BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Clayhanger’

#365daysofbiking Here comes the flood

February 16th – A truly dreadful day which saw a huge amount of rain and high winds. Overnight, lots of local roads flooded and there was much damage.

I ventured out after dark, and noted that the lower meadow at Clayhanger Common was doing it’s usual job. It had flooded, storing the water from the canal and local drains that would previously have swamped the village.

Instead, the landscape forms a lake that slowly and safely drains, keeping Clayhanger dry.

The noise and spectacle of this rushing water is a sight to see, but a remarkable bit of landscape engineering.

I do hope the weather will improve soon.

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#365daysofbiking Yellow reassurance

February 11th – The spiky gorse bushes always seem almost prehistoric in nature, and flower pretty much through the winter in various spots along the canal and on particular local edgelands.

This patch of the spiny, hostile but beautiful shrub has just come into bloom at Clayhanger, adding to the impression that spring is nearly here.

A welcome, if prickly character after the cold and surprise snow of the day before.

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#365daysofbiking – Small but positive signs

February 6th – the signs of the nascent spring are all around in the little things. Grass starting to grow again. Snowdrops. Gorse flower. Spring flower shoots. Easter primroses.

And hazel catkins, which although we pass without thought generally, are actually really gorgeous if one studies them, closely.

Spring is in the air, and just a wee bit in my step too.

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#365daysofbiking – Out for a duck

February 6th – My wellbeing is steadily improving, and so is the weather. Finally, it’s seems like spring is on the way and summer might be a thing, too. It’s been a long winter.

I’m still building myself up gradually with rides increasing in length as my energy, and capacity to process food, improves.

It was nice to pause at the Clayhanger canal overflow and chat with the mallards. Unlike the swans, they aren’t fussy about the company they keep.

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#365daysofbiking Fragility

January 29th – The tribulations of the previous day were over with, and had gone well. I was still tired though, as I’d been nil-by-mouth for 24 hours and recovery was harder than I remembered it. After tea I braved a small spin around the canal and Clayhanger Common.

I wasn’t really up to it if I’m honest. But it was good to be out.

It seemed a good opportunity to continue the long exposure theme – the chance to stand and get my energy back was real, and waiting for the camera gave me an excuse I suppose.

Hopefully, tomorrow I will feel more like it.

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#365daysofbiking Sometimes the darkness is your friend

January 21st – Returning home from Bloxwich through Clayhanger, I took the Spot Path back to Brownhills rather than the usually manic and stressful Pelsall Road, the main reason I don’t usually go that way. As I left the village and headed up over the common, I found myself totally alone in the dark.

It was murky and drizzly and there wasn’t a soul about. I could hear distant traffic, dogs, the sounds of people on the new estate over the back – but compared to the ride I’d just had, this was blessed solitude.

This is never a particularly beautiful spot by day. It’s OK, it’s nice enough. But it’s at night that it’s specialness comes to the fore.

Sometimes the lonely dark can actually be reassuringly companiable.

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#365daysofbiking On the dark side

January 5th – Not sure what happened here. it was a decent sunset as I headed from Newtown up to Sheffield on an errand, so I stopped to catch it at Clayhanger Bridge.

This image is not how I remember it: It seemed much lighter at the time, and far less dark.

It actually felt open, light and beautiful, not dark, brooding and dramatic as it looks here.

This camera is very strange sometimes, I must say. (And no, exposure comp wasn’t turned right down.)

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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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