23 Oct 2017

23rd October 2017


Monday 23rd 49F, 9C, heavy grey overcast with light winds. Rain this morning brightening later.


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. 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.

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.

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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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1 Oct 2017

1st October 2017 It's getting worse.

Sunday 1st October 54-60F, damp start but light winds turning to sunshine. Not a bad day but too busy for a ride.

Monday 2nd 52-58F? Very heavy overcast, rain and gales. Not a pleasant day at all. No ride again. Tried to fix the recalcitrant washing machine for the third time but without luck. Both I and the machine, are martyrs to built-in obsolescence. 

Get your laughing gear around this!

Tuesday 3rd 51-?F, 11-?C. Heavy cloud and breezy. Another wet and windy day is forecast. It stayed dry for my walk as pheasants strutted their stuff out in the middle of the remaining stubble fields. Small flocks of birds moved restlessly between the tilled fields and the hedges. Many of them looked like Skylarks but they were too fast and distant to be sure. I've just realised this is the first day I didn't spot any swallows. I rode to the shops to avoid starvation and dehydration and returned heavily laden. 7 miles.

Wednesday 4th 51F, 11C, dark, heavy cloud and intermittently breezy. A wet day is forecast with high winds later. It stayed dry but rather windy for my walk. Past the marsh pond and the up through the woods. Where harvesters had obviously been busy cleaning the fire breaks of weak trees. There were countless mushrooms of all sizes and colours littering the floor of the forest.

A pair of deer dashed off as I exited the roaring beech trees and out onto the ridge. Then it was on down towards the main road via the last remaining stubble fields. A day of heavy rain but we didn't notice the promised wind. The temperature never changed.

A pretty Fly agaric mushroom in the woods.

Thursday 5th 47-50F, 8-10C, cool, dark grey and raining. More rain promised all morning. Possible showers this afternoon. The rain didn't stop all morning but it brightened up in the afternoon to sunshine. Leaving our 100 yard drive covered in standing water and every hollow in the fields flooded. The lawn has become rather soggy and is best avoided.

Afternoon ride for seven miles. First ride this autumn with leggings and my winter MTB boots. I was overtaken into the teeth of oncoming traffic, on a blind bend, by a deranged white van/minibus driver. The wheelchair lift on the rear suggesting that they were a cross between patient transport and mercy killers. I just pray no patients were aboard or it would have been a real, white knuckle ride! 

Friday 6th 47F, 8C, almost calm. Heavy, early overcast is moving away. Leaving broken cloud. The forecast is sunshine for this morning. It was a beautiful morning for walk. With a cloudless sky, bright clean sunshine and a light breeze. Luckily I wore my gaiters because the tracks were very wet and muddy after yesterday's heavy rain. I climbed a track in the woods towards the exit and took photographs of the flooded, stubble fields on the descent. The crisscrossed tracks from the harvesting provided added interest and reinforced the undulations of the corrugated landscape. A pleasant, sunny day. Spent tidying the shed. [Again?] 

Click on any image for an enlargement.


28 Sep 2017

28th September 2017 Just egging them on.


Thursday 28th 54-60F, 12C, cloudy, light wind with a rainy day forecast. Five, large birds of prey were spiraling upwards above a copse. Slightly too far away to be sure whether they were Red Kites but they had the same features. The peasants are practicing their stealth maneuvers between copses in readiness for the 1st October. A dozen or so of these birds are a regular sight wandering jerkily about together. A van had to slow and beep his horn as one gaudy male took to the main road as his harem dutifully followed.

Pheasants are not remotely the brightest of creatures. They have the same habit as hares and will run [forever] straight down the middle of the road even when there is no hindrance on the verges. Both will cheerfully cross the road to the illusion of greater safety even when they were perfectly safe on the opposite verge. There are numerous compounds in the woods and copses where hundreds of pheasants are raised. Usually in the company of a few, caged chickens.

I have often wondered whether their are pheasant egg farms. How else would the hunters have access to many thousands of young? Of course there are! Hunter's cannon fodder must be a nice sideline for pheasant pluckers who produce the birds for food. I am not particularly against shooting but wish they'd do it more quietly! It can be terrifying to be riding along, minding my own business, only a for a gun to go off, close by, without any warning!

The upside is that the Danish countryside is obviously managed for shooting. So many small copses and tree-lined, field ponds would probably vanish otherwise. It all adds to the beauty of the countryside whatever one may think about shooting something warm and fuzzy just for sport. No doubt it helps keep the rural social life going as well. Just a short walk around and across the stubble fields. It hardly rained all day but I was too busy for  ride.

Friday 29th 55-60F, 13C, light wind and heavy overcast with a damp start promised. Short walk. Rather cool with spots of rain in the air. It stayed dry for a ride of 13miles along the main roads. There was no other sensible route to my intended goal. Going well despite the easterly wind.

Saturday 30th 53F-12C, dark grey and windy form the east again. All day rain is forecast. 

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27 Sep 2017

26th September 2017 Surely not, again?


Tuesday 26th 56-60F, 13-15C, damp, heavy grey overcast and quite windy. A quiet walk along the lanes. A busy day at home so no ride.

The UN is investigating Denmark for breaking global sanctions against the use of North Korean forced labour to build their latest, coal-fired battleship. The profits from the ship building are known to go straight to North Korea's nuclear weapons research according to one UN spokesman.

This verge trimmer had two independent mowers. Requiring some skill to work around signposts and other obstacles without losing its steady walking pace.

Wednesday 27th 56F, 13C, slightly misty, heavy grey overcast and quite windy. From now on I shall refer to my shopping rides as going to get ripped off by the danish supermarket chains. Without being paranoid it is obvious the system is set up for massive theft by the supermarkets. A complete lack of staff usually means a young teenager on the checkout is the only visible staff member.

Items are either not priced or are showing the wrong price compared with the bar code reader at the checkout. The belts at the checkouts are deliberately made short on both sides of the till to ensure the shopper has absolutely no chance in hell of having time to read the tiny print on the receipt. The shopper is too busy racing to put away their shopping as the queue inevitably lengthens. Because that is how the system works and is fine tuned to work precisely that way by the supermarkets.

There is usually nowhere to put down shopping bags while the receipt can be read unless one has a trolley. Many prefer a handheld basket when shopping for fewer items. The checkout staff always ask if a receipt is required. Many shoppers can't be bothered. To their own detriment, as they are more likely to be ripped off through ignorance of the charges for the items they just bought. They use a clever system where the full price of a reduced item is listed and then the discount shown below. This is deliberately designed to confuse the shopper. Who must do a double take before moving on down the list.

The staff often have no idea of the cost of items where a price label is not displayed and there are always unmarked items. I was told by a young teenager that both options of one product were the same, low price, but was then charged double at the checkout for the unmarked option. It occurs far too often that any item on special offer is literally removed from the shelves, or fridges and only returns after the end of the offer. This suggests that the manufacturer is paying for an offer which never transpires. It still seems very odd, to me, that a country in the EU has no consumer protection at all and only three chains of supermarket but using different trade names.

I took advantage of the stubble fields yet again to explore new viewpoints and capture fresh landscapes. I managed 56 images in all, thanks to my attempts to reach the same deer which has been grazing out on the prairies for several days now. It dashed off just as I reached the limits of my modest zoom lens. [Misty woods top left]

Not much later I found another deer resting in a hollow. It rose to its feet and we stared each other out. As I advanced a few steps at a time and took numerous snaps. The ground was remarkably dry this morning instead of the usual heavy dew. Even where the fields had been pig's muck sprayed it was firm underfoot.

A wealthy landowner has been accused of setting pigeons as live bait to catch birds of prey in traps to increase his profits from shooting on his land. He denies knowing anything about it. I wonder if he has Scots ancestry? No ride today.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

25 Sep 2017

25th September 2017 Surely not?

Monday 25th 55F, 13C, grey and windy.

Latest Danish headlines: Denmark's 5th, coal-fired battleship was built by North Korean, forced labour! That would be like suggesting that Hitler used forced labour to build the Ark Royal. This is just so wrong, on so many levels, I really don't know where to start. So I'd better not. 😇

The second story was about whether the AGW-Free, Danish coalition government would have an excuse to rip up all the windmills in Denmark. This was after three hours of dead calm stalled every single wind turbine in Denmark. A new record and ABSOLUTE PROOF of a LACK OF global warming.

Just think, if they'd allowed a large fleet of electric cars to exist in Denmark, by now, the unexpected lull could have been safely overcome by storage. The car's batteries could have fed back to all the Danish architect-designed toasters, architect-designed espresso coffee machines and iPlods if anyone had actually thought it through in advance.

Instead of which they all threw themselves on the ground and wailed about the crippling lack of wind power undermining Danish standards of living. And being thrown back into the Dark Ages of Benign Socialism and unfair equality.

Talking of storm tossed seas...

I bet the "powers that be" are already plotting another [Danish architect designed] coal-fired power station. To be run on North Korean coal, shoveled into the boilers by forced labour from North Korea! Surely not?

Methinks it is time for another walk amongst the morning, dodgem cars. Four drivers tried but failed to fell me. I walked a familiar route which I ration for myself to avoid over-familiarity. Well away from any roads it is a rare, unspoilt, rural, public footpath.

It finally descends very steeply to the outskirts of a village with pretty trees and well kept gardens. There I joined a quiet lane to walk back to the main road and the usual mayhem. When I glanced across to "my" usual dark woods, I saw a stag standing rigidly to attention. It was right out in the middle of the still half-ploughed prairie posing like a statue. Elsewhere, tractors toiled tirelessly on the steeply sloping fields. Probably aiming to wrench the most crops out of the badly undulating landscape to fulfill the demands of the EU dictatorship.

I'm hoping to be allowed out later if GLS can manage to deliver my parcel, only 10 miles in three days, to the pickup point. This, after waiting for weeks for the online dealer to get their act in gear. Throughout which extended time, it has clung grimly to its completely and utterly fraudulent, "2-5 days delivery" on its website. That's the problem with having no consumer protection in Denmark.. Late morning ride to the shops to be ripped off. Parcel safely collected. 7 miles.

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23rd September 2017 Rural bliss!


Saturday 23rd 53-60F, 12-15C, calm, bright and sunny.  The wind turbines were struggling to get started on flat batteries. Today was practice day for a driving 'dotard' who really ought not to be doing so any more. He approached along the straight with his inside wheels only a foot from the verge. With no obvious intention on his part to go out around me I jumped into the long grass to save my own life. His expression and fixed g[l]aze never altered. As he continued on his way like some cruise missile with a badly broken guidance system.

Further on, the roads were plastered in mud. The local farmer obviously thinks the public highway is where one turns one's tractor at the end of each furrow when ploughing the chocolate stuff.

Later still, the usual 'nutter' in his Mercedes two-seater came around a blind corner with what is usually described as "considerable enthusiasm." It can only be a matter of time before something vulnerable, or immovable, is blocking his path. In the interests of fairness one can only hope for the latter.

A dozen or more pheasants were tentatively crossing the field between two copses. At the sight of my good self they scattered in assorted directions. They really ought to elect a strong leader to keep things under control at times like these.

I was allowed out for my familiar Saturday morning ride. Going quite well and cruising at between 16 and 18mph on the way there. A couple of fit young chaps on their carbon steeds went past on the way back. Later I passed them as they dawdled beside the road. Then I was overtaken again. The home-made, Outboard, 40 liter saddlebag is really proving its worth. 15 miles.

Sunday 24th 56-60F,13-15C, heavy overcast and still. A potentially damp start is forecast but brighter later. My walk took me slightly further afield than usual along a quiet farm track to woods and ponds. Probably in excess of one hundred and fifty sparrows were moving like a swarm of bees along the hedgerows. A deer popped out and wandered along without realizing I was there. Lots of pheasants to be seen again. Busy again, so no ride today.

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22 Sep 2017

22nd September 2017 Words, not indeed.


Friday 22nd 49-58F, 9-15C, slightly misty, very light breeze and bright. It should be a better day today . 

Continuing on yesterday's green theme: Y'all couldn't make it up! The Danish, right wing, coalition government is decreasing registration taxes on large and luxury cars by roughly £5000-6000 [equivalent] but increasing taxes on small cars. The smaller the car the more it will cost extra. No mention of electric cars or hybrids in the news article. Woohoo! Abandon hope of any CO2 reduction from this lot. 

They were only elected in a desperate bid to end the socialist's open door immigration policy. But have assumed the mantle of having a mandate for building inequality. Owners of homes in the major cities are enjoying a massive boom and have built wine cellars with tax breaks on home improvements. Normal people's homes are unsaleable, uninsulated, unheatable and falling down in the countryside. 

Meanwhile immigrant gangs are having cowboy shooting matches in major Danish city streets over their drugs sales turfs. And, there are hundreds of sentenced, immigrant criminals with prison records and deportation notices, but still no ticket home.

The winding track across the half sewn prairie seen from the ridge above.

When I came to Denmark I was told by a wise man that one should always judge a person on their actions. Rather than their words. Welcome to The Dark Green Climate Friendly Asylum  Elysium. It could be worse. I could still be living in Gravely Blighted! And nobody wants that. 😊

My walk in warm autumn sunshine took an anticlockwise turn around the edges of stubble fields.  I watched several large birds of prey going about their business.

It seems some lunatic used a long banned agricultural chemical to kill a family of Red Kites in Jutland. A harmless but impressive bird which clears up the countryside of animal corpses apparently. It is protected in Denmark, except from brain dead fuckwits. The latest news is that many long-banned chemicals are pouring out of the horticultural grower's greenhouses into the Danish water courses.

A smart little warbler was looking for snacks in a hedge and came within a few feet of me. Just as I thought I might get a quick snap with my camera it went off to find another hedge. Several groups of deer were relaxing in the fields and enjoying the sunshine. A pair of young kept their heads down in a dip only a few yards away, as the mother dashed off. Presumably to draw my attention away. Later, all three were watching me intently, from afar, before bounding back into the forest. No ride today.

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21 Sep 2017

21st September 2017 Dark Green Messiah?


Thursday 21st 54F, 12C, heavy overcast, calm, with light showers possible. 

Fyn [the central island of Denmark's three land masses] has been voted the best cycling area in Denmark. Ironically the article showed the picturesque, winding causeway to a local peninsula which is routinely used as a racetrack by drivers in both directions. Riding bicycles two abreast, as shown in the article's illustration, would be completely suicidal! BTW: There is no cycle lane in either direction on the narrow causeway.

Danish MPs are raising questions about their own Prime Minister after his attempt to paint roller himself as a Green Messiah at the UN: His tenure has seen the abandonment of many long established "green" policies and the closure of important monitoring institutions and records. Not to mention completely freezing electric cars out of the Danish market with savage registration taxes. With his support [and theirs] farmers now enjoy far greater freedom to despoil the countryside and greatly increase the risk to coastal seas and waterways than ever before.

Meanwhile, Denmark's CO2 release increased in 2016 despite empty promises to curb CO2 to former/historical levels at important international conferences. That'll be all the dirty diesel cars they still encourage via taxation and fuel subsidies, the increase in legal road speeds and the coal fired power stations. The short-lived bout of massive subsidies to the middle classes, for solar panel installation, has ended. So there was never any 'trickle down' to the working classes. It's like hybrid cars. There are so few on the roads that it's all a tiny drop in the ocean of CO2 belching from "green" Denmark.  

I was actually quite shocked to discover there is a Danish Minister of the Environment. I can't image he can find much to do each day. Though no doubt his office is truly palatial and impossible to heat efficiently. The Environment post is probably considered a "dirty" starter job for very junior politicians to get a first step onto the gravy train. With the promise of better things provided they don't attract too much negative publicity. 

This week's negative publicity? Strangely "forgotten" [now highly illegal] farm toxins seeping down [untested!] into the deep wells which supply 99.6% of Denmark's drinking water. Now reaching levels several times the legal limit and now we are told, microplastics are found in Danish drinking water. Burp! 

Another day of showers possible with the vague promise of better things later. Time for a walk. Wish me luck! A driver on his phone nearly hit me yesterday as he cut sharply across a blind corner with one hand on the wheel. 

I turned and gave him my [now infamous] replace the handset sign but he waved dismissively as he glanced in his rear view mirror. Don't these chumps realise that hitting a pedestrian in a bright orange coat would delay their journey by several moments unless they used the familiar SMIDSY + hit and run tactic. Though that would require a lack of witnesses. So there is still a very slight risk of his being identified as the killer perp. Perhaps the orange "rag" flapping from his windscreen wiper would give him away? One can but hope. Posthumously of course. 😉

I didn't have to wait for the first blind corner today. Several cars were following a builder's van too closely. So that they missed that he had changed his course by about a foot to brush past me. There was no oncoming traffic but they all still clung to their track like the demented morons they really are. There is no passing place for three miles in the direction they were going. Solid double white lines until the next village and then 30, 25 and 20mph speed limits.

It seems my bright orange, secondhand, Helly Hansen jacket has become part of the scenery. So that I am now totally invisible. [And don't call me Harry Potter!]  Particularly to those practicing Hollywood-style, presidential convoys. Only when I waved my arms frantically did they jerk away from me at the very last moment. May one use the term "retards" in the derogatory sense these days? Always the speeding brain surgeon, these commuters. Never the cleaner.

I left the road as soon as possible and headed for the woods along the soggy and muddy track. There I found neat stacks of logs and even more mud. I branched off uphill and cut through the woods to the boundary. Where I could walk freely across large fields of damp stubble.

Later on I paused to watch a Red kite through my binoculars. It was circling low in search of breakfast but seemed unperturbed by my presence. There was not enough wind for soaring. So there was quite a bit of flapping of its long, dark tipped, 'fingered' wings. Bird watchers, who live in Scotland, will just have to imagine these gorgeous birds. While they wait, for a millennium or two, until their billionaire absentee landlords stop poisoning birds of prey for a fatter profit from investment banker <cough> huntsmen with too much time and other people's losses on their hands. 

A cat sitting just below the circling Kite bolted when it woke from hunting mode. They must go into such a concentrated state of mind that they miss contact with what is going on around them. Just like many drivers! Several deer moved along the field hedges. Or dived through them when they spotted me from hundreds of yards away. So my tatty sailing jacket is not a cheap, Harry Potter invisibility rip-off, after all.

I was allowed out, in the late afternoon, to fetch the shopping. Unnecessary CO2 leakage minimal. Only 7 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 


20 Sep 2017

20th September 2017: "London cyclist mown down by Kerb Lemming phoning furiously!"

Wednesday 20th 53F, 12C, calm, overcast and wet. Showers forecast [and provided.]

After further consideration, I have decided that my only real complaint against the "furiously riding" London cyclist rests solely on his not having a front brake. And thereby attracting negative publicity for all cyclists following "an unusual accident."

The tragic death of the women involved was a very rare occurrence and very likely entirely her own fault. She stepped out and then reversed back into the UNFORTUNATE cyclist's path. Leaving the cyclist with an intolerable choice COMPOUNDED by his deliberately crap choice of an illegal braking system.

I still believe he could have reduced his speed far more effectively with a decent front brake instead of a uselessly skidding back tyre on a wet road.

Denying that he did not know it was illegal, as well as ridiculously unsafe, is like saying he didn't know whether he needed a saddle or handlebars on his bike.

NO cyclist moving in cycling circles, as he was over several years, is unaware of the legal and safety needs for a front brake. His own choice of machine, to avoid having a front brake, largely resulted in the publicity surrounding the tragedy which unfolded.

His speed at the time was totally and utterly irrelevant provided it was under the legal speed limit. The cyclist has no special duty to dawdle below the local traffic's speed "just in case."

His lack of helmet was an entirely personal choice and not yet a crime against humanity.

His online opinions, in the aftermath, on a lemming who stepped out in front of a cyclist, were as valid any other's. Tragedy aside, he was the "injured" party and had every right to complain! Only in perfect hindsight and sharing normal human sympathy did they seem in rather poor taste. Though still fully understandable and fully justifiable as he had no knowledge of the women's deteriorating condition.

I hope he appeals against his sentence. Not least to undo the "hanging court" proceedings of a universal manslaughter charge brought simply for not having a front brake on a bicycle. Particularly when a pedestrian deliberately casts themselves off the pavement into his path.

The cyclist was riding on the road. NOT on the pavement.

The pedestrian had the choice of using a nearby crossing but chose not to enjoy its far greater safety. That choice resulted in her death. As did her inattention before stepping onto the road where cyclists and vehicles are normally to be expected.

The court finding could be interpreted to mean that no cyclist, anywhere, may safely exceed 14mph in any built-up area without public criticism, media lynch mobs, or even police prosecution. Is such a punishment warranted for all cyclists, everywhere? Even if they have legal and powerful brakes?

In my own youth popular brake blocks were absolutely useless on steel rims in the wet! The brake blocks were still sold. As were the steel rims by "nefarious" cycle shops and manufacturers globally! Would any cyclist today be charged with manslaughter for having steel rims on their bicycle if they had a collision with a suicidal pedestrian?

This cyclist's punishment completely ignores the freedom of the majority of motorists to drive like uncaring sociopaths at 30mph in any built-up area. Without suffering any sanction at all!

If drivers really cared for pedestrians, then they would surely not allow themselves to drive above a walking pace where pedestrians wander? Just in case a mobile phone abuser behaves suicidally.

Think about that aspect for a moment. The chances of being killed by a quiet car, or motorcycle, are far higher than by any breathless cyclist at the same speed. It's all about mass and acceleration of the "victim" in the collision. Shouldn't motorists be required to crawl along rather than the cyclist? Statistics and science both tell us that the cyclist struggles to cause the awful mayhem and serious injuries of any moving vehicle.

Very quiet electric vehicles, motorcycles and millions of bicycles already inhabit roads. Surely the onus is on the pedestrian to behave sensibly rather than playing the Kerb Lemming?

And for cyclists, who must inevitably ride closer to the pavements than most other vehicles, your duty to humanity is simply to have proper brakes. And to pray you don't meet another Kerb Lemming.

Isn't it time that walking on any road, with an active mobile phone, was banned with a hefty fine? What's sauce for the goose is surely sauce for the gander[er.] If a cyclist may not use a mobile phone. And nor may any driver. Then why not demand suicidal Kerb Lemmings follow suit, by an immediate change in the law? Or has the unfortunate cyclist become the new 'N' word under the law?

There is ongoing discussion on finding better ways to prosecute cyclists who ride dangerously enough to cause injury to pedestrians. Still no discussion on penalizing jay walking while using mobile phones. Local councils are responsible for setting road speed limits and signposting. May we look forwards to signs for cyclists to ride at speeds well below vehicle speeds? 

The arrival of near silent, electrically assisted bicycles is going to cause mayhem if they are allowed to travel above walking pace in built up areas. Elderly riders with slow reaction times will be moving as fast as trained athletes.

Training the Kerb Lemmings via costly TV safety campaigns to look out for Tesla boys and girls is very unlikely to have much impact on them. They already know the roads are stuffed to the gills with impatient drivers in their extremely dangerous vehicles. The statistics scream out the warnings that crossing roads is a dangerous sport. Yet still they step into the road with the attention span of a gnat [or Lemming.]

By all means have a £1000 fine or a year in jail, or both, for not having a front brake on a bicycle. But what about the penalty for walking straight into the path of a moving vehicle or bicycle? A posthumous fine? Denial of emergency health care unless they are blocking the traffic?

Click on any image for an enlargement.

18 Sep 2017

18th September 2017 Kerb Lemmings 'R' Us.


Monday 18th 42F, 6C, calm with thick mist. Houses 50 yards away are just visible though not clear. The eastern sky looks brighter so there is still hope of some sunshine if the mist clears. Which it did as I walked to the village and back.

A large tractor was busy, somewhere out in the mist, but I couldn't see anything. So I had to content myself with some atmospheric shots of a patiently waiting, fuel tender.

The London idiot who rode a bike without a front brake has been sentenced to 18 months in a young offenders institution. The lady pedestrian, whom he hit with his thick head, received a death sentence, without appeal, or any chance of parole. Her innocent family left uncomprehending and grief stricken by her summary execution.

How many more copycat fuckwits will still claim they didn't know it is illegal to ride on the public roads without a front brake? Why not set a huge automatic fine and automatic crushing of their machines to <cough> fix their attention?

Mark Beaumont from Scotland has just smashed the Round the World cycling record in under 80 days. He needed to average 240 miles per day and set  a new record for most miles cycled in a month as well! One superhero popularizes cycling. Another trashes cycling and breeds cyclist haters. One is a real cyclist. The other a deluded, immature prat. Or not. See below.

 http://www.bbc.co.uk Mark Beaumont smashes round the world record.

Tuesday 19th 50F, 10C, bright but cloudy with a whiff of a breeze. Rain this afternoon. A recent bit of research suggests that electric bikes are good for rider fitness. Provided they still have to pedal to go along it wad found that most riders worked as hard as a battery-free cyclist but went a lot faster. The side effects of "getting out there" compared with sitting in a car or train for a daily commute would seem to be equally beneficial IMO. The extended range on offer to Tesla girls and boys should make many marginal distance commutes far more psychologically manageable.

A knowledgeable person pointed out to me, the other day, that the two young persons on Focus MTBs were actually, electrically assisted. I had no idea electric bikes could be so sleek! Though the weight more closely matches a "human assisted" trike at a not-inconsiderable premium in price! £5K for the top end models @ 22kg suggests some serious progress is still required in battery weight. I could power my own trike with hot air but hydrogen might be more <cough> universally available.

My walk sent me along the track to the woods. Where there was considerable effort going on to plough and resew the prairie. With a pair of large tractors working together on the ploughing. Meanwhile an immodestly sized, seed drill was trundling back and forth further on. Doubled wheels, all around, presumably to reduce ground pressure, seems to be popular around here. I wouldn't want to meet one of these in a narrow lane on my trike!

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13 Sep 2017

13th September 2017 Storm in a teacup?

Wednesday 13th 53F, 11C, already windy, heavy overcast with gales and heavy rain forecast. A low will cross Denmark from the UK this evening and overnight with storm force gusts. The Tour of Denmark riders will be expected to cope with high winds here on Fyn. Unlucky for some?

Harridslevgaard Slot. 
[Harridslev Farm Castle near Bogense.]

Here we are after lunch and the rain has been coming down in sheets with the trees thrashing about in the wind. The rain stopped for w while after 4pm and we even had some sunshine. The Danmark Rundt stage was called off after 100km. [about 60miles] due to the foul weather.  No ride for me!

Thursday 14th 52-58F, 11-14C, heavy overcast and calm at first. The wind and heavy rain had restarted and continued well into the night. More showers are expected today but with lighter winds. My cup anemometer is hardly turning at 7.30am with a light northwesterly breeze. I was hoping for a walk but there are rain drops on the windows. Some ducks flew over and The Head Gardener suggested they were looking for somewhere drier.

Smug tabby dreaming in the stubble.

I walked to the village and back to discover the first morning where I could feel the chill air on my hands. It soon passed as I ambled between the sheltering, roadside  hedges with a wary eye on the traffic. Yesterday's storm has kicked off autumn with the roads littered with small twigs and green leaves. The winds were light and it stayed dry. With even a brief glimpse of sunshine through holes punched in the overcast.

Risked a ride to the shops. The sky was blue black ahead as I rode back into a headwind. Soon after I arrived home there was a cloudburst. Only 7 miles.

Friday 15th 50-58F, 10-14C, bright and still at first but showers and wind promised for later. A lovely morning for walk so I headed up the familiar, but well-puddled track to the woods. From there I headed up through the stubble where I came across four medium-sized dear. No monarchs of the glen but they watched me carefully as I crept forwards along the forest boundary. Twenty images later, at full zoom, there was a  loud bark from behind me and the deer scattered back to the woods.

I walked on towards the summit and returned home by circumnavigating the far side of the field. As I descended to leave the field I disturbed a pheasant. Which plodded jerkily off, straight towards a black cat lying in deep grass. Fortunately the battle of wills was short lived and the cat ran flat out back to the safety of its farmyard. No ride today.

Saturday 16th 50F, 10C, heavy overcast, very light breeze but still dry, except underfoot. I walked around a stubble field where I saw a White headed eagle soaring over the edge of the forest. Having followed it out of sight in my binoculars a crow shouted hoarsely/coarsely from a treetop right above me. There followed a conversation on the etiquette of drawing attention to oneself in the middle of a field for no particularly good reason. It glared down at me but did not move off. Probably under strict orders not to leave its observation post. I returned home bemused but with suitably muddied gaiters. A long grey day without a ride.

Sunday 17th 50F 10C, light winds again but with the promise of showers, possibly heavy, with thunder and hail. It remained dry during my walk along the lanes. A wall of low, grey cloud slid rapidly under towering, sunlit cumulus.

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12 Sep 2017

12th September 2017. Out and about.

Tuesday 12th 56F, 13C, highly variable, windy weather with showers and sunny periods. A meteorological low will cross Denmark with 25m/s, 50+ mph gusts tomorrow. Nice!

It started raining after half a mile but our hero plodded on regardless. The traffic seemed rather light until two articulated lorries brushed the inside verge on blind corners. While yours truly played the acrobatic clown on the steeply sloping grass. Getting killed once is careless. Getting killed twice, in one morning, by two different vehicles, seems almost foolish.

Egeskov Slot. [Oakwood Castle?]

Home of a remarkable transport and agricultural museum and gardens with several mazes. You could spend days there and still not see everything. Luckily I was able to talk our visitor down from any suggestion of taking a "treetop walk!" 

At least it reminds me of my lowly status in relation to vital goods transport's absolute right to unhindered progress to feed the desperately needy. If I gave up my morning walks I might die prematurely anyway. So it's not a win-win situation for wrinkly, rural pedestrians. I could choose to become eccentrically bolshy and demand my right to free passage on The Dronning's [Queen's] Highway. Sadly, I fear my "stand" would not last very long. More likely to be in recumbent mode, I would say.

The rain increased steadily after the turn at the village church and I had to fight to keep my baseball cap in place. Were these things invented by the Wright Bros? Did they skip the chinstrap purely on weight grounds? The wind was gusting strongly from the south, at times, as if to hinder my safe return to Chez Rural Hovel. I kept my left hand modestly cupped over my binoculars to save wetting the eyepieces. It wouldn't do much harm but it does make the views somewhat streaky.

Only part of Egeskov's classic car collection. 

There are also motorcycles galore, mopeds and bicycles in profusion, planes, carts, coaches and agricultural implements to admire. The castle contains many hunting trophies of now extinct animals and birds. Plus the weapons which ensured their untimely demise.

My only real criticism is the placing of information placards on the floors of the vast buildings housing the cars. This makes them almost impossible to read for curious old farts like myself. So I spent much time on one knee holding my reading glasses and peering at poorly lit, multilingual signs to discover the identity of many items on display. Perhaps they should have hired out knee pads at the turnstiles? Or torches? Nobody ever tells you that the ground gets further away with each passing decade! From now on I'm reserving my kneeling for the receiving of knighthoods for the promotion of tricycling and the encouragement of tourism in Denmark. 

Plans are afoot for a shopping ride if only to remind myself how it's done. I have a had a week without practice and may well have lost the knack by now. You have to fit these things in when you can. What with the forecast looking so dire. Though the local shoe shop is probably still safe from marauding looters. This is Denmark, after all.

Mid-afternoon ride was delayed by a cloudburst. Rather windy but blowing diagonally across the road. Nothing else to irritate me as it stayed dry and the traffic must have been giving me a wide berth. Luckily I hadn't forgotten how to tricycle as I took a ramp at a rate of knots on the diagonal. There's nothing straightforward about tricycling. Only 7 miles. The Tour of Denmark breakaway went the wrong way due to a lack of guidance at a crossing. The stage was won by a Dane.

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