BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘danger’

#365daysofbiking Sucked down

Monday, October 12th 2020 – Back to the rain and grey. Such is the season.

I’ve been ignoring as much as possible the nights closing in, for my hatred of the darkening in Autumn causes me to get down if I think about it too much, but this evening, leaving work only a little later than usual, I hit The Suck.

The Suck is the season of commutes from when they start occurring in darkness until about Christmas, until motorists are used to the dark and bad weather again. All through this period, riding a bike home especially, is more arduous mentally and more hazardous. Unused to the gathering murk, drivers seem less attentive, more aggressive and riding safely in traffic requires absolute attentiveness in a way it doesn’t in daylight.

At around Christmas the hazard wanes as the traffic is more used to the lack of light, and the pressure and aggression gradually eases.

This evening, at Rushall feeling mentally flat, I realised how hard I’d been concentrating and that for another year, the traffic was sucking me down.

Be careful out there folks. Every other person on the road is someone’s child. Let’s look after each other.

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#365daysofbiking Leaf it out

November 8th – Later, on the cycleways of Telford, IU was reminded of a seasonal hazard – greasy, wet fallen leaves.

When leaves lie on the ground and it rains, the action of wheels and feet mulches the whole lot into a slippery, soapy goop that can steal your wheels from under you and make stopping highly unpredictable, especially on a road bike.

I was reminded of this speeding downhill for the train. Thankfully, I didn’t come to any harm, but be careful, folks.

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#365daysofbiking Rime and season:

November 22nd – First really cold morning of the year I think, with lurking black ice and hedgerows and verges adorned with a hoar frost. It was the kind of penetrating cold that hurts your throat and forehead, and even though I was wrapped up, on the morning trail, towpaths and cycleways the -2.5 degree temperatures were still a little raw for me.

Every year it takes time to re-adjust.

I was certainly glad of the ice tyres this morning.

#365daysofbiking Welcome to The Suck:

September 20th – It started with a bang: The Suck, the gradually darkening, menacing and psychologically hard commuting journeys from now until Christmas began today with a twilight, torrential rain soaked journey from Darlaston to home. 

Drenched in spray, nearly left hooked twice, perpetually on guard for bad driving this was the worst journey I’ve had in years.

At one point I just stopped and took refuge in a bus shelter to calm down. The sheer hard work of concentrating and being aware enough to survive in this conditions is a gargantuan effort.

But I made it home, and as I once again get used to this, it’ll be less of a trial.

Winter sucks you down.

December 1st – It was still very cold on Friday evening, and again taking the canal to Walsall Wood – this time from Aldridge – I was reminded of the perils of black ice. Hitting this frozen puddle at speed, in the dark? I didn’t take a spill, but I did feel the back wheel slip.

Ever year there’s a little warning to be more sensible.

Take care if you’re out when it’s frosty, folks…

October 26th – Another horrible, snatched image, but it shows a place I don’t go so much these days because it’s undergoing change which makes it hostile to cycling.

The Shire Oak Crossroads is an important junction in south Brownhills, with a landmark pub and atop a large hill. Carring to major routes, the traffic lights here have always been busy and daunting, and the junction is currently being remodelled, and is replete with barriers, closed footpaths and added, surprise potholes.

While it’s so unpredictable, it’s best avoided on a bike, particularly at night, as many drivers take wide corners or get confused with positioning.

Hopefully it’ll all work out better in the end.

October 29th – As I noted a few days ago, Autumn is a beautiful, but hazardous season. The leaf littler on the cycleways is wonderful to look at but very slippery, and is now turning to a very soapy, lubricant mulch. Added into this are small twigs, various needles and fallen berries and fruits, often concealing potholes and other hazards. 

I normally mash up here hard and come back downhill even faster, but with conditions as they are, I take this route very gently at the moment, and avoid using the front brake as much as possible.

August 19th – First really wet commute in ages, and the rain wasn’t cold, so it wasn’t particularly unpleasant. The traffic, though, lulled into the forgetfulness it normal befalls in summer, wasn’t so pleasant. 

I hate the way summer rain seems to make drivers behave so oddly. I was glad to get home.

June 26 – I’ve not had to go to Telford for ages, and was looking forward to my trip there today to check out the flowers growing on the cycleways, which are always a bit different to the ones I’m used to. They didn’t disappoint.

In the short run from the Station to Hortonwood, I spotted an interesting orchid, cornflowers and this spectacular, but dangerous giant hogweed.

The hogweed, a good two feet taller than me, is a plant containing a sap which burns human skin by neutralising natural UV protection, causing prolonged, and  slow to heal burns – effectively very severe sunburn. It’s very easy to get hurt by it, so I steered well clear (and will notify the council of it’s presence). It’s an imported plant that’s been gaining a strong foothold here.

Beware. It may not be an actual triffid, but it’s pretty nasty.

Telford. Never a dull moment.