I was going to do at least the regulation 62.14 miles to achieve Fondo status for my ride today, but thought I’d probably do more. I’ve devised a new route to get over to Norfolk, should I do that again some time – and I think I probably will – and I wanted to try part of that out. The new route is largely north of the old Norfolk route. Rather than going through Melton Mowbray, it takes the usual route out east nearly as far as Eastwell – then takes a 90 degree right turn before curving eastward and into Lincolnshire.

This has the advantage firstly that the first 31 miles are very familiar to me, from many rides out to Eastwell or Belvoir Castle – and secondly that it’s a bit less hilly.

So that’s what I did. I wore light clothing, because this afternoon was slated to be warm. Shorts, and a short-sleeved jersey over a long-sleeved top. And unfortunately I got punished for this. I set off at 08:35 when it was pretty overcast and cold, and I was still shuddering in the oncoming cool breeze two hours later. It wasn’t until midday when the sun came out that I started to feel comfortably warm. An hour or so later I had to stop to stuff the long-sleved top in my backpack.

The new stretch of route is really nice – much better than going through Melton. I used the eTrex for the part of the route after Eastwell.  I will definitely do this one again. Because my spirits picked up nicely riding along the various scenic roads and through pleasant villages in the sunshine, I decided to make a 100-miler of it. I stopped eventually at a place called Grimsthorpe, then turned and came back exactly the way I’d come. Another five miles and I’d have been onto the flat bit of Lincolnshire, east of Bourne. Perhaps I should have got up a few hours earlier and gone to the Norfolk border again.

Nice that my route took me right past a TV transmitter that’s visible from the road near Eastwell in the distance. Turns out it’s the Waltham Transmitter, which broadcasts Freeview to 700,000+ homes in the East Midlands (I’ve just read). No doubt including this one.

I listened to 5 Live until they threatened to broadcast a piece on Stop and Search on the execrable Nihal Arthanayake’s show, and I was just in too good a mood to be brought down by one-sided race-baiting drivel. So I started my next audiobook, Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds.

I read a brilliant double novella by Reynolds in the noughties called Diamond Dogs / Turquoise Days – unbelievably stylish, imaginative and clever science-fiction. And I’m sorry to say that Pushing Ice seems a bit pedestrian, but I quite liked it. I’ll stick with it.

The shop at Sproxton where I’d intended to stop for food and drink on the way back was closed when I tried the door, despite a conspicuous SHOP OPEN sign deployed on the pavement outside. I was nearly out of fluid but not suffering. I made it to Burton in the Wolds, where I bought a very welcome, very cold bottle of fizzy Lucozade, a sausage roll and a Raspberry Crumble bar. Lovely.

After the initial brutality of the cold morning wind, a super ride out with some thoroughly pleasant new places and roads. Back on 104.23 miles. That was my third 100 miler of the year. I think my target was to do five this year.

Quite surprised that I’ve got a Strava personal record on a long stretch of a route that I’ve done many times, from Cotes to Eastwell – despite a headwind.


Didn’t feel a need to go too far today while on call, and I had other plans for the afternoon anyway. Set off at about 10:30, thinking of doing 35 miles or so again. Quite surprised to find that a few spots of rain were descending as I extracted the Cannondale from the garage, but I expected that they’d dry up before long. In fact, twenty minutes later I was riding through a persistent soft rain. But another half hour later things had brightened and warmed up considerably, and my clothes and the bike dried off nicely.

I did a Twycross Bypasser, extended to the west by an excursion to Polesworth from the Orton detour. I’d actually intended to turn left short of Polesworth along Kisses Barn Lane, but I missed that turn.

Back up through Shenton and Bosworth. Every time I take Shenton Lane I wonder why I don’t do it more often, and make a mental note to do so. Beautifully quiet along there. Took this pic there.

Listened to the rest of the Reacher audiobook, Echo Burning, to its conclusion. Seems a little bit contrived, the way Jack ultimately determines the exact sequence of events, Sherlock Holmes-style. But it’s a pretty good book, one of the best of the first five. Unfortunately although there’s an audiobook version of the next one, Without Fail, for some reason it’s not available as a cheap add-on with a Kindle version purchase. Perhaps I’ll try something a bit more highbrow for a bit, anyway.

Lots of little flies around at the moment, presumably because we’ve had a wet May. And as I was coming round the fast downhill bend north of Bosworth, head down, what must have been a fairly large one collided with my right eye like an air rifle pellet. Not really what I wanted on one of those rare moments when I have concentrate carefully on a bike ride. But I survived. Thoroughly pleasant run out.

Back on 36.08 miles, 440 this month. Quick shower when I got in then spent a very nice hour or two in a sunny restaurant garden in Melbourne quaffing cocktails, so it’s been a rather nice day.

Melbourne and Ticknall Again

Beautiful weather this afternoon. Actually warm! Not too windy. And sunny. I had withdrawn a bicycle from the garage by 4pm.

No clear intention other than to do about 35 miles, which would take me over 400 for May. On call though, so I couldn’t go too far. I went north-east up to Long Whatton, west via a rather wayward route to Melbourne, then south-west to Ticknall. I detoured through Hartshorne again like I did on Saturday. Nice to have a viable way of coming home through Ticknall that avoids Bastard Hill.

Came home through Ashby, slightly more directly than last time. Lots of people out on the street, and a queue outside one of the pubs there, the White Hart.

Hadn’t stopped off at the bench near Ticknall for a long time, so I snapped a pic there. It’s clearly in need of a lick of varnish.

Listened mostly to Matt Hancock’s press conference. I don’t want to dwell on Dominic’s little vendetta really, because outside the often fictional world of opposition politics it’s a non-story, but clearly the journos in attendance today didn’t think so. I’ll just record here that Matt handled the questions put to him with great dignity and integrity, and indeed with commendable clarity to be fair.

The BBC is using the anniversary of the death of George Floyd, whom their presenters speak of in hushed, reverent tones now, as though he was Black America’s answer to the Dalai Lama, to have another broadcast race politics festival. This evening 5 Live invited a number of contributors to give their view on how History, as a school subject, might be adjusted to better serve the agenda of the perpetual victim culture addicts and race propagandists. No opposing view was permitted, no kind of critical questioning of this took place.

Anyway, fuck the BBC. I’m not paying for that garbage any more. Back on 36.77 miles, which takes me to 404 this month.


A warm-ish, sunny afternoon but a bit windy. Left work early and did a pretty run-of-the-mill Twycrosser on the Cannondale. Nice apart from the wind which was a bit of a struggle with it in my face coming north of Bosworth.

Had to be back early so only 28.74 miles.

368 this month.

Rainy and Random

Today was supposed mainly to be dry, which is a bit rare this month. I’m still on call, but half hoped to do a Fondo.

Not long after I’d set off though, I’d decided that I wasn’t going to do one. It was spotting with rain, overcast, cold and a bit windy. Not really a Fondo day. And when the rain started to come down fast about 40 minutes later, I’d pretty much decided to keep it to 30 or 40 miles.

I started by heading up north-east through Coalville and Belton, up to Long Whatton then west to Breedon. Then back up near Melbourne and across to Ticknall, before coming back down South. I decided to see if I could avoid Bastard Hill by taking a detour to Hartshorne. I did that and found myself coming through Woodville and Boundary; not often I’m over that way.

I took a right turn at Boundary to explore a bit, through Blackfordby and Shellbrook. At Blackfordby I had a call from our Global Operations Centre and I thought I was going to have to come straight home, but fortunately, over a few MS Team interactions over the next few miles, I was able to establish that my immediate intervention was not necessary. Even better, by this time the sun had come out and conditions had started to warm up considerably  – so I decided to stay out and dry myself and the bike off. I turned right at Packington to add on a Twycrosser.

Annoyingly though the dark clouds came over again, not far from Twycross. Conditions grew very gloomy indeed and the rain came down once more, pretty heavily this time. So from Twycross I came back the most direct way. yet again though conditions brightened and the rain stopped by the time I reached Heather. By this time I’d done nearly 50 miles so I decided to do at least another 12, to clock up a Fondo. I did a bit of the “southbound route”.

Of course it started raining again about 5 miles from home, and I had to dry the bike off back at the garage.

Back on 64.27 miles.

Very variable and random ride that one, alternating between being quite pleasant in the sun and abject misery in damp clothes in the cold wind, with my cycling glasses pebbled with rain. But I’m pleased to have got a second Fondo in this month; that’s 10 this year.

Listened mostly to 5 Live and the Reacher audiobook, which is nearing its conclusion.

Disappointed that Bournemouth, managed by fellow Teesside lad Jonathan Woodgate, lost to Brentford in the Championship play-offs. Got the impression that they’d been robbed by poor officiating on the part of a referee out of his depth.

Toward Willington

Like yesterday, a downpour of rain in the early afternoon gave way to sunny skies. A bit windier today, but warmer as well. Very nice out there by the time I withdrew Boardman II from the garage. I wouldn’t usually do consecutive days, but I only did 20-odd yesterday and the weather looks iffy right into the weekend.

At lunchtime, I had decided to replace the slightly rusty stem bolts with some nice shiny corrosion-resistant titanium ones. I’d taken the steerer tube bolts out before I realised that I’d mislaid my torque wrench. Couldn’t find it anywhere! So I just tightened the new ones by hand, and left the old face plate bolts in for now.

On call at the moment so I couldn’t go far. I didn’t really fancy a Twycrosser again so soon, so I did something a bit different. I went up through Coalville and Belton, up over Swarkestone Bridge and west along my beloved flat A road for a couple of miles. Then I turned back – the tailwind was very pleasant after I performed the U turn – and came back down through Ticknall and Ashby.

Some beautiful views out there. After a long climb going up toward Ticknall from Melbourne, I stopped to take a pic of the view to the east. But as I removed my phone from my pocket, I saw that the view down the hill I’d come up, toward Derby about ten miles away, was even better. So I snapped a pic of that.

I don’t think my phone did the view justice, unfortunately. One sunny day I’ll take an SLR with me up there, in a backpack.

Extended my ride a bit by taking a detour through Packington and Ibstock, which apart from adding a few miles to the May tally, got me out of climbing Alton Hill. Having already suffered Bastard Hill south of Ticknall, I felt that I deserved that.

Back well before sunset, and a really enjoyable run out. 40.81 miles.

Matt Hancock’s press briefing started just after I set off, so I listened on 5 Live. I was quite amused that one of the journos asked a question about “pregnant people”. Jenny Harries did not indulge her, and referred consistently to “women” in her reply. And I’d have to say that if you identify as a man and you get pregnant, you probably haven’t quite got the hang of the male lifestyle.

I’ll have a better look for my torque wrench in the garage tomorrow.

Short Twycrosser

The forecast was for persistent showers all afternoon. The rain did come down quite heavily for 20 minutes at about 1pm, but by the time I stopped working for the day about three hours later, the rainfall radar suggested that it wouldn’t rain again today. The almost-warm sunshine and mild breeze had dried the roads off quite nicely bar a few puddles, so I went out for 20 miles or so. Had to be back by 6:30pm.

I did a shortish Twycrosser, omitting Sheepy Magna by taking a short cut down the A444 and coming back along Gibbet Lane, where I took the pic.

Back on 20.31 miles, briefer than I’d have preferred but a nice run out. 234 this month.


Rain in the forecast today, but not until the early afternoon. I got up a bit earlier than I otherwise would have, and set off at about 09:50. I’ve brought Boardman II back from my mum’s place now, so I took that.

I did a Twycrosser, with an extension down the “Dad’s Army” route in the direction of Tamworth, this time staying on the B5000 rather than taking the Spon Lane turn. I like that stretch of road. It’s not easy to incorporate it into a route though, so I typically just cruise along it for a couple of miles, then turn back. This time I got as far as Polesworth where I stopped at a bench for a bit before I turned back.

From Pinwall I continued the Twycrosser, choosing the Atterton Lane variant – I thought the road might be flooded near the river, but it wasn’t.

Stopped again along Fenn Lanes near the entrance to a farm that’s a few metres off the road and secluded. Lo and behold – another pair of discarded knickers. That’s three rides in a row! A hat trick! These ones had clearly been there quite some time though, they were faded and a bit rotten.

I did get rained on a couple of times, but the roads were perfectly dry near home when I got back. Hadn’t rained here at all and actually it still hasn’t which makes me think I should really have done a Fondo, except of course that it may well have pissed down with rain a mile from here. NW Leics is very micro-climate-ish. On the way up from Bosworth I could see rain in the distance to the north-west, maybe five or six miles away.

My rechargeable DAB has seen better days and it gave up after only 2.5 hours or so, from a full charge. I switched to the Reacher audiobook. I’d been listening to Jazz FM, some really good stuff again.

I wore the wrong gloves with my GPS watch. These particular gloves have long and slightly stiff cuffs and they sometimes catch the buttons on the watch, putting it into pause mode. Consequently there are a couple of perfectly straight lines on the track it recorded. But I’ve done the maths with the help of Google Maps, for the spreadsheet.

42.70 miles, which takes me to 214 this month and 1605 this year. This time last year I’d done 2283, but I’m not bothered about that. 4,000 miles will do this year.

Just noticed from last year’s spreadsheet that I did a 113 mile ride a year ago today; my most recent Bingley Hall pilgrimage. Troubling to think that that’s a year ago already.


I’d planned to do a Fondo or even a 100 miler today, but I softened and decided to take ‘er indoors out for lunch somewhere – since we were supposed to be on holiday in Wales today, before the virus intervened.

However this morning my other half decided she’d like to go out a bit later in the day instead, at 4pm. Bit annoying as if I’d known we were going to do this I’d have gone out earlier and done a Fondo. As it was, I left the garage on the Tricross at about 11:45, determined to do about 35. A Twycrosser seemed the obvious option. I did that down to Pinwall then did a bit of the “Dad’s Army” route, then back up via Norton and Orton.

Stopped at a bench at Snarestone for a mini pork pie on the way back.

The weather was a bit cold and overcast early on but brightened (and warmed) up a bit later.

Oh yes, nearly forgot – another roadside knickers sighting, on the road to Twycross. Pink, very skimpy. That’s two rides in a row with underwear sightings, after a long drought. Perhaps an indication of society opening up a bit following the lockdown.

35.34 which takes me to 171 this month. Not great for the mid-point of May, really. The weather looks rubbish for the next week, as well.

Reverse Twycross Bypasser

Lovely day out there again, but a bit windy. I’m on call but I thought I’d do 30 or 40. The wind was blowing roughly from the south, so I thought I’d head down the southbound route for a bit then see where my mood took me. I did that as far as Kirkby Mallory, then took the road to Sutton Cheney from there. From Sutton I did what amounted to a Reverse Twycross Bypasser.

I was a bit too warm later on. Should have taken a backpack to stuff layers of clothing into.

Listened to 6 Music until Cerys played a tune all about how white people had made everyone’s lives worse which of course annoyed me, but that turned out to be quite fortuitous because I retuned to Jazz FM and Tony Minvielle’s show – and he played some really good stuff, including a banging Minnie Riperton tune I hadn’t heard before. Why it’s still called Jazz FM though I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s considered catchier than Jazz DAB or Smart Speaker.

Then I made a couple of hours’ progress on the Reacher audiobook. Interesting twist in the plot, about half-way through. Then Villa vs United on 5 Live.

Spotted a pair of discarded knickers along Fenn Lanes, haven’t seen that for quite a while. Black and lacy. Half buried in the roadside earth so they must have been there for quite some time.

So nice to have this sort of weather on a Sunday afternoon. Back on 40.24 miles, that’s 135 this month.