Out East

Wanted to make the most of the dry weather while it lasts (the rain’s due back tomorrow) so I left work early and mounted the S Works. I wanted to do at least 41, which would bring this month’s distance count to the highest monthly total since August 2016. A moderate breeze was blowing from the east, so I went that way, on the usual route toward Belvoir Castle.

I clocked up about 26 outbound miles, then turned back.

Dry but cloudy and cooler than of late, so it was back on with multiple layers and tights. Normally I have two different options for coming back from that route over the last few miles, either through Thringstone or Coleorton. Today on a whim I took an earlier turn, which joins the A512 for a longer stretch. I haven’t done that for at least three years because A roads usually aren’t my idea of fun, but I assumed it would be quieter this evening. Perhaps it was but there was still a fair amount of traffic.

Noticed a sign for a “Christian rehabilitation centre” near Six Hills. Nice that you can get help with that.

I did get a bit of right knee pain later on. A reminder that I do still need to exercise a bit of restraint and caution.

51.84 miles, and that’s 627 this month.



Thought I’d do maybe 50 or so, today. Didn’t get up particularly early and I was on call. Set off on the S Works at about 10:30 with no particular plan in mind, except that I’d go north, then south so that I wouldn’t stray too far from base.

I went up Top Brand in the direction of Donington then turned left for Melbourne at Isley Walton. Thought of going up over Swarkestone Bridge but decided to pedal over to Ticknall instead. I used to do that route quite often but haven’t done it more than once or twice in the last couple of years, probably in order to avoid a short but unpleasantly steep climb which I have named Bastard Hill.

Stopped to take the following pic along Heath Lane. As I examined it on the phone I looked up to notice a couple standing on the other side of the gate, a few feet away. I was politely asked if I minded if they came past, which confused me for a moment as there was plenty of space for them to do so. Had I not stepped back a couple of feet they would have passed within 5 feet at least, for a fraction of a second. But of course I smiled pleasantly and complied.

Back down through Ashby, which although most of the shops were closed looked a lot like a typical Saturday; plenty of people walking along the main shopping street. I noticed that I had to wait for a gap in the traffic to cross the A511 this time, as well. All of which reinforces my opinion that the restrictions on movement are only sustainable at their maximum effect for a limited time, and the government was exactly right to introduce them with careful and deliberate timing. I notice in today’s news that Philip Hammond is already agitating for an end to the lockdown.

From Packington I decided to tack on a Twycrosser. I stopped at Snarestone where I took advantage of the bench there for a brief lunch. I decided at this point to keep it relatively short. The wind was a lot stronger than I’d been led to expect by the forecast, one of the earplugs connected to my DAB personal had stopped working (don’t yet know if it’s the earplugs or the DAB) and, after all, I was on call. So I took a left just short of Twycross to come home the picturesque way along Bilstone Road, then Ibstock. Home on 40.11 miles.


That’s 575 miles this month, 1799 this year.

Another Twycross Bypasser

I’d been thinking of doing about 40 after work today to take advantage of the ongoing lovely weather. I can’t (or shouldn’t) go far tomorrow, because I’m on call.

But ‘er indoors persuaded me that it might be nice to have a drink in the garden so I did a shortish one, so I could be back by 6-ish.

I performed a fairly standard Twycross Bypasser. Just lovely out there. Less windy than the last few days.

Took the road to Bosworth from Sheepy. Usually I take a left to Carlton along there but today it was closed for some reason. So I pushed on to Bosworth and came up the usual way from there.

Definitely more traffic this last week or two.

I saw a little girl on a bike near Barton. I’d guess she was about nine years old (I’m not good with kids’ ages, never had any myself). She had all the lycra gear on. She was riding a scaled-down proper road bike with derailleurs and drop bars. It looked much too big for her but she had no trouble overtaking me. I thought of the decades of cycling she has ahead of her, if she keeps her interest in it. And if she’s still riding when she’s my age, I wonder what her bike will look like? And the roads, and the technology?


26.80 miles.

More tomorrow. A real shame that I’m on call, because the rain’s making a comeback next month and tomorrow’s weather looks even better.

Unusual Reverse Twycrosser

Wasn’t really planning on cycling after work today but I happened to glance out of the window. I still can’t get used to the novelty of sunny, dry weather! And it would have been a perfect late afternoon for cycling if not for a fairly powerful wind from the east, again.

I set off through Ellistown and Bagworth on the S Works, thinking to go down to Kirkby Mallory then come back. But I took the road to Bosworth from Newbold then came the long way home, looping up through Swepstone, past Measham, and through Packington.

Nice, apart from a real struggle against the wind between Packington and Alton Hill.

25.61 and that’s 506 this month.



Windy today but it seemed a shame to waste a sunny late afternoon, so I thought I’d do 20 miles or so after leaving work early. Did a fairly standard short Twycrosser, the version where I stop short of Twycross and hang a left along Bilstone Road (pictured below) to, er, Bilstone. Came back through Ibstock.

Quite a brutal headwind going east but it wasn’t cold and the sunshine made up for it a bit.

Thought I’d end up on at least 20 but nope, 18.65. I would have done more if the wind hadn’t been so annoying.

Saw a guy out running with what I think was a stab vest on .. bit odd. Also saw a chap leaning on a Range Rover looking through powerful-looking binoculars. A twitcher I think, but it was certainly quiet enough around there and he wasn’t doing any harm.



Nice weather yesterday, apart from a moderate breeze from the east. A while ago while experimenting with the Strava route planner, I devised a route designed to exploit a Corridor of Relative Flatness running north-east, parallel to the River Trent. Completely new roads after East Leake and leading ultimately to Newark.

Wasn’t sure I’d go all the way to Newark, but I took plenty of food and fluids in case I did. A rare opportunity to use my Magnum 1.5 litre bidon. I’m not actually sure why I bought it, since I’d normally just refuel with Lucozade Sport or whatever at a garage or shop on a long trip. But since circumstances dictated a strict no-shop strategy yesterday, it came in useful for a change.

I set off at about 07:45 on the Cannondale. The new part of the route, ie the 33 miles or so between East Leake and Newark turned out to be a joy – not extremely flat but mostly pretty level. Nice scenery, interesting little villages. I used the eTrex for navigation; I’d never have been able to remember all the turns otherwise. I’ll definitely do that one again. Perhaps I’ll extend it to Lincoln next time.

Really uncomfortably cold for the first hour or so despite wearing my camo hijab, a fleece layer and tights. But I had to take them off and stuff them in my backpack in the afternoon, by which time I was a bit too hot.

I was good and wore a helmet rather than a cap this time, though I did come to regret it a bit. The trouble with a long ride out east when it’s sunny is that you get the sun in your eyes both ways.

I was nearly taken out by a tractor after only 13 miles – he just came straight out of a farm entrance while I was passing. Fortunately I managed to swerve out of the way.

Stopped at a bridge over the A46 on the way back – eerily quiet. The B roads weren’t quite so quiet.

I must say, that was a breeze. Even after 80-odd miles I wasn’t really feeling tired. I assume the fun of exploring a new route combined with the sunshine combined to keep my spirits up and guard against fatigue.

100.71 miles, 462 this month.


Almost Ragdale

I’ve long held the view that you can find pretty much anything you want on Amazon and certainly, that was reinforced when a pack of two peaked cap chinstraps came through the post today. No more worrying about the wind blowing my cap off!

Basically a stretchy cord (actually a closely coiled metal spring) with a plastic crocodile clip at each end, to secure to the cap. Fits nicely, comfortable. A bit blowy today, so quite a timely arrival.

The wind was coming from the east, so I went over that way – the usual Lincolnshire route. Lovely weather – sunny and warm. The headwind wasn’t too much of a bother.

More cars around than of late – I wonder if people are starting to disregard the restrictions.

The original plan was to do about 50, but by the time I’d passed Six Hills I’d decided 40-odd would be enough, and I’d turn round and put my feet up a bit earlier. But I decided to take a right and explore a road signposted to Ragdale for a bit first. I did that until I started to approach Ragdale, down a steep-ish decline. I decided I didn’t want to bother pushing back up so I stopped and came back the same way, after about 23 miles.

Nice run out. The combination of a bit of a tailwind on the way back and a zippy bike was a bit intoxicating so I put my foot down a bit and got some PRs, something I wouldn’t normally bother with. Once again I stopped at my favourite log near Cotes and doped up on a flapjack for the last 12 miles or so. Definitely makes a big difference, the 6-mile uphill climb back along Ashby road didn’t really feel like a slog at all. Of course the aforementioned tailwind and zippy bicycle were also a factor.

Everyone wants to smile or wave at the moment; pedestrians in the villages, joggers, other cyclists. I guess the present difficulties have reinforced a sense of community.

46.47, 361 this month which is (as it happens) exactly my dynamically calculated target for April.

I really fancy trying a long (150 mile +) ride again. But I wouldn’t want to take all my food and drink with me and I can’t really justify going in shops just to sustain a bike trip.


Sunny Twycrosser

Another sunny day. Feels like we’re being spoiled at the moment. A lot cooler though, and it was back on with the tights before I left work early, at about 3:30. Didn’t have that much time so I did a pretty standard Twycrosser. Fairly uneventful, but very pleasant. I wore a cap again. It didn’t actually blow off but I kept thinking it was going to .. I think I might go on Amazon and look for one with a chin strap. Or sew one on myself.

Noticed that the phone box at Ratcliffe is empty at the moment. I assume the dummy that usually lives in there is being re-clothed, perhaps in some sort of topical virus-themed outfit.


28.85, 315 this month.


Lovely day – warm but cooler than Friday, sunny, not much wind. I might have considered doing a long one except that the weather forecast threatened thunder showers at about 5pm (however I’m writing this after 7:30pm, and they haven’t arrived yet).

I planned a route that would take me up north through Castle Donington, past Melbourne and over Swarkestone Bridge, then west along the long, flat road that runs along the Trent, to Willington or perhaps a little further. Nothing new, nothing fancy.

Really a joy to be pedalling along dry roads in warm sunshine. I can’t get used to it!

I passed through Willington and had done about 21 miles, then decided to turn back at the next road junction. I generally look for some sort of landmark as the end point in case I have to recreate the track due to a GPS failure. But when I arrived at a right turn, I decided to take it and explore for a bit. This took me to a village called Etwall where I stopped at a bench for ten minutes, then came back. I had briefly considered continuing on into Derby and fashioning an impromptu route home from there for a bit of an adventure, but I decided against it.

Rather than come back over Swarkestone Bridge I kept on through Weston, Aston and Shardlow, before coming home the time-honoured usual way from the office at Donington.

Really quiet out there again, though I suppose you’d expect that on any Easter Sunday. I stopped on the bridge over the A38 near Willington and didn’t see a single motor vehicle, looking south-east. I thought this was worthy of a photo. However by the time I’d removed and readied the phone, a couple of cars had loomed into view. Rather than wait for the view to clear again, I decided I’d just digitally remove them. And I have.

Decided to wear a cap today rather than a helmet, to keep my eyes shaded. It blew off as I was coming through Weston, but I backtracked and found it again a minute later.

Went out and came back through Coleorton. This involves a few hundred metres of a busy A511, usually following a wait for a gap in the river of fast-moving traffic. But today it was clear and I wasn’t overtaken by a single car or lorry either time.

Saw a really pretty bird along the road to Willington – small, with distinctive white, black and grey plumage. A bit of googling suggests a pied wagtail, “best looked for near water” so that makes sense.


50.16 miles, 286 this month.

Warm Day Twycross Bypasser

Properly warm, sunny weather today. A bit windy. I did pretty much my default route, a Twycross Bypasser. I think I’d have been surprised, a few weeks ago, to know that I’d do a relatively short route on a whole day off work like this after all the rubbish weather. But having done a long one on Wednesday I didn’t really fancy it. Other things to do!

I took the S Works.

Didn’t quite take enough lime-flavoured water; I’d run out by the end of the ride which is rare for me. I did actually dress a bit too warm, in a long-sleeved top. I guess after all the cold weather I’m just not used to the idea of going out in bare arms. Noticed that the bottle cage was a bit loose near Sheepy, but I’d brought an Allen key due to having just made a saddle height adjustment before I set off. Clearly I hadn’t tightened the bolts properly when I fitted a mini-pump mount the other day.

I was actually feeling a bit worn out by the time I completed 27.04 miles. Mostly the heat I think, but partly still not 100% recovered from 84 miles on Wednesday.

1460 done this year now, 720 more than this time last year.