BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Cycling’

#365daysofbiking Cubic

January 13th – I’ve been given a new rear light to try out, a Bontrager Flare RT. it’s a funny little black cube, about an inch square. It’s eye-burningly bright, with multiple modes, an ambient light sensor, and a shocking degree of intelligence and connected features.

It’s got bluetooth and ant+ wireless communications, so it links to my bike computer and a nifty app lets me control the light, change it’s pattern and have it detect deceleration and work like a brake light too.

The instructions are bizarre and opaque. It’s not got great battery life, but it does recharge via USB. But it’s certainly bright and very, very red.

I not sure what problem it’s trying to solve, but it’s a fun, impressive thing for sure. And it’s actually pretty cheap for the huge amount of tech it’s bristling with.

I’ll report back when I’ve got a feel for it’s quirks.

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#365daysofbiking Maintaining the bite

November 22nd – And when I got home, an essential job – replace the missing studs in the winter tyres I’s saved from last season.

Schwalbe, the makers of the tyres, sell kits of replacement studs and a tool for inserting them – they are fiddly to do but with a tiny spot of silicone grease they go in well enough.

I had six to do. Took me a while to re-find the knack, but I got there in the end… and hopefully maintaining the excellent grip I love these tires for.

But so worth in the end.

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#365daysofbiking Metal guru


November 19th – One of the reasons I was comfortable with the ice and frost was that I now have the winter tyres on the bike.

There’s nothing more painful than coming off on ice on a cold day – everything seems to hurt far more. To keep upright as far as possible I fit Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus tyres. They’ve an aggressive outer tread loaded with 240 tungsten carbide studs which grip the road through the ice to give purchase even when cornering. There’s a more continuous, subtle central tread which rolls well when at maximum pressure.

Riding these is noisy and harder than normal tyres – but there are no worries about stability – these grip beautifully, like the ice isn’t there at all. They’re also very effective on leaf mulch which I find a lot of this time of year.

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#365daysofbiking A grim toll

November 15th – The bikes are suffering in the bad weather.

A continual spray of road water containing grit, balsam, leaf litter and road salt is getting into the brakes, frame and drivetrain. The pads and brake discs are wearing fast.

I need to get on with some TLC and show my steeds some love.

But while the bad weather persists, anything other than essential work seems like a losing battle.

It’s not just the rider that needs some dry weather….

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#365daysofbiking Laurel and hardly

October 29th – Also on the Priorslee cycleway in Telford, a new hazard that caught me by surprise – but thankfully, didn’t have me off the bike, but it was close!

These slimy, goopy squished berries are I think, laurel. They are falling from a tree next to the cycleway, and are gradually being crushed by the feet of walkers and wheels of cyclists into a greasy pulp.

Its really fiendishly slippery on narrow tyres, and seems water resistant too – heavy rains seem to have made it worse rather than washing it away!

Take care, folks.

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#365daysofbiking A decent buy

August 7th – I’m always interested when I spot a new bike in any of the client’s facilities I use. This Halfords Carrera is a typical, mid range trail bike. Competently designed with mass market but decent looking equipment, including suspension forks with crown lockout and hydraulic disc brakes, this was obviously a new steed for someone.

It’s a nice bike and shows why Halfords sell a lot of bicycles despite the variable quality of their shop staff – particularly as regards technical knowledge.

I did, however, wince at the way the bike was locked. That really isn’t a great way to use a D lock and extension cable…

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#365daysofbiking Into the blue

July 23rd – I was in Birmingham for work and was planning on catching the train home. But there was trouble with the signals and all trains I could have caught were messed up.

I decided to ride home – it was a nice evening, after all. I decided to hit the canal near Lancaster Circus, but heading out of the centre I found the new segregated cycleway up the A3 to Perry Barr. It’s absolutely brilliant. I was so enamoured, I kept on it and rode home over Kingstanding.

It’s fast, largely well thought out, has it’s own traffic signals (with repeaters at bike eye level) and was really quite busy.

Some of the routes over major junctions are a bit tortuous, but it’s far better than I’d ever have imagined.

Sad to see it ends abruptly at Perry Barr, but I suppose with the junction being remodelled there it would be folly to continue it yet.

A fine thing, very pleasing to ride.

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#365daysofbiking A break in the clouds

June 2nd – On my return, for a short while, the sun came out and the skies were lovely over Hammerwich and the canal from Chasewater.

One of the reasons I ride a bike is the connection to my environment it gives me – good weather or bad I feel on my bike that the world continues to spin, and that for better or worse, I’m part of it.

For a few sunny minutes on a green, beautiful canal on a blustery sad Sunday, the clouds thinned and as the world continued to spin, and I felt lifted and content to be part of it.

My cyclic antidepressant had worked again.

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#365daysofbiking Primrose and proper

April 14th – Spotted on a morning errand, these primroses and scattered down the bank of the McClean Way, the cycle and walking route on the former South Staffordshire railway line through the heart of Brownhills, just below the Miner Island.

I remember as a child watching trains thunder through here full of coal, oil or cars. Now, the lines are lifted and after 30 years of decay, the wonderful Back the Track group led by human dynamo Brian Stringer have done an excellent job of reclaiming the permanent way for public use – and their hard work continues.

These primroses don’t seem much, but they’re a huge achievement. Take a bow, folks.

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