Terii’s Cycling Babble


About The River
September 25, 2018, 5:19 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

The Fyris River. Generally very still, sleepy, and dark. It winds through the countryside from a small lake near the village of Österbybruk about 20 miles north of Uppsala and ends in Lake Mälaren at the fringes of the city. In some places it’s just wide enough for a canoe or kayak. It’s banks are steep and often the waters sit far down in the channel, as if hiding from anyone at ground level. It’s history is a rich one though from it’s time just back in the Medieval times when it was wide and deep enough along its length that it was a major artery for commerce and travel. Now, it’s a small trickle of it’s former glory. It’s named for what was once a marshland called Fyrisvellir (now crop fields) where a battle between those who would be king took place.

It’s figured rather strongly in my local rides as much as it has in Uppsala’s and Swedish history. How could it not? Pretty much every single local ride I do I’m crossing it multiple times. Even my shortest, most overused hamster track loop is called the River Loop. There’ve always been ‘versions’ of it. Short Loop. The Full Loop. Full Loop with extensions. Well, I’m renaming it ‘River Loop v.1’. Yes, there are loops that are River Loop 2 and even River Loop v.2.1. Also, though I’ve only ridden it as part of River Loop v.2.1, there is also a River Loop v.3.0.

My limited computer skills are showing, aren’t they? *chuckle*

The 22nd was another of those river path walks for Jens and Loke.

The night of Saturday, September 22nd, I started to cough. Nothing drastic. Just a dry, soft kinda cough mostly because my throat felt itchy. My sinuses completely closed off at the same time. No pain or sniffles, just absolutely couldn’t get air through my nose. Ah, joy. Another cold.

Also, on Friday or Saturday, something else happened.

In my last post, I think I mentioned about my heart rate. It had been doing amazing for a month or more, seemingly in response to my consistent return to the gym. I’d wake up and glance at my Fitbit in the night to see if it was time to wake for the gym and my pulse would be in the mid to low 50’s per minute. I could go for a walk around the block with Loke and barely get out of 70 beats per minute which was completely amazing. For years, I couldn’t walk around with Loke with my heart rate staying below 100. Not unless I was just taking a step every 5 seconds or something. So just wow. I felt incredible.

Well, Friday morning, I think it was, I suddenly was back to the old heart-beat hell. At night it wouldn’t drop below 65. Just getting up and walking to the kitchen and it would be over 90 bpm. It was hard to catch my breath. I felt dizzy.

The only thing that had come up during this brief window was one of my medications. I’d run out of for about 4 days, which was a shorter time than my ‘feeling great with an incredible heart rate’ period, but I found it odd that it went back to hell almost the very hour I started taking the medication again. It’s not critical to my blood pressure, so I stopped taking it again to see what happens while I try to get an appointment with a doctor. So, we’ll see.

Any-hoo. When I woke up on the 23rd, I was still softly coughing through the morning and hardly able to squeeze any air through either side of my nose. Between just feeling like crap (trying to catch my breath while my nose refused to cooperate and coughing), I wrote off any chance of getting out for a ride.

About 7:30 am though, Loke needed to go out and so I took him.

Just… wow. What a perfect autumn morning!

Just… wow. The air, for the first time in days, was utterly, utterly calm. Not a breath to stir a leaf or ripple a flag. It was about 42 F which was so delightfully bracing. All that beneath a completely flawless blue sky from which the sun poured golden light like fine honey. In truth, it was an absolutely perfect September morning. That glorious quality of illumination that photographers have named for the times of day that typically have it: The Golden Hour. This far north, it can be much more than an hour though.

I love that light and stepping out into a morning like that was all I needed. If I wasn’t running a fever, I was heading out as quickly as possible. Cough and stuffy nose or not.

I walked back into the apartment and announced to Jens I was heading out for a ride. He asked if Loke was coming with me and nodded when I told him that if he was willing to come rescue the furball when he got tired, then yes. He didn’t realize I’d meant ‘right away’. When he saw me dressing for the ride, his reaction was, ‘What about Starbucks?!’. I told him it was too perfect a morning to kick around until 9 am, drive to Starbucks, have my hot chocolate and not get to ride until 10 am or later. It would have to wait or he could go get it for himself.

The high heart rate kept making me feel breathless and dizzy, like I was trying to do things on top of Everest with an elephant on my back. It took longer than I liked to get everything together. I was not to be deterred. I was going to make a stab at a River Loop ride to include the new bridge.

I have an old route from the past years which stretched about 21 miles (River Loop v.2). It allowed me to ride the western river path from end to end as well as include 2 of the most beautiful miles on a small ‘country road’ on the south-east edge of Uppsala that goes from Nåntuna to Flottsund where the Fyris River spills into Lake Mälaren. That little 2 mile road is one of my favorites no matter the season, though I’ve yet to try it during winter.

With the pedestrian bridge though, I could shave off 5-6 miles (some of the most boring), leaving me with a 15-16 mile route. Doable in my current condition. Or at least it was in the condition I was in last week before my pulse rate went all wonky.

Finally, I got everything together and out the door the furry one and I went. Loke was an odd combination of interested and apathetic. It really showed as we rolled out, heading for the end of the western river path at the heart of Uppsala. His pace was so very slow and he kept wanting to stop and sniff every few feet. While I’ve come to peace with Loke being slow and stopping for long sniffs here and there, I still can’t get past a feeling of aggravation when he wants to take 10 minutes for every bleeding inch of ground.

View down the Fyris River toward the cathedral.

Never get tired of this view and autumn makes it lovelier.

It didn’t help either, combined with the slowness and sniffing, he seemed a bit unsteady and the sound of his hind feet dragging more frequently than usual was like the scrape of nails on a chalk board.

I couldn’t tell if he was just having a bad day or if it was the fact he’d only had his medication about 20 minutes before I sat down on the trike. Normally when I have a ride planned in advance, I feed him as soon as I wake up so it has time to settle and his meds have a couple hours to get working. But this had been spontaneous.

Still, I nursed him along for the better part of an hour, gaining a whopping mile for all that time. I started to fret that he wasn’t really enjoying himself and was finding it difficult. So, I found a spot in the sun to call Jens where I could wait and thaw out a little while waiting for Loke’s rescue.

Wait. What’s going on? Why aren’t we moving? Something’s not right here.

Jens was in the middle of something and said it would be 10 minutes before he’d leave the apartment, was that okay? I said yes and settled in to wait. Loke just kinda sat there for 5 minutes as I fiddled around with my phone. Sitting downtown where Jens could easily reach us, there wasn’t much to hold my attention and enjoy for scenery, so I had my nose in my phone.

Suddenly there was a husky nose in between my nose and the phone. As I looked up into the brown eyes, inches from my own, he smooshed his nose into my cheek in a ‘kiss’ and then woofed at me. When I just looked at him, he stomped his front paws.

Well, that was pretty clear. Sighing, I called my hubby and told him we were inching along a bit further as our lordship had spoken.

I never noticed…

So off we went, southward through downtown Uppsala.

Quite a bit of construction in downtown. It blocked me off from hitting the riverside street when I’d planned. As we crept along through the pedestrian shopping stretch, we passed a statue/fountain.

You know, all the years, countless times passing this on foot and wheels, I never noticed this was the statue of a man holding up what appears to be sextant? I never gave it a second glance, taking it for a somewhat abstract dancing woman. Not sure why it jumped out at me this time. Maybe it was there was plenty of time to look at it since we were going about 0.4 mph and it was the most interesting thing in sight.

According to one of the fellow members of a recumbent trike group on FB, it’s a statue of Anders Celsius. Yep! The inventor of the metric temperature scale.

Peaceful and a bit cold really.

Finally found an open side road and made to the one-way street where cars on cobblestones have to share a two lane cycle way on pavement. Since nothing was open at that time, it was pretty quiet and pokey Loke gave me plenty of time to admire the older buildings without getting run over by speeding bikes. In Sweden, cyclists make me more nervy in crowded conditions than cars do.

Over the bridge and to the river path!

Entrance to City Garden and beginning of west bank river path.

Though he’d bullied me to move on, Loke didn’t really perk up much on the way through the heart of downtown.

That changed when I took a left turn at the pump house and Loke saw all the greenery and unpaved paths waiting for us. Instead of simply going ‘meh, whatever’ for my near constant, short pauses for photos, he actually gave an impatient sigh when I was taking the picture of the garden entrance.

Hey, if I’m gonna creep around at 1 mph, there will be lots of stops for photos.

Alternative autumn colors.

It was quite pleasant in the garden, even if it seemed kinda busy. It was after 9 am and people were starting to move. It seemed they all had the same idea I’d had though with a later start. People were out walking, with dogs, without dogs, cycling, jogging. Sometimes, I felt like I was moving through a swarm.

I was glad that Loke stepped up his pace a bit more once among the trees and grass of the river path. A little more physical exertion to possibly generate a bit more heat. The mid-weight thermals under my cycle top wasn’t quite up to the task to hold the chill of 45 to 48 F at bay. I was a bit cold. I needed either exercise or sunshine to counter the little shivers I was having.

Love the path!

Pelle Svanslöss (Peter No-Tail)

One thing baffled me as we went along. Loke suddenly decided he didn’t need to sniff every thumb-length of ground. Not that I’m complaining. It’s just odd. It seems like there would have been more dogs marking territory here than among the buildings and pavements of downtown.

The statue of Anders Celsius wasn’t the only statue to jump out at me on this ride.

This is a statue of Pelle Svanslöss (Peter No-Tail). He’s the main character in a series of 11 children’s books with the first one published in 1939. He lived in Uppsala and had many grand adventures with his friends. He’s very firmly part of the local legends for children and has been for generations. Walking tours and everything. There’s even a cat-crossing near the streets where he’s said to have lived, just a stone’s throw from the castle.

Gorgeous!

Down by the bandy court, it really got crowded for a while. I also turned into a bit of a bully. With Loke’s tender feet, the gravel paths can be a bit harsh. There were two narrow strips in the path where rocks had cast aside to leave smooth packed earth about 10 inches wide. I put the trike right where Loke could have that lovely, kind to his feet, surface. It meant riding pretty much exactly in the center and being a general obstacle.

It was very hard for me. Stressful even. I can’t abide rudeness… yet for my furry one, I was willing to set myself securely in the rude category (and middle of the path) and endure the hypocrisy of it.

Further down from the sports complex (which is growing into a major stadium, by the way), I came across something completely new. I didn’t have the rudeness to pull out my cameras and start snapping pictures of it though.

Never noticed this glimpse of what could be an amazing building.

There were dozens of people perched on the steep banks of the river. The path above them had just as many small carts or wagons of a very specific design parked. Small enough to be pulled by a person, mind you. It took me a bit to figure out what was going on. They were fishing or getting ready to.

And not just any fishing, but something I guess would equate to cane poles in the southern US. You know, those bamboo poles, generally stained to a ruddy brown color and shellacked to a high gloss, 10-15 feet long and a fishing line tied at the end. Only these weren’t your run-of-the-mill cane poles. These were made of something like PVC or carbon fiber, 20 feet or more long when assembled, which was almost half the width of the river in some places. They could be broken down into pieces and stored in tube-like cases. There were rigs to hold multiple poles in the water with alarms for hits, kinda like carp fishermen might use. This was a complex, highly geared activity.

Scrawny looking sunflowers and a hint of autumn in the trees.

Not the best choice for a tender-footed husky.

While I’ve seen a person here or there with one cane pole, lazily dabbing in the water, this collection of enthusiasts was something way beyond that. Kinda like the difference between a kid on a tricycle and a Tour De France champion with his engineering team, coaches, and support wagon. I wondered if it was like some kind of fishing competition going on. There were just so many of them with barely 20-30 feet between them. They could have smacked their neighbor to either side without moving a step.

Not far beyond the cane pole champions, the path split into two for a few hundred yards. One, closer to the river, and the other along an edge of open ground which had a swathe of sunflowers of all things. The two paths are very close together. Barely more than 6-10 feet between them. Just enough for some large trees. Drawn by the sunflowers, I took the right hand path.

It was again one of those instances where I notice something I’ve somehow missed the previous dozen times I’ve ridden that particular path. Intersecting the gravel lane, was another that ran right across the fields, breaking the line of sunflowers and on up a hill where a white building with rather lovely accents glowed in a gap of trees. A manor house perhaps? That would certainly explain the gravel path lined with ancient, gnarled trees. Those are often an almost sure-fire indicator of manors.

Up and over the river!

In my defense, I’ve almost always taken the path closer to the river between the tree rows and have come from the other direction every single time. This was the first time I’d ever ridden the direction of the river’s current on the west bank.

Loke kept meandering along and we finally came up to the new pedestrian bridge.

It was about the last quarter mile to the bridge that his pace suddenly picked up. I’m not entirely sure why. It might have been his meds finally had taken full effect.

From the bridge, I was going to cross to the east side and then follow the old road out to the cycle path along the rather large road that connects to the even busier 255. As we headed along the old semi-abandoned road, he became almost perky. Then it happened, his hind legs suddenly buckled, nearly dropping him to the asphalt. I stopped.

Looks like the laws against changing the Uppsala skyline are weakening. *sulk*

Scraping I’d been putting up with for almost 4 miles. I’d heard his right hind foot drag about a dozen times, perhaps as much as 20 over that distance. He’d also tripped twice, but no limping or other such. But a near complete collapse of his entire hindquarters? That spooked me.

As much as it bothered me to send him home when he’d sped up and started acting perky, I couldn’t get past him almost going down. So, I told Jens to come get us. Naturally as we waited, Loke started telling me, in his fashion, I really should keep moving. I didn’t listen. He did his best to convince me. It’s a good thing Jens arrived when he did, as it was, I almost buckled and went on with the furball when my lovely hubby said he’d be fine with coming back to get Loke further on.

Love these buildings.

Oh, but the look of betrayal Loke gave me as the car sped away.

I shook off the guilt, plopped down in the seat and sped away myself. I made one brief pause at the end of the road to take a photo of the old buildings that remain from the days when Kungsängen was a farm stead rather than a light industrial area.

As I set out on  my own, finally out from under the shadow of trees, you can guess what happened. Yep! Clouds started shadowing the sun. Just a couple of thin, wispy things, but they were thick enough to suck all the warmth out of the golden rays. Frustratingly, there was so much clear blue sky! Except right where the sun was. At least I was able to exert myself and get some extra body heating going.

Ho-hum. Trike isn’t gonna pedal itself.

Along there was a boring bit. Loke’s company would have been welcome though it would have meant drrraaaaagggggiiinngg out the tedium. Without him, I was clipping along at about 6 mph.

I should mention my feet. Why? Because they were actually doing much better. For most of the ride with Loke, I hadn’t felt the overwhelming need to unclip from the pedals. Same when I first went charging off on my own. Could it have been something about the way the padding had me sitting in relation to the pedals that was aggravating the problem? Well, I think I still need some time to decide that for sure.

The usual way through the boring stretch wound up kinda sidetracked when the cycle way was blocked off and directed through a more residential area. I had wanted to avoid it because it’s a lot of uphill and nothing much to look at. Half a mile of climb. Slow. Tedious. Climb.

It was such a relief when I was able to get back to cycle paths. Ones that didn’t follow along side a road I must mention. I really love cycleways like that. Just bikes and people. No sucking car exhaust. Though, to be fair, most of the distance had already been on paths, well away from motorized traffic.

Old building, old apple trees.

Though the path didn’t follow roads, it did curve and intersect around and between clumps of residential streets. A sort of pedestrian/bike alley way behind the houses. As I came up to one intersection, there was an elderly woman sitting in the sun, using her walker as a chair. Before I came up to the little crossroads, I pulled aside to drag out my water and take a few sips.

As I drank, the woman got up and started walking along. She gave me a warm smile as she came up to me and stopped, admiring the trike. “That’s a fine machine,” she said, then added with a grin, “Much better than mine.”

I laughed and told her with mine, you could park in the sun and get a nap all at once. The image delighted her. She wished me a good ride and walked on.

No cars, but a few Loke memories.

Somewhere along that tangle of paths, I joined up with the Sverigeleden (Swedish Trail). That thousands of kilometers long national cycle route I’ve mentioned before. I remember the days when I used to dream of riding it from end to end. Well, as much as you can ride something from end to end when it does loops back and forth the width of a country as well as up its length.

As I rode along, taking it easy to save up for the slight hills of my favorite bit of country road, I lingered over memories of riding those paths with Loke. His antics. How strong and fast he’d been. Even the time he’d started limping because he’d gotten a tiny little cut on his foot pad and then a even smaller pebbled wedged in it.

Love this scenery!

Before I knew it, I was racing down a hill and flew up to the end of the path where it joined the little road.

Winding road and glorious views.

I couldn’t stop smiling as I pedalled along, stopping for photos every time something caught my eye. Sometimes it was just the scenery. Other times a flower. No birdsong though. The season of singing birds is past, except for the honking of geese, the rasping caws of crows, magpies, or jackdaws, or chirp of sparrows (if you’re in town).

While there’s a bit of climbing, it seems there’s a lot more downhill to that 2 miles. It always feels over way too soon. The traffic is light, the trees and quiet are pleasant and the views across the pastures to the river are a delight. As far as the ‘fun’ of the road, I’m clearly not alone in that opinion, there were plenty of other bikes zipping around me.

Then I was coming down that last decline and making a turn onto a new strip of cycle path that starts at the intersection with a busier road. I’m rather glad of that new bit of path that leads down the hill and over the new-ish drawbridge there in Flottsund.

The start of the river path.

Just a few meters over the river, I made the turn onto what would become the southern end of the western river path. The first quarter mile is not only a harsh climb, but also allows cars as there’s a few cottages there, built on the ridge overlooking the river below. Since the other end is blocked off with it coming to a deadend for cars, but a throughway for bikes and people, it’s never any problem.

Well, not with cars any way. There was a torrential rain back in June. Torrent in the literal meaning of the word. Uppsala flooded. Hospitals, schools, apartment buildings, all knee deep. Something like 2 feet of rain fell in under 3 hours.

The results of that rain were still marked on the gravel road there. There’ve always been loose rocks, but there were even more than before and the ruts where some of the roadbed was washed out. Each turn of the pedals, my tire slipped more than it moved me forward. I really didn’t feel like getting up to push. Besides, it was kinda too late to try getting up from the reclined position without having the trike just slip down the path.

Steeper than it looks.

It took me a while and a lot of gasping for air, but I finally made it up that slope. Once on ground that resembled something flat or starting the decline, I swerved to the side to catch my breath and let my legs stop screaming. As if to show off, a pair of mountain bikers came cruising up the hill at jogging speed.

Part of me wonders how it would have felt if I’d done it last week? Easier? How much had the difficulty of that climb been impacted by the unexplained shift in my cardio responses? I’m hoping to find out at some point. If I ever get to feeling great again. *wistful sigh*

Just gotta keep plugging away with diet and gym and cycling. The cold kinda broke that rhythm. Kinda floundering around and looking for the stride again.

I probably could have crept along the 50-75 or so yards of the flat stretch and just coasted down the other side. It wasn’t going to be fast, not with the same washed out ruts as those I’d avoided on the way up.

From the path looking across to the magical 2 mile road.

At the bottom of the hill just before hitting the lovely, flat river path, was the outhouse, which was needed. I’d been out for almost 3 hours by that point and nothing in my stomach since then except water. For an outhouse, it’s clean and odor free. More importantly, private. I’m not flashing the world to answer a call of nature.

The path was rather busy, of course, the entire way had been. I think all of Uppsala was of the same mind as I was. Get out and enjoy the perfect morning in spite of the clouds that were skudding in to make the day feel colder.

Birch tree and old building at the Sunnersta Estate.

I love the path. It’s only because of the distance involved, which I’ve been mostly unable to do for quite a while, that it’s not been made into a ‘hamster track’. I think over the 12+ years with trikes, I’ve ridden it less than a dozen times. It meanders along side the river and its marshlands, often very close to residential neighborhoods, though there’s not often a view of those. Just high reeds and trees to the west side of the path and rippling water and reeds to east. From the turn onto the little dirt road just over the new Flottsund drawbridge to the pump house, it’s right about 5.5 miles.

Just beyond the ‘Uppsala Alpine Center’, the path took a rough turn. Rough, literally. Some cheeky government department in charge of such things had gone in and laid down chunky gravel since the last time I rode that way. Loose rocks, an inch or so in diameter just eating into my speed and effort. It would have ruined Loke’s now very-tender feet.

These flowers were all over the place. Just lovely.

My legs were tiring by this time so those chunky bits of stone skittering under my tires were not welcome. The good news was, when I came to an intersection and followed the path along the river which hadn’t been re-graveled, I felt like I was flying. Nicely packed pea-gravel scattered with pine needles and leaves. And it was actually pea gravel; smooth little stones, none bigger than a pea.

It would have been too easy to let the abruptly easier surface lull me into pedaling furiously, which would have burned me out like a match compared to a candle. So, I focused on the scenery. How lush things looked, bouncing back from the drought.

I guess it’s possible though that the lack of rain didn’t impact the river-scape much. Trees and, to some extent, grasses and shrubs still could have had access to water even if it had dropped lower than usual.

The first of the mystery yellow flowers, teasing me from a distance.

So, as I cruised along at just 4 mph, something caught my eye among the reeds. A tiny splash of yellow peeking out of the autumn dried cattail leaves and purplish blossoms of varying shades. Something I’ve never seen before.

While, I’ve only ridden this stretch perhaps a dozen times, I’ve done it several times in autumn, a few times in summer. Maybe even a few times in spring. Winter, not so much. The idea of tackling that first steep hill covered with ice and snow? Not appealing. Yet, I’d never seen a flower like that one. Could be I’ve always just missed its blooming time, or perhaps just buzzed by too quickly to notice.

I’m thinking it’s the ‘missed the blooming time’ option. After I saw that one, they turned up everywhere along the trail.

More of them!

Not as singles either. Scattered patches of them, growing on stalks that looked to be about 3 feet high, strewn among cattails most often. Never close enough to get a really good look though. I guess they needed water to be a certain depth or such. It drove me wild. I wanted to see one close.

I claim to not be a bird watcher, but get excited by barnacle geese, hawks, ravens, uncommon ducks. I have no interest in botany, but flowers, the less familiar the better, and I get desperate for a closer look. Odd aren’t I? But I’m sure we already knew that.

So _that’s_ what they look like!

At last! I found a handful of them growing on the west side of the path, the drier side opposite the river. They were only a few yards away with no reeds or cattails between me and them. Just shorter marsh grass and hidden water or mud.

The mystery would have been more quickly solved if I’d had my telephoto lens with me. I just haven’t been comfortable with carrying my newly replaced long lens the side pod bag where the old one was smashed. That might have been due to very specific circumstances, but I’d rather not risk it. More on that in a bit.

As I came back up to where the brand new pedestrian/bike bridge was, I was feeling every one of the miles I’d done. It was only about 4 miles more to home. I could make it.

This trail is known as the Uppsala-Skokloster Road. Clearly it’s not a road any longer.

The clouds were pretty solid across the sky as I crossed the river yet again. 4th time for the day. At the beginning, I’d ridden the western bank path to the new bridge with Loke before crossing to the east side to do the rest of the way to Flottsund, crossing and then joining the far southern end of the west path. Now, I was going to take the east path from the bridge back into town. A wonky figure-8 of a ride.

The east path wasn’t as busy as the other side. Looking across the river there were still more than enough people moving around.

I could have taken the same path back, but in truth, I think this one was a little smoother and also would turn into paved surfaces much sooner. I was craving pavement by this time. Unless it’s really bad pavement, it would be easier to move on than gravel however nice.

It did mean coming by the winter storage yard for boats, which is less than attractive scenery. I was just so ready to be home… and fed. Not a bite to eat since yogurt at 5 am that morning and it was coming up on 4 pm.

Pumphouse and garden across the river.

As I came up across the river from the pumphouse and entrance to the city garden (not to be confused with the city forest), the sun re-emerged and stayed with me all the way back home.

Loke seemed rather peeved with me when I staggered through the door. I was too wiped to care, feeling as if someone had put a belt around my hips hung with about 400 lbs of unbalanced weight. I grabbed some boiled shrimp and cocktail sauce from the fridge as well as some coleslaw, plopped down to start eating before I fainted.

Still, I felt very proud of the day’s accomplishment. As I stuffed my face, it occurred to me there was another kind of River Loop I could do as well. Ride one side to the foot bridge and the other side back home for roughly 8 miles. I could even alternate which side first for more variety. That made 3 different versions of what I could call River Loop, with small variations of each. Good enough.

Even though this post is getting ridiculously long, (and I already broke it in two!), still a little more for me to babble about.

My feet. Already they were mentioned to be doing better on this new river loop ride. The last 5 miles or so, they got quite unhappy though it wasn’t exactly the same way. I didn’t need to yank them to the ground, desperate. It was more that, ‘Okay, enough of that. I want a break from that hot, uncomfortable spot behind my big toe’. So, an improvement which could perhaps be.. improved upon. Perhaps a large portion of it was because of the pad after all.

Winter is coming and no, not meant as a joke about Game of Thrones. Even as I type this, it’s just 38 F (up from 34 F). Definitely gonna need those platform pedals and see if I can’t construct that foot catch I’ve envisioned. To do that though, I need pedals. Preferably, the ones that have the red Restrap power straps attached to them. Jens won’t be the only one annoyed if I have to buy another pair.

Where have they gone? I have no clue. Jens and I both have torn through the garage looking for them. I’ve looked everywhere I can imagine in the apartment where Jens is convinced he saw them last. You’d think with those big floppy, bright RED straps attached to them, they would just kinda leap into your attention. Maybe they would if we could just catch sight of the cursed things.

If these cold temps hang on, I’m gonna need them because boots will be absolutely necessary to avoid frost-nip and frostbite. As it was, early in the ride on the 23rd, I could feel a bit of chill on my feet for those first couple miles.

Trike improvements. Other than those necessary for winter, like the swap of pedals, construction of heel catches, change to studded tires. Hmmm. Maybe a new sheepskin for my seat.

I also presented Jens with a list of other things I’d like to get. Feeling so much stronger on the trike (even after this relapse of wonky heart rate) has made me want to arrange it more conveniently.

First, flags. Jens keeps after me to remember my flag. Seriously though, I can’t see what good a tiny scrap of orange plastic, smaller than a Kleenex tissue, does. So, fine. I’m getting pretty flags from Soundwinds which turns out will ship to Sweden. One flag will be a spinner type made of a highly reflective material to join my lights as attention getters in dark. Not cheap, especially once customs and VAT are added in, but people who’ve had the flags give glowing reports for their quality. So, I’m gonna bite the bullet and order them.

Also, a way to carry my telephoto lens so I’m not stuck in a lurch like I was with the yellow flowers. *grin* I’m going to order a new side bar for the other side of my trike seat and probably throw a new chain tube in as well from ICE. Then, I’m going to order another Arkel handlebar bag and make another divider for the inside to carry the big lens and other oddities. That’s not going to be cheap either. I’d completely forgotten that the Arkel bags were so pricey. It’s been worth it though. 3 years of hard use and excited puppies trying to stomp on it for a boost into my lap, but it’s still strong, water-tight and secure.

When I presented Jens with an itemized list detailing the costs, I made sure to point out that I’d gone inexpensive for my birthday since passing up on a 1000 dollar harp. This stuff was going to be an early Christmas present and was much cheaper than the harp would have been even pricey as it is. No complaint.

So, that’s that. I guess now, I’ll make another sweep of the apartment and cellar for those pedals. Want to have them settled by time these 35 F temps come to stay! Brrr.


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