BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘snow’

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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 Ice magic

Sunday January 24th 2021 – The snow did indeed arrive, and in some quantity with it falling heavily throughout the day. Sadly, I was too busy with work matters to get out in it until early evening.

I managed a circuit of Brownhills, and the snow was maybe a couple of inches deep: But due to low traffic levels it was persistent on the roads and it made going hard. At least the tyres were good in it: If I’m honest, in handling terms they were far better than the studs I normally use, but that may be a factor of tyre width more than anything.

At Silver Street, the canal and new housing estate there looked beautiful in the snowy night. With nobody around and the white LED lighting complimenting the snow, it looked thoroughly magical.

I’ve really missed decent snowfalls this last few years.

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#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 Whitening

Thursday January 7th 2021 – I slipped out of work as Paul Simon might have said, onto a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. It was fun to ride home in, but very cold. We’ve not had a cold snap in several years now and this is being quite a shock to my ageing system I can tell you.

Heading up the Spot Path across Clayhanger Common the snow was pristine, and nothing except owls and the sound of snorting deer in the wood nearby dared disturb the peace.

I love evenings like this, but my knees don’t!

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#365daysofbiking better than expected

Saturday January 2nd 2021 – Although we’ve not had the inches of snow I would have liked, we had repeated short falls that kept it topped up. Saturday evening, it came on again, so I headed out on errands at teatime.

Coming back from the supermarket in Burntwood, I came down the Parade and through Holland Park and the Black Path, not long after and intense, but short fresh fall.

It’s safe to say it was magical.

And the best bit? The town seemed deserted.

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#365daysofbiking Seeing it out and moving on

New Year’s Eve, Thursday December 31st 2020 – I really hate New Year’s Eve. I’m so glad it’s curtailed this year – the forced jollity and camaraderie, coupled with the ‘we will have fun!’ attitude really kills it for me.

But there is one tradition I always uphold at the year end: A reflective ride to somewhere quiet, to think about the year and in my own way, see it out.

And like most folk, I’m bloody happy to see this one out of the door in person. With bare hands, if necessary, and a large blunt weapon. It’s safe to say it’s been a terrible year.

The pandemic has been awful for us all, and the future, at least until we get the population vaccinated, looks very uncertain. Yet all most of us want, me included, is things back to normal. To be able to stop at a country cafe or pub again. To meet friends. To be with family.

In the dead, icy calm of Chasewater, we rode up the frozen snow to the top of the pit mound as night fell, and waited in the still for night to properly come in. There wasn’t a soul around apart from me and my pal: From here, we could hear the terminal seconds of this terrible year ticking away. It felt good; cleansing.

Back down at the dam, on the way back it was very cold, but the lake so beautifully peaceful: Until a raptor disturbed the gull roost which must have been several tens of thousands strong. The cacophonous taking to flight of the flock was stunning, as was the similarly swift return to peace.

My word this year has been tough – but not as tough as it has been for many, I’ve been lucky. But it has affected me and I feel it deeply. And I’m sorry, readers, that I abandoned this journal for a few months in summer. I just couldn’t cope with it at that time. I’m sorry I let you down. I promise I will not waver again.

So here’s to a new year, with maybe better prospects. Hopefully we’ll meet again this time next year – with a full year’s photos between – and recall this year as a past, distant and very bad memory.

Here’s to that thought. Happy new year to you all: Let us not dwell on the past. We must move on.

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#365daysofbiking Hardened

Wednesday December 30th 2020 – I was less keen to ride far today – overnight the partially thawing snow had frozen solid, formed hard pack-ice and I needed to gently find out how the tyres I’m currently using – Continental Top Contact II Winter – would cope.

I needn’t have worried. Not as good as studs, but perfectly acceptable without the noise and rolling resistance. A run up the canal and back through Clayhanger after night fell was enough to find out what I needed.

I think I can happily commute on these now.

The canal is partially frozen – about a IC2 on the Dra Marland canal scale.

Be nice if we had a real snowfall, I think. We’re due a really cold winter.

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#365daysofbiking That’s more like it

Tuesday December 29th 2020 – The snow again came in in waves. Contrary to my expectation, it had become cold and clear and the previous day’s snow had not melted away. new falls in the morning – quite intense, as it happened – topped it up. It still wasn’t much, but it kept the fun up on the bike and I enjoyed riding in it more than the day before.

I went to Stonnall, once more calling at the church, then around Hilton (avoiding the flood), up to wall and down into Lichfield, returning up Cross o’ th’ Hand Lane which was gorgeous, as were Farewell Church and Stonewall.

It looked like I missed driver of the year at Bulmoor Lane, and one tends to forget the hardiness of sheep. I particularly enjoyed the tree growing from the remains of another in Farewell churchyard and the lovely flowers on Shute Hill.

More, please. I love real winter rides like this.

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#365daysofbiking Snow… And a touch of colour

Monday December 28th 2020 – It had snowed a little, and I headed out before lunch to catch something I thought would be fleeting – I love cycling in snow.

It was very wet, and only an icing sugar dusting on the whole. It was noticeably less over Stonnall and Wall than it was back through Hammerwich, Chasetown and Chasewater, which I found interesting.

Be warned that the road is flooded to some depth at Cranebrook Lane, Hiton, between the Pouk Lane and Boat lane junctions, just before the rise for the motorway flyover. It’s deep. I suspect this may be rated to increased load on Crane Brook with Chasewater in spate.

Splashes of colour caught my eye: The robin in Stonnall Churchyard, and also the old, minimalist gravestone with partially coloured lettering.Wonder whose stone that was?

The snowman and postbox decorations at Hammerwich were lovely.

An interesting change in the weather!

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