BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘frost’

#365daysofbiking better than expected

Saturday January 2nd 2021 – Although we’ve not had the inches of snow I would have liked, we had repeated short falls that kept it topped up. Saturday evening, it came on again, so I headed out on errands at teatime.

Coming back from the supermarket in Burntwood, I came down the Parade and through Holland Park and the Black Path, not long after and intense, but short fresh fall.

It’s safe to say it was magical.

And the best bit? The town seemed deserted.

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#365daysofbiking Seeing it out and moving on

New Year’s Eve, Thursday December 31st 2020 – I really hate New Year’s Eve. I’m so glad it’s curtailed this year – the forced jollity and camaraderie, coupled with the ‘we will have fun!’ attitude really kills it for me.

But there is one tradition I always uphold at the year end: A reflective ride to somewhere quiet, to think about the year and in my own way, see it out.

And like most folk, I’m bloody happy to see this one out of the door in person. With bare hands, if necessary, and a large blunt weapon. It’s safe to say it’s been a terrible year.

The pandemic has been awful for us all, and the future, at least until we get the population vaccinated, looks very uncertain. Yet all most of us want, me included, is things back to normal. To be able to stop at a country cafe or pub again. To meet friends. To be with family.

In the dead, icy calm of Chasewater, we rode up the frozen snow to the top of the pit mound as night fell, and waited in the still for night to properly come in. There wasn’t a soul around apart from me and my pal: From here, we could hear the terminal seconds of this terrible year ticking away. It felt good; cleansing.

Back down at the dam, on the way back it was very cold, but the lake so beautifully peaceful: Until a raptor disturbed the gull roost which must have been several tens of thousands strong. The cacophonous taking to flight of the flock was stunning, as was the similarly swift return to peace.

My word this year has been tough – but not as tough as it has been for many, I’ve been lucky. But it has affected me and I feel it deeply. And I’m sorry, readers, that I abandoned this journal for a few months in summer. I just couldn’t cope with it at that time. I’m sorry I let you down. I promise I will not waver again.

So here’s to a new year, with maybe better prospects. Hopefully we’ll meet again this time next year – with a full year’s photos between – and recall this year as a past, distant and very bad memory.

Here’s to that thought. Happy new year to you all: Let us not dwell on the past. We must move on.

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#365daysofbiking Hardened

Wednesday December 30th 2020 – I was less keen to ride far today – overnight the partially thawing snow had frozen solid, formed hard pack-ice and I needed to gently find out how the tyres I’m currently using – Continental Top Contact II Winter – would cope.

I needn’t have worried. Not as good as studs, but perfectly acceptable without the noise and rolling resistance. A run up the canal and back through Clayhanger after night fell was enough to find out what I needed.

I think I can happily commute on these now.

The canal is partially frozen – about a IC2 on the Dra Marland canal scale.

Be nice if we had a real snowfall, I think. We’re due a really cold winter.

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#365daysofbiking Approaching zero

Sunday November 22nd 2020 – I slipped out late afternoon on errands, and caught the sunset at Chasewater, as beautiful as ever, but the riding was fast and easy so I headed in a loop over to Castle Ring, Dollymaker Hill and Stoneywell, returning via Fulfen and Burntwood. It was a great ride.

I always feel shocked you can see Dudley Castle from Gentleshaw.

I’m pleased I changed over to winter tyres a couple of weeks ago; as I neared home I felt the familiar crackle of freshly gritted roads for the first time this season – the cold nights were clearly coming in. We were expecting a frost, and the temperature hovered around two degrees.

I felt cold, and my forehead and ears burned; but it was mostly a lovely night ride. I must do this more often.

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#365daysofbiking You picked a fine time to leave me

January 20th – One of the few hard frosts of the season so far greeted me as I left on my bike for work.

I was very, very glad on the cycleways of Telford particularly for the studded winter tyres: Surefooted and grippy as ever. There was a lot of black ice, and I never once felt unstable.

Sadly what did cause me problems was my back brake losing all bite: For some reason my pads chose this morning to wear completely out to the point at which they were just about useless. The crossover point between ‘These are OK’ and ‘Where’s my stopping power gone?’ was one braking action on a downhill.

The one set of conditions when you really need to leave the front brake alone and only use the back… Oh dear.

Luckily, there were no spills.

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#365daysofbiking Frosty reception

December 17th – In Telford – it was a frosty morning after a rainy evening and there was no shortage of ice on the new footbridge. With every turn in the weather, this ludicrous civil engineering fudge looks more and more shambolic.

In many places the standing water from the night before had frozen on the bridge deck and steps – either due to lack of gritting or the grit washing away before having chance to act.

Someone really should be answering public safety questions about this farce, but I doubt they ever will.

Still, the frost on the local byways was pretty. But by heck, it seemed cold.

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#365daysofbiking Fade from grey

November 30th – A misty, murky day definitely not conducive to good photography. It had been very frosty, but by the time I had change to get out with time on my hands, the frost had gone.

I had business in Burntwood and went via Chasewater and Brownhills Common – the dam looked really eerie in the fog. Spiderwebs on gorse caught water droplets and became precious.

A cold, grey but starkly beautiful day.

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#365daysofbiking Cold comfort

November 19th – Next morning, back to Telford in the early morning on a hard frost, as expected. Mill Green was as beautiful as it always is on such a morning: Icy, pale but mistily serene and peaceful.

It was a good morning for once and that looked like continuing. With the winter tyres on, I’m ready.

Come on then, let’s have it…

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#365daysofbiking That was a bit nippy

November 18th – It was a cold, thankfully dry journey home. The roads were glistening with ice, and the main ones, a fresh scattering of road salt.

The first icy commute home of the winter is always hard. My hands and face were cold. It hurt.

Stopping at a shop in the way home, I noticed that the temperature was marginally still above zero degrees Celsius.

That was a shock. it felt much colder.

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#365daysofbiking Misty morning sunlight

October 28th – The descent into winter seems quite fast now: Heading off to get the train to Brum and onward to Telford on an early morning with frost on the ground and ice on the roads – and I’ve not got the winter tyres on yet, as the bike reminded me in an unguarded moment.

Stability restored, the sunlight streamed through the trees of Mill Green and despite the chill, rendered the day precious.

As welcomes to winter go, that wasn’t so bad.

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