BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘roads’

#365daysofbiking A case of scurvy

April 11th – One of the odder ecological phenomena of urban Britain is the proliferation of Danish scurvy grass. This salt loving plant is what gives verges and roadsides the white fringe right now, with this hardly, pollution resistant little plant flowering.

Danish Scurvy Grass likes salt, and thrives in the ‘burn zone’ beside roads that are gritted in winter, where the roadways splashes brine onto the verge. One of the few plants not top be hindered by these hostile conditions, its white flowers can be seen by many urban roads this time of year.

There really is a place for everything it seems.

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#365daysofbiking Following the herd

March 9th – A terrible long range photo in awful light but a huge herd of red deer were loafing in the fields near Gains Lane, between Pelsall and Great Wyrley. In total I think somewhere around 40 animals were there in total – more were appearing from the scrub behind as I watched.

Wonderful to see of course but only a short distance from the M6 Toll, the A5 and a major junction complex.

It’s great to see the deer around but I do worry about them.

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#365daysofbiking Everything counts

March 7th – It’s time for the periodic traffic survey in Walsall, and the sheer number of traffic counter units fitted across the borough’s roads is causing some comment on social media.

They aren’t sinister at all: By law local authorities have to take traffic counts for planning and other reasons and like most councils now, the work is deputised to a specialist contractor.

These Metrocount units – that use the familiar, traditional rubber air tube and pressure switch technique are surprisingly sophisticated and the manual for them was found online by The Stymaster – you can read it here.

I crossed at least eight between Brownhills and Darlaston. Just setting them all up and gathering them back must be a mammoth task, let alone analysing the data…

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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 Dead and buried:

September 16th – A grim, drizzly afternoon and a late escape. I went to see if there were any remnants of an ancient burial mound called Offlow near the hamlet of Swinfen, trapped in the A38-A5 interchange triangle, just south of Lichfield.

Apart from a rise in the general landscape, there was nothing but a cellphone transmitter, but I expected that as history says that Offlow was lost over a century ago to farming.

I returned via Lichfield over the Bridleway over the A38 up past Harehurst Hill, near Wall. The main road – pretty much a motorway in all but name – has left a much larger impact on the land than Offlow ever did – which is a bit sad.

May 4th – I’ve noticed over the ;past few days that engineers have been examining a lot of local roads since the cold, wet winter left many in a parlous state.

Walsall Council on the whole have been very good at dealing with damage, but more can always be done. Here in Darlaston on a number of streets – but most noticeably Station Street and Darlaston Road – technicians have taken periodic core samples to see how thick the road surges is and what it’s composed of. 

This helps with resurfacing, and knowing how much to plane away before laying new tarmac.

When the sample is taken, the perfectly round hole left is filled, leaving this curious scar.

Looks like we’ll be getting some better road surfaces in Darlo soon, then…

April 10th – My respect and thanks are due to Walsall Council, who in very short time indeed have assessed the weather decay of parts of Green Lane between Walsalll Wood and Shelfield, and resurfaced completely a couple of stretches.

The bit here, resurfaced during the day  whilst I was at work, was bloody awful on a bike. It’s way better now.

Thank you.

March 29th – On a practical level, the bad weather is taking an awful toll on the lanes. Here, near Springhill this backlane like many has a ridge of wash down mud in the centre, and the tarmac either side is fracturing into potholes and covered in loose detritus and marbles that are slippery and prone to stealing your grip.

The roads now will be in a parlous state, and without much money to repair them, I fear for the condition of minor lanes like Whittaker Lane here in years to come.

We really need to tackle this very serious road safety issue.