BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Cycling’

#365daysifbiking Under the bridge

February 6th -The lighter evenings, although coming on fast now, have not reached the far end of my commute, and I tend to do the canal less in the dark, as riding the towpaths at night – even with my excellent front light – is a constant mental grind.

Approaching Clayhanger Bridge on my way back to Brownhills, I stopped to check a text, and realised how bright my light was, to catch Clayhanger Bridge like that.

It’s still a constant effort not to end up taking an early bath, though…

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#365daysifbiking Salt beef

January 29th – The cold weather for this winter has finally arrived, and the roads are icy. I’m fairly OK on the ice tyres, but it still takes time to build confidence back up when hitting black ice.

Thankfully, everywhere I’ve been, the major routes are well gritted, even though many motorists swear they haven’t been.

Road salt is not magic. It won’t work instantly, won’t de-ice the whole troad, and won’t allow you to drive like Sterling Moss in cold weather.

Tae care and take it easy, folks.

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#365daysifbiking IC

January 18th – A very cold, hazard-ridden commute as I got used to riding on ice – all be it with ice tyres – again. It takes time to reassure yourself that they actually work.

The road gutters and towpaths had some lurking black ice and it was rather cold.

Still only an IC1 on the fabulous Dry Marland canal ice scale though….

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#365daysifbiking Looking after the steed


December 31st – In Lichfield briefly, I noticed this little piece of pride and joy, locked outside the new library and later, near the Garrick.

That’s clearly a very much loved Christmas present and it’s good to see the parents getting the wee cyclist into the security habit.

This little blue, green and yellow steed could be the beginning of a lifelong love affair, like my first ‘real’ bike was. Cracking stuff, and a joy to the heart.

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#365daysofbiking Springtime:

November 30th – I wondered how long it would be before this set of Rockshox forks suffered the notorious ‘sticky lockout’ problem. A year, they’ve been fine, the control on my bars reliably allowing be to make the suspension solid on road, then active on rough terrain at the flick of a lever.

Usually, it’s as simple as a corroded cable. Not this time. The damper gate appears to be failing.

Spares on order, and for now, a spring and a cable tie to assist the mechanism over it’s reluctance.

This must be the fourth iteration of these forks, all excellent on the whole, but all suffering lockout issues.

Time for a redesign, SRAM…

#365daysofbiking Still amazed:

November 9th -One thing I never take for granted is my biking technology. From disc brakes to LED lights to tough tires, things are very much better in the saddle these days than the four decades or so ago I started to ride a bike.

One thing that would have blown my mind even in the 1990s is the current GPS bike computer technology available to me. I ride down darkened lanes, with the soft glow of a device on my bars indicating my position on a scrolling Ordnance Survey map. Overlaid on this are street names, and I get warnings of sharp bends and hazards. 

Of course, I know these lanes like the back of my hand, but when off-piste, it’s a godsend. If anyone had shown the young me this device, it would have blown my tiny mind.

Old hands scorn the modern technology, but not really is a wonderful thing.

#365daysofbiking The dark side:

November 2nd – Returning that evening, drained after a heavy, stressful week, I hit the canal.

Riding the canal towpaths after dark requires a couple of things – nerves of steel and a good front light. 

The nerves are necessary to spot the familiar hazards of the towpath in unfamiliar lighting conditions – ducks, geese, foxes, cats etc, as well as deep potholes, bumps, wooden trail edge boards and paver edges. It’s also challenging to predict sudden curves in the path you navigate automatically in daylight.

I can also be a bit… lonely.

But I love the mental challenge and peace of it.

#365daysofbiking Leaf it out:

October 16th – Time for an important warning to cyclists and motorcyclists alike – watch out for the fallen leaves at the moment. They’re very slippery indeed.

These innocuous piles of autumnal debris gradually get reduced under wheels to a slimy, soapy, wheel-steeling goop which will make you skid and catch you out when you least expect it to. Add to that rainwater, spilled diesel and other slippery stuff and the recipe is for a tumble.

In my experience the councils are pretty good at controlling the problem, but it’s an impossible task.

So watch where you’re riding and be careful out there!            

365daysofbiking Ladies, please:

October 8th – This is a post that will hopefully confine us to a mild winter.

After suffering a spill in November last year on ice while riding summer tyres, I’m taking no chances this year and have the ice studs on now as we’ve already had a couple of heavy frosts, and I’m, getting too old for the falling off lark.

My rubber of choice for the cold months is Schwalbe Active Winter 30mm which has a good tread and several hundred tungsten carbide studs that bite into black ice and keep me upright.

They are a little noisy, and although not slow, not the nippiest tyres in the world.

Now I’ve fitted them, expect it to be warm throughout the winter…