BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘bad’

#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 That’s enough for now, please

Wednesday December 16th 2020 – Talking of water, the overflow at Clayhanger Bridge, safely conducting the excess canal water to the Tame via the Ford Brook is at a fair pelt in this wet season. I really am getting fed up of the mud and rain and would like a dry spell for a while.

With everything that’s going on in the world, would it be really be too much to ask for a cessation in the mud and wet grime of urban life with daily rain?

I shan’t hold my breath but I fear I might be getting webbed feet.

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#365daysofbiking Ring of no confidence

Thursday, October 15th 2020 – An interesting one here for the Bob Big Book of Mechanical Failures.

A bike I look after has an 11 speed rear sprocket cassette – Shimano CS M7000 XTR. Like all hyperglide Shimano cassettes 11 speed and below, it fits on the free hub splined body by sliding on to an asymmetrical groove pattern to ensure all components are correctly aligned synchronously for smooth gear changes. The whole lot is held on by a fine threaded, normally tightening lockring, driven with a special tool.

Unlike lower range cassettes, which are generally 2 or 3 piece, this arrangement turns out to be discrete sprockets for all but the largest three, and appropriate spacers which you stack on the free hub before applying the lockring. The lockring should actually tighten by precession and has grooves and a crinkle washer to stop it coming loose.

So why did this factory assembled cassette locking undo itself, allowing the ring and smallest few sprockets to tumble off the free hub and grind against the inside of the frame? I think personally because it wasn’t tightened enough in the factory.

The ring looked bad at first, until I realised that the silver ribbon was not swarf but the remnants of a foil table on the ring.

Cleaned and popped back together, all worked well. But in all my years, I’ve never seen that happen before.

Check your bikes folks. This could have been nasty.

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#365daysofbiking Waiting on the line

December 10th – I spend a lot of time waiting at traffic lights, and of all of them, I think I like the ones on the Arboretum Junction on Walsall’s new ring road least of all.

Ostensibly heuristic and adaptive, the loop sensors here don’t always pick up my bike, and often I watch a whole cycle take place before the lights allow me to go.

Tonight was just such a night – because the controller didn’t find me, my phase of the lights was completely absent first time around.

Nothing to do but shuffle the bike on the loop and swear…

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#365daysofbiking Grime scene

December 9th – The increasingly poor weather really is taking it’s toll on the bikes. I’m not a fanatical bike cleaner, and prefer my steeds to show the dull patina of constant use: but right now it’s less of a film and more inches of crud picked up from the muddy trails and roads.

I’m working on the basis that this layer of detritus will prevent further ingress, but to be honest I’m not hopeful.

Next spring I’m going to have to do a lot of work on these bikes.

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#365daysofbiking Up the junction


November 2nd – Busy this weekend with stuff at home, so I’m mostly riding out on errands to get materials and suchlike. At lunchtime I had to head over to a DIY store in Chasetown, so in steady drizzle, I took to the canal. The towpaths were sodden, but the riding surprisingly fast.

I’m glad I’ve got stuff to do, this autumn has been terrible for cycling generally, and we’ve had more lost weekends than Lloyd Cole. Were I stuck inside without occupation, I’d be going stir crazy by now. I’m sure of it.

Crossing Ogley Junction over that imperious old iron footbridge, the canal looked grey and foreboding. But I was wrapped up well, warm and dry underneath. Getting past this may take what seems like an age, but better days will come, the sun will return and in a few months, we’ll have daffodils and daylight once more.

All I’ve got to do is hang in there.

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#365daysofbiking It’ll all wash down when it rains

July 28th – If Saturday’s weather had been poor, on Sunday it was atrocious – the rain just didn’t stop all day. I was low, everything was on top of me and I’d had enough. I went up Walsall Wood to see friend who was out then I called; I went to pick up a takeaway. They were closed for summer holidays.

I dripped and squelched back to Brownhills. I was wet. The town was wet. Everything was wrong.

This was certainly a lost weekend. But maybe not quite as bad as Lloyd Cole’s. At least there was no hotel bill…

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#365daysofbiking A passing brightness

June 26th – Sad to see the last of the orchids fading away now but it’s been a great year for them.

I think they like the rain, so the summer has been good for something, at least.

I love these gorgeous purple flowers – a real symbol of the cleanliness our canals now enjoy. Such a shame they’re so transient in nature.

Until next year, then…

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#365daysofbiking Disasterous design

January 17th – It’s rare I’m negative about anything over much, but the new footbridge at Telford Station is an utter design failure and in my opinion, a fiasco.

Still very much unfinished, the build quality in places is very poor, the finish terrible and when I arrived mid morning, both lifts had failed.

With no lift on the westbound side, and the utter design failure of no ramp, I had to shoulder my bike and carry it up the steep steps.

The old bridge had no lifts – but ramps both sides. Although not good in a wheelchair, they at least were continuously available. If the westbound lift fails here now, wheelchair uses are stranded.

The situation is so bad there is now a hastily drawn up plan for calling for help if  the lift fails.

The powers that be have spent 10 million pounds to make the situation far, far worse for wheelchair users than it was before they started, ostensibly to improve things for them.

Telford and Wrekin Council and Network Rail should hang their heads in shame.

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