BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘sunset’

#365daysofbiking Into the darkness

October 3rd – The sunset now is getting really, really early and is quite a shock.

That was a hard, wet and punishing ride into the wind. It was hard work after the week I’ve had.

The winter lights are on, the scarf is out of the drawer and the thermals are being checked and washed.

And so, into the dark I disappear for the worst half of the year.

I hate this, but you have to have the bad with the good, so here goes…

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#365daysofbiking Home signal

September 21st – A rough day. I’d been hoping to make it to the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Huddlesford Heritage Gathering, the biannual canal event near Lichfield, but had to work instead. It had been a nice day and Sunday, when I was free, promised to be awful. I was really low.

Arriving home late, I slipped out for a spin up the old rail line that used to run through Brownhills on it’s way from Walsall to Lichfield, now a lovely walking and cycling trail restored by volunteers and christened the McClean Way.

There’s now a bench been created looking out over Clayhanger Marsh by the restored signal post, and I took advantage of it to feel sorry for myself a little. But the view, the peace, the sight of foxes and herons soon cheered me up.

This is home, and a landscape I love and feel part of. I can’t be downhearted in it for long.

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#365daysofbiking These streets

September 1st – Hopping off the canal at Anchor Bridge before heading back into town, the sunset was plain in a cloud free sky but beautiful all the same. Looking up past Knaves Court, this part of High Street has been greatly changed in recent years, but is still broad and open and looks terrific with a good sunset.

This is my town, these are my streets and I never feel a greater sense of belonging than when it looks gorgeous in a good sunset.

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#365daysofbiking Sunset mellow


August 31st – Nipping up to Walsall Wood that evening to see a friend, I passed the pithead sculpture, which always looks dramatic with a good dusk sky behind it.

A structure I’ve never been fond of, it can look fantastic in the right kind of light.

I’m concerned to see the metal flag has sheared off, presumably from repeated wind-flexing. Good job nobody was under it when it dropped. That would have been sharp.

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#365daysofbiking Remain in light

August 24th – A bank holiday weekend set for fair weather. This, whilst not unheard of, is a delight. Moreso this time as I hate the August Bank Holiday.

I hate it because it’s the last one before the darkness comes, and the suck of the dark commutes. It always feels final, the end of school holidays, the end of summer. If you haven’t done that summer thing by now, you’re not going to, and so on.

A miserable summer bank holiday drains the soul.

But not so this weekend: A heatwave beckons, and I slipped out at teatime into a glorious golden evening. I went to Hints, somewhere I’d not really been much all year. Shenstone Park was as beautiful and French-seeming as ever, and I took a walk up to Crow’s Castle to survey the landscape.

Over to Hopwas as night fell for a drink by the canal.

All around farmers were working into the night to get the harvest in, and strange machine noises and lights punctuated the ride home and made it otherworldly.

This was a perfect late summer evening, and I’m glad I managed to catch it in some of my favourite places.

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#365daysofbiking Golden years

August 5th – I was at work in Birmingham, late. I came back on a Lichfield bound train at sunset, and stumbled out tired in a beautiful, quiet golden hour.

I’ve been riding this weary journey from work for years along Lynn Lane. Always the same story: Summertime, working late, fatigue. Climb the long, steep steps up from the platform at Shenstone carrying my bike. Look down the lane towards home and the setting sun. Become struck with the sheer beauty of the hour.

And for all those years, the joy of it, and the love for it never wanes.

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#365daysofbiking Exorcising ghosts

July 7th – The sunset was the culmination of a glorious golden hour.

Birmingham and Aston shone and shimmered in the gathering dusk.

A train caught the sky and was golden: Britannia fought a pitched battle on the former hotel roof with the TV antennas. The skylines and canal spoke of quiet dignity, worship and daily life.

I spent many hours as a young man in these streets, on the canals and at this station. The ghosts that haunt me here are not scary, or hostile, but warm and comfortable like enveloping sheets of memory.

My place, my past, present and future.

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#365daysofbiking The imperfection of being


July 6th – Feeling down, out for an evening ride to cheer myself up: Just a short loop up to Chasewater at dusk.

My stomach had been bad and I wasn’t feeling great, but the evening light did make me feel better at least.

Sometimes, in summer when the weather’s not great and you’re stuck in, it can be worse than being stuck in on a grey winter’s day. The feeling of a chance lost, of summer passing without you, can be painfully real.

But today, the sunset was beautiful, Chasewater and the canal did it’s best to catch my eye, and I remembered that after all, tomorrow is another, usually better, day.

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