BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

#365daysofbiking Certainly not mad, well, maybe not

Monday March 29th 2021 – When I said here the other day that I’d been riding home all the way from Telford I had a message telling me I must be mad. I strongly disagree. I’m getting more bike/open air time, my mental health is improving daily as is my physical heath. This lockdown porkbarrel will not be in a hurry to depart at my decrepit age, I can tell you. It needs this kind of help.

It isn’t that far. I wouldn’t do it in bad weather, or if very tired. There’s always the rail alternative. and there’s the sights one sees: Like today. Riding near Brewood, the plethora of pheasants were tricky from a safety point of view (they have no road sense) but they are such handsome birds and their antics can be hilarious.

But I had most time for the tiny black puss I met on the edge of a stable yard at Coven: In beautiful condition with the kind of piercing green eyes that make you feel guilty for the sins of your elders. Puss sat her ground (sure she was female) and stared me out resolutely. She was gorgeous.

I got home feeling happier, more relaxed and better physically than I’ve felt for weeks. And only 20 minutes later than had I gone by train, and 30 minutes later than driving.

That’s all win while the weather is so nice.

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/3cAFzGp
via IFTTT

365daysofbiking On a lost day like this

Sunday March 28th 2021 – I had errands to do for a relative. They did not go well, but that didn’t matter really as the weather was windy and often wet, and the wasted time did not matter so much.

The only splash of colour in a grim day – The first of British Summer Time – was found in the forsythia growing by the canal at Catshill that I noticed on my return at dusk, at a pleasing 7:40pm.

Forsythia – immortalised in a great song by the band Veruca Salt that US college rock fans of a certain age will know well – used to be really popular in the UK as an ornamental shrub, but seems to have gone out of fashion. It forms a mass of yellow blossom before coming into leaf, and is truly gorgeous.

The reason for it’s decline I can only guess at, but wonder if people confused it with the highly poisonous and similarly yellow laburnum, which flowers much later but there was much anguish over in the 80s and 90s, leading to it’s steady decline.

It’s nice to see, especially on a lost day like this.

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/3u7w1sq
via IFTTT

#365daysofbiking Windswept and happy

Saturday March 27th 2021 – The long rides of summer are underway now, fittingly on the last day before British Summer Time starts.

The day was characterised by a very strong southwesterly,

There was some sun from time to time as I and a friend headed up the A515 to Hoar Cross, Newborough and over Marchington Cliff to Woodroffes, the lonely church on the hill overlooking the Dove valley and Uttoxeter.

From there, down to Uttoxeter itself, along the cycleway to Doveridge and over Roston Common to Ellastone and that gorgeous bridge on the frontier.

From Ellastone, the weather turned grey and rain periodically joined the harsh wind. But it didn’t matter: Up over the Weaver Hills at dusk, down Star Bank into Oakamoor and along Red Road on the Churnet Valley floor by night, listening to owls and enjoying the oddly now warming up air.

Home was via Bramshall, Loxley and Rugeley. A terrific ride of more than 80 miles that was totally enjoyable. Great to be back.

Interesting too was the Peli case we found chained to the guard rail by the Trent between Kings Bromley and Yoxall: An Environment Agency water quality monitor, it had sensors in the water, presumably monitoring particulate and runoff pollution from the demolition site of Rugeley Power Station. Great to see.

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/3u7w1sq
via IFTTT

 

#365daysofbiking Behind me now

Friday March 26th 2021 – After a long day at work, I stood in the dark yard at work astride the bike ready to ride home.

I looked at the bike computer, which gives me sunset and sunrise times and noted sunset had been at a nicely round 6:30pm.

Just one more day and British Summer Time begins – the clocks go forward an hour and light floods back into my evenings. As you all know, I hate the dark in winter, and I’ve never known a winter as dark, persistently challenging and as devoid of light spiritually as the one now behind me.

Unlike many people, a few known to me, who did not make it through this far, I am still here, still riding and made it through. I remember those we lost with sadness every day.

Never have the light, and the summer days been so welcome.

Let’s ride into the warmth and sun together.

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/3u7w1sq
via IFTTT

#365daysofbiking The run of the mill


Thursday March 25th 2021 – Another beautiful spring day with a little sunshine warmth – but wrapping up was still necessary.

For the first time in a good while I came back from Darlaston to Goscote on the canal and flipped to the McClean Way (formerly the Goscote cycleway): I avoid this route in winter as the towpaths tend to be very slippery and hazardous despite their recent resurfacing.

But they’ve dried up now, and a lovely potter back through Walsall getting acquainted with old friends. No sign of swans nesting yet, though.

Birchills lock flight looked splendid in to the low sun, as did the millennially constructed flats complex forming part of Smiths Flour Mill, which up until the 1990s was a functioning flour producing plant.

Outsiders would never suspect Walsall had such splendid spots right in its heart like this.

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/31ze3Tr
via IFTTT

#365daysofbiking A beautiful mystery

Wednesday March 24th 2021 – I have no idea what the two species of flower in this photo are, but they’re thriving in the spring flower patch planted a few years ago in the grass beside the entry to Kings Hill Park near the old chapel.

Gorgeously violet and china blue, the crocus and miniature daffodils are passing now and handing the baton to these delicate wonders.

I don’t know who planted that patch of  flowers there but they did a beautiful thing.

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/3rAxtln
via IFTTT

#365daysofbiking Thick and fast now

Tuesday March 23rd 2021 – Up on the Hortonwood cycleway in Telford, the signs of a new growth year are everywhere coming thick and fast now, and one of my favourites is just emerging: The hornbeam leaves.

Gorgeously green, ridged in a beautiful way with delicate serrated edges, few new leaves are so beautiful.

It’s a lovely thing to find and a great way to kick off the season proper.

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/3cCIxdo
via IFTTT

#365daysofbiking Golden

Sunday March 21st 2021 – I felt better, and the day was bright, if not actually sunny. I got the daily jobs out of the way and headed out in the afternoon through Weeford and on the A5 to Atherstone. From there, I pushed up through Pinwall and through Ratcliffe Culey to Shenton; after that, over to Market Bosworth, Bilstone, Twycross and I managed to hit Orton on the Hill just in time to catch the sunset.

As night fell I returned via Austey, No Mans Heath, Clifton and Darlaston.

The sun came out eventually and rendered a magical golden hour.

A ride of well over 60 miles, it was thoroughly enjoyable and it was so glad to be seeing those little villages and quiet lanes again.

And of course, the beauty of a dusk skyline with a church spire elegantly punctuating it.

Great stuff.

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/39779sU
via IFTTT

#365daysofbiking Medicinal

Saturday March 20th 2021 – I wasn’t feeling so good and headed out with a friend onto Cannock Chase. I was down in the dumps and not feeling the love.

I was expecting the Chase to be crowded and the paths to be terrible, like they currently are at Chasewater, but to my delight it was very quiet and the trails were no different to normal.

I found myself cheered by the cinematic, wide landscape and open skies, despite the dull day, and found what I usually do – the best cure for the blues is a damn good ride.

Coming off the Chase at Milford, we rode through Tixall at dusk, Haywood and around by Blithfield and Admaston home.

Of course, the highly medicinal burger from Milford’s legendary Wimpy helped too…

from Tumblr https://ift.tt/2PnmmPc
via IFTTT