Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

Today my bike took me......

Through Manor Park and down to Bournville on to the Worcester canal and up the Rea Valley route back to Northfeild. It was lovely out there and Gus was running along side me all the way.

Where did your bike take you today.......?

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I rode canal cycle route from Olton to Digbeth, and then further  on to check out Curzon station and the surrounding parts.

Was anyone else attacked by that wild storm yesterday evening?   I rode into the teeth of it for half an hour, and this was all that was left of my Space for Cycling flag by the time I arrived at the BCR stakeholder meeting in the city centre:

The white deposits on the bag are shredded flag.

I was fortunate enough to be indoors for that one, but those flags don't seem very robust.  Mine survived the ride home from Canon Hill Park, only to be ripped in two by snagging on a brake cable as I transferred it from the front pocket of my Brompton bag to the flagpole holder on Natalya's trike seat.  With hindsight I should have collected some of the stray ones that were roaming free on NCN5.

Normally I cycle into the city centre.   I'm getting wheeley fed up with the Wheeleys Road diversion, but this afternoon I needed to take a ladder with me, and I got a reminder of what life would be like if I wasn't a two-percenter.   My journey was along the A38 into the city centre, and back. Even though it was afternoon, a long way clear of the crush hour, the experience was awful; just one traffic jam after another, plus a long wait to fill up with petrol at Selly Oak. There and back were equally bad, and both took me longer than cycling. In fact Bournville to Bournbrook took me almost as long as it takes me to cycle the entire distance. On the way back the traffic jam for the Selly Oak Triangle junction began at the hospital roundabout on the new road. I was overtaken by a guy in a suit on a bike whilst I waited and waited, and he was riding very slowly. Add to that the hell of the substandard lanes and drivers who have no concept of lane discipline, or ability to plan ahead which lane to be in, and by the time I got back home I felt completely drained. Normally I feel fresh as a daisy after the ride.   And note that I had the luxury of a free car park at my destination, though it did take several minutes of precision shunting back and forth to get in and out of the parking bay, so much space having been dedicated to stationary cars. Yet the bike rack had maybe half a dozen bikes in it.   Why do so many people think taking the car beats taking the bike?

Suddenly dodging the rat-runners on Wheeleys Road seems a minor irritation.   As does the occasional raging storm.

Absolutely - that detour is infuriating... both Wheeleys Road (especially at the junction with St James Road) and the B4217 by The Vale are oversupplied with close passing drivers.

Robert said:

Normally I cycle into the city centre.   I'm getting wheeley fed up with the Wheeleys Road diversion,

Hopefully only ten days until the tunnel reopens. Until then I avoid the hill on Wheeleys Road by using the pavement on Calthorpe Road (carefully).  

Shivaji Shiva said:

Absolutely - that detour is infuriating... both Wheeleys Road (especially at the junction with St James Road) and the B4217 by The Vale are oversupplied with close passing drivers.

Robert said:

Normally I cycle into the city centre.   I'm getting wheeley fed up with the Wheeleys Road diversion,

Similarly, a while ago I made the mistake of booking a car-club car in Kings Heath (none of the nearer ones were available for the period I needed) and collecting it during the morning rush hour.  It took me less than 15 minutes to get there on my Brompton, taking it easy on the climb so I wouldn't get too sweaty.  It took over double that long to drive the car back to Selly Oak in order to fill it with all the stuff that meant I had to use a car in the first place.

I was going to do that, but when I pass this way there is a line of barely moving cars that extends back from Calthorpe Road to Mason Way that is difficult and risky to get past, and by Carpenter Road I've had enough.   I make the return journey via Calthorpe Road, however.   Of course if BCC Highways get their way, that route will also be closed to cyclists, courtesy of a one-way with no contraflow on George Road (objection lodged).   I guess one could take Frederick Road, but that requires either dealing with the traffic jam on Islington Row, or dodging the pedestrians on the footway (StreetView).


LS said:

Until then I avoid the hill on Wheeleys Road by using the pavement on Calthorpe Road (carefully).  

Wheeleys Road was nicely closed on Friday, so no cars at all!

Church Road between Mason Way and Calthorpe Road was also free of cars on Friday afternoon, so I took the Calthorpe Road pavement option.   This may not be coincidental, as I have reason to believe these roads are being used as a rat-run to avoid the Five Ways junction.   Church Road was also free of traffic on Wednesday evening, but I concluded that was just because I was a couple of hours later than usual.   Anyone know if Wheeleys Road was closed on Wednesday?

Yesterday afternoon I made use of the late Roy Watson's Greenways map to get over to the Netherton Tunnel (Top Tip: it's much easier to negotiate the tunnel if you remember to take off your sunglasses).   I went via the new Woodgate Valley path, taking Kim's advice to experience it before it's wrecked with spray and chip.   I can confirm it's excellent, and indeed the asphalt looks to have a proper, fine-grain top layer.   Why waste money spoiling it?

Unfortunately Priory Road between Carters Lane and Manor Lane has been made one-way to all traffic, blocking Roy's suggested route, and forcing cyclists to take the long way round on two very busy roads, or use the pavement.   I used the pavement.

My return route took me along the Birmingham Main Line.   I was actually really pleased to find that the tow-path from Oldbury Road has been freshly sprayed and chipped, but that's because it used to be a narrow, muddy path.

Fortunately the path is wide and straight, and there are few pedestrians, so the inability to turn or perform rapid stops is mostly not an issue.   One thing to watch out for is where the path passes below bridges, as the awful hoof grips have been left in place, hiding in the relative dark, and if you don't slow right down before you get to the bridge you'll be going about ten times too fast and a mechanical failure is likely.   And of course braking hard as soon as you can see the hoof grips is impossible on the spray and chip.   I did say "mostly".

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