Didn’t think I’d be riding a bike today, but by 2:30pm or so I thought the roads had probably dried up sufficiently from this morning’s downpour.

Set off intending to do about 44, which would leave me less than 700 to do in the remaining two months of the year. The wind was coming from the west as usual so I decided to do the Beloved A Road South Of Derby. However for a change, I went up through Coalville and Belton to Isley Walton rather than going through Coleorton and Melbourne.

Unfortunately although the sun had shone brightly I ran into pelting rain after Isley, but it only lasted 20 minutes. I was happy to see clear skies ahead of me after Swarkestone Bridge, especially as I was pedalling into a headwind. The roads were soaking after that though, but oh well. There’s no point having too many bikes if you’re not prepared to get at least one of them wet and gunky.

I was enjoying myself quite a bit after the rain stopped. Lovely sunset. And it was pretty mild. So I pressed on to Foston not long after stopping to pick up some fuel at a garage. Stopped and ate the cheese sandwich I’d just bought at a farm gate, then turned back.

I’ve developed a habit of eating boiled sweets on bike rides – I allow myself one every 12 miles – however I’d forgotten to bring some with me, so I bought some cherry drops at the garage as well. Lovely.

As I munched my sandwich, I noticed a formation of ducks, in the usual V shape, flying to the south. But one of the ducks – the lead one I think, not sure – broke away from the rest and turned to the north on its own. It flee right over me, on its own. Not long after this, near Willington I noticed two massive formations of ducks, heading north this time, there must have been more than 100 of them.

Dark by the time I’d got back over Swosser Bridge. Had to clean up the bike when I got back, but really a very satisfying run out. 48.71 miles. 377 this month and that’s a wrap for October. 4317 done this year.

So I’ll aim for 342 in each of the remaining two months. The weather will be worse in December no doubt, but I have more days off work that month.


A dry day again, unseasonally mild. But a strong wind, coming from the south. I thought I’d do the southbound route for 20 miles, then come back. I was determined to do 40 this time.

The headwind was a bastard, but as I always say – I choose to do these things, not because they are easy. But because I’m hard.

After Stoney Stanton, instead of going straight over at the road junction to Broughton Astley, I thought I’d go left instead and explore for a bit. I only had another mile or so to do before turning back.  However shortly afterwards I saw a left turn to Croft, so I took that. I thought it would be fun to try and navigate my way back from unfamiliar territory. Nothing stirs the blood quite like being lost 20-odd miles from home when it’s getting dark.

Not long after this though, I saw a sign to Potters Marston so I was soon back on track. I assumed my little adventure would add a bit to the overall distance, but in fact it was a shorter route back to Potters than if I’d just done a U turn on 20 miles.

Inexplicably I missed the Kirkby Lane turn on the way back – well I suppose it’s easy to get disoriented in the dark, and somehow this also turned out to be a short cut, through Newbold Verdon.

Back on 40.31 miles, but I had to faff around a bit up Heather Lane at the end to get it up over 40.

Noticed an interesting wrinkle with my Garmin watch – I forgot to resume the track after a stop at a farm gate. But when I resumed the track I assumed the displayed ride distance would include the distance between the two points when I stopped, and started the watch. But it didn’t. I only became aware of this because I was on the Tricross, which is now my only bike with a magnet-driven bike computer. After resuming the track there was a large discrepancy between it and the watch. And when I uploaded the track to Strava, the stopped distance didn’t get included either – until I used the “correct distance” function which noticed the anomaly and fixed it.

I wrapped up in several layers thinking that the temperature would drop after sunset, but it didn’t seem to and I was slightly over-warm for the whole ride.

I’d run out of cheese pasties and pork pies to use as cycling fuel so I made some sandwiches to take in a backpack. It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention, and while I can’t claim to have invented the egg & tomato sandwich, it was a very welcome innovation to my cycling habit. Will do that again for sure.

All in all a very satisfying run out. I especially enjoyed the tailwind on the way back.

329 miles this month. I’d love to get in another 40 or 50 but the weather looks iffy for the rest of the month.

Augmented Twycrosser

I wanted to do about 40 after work. If I can get the yearly tally up to 4300 that would give me a strong chance of reaching 5000 before the end of the year. As of this morning, it stood at 4191. I wanted to do a Twycrosser really, so to ensure a reasonable ride distance i took an excursion up north first – through Coalville and up to Belton then back down Top Brand. Similar to what I might do if I were on call, although I’m not.

I must admit, as I came back within a few miles of home back through Coleorton, I was sorely tempted to call it a day on about 15 miles and just come back to a warm bath, a Tesco ready meal and a beer. I sometimes call this phenomenon the Cycling Inverse Square Law; the principle that the force of attraction exerted on the cyclist by their home is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from it. However I think there may be something Pavlovian about it as well. I’m accustomed to feeling a bit weary and looking forward to finishing a ride when coming south through Coleorton, therefore doing so always puts me in that frame of mind.

Needless to say I manfully fought off my urge to throw in the towel and took the main road west to Ashby. I wouldn’t normally but it’s better surfaced and not as hilly as the old Ashby road that runs south of it. I regretted my decision though as it was rather busy. But I did seem to get a second wind, and my spirits lifted a bit.

Down through Packington, down to Sheepy, back through Bilstone, Shackerstone, Heather. A fairly run-of-the-mill Twycrosser after Packington.

Back on 37.17 miles, that’ll have to do.

I trialled a new head torch. AAA-powered head torches aren’t usually as powerful as rechargeables – however, this one takes three AAAs rather than the usual two. It was fine for most of the ride but left something to be desired on the dark, fast downhill stretches behind Heather. It’s a no from me.

Twycrosser, Sibson Version

Another cold (albeit in another month or so I would probably describe today’s weather as “mild”), dry day. Windy though. Didn’t want to do too many as I’m off to a gig later but I thought 25 or so would be about right.

Set off on a Twycrosser with no particular version in mind. I took the road between Sheepy and Sibson, and the road between Congerstone and Barton in the Beans. Hadn’t done either for a while. Encountered a lot of mud on the road just north of Barton. Nice that they deployed MUD IN ROAD signs, but clearing it up would have been even better.

26.67, that’ll do nicely. 251 this month, hope to get another 120 in if I can before November.

Out West

A lovely dry, sunny day. Not too windy. But cold. Not freezing, but certainly the first cycling day since March (or possibly April) that I could justifiably describe as cold. I left work early, determined to do 50. Since an 8mph wind was blowing from the west, I decided to make use of my beloved Flat A Road South of Derby, that runs through Willington and Hilton.

So I did that.

I didn’t take the left turn through Hatton as I usually would; I just kept going and unfortunately I ran out of road after just more than 23 miles.. I literally found myself pedalling along a road that was still being built, and came up against a barrier across the whole road. So I turned for home. I could have added a few miles with an excursion off-piste on the way back, but in the end I settled for 46.22 miles.

I’d wrapped up warm enough. Really enjoyed cycling in the dark again, on the way back. Very atmospheric with a full moon right in front of me, through wispy clouds.

I was slightly annoyed that my front light gave the low battery warning only a few minutes after I switched it on, and it switched itself off with about 7 miles to go. Very nasty if I’d been coming down a steep hill in pitch darkness, but I wasn’t. Fortunately I’d brought a head torch as a spare.

Big accident at a road junction on the way back; an articulated lorry had collided with a small van. Police vehicles were in attendance and they’d closed off the junction but I asked one of the coppers if I could turn left anyway and he was fine about it. The road surface was clear, no broken glass. I must say police officers are a lot more pleasant these days than the Hartlepool Constabulary were when I was a kid; they often seemed arrogant and bullying; throwing their weight around at every opportunity.

I listened to 5 Live Drive, then a programme for Black History Month, all about what we have to do to make sure black people are better represented in competitive cycling. Some female athlete was interviewed about it; she’d tried cycling before competing in as a sprinter. But she didn’t like cycling because there weren’t enough people who looked like her.

I must admit I did think that if being around other people who looked like her was that important, she might think of emigrating to Jamaica. And if black people aren’t taking part in certain sports because black people don’t take part in them, that’s a text-book self-perpetuating problem. Not really anybody else’s fault.

At one point the presenter (Elly Oldroyd ) did the maths for the representation of black people in cycling events vs the proportion of black people in the population. It just doesn’t add up! She complained.

Which left me wondering whether the BBC intends to run a piece on encouraging white kids to take up track & field sports. I haven’t done the maths but I doubt that adds up, either.

The BBC really needs a good sort out, it’s in the grip of some sort of identity politics left-wing psychosis at the moment.

Twycross Bypasser

I’m on call today, I had to work at 05:30 this morning and I have to work this afternoon so I thought that about 30 miles, yet again, might be a suitable distance.

I did a Twycross Bypasser, same route as Monday except that I went a little further toward Ashby before descending through Packington.

Cooler today, but dry. The sun came out later on, quite nice out there really. Uneventful except that I was gestured to slow down by a lady standing by the roadside in a hi-vis jacket on the back road behind Heather. A little further round the bend, a recovery vehicle was attending to a car that had suffered a smash, and part of the road was coned off.

31.08, 178 this month. 4118 done this year, perhaps 5000 is doable.


Not able to leave work quite so early today, but I wanted to do 30 or so again. Set off at about 4:30pm. The intention was to do the same route as Monday, however as I approached the turn for Norton Juxta Twycross I decided to shorten my ride a bit so I pushed straight on toward Twycross. After Twycross though I changed my mind again and decided to do 30 or so after all, so I pressed on right down through Sheepy and left to Ratcliffe Culey.

I took Bosworth Road, then left past the marina to Carlton. I had to take a detour at Barton onto the A447 due to the usual road up through the villages being closed. Not thrilled about doing that one in the dark, but at least I had a nice bright rear light.

I used the Tricross, partly because I hadn’t been out on it since June and partly because, well, it’s winter bike time again. Despite requiring a touch more effort it’s very pleasing to ride, somehow. Something comforting about the sturdiness.

29.88 miles.

Eastwell and Hose

No cycling for over a week, mostly because I’ve been in Hartlepool. But I’m back now and today looked an ideal day for the October Fondo – warmish, dry, light winds. I decided to do Eastwell and back; not by default, but because I’d noticed some interesting scenery in the distance from Clawson Lane last time, and wanted to have another look. I didn’t fancy hauling a pair of binoculars over 60-odd miles but I did take my Soviet Army surplus monocular with me. It was a Christmas gift from my mum in the mid ’90s.

Stopped at the garage at Burton on the Wolds on the way east to get some food, since the fridge was nearly empty and I’d only brought an oat bar with me.

Had a good look when I got to Clawson Lane at the mystery installation, quite some distance to the north. Looks like a power station or large industrial concern of some sort. I made a careful note of the position and the approximate angle from my direction of travel (I hadn’t brought a compass) and I will nerd out over a map later. I removed my tights shortly afterwards, as I was getting warm. Bare legs on October 9th – I think that may be a personal record.

Lots of other cyclists out in large groups today.

Got to the crossroads at Eastwell and was about to do a U turn, when I decided to take a left to Harby, and come back west a different way. After all – today was probably the last warmish weather Fondo opportunity of the year, and I felt I owed myself a bit of an adventure. This alternative way back runs roughly parallel to the usual route. I hadn’t done it for years. It also involves a long, steep descent which is a lot of fun. In fact, I didn’t quite come the same way I’ve done in the past so some of the ride was brand new; on the whole a bit less enjoyable in itself than the usual way back through Six Hills, but nice to do something different. I rejoined familiar territory at Wymeswold, where I took this pic.

Got through a couple more chapters of the Reacher audiobook, then Gilles Peterson on 6 Music. Gilles can be hit and miss but he played a blinder this week.

I did have a hint of the right knee pain that I had last time I operated a bicycle, but it was much diminished and seemed to wear off a bit after 30 miles.

Good run out, 63.05 miles and that’s 4027 this year. I’ve also done 24 Fondos in 2021 now, which was my target (based on an average of 2 per month). But I’ll still aim to do at least one in each of the remaining two months, of course.

Sub-Twycrosser with Knee Aggravation

The weather is a little forbidding this weekend so I took advantage of a dry, sunny afternoon yesterday to do a Twycrosser. I’d intended to do 30, but I suffered right knee pain throughout the ride so I shortened the ride a bit by taking the road from Little Twycross to Congerstone. Nice road that, I’d do it more often but navigationally speaking it’s not much use except as a short cut.

I have no idea why my right knee was complaining. No long rides recently, no strenuous hill climbing, no other activities I could relate it to. It seems non-deterministic. Maybe because I haven’t cycled quite so much in the last week or two?

A long time ago, one of my physios told me that if my knee felt like someone had kicked it, to take it easy but ride through it. But if it felt like someone had stabbed it, to rest it for a bit. This was definitely the kicky sort of pain so I counter-extended the ride slightly by taking the long way through Newton Burgoland over the last few miles.

I’ll be interested to see how the knee does next time I’m on a bike, but it feels OK today just walking around and climbing stairs.

24.05 miles.