Really a rather nice day for cycling, dry and sunny with a moderate wind coming from the west. The wind was supposed to pick up in the afternoon.

I planned something a bit different. The idea was to go up through Coleorton, Melbourne, up over Swarkestone Bridge and west along the Beloved A Road as usual, but to come back a different way – down through Tutbury, then through Burton on Trent, which I’ve never done on a bike before. Then to Ashby, and back the usual way from there.

The route looked pretty simple, so I didn’t bother committing it to the eTrex or a GPX app. I should have done though, because I took a wrong turn out of Tutbury which took me some way out of my way. Quite hilly round there, fun to be exploring new territory though. I managed to navigate my way to Burton without difficulty with the aid of Google Maps, but I came a different way through the town than I’d intended. Slightly scary – dual carriageways and multi-lane roundabouts aplenty. But a lovely view coming over the river.

I followed directions to Moira, from where I knew I’d find Ashby easily enough.

The wind didn’t really seem to pick up in the afternoon. I didn’t notice the tailwind at all.

Listened to the Australian Open singles final on 5 Live – absolute classic, although I didn’t catch all of it. I also listened to a fascinating programme on 6 Music in which Tom Ravenscroft and Damon Albarn looked through some of Tom’s dad’s massive record collection (Tom’s dad being John Peel of course). Tuned back to 5 Live in time to hear Medvedev giving what was a pretty gracious and good-humoured runner’s up speech in the circumstances. He was two sets up to love, but he lost.

Really a fun run out despite the hills and the conspicuously urban content through Burton. Still hoping to try the route I intended soon.

Back on 45.36 miles, which takes this month’s total to 416. Seems a lot for a January, not quite sure how that happened. I suppose the weather must have been kinder than usual.


Figure-of-Eight Twycrosser

Really very cold; a couple of degrees above freezing. I wrapped up extremely warm, with three layers on my legs and five on top, not counting the chest pack. Left work at about 3:30pm so I’d get an hour or so of daylight cycling in before sunset.

I prefer my Garmin Instinct watch for night riding, because it illuminates with a flick of the wrist. But I wanted to make sure that a firmware upgrade had fixed the Xoss as expected, so I used that. And it worked very nicely.

I wanted to do about 33 and I decided on a Twycrosser. It was dark by the time I’d reached Pinwall and for some reason I took a right, instead of a left to Ratcliffe Culey. So I ended up doing a sort of odd figure-of-eight route, coming back along the Bypasser roads (backwards). A bit disorienting and I didn’t quite know where I was for a while, but of course that just adds to the fun when it’s dark. Really properly dark down there as well, but I took the Energizer [sic] front light and that did a spectacular job even on the lower brightness setting to prolong the juice.

Saw a helicopter in the field along Gallows Lane again, with its motor running. Stopped to watch it take off about 120 metres away. It went south-east.

I’ve replaced the England flag hat with a Union Jack one which much better represents my identity. It looks very fetching actually so since I didn’t take any pics while I was out I posed for a portrait on my return. I must say I was very snug, actually warm apart from my fingers and toes.

Back on 32.80 miles, very close to my intended distance. And that’s 340 done this month. But it looks like rain at the weekend.


The Lost Deli

Nice day. Sunny, mild, very low probability of rain. Light to moderate wind from the west. Seemed an ideal day for another Fondo. I didn’t really fancy one of the westbound routes so I thought I’d go down Fosse Way – essentially the southbound route as far as Stoney Stanton, with a different turn from the crossroads there, down the aforementioned Roman road. This was a route that I discovered a couple of years ago but I’ve only done it two or three times, and not since the summer of 2020. It does have a very pleasing long, quiet but well-surfaced stretch with gently undulating hills.

I noticed that my Xoss bike computer wasn’t working, shortly after setting off. I’d only done a couple of hundred metres. I couldn’t get it to work. I think the GPS circuit is dead. Usually it picks up the satellites very quickly but today, nothing. So I tracked back to the house and got one of the Garmin ones.

The trouble with my two Garmin bike computers is that they both give up the ghost after 50 miles or so. I think their internal batteries are past their best. I do have a number of GPS watches capable of tracking much longer rides but I like the convenience of having the display on the handlebar.

Anyway – very nice to go down Fosse Way again. I followed it as far as Brinklow, where I found the Lost Deli. The what? Well – I’ve long held a fond memory of stopping at a superb Deli with a bench outside on a ride, but I’ve never been able to remember where it was. Happy to see it again today, though I didn’t stop there on this ride. I went in the Co-op at Stoney instead. As I was about to pay for a sandwich, a small bottle of juice and two egg custards, the lady behind the counter told me that if I went and got a Crunchie as well, I’d get the lot for 75p cheaper than I was about to pay. So I did. Handy.

From Brinklow I went exploring a bit – I only had a couple more miles to do for the requisite half Fondo distance and I went and found a village called Easenhall. Nice to do a bit of new territory.

Turned back, unsure whether I’d remember all the turns and I wasn’t using a GPX app or the eTrex. But I did as far as High Cross, where I took a wrong turn. But I realised I’d done this a mile or two later and got back on track with the aid of Google Maps.

I saved the Crunchie for the last 15 miles.

Sadly, I lost my woolly hat. I’m not sure how exactly. Must have left it outside the shop at Stoney when I went in. It was the red one, with an England flag on. Not really my sort of thing, I bought it in Hartlepool as a stopgap because it was cheap and I didn’t have one with me. But I was wearing a tubular neck scarf so I pulled that up over my head in Hijab mode and that worked nicely. I must have looked like an old woman with a headscarf on.

Oh well! Back on 65.08 miles. I haven’t done two January Fondos before. 307 done this month, which I think is a January record.

Had to record the last 15 miles on my watch and concatenate the tracks, the bike computer conked out after 51 miles.



Colder today, but dry for a change. No moisture on the roads at all. And sunny. So I left work early and took the X out. Didn’t want to go far, but didn’t want to do a Twycrosser or Bypasser, just not in that mood.

I went up through Belton to Isley Walton, thinking of going west to Melbourne then up over Swarkestone Bridge. But when I got to Melbs I decided to sort of follow my nose and see where it took me The Derbyshire village with a well-known Australian namesake has a confusing road system and I never know quite where I’ll end up when I take a random road out. I found myself approaching Wilson. Came back down through Breedon and Lount.

Took the following pic at 4:51pm, 23 minutes after sunset. Nice to have a bit of daylight left at that time. In Cornwall though, the sun would still have been up. In Hartlepool it would have been dark.

Yesterday on a Retail Therapy Whim I bought an Energizer [sic] LED torch at Tesco for £12. It makes a brilliant (literally hehe) front light. You can’t focus the front beam, it’s fixed – but it’s very bright. It’s robust, well made, and lightweight. Superb. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s rechargeable, but you can’t take the battery out so no taking a spare with you. Apart from that, one of the best torches I’ve ever had.

Super view of Orion out there, although I only noticed it as I was opening the garage door to put the bike away.

Back on 23.20 miles, felt like more than that but oh well .. very nice run out. 242 this month which is only 2 miles less than Jan 2021. But I’m not competing with last year.



Seemed like a nice enough day, although the roads were wet. Sunny, not too cold. Had a Sunday dinner booked at a hostelry near Shepshed in the afternoon but I set off at about 10:20 hoping to do about 30 or so.

I didn’t really fancy another Twycrosser or Bypasser. I thought I’d go up to Long Whatton then loop westward and come back down Top Brand. However – when I got to Long Whatton I realised I wasn’t too far from the Nottinghamshire border, so I thought I’d head that way and tick off another neighbouring county box for 2022. Over the A6 and through Normanton on Soar, the usual eastbound route. But I turned for Hoton and Wymeswold to reunite myself with the Lost Road, then I came home along the traditional way from there, through Rempstone. That particular route east of Zouch has fallen into disuse now, but it made a pleasant change today.

Unfortunately conditions started to go a bit gloomy as I re-entered Leicestershire. Then a light drizzle. Then rain. But it stopped for the last half hour.

Listened to Cerys Matthews for a bit – she did play some belters, I must say – then the last few chapters of Colonel Sun. About 48 years since the last time I read it. Really very good. In some respects it hasn’t aged well – in the chauvinism and the ethnic slurs especially. But in its day I think Fleming would have been proud of it. It has a really disturbing torture scene, and the eponymous Colonel Sun Liang-tan must be one of the most sinister villians in any 007 story.

Back on 36.80 miles, an enjoyable outing.


Twycross Bypasser

Pretty good conditions for cycling today really, other than the temperature. Sunny, low winds, dry. The roads were a bit wet but not annoyingly so. I left work earlyish, to take advantage of the 26 minutes of afternoon daylight we’ve gained over the last few weeks. Did a Twycross Bypasser, coming back through Sibson, which I haven’t done for a while, then along Gibbet Lane.

It was 5pm as I pedalled along the long, quiet, tree-lined lane between Sheepy and Sibson. So very atmospheric in the last of the daylight.

I actually took this photo after sunset. My phone has managed to conjure up a sort of synthetic sunny day scene. Odd.

Nice views of Ursa Major and Orion after darkness had fallen. Listened partly to 5 Live, on a day the news has taken a turn for the surreal. I’m sorry to say the BBC are playing their listeners like a cheap violin, in my humble opinion of course. But mostly I listened to a few more chapters of Colonel Sun. Still very good.

Back on 30.50 miles.


Four rides already in 2022, and 182 miles done.


I was only going to do about 30 today, but the weather was sunny and mild. A light / moderate wind was coming from the west and I thought I’d cross off another two of the neighbouring counties by going up through Melbourne (into Derbyshire) then west along the Beloved A Road, followed by a dip south into Tutbury (and into Staffordshire). I did that, but looped up long Top Brand first before looping back down through Breedon. Not sure why, really. Just not concentrating probably.

There is in any case a much quicker way to get into Staffordshire from Chez Moi (to No Man’s Heath and back) but I fancied a run along the A road.

I came back the usual way through Melbourne and Coleorton which meant that I had to face Rotter’s Rise, but I had doped myself with a Double Decker 2 miles earlier.

Listened to the FA Cup on 5 Live. I suppose Morecambe holding onto their lead against Tottenham was too much to hope for.

Sunny for the first couple of hours, cloudy later. Back half an hour after sunset with a bit of daylight clinging on. 52.05 miles.


Cold Twycross Bypasser

Definitely not a mild day today. But sunny, and not too windy. I left work early (attentive readers will have noticed that I do this a lot) to do a Twycross Bypasser. I did the version that goes through Warton, so I could tick off another neighbouring county box for 2022 (Warwickshire, of course – one of the easy ones).

A pretty sunset gave way to a starry night, with a thin crescent moon. I admit that I have digitally enhanced the photo above, taken by the light of a head torch, because the moon looked a bit shaky in the original image. Lovely view of Orion, part-submerged behind the horizon to the east. Could make out Pleiades as well.

Really cold after the sun went down. My fingertips were yelping. I wore new thermal socks though and I do think they helped a bit.

Back on 33.81 miles, which means 100 this month already.


January Fondo

Back to work tomorrow but today promised to be mild and dry, with a moderately strong wind coming from the south-west. Decent enough weather, I thought, for the January Fondo. I’d thought of going west along the Beloved Flat A Road, but shortly before I set off, I decided on Welford and back, down the southbound route. I like to ride to all of Leicestershire’s neighbouring counties at least once every year and this would allow me to tick the Northamptonshire box.

I set off at about 10:00, a bit later than I wanted but early enough that I should manage to make it back before it was dark, although I did bring decent lights. The roads were a bit wet from overnight rain but I took the X anyway.

Nice and quiet, not much traffic, especially early on. I became anxious that I hadn’t brought enough food as I approached Stoney but fortunately the Co-op there was open. They do give money to the Labour Party, but if the last few by-elections have taught us anything apart from the dishonesty of the left-leaning media, it’s that Labour is harmless enough now. I bought too much food and some of it is in the fridge now, but better too much than not enough.

I listened to an interview with Johann Hari on my DAB personal. He’s written a book called Stolen Focus, about the way that technology in general and the social media in particular have robbed us (or many of us) of our ability to concentrate. I used to loathe Johann for his visceral anti-Tory opinions and I laughed for days on end when he shat on his own career by sabotaging Wikipedia pages concerning people he disliked and plagiarising other people’s work for his moronic articles in The Independent. But I must admit the odious little wanker seems to have come up with something worthwhile this time and I was honestly quite interested in what he had to say.

That said, I can’t really imagine a right-leaning journalist – they do exist – being rehabilitated so effortlessly at the BBC. Then again most right-leaning people have higher standards of integrity and conduct than to behave like Johann did before The Independent fired him.

I also started a new audiobook, Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis, published under the nom-de-plume Robert Markham. This was the first 007 novel to be written after the death of Ian Fleming, published in 1968 and I first read it at the age of 14. I don’t remember much of it but based on the seven chapters I got through today, this is very, very good stuff. Amis manages to out-Fleming Fleming – it’s all there. The post-war British stoicism and elitism. The detailed, worldly, slightly snobbish descriptions of locations, food, clothes and everything else. Every woman in the book is objectified in exquisite detail as well. More importantly it’s an intriguing plot.

Bond mentions to one of his female accomplices in Colonel Sun that he’s half Scottish, half Swiss. And so is Johann Hari! What were the chances?

Really a rather nice ride, especially when the sun was out. Back not long after sunset, so I took full advantage of the additional 13 minutes of afternoon daylight that we’ve gained over the last three weeks. Don’t think I’ve ever done a Fondo on the first ride of the year, before. 65.88 miles.