BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘bridge’

#365daysofbiking Nicely dovetailing

November 24th – On the way back from Chasewater to Brownhills on yet another dull, wet Sunday afternoon following a frankly disappointing winter fair at Chasewater, I wasn’t expecting to find much: But I found something fascinating that’s been staring me in the face for decades and I have never once noticed.

It’s fairly well known that when Abraham Darby bullt the Iron Bridge over the Severn at Coalbrookdale, iron was such a new material that many of the jointing techniques used were adapted from carpentery, as that was the understood skillset of the day.

I noticed for the first time today that the Ogley foorbridge over the cut off stub of the Lichfield branch of the Wyrley and Essington canal – recently refurbished – holds it’s guard sides together with a neat, well fitted dovetail joint in cast iron.

The bridge, dating from around 1850 is a listed structure, and I’m beginning to see why. The rails are constructed in two half-crescents with a dovetail centrally, held rigid by a bolted mating sleeve.

It’s utterly beautiful and means the bridge is thoroughly rigid.

I only noticed due to the rust bleed into the ageing paint.

You can always find something, no matter how grim the weather…

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#365daysofbiking Purposefully brutal

 

 

 

 

 

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November 21st – The cycleway between Wellington and Hortonwood was a bit hard to follow and convoluted, but as it happened, quite fun. It took me through variously playing fields for a private school, along a goods rail line, along a major highway (safely on the pavement adjacent) over a huge, bizarre double roundabout system, and also over a complex bridge arrangement at Hadley, which was most interesting of all.

This brutalist, utilitarian construction of tiered walkways, curling ramps and single span bridges reminded me very much of the Joy Division publicity shots from the late 70s in Manchester, or of the Great Charles Street crossing in Birmingham.

The bridges twanged gently as I crossed them, or when HGVs went under. They felt safe, and wide, and the views and design interesting, if stark. I was particularly interested in the nearby towerblock of Brookdale, which seemed to be made from the same Wimpety system build technique as the flats in Brownhills, but with some peculiar twists in the design.

It certainly looks to have been well refurbished.

All in all an interesting ride.

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#365daysofbiking A different light

November 18th – If you read this journal regularly, you’ll know I’m not terribly impressed with Telford’s new pedestrian bridge, linking the railway station with the town centre over the line and rTelford ring road.

The bridge itself is an awful design that relies on lifts for wheelchair access and those lifts are highly unreliable. The structure has no rainwater control, and seems like a badly thought out, peculiarly executed piece of civil engineering hubris.

However, I will say this: Like Walsall bus station, at night with the thing lit up, you can kind of see what the architect was getting at.

The lighting in the stairs handrails is a particularly nice touch.

But it’s still a turd you can’t really. polish.

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#365daysofbiking Kingdom of rain

November 9th – It rained all day, and into the night. A wet, horrible day stuck indoors working on DIY around home and trying to keep busy.

I slipped out after dark to do some essential shopping. Everywhere was saturated – we really are in a wet spell now. It seems like it’s been raining for weeks, although probably not; yet I don’t think I’ve every known such a miserable, wet autumn.

Brownhills and Silver Street were deserted. Anyone with any sense was inside, not out with me in this kingdom of rain. For once, I couldn’t blame them.

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#365daysofbiking Staying focused

November 5th – On the way to work I hit the canal between Brownhills and the Black Cock Bridge, and through the copse alongside the towpath, I could see a group of female red deer in the field between me and Clayhanger.

Sadly, there were just too many trees in the way and the deer were remarkably nervous today, so my attempts to  focus on them beyond the trees were thwarted.

I must get faster at that. Far too ham fisted at the moment.

Also fascinated by the zoom compression of the houses in the background, which aren’t anywhere near as close as that in real life.

Nice to see the ladies about though…

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#365daysofbiking The stars in autumn

October 24th – I recently tried CLayhanger Bridge photos with the latest iPhone, to see what one of my favourite low-light subjects was like using that method: I found it impressive, but harsh.

I later realised I’d not really had much of a go with my current camera, a Canon G5X Mark II.

Since I was returning after dark, I thought I’d give it a go, extra lighting courtesy of the bike front light.

You can’t beat a real camera.

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#365daysofbiking Harsh, still

October 8th – Despite a flurry of updates, the generally lauded night mode on the new iPhone is very impressive but to me, still somewhat harsh.

On one of my favourite night subjects – Clayhanger Bridge – the image is impressive for a phone, but I think a real camera generally does it better, even with this incompetent behind it.

Maybe I’m being harsh myself…

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#365daysofbiking A small bimble

October 2nd – I was recovering after the hospital appointment, but fresh air called and I took a spin out in the afternoon, enjoying the sun for a circuit of Brownhills, Walsall Wood, Pelsall and Clayhanger.

Slow and leisurely, I wanted to see if I was up to riding. Thankfull I felt no ill effects.

At Clayhanger Bridge I met the Watermead family, all now large birds, having a communal preen by the canalside. They tolerated me, and only went for my ankles a couple of times.

Beautiful, adorable birds.

To my surprise, Mr. Miyagi the turtle was basking too, but slid back in the water before I had my camera. Didn’t expect to see him out so late, but always nice to see.

The fresh air improved my mood and it was nice to find my riding wasn’t impeded.

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#365daysofbiking Picture this

September 20th – An old favourite but a new camera, well sort of: The new iPhone is being touted as having the ‘best camera in any smartphone yet’ and having a new one, I’m interested to try it.

Over the years, as the technology improved, more of this journal is phone images – either by convenience, of because the phone was immediately to hand. But they’re no substitute for a decent camera – the physical limitations of a phone camera are just too great.

There’s no doubt that the pictures this device takes are excellent. But the seem a little harsh – since the physical mechanical constraints of a small camera in a thin unit are so great, the real art of this thing is in software. It’s goo, but I think needs softening a little.

It’s still absolutely remarkable though, have to say.

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