Terii’s Cycling Babble

Where Did He Go?
August 31, 2013, 7:35 am
Filed under: Day Rides

Yesterday was a ‘landmark’ ride on several fronts, but it was overshadowed.

In spite of having several days where I was just too sick to even want to walk through the apartment, I managed to squeeze in a few rides. The goal for August, to break through last year’s mileage, dangled within reach and I didn’t want it to slip away because my body delights in inflicting suffering upon me. So on one day, even though each half turn of the pedal felt like a punch to the gut, I yet managed to go chip off a few miles. Just 2 River Loops, but miles are miles.

The 29th, since Loke had been so draggy on the previous 2 rides, I took him with me as I decided I’d ride to make an a salon appointment with a friend of Jens’ sisters who’s been doing my hair since I moved here in 2005. Yes, I could call, but it felt good to get out for a ride with a definitive goal in mind rather than simple ‘Get Miles’. All that’s accomplished with ‘Get Miles’ or ‘Get Exercise’ is River Loops.

And again, Loke was ploddy and slow. Even when we made the turn away from the River Loop to head into Uppsala proper. I guess we’ve done the city too much of recent for it to excite him enough to put bounces in his steps.

The day was a murky gray, medium shade where the general clouds hid the blue but studded here and there with cells of dark-bellied threats of rain. A tiny bit on the cool side, though humid and almost windless. We dragged along and finally cut in toward the cathedral. As I rolled down a slope of cobblestones, I came out into an area and realized it wasn’t a bad shot of the big church. Still not ideal, but as tall as the Dom Kyrka is it would need a LOT of clear space to truly capture it’s magnificence. That’s often in short supply even in the smallest European cities. And I would use the tripod.

I pulled it out and set to making all the adjustments. Just as I went to slot the camera into place, there came a gust of wind and… you guessed it. Rain. Hurriedly, I crammed everything away and for once I didn’t have to hustle Loke along. The wet came down dense enough that he didn’t like it and probably hoped I was heading for shelter.

I was! That rain was cold! Protection from that chill deluge was found near the river through the city. There’s a little ice cream kiosk with awnings erected over its tables at the back, right at the riverside. I found a spot to put the trike where I hoped its seat would mostly remain dry and took the handlebar bag to table to wait it out.

A family sat not far away eating ice cream. They had Loke’s complete and undivided attention. It probably could have rained cats or other small animals and he never would have noticed. He sat cutely with an intensely hopeful look on his face as he watched them. Any time one of them looked at him, he’d perk up and wag his tail. A few times, he even woofed. It made them all smile and the kids giggle.

After that it was a slow coast through the crowded shopping district which is an entire walking street. It was packed. Clearly, Uppsala is full and bustling again. I parked outside the salon and darted in. Jenny was with client, but called out hello as I made an appointment with her through one of the other stylists. It turns out, Jenny hadn’t seen Loke since he was a puppy. Certainly, she’d never seen the trike. She seemed to enjoy being able to look at both though it was through the window as she worked.

We finished up with 7.2 miles leaving 8.7-ish miles left to break the goal and 2 days of the month remaining.

The most frustrating parts of Loke’s behavior on the rides after he’s been so sluggish and listless over the miles, is he comes home and is bouncing around, often being a pest. Add to that, Jens teasing me about how I’m slacking and must not have taken Loke out with the trike at all. It is just teasing, but still it deepens the vexation and worries.

I miss the husky who used to bounce around when I put on the ‘magic clothes’ or whirled dizzily once his harness was on. The one who could wedge himself against the door to be sure I didn’t forget him when going out for a ride. He was a different dog even just a month ago when he flew through Copenhagen as if on winged feet and powered through the Danish countryside!

Given how fine he acts when back at home, Jens thinks I should try locating a completely fresh area to see how Loke does. A good idea, but that requires going some distance. Jens would have to drive me because I have NO confidence in Loke’s stamina to risk taking the car which would leave no way of easy rescue if the fuzzy one has issues.

Then yesterday, though it was laundry day, I decided to head out for yet another ride. The clothes were finished in good time. I decided we’d do the Vaksala/Granby Loop which is about 10 miles, comfortably putting the year’s total distance over 804. Besides, we’ve not done that run in some months and Loke’s always loved the ‘roller coaster’ stretch.

UGH!! I’m not sure, but except for the time on our first tour when he likely got bit by a snake and ended up nearly hobbling on 3 legs until I found a safe place to wait an hour for Jens, Loke’s never gone so SLOW. I was about to pull my hair out with frustration. Frustration at the pace, worrying why Loke was being so laggardly. The snails that laughed as they streaked passed us didn’t help either. The only time Loke actually moved briskly was when a cat scurried across the road.

At least there was one moment that made me smile, though it had nothing to do with Loke.

We came up to a familiar pasture area. At first I spotted only 3 horses near where a patch of woods came down nearly to the fence line. 2 beautiful black animals and a sleek dark brown bay. Cluttered among the trees, I continued on without stopping for a picture. Just out of sight of them, in a clear area between the fence and dense thickets of undergrowth, I found another horse with a red-brown coat.

Apple Glutton!

Apple Glutton!

Where the others had been grazing happily on grass, this one was gorging itself at the limbs of a small, but well laden apple tree. I had to laugh, even as I hoped the piglet in a horse’s body didn’t make itself sick. So intent it was, that it didn’t even swivel an ear in our direction as it munched away. I could just imagine its owners scratching their heads in bafflement as to why their horse had gained 200 lbs.

I needed that chuckle to brighten the ride.

I managed to prod Loke along until we reached Granby’s mall. Then I parked and called Jens to come get the furry, four-footed slug. 7.62 miles which had taken us more than an hour and a half of rolling time. Not enough to tip me over the magical 804. Still the distance between the mall and home should have been just enough.

By the time Jens arrived and Loke was bouncing around him in greeting, as if thrilled with being rescued, I decided to link up with River Loop where it passes the school. Once I did that, I’d be absolutely certain of having the distance I needed and be done with August’s goal.

I reset the GPS and even as Jens rolled out, so did I. The trike and I were off like a shot once I made it out of the parking lot and onto the cycle paths. I clipped along at 12 mph and blurred down the hills near the mall at over 20 mph. Once in the park land between the 4H pastures and an apartment block, I had to slow to about 9 mph because of all the foot and cycle traffic there. Before I knew it, I was whipping past the school and heading for the underpass.

I finished up my little solo ride with 6.01 miles and did so under 35 minutes. I even felt like I’d had exercise.

With the day done, I entered the miles. With still 4 months of the year to go, the current mileage for 2013 stands at 808.91 as of August 30th. It is officially my 2nd best year for mileage since buying my Trice in 2006. Great as that is, it’s doubtful I can make this my best year ever. To do so would require an average of 126 miles for the next 4 months to push me over 1,310 miles. Very doable in September. Probably manageable in October. Once snows come and the days start getting really short with the chances of incredibly cold snaps (below 25 F), much less likely for November and December.

In theory, I could try to hammer out 200+ miles in September with 125 to 150 in October if the weather holds with a chance of making the last 200 or so miles in November – December.

With 2 weeks of September being in other parts of Europe, even with the trike, I’m not sure I can pull it off. 15 planned miles in the area around Bruges. 25+ miles from Reims to Epernay. From there, things are more vague. There’s a lovely mountain village in central France called Salers. It’s set in a stunning landscape. I have a theoretical plotted route of 40-45 miles, but given the rough terrain, I think that would take me 3 days at least. Not sure Jens would want to sit there that long. I do hope to do at least 20 miles of it though. Perhaps two nights in the village with one day for me to cycle in the national park which was sculpted by volcanoes millions of years ago.

From there I am determined to see Carcassone which part of the city is the original medieval walled village and castle. I thought about Lascaux, but the original cave have been closed to the public in a desperate bid to save the paintings (which I completely agree with). I don’t find the idea of seeing a copy cave as intriguing. The rest of the Vézère Valley, in which the Lascaux caves lie, is rich with other sites of ice age habitation making it very interesting to me. It would be the oldest traces of man I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. Older by far than Stonehenge or the beautiful passage graves I crawled into while in Denmark. The Camargue with the bulls, horses and wildlife.

Italy is proving more difficult for me to find places of interest to visit, particularly if we try to stay in the northern parts. Jens surprised me by mentioning Venice but I don’t see much cycling happening there. Still could be lovely to see! One of Jens’ co-workers mentioned a lake region in the area, but all my glimpses of it in Street View put me off cycling the region. Narrow, busy looking roads and while some of the views are beautiful, every stop I’d be making would appear to be surrounded by modern and not terribly attractive constructions. I’d much rather drive through to find the pretty photos and be done with as quickly as possible rather than pedal around. The Etruscans didn’t settle so far north it seems. The sword in the stone that pricks my interest is further south.

Jens has mentioned us going back to Italy come next spring, but we’d be flying down with his parents, so no cycling.

Hmm. Got a bit off track there… sort of.

Other significant things accomplished yesterday! My Garmin GPS-s, as of yesterday’s ride, have recorded a total of 5,000+ miles. May 29th, 2007 was the first ride with a Garmin GPS for a distance of 3.45 miles. Clearly since I’ve had an ICE trike since 2006, I’ve done significantly more than 5,000 miles. But as I refuse to guess, GPS recorded 5,000 miles it is.

Yesterday also passed 1,000 miles on my Sprint 26 since it arrived at my door In November 2012. I’m quite pleased with that! Actually, thinking of it in those terms and with how short a time I’ve had it, 1,000 miles almost feels incomprehensible.

So, that’s all that’s been going on. Now I should get back to plotting ways to torment my husband on our European trip!

Planning & Riding
August 22, 2013, 6:52 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc
A rare cuddly moment from Loke

A rare cuddly moment from Loke

And the plans advance! It doesn’t feel as if it’s happening fast enough though. We’ve little over 3 weeks before the trip and I’ve only managed to work out our path to the northern tip of France just below the Belgium border. I really need to advance that and quickly. After all, we fully intend to make it to the southern part of France and expect to go into northern Italy at the very least.

At least I’ve managed to plot a ride through part of the Champagne region from Reims to Epernay. Roughly 25 miles. Jens will drop me off at the Porte de Mars (Gate of Mars) where I’ll cycled through the town and onward to Epernay to rejoin my hubby who will have spent the day exploring champagne cellars.

Much like here in Sweden, it looks as if I’ll be steeple chasing as it were. Unlike Sweden, it seems most French country churches are snugly tucked into the heart of villages. If they’re old churches, then it will the old and hopefully interesting parts of the villages! Believe it or not, I have a method rather than an obsession with old religious buildings.

Google Street View has made me a little nervous about riding in France. Even in the small villages, the roads still have the medieval narrowness. Add that cars are parked on one side with barely enough space for a person to walk between buildings and vehicles… doesn’t leave much room for a bike let alone a recumbent trike.

We could make it deeper into France than just to Epernay on that day, but Jens wants to experience the sparkling wines that share their name with the region. There are a number of cellars of the most prominent champagne producers in Epernay and they’re open for tours to the public. So… barely 2 hours from Brugge, we’re stopping and spending remainder of the day and the night in the area. I have a feeling I’ll be driving that next morning as someone nurses a sore head. Besides, it will give me a chance to ride even if 80% of it will be past countless acres of grapes.

I also discovered yesterday that the city where the ferry disembarks, Rostock in Germany, has some absolutely stunning parts. We won’t be spending much time in Germany or the Netherlands though.

Just as well. Planning rides in Germany would be a complete nightmare. I’ve come to rely on Google Street View to help plan. It’s critical for figuring out the best roads. Which are unpaved and badly rutted, or too big with too much traffic without a wide shoulder, or … well, you get the idea.

Why can’t I use Google Street View? Because, it simply disappears anywhere inside the German borders. Jens believes the reason relates to the extremely strict German privacy laws. Oddly, there are still photos pinned to Google Maps throughout the area which were great for finding some points of interest on the way, but most people don’t photograph roads so not much help to plan the safest ways for a bike.

Any way, once done with this post, I need to do more work on further plans. Another main thing I need to do is plan my ride in the Brugge area. Silly of me to already have the Reims – Epernay ride planned with no clue of what I’m doing in Belgium.

Folded with handlebar bag as scale.

Folded with handlebar bag as scale.

And set up to my eye-level

And set up to my eye-level

Oh! While I mentioned using my tripod last Sunday (August 18th), I haven’t shared photos of it! So, here it is where I stopped to photograph Kulla Church.

Have I mentioned I really love this tripod??

Miles around home continue to accumulate.

The 19th was ride-free, but I still had a vigorous bout of exercise with a 2.2 mile pole-walk with Jens and Loke through the city forest again.

The 20th was officially a rest day though I did go out for a River Loop with Loke. Jens had to rush to work early and Loke had plenty of energy with 2 full days without a trike outing. So, out the door we went. I took it slow and very easy. My cadence stayed low and I applied as little resistance to the pedals as I possibly could. The utterly lazy ride seemed to do me good, helping to ease the stiffness out of my muscles and got the blood flowing without completely ruining recovery from the 2 previous hard rides. Finished with 5.25 miles.

Then yesterday was another outing. I did the River Loop with Loke again and we took it as slow as the day before. Less for my sake as I felt fairly fresh. Loke though, he had a few moments of walking oddly. As we walked back to where I locked the trike, he went along awkwardly with his hind legs splayed out to either side. It lasted no more than 10 steps or so, but I nearly turned back around.

But he needed to be out and moving long enough to do his ‘business’. Given the alternative to walking him or bullying him to go slowly with the trike, we went on back to the Sprint. He did fine; didn’t try to pull at all or seem interested in running which I found a little worrying in spite of it being the boring River Loop. 2 or 3 times, he gave strange little hops with his hindquarters.

I’d planned to make the loop as short as possible due to Loke’s oddness. Frustratingly, he wouldn’t cooperate! He absolutely refused to go potty!

Finally, around mile 4, he relented. While I waited, I saw a tiny movement near an icky knitted glove tossed in the leaf-litter. A minuscule frog (most likely a toad actually), new morphed from a tadpole! It was barely the size of my thumbnail, perhaps half an inch from rump to nose.

Yes, I think even 'baby' frogs are cute!

Yes, I think even ‘baby’ frogs are cute!

It was the first one I’ve seen all year. I got up with my iPhone to see if I could get a picture of it. As I stepped off the path, about 5 more hopped away, blending perfectly with the decaying leaves. Hopefully I didn’t step on any. One of the tiny little things landed on a pale leaf and amazingly stayed there long enough to catch an image of.

Seeing them made me smile. The first frogs/toads of the year and for once they weren’t on the cycle path where I had to swerve and pray I missed them all.

By then, Loke had concluded his business and I curbed it like a good urban dog owner. From there it was about a mile home, still nice and slow. I coasted to a stop outside the apartment building with 5.22 miles on the Garmin.

After making sure Loke had plenty of fresh water, I hurriedly downloaded the outing so I could more easily separate the one with Loke from a second, solo ride I’d spontaneously decided to do.

I powered on toward the city forest. I’m not sure what my current obsession with the forest is lately. The loop I do for it is roughly 14 miles. Only 2.5 miles, 3 at the most, is actually the forest, meaning 10 to 11 are sections of the River Loop or through Uppsala. I could be riding through the countryside to do Börje or Ulva or Vaksala. Yet, off I went through Uppsala.

Paved road through wheat fields can't beat this!

Paved road through wheat fields can’t beat this!

Most likely, it’s because the Forest Loop is relatively new. I’ve only done it 2 or 3 times, not dozens like every other loop starting from the apartment. Besides, those few miles in the woods are beautiful and quiet while being utterly devoid of vehicular traffic.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I have to say it again. Heaven would be having a few thousand more miles of trails like those in the city forest. It’s a little more work than paved roads/paths, but the soft green shadows and rustlings of wildlife here or there. Deer, woodpeckers. I’ve even seen a dormouse scampering over a log on one of the walks. It’s so worth the extra effort.

Then of course, there’s the easy, almost wild ride down toward the city center. This time, when I made the turn toward and past the bandy court, I pushed on a little further, following the tree-shadowed road a bit beyond where it goes under the drawbridge. Then, I went toward the river. It gave me about another mile or so of river path before emerging near the old pump house.

Temptation was strong as I went leisurely down the river-side street with its cafes and restaurants, all with seating on the sidewalk. Ice cream. I wanted strawberry and chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone soooooo badly. I was a good girl though. I did stop and buy something from a kiosk, but just a bottle of cold water. It tasted almost as good as the ice cream I craved. Certainly better than the tepid stuff in my cycle bag.

As I sat sipping water, people watching, it was easy to see that Uppsala is returning to normalcy. The crowds are back from vacation and waves of students returning to the university. Makes cycling downtown a bit more of a challenge.

I made it home with 13.94 miles. For the day, I’d accumulated 19.16 miles. A significant bite out of the remaining miles I needed to break 803 of last year by the end of August as well as tip over 5,000 total recorded miles since getting my first Garmin.

Jens cheerfully suggested that I could break through the total mileage of 2008 and make 2013 my best year ever for distance. I had to chuckle at his optimism. I’d need at least 500 more miles and once the cold and short days close in, combined with my short rides because of Loke…. 500 is unlikely.

Maybe 2014 though! Hopefully there won’t be a completely ride-less month like last February.


Jumped Outta The Rut!
August 19, 2013, 11:44 am
Filed under: Day Rides

After typing the last photo-less post, I went for a ride the next day (August 12th). As usual, it was just the River Loop. Something to get Loke and I out for some exercise. Such a drag. Almost literally. Loke was poking along at nearly walking speed for most of it. The 8 miles took an hour and 40 minutes! I was about to start hauling him along just to get the tedium over with.

On August 13, Jens offered to take the train to work, leaving the car for me to drive somewhere for a short loop. Just something to get Loke and I somewhere new. I guess he was weary of hearing me grumble about Loke tripling the time it should take for a local ride.

Björklinge Kyrka - 2011

Björklinge Kyrka – 2011

I was a bit bouncy as I collected things for the ride and once Loke realized something more than stepping out the door to sit on the trike was happening, he got bouncy too. On the drive to Björklinge, he was restless. Pacing the small space he had in the car, sighing impatiently. Once at the church parking lot, he woofed and foot tapped at me while I got everything together.

Trike settled, Loke tethered, I plopped into the seat and put my feet on the pedals… with my everyday shoes. ‘Oh! I need to put on my cycle shoes!’ popped into my head. ‘You mean the ones sitting by the apartment door?’ immediately followed that thought.

I don’t have double pedals, one side platform and the other for cleats. That makes riding the trike even riskier. Loke woofed and then yodeled. I winced.

I couldn’t disappoint him. He was the most excited he’s been in weeks about a ride. I decided to go 2 or 3 miles at least for his sake. Just take it slow and try to avoid the worst of the bumps which could drop a foot and potentially yank my leg under the trike. I did not want a dislocated hip!

Loke kangaroo-hopped and yodeled as we rolled slowly out of Björklinge Church’s parking lot. So, we toodled along. Well, I toodled, Loke tried to strangle himself on the harness. He was a bundle of ‘I wanna run!’ furry fury!

It was a tense little ride. I held myself tight at a board, bracing against every little jiggle and jounce to keep my feet on the slippery pedals. It wasn’t the only stress of the ride. For about 100 yards or so, Loke started moving oddly. A strange hitch to the pace of his hind legs that bordered on being a full-on limp. The fact it didn’t seem to involve his feet, but rather this hips, concerned me more than usual. I’d have cut the ride short with that even with my cycle shoes.

We finished with just 3.06 miles. I felt like I’d had a full, vigorous gym work out with a hammering solo ride on top of it. Every muscle I was aware of burned and twitched. Even my shoulders and arms. At least I’d come away with out getting legs yanked under the trike’s crossbar.

When Jens got home that evening, I mentioned my concern about Loke’s odd rear end limp. ‘Yeah, he walked funny for a few steps on our walk this morning.’ That might have been good information to have before hand. Silly hubby.

So, the rest of the week was devoid of further miles. If he even suspected I was going for a ride without him without at least giving him a short trike-run before hand, Loke could have a tantrum. Howling fit to wake the dead, torture a few shoes, that sort of thing. If it hadn’t been something to do with his hind end, I would have accommodated him with little 3 mile loops. But even when he’s utterly bored with the River Loop, he still pulls like a mad dog for the first 100 yards or so. It could be that strain, brief as it is, might be enough to aggravate whatever made his butt walk funny.

Maybe I should have taken Loke to the vet, but other than his few steps with Jens on that walk and the 100 yards on the ‘Wrong Shoe Ride’, there were no further indications. I refused to push anything though. So, for 4 days, Loke (and I) had to just deal with walks.

My birthday passed quietly. Just a 2.6 mile walk with Loke while Jens was at work. Then the hubby took me out to dinner at my favorite restaurant. Jay Fu’s which is Amerasian fusion. I had lamb with a sweet-sour glaze and potato fritters stuffed with goat cheese. *drool*

Saturday began gray, a bit on the chill side, and wet. Around 10 am, it looked like the rain might have finished though the heavens remained shrouded with thick clouds. Desperate to ride someplace else where I’d maybe actually get exercise rather than simply baby-sitting Loke and the trike around here, I offered Jens a choice. I could take the car to go somewhere for a ride while he took Loke for a long walk or, if Jens played chauffeur I’d take the fuzzy one with me. That way, if anything happened with Loke, rescue would be easy.

Not surprisingly, Jens opted to drive.

I decided to do the thwarted ride around Björklinge again. It’s close enough, Jens has no qualms about the time in the car. This time, I remembered my shoes.

Beneath sunless skies, I got the trike ready while Loke sniffed around, dragging Jens along by the leash. Then he started talking to us about how slow I was being. I sat down, clipped in and we were off.

Loke charged along with even more enthusiasm than the previous time. We were barely a quarter mile from the church when the rain began again as a heavy misting. I stopped briefly to pull a plastic grocery sack over my handlebar bag with the camera and phones. I really need to find the proper raincover. I had images of Jens chuckling all the way home as I rode off through the rain. He later admitted he expected to get a call for pick up before he got home.

It wasn’t too bad though. The biggest annoyance with the rain, other than the need to protect my electronics, were my glasses. Even that was minor. The rain was so light and fine, they dried almost as fast as they speckled so I never had to wipe them. The same with my clothes; they dried faster than the mist wet them.

Around mile 2, I stopped to put socks on Loke. The road from Björklinge to Sätuna is paved, but in extremely poor condition. In places the bitumen has worn away completely, leaving the stones from the asphalt paving sticking up like eggs in a carton. Very brutal to the paws of a jogging husky and I prefer to avoid doggie stone-bruises. Loke has enough issues. He wasn’t happy with the socks, but he picked up speed again once he had that protection.

I didn’t take many pictures on the ride. Generally, when I found something I considered photographing, it was misting or drizzling and I didn’t want to pull the camera out in it. Twice, I even started to set up the new tripod only to abort the attempt because another sprinkle came along.

A quick photo between rain drops

A quick photo between rain drops

Loke ran well, with no hint of wrongness. I decided to add a bit extra distance to the Långsjön Loop for the sake of variety and in the name of more miles. About a third of the ‘basic’ loop around the lake is unpaved, but it’s a decent surface. Hard packed and smooth with lines of stones down the center and edges to make the going a little work.

The roads on the addition were less nice. Parts of it were okay, others were loose soil studded with bigger stones. Add in a stiff wind which had kicked up to help drive the misting rain? It was work. Real exercise! I reveled in it as much as the new scenery.

Loke didn’t mind the wind at all and I think he found the soft rain pleasant though he hates anything heavier than a mist or drizzle. He scanned his surroundings for small critters and occasionally dropped his nose for a sniff. The whole time, his tail waved like a joyous banner. Socks or not, he was in his element and clearly enjoying the outing. That brightened my day as much as cool temps and clear skies would have. Perhaps more so.

Weathered & worn by neglect

Weathered & worn by neglect

By the time we crossed the E4 for the second time (once over and back under), I was feeling the wind and bad rolling surface. By about mile 8, the rain finally ceased and the temperature bumped up. Loke started to lag some. I suppose it makes sense he got a bit draggy around that distance. He’s been running mostly 8-ish mile loops for most of the year.

Another Forgotten Building

Another Forgotten Building

Once we rejoined the original Long Lake loop, I called Jens to come get the furry. We’d meet him back at Björklinge Church.

I had toyed with the idea of cycling home, but the loose gravel road and wind had taken their toll. There were a couple quite steep, if short, hills back toward the church and they helped finish me off. The final straw that broke the back of the ‘ride back home’ idea was noticing the wind came from the direction of Uppsala.

So, out of consideration to Jens, sparing him another drive, I decided to tag along home with Loke in the car.

Getting more miles would have been good toward my August goal. With the 10.2 miles Loke and I had done, I still needed 72+ miles to break 2012’s total of 803 miles before the end of the month. The mild disappointment I’d not been able to press onward from Björklinge was a sour taste in my mouth.

Still, it had been a good ride. Loke had done well with no signs of difficulty. I’d gotten a respectable workout from it and it had never rained enough to make either of us miserable. Miles were miles even if less than I wanted!

Then yesterday (August 18th), the day began shaping up rather nice. Not too hot and the skies full of puffy clouds playing peek-a-boo with the sun. I woke after the best night’s sleep I’d had in a week and my legs seemed to have recovered from the previous day’s workout surprisingly well.

I decided to ride again. I made it very plain to Jens that Loke would not be accompanying. He was going to have a rest day from the trike while we watched for any indication of the hip-limp.

Beyond that my brain sort of shut off. I had the worst time trying to bully myself out the door. Did I want to do just the Läby Loop for 14 miles or so? What about Ulva/G. Uppsala for roughly the same distance? Was I feeling froggy enough to leap for the Börje/G. Uppsala 18 mile loop after how tired I felt from yesterday’s ride? Perhaps wimp out for the 10-11 mile Vaksala/Granby Loop or worse, 8 mile River Loop?

Jens jolted me back to reality. ‘Where are you driving for the ride?’ he asked.

He was right! I could take the car to do a loop since there was no concern about doggie rescue!

I hurriedly flipped through my map book, found a likely area and plotted a quick route to check distance. I came up with 16 miles which would get me 4 churches and a manor. Not too bad. Not only that, but I could cut it a little short  if needed since the way to one church and the manor was an out-n-back. I also looked on my runestone web-site with the idea of hunting them down though that added another 4 miles or more.

Fittja Church

Fittja Church

The drive to and then through Örsundsbro went quickly. The town is only about 30 minutes away. Fittja Church was a few miles further on.

The scenery was nice, fresh washed from rain the night before. I passed a pasture with a pair of mares with foals. One was quite young. A month or two at the most. The other was clearly older 6 months or more. That made me grin as I expected to come back by there on the trike and could get pictures.

Anticipation practically quivered through me as I pulled into the church’s parking lot. I got out of the car and… was nearly bowled over by the wind. Okay, an exaggeration, but it was enough to require a little bit of bracing to keep from swaying like a sapling as I made a dismayed FB wall post.

Fittja Church's Belfry

Fittja Church’s Belfry

Almost immediately, my legs felt weary. If they’d been horses, they would have been the ones that fake being lame to get out of being taken for a ride. I looked mournfully at the sunny fields between the lake and church, the pretty sky of blue and puffy white clouds. But that wind! I came very close to just throwing my hands up and driving home.

But no. Even if it meant spending more time unloading and then reloading the trike than riding it, I decided to eek out as many miles as my legs could stand. I’d be heading into the wind from the start, so if the muscles complained too much, I’d have a lovely tailwind to sail back. Very little mile would help the goal.

I photographed the church and began settling the trike. It took about half an hour as I made a point of not rushing. Finally, I was pushing across the loose dirt and rocks of the parking lot and started down the road into the teeth of a 18-20 mph wind.

Liked this barn/garage

Liked this barn/garage

After a short climb sheltered from the furious air by a dense cluster of trees, a negative grade down from the church helped speed me to 12 mph on the other side. A sense of freedom and release from the over-done home loops gave my legs even more power. Add in gears that are still working perfectly, I laughed with delight. A few moments later, I laughed happily again at the sight of a skink skittering across the road. It vanished into a hedgerow before I had a chance to stop let alone even touch the camera.



By the time I’d gone a mile, the wind, tough as it was, became welcomed. The sun was hot. If it had been a couple degrees cooler, it would have been perfect. In calm air, I’d have been roasting like a chicken on a spit. Talk about mixed blessings.

A mare and two foals.

A mare and two foals.

Before I knew it, I was coasting to a stop next to the pasture with the foals. The mothers and the older colt watched me a little anxiously, but I saw hide nor hair of the little one. The gray mare came a bit closer, examining the potential ‘threat’ this strange looking thing posed.

I was disappointed that the tiny baby was no where to be seen. The brown mare and her youngster were at the far range of my short lens, but they all seemed too nervous to give me time to swap. So, I snapped what I could. Just then the little one lifted its head from where it napped in the grass (it’s just visible in the photo between the two standing horses). Seeing me, it sprung to its feet with all the agility of a startled rabbit. That sent the other three running for the shelter of the screening trees. *sigh*

Less than 100 meters beyond the pasture, I came to a confused stop. I wasn’t seeing the turn I needed. It took a few minutes before understanding that I’d gone completely the wrong way. I needed to go back almost all the way to the church to take the southern turn I’d mapped.

I counted it as 3 extra miles and at least I had nature’s help for the return.

Ruin, cairn or farmer's rubble? Either way, first photo with tripod!

Ruin, cairn or farmer’s rubble? Either way, first photo with tripod!

South was still mostly dead into the wind and it became a bit more of a struggle. My legs seemed to have accepted the reality of the ride for the most part. Not far down the proper road, I stopped. Across a field flush with the vibrant green of new growth, I could make out an unnatural line of piled rocks. I couldn’t tell if it was something significant or just a farmer’s way of getting the big stones out of the way of his plowing. I decided to get a closer look with my long lens and that naturally led to trying out my tripod.

Stone & Wood Barn

Stone & Wood Barn

While I did try setting up and breaking down the tripod on the trike a week or so ago, it was done without the camera. It took a little longer to fiddle it to the correct height for the view finder from the trike seat. It will get quicker with more practice so I’m still quite pleased with it. Best of all was getting the stable platform for the long lens that held steady even with the capricious breezes. The only blur to be seen is the background which is as it should be with focal length! Took less than a minute to fold everything up and put away. Very pleased indeed!

Further along to the south, the wind treated me to the aromatic aroma of… pig poop. GAH! I pity anyone who has to suffer that stench every time the air is going the wrong way. It came while I was slogging up a hill so needed as deep breaths as I could take. Bad enough to almost trigger my gag reflex.

Not a car to be heard or soul to be seen!

Not a car to be heard or soul to be seen!

At the same time, I also heard at least 4 cranes. I’d heard even more about a mile earlier but they eluded my sight and therefore my camera. Pity. I’ve not photographed a single one this year.

Hjälsta Church

Hjälsta Church

It was a relief to finish the southward stretch though the wind was coming from a direction that even heading east would be working against it. My knees were a bit wobbly as I stopped outside Hjälsta Church.

Before making my walk around the church, I remembered to take a few gulps of water. I have a bad habit of not drinking enough on rides.

Two runestones were unfortunately locked inside the closed church, but I expected it. Beyond that, it’s a pretty if simple country church.

Hjälsta Interior Through A Window

Hjälsta Interior Through A Window

One of the windows offered a good view inside and I was surprised.

The first words coming to mind are… stark. Devoid of ornamentation. Nearly empty. I’ve tried to remember seeing another church interior so plainly utilitarian. Only one comes to mind and I believe it was because of more recent renovations. Pure white walls smooth as a pool of white paint and a bland floor, but even there the color of the pews and a few other small touches filled it out somewhat. No, I think Hjälsta has to take the prize for ‘Most Plain Swedish Church Interior’. For the medieval and countryside classes any way.

Through another window I did catch a glimpse of what appeared to be an impressive Triumph Crucifix, 4 to 6 feet tall hanging from a ceiling beam. I couldn’t find a clear shot to record it though. According to Wikipedia, it dates from the 1400’s.

I rested there a few minutes more, sipping more water and letting it work its way into my system. Somewhat invigorated, I returned to the battle against the wind.

That eastward stretch was more annoying.  With the force of the gusts coming from a bit to the right of straight on, it pulled and pushed at my brim more than head-on had managed. Juggling between the front and back gears in smooth response between wind speeds and terrain challenged me as I had to keep a hand on the brim most of the time. Made the downhills quite interesting, trying to compensate for windforce, bumps and speed with one hand.

Love the stunted conifers!

Love the stunted conifers!

Once past Hjälsta Church, all pretense of runestone hunting had been cast aside. 4 (or is it 6?) were inside churches, all of which were likely to be closed. Churches closed on a Sunday? That’s because many of the tiny, medieval country churches aren’t used regularly. Between that minor frustration and so much energy needed just to buck winds, the additional miles to chase down whatever stones were out in fields or hiding on wooden hills felt risky. I really didn’t want to crash out before making it back to the car. Granted, I felt fairly strong, but I’d not had the additional curse of unpaved lanes as an additional challenge to my legs.

So, when the first turn came for the first outdoor runestone, I passed it by and gladly. Truly horrendous looking with big stones tumbled up from a freshly grated surface. If I hadn’t pushed so hard on just such terrain the day before, I’d have tackled it, but I was playing it safe for this ride.

A little further on and I started scanning the countryside. On the left, apparently tucked into a rocky, hilly and stunted tree covered ridge, a runestone supposedly lurked. Annoyingly, the small road had no tractor accesses in the area for me to park the trike to look on foot. Even if I could have gotten the trike off the road, a barbed wire fence was as an effective barrier to me as to livestock. I’m not as lithe and agile as I used to be.

Uppland Runestone #814

Uppland Runestone #814

Near a wooden fence, chained closed with big locks and the top board wrapped with more barbed wire, I spotted the stone. Tantalizing, the information placard threw signal-mirror like glints into my eyes. Soooo close.

Still didn’t tempted me enough to challenge barbed wire. Not until I’ve lost a fair bit more weight.

Instead I settled for getting to use my tripod with the long lens again! It was a bit trickier to set up because the stone was on the left right next to traffic. While paved, the road was small. Not big enough for a center line (a close squeeze for two cars in opposite directions to pass), no paved shoulder and not much clearance between road edge and ditch. The cars who had needed to pass me from either direction during the ride seemed determined to give this plump woman on a weird bike more room than they ever would have given a car.

But to keep my tripod from getting flattened by a random car that might decide to give me only inches instead of yards of clearance, I set it up on the right side. With no sign of approaching cars, I swapped it to the left, focused, shot and moved it back to the left for dismantling.

Sadly, even with the long lens, the placard was too far away.

Further along, I received a reminder the harvest season is upon us. A rude reminder. Holding on the edge of my brim against the worst gusts, I came to the bottom of a hill. As I began to work the climb, the harvester working the field to my right turned to make its pass along the crop edge adjacent to the road. A veritable blizzard of dust, small bits of straw and other chaff flew across the road on the back of the wind.

As the harvester closed in, passing within 50 feet of the trike, I had to stop. I closed my eyes and hid my nose and mouth in the crook of my arm. The storm of canola cast-off stung what little exposed skin I have when riding. It almost felt like I was going to have to dig out of a pile of it before the machine passed. Finally, it was over.

By feel, I pulled out my water bladder and managed to rinse my brow and eye area before risking opening them. Then I dusted off the worst of the rest before pushing on before the harvester came round again. Not an experience I care to repeat. If I have to see harvesters, I prefer them distant… and preferably downwind of me.

The fact the fields were so close to the road offered a new sound to the landscape. I’m not sure what kind of crop it was. It was brown and presumably ripe. No higher than a knee, many branched with little nodes at the end of each twig. The wind whipping across it produced an odd combination of a hiss and a rattle. The difference of it compared to hissing/whispering wheat made me smile. Novel things almost always bring a smile or a grin to my lips.

About five minutes later, I saw my first cyclists. A nice round dozen. In spite of the wind against them as well as the 4% grade I was spinning up, they caught me quickly and passed just as fast. None of them looked particularly happy doing it. A few were puffing pretty good and others had red faces. Not a single smile, nod or even a finger wave in greeting.

I gave a happy cheer when the anticipated northern turn arrived. The pedaling felt easier as the wind now rampaged from somewhere behind my right shoulder. The feel of it through the seat’s mesh back was one of the best things ever. There was about a half mile stretch just before reaching the 3rd church of the ride, where the paved road curved back to put the wind in front of me again, but it was blissfully brief.

Kulla (Hill) Church

Kulla (Hill) Church

Kulla Church (Hill Church) looked much like Fittja and Hjälsta except for the sturdy stone tower capped with a distinctive roof.

Predictably, it was locked so no runestones again. What I saw through the windows showed an interior as bland as Hjälsta’s. There was too much reflection from the window glass to get photos though.

Another short break to sip water and I moved out again. The next turn, westward, was just beyond the churchyard wall. I stopped for a moment to regard a road sign indicating the 4th church of the planned ride 3 km away on the out-n-back. My legs twinged at the touch. 3 km is just a touch under 2 miles, but the wind….

I decided I was too hungry and becoming too tired to push for it. Besides, I can always keep the maps handy and return on a day when I’m fresher to put in the proper effort for an outdoor runestone hunt.

West, blessed west. The wind was finally, truly, at my back. The trike flew, reminding me how sweetly it glides when the road surface is good, the ground is mostly flat and I’m not fighting gale-force winds.

And the road surfaces had been glorious for the entire ride. Though small country lanes, every foot of it had been paved. Not the ‘stones like eggs in a carton’ kind of paved of the stretch between Björklinge & Sätuna, but good surfaces that weren’t even worn enough to have the least little patch. Definitely a good stretch for road cyclists. Not so much traffic and the perfect surface for racing tires of lightweight road/racing bikes!

I ripped through the last miles, feeling exhilarated. The tires hummed tunelessly, but cheerful. The gears shifted beautifully. I tackled flats at 15-17 mph and streaked down hills faster than I could spin. It was intoxicating.

I coasted to a halt by the car around 3 pm. Though my legs had felt strong during the westward charge, they turned to over-cooked noodles as soon as I stopped. It took over a minute of rest in the seat to recover my breath and let the muscles stop quivering before I tried to get up. Took two tries.

Needless to say, I didn’t fly around to put the trike away. I tottered and loitered. Sip a little water, slowly pace a circle to try working the lactic acid out. Pull the seat off and shove in the car. Pace another little circle. Next bit of the loading.

It felt soooo good to sit in a car seat for the drive back. The Sprint’s seat is quite comfy, more even than the Trice’s, but still another shaped surface felt good. More padding too!

I’d done 14.05 miles in 1 hour and 38 minutes of moving time. 3/4’s or more of that was just the first 9 miles or so thanks to the wind. That last 5 had been a breeze.

Once I got home, eased my wobbly self into the shower to go out to dinner with the hubby. We ate at the new Italian restaurant he’s taken a shine too. Only fair. My birthday, we ate at my favorite. For our anniversary, only right he should have first pick. Besides, I’d recently found a pasta dish there I really like. Just the thing to refuel after two days of riding against adverse conditions.

And yes, our anniversary was August 18th. Nine years. Where on earth did the time go?

Aside from the rides over the past week, know that plans for our September trip are under way. Hotel booked in Brugge for 3 nights. I still need to decide where to ride on ‘my’ day in the area. Do I do a loop around the island where the old parts of the city sit or strike out across the countryside? The other full day in the city will be ‘our’ day. I’ll wander around with Jens as much as I can and we’ll take a boat tour on the canals for another perspective.

We also booked an overnight ferry from Sweden to Germany. Cuts down on our driving time, offering a place to sleep while still covering miles. Can’t beat that! A tentative route has been plotted from where the ferry lands to Brugge with a few castles and the like to visit on the way.

The rambling route through the eastern part of France still needs to be decided. I’m hoping to see a few places I’ve wanted to set eyes on for decades. One particularly impressive medieval walled village in the southern part of the city. The Camargue wetlands with the white, semi-wild horses and the black bulls. Jens wants to swing by an old Roman aqueduct where it crosses a gorge. That’s perfect since it’s just north of the Camargue.

There’s actually a possibility we may not make it into Italy due to time restriction if we’re stopping too much in France. We’ll see.

Just a few weeks now!

Gears & Tripods
August 11, 2013, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Yes, I’ve been quiet there. Things have become rather stagnant since returning from Copenhagen. Yet, there is significant news. I’ve simply been lax about reporting things in proper time.

The problem with the front chainring shifting remained stubborn. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong or how to fix it. Finally, I scheduled a slot for Monday, July 29th to drive the trike to the cycle shop south of Stockholm.

It went fairly smoothly. The traffic in the city wasn’t as bad as usual thanks to 90% of the country being on vacation. I languished at a park a few miles from the shop while waiting to get a text that they were done. It came about 4 hours earlier than anticipated which was great.

When I went to get the trike back, I took it for proper test ride. I zipped out on some local cycle paths, finding hills to test everything. I covered about 2 miles with constant shifting. It all worked fine. No hitches, jumps or slips. It cost 300 kr plus the 2 hours of driving and of course gas in the car.

Tuesday, July 30th, I went out with Loke and Sprint for just a short river loop. Started out perfectly, but by mile 3, my rear gearing started to hiccup and twitch. I was peeved, but decided it wasn’t bad enough to sling everything back into the car for the long drive back.

Out again for another river loop the next day. I cut it short at barely more than 3 miles and came home in a fury. I wanted to yell. I wanted to throw things… preferably at whoever had worked on my gears which were now useless. Nearly impossible to ride at all. Why on earth had everything worked so beautifully at first and now was complete crap less than 10 miles later?

Jens encouraged me to call the shop and get the trike back directly. I was too angry to heed him. This was the second time gear problems had started shortly after bringing the Sprint back from the shop. The last time, it hadn’t been bad enough for me to bother with it. This time, it wasn’t an matter of not wanting to ‘bother’ with it. Seriously, if the freshly adjusted gears had issues so quickly again, did I really want to waste the time and effort to go back to the place which hadn’t done the job properly… twice? Not really. Nor did I want to keep handing cash over.

Stubbornly, I started tracking down internet articles on cycle repair and maintenance, hunted for YouTube vids that maybe would actually help me. It’s all stuff I’ve tried before, desperate to learn how to do the gears myself. Each attempt never ended well, generally involving screaming into pillows, yanking at my hair and being snippy with the husband.

I tried not to let myself get worked into a tizzy before I even started. Did breathing techniques for calm and such as I put the Sprint on the trainer and made sure I had all the tools.

Then my husband bravely braced the snarling beast I was poised to become. ‘Call ICE,’ he said. ‘Ask them what might be causing the problems and suggestions about fixing it.’

Instead, I started an e-mail to them. Jens peeked into the living room again. ‘What are you doing?’

‘E-mailing them.’

CALL them,’ he insisted.

Muttering, I did so. The best thing I ever did.

Hero answered first. I gave my name and she cheerfully asked how I was. When I said it could be better since my Sprint’s gears were fouled, she transferred me to Patrick. I described the issues to him and he decided that Neil would be best to offer advice.

Busy as Neil must be, one of the founders of Inspired Cycle Engineering as he is, there was no hint of impatience as he listened to litany of frustrating problems. I think it surprised him a little when he asked where the trike was and if I could prop it up so the rear wheel could spin with the pedals. Beside me and on the cycle trainer.

In less than 5 minutes, he had me twiddle with a few things and part of the problem was found. The gears were refusing to go into the three smallest cogs because the cable was fouled with a gritty black dust, rather like volcanic ash. Most likely a bit of corrosion caused by the moisture that kept freezing during my winter rides. He was a little uncertain why it wouldn’t shift into the large cog though, which could be indicative of a worse problem than dirty cables. He told me what to do to clean it though he recommended just getting all new cables and tubes. When I had that done, call him back and he’d walk me through adjustments.

It took quite a bit of running around, hunting for WD-40 and then changing from cleaning to replacing sent me out again for new cable and such. By the time all that was done, it was coming up on 5 pm here which is 4 pm in Falmouth, England. I didn’t want to keep Neil late helping a clueless woman fight with gears over a phone.

So, about half an hour after they’d started their work day, I called. You know, Neil did it. He accomplished what no book, internet article or video ever could. Two people beside me have even attempted to teach me gearing and failed. In less than an hour we had everything back together and seemingly shifting flawlessly across all 9 gears! I was agog. MY hands did it and in spite of being across the North Sea, Neil had given such clear and precise instructions it had felt easy!

I was completely over moon and Neil pleased to have been able to help. He even told me to call if I had problems with adjustments again.

That kind of customer service is priceless. All the people at ICE are just so great and determined keep their customers happy. Time and time again, I sing their praises for the quality of the ‘above and beyond’ helpfulness they give without batting a lash. It’s as good as the machines they build!

Weather and other things kept me from going out right away to test it, but when I finally made it out the door on August 3rd, everything worked smooth as silk. Not the least hint of a misalignment. I couldn’t help it. I spent the entire 5 miles of the river loop with my lips stretched in a huge grin that went from ear to ear. I imagine I rather looked like the Cheshire Cat.

The same was true of my ride on the August 8th. Perfect shifting.

I think it was on the 9th when I went out shopping for various things. Not sure why I actually went into Media Mart, but I can’t go in there without looking at the camera section. Part of that has meant going to look at tripods.

I don’t know how long exactly I’ve been searching for the ‘perfect’ tripod. We already have a tripod, but the thing is just too big to even consider taking along on rides which is where 90% of my photos are taken. For at least 3 years, every tripod I’ve found has missed ticking boxes for ‘perfection’ or at least close enough to be acceptable.

I’ve wanted a tripod that folds/collapses small. 3 feet long is not manageable on the trike. Light as possible. Able to support a reasonable mount of weight. In short, I wanted something I could pull out of my black pod bags, set up quickly, frame my shot with the long lens without it wobbling all over the place because I had nothing to brace it on. Then be able to put it away in less than 20 minutes… by shoving it right back into my black bags.

And there in Media Mart, I finally found it. A Sirui tripod. I’ve never heard of the company, but I fell in love with the ‘pod right away. It folds up to about 15 inches long, weighs less than any other tripod I’ve found that can support something bigger than a point-n-click though still feels incredibly solid and well made. Says it can support up to 4 kg of camera and lens which should be enough if ever I upgrade to the next level of equipment. With 4 stage telescoping legs that have 3 angles of adjustment, it can be as low as 1 foot from the ground right up to holding the camera view finder at perfect eye level for a 5 foot 2 inch tall woman.

Ooooh, how I wanted it. Not surprising, it was a bit on the costly side. They had 2 in boxes and the display. When I mentioned it to Jens, he pointed out that we’ve barely used the tripod we have. Mostly because it’s just so BIG and awkward. I feel like I need a pack mule just to lug it around… or a husband (hehe). It’s certainly too much to manage on the trike unless I strap it to the side of the trailer when doing tours or something.

Then I decided to go for it. I’ve been searching for something that ticked the boxes. All others over the 3 or more years either were too flimsy or didn’t fold up small enough. Once these were gone, who knew how long I’d have to search again. I pulled out the wild card of ‘I must have’ which is good only once a year… Birthday.

And mine’s just 3 days away so I announced I wanted the tripod for my birthday. Jens acquiesced without a struggle. I zipped off to Media Mart to hunt it down. On the shelves, I found only the empty box for the display. Then a sales woman came by and asked if I needed anything. I explained and she went to look. 1 still in the box in the back.

And I love it! I got home and immediately began playing with it. Mostly, double checking my head/eye had guessed correctly. Yep. It fits in the black bags that hang along the seat back. There’s even a ring with D-Ring attached meaning I could in theory hang it from my handlebar bag when walking around.

Then I decided to go for a ride. Loke and I headed out for the city forest. It’s the first time he’s ever been there with the Sprint though he’s become familiar with it from all the walks our little family has been doing the past few weeks. Jens with Loke on the leash while stride along with a pair of Nordic walking poles and my Five Fingers.

The humidity that’s had us simmering the past few weeks finally broke and the temperature was just on the warm side of comfortable for me. A bit over the comfort threshold for Loke though. Still, he made it to the city forest where he perked up enough to trot the trails more briskly. I think he was a little bored with it though. Too familiar from our frequent walks and he couldn’t stop to sniff much.

By the time we finished the loop, he was lagging, so Jens came to get him. Getting myself and the Sprint home was my job.

It was a blast. The forest there sits higher than downtown Uppsala and our apartment. Though the hills aren’t incredibly steep, they’re long. My gorgeous Sprint 26 glides like a dream and so it just kept gaining speed until I was streaking along the cycle paths at 24+ mph. Probably broke speed limits along some of those stretches. I went a bit out of the way to head by the bandy court so I could jump on the river path and follow it through town and home.

It was nice in spite of a lot of people wandering around the riverside.

So, I finished up the day with a bit less than 13 miles. 8 and a bit miles with Loke and 4.77 miles from the city forest to home.

I stopped a few times to fiddle with the tripod. It takes me roughly 3 to 4 minutes to pull out, unfold to the height I want and attach the camera. I didn’t take any photos. Nothing caught my eye. It takes me about 3 minutes to fold it back up and get settled in the bag. I can do it all from the seat if I like which is where I take most pictures. I think I can deal with 6-7 additional minutes on a few photo stops if the benefit is no more blurry telephoto or sunrise/sets! Or at least less blurry.

And the gears still worked perfectly.

Now I just need to find motivation to ride more! I need to build up before our trip in September! I’m not sure why I’ve just been so ‘bleah’ about getting out with the trike. When I do, I’m grinning from ear to ear thanks to the now smoothly working shifting which Neil taught me to do. It would be great if I could break last years 803 mile total before the end of August, but I need to stop ‘bleah’ing about getting my rump OUT the door. I only need like 93 miles which is possible if I go out more than once every 3 – 5 days and actually more more than the river loop!