BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts by BrownhillsBob

#365daysofbiking The darkening hour:

March 8th – I was out late the following day, too: the weather was awful and very un-springlike.

I stopped on top of the bridge I’d crossed under the night before and looked at the view. The sky was dramatic again, and the world was quiet, save for a little traffic.

This is a great spot in summer, and a stark one in winter. In spring and autumn, it takes on an otherworldly feel, as if only existing a the interregnum of night and day.

I do wish the weather would pick up.

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#365daysofbiking Impressively tolerant

March 7th – The canal was a bad choice of route, as I realised after a short time that the toads were on the move, and the towpath was littered with amphibians taking the cold night air.

Heading to spawning waters, many would not make the perilous land journey from their normal habitats, being lost to traffic and, er… Bike wheels.

Fortunately, as far as I know, I didn’t hit any. I came back on the road, with the lights on full.

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#365daysofbiking Radio activity

March 7th – Spinning over to Pelsall on at errand at dusk, I passed under the Old Cement Works Bridge at The Slough, and noted the radio masts there, the larger of which has always been a bit more than the average cellphone mast.

There since the days of analog mobile phones, it was the first cellphone basestation in the area and has been repeatedly upgraded as technology improved. I also carries on the same structure some microwave transceivers and what looks like maybe VHF telemetry antenna. It’s a busy mast for one lurking in a car park of an average, fairly remote trading estate.

Next to it of course, the three armed mast of a Tetra node, the UK emergency services digital network.

Antenna and masts fascinate me. And they never look better than against a dusk sky.

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#365daysofbiking Quiet riot

March 6th – The sun was shining, the day was almost warm, and at lunchtime, Kings Hill Park in Darlaston was the perfect place to chill out.

Spring flowers like crocuses and daffodils bobbed and waved in the breeze, and there was much bee buzz and birdsong… All to the accompaniment of an industrial Black Country town going about it’s Friday business.

A veritable riot, but a quiet one.

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#365daysofbiking Classical gas

March 5th – The BOC plant in Wolverhampton isn’t the most photogenic of things  but it certainly seems interesting as I grabbed this sunset from a moving train on the way home.

The huge yard with thousands of canisters and metal bottles supplies industrial gases for everything from brewing to welding. It is massive, and a bit otherworldly if I’m honest.

The sunset looked gorgeous and mat a mundane, industrial thing appear like something from a science fiction film.

You don’t get that every day!

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#365daysofbiking Don’t stop me now


March 4th – The front brake was feeling funny again, it had some initial resistance – like a click – when applied. I’d had it before but couldn’t recall the cause.

Turned out I discovered it riding to work when I lost braking power on the same brake. The pads were so worn, the return leaf spring was being pushed out of place by the disc surface.causing the click.

The pistons were opened back out with a wedge tool for the purpose and new pads dropped in. Braking harmony restored!

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#365daysofbiking The village green preservation society

March 3rd – I’ve honestly lost track of whether this is an early or late spring. I don’t suppose it matters, but I think it’s a bit early. The rain seems to be tailing off a bit now, and the daffodils are taking over from the crocuses which are now passing over.

Early, passing through Walsall Wood, the patch of grass next to the Red Lion, in front of St Johns Close – remarkably claimed to be a ‘village green’ some years ago to best a planning application – looked gorgeous as many patches of Walsall verge at the moment with a dense, beautiful carpet of flowers.

This is always an excellent display and never gets enough appreciation.

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#365daysofbiking Pondlife

March 2nd – Over between Clayhanger Village and the canal, behind the big house the new pond – created by the removal of Walsall Wood Colliery’s spoil heap in the 1980s – is enjoying its annual but brief period of visibility.

In spring, before the leaves come, once can see the pond, and it looks healthy and full of life.

As the leaves grow, it will become impossible to see – but it will frequently be heard when the roosting waterfowl that love it so will squabble and bicker.

The fact that nature is thriving on this once very polluted, barren place fills me with joy.

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#365daysofbiking A thoroughly good job

March 2nd – I had to be at an appointment in Brownhills in the morning and left for work in bright sunlight. Passing down cycle route 5 from Engine Lane to the old cement works bridge, I noticed the folk from Back the Track had done an excellent job of edging and cleaning the trail, making it much nicer to ride.

I’m told the council will now maintain this properly and the volunteers will not have to – as it should have been when first laid in 1998.

This is a fine job on a very under appreciated asset to our town.

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