BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘anniversary’

#365daysofbiking A ghost of a chance

Thursday April 1st 2021 – Riding home late afternoon, I spotted this amusing tribute to science by local street artist Ghost on a canalside wall in Pleck, Walsall. It’s beautifully executed, and marks a trend of the pandemic often inspiring street art. I think if covid has done anything positive, it seems to have engaged street art and counterculture in a way that current affairs have generally failed to do for two decades.

But that’s a bit of a side issue. This post was suck in draft from April until Christmas because I was so undecided what to do with this journal. As I noted in my last post, I was tired, and ill. And not able to raise the energy to continue it at the time with the passion it needed. So I entered three quarters of a year of writers and creative block.

The reason for April 1st being significant is that on this day in 2011, I started this journal as part of the worldwide #30daysofbiking project, prodded into taking part by fellow utility cyclist and top Dutchperson Rene Van Baar on Twitter. 30Days was a commitment to ride every day of April. It still happens, and one thing that’s always amused me is that the organisers over in the US, upon hearing that I just carried the project on for years, showed nothing but indifference. I never quite worked that out.

I didn’t quite do a decade continuously though, over new year the following Christmas I missed two days due to a really nasty bout of food poisoning – but other than that, I rode every single day for a decade, and documented every day with a photo post (or occasionally, a bit of video). I’m proud of that. There are a lot of words in the archive. A lot of images; a lot of my life, and this area as well as others I visited along the way.

My first post was matter of fact, and terse. It took me a month to develop my style. You can read it here.

Since then there have been 6,955 entries, and somewhere around 11,000 media items – mostly images, but around 70 videos and even the odd bit of audio.

So with all that behind me, where am I going now?

…Nowhere, that’s where.

I’m just going to post when I have something to share. So it’s be less frequent, but I will be aided by a riding companion whom many of you will already be familiar with, who deserves a voice and to be heard too.

This means hopefully there will be less filler, and more passion. I think you’ll prefer it in the long run, And it’ll be easier for me to keep up.

One thing that has changed in recent years is street photography has got really hard. Nobody used to bat an eye if they saw you with a camera. These days, you get noticed. Curtains twitch. People ask what you’re doing. You half expect to be on the local neighbourhood watch group as a suspicious individual. So the new format will be probably more picturesque stuff I think.

I find that a bit sad but it’s the way the world is at the moment.

So, are you coming with me? Let’s ride into the blue together… Hopefully it’ll stop raining soon.

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#365daysofbiking On the spot

January 2nd – Crossing Clayhanger Common on the New Spot Path, it occurred to me suddenly that this was an anniversary for 365daysofbiking.

I started this madness on April 3rd, 2011 resolving to cycle every day of April, to do the 30 days of biking project. I enjoyed it so much I vowed to do 365days continuous.

The following New Year 2011/12, I was very very ill with food poisoning, and slain for 2 days in which I didn’t ride. So I restarted the clock in embarrassment.

So this is the eighth year of cycling very day, rain, snow or shine. That’s 2,922 days, on a bike every day, sometimes with multiple journeys.

It’s fair to say I like keeping the journal and love to ride a bike. I’m slowing up and getting more cautious as I age, but I’m still rolling down the hills and panting up them on the way back.

And I’m still haunting the locality at night, on my way home from work, unafraid to stop in the loneliest, creepiest places… Like Clayhanger Common – to document my life on two wheels.

I’m glad you’ve been there by my side. Thanks. It makes me less afraid of the dark. Not the dark of the night, but the dark of the loneliness of the commuting bike rider.

Here’s to another 365days under the wheels…

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#365daysofbiking Not forgotten:

June 6th – The 75th anniversary of the D Day landings in Northern France, when the tide turned in the Allies favour in World War 2.

Darlaston war memorial was as sombre and thought provoking as it ever was: Last year’s remembrance wreaths and crosses fading, but no less sad. But the flowers endure and the memorial’s neatness and clear pride is a credit to the Scouts and others maintaining it.

It was lovely to see the tribute at Mindful Gifts, too.

We will never forget them.

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#365daysofbiking Beaming

April 1st – It’s the 8th birthday of this blog today – on April 1st, 2011 I started by joining the #30daysofbiking project egged on by Renee Van Bar, top cyclist, pal and Dutchperson. I enjoyed it so much, the only thing that ever stopped me riding was a very bad case of food poisoning at New Year 2012. Apart from those lost 2 days, I’ve cycled every day since then.

That’s cycling for 2,920 days out of the last 2,922.

I’m quite pleased with that. When I tell the #30daysofbiking people about this they always treat me like some kind of oddity.

Every day I get on my bike and ride somewhere, and take you readers along with me. Thanks for joining me and sharing my journeys, be they work, errands or pleasure.

And what better time to mark this achievement than to note the fresh white beam leaves of a new year? Gorgeous in their ridged perfection, they are beautiful and I was pleased to see them near Clayhanger Common.

Cone on then, grab your coat – I’m up for another year of this. Are you? Hop on.

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#365daysofbiking Time is


January 2nd – I’ll start this with a note about this journal. Older readers will know I started this journal on 1st April 2011after being encouraged to do 30daysofbiking by ace cyclist and top Dutchperson Renee Van Baar. From the moment I agreed, the die was cast.

Sadly, I was very ill with food poisoning the following New Year,  so never rode a bike on 31st December 2011, and 1st January 2012. But I steeled my resolve, and I carried on, and I never missed a day since. Every day from 2nd January 2012 I have got on a bike and ridden somewhere.

From 100 mile plus rides in one day, to trundles to the shops, I have recorded my daily life as a cyclist, in all its ups and downs. That’s 7 years, or 2557 successive days (including 2 leap years), and about 63,000 miles.

I adore keeping this journal – both writing it, and creating the photos.I welcome feedback. If you have something to say – that I should stop, continue or do something differently, please get in touch by commenting or mailing me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Today was my first day back at work and on my way back, I headed up the canal to Newtown. I had forgotten to charge my camera, and it was flat, so these are actually photos from an iPhone, which just shows how much phone camera technology has advanced.

When I started this journal in 2011, my phone would not have been remotely capable of images of this quality.

This journal is moving home. Please find out more by clicking here.

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April 1st – It’s the sixth anniversary of this journal today, and what better way to celebrate that than a canalside drama in photos?

Very lucky to catch this, so excuse the awful focus in the action shots. I just saw a small ginger face behind the geese and assumed it was a fox, not a particularly ambitious, small ginger cat!

I don’t know who this dashing young blade is, but it had big dreams, ad was hunting near the new builds between Catshill Junction and silver Street in Brownhills.

A lovely cat, and no geese were harmed in the making of this post!

January 2nd – Well, this is it – the fifth anniversary of my continual cycling. Every day for the past five years – that’s 1827 consecutive days (2 leap years, don’t forget) – I’ve got on my bike and rode it. Maybe to work, maybe to the shops, or on a long ride. Often, when commuting, I ride more than once.

Of course, this isn’t the anniversary of the journal – I actually started in April 2011 as my contribution to 30daysofbiking, egged on by the lovely Rene Van Barr; but a dodgy pie laid me low with campylobacter at new year 2012 and I missed two days. So I started the clock again.

I believe I’ve shown it’s possible to ride a bike in all conditions, to all manner of places, and still find interesting stuff both local and distant.

I’ve got to the point where doing this is part of my daily routine, and I enjoy it – so I intend to continue. If you think it’s stale, old, or uninteresting, please tell me so, and I’ll consider your views.

I do enjoy sharing the ride, and love that people seem interested. I love being able to show you the things I find – like tonight, we passed through Fazeley Junction in the dark, and the Weighmaster’s house, old mill and beautiful moon – photographed by balancing the camera at full zoom on the bridge coping stones and leaving it on timer – made for wonderful, seasonal photos.

Thanks for having this odd little journal in your life. For everything I do online, this is probably the most heartfelt.

April 1st – it’s fitting to note that today, April 1st 2016, April Fools Day is the 5th anniversary of this journal. Apart from the two infamous days of food poisoning over New Year 2011/12 when I was slain by a rogue pie, I have ridden every day, rain, sun, snow or shine. Every day I’ve got on my bike and gone somewhere – for a ride for pleasure, on errands, to work. That’s 1825 days of cycling, and 4 years and 3 months of that on every single consecutive day. 

I must be mad. Or really love cycling. One of the two. Or both.

Today, I found myself riding through Stonnall, and noticed the lovely daffodils around the village bus stop. Wonder what the bunting around the shelter is for?

Thanks for being with me and riding along. If you’re sick of it and think I should stop, or want to shout encouragement, feel free. I’ve really enjoyed the past five years.

January 2nd – This is the fourth year to the day of continuous cycling. As of today, I’ve ridden a bike every day for 1461 days. I can’t believe I’m still doing this, that I’m still here today.

Of course, the fifth anniversary of the blog comes on April 1st, but the first new year of this journal (2011-2012) I was very ill and missed two days, so I started the counter again.

It’s been a long way, but I’ve enjoyed it, and still do. If you’re still up for it, I’ll continue, but if this is tired or dull now, tell me.

Of course, it’d all be a lot more interesting with decent weather, but it was very poor again, with continuous rain for most of the day. It stopped briefly, and I nipped out on errands. As I passed by Walsall Wood Bridge, a narrowboat passed beneath. In an impetuous moment, I wondered if I could catch it from the other end as it approached Hollanders Bridge. 

Turns out there was bags of time.

April 1st – It doesn’t feel like spring right now – another pair of wind-blasted, periodically damp commutes; but in the hedgerows, verges and field-margins nature is stirring. The pussy willows are flowering well, the blackthorn is smattered with blossom and there are the bright green shoots of a new growing season beginning to show.

I have the feeling that if I hold on, spring will kick in very shortly…

Which is just as well, as today is the 4th birthday of this journal. On April 1st, 2011, fellow cyclist and full time Dutch Cycling Girl Renee Van Baar persuaded me to do #30daysofbiking for the April social media project. The rest is history.

I have ridden a bike without fail every day for four years, all but for two lost days to illness over New Year 2011/12. I have now cycled well over 1,000 days continuously, and logged a picture or short film from every day.

I couldn’t give up now. This is ingrained in me, as part of my daily riding habit. Tens of thousands of miles in everything from bright sunshine to heavy snow, I’ve chronicled my life on two wheels. The drive to keep the journal keeps me connected with my environment and still makes me look at things afresh, and sometimes, gets my arse into gear when I otherwise wouldn’t.

I will continue this as long as I’m able, but if it gets embarrassing or unseemly, just tell me to stop. Relying on you lot there, so I am…

Thanks for riding with me. I’ve had a great time so far, and I’m looking forward to a great summer. You lot up for it?