BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Ring Road’

#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 Mad about the mouse

Thursday November 19th 2020 – I’d been to Telford early, but had to get back to Bilston for the afternoon, so I headed south from the station on Ring Road St. Davids and made my way into the subway system to emerge onto the Bilston Road.

In the paved sub-roadway level – always a bit shady and intimidating here – I noticed a neat but unsettling stencil by local artist Skore.

Mickey Mouse with a dagger, dripping with blood.

It’s a brilliant subversion of a sugary sweet Disney character, if a bit grim, but in the position it is it’s a rather dark comment on the location.

Skore has even succeeded in giving murderous Mickey a quite unpleasant facial expression.

It really made me stop and look. A brilliant bit of urban art in a very unexpected place.

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#365daysofbiking Changing times

January 17th -Slowly, imperceptibly almost, Walsall is changing. After many years in a state of flux, buildings are springing up around the north of the town centre.

Land that was, I think, a car park in the days when Walsall College was on Wisemore is now a smart new Travelodge hotel, with a beauty salon to be in the basement, and an odd kebab chain takeaway adjacent.

Further toward the new Tesco is a brand new drive thru Macdonalds, much to the chagrin of the dietary purists.

But this is the new economy – retail is dying, the new town centre is about entertainment, food and convenience. Over at the waterfront, a new cinema and restaurants are doing well and I wish hem success.

It’s time Walsall moved forward, and although slow progress, I’m glad to see it.

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here

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#365daysofbiking Wet and dark the night

October 10th – A long day and late night at work. The journey home was dreadful, and reminded me that I among enduring The Suck, that horrible period of night-time commuting in the dark, when driving seems worse, the weather is hostile and the journeys drain you physically and psychologically.

Still, to have the gorgeous sunny summer days you need to have the winter, and even Walsall Ring Road can be surprisingly attractive when the wet tarmac, vehicle and street lights combine.

Roll on Christmas…

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here.

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#365daysofbiking Up the junction

June 4th – On the way home, eating at the Lichfield Street/New Ring Road lights at Walsall. The rain had stopped but road conditions were… challenging.

I wish I new why this awful junction and road held so much surface water: It’s not as simple as drainage – it’s something about the surface holding it.

Ah well, at least the downpour had passed. To be in England, in the summertime…

This journal is moving home. Find out more by clicking here.

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January 25th – The art of the traffic light snatched photo is night quite dead, just a bit rusty.

Another day of grim, grey commutes, but crossing the Arboretum Junction in Walsall was a the same wonder of light, standing water, marooned architecture and controlled chaos it always has been.

Some things are changeless, and when you’re recovering, that’s what you need.

October 18th – A week or so, I posted a video ‘Welcome to the suck’ pointing out the dark winter commutes were upon us, and every year I note that when the dark nights come, the traffic behaves oddly until around Christmas, when drivers finally get used to the dark.

Tonight was a grim commute. All the way in not quite rain, a penetrating mist-drizzle soaked me; it was cold, and the traffic was awful. But seeing this was astounding. Sorry it’s so blurry with rain on the camera lens but I’ll explain.

I’m stopped at the cross roads of the Pleck Road (Ring Road) with Bridgman Street in Walsall, near the Manor Hospital. I’m at the front of my queue heading northbound straight on. The lights are red. 

Heading south in the opposite direction, pushing through the traffic which is moving aside are two fire appliances on blues and twos. I can smell smoke. Their shout is local.

The engines get to the the lights opposite me, attempting to turn down Bridgman Street to my right, their left – but are blocked by two cars, just resolutely unmoving. Eventually a small movement is made, one appliance takes the outside line, the other the inside line.

It’s not rocket science, and it’s in the Highway Code. Get out of the way of emergency vehicles when safe to do so. After all it might be your family, house or business these people are rushing to the aid of.

There’s a word for these obstructive people: arseholes. But totally symptomatic of the madness of the first dark evenings of winter.

September 7th – It’s about time I started doing ride cams again, and having discovered how to overcome the piss poor battery life of the Hero 5, they should be a lot less hassle to capture.

On my way home on a grey day in North Walsall rush hour, life on a bike is faster and more efficient than many of the motorists around me seem to think…

Soundtrack is ‘Smash It’ by Fuzz Townshend (yes, THAT Fuzz Townshend).