BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

April 13th - Up on Cannock Chase. The ears. That’s all.

Sorry for the poor quality - caught by the bike cam, some way off. Heavily zoomed, and slowed down for clarity.

April 11th - Also in Shelfield. A reminder that the local issue of stray horses really is becoming a problem.

Aprill 11th - Before I do the usual ones today, tonight I had a nightmare journey home after a less than wonderful day. A couple of consecutive punctures (with different causes) were bad enough. But then, not far from home (thankfully), I gained another entry for Bob’s Big Book of Bizarre Bicycling Mechanical Failures™ - my non drive side crank sheared at the pedal thread. Clean off.

I have never seen this before. Not once.

It felt bad for a couple of miles - I figured a pedal bearing was going south. It felt odd, eccentric. This prepared me for disaster, so when it happened it didn’t hurt or cause me to fall off, but it could have been quite bad. 

The crank is by Lasco, and has done 10,000 miles. From the dark patch on the break, I’d say it’s been cracked awhile. I’m no small fella and fatigue has clearly worked it’s magic.

Oh well. Time for a new chainset, then…

April 7th - Damn me, but this squirrel seems happy. Mind, he ought to be; he’s living in the hazel copse just opposite the Watermead in Brownhills. The cheeky little fellow didn’t scarper until I came quite close. 

I’d swear he’s laughing there…

If Gradboy is reading this, sorry mate, but it was too good to miss… 

April 1st - This journal is three years old today. Three years since Renee Van Baar cajoled me into doing #30daysofbiking. I’ve cycled every day in that three years except two days when I was too ill to ride a bike during about of food poisoning over New Year, 2012. That’s a 1094 days when I’ve been out and taken a picture or recorded a little video of the day’s ride. Thanks for joining me, and for all the likes, shares and retweets, as well as the excellent and knowledgable reader comments..
I have no idea why folk like this thing, but they seem quite fond of it, and I am too, for it’s made me look at something I do in a different way, and it’s also made me look more closely at what’s around me in my day-to-day life.
Cheers to everyone for being stoker on the tandem.
The cat isn’t impressed. He barely opened his eyes to display his utter contempt as I passed through Alumwell on my way back from work. I stopped to let oncoming traffic through, and he peered at me sleepily. I thought he was rather special, so disgusting him even further, I took a quick picture.

April 1st - This journal is three years old today. Three years since Renee Van Baar cajoled me into doing #30daysofbiking. I’ve cycled every day in that three years except two days when I was too ill to ride a bike during about of food poisoning over New Year, 2012. That’s a 1094 days when I’ve been out and taken a picture or recorded a little video of the day’s ride. Thanks for joining me, and for all the likes, shares and retweets, as well as the excellent and knowledgable reader comments..

I have no idea why folk like this thing, but they seem quite fond of it, and I am too, for it’s made me look at something I do in a different way, and it’s also made me look more closely at what’s around me in my day-to-day life.

Cheers to everyone for being stoker on the tandem.

The cat isn’t impressed. He barely opened his eyes to display his utter contempt as I passed through Alumwell on my way back from work. I stopped to let oncoming traffic through, and he peered at me sleepily. I thought he was rather special, so disgusting him even further, I took a quick picture.

March 28th - I stopped at the lights at the Spring Cottage junction in Shelfield this morning, and noticed some poor sod dressed as an animal, dancing whilst wearing an advertising board for a local pet store.

There were more of these characters at other junctions into Walsall, and they were still there, dancing in the rain at 6:30pm when I returned. 

How I felt for them - how desperate do you have to be to do that for money? They ones on my return were soaked to the skin, advertising a pet shop that had shut for the day. 

Welcome to modern Britain. It filled me with sadness at the thought of it. I doubt I’ll shop there again.

March 22nd - There’s been a death locally. The victim will not be mourned, although being viciously cut down by a diamond blade. Cyclists, pushchair wranglers and normal-width people throughout the area who walk this way will know what I’m talking about.

The post that had for years pointlessly stopped even the narrowest bikes and people getting though the gap at the foot of Anglesey Basin without a struggle, has finally been cut down.

It served no purpose - access to motorbikes either side of it was always possible. It just existed as a royal pain in the arse, and I was hugely irritated that the metre high steel post filled with concrete survived the dam works.

Someone, somewhere has finally cut the bloody thing down. I’ve vowed to do so many a time, but never been quite motivated enough.

My thanks to the executioner, you have done the community a great service.

March 22nd - I popped into Morrisons at Burntwood to get some shopping in, and was irritated that the store was blocking the cycle parking with stacks and stacks of Mothers Day inspired plants and flowers for sale.

My irritation evaporated when I took a closer look. Cowslips. Polyanthus. Bright colours, speckled with recent raindrops. I adore cowslips - they’re my favourite flower. 

I went home with a pot poking out of my saddlebag. The power of flowers.

March 20th - I cycled home in persistent rain, but with the wind behind me. As is usual in these conditions, I slid onto the canal towpath as soon as I could to avoid the madness of the traffic. Passing near Clayhanger Bridge, I was assailed by a pair of regular bandits. 

This pair of Canada Geese - apparently inseparable - have been hanging around for about three weeks now. As time passes (and presumably, the chap’s fancy turns in springtime) the male is getting more and more bombastic. He jumps up off the water when he spots me, up onto the towpath, all open bill and hissing. I’ve started giving him titbits to placate him. He now expects the ‘toll’ before he lets me pass.

I am, effectively, being mugged by a goose. Has life really come to this?

March 11th - Today, I zipped through Hall Green. I’ve been passing this store for probably five years or so now, and I hate to admit it but the name irrationally annoys me every time I see it - and I have no idea why. ‘Wine Lord’ - what does it mean? Is it a crap play on ‘Time Lord’? Is it not a pun? I have no idea. Like hair salons, off licenses now seem to be developing a trend for really daft, jokey names. This can’t end well.
As to Chicken Etc…

March 11th - Today, I zipped through Hall Green. I’ve been passing this store for probably five years or so now, and I hate to admit it but the name irrationally annoys me every time I see it - and I have no idea why. ‘Wine Lord’ - what does it mean? Is it a crap play on ‘Time Lord’? Is it not a pun? I have no idea. Like hair salons, off licenses now seem to be developing a trend for really daft, jokey names. This can’t end well.

As to Chicken Etc…

February 27th - That moment when you’re passing through Moor Street Station in Birmingham - the lovingly rebuilt and restored Great Western Railway station - and realise that even the washers used in the architectural ironwork are an ornate stamped flower design.

That, readers, is attention to detail. Never noticed it in 10 years of using the station…

February 12th - a rough video, but it fascinated me. The sign hanging on the inside of the Walsall Wood Pithead sculpture was swinging well in the wind.

I hope it’s attached top the frame better than Bob the Fish was attached to the Walsall Wood Fisherman, which was by the same artist. Bob the fish famously escaped captivity and is presumably still living the life of a trophy fish somewhere in the locality. 

Probably best not to stand in close proximity to the pithead during a gale…

February 3rd - In Aylestone, Leicester: a little bit of utterly nonsensical cycle ‘infrastructure’. 
This is so bizarre, I have nothing to add.

February 3rd - In Aylestone, Leicester: a little bit of utterly nonsensical cycle ‘infrastructure’. 

This is so bizarre, I have nothing to add.

January 27th - I was stood on platform 5 waiting for a train at New Street Station. I looked up at the odd, tube-like access bridge hastily added as a second access system here in the early 1990s, in the wake of the Kings Cross Fire; because New Street was classed as a subterranean station, it had to have separate access. So cranes added this monstrosity, now out of use. 

Looking up in my early morning fug, I noted the arrangement of walkways, barriers, rails and safety harness mounting points spanning the top of the structure.

The only purpose to be up there is to clear the skylight windows.

If you design something, and most of the complex steelwork is to ensure the safety of a window cleaner whose job is to clear less than 15 square meters of glass, you’ve failed as a designer.

Sadly this monstrosity looks set to survive the renovations.

January 18th - At the cycle jumble, I picked this hardback book for a fiver. Published in 1991, it has some great curiosities within about the origin of cycling and cycle culture. I spent an hour or two chuckling over it last night.

I’m pleased to see the Hobby Horse noted. So many cyclists, me included, have them. Sad to see the ancient cycle touring arts of skinflinting and grudge honing are not mentioned, though…