BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘subway’

#365daysofbiking Going underground

Tuesday January 19th 2021 – After the stress and drain of the day before, I went for an easier day and pottered to a meeting in Lichfield in the afternoon. On my return, I unusually came across Jubilee and Festival Gardens, and traversed the odd subway that links the two under the A51.

I had thought this subway to be old from the corrugated steel construction and bizarrely primitive square headed bolts used in its construction – but no, it dates from the 1960s. I can only assume Lichfield Council knocked it up from stuff that had around at the time.

It is oddly lit, and feels constrained inside. But the lighting, and surrounding environment make it captivating to me. It’s like some kind of portal to the underworld, and it’s almost disappointing when you emerge back into the same Lichfield you left seconds before…

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#365daysofbiking Under the surface

January 12th – Crossing Festival Gardens at night, the very old subway under the main road is always worth a visit. The effect of the corrugated street it’s made from combined with bright lighting and cram paint makes for a very otherworldly sight in a dark environment.

It’s like something out of a science fiction film.

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January 7th – In order to reclaim something from the ride, I headed via Whittington to Lichfield, for if there’s one place that makes for good night photos, it’s Lichvegas.

Once again, the Canon gave a good account, and I’m loving this camera as a low light device: These images are handheld despite some seriously odd quirks in the hardware ergonomics – why on earth would you have an exposure compensation control on the same central axis as the mode dial, committed in hardware? Often you unintentionally skew exposure compensation changing mode by accident – an awful bit of design.

The camera has a very yellow response to even high pressure sodium lights, which is interesting, but it works remarkably well under white LED street lighting and T5 fluorescents. 

Whittington Church is hard to get a good angle on, and that subway in Festival Gardens, Lichfield, fascinates me. I wonder how old it is? It’s construction would suggest 1920s or 30s.

June 29th – Returning in steady, not unpleasant drizzle through Wednesbury, I spotted what once was a local wildflower rarity, on the grass verges round the Parkway Island subway system: Self-Heal.

This pretty little purple flower – it really is tiny, and easily mistaken for clover – is edible and a tradition salve for irritated skin. Spotted with fine rain, it was a beautiful and lovely find on a dull journey.

November 7th – And in Lichfield itself, as night fell, a dark blue sky, urban surfaces and electric light.

I think I might be getting the hang of the darkness again…

September 12th – I needed to pop into Lichfield, so I rushed there from work, then took a leisurely spin back. Festival Gardens are really nice at this time of year, and I wasn’t disappointed. The trees are now perceptibly turning, but still green. I love the willows here, and the purple flowers and bulrushes on the Trunkfield Brook were nice. 

The odd subway here has always fascinated me. From the way its lined with corrugated steel, I think it’s very old. Don’t think I’e ever seen one like this before.

February 21st – There is a place in New Street Station, Birmingham, that is only known by a select few: those who use the lifts. This happy club includes cyclists, wheelchair users, those of limited mobility and service personnel. The platform access is so shambolic that only on two platforms do lifts connect to the concourse above; for the remaining five, you can only go downward to a connecting subway. This makes every platform change an absolute joy. If you actually want to get out, and land at, say, platform 2, you have to go down to the subway, and come up via tone of the two lifts connecting to the concourse through other platforms. These two lifts are very busy and the wait can be considerable. The connecting subway is dark, dingy and contains lots of horrid, dark corners. But never mind, it’ll all be better soon… and there will be jam for tea, too, I’m told.

October 17th – one of the nicer features of new towns like Redditch and Telford is their off-road cycle facilities. They don’t all work, or indeed, are even maintained, but where they are they are very useful and often rather quirky. This subway lies on my commute when I work in Redditch, and I’ve never, in over five years, seen another soul use it. The lights are on every day. The sloping, banked walls have always made me want to race down the access ramp and mount them like a wall of death, but I’ve never had the courage.