BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘fun’

#365daysofbiking – Chalk mark before a rainstorm

April 26th – With the sudden burst of lockdown shaming, finger wagging and the boom of the morally prurient social media shamers, it’s really easy to miss small little things at this time that are actually encouraging acts of community between, mainly it has to be said, children.

Painted rainbows and teddies in windows, garden displays and other curiosities created during long, isolated lockdown days are treats and ways of communicating the shared confinement without breaking the rules, and they put a huge smile on the faces of kids out for their daily exercise, parents and me, too.

There’s been a really fun trend to revive chalked games on pavements and paths for other kids to find and participate in. More than just the old fashioned hopscotch (although most incorporate it, almost as a tribute), these courses are linear with a start and end, incorporating line following, instructions to hop or jump or do some movement, reciting games, spins, pebble target throws and races.

They are a shared happiness, but shared from a distance – the separation being time. They are an utterly joyous thing and this one, on the Spot Path over Clayhanger Common, was a brilliant one.

Sadly I think it’ll probably be erased by the oncoming rains, but I hope that won’t deter the creation of a replacement.

Well done to the creators of these, and my best wishes. Life will be normal soon and we’ll all look back on these days, and smile when we think of how we all loved the chalked games…

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#365daysofbiking Stone me

February 1st – Heading out to for a gentle spin and resolving to take it a little easier – after all, I’d now got a cold developing which seemed to feature a particularly unpleasant mouth infection as a side dish – I bumbled past the monitoring well sensor post by Pier Street Bridge in Brownhills. Something on top caught my eye.

A beautifully painted smile stone.

There’s a local culture (particularly in Clayhanger in recent years) of painting random found stones with patters, cartoons or any art you fancy, then hiding them for smile stone enthusiasts to find.

Frequently this is a fun activity enjoyed by families with young kids.

I left this one where it was, but it was lovely to see.

Find out more about smile stones here.

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#365daysofbiking Cubic

January 13th – I’ve been given a new rear light to try out, a Bontrager Flare RT. it’s a funny little black cube, about an inch square. It’s eye-burningly bright, with multiple modes, an ambient light sensor, and a shocking degree of intelligence and connected features.

It’s got bluetooth and ant+ wireless communications, so it links to my bike computer and a nifty app lets me control the light, change it’s pattern and have it detect deceleration and work like a brake light too.

The instructions are bizarre and opaque. It’s not got great battery life, but it does recharge via USB. But it’s certainly bright and very, very red.

I not sure what problem it’s trying to solve, but it’s a fun, impressive thing for sure. And it’s actually pretty cheap for the huge amount of tech it’s bristling with.

I’ll report back when I’ve got a feel for it’s quirks.

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#365daysofbiking Pumpkin it up

October 31st – Nice to see so many little groups of kids and adults out trick or treating this Halloween. I’m not entirely in love with the US import, but it does seem popular and anything that gets kids out and about is fine by me.

Sadly this year not so many houses seemed to be decorated for the newly-rejuvenated festival.

There were, however, some great examples like this decorated house at Cartersfield Lane near Stonnall.

It really was lovely in the dark…

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#365daysofbiking A goldmine:

October 30th – A shoutout here for a little shop in Darlaston I love – Mindful Gifts. It’s a charity shop, but not as we know it Jim: It’s a veritable treasure trove of music, books, ephemera and great miscellany at really low prices. 

Mindful Gifts is run in aid of folk with dementia and it a really wonderful charity -and there’s always a buzz around the shop. Find out more here.

Do pay a visit if you’re in Darlaston.

#365daysofbiking A short run

September 2nd – I’m always amused to note the very British thing of Prince’s Park in Burntwood – theoretically the smallest park in the UK, although in fairness it’s a grass verge with three mature trees, railings around and a park bench.

I spotted the sign advertising the World’s Shortest Fun Run event here on Sunday 9th September at 12:30pm when the organisers will stage a mass run around this peculiar landmark for charity, hoping to break a world record.

It doesn’t get more British than that. I wish the participants well, and hope for a few record times for the purported 56 step run.

You can find out more here.

February 7th – Spotted on a city-bound train, the first instance of something common in the US and mainland Europe – a bike fitted with a Thule coffee cup holder.

This is a pretty good idea to anyone who’s tried carrying a take-out coffee with a bike. My only observation in this instance would be that on my bike, I’d be prone to catch it with my knee so the other side of the bars would be better. Also, that bracket looks a wee bit clunky and industrial.

Interesting sign of an urban commuter, though!

September 12th – While I was in Tipton I noticed there’s something special going on there this weekend.

Tipton Canal Festival always has a good reputation, and this weekend if the weather is decent I may well pay it a visit…

Probably last chance for a good day by the water this year.

July 15th – Another joy of warm summer rides is the overspray from crop sprinklers. Often placed – sometimes I wonder if somewhat mischievously – so they spray into adjoining lanes, cycling through the cold mist is a delight.

Sometimes, it you can’t get caught by one directly, standing downwind can be just as rewarding.

Or maybe, just maybe, if the sun is shining, you can catch a perfect little rainbow…

June 10th – I took a ride out on a dreadfully windy afternoon intent on visiting the Clifton Campville Country Fair. I’d been before a decade ago, when it was just a few stalls in a large garden, but I do love a country fete with cakes and all the usual things, and I’ve been determined to attend more this year. It was also a good way to force myself into a 40 mile plus ride in weather I’d normally swerve one for.

What I found was stunning; a large country event with big arena, loads of great stalls, a real ale bus, more cake than you could ever eat and lots of people. I wished I’d arrived earlier with more cash in my pocket!

It was a lovely, offbeat affair with a peculiarly eccentric atmosphere; a little disjointed but great fun.

All in the shadow of one of England’s finest churches.

The day was only darkened by the rain setting in on my way home; it started at Whitemoor Haye and didn’t stop. Combined with a 20mph headwind, it wasn’t a fun ride back.

But the event was well worth the battle.