BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘design’

#365daysofbiking Cornering

Tuesday, October 20th 2020 – Home late, I found myself waiting at Streets Corner lights in Walsall Wood, which are on a fairly long cycle. This junction was rebuilt a couple of years ago, and has been made a lot smoother in operation, and nicer to use with added filters, slip roads and refuges.

You know a good job was made of the redesign as you never hear anyone moan about it now. They don’t praise it, either, but it doesn’t register as an annoyance which has to be the measure of a great success in the UK.

With the imposing Ivy House flats, rebuilt in the early 2000s and named after a house demolished in their construction and the wide open, quiet tarmac, it’s an interesting night time subject while I wait patiently and dream of a hug and mug of tea.

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#365daysofbiking Positive junction

March 12th – You can always tell a decent traffic improvement scheme by the way nobody mentions it after it’s completed.

The improvements at Shire Oak and Streets Corner took ages to complete, and were not without pain but the improvement in the performance of both is marked, and I’ve heard few moans about these seemingly well planned and executed safety upgrades.

So I think probably the work has been appreciated.

I do know one thing for sure: Streets Corner is still oddly beautiful by night.

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#365daysofbiking The geometrid

February 26th – Another rainy, grim day. As I returned home from work mercifully early (and of course, sunset is getting later at a pace now) I turned to look back across the Pier street Canal Bridge.

Peter Saville’s designs keep cropping up in my everyday life.

I loved the curves and vanishing points of this.Never really noticed it before.

There’s always something new, even in the most familiar places.

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#365daysofbikingTension makes a tangle


November 8th – Spotted on a rather new-looking Raleigh ladies step-trough bike on the train on the way to Birmingham in the morning. A curious spring fitted between the downtime and rear of the fork crown.

I’ve never noticed this before. It seems an odd idea and I had no idea of the function, other than perhaps to modulate the handling to compensate perhaps for poor frame design.

A bright friend came to my aid – it’s actually a very weak spring to serve a somewhat unusual purpose. The bike has a kickstand fitted. The spring merely stops the forks flipping around when using the stand, keeping it upright.

A strange idea, but I would imagine quite effective.

You learn something new every day.

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#365daysofbiking Stark, bollock naked

October 28th – Telford’s new footbridge linking town and railway station – built to replace an older one rendered unsuitable for wheelchair users – is still plagued with standing water, despite attempts to alleviate it by drilling holes in the bridge deck.

In a total admission of design failure, large diameter holes have now been cut into the floor with grilles like plughole in them. I guess this has to work, if they’re in the right place.

Sadly there is no guttering or drain on the whole structure, and to put it bluntly the drained water will piss onto the commuters standing on the platform below.

Quite how a council and railway management company can allow a huge structure – getting on for 10 million pounds worth – to be built and commissioned with no rainwater control whatsoever is utterly beyond me.

Recently there were posters around the station begging passengers to vote for this ill thought out, awful bodge in some or other architecture competition.

A lot of Telford seems quite fond of this dysfunctional mess.

Telford, your emperor is stark bollock naked.

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#365daysofbiking Sunset mellow


August 31st – Nipping up to Walsall Wood that evening to see a friend, I passed the pithead sculpture, which always looks dramatic with a good dusk sky behind it.

A structure I’ve never been fond of, it can look fantastic in the right kind of light.

I’m concerned to see the metal flag has sheared off, presumably from repeated wind-flexing. Good job nobody was under it when it dropped. That would have been sharp.

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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 Into the madness:

November 28th – Telford, that evening, viewed from the Euston Way.

Telford looks best at night. The station is crowded due to a cancelled train. The train I’m expecting is late. This is not going to be fun.

The lights, the steel and glass, the pretentions to being internationalist, commercial, vital and a centre for financial business work best at night.

In reality, Telford is an industrial and commercial sprawl, but it ain’t all that.

But it could have been a contender.

Oh well, into the madness…

365daysofbiking Decent, enough:

October 6th – From the wailing and gnashing of the NIMBYs of Aldridge, anyone would think that the block of apartments planned for the long derelict land right at the bottom of High Street on the Elms Island would be some monstrous, hideous carbuncle that didn’t fit with it’s surroundings at all.

Studying it closely while in the village of 26,000 on Saturday afternoon, I actually decided I quite liked it. I’m not fond of the flat roof, which is a cop out in design terms, but the rest of it is an interesting blend of textures and colours, and is actually quite bland, really. It’s not too big, it certainly doesn’t block light to the hHigh Street as some alleged and it seems a good match for the rather stark pub nearby.

I’m sure the elderly folk it’s built for will enjoy living close to the amenities of the ‘village’ centre, too, and it will help keep the local retailers busy.

It seems a decent thing to me.