BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘ride’

#365daysofbiking A total bore

Thursday February 18th 2021 – Haring around Chasewater dam on a working from home exercise ride – for once in the daylight – I nearly came a cropper.

I was a shade off catching my pedal on this protruding piece of steel pipe.

It has a close fitting cap and is padlocked shut.

This erstwhile cyclist and walker boobytrap is not some idle lump of former mining equipment stuck in the ground, or a piece of scrap the local tatters have missed – but a monitoring well for the land around.

Ground engineers monitor the area around Chasewater Dam for groundwater pollution and signs that the dam may be leaking. To do that they have a number of these bores, drilled and sleeved, which are dipped and monitored regularly for changes in water level and the chemical composition of the water within.

These are a familiar sight around Chasewater, but also many of the public open spaces in the area that require ground monitoring – like Brownhills Common, Shire Oak Nature Reserve and Clayhanger Common.

So mind your step and watch out when cycling off road: They are quite sturdy and not very forgiving…

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#365daysofbiking Crosstown traffic

Tuesday November 24th 2020 – I’ve got hold of a GoPro Hero 9 action camera: The last model I used was the Hero 5, I was never particularly impressed with, so I drifted out of using it.

I decided to revisit ride cams and managed to borrow a Hero 9 from work, and it’s quite a bit more complex and more polished than the 5. I have to work out how best to mount the thing for a start, so this cam is cropped down from a 4k shot in portrait. The image quality considering that is remarkable.

The light balance, exposure and colours are better, and I have to say the image stabilisation is remarkable. It’s really quite impressive. Once I can work out how to mount it on the bike securely in landscape, we’re off on some adventures. Be interesting to see the low light quality, and if they’ve sorted the formerly lousy reliability of the flash card interface.

Here’s an unedited, real time journey from an appointment near the Arboretum back towards work through the ring road of Walsall on a grey, dull Tuesday afternoon. The music is Bent’s lovely bit of electronic blippery ‘Exercise 6′.

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#365daysofbiking Angels of the hedgerows

April 10th – Another working from home day – indeed, it was Good Friday, so I took off for an exercise ride at teatime. The lanes and tracks of Stonnall, Shenstone, Raikes and Hilton were warm and quiet. I saw the odd fellow cyclist, or runner. But mostly it was just me, the birds and the flowers.

The stunning yellow archangel is looking gorgeous at Footherley again this year – a relative of the nettle, I hadn’t noticed it for years, and then it seemed I couldn’t stop spotting it in places where I must have seen it before, but never noticed it.

The grape hyacinths – muscari – are also like little shocks of blue in the hedgerows and gardens I slid past.

We may be locked down, but the riding is surprisingly good at the moment.

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#365daysofbiking Into white

April 8th – And as I predicted, within twenty four hours that same cherry was absolutely perfect.  The clumps of flowers were huge, and stunning against a spring azure sky.

This blossom will be short lived and soon fall like snow, but oh my heart sings for that one sunny morning when I could just stand beneath and drift off, into white.

Things might be OK, after all.

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#365daysofbiking The night comes in

September 8th – Time at last for a ride out on a very pleasant, but distinctly autumnal Sunday afternoon. I headed for the Chase and Brocton Field, descending into Sherbrook Valley, then over to Milford for the restorative power of a Wimpy burger and chips.

On a whim, instead of heading back to Rugeley, I chose to return across the Chase up Abraham’s Valley and over the old ranges, and back through Hednesford in the gathering night.

The forest was as splendid as it always is is, and far less lonely than one would expect, with the sounds of deer, owls and other creatures scuttling around, it’s really quite busy.

A lovely ride reminding me that the nights really are closing in fast now.

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July 7th – When I initially spotted this grubby tabby and white puss lying in the shadow of a hedge at the lakeside I thought it must be injured. I was quite worried. Not even a flinch when I stopped.

I needn’t have worried. Puss was fine, and just snoozing in the heat, too torpid to move, but it did get to it’s feet for a stroke and a fuss.

I loved how unashamedly grubby it was from rolling in the dust.

Hot cats know how to do summer.

July 1st – Half the year gone already. Where on earth did that go?

I was unwell after eating something I shouldn’t (Life with IBS often means interrogating people who cook for you about what ingredients they use, but sometimes, you feel embarrassed and eat anyway). The pumpkin seeds in a casserole from a friend the night before were really causing me hell, and I didn’t get out until early evening.

I met family at a country pub in Longdon for a lazy, louche, sunny Sunday evening social, riding there and back. The countryside is showing well at the moment with ripening crops and the greens going dark and maturing.

I particularly liked the lithe, stripy puss I saw in Hammerwich. – he was definitely the neighbourhood watch!

June 30th – A recovery day, with a surprisingly tough, enervating recovery ride which saw my energy levels very low indeed.

Whilst I’d been careful to look after my fluids and nutrition on the big ride of the previous day, I hadn’t had anything much to eat today, and it caused me real problems I think.

Even still, it was a decent ride out to Hopwas and Hints on a sunny, warm afternoon, and this puss at Stockfields was so comfy he wasn’t going to be disturbed by anyone….

June 9th – I carried on from Clifton on a weary, hot but enjoyable ride around Netherseal, Lullington, Edingale and Croxall. The countryside was showing itself beautifully, and the willows over the Seal Brook are still timeless.

One small complaint, though. Country pubs, that people tend to drive or cycle to: I don’t drink when riding for the same reason I wouldn’t if driving, but I do like a nice alcohol free beer. So why not stock it?

Nothing worse than sugary, sickly syrup parading as a soft drink when you’re really looking for something cool and bitter to take the edge off.

Country pubs: Look after your nominated drivers and responsible cyclists and you’ll get repeat custom!

May 6th – Another fine, hot day, another long ride – this time a 55 miler out via Hints and the canal through Tamworth to Orton on the Hill, Austrey and Honey Hill.

You can see a full gallery for this ride on my main blog here.

At Orton, I stopped to study the fine, Francophile church there, and noticed the classic demonstration of weather erosion on the masonry – on the windward side, the deep pits of direct wind and rain abrasion, whereas on the leeward side, the lines cause by lateral pull and frost; on side planar side, the lapped waves of parallel forces.

That church has seem some weather over the years.