BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Shire Oak’

#365daysofbiking Sky watching

May 16th – A day with little wind, beautiful skies and clear air, bathed in beautiful sunshine. There was nothing for it but to saddle up and head for my favourite haunts in East Staffordshire.

Heading out of Brownhills up over Shire Oak, a favourite view was captured, then through the lanes of Chesterfield and Shenstone, Weeford and Hopwas. From there, Wigginton, Rickerscote and Syerscote for one of my favourite lanes of all.

There’s something gorgeous about a summer day lane with open fields and no hedgerows.

I went then to Honey Hill and No Mans Heath, Netherseal, Lullington, Coton in the Elms and back through Catton, Whitemoor Haye, Huddlesford and Lichfield.

Not a massive ride by any stretch, but the skies and villages were perfect, and I’ll treasure my hours on these lockdown traffic-free roads for the rest of my life. I hardly saw a soul.

Times have been very hard indeed. But the sun and constancy of my beloved countryside is healing me with every ride now.

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#365daysofbiking – Alone again, or

April 24th – It was a pleasant evening so I hopped off the canal near Aldridge and did a loop over Lazy Hill and back into Brownhills over Shire Oak.

People keep saying things are getting busier. Sorry, I can’t see it.

This is 6:30pm on a Friday on one of the main arterial routes in the area. I had to wait ages for a car to come the other way and change the lights for me. I barely saw a soul in a seven mile ride. I saw more wild animals than people.

I have never seen days like these.

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#365daysofbiking You ring a bell

April 11th – I wasn’t feeling great, so a short spin out over Castle Hill and back to Brownhills up the Chester Road.

In the last day, the Spanish bluebells had come out in the hedgerow near Fishpond wood, and as usual with this colony they ranged in shade from blue, to pink, to white.

A gorgeous spectacle on a day when I didn’t feel great.

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#365daysofbiking On the western skyline

April 10th – I dallied so long in the lanes I caught a great sunset over Sandhills to Ogley Hay.

To the west, beyond the horizon and telltale silhouette of Humphries House, the town I love, largely silent like most of the country right now.

What I’ve realised this last week is twofold, in that human life is separate from the environment, and that nature will always see me through times of the worst stress and madness.

Whatever troubles the world, or bothers me, the seasons wheel keeps rolling on. The clocks still go forward, the light returns, flowers bloom, the days get warmer.

And in the evening, on the western skyline, there will always be that chance of a decent sunset, and somewhere peaceful to watch it from.

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#365daysofbiking Fallen silent

April 3rd – A dusk ride out on a Friday at 7pm and there’s an unnatural silence descended on the area. The Shire Oak Pub should be alive, homely, lit up and buzzing with activity.

Because of the Coronavirus restrictions, it is silent, and shut.

Curtains drawn, it’s fallen silent, like the roads around it, in which I feel like an alien intruder.

These are very strange days indeed.

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#365daysofbiking The last day

March 20th – I passed the Shire Oak open for the last time for the foreseeable future.

The lights were on. It looked warm, welcoming.The sky, street light and and atmosphere made it look gorgeous. People were inside. I considered joining them. Fleetingly.

What on earth will this country be like without pubs? I have no idea.

At least we can still get a curry… For now.

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#365daysofbiking Lonesome roads

March 20th – It was eerily quiet on the main roads too: Only the windy sweep of the odd car as I came up the Chester Road.

The colours were great in the gathering night. The view and the feeling was strangely beautiful – but life was just about to change in a huge way. It was announced that in order to stem the spread of coronavirus, pubs, cafes and restaurants would now close from this night forward.

Only takeaways would remain.

That had put a new, odd spin on the atmosphere.

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#365daysofbiking Oddly peaceful

January 4th – It wasn’t particularly late – I think about 5pm, maybe 6. I was test riding after repairs. I’d relented and cleaned the bikes and done to urgent jobs on them. So a test ride around the bounds of Brownhills was very much in order.

I’d dropped down off Castle Gate onto Chester Road to burn in new brake pads, but as I pottered up the Chester Road back towards Brownhills, I realised there was next to no traffic and hardly anyone about.

I guess it’s the post-Christmas lull, but even the Shire Oak pub looked sleepy in the evening.

A peaceful, but somewhat odd, journey.

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#365daysofbiking On the western skyline

December 1st – Looping around and back up Walsall Wood, I became aware I was in the midst of a gorgeous sunset. Chasewater would have been my place of choice to catch such a vivid one, but sadly I wouldn’t make it in time, so I headed up Shire Oak Hill.

The view downhill to Walsall Wood, Walsall and the wider Black Country is always stunning, and it’s a good while since I saw it in a good sunset. It was worth it.

This is one of the greatest local views and very much unappreciated.

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#365daysofbiking Crawling up a hill

November 16th – Another wet and grey day, another errand: I had to pop over to Shenstone and then to Lichfield at teatime. The wind was hell coming home and the rain sporadic. It wasn’t;t a great ride if I’m honest.

Coming back up the A461 to Shire Oak over the Summerhill motorway bridge, since there was a break in the rain, I tried a long exposure with the G5X. Interesting result, but I needed more traffic – unlikely at this time on a Saturday, to be honest.

With the wind against me, rain starting and no fuel in my tank (I’d forgotten to eat during the day) the ride uphill was not nice.

Still, it was nice to get home.

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