BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

#365daysifbiking Downhill carefully

January 16th – I was tired, it was late and cresting the Black Cock Bridge wearily I suddenly realised there was a hazard about: Hitting the higher ground towards Brownhills coupled with the semi rural nature of Green Lane, I could see in places the familiar sheen of frost.

The road was gritted well. But towards the kerbs and in places the grit hadn’t yet reached, ice lurked.

A warm winter has made me complacent. Time to be careful.

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#365daysifbiking Bridge to my heart

January 14th – And on my return that evening, it was similarly cold but still.

The ‘new’ Silver Street pedestrian bridge fascinates me. I love the shapes in the framework, the views it offers and even the sound it makes as you walk and ride over it.

Although it’s. 11 years old now, I never tire of photographing it at night.

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#365daysifbiking A surprise in the dark

January 13th – A windy day on which I hunkered down, slipping out for a circuit of the town after dark, hoping the wind had subsided. It hadn’t.

On the cycleway between Engine Lane and the Slough (Old Cement Works) bridge, I encountered a fallen tree and was glad for my powerful front light. It was passable, but posed a danger to others, so I posted this pic on Facebook as a warning.

To my delight and huge gratitude, volunteers from Sustrans and Back the Track saw the picture, and went out and cleared it away the very next morning. You can read the story here.

Fantastic service to the community. Thanks so much.

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#365daysifbiking On the rebound

January 11th – I’ve had a winter of mechanical problems with the bikes, and one has concerned suspension.

Forks with suspension can be a blessing and a curse, and the ones I use have a sealed air spring with a hydraulic damper, and several adjustments – air volume, pressure, slow rebound, fast rebound – all of which significantly affect the ride.

If you don’t have suspension tuned correctly, you can lose a lot of efficiency in compressing the forks with every pedal revolution. The ones I use can be locked out to make them rigid in use on road, but that’s only half a solution.

Since the forks have had work done, they’ve lost all my fine tuning and I need to start from scratch, so I’ve cheated on the lengthy process of dialling them in – I’ve borrowed a Shockwiz.

Shockwiz is a small electronic gizmo (a bit smaller than a matchbox) that is cable tied to the fork, and connected by a small hose to the air spring valve. It uses pressure and other sensors to detect the motion of the forks over a variety of riding conditions, and it just sits there, logging the data.

With a brilliant companion phone app connected via bluetooth, you set various measurements and chose what kind of profile you want, and over successive rides, the app will make recommendations on adjustments to make, and request you ride certain surfaces – like bumpy trails or whatever.

You adjust, then restart the process.

Within a few rides you get a fantastic ride that really is what you’re looking for – often by telling you to make adjustments that are counter-intuitive.

Shockwiz is very expensive, but if you can borrow or hire one like I did, it’s a godsend. A month or more long process sorted in a few days. And probably far better.

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