BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘low’

#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 That’s enough for now, please

Wednesday December 16th 2020 – Talking of water, the overflow at Clayhanger Bridge, safely conducting the excess canal water to the Tame via the Ford Brook is at a fair pelt in this wet season. I really am getting fed up of the mud and rain and would like a dry spell for a while.

With everything that’s going on in the world, would it be really be too much to ask for a cessation in the mud and wet grime of urban life with daily rain?

I shan’t hold my breath but I fear I might be getting webbed feet.

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#365daysofbiking Shine

Saturday, October 24th 2020 – Another wet day, and it was raining heavily as I nipped out for shopping in the evening.

This weekend, the clocks go back and I hate the loss of evening light with a fierce passion. The wet Saturday just compounded that and I felt miserable.

But something about the lights of the town, the fresh air and sounds of the rain combined and I actually began to find it quite soothing.

The shine of rain at night is very underrated, and it can make the most mundane places beautiful. But also this year I am determined not to be brought down by winter. I must keep on, must keep finding the beauty in the everyday, and try myself to shine through the gloom.

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#365daysofbiking Slipping away

Tuesday, October 13th 2020 – Another darkness commute, and less than two weeks until the clocks go back. I hate this time of year, I really do.

The one downside of having a GPS on the bike is that it allows you to morosely monitor the closing in of the days, but also the opening out, which is why I keep the data field active.

As the daylight slips away and I get used to the return of the night, it’s hard to find good images and can be difficult to be positive: But in truth, you can’t have the great, long days of high summer without paying for them with cold, rain-sodden commute in winter.

So onward, into the dark…

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#365daysofbiking Rising damp

Saturday, October 10th 2020 – A dreadful, wet autumn day of the kind that makes you want to hibernate for the whole winter. Everything was wet: Doing jobs about the house meant walking muddy water in and it was best just staying put and plan for better days and decent rides out.

Hopefully Sunday would be an improvement.

I escaped late in a lull in the deluge and did a short loop of Brownhills, yup to Anchor Bridge and back through Clayhanger. At Anchor Bridge you’d be hard pressed to spot the effects of the rain – – but the towpaths were too sodden to ride and a telltale sheen on the tarmac belied the all-pervasive damp.

I picked up a curry and headed home: Even on this short ride I felt grubby and wet. Hopefully better days will come soon.

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#365daysofbiking Becalmed

Sunday, October 4th 2020 – It’s been a horrid few days: Autumn has really swept in now with high winds and near constant rain that thankfully, petered out in the afternoon and allowed me to get some tasks sorted.

Dashing about still at dusk after popping to friends, I crossed the Silver Street bridge in Brownhills, another night-time favourite for the lights on the canal.

It was peaceful, but still damp and with a heavy week to come, I wasn’t feeling too positive. But the weather does seem to be improving a little and all things must pass.

In the solitude of the Peter-Savilleesque bridge, I felt instantly calmer and just a little more at peace with myself than I had for days.

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#365daysofbiking Surface water

Saturday, October 3rd 2020 – What was I saying about bad days and beauty? As if to challenge me, a truly foul day when the rain and wind barely ceased.

I busied myself with work, domestic tasks and a little bike maintenance, shooting out after dark to get a takeaway in.

As I came back from Walsall Wood, I realised the roads were empty, and there was something eerily stark about the Coppice Road Junction.

Here’s hoping for a better Sunday!

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#365daysofbiking A break in the weather

May 23rd – Over to Lichfield for some essential shopping and the closed state of the city was expected, but dragged me down. There was only one thing to rectify the gloom: A return via the country lanes of Wall, Chesterfield and Hilton.

On Bullmoor Lane I was caught in the briefest of short, sharp and intense showers, and it passed as quickly as it arrived, leaving nothing but sightly damp lanes and a beautiful partial rainbow.

Summer is fantastic.

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#365daysofbiking Flower power

April 30th – Nature gets me through times of no hope more reliably than hope gets me through times of no nature – and throughout the pandemic, for all the horror of the news and social media, the simplicity and beauty of the world continuing to turn about it’s seasonal axes is really keeping me going.

The hedgerows, waysides and edgelands are alive with ragwort, bluebells, green alkanet, forget me nots, dandelions and a whole host of others.

And on that daily exercise ride, they really bring joy to a troubled, concerned soul.

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#365daysofbiking – Back to earth

April 28th – The welcome warm, dry spell ended with a crash with a very cold-feeling day and seemingly endless rain. But it is still only April.

On a sodden evening exercise ride, I rolled and splashed up the towpath – mercifully quiet – and noted the very beginnings of a surface-air inversion, with barely perceptible rolls of mist sweeping along the canal. Sadly the wind was a little to strong for it to persist.

I suppose the water was probably warmer than the air by a tad.

It is lovely though to see the green return though, even on such a grey, wet day.

This journal is moving home. Please find out more by clicking here.

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