BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘safety’

#365daysofbiking A contact sport

Friday January 22nd 2021 – Normally in winter I ride studded tyres. I do so because they’re bombproof and hold me upright even on black, sheet ice. They are noisy and hard to ride, but always my winter weapon of choice.

This year I read about other, studless winter tyres: Continental Top Contact 2 Winter.

Now I’ve not had a great experience of Continental tyres before now – Gatorskins were dire, although Continental’s inner tubes are up there with the best. So I tried this complex-treaded soft rubber commuting tyre with some trepidation.

I needn’t have worried: They are stunning. Not as good on black ice, but they are extraordinarily grippy. They have dealt with snow, ice, slippery mud and good old fashioned wet leaves. The grip is incredible.I am seriously impressed.

What’s more they’re pretty fast and silent too.

I could get used to these. Well done, Continental. Well done.

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#365daysofbiking Strange signals

September 19th – Returning to Bloxwich station, I alighted at the north end of the platform. Since the electrification of the Chase Line, I’ve been wondering about some aspects of the installation.

I note the metalwork of the light column near this signal control cabinet and the guard rail behind has been heavily insulated and screened. I’ve not seen that before. Wonder what’s in the cabinet that’s so dangerous?

The other columns are not insulated in the same way. Puzzling.

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#365daysofbiking There… and gone

January 8th – It’s not often I feature here photos of things that aren’t there any more. But in this case, I had no choice really as I just had to share.

Heading home along the canal to Brownhills, between the Black Cock Bridge and Clayhanger Bridge in darkness, I was brought to a sudden, screeching halt by… a group of deer on the towpath.

Something had spooked them up ahed and they were running toward me, but seeing my light, they deflected into the copse adjacent and disappeared into the darkness.

So, here was a group of deer.

An oddly unsettling experience…

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August 16th – A dreadful morning commute in heavy rain to the railway station was a shock to the system, on slippery roads with a worrying amount of spray. Getting to the station, when the train arrived I found I was sharing the bike space with a hardy cyclist in shorts.

Looking at his bike, a respectable singe speed, I saw what can only be regarded as the worst bit of rear light positioning I’ve ever seen.

Almost lower than the rear wheel, on the seat post behind the seat stays.

I hope this guy doesn’t do anything engineering-based for a living.

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.

May 20th – Crossing the railway in Lichfield at the Burton Old Road foot crossing, I love the solar powered blue marker lights to guide the way.

It looks really haunting at night and such a clever, simple idea.

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 24th – One thing I am liking very much at the moment is the improvement works to the Shire Oak Junctions. At 8pm on a Saturday it was of course quiet, and the asphalt glistened in the light in the damp of a short, passed shower. But the new surface, more intelligent light operation and better lane markings have made a real difference, and queues along the A461 – particularly at peak times are significantly reduced.

When Streets Corner is also complete, I expect the difference will be really noticeable. 

Well done to all concerned.

December 28th – It’s rare I’ve seen roads this hazardous.

Many of the backlanes as I returned at sunset, where gritters can never be expected to reach were thick with lurking black ice. On the ice stud tyres with lower air pressure I was sure-footed but careful; in a car or on a motorbike, hitting this at even moderate speed and braking would have you in the hedge.

Fine on the bike, when dismounting several times I slipped on foot.

This is of course the kind of weather we used to get every winter, but in recent years have been relieved of, so take care folks, particularly if on two wheels.

I know the forecast was to warm up overnight with rain, but this is dense, thick ice that will be well lubricated with meltwater in the following 24 hours.

Take care folks.