Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Wet, Cold & Windy - Bank Holiday Cycling

Another classic Bank Holiday weekend - wet, cold and windy...

But those miles won't cycle themselves, so I dug the winter gear out and headed off into the gale-force wind, north towards Sutton Coldfield (sadly my wife took the camera out with her, so the pic on this blog post are sourced from Flickr).

Bike route 477057 - powered by Bikemap

I've also decided that I should try to enjoy my cycling a little more and take in some sights en route. The first few miles were far from picturesque, along the Stratford Road into Birmingham, which is hardly cycle-friendly.

But then take a detour along Curzon Street, which has been pretty much levelled for a new swathe of building in the city centre. All that's left is the Millennium Point centre, a couple of old pubs and a burnt out factory, plus the beautiful but isolated Curzon Street Station - the city's original link to London Euston.

Curzon Street Station (Pic: Stephen Piggott)

Everything was knocked down to build the new library - which is now being built the other side of the centre - and, presumably, a load of speculative flats that will never get built. They're also looking to build the new High Speed 2 rail terminal on the site if they ever get round to building that...

From there it's off past the old HP factory (also now knocked down) and through Aston towards Junction 6 of the M6 - otherwise known as Spaghetti Junction. It's a strangely-elegant piece of engineering and, driving past at 70 mph, I've often seen the fishing lake next door and wondered what it was like underneath, so I took a look...

Spaghetti Junction (Pic: Martin O'Connell)

Felt oddly peaceful despite the cars and lorries hurtling past above you. After shinning over a fence I was back on the road to Sutton Coldfield, up Gravelly Hill and through Erdington, with the surroundings getting progressively posher the further you go until you arrive in Sutton.

Turning for home I spot the old Odeon cinema (recently re-branded as an Empire), which reminds you how many of these wonderful Art Deco-style buildings have now been destroyed.

Odeon Cinema, Sutton Coldfield (Pic: Hartland Martin)
Then it's a dash for home, with the wind behind me, which is a lot easier. Although I do get hit - for the first time on a cycle - with a lump of bird muck...