BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

#365daysifbiking Deep blue

February 8th – I was in Walsall for a meeting, early evening.

In that weird interregnum between day and night, today the sky turned a remarkable, beautiful blue.

It’s been a while since I’ve actually been to Walsall town centre, rather than merely passing through. I expected it to be awful, and haunted by better memories.

It wasn’t, it was OK.

The only thing blue this evening was the sky. Perhaps my battle with my lost youth has been won.

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#365daysifbiking Snoozing it out

February 7th – I have a new pair of pals and I’ve called them Arnold and Flossie.

This pair of young swan mates have been hanging about the canal at Bentley Bridge, between Pleck and Darlaston for a few weeks now and are surprisingly tolerant of human company.

I suspect they may well nest this year, which would be nice to see.

On this windy but otherwise pleasant, sunny morning they were both dozing on the towpath, out sheltering out of the wind when I stopped. They both listened while I talked to them and they allowed me to take photos without too much grumping.

I look forward top seeing more of these gorgeous characters in coming months.

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#365daysifbiking Hello I must be gecko-ing

February 8th -Taking a shortcut through the Tannery Estate in Birchills, North Walsall during the morning I noticed an interesting pair of wall ornaments on the edge of the communal pathway between the apartment blocks.

This metal lizard and frog friend have been carefully mounted on a garage wall, in the gardens.

There’s no obvious reason for them to be there at all, and I couldn’t see any other such ornaments, but they’re beautiful and delightful; a lovely thing.

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#365daysifbiking Under the bridge

February 6th -The lighter evenings, although coming on fast now, have not reached the far end of my commute, and I tend to do the canal less in the dark, as riding the towpaths at night – even with my excellent front light – is a constant mental grind.

Approaching Clayhanger Bridge on my way back to Brownhills, I stopped to check a text, and realised how bright my light was, to catch Clayhanger Bridge like that.

It’s still a constant effort not to end up taking an early bath, though…

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#365daysifbiking Brake spring broke

February 5th – I have absolutely no idea at all what’s happened here at all.

It started at the weekend – a rubbing on the front disc brake on my current bike of choice. A light rub, no more that a tickle.

As the days progressed it got worse, and defied my attempts to adjust it away.

In exasperation, I removed the brake pads, which were OK at about 60% remaining.

The leaf spring that keeps them off the disc however, was broken. This was allowing on pad to rub.

An easy, 30 second replacement. But I’ve never had a spring fail like that that hasn’t been worn on the disc as the pad ran down.

This is most peculiar. I shall keep my eye on things in case it’s something significant.

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#365daysifbiking Oddly empty

February 5th – Passing through Birmingham New Street Station on my way home, it was rush hour and the place was rammed, as usual.

Being a cyclist, I tend to hang out ant the periphery of the crowd, better to not get in the way.

I looked to my right as the train came in from my left, and realised that at peak time, the station had nobody visible and all the signals were on red.

A few seconds later, people appeared and broke the spell…

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#365daysifbiking Unshed

February 4th – I’ve always been puzzled why it might be that some deciduous trees don’t shed their dead leaves in autumn; the summer growth dies and goes brown, but doesn’t drop.

Someone asked the same question on social media over the weekend, so I thought I’d look into it.

The characteristic is called marcescence, and is exhibited mainly by oak, beech and hornbeam in the UK. It’s not clear what the evolutionary purpose of this curious feature is; it could be to shelter leaf buds from browsing animals like deer, and indeed, some oaks are only marcescent on lower boughs. Another theory says that the leaves attached to the beaches have their goodness absorbed back into the tree over winter, which is more efficient than them dropping and relying on conversion from leaf litter.

So I’m not really much wiser, but at least it has a name – and this marcescant oak was showing it’s dead leaves well beside the cycleway in Telford as I passed this morning, making me smile.

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#365daysifbiking Receding gently

February 3rd – There was still ice on the canals and the fringes of Chasewater, of course. In the gentle wind that formed the usual waves here, the edge of the ice was a battleground between frozen water and the gently dynamic open lake.  The fight was continual, and made a lovely, gentle tinkling sound continually.

It Wass so gentle and slight you really had to strain to hear it, but it’s a gorgeous, magic sound.

Shame is was too quiet to record it…

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