Yesterday evening would have been better for cycling – warmer and less windy – but I felt tired all day, partly I think due to the change to BST – and I didn’t bother. But I wanted to test ride the X since I’d replaced the chain and had the jockey wheel assembly in bits. Didn’t have that much time after work today but a Twycrosser seemed in order.

Mostly cloudy but the sun did come out now and then. I wrapped up warm and was comfortable. The bike’s working fine though some of the higher gear changes felt a bit rough. I wonder if the rear gear cable’s fraying? Will have a close look. Actually it’s not that long since I changed it, it won’t be that.

26.93 miles, pleasant run out. 490 done this month and if I do another 25 on Thursday, I believe that’ll be a March Personal Best.

Very nice to be putting the bike away in daylight.

Little Bytham

A lovely day was forecast, with plenty of sunshine and a light wind from the east. The plan was to do at least a fondo, but possibly 100 if I got up early enough.

I did get up at 0730, and I set off at 0805 on the Cannondale. I’d decided to do the first 50 miles of the Norfolk route, then come back. And that’s pretty much what I did, although I went slightly further than 50 miles.

Just lovely out there. I took a fleece and a pair of tights in my backpack because I assumed it would be cooler later but I didn’t need them. In the end I was a bit annoyed with myself for bringing them. Glad I was able to top up my tan lines a bit.

As usual I stopped for a feast at the village shop at Buckminster, ideally situated 40 miles from home.

Listened to more of my audiobook, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Must admit it did draw me in a little though more because I was interested in the fantasy universe in which the story takes place than the story itself, which still feels a bit directionless. Also listened to footy chat on 5 Live, Gilles Peterson on 6 Music and a bit of the England game on Talk Sport.

Really a glorious run out. I love that part of the world east of Eastwell. Quite pleased as well that I managed to navigate the 50 miles without recourse to Google Maps, although I’ve done the first 31 many times.

Lots of pheasant out at the moment. I saw a very recently expired one on the road at Stonesby, but a public-spirited chap out walking a dog thoughtfully removed it from the road and threw it into the hedge at the side of the road as I was passing. I think it had been hit by a car. Very quick, I’m sure.

That was a breeze. Pick a warm day and eat like a horse. That’s the key to doing long rides without wearing yourself out.

Back half an hour before sunset, on 101.30 miles. 464 this month, pretty good going for a March and 1182 this year.

Dunton Bassett

During my lunch break today I took advantage of the nice weather to fit a new inner tube and two new tyres onto Boardman II. Beautiful day, sunny, light winds and easily warm enough for exposed legs so I left work early and took the new tyres (and inner tube) for a spin.

Normally I wouldn’t do more than 25 or so with a new component, but I wanted to do at least 40 and I took the risk. I thought I might even do a Fondo – but probably not, since the weather looks good on Saturday as well when I’ll have more time for a long ride.

I did the southbound route. Kept going south as far as Dunton Bassett. I’d usually continue on to Gilmorton from there, but since I was about to turn back I took a different turn, to go exploring a little. This took me to a village called Ashby Magna. From there, rather than turning back to come the same way, I followed a sign back to Dunton Bassett which looped me back round to the usual route after about a mile.

Really nice run out. Nice to have the old legs out again. I did take a pair of tights in my backpack and was tempted to put them on when the temperature dropped after sunset. I didn’t bother. But interestingly I found myself pedalling back into warmer air, now and then. The dip between Ibstock and Ravenstone though was like being lowered into ice water.

Back on 48.97 miles.

I do think the second Boardman looks better with plain black tyres.

Tough Fondo

A dry day but cool, cloudy and very windy. Since the wind was coming from the NE I thought I’d do the eastbound route (which is actually a bit north-eastish in reality).

I hoped to do a Fondo if poss but thought it quite likely that the wind would prove too much. It certainly was brutal but I struggled on until I’d done 30 miles, by which time I’d had enough and turned round. What a relief. I thought I’d top up the ride distance to the requisite 100km by taking a detour through Diseworth on the way back. I also came back the old way through Wymeswold and Rempstone, which definitely made a nice change.

A game of two halves of course but the second half was very pleasant.

Listened to footy on 5 Live and another couple of hours of the Philip Dick audiobook. Getting the impression that he’s making it up as he goes along rather than working to a plot.

Back on 62.36 miles, which takes me to 357 this month, and past the April target. I’m using a simplified monthly target system this year. Rather than have them dynamically calculated by the spreadsheet based on distance done in previous months, I’m just going for 300 in Jan, Feb, Nov Dec, 350 in Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct and 400 in the four months in the middle.

That was the 8th Fondo this year, on target for 24 in 2022.

Twycross Bypasser

Rain all day yesterday but the roads had dried up nicely by this afternoon. I got round to lubing the Tricross earlier in the week so I took it out today. I wanted to do about 35 miles. I did a pretty typical Twycross Bypasser, but it was getting a bit cold after dark so I came home a quicker way than I’d intended, along Gibbet Lane.

Back on 30.03 miles, 313 this month.

I had a bit of right knee pain after 10 miles or so, but I took it easy for a bit (I mean – I always do really, but even easier) and pleasingly, it wore off.

The forecast had promised sunshine from 5pm but it was cloudy until 5:40, and the Sun only came out for about 20 minutes. But it illuminated the full Moon beautifully. I love it when the Moon’s clearly visible in bright sunlight, but it looked even better after dark – really clear, with all the features distinctly visible.

This was supposed to be a moody sunset pic. I miss my old phone.

The Tricross might be heavy but there’s something so reassuring and comfy about it. It rolls along very pleasantly.

Very nice run out, that.

Beyond Buckminster

Nice cycling weather was promised so I booked the afternoon off. A light wind was blowing from the south-east and the sun was supposed to shine most of the day. I wanted to do about 80 to get the 2022 distance score into four figures and the eastbound route was the obvious choice. 40 miles would take me just beyond Buckminster, to the border with Lincolnshire.

I was a little tired when I woke up this morning because I’d had a minor work incident to deal with at 0400, and although it only took 15 minutes, I didn’t sleep properly after that.

Nonetheless – I set off at about 11:20, undeterred. Very pleasant out there although actually the sun went in a few times. But conditions were consistently bright.

I’d brought a cheese & onion pasty, a croissant, a white chocolate cookie, banana-flavoured milk and some toffees with me but I stopped and bought more at the deli at Waltham, after about 34 miles. A flapjack (which I didn’t touch in the end) and a cornish pasty (which I ate at a nearby bench). And a can of pop.

Was slightly nervous on the way back after 5pm because I was on call and I didn’t get back until 7:15pm, but I didn’t get a call.

I started a new audiobook, a Philip K Dick novel called The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch which I’ve never read before. Written in 1965, but set in 2016, when mankind has colonised several of the other planets and moons in the solar system.

I find Philip Dick a bit of a mixed bag. I read The Man In The High Castle in the late 80s and was blown away by it, one of the best books I’ve ever read. Some of his short stories are pure genius.

This one though, although extraordinarily imaginative hadn’t really grabbed me by the first three chapters. I must say though the guy who narrates the audiobook gives a terrific acting performance when voicing the various different characters – he really gives them each a distinctive personality.

Still a bit of light at 6:45 this evening and since the last few miles are mostly well lit (through Thringstone and Coalville), I made do with my little strappy blinker and didn’t bother getting the proper front light out.

Back on 80.36 miles, 283 this month and 1001 this year.

Broughton Astley

Sunny day. Got out of work early and – since a moderate wind was coming from the south – decided I’d do 20 or so miles of the southbound route, then come back. Pretty much the same thing I did on Monday, except that I went further.

I got as far as Broughton Astley. But instead of turning for home and coming back the same way, on a whim I took a right turn. I thought I’d give myself a bit of an adventure, and try to navigate home along familiar roads.

A couple of hundred yards later I saw another right turn signposted to Stoney Stanton, so I took that. All this did was to loop me back onto the original route within about half a mile. Not much of an adventure then but I did notice a decent shop and a petrol station along the way. Might be handy for supplies on a longer ride in future.

The return journey, with a tailwind, was really very pleasant except for 15 minutes of rain. I listened mostly to 5 Live, and speculation about Chelsea football club. It was a mild evening, so at least my own assets weren’t frozen. Really nice to be out after dark without feeling cold.

Took this pic on the bridge over the M69.

Back on 42.38 miles. 165 miles this month, happy with that 10 days in.

Mallory Park

Beautifully bone dry, sunny afternoon in the East Midlands. I left work reasonably early and set off on the southbound route. A Twycrosser wouldn’t have worked out too well with the wind coming from the east.

I wanted to do about 30 miles, but I got as far as Kirkby Mallory before I decided I’d had enough. I’d wrapped up a layer or two lighter than of late, and I definitely shouldn’t have. Bloody cold out there. I had a brief incursion into the grounds of the race track (Mallory Park, of course), which I hadn’t done before. Then I turned back for home.

I briefly gave some consideration to the idea of coming back via Sutton and Bosworth, but I assumed I’d regret it because it would take longer. Actually looking at the map on Strava it would probably have been quicker.

Back on 26.34 miles which takes me to 123 done this month.

I trialled the new AA-powered bike light I bought a week or so ago and while the light itself works nicely, the mount it comes with is rubbish. It’s really cheap plastic and it was impossible to tighten it enough to stay in one place. I suppose I’ll end up affixing it to the bike with a plastic tie, or quite possibly it will end up in one of several crates of barely-used retail therapy detritus in the garage.

The new phone my company has sent me is bigger and heavier than the one I smacked against the unforgiving tarmac of the A5132, so I’ve reverted to an older one. Unfortunately the old one doesn’t take photos nearly as well as the last one, and I was unable to capture the majesty of the sunset on the way back.

So I CGI-ed one in. I hope you like it.


I was going to go out tomorrow rather than today but my dhb shorts arrived from Wiggle, and I thought I’d brave the cold north wind and try them out. I thought I’d do the eastbound route for 20 miles or so then come back. Conditions didn’t really seem to suggest a longer ride than that.

The eastbound route is actually a bit north-east-ish, at least as far as Eastwell. So actually I had a blend of sidewind and headwind to contend with and it had become a bit of a struggle after 20-odd miles. As I stood at the entrance to a garden furniture depot to the east of Six Hills, contemplating the famous Loughborough skyline in the distance and munching a cheese & onion pasty, a light rain started to descend. I did think I should probably turn for home, at this point. But Eastwell (my default Fondo endpoint) was only six miles away so I pressed on.

The rain got a bit heavier. Not a lot of fun propelling yourself uphill with a wind blowing stinging cold rain in your face. But – I was a lot more comfortable after turning back at the Eastwell crossroads, especially when the rain stopped.

Stopped to buy provisions at Burton on the Wolds on the way back and had a sandwich and doped myself with a Malteser bar at the log near Cotes, where I took this pic.

The rain started up again shortly after this, but it was light and only lasted 15 minutes or so.

Mostly listened to footy on 5 Live.

I passed a young man deploying a hazard warning triangle behind his white BMW near Six Hills as I pedalled east, and he was still there sitting in his car nearly two hours later on the way back. Waiting for the AA or similar, I assume. Poor lad.

Annoyingly my Garmin bike computer only lasted five hours on its charge, and I had to track the last 12 miles or so using a GPS app on my phone.

The shorts fit well and are very comfy. I’ll probably save them for longer rides.

Back on 62.37 miles, dead on sunset. Lovely sunset as well with the tall trees in the village silhouetted in front of a glowing orange sky. Good timing.

Pretty tough one that, at least in parts, but ultimately satisfying. Pleased to have got the March Fondo in early.

Twycross Bypasser Incorporating Twycross

Dry day, decently bright though not quite sunny, but – a cold wind was blowing. Since it’s likely to rain for the next few days, I thought I’d leave early and get the March campaign underway.

I decided on a Twycross Bypasser; hadn’t been along Orton Lane for a while. I did the longish version going into Warton. Since I was suffering slightly in a cold headwind I decided, once I got to Sheepy, that I’d come home the quickest way from there. The trouble is, I never know which way that is. I came back through Twycross, Congerstone, Shackerstone, Swepstone and Ibstock anyway.

I bonked near Twycross. Hadn’t eaten that much today, I guess. But two mini pork pies soon sorted that out.

I saw a large, grey bird near Shackerstone. At first I thought it was a pigeon, but it was flying along the ground along the side of the road in front of me, in a most un-pigeonlike manner. Then it just cleared the hedge on the opposite side and swooped down over the field again. I’m pretty sure it was an owl.

33.98 miles.