Lovely day for it and despite being on call, I wanted to do 49 or 50. As usual I devised a rough plan that wouldn’t take me too far from home.

While investigating routes on the Strava planner I’d found a stretch just south of Derby that was remarkably flat and wanted to check it out, so I did. Went up to Swarkestone Bridge through Melbourne, turned left and followed the road along to Stenson, where I took this pic at the Bubble Inn.

Hadn’t been there since 1992, when I dated a girl called Julie. Difficult memories, but we needn’t dwell on that here.

So from there I turned back but kept on the same road past Swarkestone Bridge, along to Weston-on-Trent, where I stopped at a bench and consulted Google Maps. It looked like the best route homeward was back the way I’d come. But mindful of the need to build up the miles a bit without venturing too far, I pedalled along the flat road over to Stenson again, before turning back once more and going back down over the bridge.

The flat road is quite pleasant – an A road, but not too busy. Not my favourite sort of cycling but enjoyable enough. Certainly well surfaced and free of climbing hills.

Took a deviant route around Melbourne where I stopped again for a few minutes. Then after Coleorton and back in my on call comfort zone, I did a run up over Belton way, part of my old “Belton Figure of 8” route.

Took a long detour over the last few miles to get the distance up to 50. Home on 52.25 (the bike computer said 52.22, so very pleasing accuracy). That’s the longest distance I’ve done for over 13 months.

Felt a bit knackered after that, but I think that was possibly the heat and the brightness. Also perhaps because the S Works has a slightly less comfortable riding position. It’s been comfortable enough since I flipped the stem but the bars are still a touch lower than the other bikes and I hadn’t done more than 32 on it before. Also, I didn’t find a suitable wee stop for the whole 50 miles.

It was a proper short sleeves, warm day. I wore a cap rather than a helmet to keep the sun off my eyes. Couldn’t help noticing that every other cyclist out today was wearing a helmet, but I have to consider the number of miles I’ve done over the last 4.5 years (17287) against the number of times my head has collided with something heavier than an insect (0) and conclude that I’m fairly safe.

I did enjoy that. Would have been a bit more relaxed if I hadn’t been thinking about the possibility of my phone going off, and if I’d had a spare inner tube. I don’t own one with a valve long enough for the Cosmic rims. I must fix that.

I was passed by a couple on a tandem a few miles after I set off, in Coleorton. The rear rider had a laminated sheet pinned to her backpack announcing that they were doing – if I remember correctly – a 190 mile ride for a charity in a single day. Would love to know where they’d set off from and where they were going, but they don’t feature in my Strava FlyBys as yet.

That’s 317 done this month which is over the adjusted target of 292, but still a bit under the original target of 329 for June.

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