BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘ice’

#365daysofbiking Mind how you go, now


Thursday February 11th 2021 –  We’re in an odd time of snow, with showers every day but little actually settling much. What there is, is powder and pack ice and I’m impressed with how well the Continental Top Contact II Winter tyres are handling it. For a non-studded tyre, grippy and trustworthy.

Which is just as well, it’s lethal out there.

Mind how you go, folks.

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#365daysofbiking Ice magic

Tuesday February 9th 2021 –  It was very, very cold. There was periodic, not really settling snow but continual sub zero temperatures, and hedgerows near puddles around the area like this one in Green Lane had become ice grottos.

You don’t see this much: Last time I’d seen one this good was a decade ago at Stubbers Green: Every time a vehicle passes, it splashes water onto the vegetation, where it ices up.

Beauty, even in the harshest days.

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#365daysofbiking Break the heart of Iron Man

Wednesday January 27th 2021 – I like Morris, the Brownhills Miner as I’ve posted here many times. This stainless steel, Soviet-style collier is the embodiment of the town’s history and we’re all very proud to have him on our central island.

But for what he is – an impressive work of not just art but structural engineering and welding – he’s bloody hard to get a good night photo of. I think it’s that the lighting is bad, and the nearby street lights always make getting a good angle tough.

On this misty, cold night with lingering snow on the ground, it must have been a chilly gig to be the town hero. But he did make for a better than usual photo, which pleased me.

I don’t understand why such a gorgeous piece of art should be so difficult to photograph at night. It’s enough to break the heart of an iron man.

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#365daysofbiking What a difference a snow day makes

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Monday January 25th 2021 – The day was again cold, and the snow didn’t really thaw at all. As I came home from work, I joined the canal towpath at Clayhanger Bridge to see what the tyres were like on compacted, hard snow: I needn’t have worried. They were fine.

Coming up over Catshill Junction Bridge I couldn’t resist a quick photo looking back the way I’d came: I love the way snow completely changes night photography.

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#365daysofbiking Ice magic

Sunday January 24th 2021 – The snow did indeed arrive, and in some quantity with it falling heavily throughout the day. Sadly, I was too busy with work matters to get out in it until early evening.

I managed a circuit of Brownhills, and the snow was maybe a couple of inches deep: But due to low traffic levels it was persistent on the roads and it made going hard. At least the tyres were good in it: If I’m honest, in handling terms they were far better than the studs I normally use, but that may be a factor of tyre width more than anything.

At Silver Street, the canal and new housing estate there looked beautiful in the snowy night. With nobody around and the white LED lighting complimenting the snow, it looked thoroughly magical.

I’ve really missed decent snowfalls this last few years.

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#365daysofbiking A contact sport

Friday January 22nd 2021 – Normally in winter I ride studded tyres. I do so because they’re bombproof and hold me upright even on black, sheet ice. They are noisy and hard to ride, but always my winter weapon of choice.

This year I read about other, studless winter tyres: Continental Top Contact 2 Winter.

Now I’ve not had a great experience of Continental tyres before now – Gatorskins were dire, although Continental’s inner tubes are up there with the best. So I tried this complex-treaded soft rubber commuting tyre with some trepidation.

I needn’t have worried: They are stunning. Not as good on black ice, but they are extraordinarily grippy. They have dealt with snow, ice, slippery mud and good old fashioned wet leaves. The grip is incredible.I am seriously impressed.

What’s more they’re pretty fast and silent too.

I could get used to these. Well done, Continental. Well done.

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#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 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 Maintaining the bite

November 22nd – And when I got home, an essential job – replace the missing studs in the winter tyres I’s saved from last season.

Schwalbe, the makers of the tyres, sell kits of replacement studs and a tool for inserting them – they are fiddly to do but with a tiny spot of silicone grease they go in well enough.

I had six to do. Took me a while to re-find the knack, but I got there in the end… and hopefully maintaining the excellent grip I love these tires for.

But so worth in the end.

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