BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘communte’

#365daysofbiking Halfway up the junction

Tuesday December 1st 2020 – As you come up Green Lane from Shelfield at night, through the darkness of Green Lane, you come to a small hamlet at the foot of the Black Cock Bridge, the bridge itself being named after the pub on its southern flank.

The hamlet is one of the oldest parts of Walsall Wood, once known as Bullings Heath, but now just part of the greater township. Bullings Heath itself stretches on up Hall Lane, and ends at the junction with the Lichfield Road in an area of factories and industrial units that were once the site of a sprawling slum formed largely of canal workers and ex-navvies.

The junction between Hall Lane and Green Lane sits somewhat oddly halfway up the slope of the bridge, now accentuated due to mining subsidence, but always pronounced.

Looking down it at night gives a wonderful village feeling, and you could be in almost any rural community.

I often thought about the dairy farm in Hall Lane, whose buildings and great barn are still extant – and how the carter must have cursed at having to drive his horse uphill to go back down immediately when going to Shelfield with his milk.

I often wonder how much milk got spilled there…

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#365daysofbiking Radio activity and G force

June 20th – Another dusk departure from work gave me chance to take some pictures of networking equipment causing some bizarre consternation locally at the moment.

A handful of local residents have spent some time in the dafter enclaves of social media and decided these white boxes and antenna on lamp columns, traffic signals and street furniture in Walsall are the rollout equipment for the fifth-generation telecoms network.

For some reason conspiracy theorists are given to believe the fifth generation network will be harmful to health, is a plot to test radiation on the population and an effort to spy on us all. Oh, and it’s somehow all connected with low energy LED street lighting.

Well, these boxes and aerials are far more mundane: They are actually pretty much high speed WiFi like we have in our homes, but designed as a specific, peer to peer network for traffic signals and other on-street infrastructure that benefits from central control.

It’s called Mesh4G and you can see it here.

As signals, junctions, crossings, air monitoring and traffic cameras are updated across Walsall, more of these relay units will appear, allowing traffic folk to monitor, modify and control their equipment without having to leave the office.

Which is interesting to me as a geek, but far more mundane than conspiracies would have us believe.

And I’ll still be waiting ages at the Bull Stake junction in Darlaston…

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#365daysofbiking Night falls:

October 29th – Travelling back home in the first of the end of British Summer Time commutes is always hard: I wasn’t late, but it was dark, and cold. I got passed by two gritters. Progress was slow. 

Winter is upon me.

This means rejigging the photography a bit, as it’s had to find subjects in darkness, so the activity tends to shift to morning, or during errands or trips in the daytime.

Oh well, it’s here. Let’s do this.

October 16th – An very strange weather day. We were expecting severe storms in the afternoon, and in the morning, to a gradually increasing wing, the sky and light turned pink. Not just a light, gentle pink, but a deep, strong pink that suffused everything and made one think the end was coming.

It actually turned out to be pollution and sand dust in the upper atmosphere caused by the oncoming, dying hurricane, but the effect was bfar better than any eclipse I’ve ever seen. 

For an hour or so on an otherwise unremarkable October morning, the world went a little bit strange for us all.

July 27th – And on my return, the weather was so lovely, I decided to take a detour around Stonnall for a bit of thinking time.

Grandma use to say ‘mackerel sky? 24 hours dry.’ – this was certainly a remarkable, beautiful sky.

I do hope she’s right.

April 27th – I keep noticing this Giant bike at Telford; I don’t know who it belongs to, but it annoys me irrationally every time I study it. Giant are an American brand whose bikes I’m not a huge fan of; like fellow US companies Cannonade and GT they often have a non-standard, peculiar approach to design resulting in bikes with odd features or incompatibilities, usually only noticed after purchase when something goes wrong.

This one annoys me for two reasons: one is design, the other is just happenstance. The rear seat-stay seems to be 2 parts, a U formed tube for the stays and a curious, welded linkage interpenetrating between the U form and seat tube. The weld, being aluminium, is rough, not square and looks absolutely awful. What on earth was the designer thinking?

The other thing is that rear quick release. Who would leave it closed facing backwards in such a vulnerable position? I want to sort it but would never touch another’s steed.

A mystery are the two M6 tapped holes on the non-drive side dropout; they aren’t present on the opposite side, and serve no apparent function, but designing them, machining them and fabricating the form they’re in was clearly serious effort. What are they for, does anyone know?

An odd bike. Never been fond of US designs.

August 8th – I came to the top of Shire Oak Hill in light rain, and stopped at the quarry entrance to look at my beloved view to Lichfield. Rain was sweeping in along the Trent Valley, and the hills to the west were obscured by low rain clouds.

It had been another tough week,and I was glad to crest the hill and be nearly home. I love my job, but sometimes it’s tough to keep everything going.

But knowing home was downhill from here, the promise of good company, the family and a decent mug of tea was strong, and cheering. 

Home is where the teapot is.

As it happened, the rain never really reached here. 

January 7th – Back in Birmingham, and after a long break it almost felt like coming home, if that makes sense. Nice to see nothing had changed; Tyseley Station maintains it’s gentle slide into decay, but touch wood, the trains have been better. I enjoyed the commute today, and an ongoing change from Vodafone to EE (Orange) for the phone contract seems to have solved the poor signal issues en route, particularly the Gravelly Hill dead spot. Fiddling with technology on my way, I noticed this older tech on my  way through the station. I think it’s an old, very old, signal switch – possibly for train dispatch purposes. I’ve not seen anything like that for a while, and now clearly disconnected, wondered if the nearby rail museum might be interested…

December 3rd – A great journey to work. When I awoke, it was raining, heavily. But as I left the house, the rain ceased and the sun came out, making for a smooth a fast ride to the station. It felt warm and the wind was at my back. Passing Little Aston church, I noticed the meadow before it was wreathed in mist and looking rather beautiful.

All the time, the sky became more and more gorgeous. This was a great winters day. We’ve had way too few of these so far this season.