Managed to get out of work not long after 3:30pm. A bit of light rain expected over after sunset but the roads weren’t too wet so I took the Boardman for a spin. Set off with a half-hearted intention of doing a Twycrosser but by the time I reached the end of the road, I’d decided to head south, down toward Stoney Stanton – though I didn’t expect to go that far. The vague intention was to do about 12 miles, then come back the same way.

Would usually have a (knee) recovery day but the weather looks awful for the foreseeable future so I grabbed a chance. I only did about 18 yesterday so no big deal to do 20-odd today.

I got as far as Kirkby Mallory, then turned back. Very nice change to do that route again. By the time I turned for home it was getting dark, but I was well equipped with lights including a head torch.

Took this pic before sunset, along Kirkby Lane:

From Newbold I decided, on one of those whims to which I am prone, to take the road to Bosworth and come back the usual way from there, rather than back through Bagworth and Ellistown. Very dark along there. Had to use the brakes where I wouldn’t normally on downhill stretches, just to maintain proper visibility of the road.

The front light + head torch works well enough though except when you have an idiot in a motor vehicle blind you with full beam. On this occasion I was confronted, along Heather Lane, by a 4×4 of some sort with an array of front lights, arranged in rectangular fashion, that would have put the floodlights at Old Trafford to shame. The worst part isn’t when you actually have the light in your face. It’s the moment when the offending vehicle has passed, and your night vision is shot for a second so all you can see, until you recover, is an inky blackness while you’re (possibly) hurtling down a hill on a curve, as I was in this case. Bloody scary.

The threatened rain didn’t materialise, but I did have to contend with a bit of fog over the last couple of miles. I had 5 Live on on the way back, listening intently to the results for the election of Speaker of the House of Commons as each round came in. I was delighted and relieved to see Harriet Harman do so badly. She would have betrayed her country at a snap of her foreign masters’ fingers.

Anyway, despite its perils I like a ride out in the dark. Bit of an adventure.

28.89 miles which takes me to 42 this month.

Brief Twycrosser

The weather forecast for today had changed quite a bit by this morning, with no rain due over until early evening. I’d arranged to take ‘er indoors out for lunch at 2pm and wasn’t planning to do a bike ride today, but at 11am I decided I’d get November off to a bit of a start by doing 15 or 20 on the hybrid. I expected the roads to be wet and muddy, and they were (mostly).

A bit gloomy when I set off but the sun came out later on. I did a short version of the Twycrosser, cutting across to Bilstone along Bilstone Road just before Twycross.

17.85 miles. Would happily have done another 20 or so had time permitted, even on the hybrid which seemed to be rolling along pleasantly enough at the sedate speed demanded of it, despite its excessive weight. Actually the combined weight of hybrid + cyclist is lower than the combined weight of Cannondale (my lightest bike) + cyclist would have been in January. But of course there’s more to efficiency than just the weight.

Saw a chap out on a Giant bike near Shackerstone. He had all the usual gear on and it looked like a road bike, but the down tube looked unusually large and chunky. I supposed it was an e-bike but he was coming the other way so I didn’t get a close look. Helpfully though, he overtook me along Heather lane half an hour later with a cheery wave so I got a better look. To all intents and purpose a road bike in appearance, with the usual road wheels, handlebars and clippy pedals. But with a large, square cross section down tube, presumably housing an electric motor and battery.

Would have thought that e-bikes were more aimed at the commuter / convenience cyclist market rather than the recreational / enthusiast cyclist.

I still haven’t got round to fixing the gears on the hybrid (after about two years) but the available range is still usable. The most annoying thing was that I’d removed its mirror a while back for some reason and forgot to put one back on.

3503 done this year.

Must admit, I didn’t even bother wiping the mud and moisture off its nether regions when I put the bike away. Was in a bit of a hurry.

In other news – another mouse has met its maker in the garage. Quite a small one and the kill bar came down right across its back rather than its neck. But I hope it was still quick.

The weather forecast looks intermittently (but predominantly) rainy for the next couple of weeks.