BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘work’

#365daysofbiking Glad to be back

Friday January 8th 2021 – A warmer day, but not much: The snow was mostly melted and the frost slight as I headed home from work.

Between Catshill Junction and Anchor Bridge I opted to leave the muddy canal and hit the High Street.

I always like the end of the first working week after Christmas. The festivities seem an age away, it’s now not really dark until well past 4:30pm and things seem to be heading toward spring. Of course, the pandemic is a huge worry, as is Brexit and problems it’s causing at work, but I think we can endure.

It’s actually nice to be back in my routine.

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#365daysofbiking Anchored in the canal

Thursday November 26th 2020 – I’ve spoken a lot about anchors in the last few weeks – constant things that act as a reference point and help me get through the rough times of winter, illness, sadness or stress at work. One of the biggest is the canals that snake their way through the town in which I live, the Black Country and Birmingham which I love, the countryside I ride in and through my life like rich, flowing vein of natural energy.

Whether it’s the Tollhouse loop under the M5 Viaduct in Smethwick, the Trent and Mersey in Rugeley or the good old Wyrley and Essington at Anchor Bridge, I watch the canals in all weathers, and any time of day or night. They are a peaceful, nowadays clean haven of calm and wildlife, where I can enjoy my own company or that of close friends and get fresh air, solace and inspiration.

With a slight mist, the merest hint of an inversion, no sound of traffic to distract me, a late loop up the High Street to Anchor Bridge and back around to Newtown was just what I needed after finishing work late.

I’ve posted many shots of this view over the years, but this is my favourite yet. I like the colours.

My canal. My Anchor Bridge. My anchors.

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#365daysofbiking Slipping away

Tuesday, October 13th 2020 – Another darkness commute, and less than two weeks until the clocks go back. I hate this time of year, I really do.

The one downside of having a GPS on the bike is that it allows you to morosely monitor the closing in of the days, but also the opening out, which is why I keep the data field active.

As the daylight slips away and I get used to the return of the night, it’s hard to find good images and can be difficult to be positive: But in truth, you can’t have the great, long days of high summer without paying for them with cold, rain-sodden commute in winter.

So onward, into the dark…

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#365daysofbiking Too low for comfort

Monday, September 21st 2020 – The fascination with other people’s bikes continues, as does the bafflement with some modern bike technical fashions.

In a familiar customer bike shed, a new bike I think might be a Marin is locked with a Poundland cheese string bike lock (but thankfully this shed has a very securely locked door). It’s a nice, fairly high-end equipped bike, with SRAM (that’s Sachs for the oldies) gears. It’s what I would class a ‘forest bike’ – it’s not really a full MTB but not a hybrid. It would be at home on Cannock Chase’s midway trails or rough canal towpaths.

The bike has remarkable gearing arrangement, that’s sadly fashionable – a single front ring, which is tiny and an eyewateringly wide rear sprocket range.

I note it’s been left in the lowest of gears.

Why?

The gearing is utterly rubbish for road use.

I was talking to a pal about this the other day. I’m tying to build a decent derailleur setup at the moment, but there’s no longer the crossover between road and MTB gear sets where you can get a massive range for excellent touring use by mixing and matching. It’s either this stupidity, which necessitates a huge rear mech just waiting to get smashed off by a stump, or the low range and boredom of road group sets.

I know it’s fashion, like the frankly ludicrous fat bike fad, and we’ll swing back to doubles and triples when the spinning kids want to go a bit faster than15mph downhill. But I wish it would pass.

It comes to something when a basic hub gear offers 25% wider range than most mountain group sets.

Rant over. For now.

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#365daysofbiking Silly things

May 19th – I’m finding working from home impossible, if I’m honest. It’s very hard to keep focus with family life happening around me. There is no separation, I miss the commute; and I constantly find myself needing things from my den, or elsewhere in my workplace that would make tasks easy but without them they take forever.

I need to go back to work.

In the mean time, my daily outdoors fix is essential, and this evening I spent probably longer than necessary admiring my favourite tree, at Home Farm, Sandhills. This handsome horse chestnut is currently in bloom and looks gorgeous in the Tuesday golden hour.

Some things are markers in the madness. These fields, the canal, the sun, and that tree. They save me from nosediving. Silly things, but there you go.

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#365daysofbiking Spring flower power:

April 9th – And on my return, the spring flowers spotted in gardens and on verges around Brownhills were stunning.

There is colour everywhere at the moment, from the fragile beauty of tulips to the tiny majesty of the smaller blooms.

Work is still mentally very punishing and it’s not getting any easier – and when working from home I miss the commuting rides terribly – I need light, air, space and engagement with my beloved natural world.

But seeing these beauties makes it all seem worthwhile.

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#365daysofbiking Things in common

October 12th – Little sleep, online life getting to me and feeling tired. Not a great recipe – but a potter into town for shopping and a coffee was welcome. I headed to The Parade which is always beautiful in autumn, and although too early for the real show, it was still pretty impressive and a good tonic.

I remember this majestic trees being saplings. They are pretty much as old as I am.

And today, I felt very old indeed… Certainly too old to be working into the wee small hours.

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#365daysofbiking Back to black

October 11th – Although technically the next day, it was still my working Friday when I rode back home in a soaking wet, somnambulant landscape in the small hours of the morning.

I didn’t;t trust the few cars that were about, speeding around, so stuck to the canal where the only things around were roosting waterfowl and the odd, dejected and bedraggled fox.

I was tired and mentally dead.

Ah well, it’s the weekend…

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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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