BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘urban’

#365daysofbiking The run of the mill


Thursday March 25th 2021 – Another beautiful spring day with a little sunshine warmth – but wrapping up was still necessary.

For the first time in a good while I came back from Darlaston to Goscote on the canal and flipped to the McClean Way (formerly the Goscote cycleway): I avoid this route in winter as the towpaths tend to be very slippery and hazardous despite their recent resurfacing.

But they’ve dried up now, and a lovely potter back through Walsall getting acquainted with old friends. No sign of swans nesting yet, though.

Birchills lock flight looked splendid in to the low sun, as did the millennially constructed flats complex forming part of Smiths Flour Mill, which up until the 1990s was a functioning flour producing plant.

Outsiders would never suspect Walsall had such splendid spots right in its heart like this.

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#365daysofbiking Coming up:

Tuesday February 2nd 2021 –  In Kings Hill Park in Darlaston, the spring flowers – crocuses mainly, but snowdrops too – are up now, and as i’d not been there for a week or so, they were a cheery surprise on a bright, but sadly sunless day.

The miniature daffodils here are also ready to burst forth and although it’s still bitterly cold, spring, like the flowers, is coming up. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

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#365daysofbiking Contrasting views

Saturday December 19th 2020 – A ride out with my friend though Canwell to Hints, and up through Tamhorn returning to Lichfield after dark for a photographic explore.

The countryside was wet and sodden, and I don’t think I’ve seen Hints Ford that swollen in a decade. But it was good to get back there, even with the shock of works ongoing for HS2.

Lichfield itself was lovely: It rained as we got there, and after a heavy but thankfully short shower, it was great to catch the diminutive city at Christmas with few people around.

Most lovely, though was my first sighting of spring flower shoots. There will be a spring, and nature knows that better times are on their way.

Such a strange year.

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#365daysofbiking The changing skyline

Thursday December 17th 2020 – Another classic muse for me in winter is the view from Catshill Junction Bridge towards Brownhills, over the wide of the junction to the new flats in the foreground.

When I started this journal, only the tower block to the left was here and the rest was mostly derelict scrub, cleared of a large tower block in 2004.

As the years passed, new housing appeared and the skyline has totally changed – you used to be able to stand here in a feeling of solitude, but not anymore. Humanity is close now: You can smell cooking, cigarettes. Hear chatter, TVs and kids playing.

The skyline has changed, for the better, and I think makes for a more interesting photo. But I do miss the solitude a bit.

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#365daysofbiking Sucked down

Monday, October 12th 2020 – Back to the rain and grey. Such is the season.

I’ve been ignoring as much as possible the nights closing in, for my hatred of the darkening in Autumn causes me to get down if I think about it too much, but this evening, leaving work only a little later than usual, I hit The Suck.

The Suck is the season of commutes from when they start occurring in darkness until about Christmas, until motorists are used to the dark and bad weather again. All through this period, riding a bike home especially, is more arduous mentally and more hazardous. Unused to the gathering murk, drivers seem less attentive, more aggressive and riding safely in traffic requires absolute attentiveness in a way it doesn’t in daylight.

At around Christmas the hazard wanes as the traffic is more used to the lack of light, and the pressure and aggression gradually eases.

This evening, at Rushall feeling mentally flat, I realised how hard I’d been concentrating and that for another year, the traffic was sucking me down.

Be careful out there folks. Every other person on the road is someone’s child. Let’s look after each other.

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#365daysofbiking Splendid isolation

May 8th – I’d had to ride into Brum to check out something for work. Public transport is unusable, and the day was lovely so I rode all the way on the canal.

At Aston Junction there’s a garden ruin of mown grass just by the canal bridges there, and within, I noticed an artist.

Clearly busy under his straw hat, he seemed engrossed in his work.

I didn’t think he had noticed me at all, and the dedicated, solitary pursuit of his art was fascinating and just a little sad.

As I left, I bid him a cheery goodbye and without looking up, he wished me a good ride.

Lockdown is doing odd things to us as a society, and I kind of like it.

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#365daysofbiking On the waterfront

April 16th – Life may be on hold at the moment, but Brownhills has been steadily changing and improving for a few years now, and I can’t see that process slowing up much, even with the current unpleasantness caused by coronavirus.

A few short years ago the view up the canal from Silver Street towards Catshill Junction would have been blighted by the empty market place and waste ground where Silver Court Gardens once stood, a set of five tenement blocks that really were quite grim.

But now the view of houses and trees in blossom over limpid, peaceful water is a world away from those bad days.

And I continue to watch my community evolve.

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#365daysofbiking Positive junction

March 12th – You can always tell a decent traffic improvement scheme by the way nobody mentions it after it’s completed.

The improvements at Shire Oak and Streets Corner took ages to complete, and were not without pain but the improvement in the performance of both is marked, and I’ve heard few moans about these seemingly well planned and executed safety upgrades.

So I think probably the work has been appreciated.

I do know one thing for sure: Streets Corner is still oddly beautiful by night.

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