BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘winter’

#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 enough for now, please

Wednesday December 16th 2020 – Talking of water, the overflow at Clayhanger Bridge, safely conducting the excess canal water to the Tame via the Ford Brook is at a fair pelt in this wet season. I really am getting fed up of the mud and rain and would like a dry spell for a while.

With everything that’s going on in the world, would it be really be too much to ask for a cessation in the mud and wet grime of urban life with daily rain?

I shan’t hold my breath but I fear I might be getting webbed feet.

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#365daysofbiking Approaching zero

Sunday November 22nd 2020 – I slipped out late afternoon on errands, and caught the sunset at Chasewater, as beautiful as ever, but the riding was fast and easy so I headed in a loop over to Castle Ring, Dollymaker Hill and Stoneywell, returning via Fulfen and Burntwood. It was a great ride.

I always feel shocked you can see Dudley Castle from Gentleshaw.

I’m pleased I changed over to winter tyres a couple of weeks ago; as I neared home I felt the familiar crackle of freshly gritted roads for the first time this season – the cold nights were clearly coming in. We were expecting a frost, and the temperature hovered around two degrees.

I felt cold, and my forehead and ears burned; but it was mostly a lovely night ride. I must do this more often.

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#365daysofbiking Still high

May 2nd – Chasewater’s water level is now just below the weir top in the Nine-foot Pool: But only just. Not even an inch. The continued seepage from the dam and around the penstocks in the canal outlet valve will be steady, slightly and continually draining.

It’s been dry now pretty much a month or more, and at one stage last winter it felt like the world would never be dry again. The rain was such that it became a state that just was: I continually dressed for it and it didn’t trouble me much. But by god it was relentless and grim.

I’m glad that period has passed, and at the moment I’ll take any positives from life I can find.

Chasewater remains high, but is falling slowly.

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#365daysofbiking You picked a fine time to leave me

January 20th – One of the few hard frosts of the season so far greeted me as I left on my bike for work.

I was very, very glad on the cycleways of Telford particularly for the studded winter tyres: Surefooted and grippy as ever. There was a lot of black ice, and I never once felt unstable.

Sadly what did cause me problems was my back brake losing all bite: For some reason my pads chose this morning to wear completely out to the point at which they were just about useless. The crossover point between ‘These are OK’ and ‘Where’s my stopping power gone?’ was one braking action on a downhill.

The one set of conditions when you really need to leave the front brake alone and only use the back… Oh dear.

Luckily, there were no spills.

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#365daysofbiking Mud larks

January 7th – This mud. It’s getting worse. It’s in everything, like a damaging, abrasive jelly, corroding metal, clogging up mechanisms and generally bringing the bike down.

I felt I should wash the bikes to remove the worst, so I did at the weekend. I was kind of scared of what I might find underneath.

2 days on an it’s like they were never cleaned at all.

It’s going to take a lot of work to get these steeds back up to scratch this spring. I’ll have my work cut out, clearly.

I expect whole biomes will be developing in the crud by then.

Oh the mud, what larks…

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#365daysofbiking Starstruck

December 27th – Back in Brownhills I turned back in the gloom to look at Morris, splendid even on this unpleasant evening.

He doesn’t mind the rain, he’s maid of stainless steel. He’s constructed to shine whatever the conditions. And in the murk tonight, with Christmas lights behind him, Morris was a splendid symbol of home with more than a little star quality about him.

I think I should be more… Morris.

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#365daysofbiking Risen again

December 25th – At Chasewater, I noticed how close to overtopping the weir the reservoir is again, despite the outflow valve to the spillway being open.

That’s a remarkable indication of the state of the recent weather: Naturally, more water is flowing in to the pool than is flowing out. And that’s a considerable amount.

You know what I want for Christmas? A dry spell.

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#365daysofbiking Taking a toll

December 22nd – I’ve not been riding back from Shenstone or Lichfield much this winter, and the backlands are not the familiar haunts they were, so it was a shock to me on Bullmoor Lane and Cranebrook Lane that they were flooded, breaking up or deep in mud in quite a few places.

Going was tough and wet.

When this weather breaks there’s going to need to be a lot of cleaning and investment to fix the roads.

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