officially "Excused Boots" on medical grounds.

I was just reading a story on the BBC News about a South American people who walk for miles every day and have the world's healthiest hearts. I think we may have the answer to the Western obesity pandemic: Just make takeaway drive throughs walking on the spot throughs. McLardy's could even raise their prices and pretend to be a real gymnasium. Just like they pretend to sell real food.

After braving a tentative and painful hobble to the end of the drive and back, I drove to the shops. This is definitely the thin end of the wedge! Before long I shall have put on 15 stones and have begun to be a McLardy's litter lout. Anything to hide my awful secret from the Chief Medical Officer [Aka:The Head Gardener] on the way home. Not that I can ever hide anything from Her.

By then I shall be going around telling any one who will listen: "It's, like, me glands, see? I'm a martyr to big bone disease, as well, of course." As I stuff down my second McWhopper in as many minutes followed by two, dark, 2 liter cylinders of CO2la, crude oil colouring and enriched sugar. You'd think a huge burp would help but all that CO2 is heavier than air! So I'd be a martyr to CO2, as well, as I waddled from the car to the supermarket, then back again, while heavily laden. With each thigh travelling in a short semicircular, reciprocating orbit, one around the other, as exploding gas erupts from every orifice. "More tea, vicar?" 

Sunday 19th 33-36F, 1-2C, heavy overcast and breezy. All day, wintry showers forecast.  Still dry at 10am when I had returned from my walk. Both feet were aching at times but gradually subsided. I managed a couple of miles along the lanes and back. The fidgety Fieldfares easily outnumbered the starlings today. First signs of leaves opening in a couple of thorny roadside shrubs. The first Wagtails have arrived.

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16 Mar 2017

Friday 16th 2017 It's not the freefall that gets you.. it's the landing!

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Thursday 16th 43F, 6C, rather grey, breezy but dry. Not a good start to the day! My shoe slipped and came off at the top of the stairs and I slid down on my back and hip. I suppose that's why they call them "slip-ons." Except that the obverse occurred this time.  Now I have a very painful, red scrape on my upper thigh. A walk may help to loosen up my tensed muscles. It didn't. After only a hundred yards my foot/ankle was hurting too much to continue. So I limped back home gain. Rather than sit around feeling sorry for myself I worked on a project outside all morning. My back and shoulders are aching pm but I can still carry on. No medals, please.

Talking of slippery surfaces: London's cycle paths are [allegedly] using a slippery blue surface. It seems the Boris Blue asphalt has a low coefficient of adhesion. It took a motorcyclist going "off road" onto the cycle path [and killing himself] to discover this fatal flaw.

For the image starved, here is a picture of a modern iteration of the fabled carrier cycle. Thanks to the duplication of tubing I daren't even suggest a likely total weight. It was being ridden by a middle aged lady. I am [almost] embarrassed to admit that I have no picture of my own, similar delivery bike.

I often joke about Denmark being unable to take advantage of any new ideas until a Dane has independently invented it for them. It is lucky they are so inventive. Surely nearby Holland's long experience with surfacing cycle lanes could offer some helpful pointers even if they [Gravely Blighted] don't trust Denmark? Isn't there an EU standard for coefficients of dynamic surface adhesion of cycle paths for the use of? Bananas have their own EU rules. There was talk of Trump nuking Denmark but I don't think the cycle paths were his target. Perhaps it was just a rumour put about by GCHQ as a belated act of revenge for the Tea Party?

Friday 17th 40-45-38F, 4-7-3C, light breeze, rather cloudy start. Rain and gales forecast for after lunch. Still aching all over. My left foot feels sprained when I put any weight on it. Ever onwards! It blew and it rained and it hailed in the afternoon as the temperature dropped below where it started. So I took the rest day I should have had yesterday. What is that old saying? "Rest on the day you fall down the stairs, but feed a cold?"

An old picture of my LongJohn carrier cycle when first purchased. The rack is easily removed for converting it into a rear-engined, muesli-fueled dragster. Later versions are still made, some even with disk brakes. 

This one only has a back pedal [coaster] brake. Enough to give one "pause" on a long descent while heavily loaded, though I haven't yet tried it. I wonder if a tandem brake cable would reach the front wheel? I could fit a TT brake behind the forks to keep its air resistance down.

The long, simple bushed and cranked, steering rod is prone to unwanted free play. I may try it for shopping where large and heavy loads are involved. New Fridge-Freezer, anyone? The frame is still marked with maximum carriage weight of several metric tonnes in the basket. I rode it around the block only once and then it was lost beyond the event horizon at the back of the shed. Along with a more normal carrier cycle. That has had even less of a mileage but I was in zombie collecting mode back then.

I once counted 23 unwanted cycle frames and a shed roof full of wheels during one particular clear-out. I doubt I ever paid more than  a fiver for any of them at flea markets and council recycling centers. That was at a time when Denmark exported hundreds of thousands of bikes to needy, East European Mafia bosses. For later redistribution to the slightly less needy public for a profit. I hear they did a nice line in recycled clothing and children's toys sent over by charities, as well.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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14 Mar 2017

14th March 2017 Negative reward for effort.

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Tuesday 14th 41-48F, 5-9C, heavy overcast but lighter winds to start the day. The forecast is for gusts to 30mph by this afternoon. I walked to the village to see the Coots. Quite mild and it has brightened up to match the increasing wind. Lots of birds about today.

The Danish news invited my moral outrage yet again today. The talking heads, mingling in the corridors of their gilded, 1st class, gravy train, have cut social security to the very poorest families. Why? To negatively reward poor teenagers, who take a part time job to make some honest, well-earned, pocket money.

Thus, the early and absolutely vital, psychological connection between honest work, self-esteem and personal reward are safely crushed into politically-motivated oblivion.

Further down the news web page was a story about youth, drug gangs, pressing small, city businesses for protection money. The real cost of street gangs to society? Vastly in excess of the paltry funds saved by targeting young people's dreams and income. Probably by a factor of several billion to one over multiple lifetimes of crime.

My planned, afternoon ride was cancelled due to strong winds and a dark and threatening sky.

Wednesday 15th 39F, 4C, clear and bright, becoming windy later. Walked to the forest along the familiar track in bright sunshine.

As I looked off to the left I saw a pair of huge Cranes in the distance. They were slowly climbing a low hump at the far end of the large field and looking around nervously. I crouched down and hid behind the only tree and watched them through my binoculars. Fortunately the low sun was behind me and the wind in my favour.

My attempts at photography at full zoom on my compact camera were doomed to failure. But I snapped away and hoped as they slowly emerged into the sunlight. Suddenly they began to trumpet and the larger and darker of the pair practiced lifting slightly off the ground with its massive wings spread wide to catch the stiff breeze. Then they panicked and took off hooting loudly and repeatedly. They banked behind a narrow leg of the forest and disappeared from view. They were very impressive in flight.

Later, three Mergansers left the pond on the marsh as I approached. I also saw several birds of prey including one with pointed, scimitar-shaped wings. Quite a large bird and very light on the undersides.

More consternation on the Danish news. It concerns Ikea, that bastion of ridiculous names and vastly profitable warehouses. They have been paying their delivery lorry drivers a slave wage of £3 an hour to live in their lorries for many months at a time. Of course they are feigning ignorance of the unheard of crime of organized human slavery. Blaming East European hauliers as subcontractors for this latest outrage of inhumanity to hit the Danish news. 

The news is often full of horror stories of East European building workers having to live on unfinished building sites. Or stacked into appalling and inhumane accommodation while they "earn" an absolute pittance for working very long hours. Guess what? Many of these same, prestige, building projects are being taxpayer built for the Danish government or Danish city councils.

Late morning ride to the shops into blinding sunshine. Cruising at 17-20mph thanks to the tailwind. More like 11-12mph coming home laden. I had hand greased the saddle with Brooks finest Proofide. The addle glowed with a deep shine after the treatment. Though it wasn't as slippery as usual despite being well buffed after an overnight baste. Tying the B17 'Special' at a fellow tricyclist's suggestion, was the best thing I've done for saddle longevity. It hasn't sagged despite not being re-tensioned. Previo9s examples have had a short comfortable life before becoming too saddle backed. 15 windy miles.

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13 Mar 2017

13th March 2017 Trycling POW.

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Monday 13th 36-43F, 2-6C, cool, breezy and cloudy. Possible showers. Possible sunshine. Will it or won't it? For some reason I have been getting more visitors recently. I can never predict how many visitors nor even the reason for their presence. I never have any plans to discuss anything and the images I share are always recent but entirely a coincidence.

The image doesn't do justice to hours of cleaning then rubbing with Scotchbrite fiber. I decided to take some flash images at early dusk and it really didn't work as planned. The poor old grass is looking threadbare after the permafrost melted.

I must wipe the storage grease off the new chain. I always thought it was there to protect the chain on its travels. Not just to stop rust in the bike shop or warehouse. It is a dust magnet according to one YT biking expert and should be wiped off before use.

The Danish or British news will often trigger a monologue on the ridiculous. Or a ridiculous monologue about some daft item on the news. Take your pick. I have a [very] weird sense of humour which few others seem to share or even understand what I am trying to get at. My rants are often written with a broad grin. There is a saying that one should have the wisdom to know what cannot be changed. That doesn't mean the windmill should be ignored for general tilting purposes.

I do tend to wander through and around my life with a constant "eye out" for a potential photograph. I never go anywhere without my compact camera. Not even to the trike shed. I'd hate to miss a UFO if it flew over and I found myself without my camera. The camera lives in a cheap, lightly padded, "leatherette" vinyl case when I carry the camera in my jacket pocket. Then the case goes into a latched, soap dish type of plastic container when I'm out on the trike. Just for extra protection against crushing by the shopping. Sometime, usually in summer, I might slip the camera in its vinyl case into the back pocket of my cycling jersey. This only occurs when there is the potential for lots of images in a new area of exploration.

I have a lifetime habit of not wanting to stop on a ride except for brief "field gate" emergencies. That would mean I have to get off to open the saddlebag to find the camera buried in the spoil heap of shopping and other vital debris. I suppose I learned at a young age that stopping broke the will to reach my goal ASAP. I simply cannot ride slower than trying quite hard. I get on and I go as fast as reasonable possible at a pace which will not completely exhaust me too soon to reach my goal and return. Though I might well ignore the return journey in my decidedly fuzzy, speed/range calculations. I am a martyr to headwinds on return journeys. Having ridden myself inside out on the way to get there with a beneficial wind. Well, you have to, don't you? Else, why bother?

At the end of a long ride I am often dog tired and usually suffering from hunger knock, If I stopped I might be sorely tempted to just lie down in the verge and die. I kid you not! A bicycle is a life saver because it supports the rider when total exhaustion would fell a walker or runner. Saddle soreness has the opposite effect but must be ignored.

I was well past normal retirement age before I discovered chocolate bars and apple juice. Before then I'd simply go completely without eating or drinking on a ride. At up to 8 hours duration an 80+ mile ride would mean missing meals into the bargain. As well as my not eating snacks to keep my strength up due to the heavy exercise. Well, I suppose it kept my weight down to that of a cycling fit POW. Behaviour bordering on the completely and utterly insane, when I actually stop to think about it now. 

When I did take food I'd often give it a long, free ride and then bring it all back home again. It just did not appeal while I was out. Or it would cause indigestion which was worse than being starving hungry and as weak as an earth worm.

I'm not very keen on drinking water but adding anything to the bottle would he infinitely worse! Now I am sent on my way with a mature Cheddar cheese sandwich, a large [organic] banana [or two small ones] a small carton of pure apple juice and one or two muesli chocolate bars. This would be for a planned ride in excess of 60 miles which means missing lunch. I didn't get on with the "energy bars" I tried and they often repeated on me. Corny Dark Chocolate Muesli Bars didn't for some reason. But I can only tolerate one, or perhaps two, in one long day of riding.

My wife, The Head Gardner and Chief Medical Officer, will ring me on my mobile phone, at our usual lunch time. To enquire whether I have eaten. [Usually the response is negative.] And then she will ring me again an hour later and remind me, yet again, to eat. After riding 80 miles I will sometimes stop to sit and eat on the cycle rack outside the local supermarket. It is often the only seat I see all day and only a few short miles from home. Even then I only eat to avoid accusations of wasting the time of The Chief Nutritionist and Head Chef of Tricycling Team UK [in Exile.]

There are very few country cafes or village pubs in Denmark and I wouldn't use them if there were. Bakers are fairly commonplace if a greasy pastry appeals. Though it never has. Most villages have supermarkets but I am never tempted to buy food for riding. I have bought bananas and digestives and brought them home without touching them despite being absolutely trashed from a long ride.

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Today, I walked the forest route anticlockwise in a cold breeze. Lots of birds of prey and two very distant deer. My photographs failed to capture anything worth showing. Heard my first Blackbird's song this year. I took my hat and gloves off for the last leg to avoid overheating. Only to have my hair completely re-arranged by a racing petrol tanker/trailer on a blind corner. A feral cat was hunting in the verge, took one look at me, and fled! I blame the new hairstyle. Einstein would have understood. I wonder if you can still buy hairnets? I haven't seen one for years.

The sun finally broke through at lunchtime. The wind seemed to have decided it would hinder progress whatever my direction. I even spent time on the tri-bars to make better speed. Going well on the refurbished Trykit. 23 miles.

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12 Mar 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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11 Mar 2017

10th March 2017 Spring cleaning, by any other name..

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Friday 10th 43F, 6C, heavy overcast, mild but rather windy from the NW. We were promised some sunshine. More fake news! Where do I queue for my compensation for hurt feelings?  Walked to the village to find two pairs of Coots today. Each on their respective pond. I doubt they'd tolerate others by sharing such small areas of water. It's amazing how they can ignore the roaring traffic only a few feet away from the bank!  Still no images to share.

The image shows the Trykit 2WD body sitting on top of the Sram cassette sprockets. The Trykit hollow axles are to the right beside the slide hammer used for easy dismantling. This screws into the wheel retaining bolt's threads.

Cruised with a tailwind at a steady 19mph for several miles. A cross headwind coming home brought me back to reality and 10-12mph. 17 miles.

Spent the afternoon stripping and cleaning the Trykit ready for a replacement chain. Ever the optimist, it doesn't look like we'll have any more frosts requiring road salting. A spray of engine cleaner and an old toothbrush helps to start the cleaning process of the sprockets and chain rings. Followed by several rags discarded as they become dirty. Surgical gloves are amazingly tough for working on this sort of job. A wipe over the gloves with a cleaner rag stops them re-contaminating shiny components. Thin enough to handle the tiniest and slipperiest components. Highly recommended!

The cassette is very easy to rebuild by matching the only narrow slot on each sprocket with the only narrow spline on the body/freehub. I start with the lock ring and a spare spacer ring on the Trykit 2WD body and fit the largest sprockets first. Each sprocket has a spacer ring added before the next sprocket is slipped onto the body. The last sprockets have their own built-in spacers followed by the locking ferrule screwed almost fully home.

I use a chain whip to hold the cassette still while I thoroughly tighten the [bottom bracket style] lock ring at the rear with a C-spanner. Then the front ferrule can be fully tightened without the risk of it bottoming early without sufficient torque having been applied.

This is an eleven speed 11-36 MTB cassette by Sram with the 11T sprocket removed. This was to allow chain clearance in the reinforcing loops of the Trykit axle for the oversized bottom gear. The sprocket plating is excellent and has protected the sprockets from corrosion. The cassette was horribly black before I started cleaning as I was trying to put off chain replacement until warmer and drier weather. Despite being narrow, these eleven speed components have lasted really well. The quality must have been increased to match the expense.

This large cassette seems very light thanks to all the perforations, the cutaway centers and the aluminium alloy carrier for the largest three sprockets. It's quite a work of engineering art when you think back to the heavy, solid sprockets on a five speed, freewheel block of the past. 11 speeds and all those clever holes would have seemed like alien technology in my youth. Imagine what it would have cost to make such a thing back then! If it was even possible. Each sprocket is ramped and the tooth profile varies around each 'cog.'
 
Click on any image for an enlargement.

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9 Mar 2017

9th March 2017. Gods of the road.

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Thursday 9th 38F, 3C, misty and overcast. Denmark's talking heads in Copenhagen are making it easier for local councils to reduce some speed limits to 40kph.[25mph] It is presently very difficult for local councils to get permission to reduce speeds from 50pkph [30mph] even when there are traffic blackspots. The sociopath's absolute right to speed everywhere must be rigidly adhered to even when they pollute enough to shorten Danish children's lives.

These new, completely fictional speed limits might have saved some lives. If, anybody ever bothered to adhere to them. A busy village with multiple schools adjoining the road, several busy supermarkets and a dying row of small businesses already has one of these completely fictitious 40km zones.

It also has bright LED 30kph [20mph] signs for the junior school's closing time. These driving sociopaths won't even slow down to [the national speed limit] to let a bunch of small children cross as the drivers speed [illegally] past the school entrance! Their need to speed is always greater than all other's right to survival. [60kph] 40mph is the average speed right through this several kilometers/miles long, chain-built village. A few speed bumps or even cameras would do wonders but they are not allowed in driver-friendly Denmark.

This same village is heavily trafficked by international juggernauts taking a short cut to and from the motorway. The alternative, trunk roads provided nearby, would add a few extra miles or kilometers but allow comfortable travel at greatly increased speed. But, hey, it's far more fun taking sharp, blind corners, on a blind-humped, narrow road in a six or seven axle lorry with one hand surgically welded to their mobile phones and their ear. Much better than getting bored on a long, straight, wide road with no houses within only 1m [3'] from the edge of the crumbling asphalt!

I once mentioned here a Mercedes 2-seater speeding through the village at 60mph. The very next day I saw the first and only police car I have ever seen in this busy village in 20 years. Their patrol car was sitting in a yard opposite the junior school. Speed cameras in this village alone would easily repay the Danish national debt. But the sociopathic driver is god in Denmark. It is a hideous blasphemy to criticize them or limit their freedom to break the law. Besides, when they are caught [rarely] the fine is extra income for the talking heads to waste on more nuclear weapons and subsidizing pig farmer's pollution and illegal/lethal gamble with sack fulls of MRSA and antibiotic resistant, human beings.

Lest thee think me biased as a cyclist, I also drive and have done so for decades. The traffic in Gravely Blighted makes Danish drivers seem like saints. Or [living] gods of the road. Though I think I remember reading recently that there were 500,000 speeding offenses in Denmark last year out of a TOTAL population of only 5million including non-drivers, children, cyclists, prison inmates and the elderly. Many Danish city dwellers avoid car ownership because cycling is faster and more convenient thanks to the excellent cycle routes provided almost everywhere. City-style public transport is available but rather expensive.

Walked to the village and back. Then rode north with a tail wind. Was cruising at 18-19mph quite a bit. Nothing like a beneficial wind to make one feel younger, stronger and fitter. Coming home was harder work being heavily loaded into the headwind. Lots of different birds of prey about today. Only 12 miles. Dry but grey and still quite misty. Rain in the mid-late afternoon again.

 
Click on any image for an enlargement.

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6 Mar 2017

6th March 2017 In best chimp style.

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Monday 6th 36F, +2C, slightly misty, windy, cool and grey, again. Not satisfied with winter returning, but rain, sleet or snow are forecast to boot. As I have suggested here before now, it is no wonder the Danes went on a global conquest spree. That was back before Putin could alter the weather and elections in his favour, of course. Probably 1000 years ago, give or take. Only a professional YT cynic would suggest that Putin has been with us forever. It just seems that way. 

The Swedes have reintroduced national service to quickly reign in Putin's desires for further Western conquest. While Denmark has put several policemen on the German border. Just in case of a pincer movement. Which probably means I should invest heavily in organic mouse mats before a shortage forces prices through the roof. It's hard enough to get decent organic bananas in Denmark in peace time. The present crop are greener than crab apples from a pre-pubescent scrumping trip. 

It's not all bad news though: Thanks to Firefox I have discovered that one can open bananas from "the wrong end."  As I rapidly approach my 70th birthday this is vitally important information. I hadn't been getting on well recently with the traditional "zip puller" end. With organic bananas rocking between acid green and black and blue, I seem to have rather lost the knack. Probably along with many other of my faculties if only I could remember which. Yes, I know it's all in the wrist action.. but how does one judge the compliance and tensile strength from the external appearance before it is far too late? I must have been day dreaming during that particular lesson. Firefox tells us to pinch the blunt end and the banana will split open. Chimp style. Perhaps more importantly: Is calling our country cousins "Chimps" too non-PC these days?

Walked around the 3 mile rural block in an hour and a quarter. Rather cold and depressing under yet another, heavy overcast. Not so many birds about today. Except for a pair of Mute swans which landed nearby on a field. The field has a couple of untidy copses with ponds. So they may have been looking for longer term accommodation rather than a simple, takeaway breakfast. I hid behind the hedge to avoid my directly affecting their choice. No doubt my reputation has taken yet another dive.

Only a seven mile shopping ride in a cold wind. A small bird of prey almost took my head off as it was disturbed by Jackdaws. The braces/suspenders are proving well worthwhile and the cost per mile falling with every ride.

Less pleasant was changing the sensor's 20-32 button batteries for my Wireless Sigma 16.12 STS CAD cadence computer. Struggling in freezing cold, windy conditions I dropped the lid of the cadence sensor. The tiny, metal, spring contact clip on the edge of the lid vanished into the gravel. So no cadence readings from now on. BΓΈΓΈger! Sigma is obviously aware of such senior moments [by all ages] and sells the sensor battery "doors" as spares in the US for $3. Now all I need is a Danish dealer to avoid massive, minimum postal and import charges. The two, main, online bike dealers could not help.

A new cadence sensor is about £20 equiv. The complete computer with sensors nearly £40 [equiv.] bought online. The Sigma has been quite brilliant. Vastly better than any other computer I've ever tried and relatively inexpensive for a cadence reading. Nice big screen with decent sized numerals to avoid the need for reading glasses. The display head uses a rotary motion to lock into place instead of the usual, linear missile launching ramp.

Tuesday 7th 32F, 0C, very light winds but a heavy overcast. Light flurries of snow turned to frozen rain and then petered out as I walked to the village and back. Several of the local ponds have Coots pottering about now. A pair on one village pond did very well last year but another pair produced no offspring at all. Constantly moving flocks of Redwings can sometimes come together in their hundreds in a single tree. But seem to break down to smaller flocks for most of the time. They happily forage amongst the blackbirds out on the larger lawns. No sign of yesterday's Mute swans today. Busy on a project so no ride today.

Wednesday 8th 32-37F, 0+3C, breezy and very, very, very grey. Walked my usual forest route backwards. No, not that kind of backwards. I simply meant that I walked it anticlockwise and wasn't looking for a free proficiency badge from the Guinness Book of Slightly Unusual Irritations. The forest floor was looking a bit threadbare today. No sign of any wolves as reported on the Danish news.

The Danish post office is badly broke[n] and will sack 40% or 4000 staff. Reducing deliveries for ordinary mail to once a week. With an express service for those willing to pay for it. Packet deliveries are said to have halved too.  Which is a bit odd considering the success of local supermarkets taking over responsibility for accepting and handing over packets. The shelves are often full of packets waiting to be collected. PostNord also want a huge handout from the taxpayer. No ride today as it turned wet and windy at lunchtime.

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4 Mar 2017

4th March 2017: Brace yourselves!

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Saturday 4th 39F, 4C, heavy cloud and breezy. Showers possible with temperatures up to 9C, or 48F in old money. I saw lots of small birds on my walk. Mostly Yellowhammers, Great tits and Chaffinches. Rather grey, but mild with very light winds. Later: my traditional Saturday ride to more distant shops. Only 17 miles.

Now brace yourselves: Having seen a top racer of yesteryear, who must remain nameless, wearing ordinary braces [US: Suspenders] on his racing shorts, I finally succumbed. No, not a pair of those medieval, "Iron Maiden" devices but a pair with proper clamping clips. These have gentle, clamping jaws which don't shred the usually thin material from which shorts are usually constructed to <cough> [impolite] <cough> anatomical precision.

You would  not believe the relief in finally being able to climb out of the saddle without the shorts immediately heading south. I have lost count of the number of times my [not-inexpensive] shorts have misbehaved. Every time I rose from the medieval, leather throne they would sag like a baby's nappy in those baggy "overthingies." To immediately catch on the nose of the Brooks B17 "Whatever." The shorts are now [arguably] as good as bibs but without the extreme toilet visit issues of bibs.

It doesn't happen very often but if you really need more than a brief roadside stop then bibs force you to disrobe literally down to your socks! A practice best avoided in my [very limited] experience. Even if you have the comfort of a public toilet cubicle it's still difficult to find enough elbow room. Not to mention the lack of wardrobe space and storage shelving.

If you have already warmed up then everything is damp and clings as you struggle out of it. Then feels icy cold when it is time to dress again. Leaving you in a quandary over whether to relinquish the cubicle to the impatient queue and thereby risk the real danger of public exposure as well as hypothermia. I daren't even imagine how the ladies cope in bibs. They don't have the anatomical advantage of the boys. Who must give regular thanks to their stretchy bib braces and their being helpfully tailored in just the right place. "Suits you, Sir!"


Moving swiftly on: As I returned from my bracing ride I stopped to replace my GripGrab skull cap as the wind had become rather chilly. My last two remaining brain cells were complaining about the draught and I need at least one of them to remember to breathe. Two young chaps went past on their carbon steeds seemingly without effort as we exchanged cheery greetings. Perhaps it was simply mirth on their part. But, being entirely at fault, I tend to be forgiving to the point of delusion.

In best, untrained, cross-terrier style, I climbed back on and gave chase. However, I seemed to be going backwards as they idled along about a quarter of a mile ahead. So it was down on the tri-bar extensions and onto the big chainwheel. [If it can even be called that outside of single chainring MTB extremes.] I managed to crank it up to a steady 18.6mph for a few hundred yards but still they moved away. All without the least sign of discomfort as they chatted away and wove about to avoid the ragged verge. Even riding side by side at times. Just to upset the passing psychos. Who inevitably wanted to speed.

Having exhausted all potential of making my mark on the day my own velocity dropped back to a miserable 16. Then 13 and on down to an inglorious 10mph as I sat up and fought my very own, private, cross headwind. A buzzard gloated down as it floated effortlessly over the road straight into the "gale" without so much as a feather out of place. The two road men must have been hiding behind the hedge somewhere [probably totally exhausted by now] as I crawled past. Because I never saw them again even on the next long straight. Don't you hate it when they do that?  I'm blaming the increased weight and wind resistance of the new braces. Well, you have to wear them home, don't you?

Sunday 5th 39F, 4C, heavy overcast and very windy. It doesn't look at all promising. Aka: Which part of raining and blowing all morning do you not understand? It actually kept it up for most of the day.

My legs were aching yesterday evening after my pointless chase. What a silly old chap! Lest ye titter; it should not be forgotten that I was carrying a sizable load of shopping in the 50cu meter sports bag. What was, as usual, resting on top of the already overfull Carradice "Camper Longflap." With another, lighter "shopping bag" containing the bread and tomatoes to avoid their being crushed. Which all explains my having to wear the new braces home. There was simply nowhere left to put the svelte packaging.

I see the occasional abuse of thin plywood as a possible means of excess cycle carriage but will not get involved. I cannot bring myself to having a crude 'box' adorning my grubby Trykit. It is all too much to bear. Besides, I can easily imagine myself being regularly stopped by the Danish border patrol. Just in case I have become a 'coyote' to eek out my meager pension. Or even to supplement the pet shop stuff with some decent bedding for my new mouse. Organic Mouse Mats don't come free, you know! By the time I have added the postage, for online purchase form Germany, the financial burden is becoming somewhat extreme. Needles to say they don't sell organic mouse mats in <cough> "green" <cough> Denmark.

It's all getting a bit '1984' these days. What with more Danes being employed by the tax authorities than any other occupation. The rumour on the street is that "They" monitor every citizen's bank account. Just in case they have taken up a lucrative new hobby. Like organized people trafficking or bulk drug importation and wholesaling. Or, far worse, trying to start a legitimate business in their retirement. Now I just need a catchy name. Mouse removals? Rodent logistics? Have mouse will travel? What about something more charitable?  A mouse is not just for Christmas? All getting a bit too 'Cinderella' for you? Suit yourselves. You will anyway.


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2 Mar 2017

1st March 2017 A mouse, a mouse, my kingdom...

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Wednesday 1st 40F, Mixed weather and windy. Walked to the village. Rode to the shops. Rather windy. Wet on the way back. 17 miles. A police motorcyclist grinned back at me as he passed going the other way. I do hope he hasn't been reading my blog. My rights to refugee status have diminished severely since Margaret Thatcher ruled Gravely Blighted with an iron fist! 

Thursday 2nd 38F, 3C, breezy, overcast. Only managed a half hour walk before it started raining. Hoping my new wireless mouse will be ready for collection at lunchtime. That will give me an excuse for a ride. The touch-pad works but I still prefer a mouse. I can't say my handwriting has improved with the new keyboard. No ride today. No mouse either!

Friday 3rd 38-44F, 3-7C, cloudy, windy and pink. Showers and a windy day forecast again. The cloud steadily cleared as  I walked my loop up through the woods and back by the other way. Before I had gone far I saw two pale birds of prey circling tightly around a stand of tall trees. Certainly not the quietest place to park their nest within spitting distance of the road. They obviously haven't been reading the Danish news!

The TV news website reports that many birds of prey are leaving the forests due to excessive mountain biking. The birds like a bit of peace while nesting but literally tens of thousands of riders have been recorded passing nests in some places. A solitary, studded, MTB track on the way to the local woods suggests the birds here are in little danger of being frightened away. The air was often full of the sound of birds today. With Gorgeous little Bullfinches joining Great tits and chaffinches foraging together amongst the hazel and willow catkins. The conifers are often at their best at this time of year with new growth brightening the scene. While everything is underpinned by beautiful snowdrops pushing through the drab and untidy leaf [and McLardy] litter.

Later, I could clearly see a large, snow-white bird of prey perched on the face of a beech wood from right across the field. It was probably visible for miles but waited until I came within 200 yards before moving back through the trees. There was bright sunshine on the last leg of my walk into a cool breeze.

The post office has finally updated the tracking [after two days of total silence] to show my new mouse is walking all the way from the dealer. It would have been quicker [and kinder] for me to cycle to the top of Jutland, collect it in its [bubble pack] cage and then ride all the way back! Retrieving it from the local parcel office will usually have to wait until after lunch.

The Danish post office is in dire financial straits as the letter traffic collapsed with the abuse of emails. Parcel traffic keeps growing but is a different and far more competitive market than a letter monopoly. A seven mile shopping run. The wind made a mild day seem unusually cold. I should add that my new mouse was delighted to be re-homed with me. We have discussed plans for a light exercise regime until it recovers from its lengthy journey. A suitably small, Yoga practice matt is still being sought.


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