BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘roads’

#365daysofbiking Lane’s end

Monday March 8th 2021 – I was discussing online the other day a local lost stub of a lane that used to be Bullmoor Lane. Bullmoor Lane ran from Raikes and Chesterfield, a mile or so north of Shenstone, shadowing the Watling Street, to a junction near Wall Butts at Hilton, where it met Cranebrook Lane and Boat Lane. As a kid it was one of my first local discoveries. I loved that quiet, undulating backway, and still do.

When the M6 Toll came through at the turn of the millennium, the last half a mile of Bullmoor Lane was diverted south, to meet Cranebrook Lane without building a second flyover, leaving the old stub abandoned.

It still exists, and is now gated, but when nostalgic one can push past the gate and ride the crumbling asphalt to the edge of the new motorway, echoing in my childhood tracks.

I always find these dead, divorced and orphaned lanes a bit sad: Dark Lane at Longdon is one, just closed as out of use, like School Lane at Norton. But other lanes were lost to the toll, especially around Hammerwich and and Shenstone Park.

It’s the feeling that they hold memories, which cannot be put back, I think.

A curious bit of melancholia on the exercise ride.

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#365daysofbiking Cornering

Tuesday, October 20th 2020 – Home late, I found myself waiting at Streets Corner lights in Walsall Wood, which are on a fairly long cycle. This junction was rebuilt a couple of years ago, and has been made a lot smoother in operation, and nicer to use with added filters, slip roads and refuges.

You know a good job was made of the redesign as you never hear anyone moan about it now. They don’t praise it, either, but it doesn’t register as an annoyance which has to be the measure of a great success in the UK.

With the imposing Ivy House flats, rebuilt in the early 2000s and named after a house demolished in their construction and the wide open, quiet tarmac, it’s an interesting night time subject while I wait patiently and dream of a hug and mug of tea.

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#365daysofbiking Taking a toll

December 22nd – I’ve not been riding back from Shenstone or Lichfield much this winter, and the backlands are not the familiar haunts they were, so it was a shock to me on Bullmoor Lane and Cranebrook Lane that they were flooded, breaking up or deep in mud in quite a few places.

Going was tough and wet.

When this weather breaks there’s going to need to be a lot of cleaning and investment to fix the roads.

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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…

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#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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