BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Road’

#365daysofbiking Locked out

May 21st – On a late journey to work following a meeting near home earlier, I tried to get on the canal at Smith’s Flour Mill, on the New Walsall Ring Road – but I was thwarted by…. A flood.

I’ve noticed this happen here before: Someone leaves both paddles open on the lock above and I don’t think the overflow sluice next down the line – the lowest in the Birchills flight – can handle it. As a consequence, the pound between floods under the bridge.

The cause  appeared to be inexperienced boaters who were in the lock above, looking a bit helpless.

I contacted the Canal and River Trust local team who came and sorted things out.

At least it should clean some of the detritus of the path under the bridge…

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#365daysofbiking Thank you Gordon

April 2nd – One of the delights of Walsall Borough in springtime is the huge amount of daffodils on verges, in parks and other open spaces, like here on the corner of Four Crosses and Lichfield roads in Sheffield.

They are a credit to Gordon Kinnair at the council, sadly no longer with us, who was responsible for their planting.

This post is dedicated to both Gordon and his good friend Kate Goodall.

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#365daysofbiking Ring around

January 31st – I shoot around Walsall’s new ring road all the time, and it’s not a road system I like at all. The junctions are complex and often, badly thought out; it’s unfriendly for bikes and the signals are only just seeming integrated with each other after ten years of being fiddled with.

However, it does have it’s plus points. Sweeping over the hill and canal bridge from Place Road past the old Smiths Flour Mill and up towards the Magistrate’s court is a delight, which flows well on a bike if the traffic lights and drivers will allow.

It’s also rather beautiful.

Don’t be deceived though; despite the marking and seemingly wide cycle lane there, it’s shared use, full of obstacles and soon Peters out to nothing.

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#365daysofbiking Salt beef

January 29th – The cold weather for this winter has finally arrived, and the roads are icy. I’m fairly OK on the ice tyres, but it still takes time to build confidence back up when hitting black ice.

Thankfully, everywhere I’ve been, the major routes are well gritted, even though many motorists swear they haven’t been.

Road salt is not magic. It won’t work instantly, won’t de-ice the whole troad, and won’t allow you to drive like Sterling Moss in cold weather.

Tae care and take it easy, folks.

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#365daysofbiking Trail blazing

December 21st – Summerhill motorway bridge on a dry evening is the ideal place to try long exposure photography, with the opportunity presented by the  motorway below and also down the A461 from kerb level.

Today is a turning point: Not just last day of work for 2018, but the shortest day. Today, I have beaten The Suck – the darkening, grim winter commutes when traffic is bad and huge riding concentration is required. From today, the days will lengthen, sunset will get later and later and the driving will actually improve.

Regardless of the weather, the light will return and things will get better. Today was a turning point, and a very welcome one.

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#365daysofbiking Solid air:

December 11th – Heading back to work after an errand into Walsall at lunchtime, the air was misty, smoggy and heavy and caught the weak sunlight in an unusual way.

I could feel the exhaust fumes trapped low to the ground, but the effect was quite beautiful.

Sad to see the old Workhouse Guardian’s Office, listed but still rotting and vacant, marooned before the monolithic Walsall Manor Hospital.

As far as I know its the only part of the Victorian municipal workhouse in Walsall to survive, and is a remarkable building. Cruelly stranded and ignored by the hospital redevelopment, it sits forlorn an lost, waiting for a use to emerge.

Even down on it’s uppers, it’s a gorgeous building still.

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#365daysofbiking Not forgotten:

December 6th – In an otherwise unremarkable, workaday wall  on a main road in Place, Walsall, one of the UK’s many hundreds of industrial memorials to the lost employees in the Great War.

The fourteen lost souls listed on the memorial worked for the Cyclops Foundry which was near where the plaque is now, and has long since passed into history – but the original memorial was saved and restored by the NHS, who operate Walsall Manor Hospital, opposite, not once, but twice: They refurbished the memorial in 1989, and replaced it totally in 2002.

I’m glad it survived and still stands today, bearing witness to those lives lost, and it’s good to see that 100 years on, people still place crosses here to remember them.

#365daysofbiking Lest we forget:

November 10th – Remembrance this year is of course marked by the centenary of the end of World War 1, that awful conflagration that set the geo-political scene for the following century and formed the warm-up act for World War 2. Whilst I of course feel the centenary is vital to be remembered, I was cautious about the tone of some commentary. I feel that Remembrance in some ways is being changed and that worries me.

I was heartened, therefore to see the special efforts made in Aldridge and Pelsall this year, and that they were so very, very well done. Aldridge’s Poppy Road was a startling, sad and beautiful tribute to the lost and wounded of Station Road in the Great War, and the way it was done really bought the agony of a generation home.

Similarly, the poppy clock in Pelsall, adorned as Poppy Road is in knitted and crocheted blooms is also stunning. It is a different memorial to Poppy Road, and feels more intimate.

Both are remarkable, community led gestures of Remembrance and I thank all those who have e worked so hard to create them. They both restored my faith that the meaning of this most solemn of national events is not being lost.

#365daysofbiking Mystical:

October 31st – Passing Victoria Park on Station Road, Darlaston on a beautiful day on the cusp between autumn and winter I’m reminded how lovely this place really is. 

I’ll never tire of that view of the Mystic Bridge and the leaves turning.

Summer may be long since gone but there is still plenty of beauty around.

August 8th – The rain came in Redditch just as I boarded the train back, and I thought it was probably in for the afternoon. I was however wrong, it seems to have been a narrow band of rain that passed the conurbation, and it approached me once more as I rode back from Shenstone. It caught me in the lanes.

The rain was sweet, warm and enjoyable when it came, following skies that would surely have won an Oscar for best supporting performance. 

What wasn’t so great however was that one more, with insufficient rain to wash it away, the roads became greasy, slippery and soppy with the road debris and wash down.

It pains me to say it but we need heavy and prolonged rain to clear this away.