BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘winter’

#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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#365daysofbiking Draining colour

December 8th – I headed back to Brownhills along the canal back towards Catshill Junction, which on the way passes the beautiful view of Hammerwich across the fields of Newtown and Ogley Hay.

I notice now the fields, trees and hedgerows are very brown and lifeless-looking although there seems to be a crop down of some sort.

It will be some months before the gorgeous green comes around again, which always makes me sad.

But this is a beautiful view, whatever the time of year, it has to be said.

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#365daysofbiking Orange aid

November 27th – In Telford again, more berries, but unlike the holly ones on Monday, these laden boughs of cotoneaster will be very much appreciated by the songbird population.

Cotoneaster are really appreciated by blackbirds who will defend a discovered bush for weeks if need be. The berries are bitter, but laden with sugar and a read aid to the birds over a cold winter.

If the adage about heavy crops of fruit meaning we’re due a cold spell is true, looks like we’re in for. a bad one this year…

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#365daysofbiking Maintaining the bite

November 22nd – And when I got home, an essential job – replace the missing studs in the winter tyres I’s saved from last season.

Schwalbe, the makers of the tyres, sell kits of replacement studs and a tool for inserting them – they are fiddly to do but with a tiny spot of silicone grease they go in well enough.

I had six to do. Took me a while to re-find the knack, but I got there in the end… and hopefully maintaining the excellent grip I love these tires for.

But so worth in the end.

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#365daysofbiking Metal guru


November 19th – One of the reasons I was comfortable with the ice and frost was that I now have the winter tyres on the bike.

There’s nothing more painful than coming off on ice on a cold day – everything seems to hurt far more. To keep upright as far as possible I fit Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus tyres. They’ve an aggressive outer tread loaded with 240 tungsten carbide studs which grip the road through the ice to give purchase even when cornering. There’s a more continuous, subtle central tread which rolls well when at maximum pressure.

Riding these is noisy and harder than normal tyres – but there are no worries about stability – these grip beautifully, like the ice isn’t there at all. They’re also very effective on leaf mulch which I find a lot of this time of year.

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#365daysofbiking That was a bit nippy

November 18th – It was a cold, thankfully dry journey home. The roads were glistening with ice, and the main ones, a fresh scattering of road salt.

The first icy commute home of the winter is always hard. My hands and face were cold. It hurt.

Stopping at a shop in the way home, I noticed that the temperature was marginally still above zero degrees Celsius.

That was a shock. it felt much colder.

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