BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Cycling’

#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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#365daysofbiking Beaming

April 1st – It’s the 8th birthday of this blog today – on April 1st, 2011 I started by joining the #30daysofbiking project egged on by Renee Van Bar, top cyclist, pal and Dutchperson. I enjoyed it so much, the only thing that ever stopped me riding was a very bad case of food poisoning at New Year 2012. Apart from those lost 2 days, I’ve cycled every day since then.

That’s cycling for 2,920 days out of the last 2,922.

I’m quite pleased with that. When I tell the #30daysofbiking people about this they always treat me like some kind of oddity.

Every day I get on my bike and ride somewhere, and take you readers along with me. Thanks for joining me and sharing my journeys, be they work, errands or pleasure.

And what better time to mark this achievement than to note the fresh white beam leaves of a new year? Gorgeous in their ridged perfection, they are beautiful and I was pleased to see them near Clayhanger Common.

Cone on then, grab your coat – I’m up for another year of this. Are you? Hop on.

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#365daysofbiking 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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#365daysofbiking 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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#365daysofbiking 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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#365daysofbiking 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.