BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘failure’

#365daysofbiking Lip service

March 12th – I noticed a couple of weeks ago there seemed to be new bike parking at WalsalL Station, but only got around to investigating it this evening.

It’s in a curious, newly built compound off platform one, and isn’t like the secure hubs at other stations, which are lockable and really deter the casual thief. This is a decent enough stacking stand, with a tethered tool station nearby which is, I guess, a nice touch.

It clearly isn’t secure though, despite the claims it’s monitored by CCTV. A new looking bike lies in one station, stripped and trashed.

I’d rather leave my bike locked on Park Street – and the disclaimers are very off-putting too.

This is nothing more than lip service by West Midlands Trains, a company I’m rapidly coming to dislike.

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#365daysofbiking A sign of failure


February 25th – Telford station, Monday morning.

I notice we now have an ‘Official Procedure’ for when the lift on the new pedestrian bridge breaks down.

‘Complimentary’ taxis will run the stranded passengers from one side of the station to the other.

If you spend nine million pounds on a new bridge to fix disability access issues, then omit a ramp and replace it with an unreliable lift meaning punters can become stranded if it breaks – you have failed as a designer and actually made the problem you set out to solve worse.

This is an idiotic disgrace. Those that allowed this to happen should be ashamed.

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#365daysofbiking Disasterous design

January 17th – It’s rare I’m negative about anything over much, but the new footbridge at Telford Station is an utter design failure and in my opinion, a fiasco.

Still very much unfinished, the build quality in places is very poor, the finish terrible and when I arrived mid morning, both lifts had failed.

With no lift on the westbound side, and the utter design failure of no ramp, I had to shoulder my bike and carry it up the steep steps.

The old bridge had no lifts – but ramps both sides. Although not good in a wheelchair, they at least were continuously available. If the westbound lift fails here now, wheelchair uses are stranded.

The situation is so bad there is now a hastily drawn up plan for calling for help if  the lift fails.

The powers that be have spent 10 million pounds to make the situation far, far worse for wheelchair users than it was before they started, ostensibly to improve things for them.

Telford and Wrekin Council and Network Rail should hang their heads in shame.

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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 The daily grind:

25th November – A mechanical job that should have been easy was far from it. Replacing brake discs resulted in a struggle with seized fasteners, the failure of a brake calliper and the discovery that the parts I thought I had in the spares box brand new for this eventually were in fact the wrong ones.

The front disc was so badly worn it was starting to warp.

For a job I thought would take 15 minutes and leave me bags of time to get out turned into hours and I was lucky to get time for tea…

Perhaps I shouldn’t leave it so long next time.

#365daysofbiking Here I stand:

November 6th – One thing I forgot in the years I hadn’t been coming to Redditch is a small rule that also applies to fellow new town Telford – never risk an unknown shortcut when in a hurry.

I was dashing for the train. I took what I thought would be a route around by the bus station and under the subway to the station. Instead, I lost all sense of direction totally and ended up on a ringway flyover overlooking it, a good 10 metres above where I needed to be with no easy way back other than to retrace my steps.

Urban design on such an inhuman scale does not make for intuitive routes.

Redditch should come with a decent cheat sheet for those on foot and cycling….

365daysofbiking Noble jacket:

October 7th – I set out on a pleasant but cold afternoon full of optimism. I was off to Cannock Chase to find deer, fungi some fine downhills and some autumn colour. 

Fate had other ideas.

The first problem was I’d left home with a flat battery in my camera, so all these are phone photos, and without exception, I think they’d have been better pictures if taken with my camera. But I would tend to think that, I suppose.

Two mechanical failures and I was sunk. A makeshift repair on a shredded tyre wasn’t dependable, so a quick visit to Castle Ring was to be my lot. 

I found good toadstools on the sandy embankment by the canal between Wharf Lane and Newtown bridges, which was nice, and the golden hour at Castle Ring was beautiful. Sad to note though now the once stunning view is again obscured by the tall trees down the hill – you can barely see the power station at Rugeley at all now.

A great sunset as I passed back through Chasewater just rubbed salt in my flat battery wound.

Some days are just not well starred. This was one of them, sadly.

June 2nd – A ride that turned out nothing like it was meant to, but still very good. First weekend of June is always the steam fair at Klondyke Mill in Draycott in the Clay, near Sudbury, so in the afternoon, I was headed there. 

Coming down a long hill far side of Yoxall on the A515, the return spring in the front brake calliper overheated, buckled and bound in the disk.

It came out after a struggle lasting well over an hour – thankfully, patience and care meant neither the calliper nor disc were seriously damaged, and I had spare pads and a spring. But it meant I was far to late to justify the entrance fee to the fair, so I went to Sudbury, had a pint in a lovely beer garden, then explored Scropton, Hatton and the Dove Valley on a beautiful summer evening.

It was 55 miles, and not a bad ride overall.

June 11th – A terrible end to a ride that started really well. I headed out in sunshine to visit a new coffee shop in Stowe by Chartley, run by a local lad. I headed up over Chasewater, up through Cannock and was just running down Abraham’s Valley on the Chase when a critical part of my drivetrain failed irreparably and I had to call for a lift home.

You can’t prepare for all eventualities, and some things can’t be fixed out on the road, but I felt cheated as I’d had a great ride, seen orchids and red deer, blue skies and The Chase was gorgeous.

It was sad to fail so unceremoniously and I felt irritated and cross at not spotting the issue in advance.

The bike was soon fixed at home and I cursed myself continually while effecting the repair.

Ah well, there will be other sunny days, and the Chase will still be there next week. Keep the coffee pot warm for me.

April 30th – Heading back to Brownhills I crossed Catshill Junction and noted that whilst it was hello spring and green leaves for me, the emergence of foliage meant goodbye daylight for the unfortunate residents of the new flats where Bailey House used to stand.

The failure of the landlords – Walsall Housing Group – and the Canal and River Trust to at least agree a management plan for this scrub is baffling to me. It must adversely affect the residents, and destroys what would be a decent view for them.

Meanwhile, the sculpture placed at Catshill Junction when the towpaths were refurbished in the same scrub is being enveloped once more.

I find it baffling that no plan for this, or better placement of the sculpture, wasn’t worked out by the developers. It’s a genuine and real failure.