BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘seasons’

#365daysofbiking Living on the skyline


Tuesday February 16th 2021 – Time for a favourite tree update.

The tree I love most of all is this particular horse chestnut, visible clearly on the skyline at Home Farm, Sandhills from the Wyrley and Essington Canal at Catshill, not more than 100 yards from Anchor Bridge.

I love it’s shape, the way it punctuates the rural landscape here, right on the very interface of the urban West Midlands with rural South Staffordshire.

It’s also my gauge of the seasons. I follow it’s colours as it weathers the the year: At the moment it is resolutely bare, but it will be in bud, and soon, from my distant towpath vantage point, I will see the familiar sheen of bright green emerge, before it comes into full leaf.

Usually it lags behind the fields and hedgerows, always the more eager neighbours, and so it is this year, with the field between us bright green with fresh crop growth.

I live for this view, this skyline. And that tree.

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#365daysofbiking Roadside delicacy

Sunday February 14th 2021 – The snowdrops are shaping up excellently this spring, I must say. I had thought the cold weather might stunt or harm them, but that’s not the case.

Coming up a very windswept and damp Barracks Lane, these delicate little flowers growing beside the vet’s paddock at Warrenhouse were just the beautiful thing I needed to see on a grey, late winter Sunday.

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#365daysofbiking Harsh days indeed

Friday February 12th 2021 –  It’s been a hard week on the bike – cold, grim days, ice under the wheels and rain and snow.

Some weeks of commuting are like war: You push on, enduring them, trying not to become a casualty, stoically going forward as much as you can.

I was glad it was Friday and this week of bitter riding had passed. All I need right now are sunny days – even if cold – and a sight of some decent signs that this harsh season will end.

I was glad to be nearing home.

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#365daysofbiking Foreboding

Sunday February 7th 2021 –  Out on a short ride up to Aldridge, it was bitingly cold and I could sense winter coming in again for another go.

I don’t mind the cold; it’s life affirming and just part of life’s pageant, after all, but I’m aching for this winter to end. The foreboding told me my relief would still some way off.

The canal was grey and the towpath hedgerow still very much of the season, and the ride was hard work.

Oh well, while you’re marching you’re not fighting…

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#365daysofbiking Lighting up time

Saturday January 30th 2021 – I had to nip to the shops on an errand, but wanted to miss the worst of the lockdown queues, so went as late in the day as possible, and then headed up to Walsall Wood to get some bits for a DIY project, I realised it was still just about light at 4:45pm.

Spring really can’t be far away now, the light is flooding back.

Even on this grey, chilly winter day, it filled my heart with joy.

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#365daysofbiking Light less

Tuesday January 2th 2021 – The snow hung round and was still quite fresh looking – unusual for snowfalls here, which can be heavy, but rarely last long when down.

Coming home on the canal, I thought I’d try my old muse Clayhanger Bridge in the snow. For some reason I’m having real trouble getting this bridge at night with the current camera. I just don’t think the software in the device knows what to do with the image.

It still came out well though, although much darker than I expected.

I can see that with this camera, I still have lots to learn.

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#365daysofbiking What a difference a snow day makes

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Monday January 25th 2021 – The day was again cold, and the snow didn’t really thaw at all. As I came home from work, I joined the canal towpath at Clayhanger Bridge to see what the tyres were like on compacted, hard snow: I needn’t have worried. They were fine.

Coming up over Catshill Junction Bridge I couldn’t resist a quick photo looking back the way I’d came: I love the way snow completely changes night photography.

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#365daysofbiking All things must pass

Monday January 11th 2021 – Life is grim in the UK right now: The pandemic is claiming higher and higher numbers of people every day, and the economy is taking sustained hits from it and Brexit. It’s taking superhuman levels of self discipline to be able to just listen to a radio news bulletin.

But all is not lost: The darkest hour comes before dawn and the vaccine is being distributed quickly and professionally. It’s nice to see science working so well.

In the midst of all this I ride my bike to and from work as usual, in an often alienating world of masked up, hostile fellow citizens. Some days it feels like normality will never return.

But it will, and the spring flowers know it. Jack in the Green has tapped the ground with his cane, and everywhere you look fresh green shoots are optimistically shooting skyward, in anticipation of the warming spring sun.

They know like we must all  know deep down, that these cold, grim days will pass. And so they will.

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#365daysofbiking Gaining already

Sunday January 2nd 2021 – A day of pre-back to work bike maintenance and cleaning, so only time for a short test ride to check everything was OK. Which was sensible anyway, as during the day the temperature had risen and the snow had melted, leaving behind muddy, unpleasant road conditions.

Looking at the bike computer as I left, I noticed the sunset time was now already at 5 minutes past 4 – around the shortest day is was 3:53. 11 minutes clawed back from the sunset already.

By the end of January, we will have gained pretty much an hour.

This is very good reason to be cheerful.

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