BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts by BrownhillsBob

#365daysofbiking All things must pass

Monday January 11th 2021 – Life is grim in the UK right now: The pandemic is claiming higher and higher numbers of people every day, and the economy is taking sustained hits from it and Brexit. It’s taking superhuman levels of self discipline to be able to just listen to a radio news bulletin.

But all is not lost: The darkest hour comes before dawn and the vaccine is being distributed quickly and professionally. It’s nice to see science working so well.

In the midst of all this I ride my bike to and from work as usual, in an often alienating world of masked up, hostile fellow citizens. Some days it feels like normality will never return.

But it will, and the spring flowers know it. Jack in the Green has tapped the ground with his cane, and everywhere you look fresh green shoots are optimistically shooting skyward, in anticipation of the warming spring sun.

They know like we must all  know deep down, that these cold, grim days will pass. And so they will.

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#365daysofbiking Ghost town

Sunday January 10th 2021 – I was on another test ride late and had to drop off a package to an isolating relative, so I nipped to Burntwood after tea.

This current pandemic lockdown isn’t like the first: People are having to continue working, many more kids are at school as the children of key workers and it’s just not as quiet as the first.

But right in the centre of Burntwood at 7pm on a Sunday, and it was like the proverbial ghost town.

It felt very eerie indeed.

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#365daysofbiking Looking for peace


Saturday January 9th 2021 – I’d been busy getting financial and administration things in order and dealing with a tricky bike problem all day and slid out late on a fast, quiet circuit of town and ended up at Chasewater.

There was no moon visible and the photography was poor, if I’m honest.

But I did find the peace, fresh air and solace I needed in the quiet solitude of one of my favourite places.

Even in the dark, Chasewater captivates me.

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#365daysofbiking Glad to be back

Friday January 8th 2021 – A warmer day, but not much: The snow was mostly melted and the frost slight as I headed home from work.

Between Catshill Junction and Anchor Bridge I opted to leave the muddy canal and hit the High Street.

I always like the end of the first working week after Christmas. The festivities seem an age away, it’s now not really dark until well past 4:30pm and things seem to be heading toward spring. Of course, the pandemic is a huge worry, as is Brexit and problems it’s causing at work, but I think we can endure.

It’s actually nice to be back in my routine.

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#365daysofbiking Whitening

Thursday January 7th 2021 – I slipped out of work as Paul Simon might have said, onto a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. It was fun to ride home in, but very cold. We’ve not had a cold snap in several years now and this is being quite a shock to my ageing system I can tell you.

Heading up the Spot Path across Clayhanger Common the snow was pristine, and nothing except owls and the sound of snorting deer in the wood nearby dared disturb the peace.

I love evenings like this, but my knees don’t!

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#365daysofbiking Remember I was vapour

Wednesday January 6th 2021 – We’re in the midst of a bit of a cold snap right now, which makes a refreshing change from the relentless rain of the last few months.

One of the things that fascinates me about modern life in cold weather are the plumes of steam emitted by the vent flues of gas boilers. Nowadays emitting little more than water vapour, on cold nights they catch the light and look absolutely stunning in the right light.

Here at Pier Street in Brownhills the heating in the former Senior Citizens day centre was running, and blowing out a fair old plume – as were the houses in line with it further down.

Captured with an iPhone, not a bad pair of photos, I think.

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#365daysofbiking Quick Silver

Tuesday January 4th 2021 – A better evening commute, but I was in a hurry to get home. We’re now back in full lockdown, and the world felt that little bit more hostile to be out in, so I just swept through the Silver Street Marina area, and took some quick shots looking up the canal to the Watermead Estate.

It’s not a bad spot this, but the paving at the waterside desperately needs some love – it’s uneven and breaking up. The view is nice though, and a bit of welcome calm in a mad world. You’d never believe this was central Brownhills.

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#365daysofbiking Not fade away

Monday January 3rd 2021 – Back to work, with the country seemingly in limbo, with a government unsure whether to put us in full lockdown or not. Another year, more dire politicians.

I came home on a wet evening along a very wet canal, and hopped off the towpath at Anchor Bridge. As I rounded the corner onto the High Street, it occurred to me to try a photo of the canal – another semi-regular night photography muse I hadn’t tried with the new camera.

I love how the colours are strong here at night, and never really fade. It’s one of those timeless views I guess.

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#365daysofbiking Gaining already

Sunday January 2nd 2021 – A day of pre-back to work bike maintenance and cleaning, so only time for a short test ride to check everything was OK. Which was sensible anyway, as during the day the temperature had risen and the snow had melted, leaving behind muddy, unpleasant road conditions.

Looking at the bike computer as I left, I noticed the sunset time was now already at 5 minutes past 4 – around the shortest day is was 3:53. 11 minutes clawed back from the sunset already.

By the end of January, we will have gained pretty much an hour.

This is very good reason to be cheerful.

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#365daysofbiking better than expected

Saturday January 2nd 2021 – Although we’ve not had the inches of snow I would have liked, we had repeated short falls that kept it topped up. Saturday evening, it came on again, so I headed out on errands at teatime.

Coming back from the supermarket in Burntwood, I came down the Parade and through Holland Park and the Black Path, not long after and intense, but short fresh fall.

It’s safe to say it was magical.

And the best bit? The town seemed deserted.

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