June 12th - An awful commute from a weather point of view. The wind was dreadful in the morning, and the rain caught me on my return. I only took photos in Tyseley, in a rainstorm. Everything was wet; the station, the commuters, the trains. I felt miserable, and didn’t enjoy the journey at all - yet strangely, the Tyseley photos have an odd, lonely kind of charm.
It’s difficult to love the weather this week.
June 11th - Back in Tyseley, and a change in the weather; it was dark and overcast, but rather warm as I dashed to the station. The changeable weather was reflected in the view of Birmingham City Centre from the railway bridge. Patches of light, and dark, dark clouds, threatening rain. I love this view, and everything it contains; it is Birminghame for me. The train tracks, trees, transmission towers and pub clock, giving way to office block and skyscraper.
Birmingham is a patchwork.
May 30th - It hasn’t been commuting this week, it’s been a test of endurance. This morning, I left for work in heavy rain with a heavier heart. All week, the weather and travel has been grim. I’m fed up of it and would really like some summer, if that’s OK with you.
Thankfully, after my browbeaten, besodden and bedraggled journey to work, the return was in warmer, drier conditions. The air this morning held mist; this afternoon it was clear. As I came past Jockey Meadows on my way home, it was positively glowing and glistening, as only fresh green growth can.
Let’s hope this is the start of a dry spell.
May 29th - I had expected to get very wet on my return home. As it happened, it was merely a light drizzle, in the gap between downpours, but there was a significant headwind, and the going was grim. Cowparsley and hawthorn buds line the verges and hedgerows, and the cheesy scent of rapeseed hangs heavy. But there’s little sun about, and the lanes look grey and dull. Even the rabbit that darted in front of me, causing me to brake sharply was soaking wet.
We must be due a hot, dry spell soon, please?
may 28th - After a dreadful day of travelling - 7 hours of commuting just to get to Telford and back - I came home from a day unusually not on my bike. Hopping out as dusk fell, I shot up the Parade to Chasewater, then back along the canal. After a very wet, miserable day the air had begun to clear, and the rain ceased. The sunset wasn’t great, but after the murk, the crack in the clouds seemed heaven-scent. The Parade looked great with the fresh foliage, but I think we could do with some sun now. I need to feel more of the summer warmth.
May 16th - A day without rain, for me at least, and quite pleasant, if a little cold. The rain seems to have made everything bolt - these growing plants, in a field just west of Shenstone - were not evident last week. Wonder hat they are? Anyone know?
May 13th - But my, the skies did look black. For most of the day, and it seems it’s in for the week. I really, really want the fine weather to return.
We need to all wish together…
May 12th - I have a horrid feeling that the three glorious days of the May Day bank holiday were, in fact, summer. Today was wet, but warm, so I donned waterproofs and hit Cannock Chase. It rained steadily for pretty much the whole journey, and the light was awful for photos. There is a huge spread of cowslips at Brindley Valley, and everything else was vivid shades of green - even Rugeley Power Station was surrounded by verdant pasture. The Chase was lovely, and peaceful, and I didn’t see another soul from Rifle Range Corner all the way to Seven Springs.
Anyone would think humans were made of sugar… the forest is lovely in spring rain.
May 11th - I had to go to Aldridge in the afternoon. It was one of those intensely frustrating days when it was bright sunshine one minute, and raining heavily the next. I returned via the canal, always a joy. The view of the marina from Northycote Bridge was wonderful in the sunshine. It rained twice again before I got home…
Hope the warm weather returns soon.
May 9th - The journey home was a tad challenging. I elected to return from Blake Street, to best employ the strong wind that had built up. When I got off the train, the rain was horizontal. Even with waterproofs and wrapped up, it was vile. I’m just glad it was mostly blowing me home, and not against me.
Mill Green looked good, though, and this rain should provoke a growth spurt in the flora.
Let’s hope for a better day tomorrow.
April 8th - It’s that time of year again. Following the big freeze, potholes and fissures open up in the roads. This is a normal process caused by wear, and the hydraulic shearing action of water under vehicle tyres. I notice many main roads have suffered this year - maybe worse than the side routes. Here at Lichfield Road, Sandhills, ice seems to have lifted and crazes the tarmac, which has broken down to grit - itself dangerous to the incautious cyclist.
Report anything like this directly to the appropriate council using http://www.fixmystreet.com - it’s free and surprisingly effective.
April 7th - I had a shock today. Yesterday, I thought spring was here. Today, I set off in very hazy sunshine for a ride. Looping around Brownhills and up to Chasewater on the canal, I discovered the snow hadn’t quite gone yet. The towpath from Anchor Bridge to Ogley Junction is more or less impassible, with sitting snow and ice to depths of several feet. It took me some time to battle through. Considering it unique, I was further shocked to discover the same situation in Wall Lane, from Pipehill to Wall. That road was blocked to some depth, too.
The only high spot in all this was the swans are sitting again at the back of Sadler Road. Let’s hope for cygnets this year…
April 4th - Time for my usual post-snow warning. The roads are murder at the moment, especially ones where snowploughs have been used. What’s happening is that melting snow that collected grit, marbles and detritus from the road, is concentrating the horrid payload and depositing it on the surface where many cyclists ride.
Hitting the polished gravel - known as marbles to motorcyclists - that gathers over junctions, on cambers and in gutters can be like hitting black ice. Silt and mud can conceal deep potholes and steal your wheels from under you. Debris like sticks, branches and littler can jam your wheels. Until the wind, rain and local authorities have done their cleansing thing, be careful out there.
April 1st - Today is the second anniversary of starting this journal and project. It was 2 years ago that Renee Van Bar challenged me to do 30daysofbiking for a laugh. I just kept rolling ever since. Apart from the infamous two days laid low by a rogue pie over New Year 2012, I’ve cycled every day for those two years. Since 2012 was a leap year, that’s 729 days. That’s a lot of cycling, in all weathers and states of mind, I can tell you.
Today, a new 30daysofbiking starts. Naturally, I signed up…
Today, I took a ride out to Hints and Hopwas, returning via Lichfield and Burntwood. It was cold, and the easterly was still very sharp. But I ground on, and the originally very dark afternoon brightened. In the field near Rookery Wood, Hints, I noticed a first for me this spring: lambs. Not very old, but gorgeous and full of beans. They cheered me immensely.