2022 In Review

Tomorrow’s weather forecast tells me no more cycling in 2022 so that’s a wrap for this year.

It was a pretty good cycling year, I think. I did Norfolk and back again which was very enjoyable. I did Wales and back as well, which I’d only done once, a few years ago. But no new long routes. I definitely need to plan something different for 2023. York and back, maybe. But I do want to do Norfolk and back again.

I fell short of my monthly target for September, which is a first. But I exceeded it every other month, quite substantially in some cases.

A comparison of this year’s stats with last year’s: I did one more ride in 2021 apparently. Surprisingly consistent. But my average distance was higher in 2022 and I did three more fondos. But one fewer 100 milers.

I only did 180 miles on my S Works this year, which seems a shame. And only 538 on the Roubaix, although I really only use it for unusually long rides. I’m surprised to note that Boardman I has been overtaken by Boardman II as the most used bike. Boardman I has better wheels in theory, although Boardman II has carbon forks. I got more use out of the Cannondale in 2022 than in 2021 which is nice, as it’s still my favourite bike. It’s had brand new wheels this year.

Every year I set myself the target of visiting all of the neighbouring counties of Leicestershire, and I’d done that by 25th February this year (30th March last year). That just depends on the weather, really.

I didn’t do any new counties this year. The last time I did that was August 2020, when I penetrated Gloucestershire. Perhaps I’ll aim for a new one in 2023.


Another break in the miserable weather and probably the last cycling opportunity of the year. I wanted to do about 45 miles, to preserve my 2022 average distance. The wind was blowing from the SE, but I thought I’d go up through Coleorton over Swarkestone Bridge and west along the Beloved A Road as usual.

However – I’d hatched a different plan within about half a mile of setting off. Instead I decided to go up Top Brand. At some point along Top Brand, I had the idea of going up through Castle Donington then through Shardlow towards Derby. So I did that. Must say it was delightfully sentimental to be rolling along the road between Shardlow and Derby. I used to go to work that way (in a car of course) back in 1989. Happy memories, can’t believe it’s 33 years ago now.

I took a right to Borrowash. I’d decided to take my old route into Derby from Nottingham, from the time I worked at Nottingham University. I only ever did that on a bike three or four times but I called in at Spondon Railway station, from where I used to take my bike to Nottingham and back on a train every day in the late noughties. I hadn’t been there for about 14 years; quite a strange thought given how familiar it seemed. Next, I went up Acorn Way to Oakwood, where I bought a house in 1991. Again – just indulging my sentimental side, but I find that as I grow older, the past seems to become ever more important.

After rolling through Oakwood for a bit I took an opportunistic turn up Morley Road. I doubt I’ve been along there since the early ’90s. Nice to see pubs I’d forgotten about are still there.

I came back much the same way, except that I went through Chaddesden in Derby, just to look around. And I detoured through Diseworth after Donington.

Back on 56.45 miles, which takes me to 397 this month and 5477 for the year.

I listened to Talk Radio for a change. I quite enjoyed Mike Graham but Cristo Foufas, who followed him, wanted to talk about COVID and has more than a whiff of tin foil about him, sadly. Very irritating to hear someone who knows next to nothing about public health matters assume he knows more than Chris Whitty, although some of his callers were worse. Pretty annoying to listen to a retired school janitor pontificating about genome sequencing.

Anyway. That was one of my favourite rides of the year probably. Much more fun than if I’d just done one of my usual routes.


Broughton Astley and Barleston

The roads were wet from overnight precipitation but a rain free, sunny day was promised. Had a date with a cocktail bar later in the afternoon, but I wanted to do about 40. With the wind coming from the south, the plan was to do the southbound route – but detour to Markfield (again) on the way back.

Just for a change I went down through Donington le Heath instead of Ibstock. A shorter route, but involves more climbing. Oddly – just looked at the track on Strava – I seem to have taken a wrong turn, then recovered without realising it.

I got as far as Broughton Astley before deciding to turn back. From Kirkby Mallory I took Peckleton Lane in search of Markfield, but I didn’t find it. I did a bizarre, meandering route through Desford that ultimately led me back to the usual route. So I gave up on Markfield. But I do like to do something a bit different over the Christmas hols, so I took a road to Barlestone rather than coming back up through Bagworth or Battram. Just by following my nose I ended up looping back onto the A47, so I gave up being adventurous and just came home the direct way through Ibstock – apart from a little wrinkle where I took a wrong turn at the double roundabout.

I took this pic near the Caterpillar works at Desford. The aircraft display is intended to commemorate a twin-engine trainer that was built there after WW2, when the site was an RAF airfield. I think the red, white & blue decorations were added for the Platinum Jubilee.

Mild out there, pleasant in the sun. I had to roll through a couple of inches of water once or twice – some of the roads round here turn into shallow rivers after a downpour – but that’s what winter bikes are for.

Back on 44.76 miles. 340 done this month, 5420 this year. I’m sure I’ll get out again a couple more times before the end of the year, but I’m quite happy with that.


Markfield to Whitwick

The roads were wet from heavy rain overnight, but a rain-free, mild day was promised. Another day off work today. I set off not long before 1100. The wind was coming from the SW so I thought to do some of the southbound route. I wanted to do 40, to hit the December target of 300 miles.

By the time I’d reached the turn for Kirkby Lane though after ten miles, I’d hatched an alternative plan. I decided I’d head for Markfield. I recalled seeing a road signposted in that direction near Desford on my previous ride. However I lost my way at Desford and ended up looping back onto the same road. So I reverted to Plan A and went down Kirkby Lane.

From Kirkby Mallory though I took a left along Peckleton Road – don’t think I’ve done that before – in the hope of finding a viable route to Markfield. Good cycling territory, must try to incorporate it into a route another time.

Eventually I did find my way to Markfield, via Newtown Unthank and Botcheston. Really nice to be doing different roads than usual. Made a nice change. I visited my old house there, as I usually do this time of year. And then I set off in the rough direction of Swarkestone Bridge.

One day in 1990 when I lived in Markfield, I commuted to my place of work in Derby by bicycle. I only ever did this once. I don’t know the route I took either there or back, except that I used Swarkestone Bridge both ways. I planned the route using an OS map that I took with me. Because I know all the likely routes quite well now, I’d be fascinated to know which roads I took. I have only tiny fragments of memories of the rides there and back, none of them conclusive with respect to a location.

So .. I hoped that maybe doing the same thing again today might tease out an old memory, but nope. I didn’t get any flashbacks to rolling along those roads in a Raleigh Routier in the distant past. My best bet is that I didn’t go the same way as I did today. I remember the ride being a lot more rural and I doubt I went through Whitwick. The most interesting thing actually about the last couple of miles to Whitwick from Markfield is that it’s downhill all the way, and I think I would have remembered that.

 Anyway by the time I got to Whitwick I was only about four miles from base, so I rode home the usual way from there.

Back on 35.34 miles. Considering it was unusually nice cycling weather for this time of year and I had the day off, criminal not to do more really. But that’s the way it pans out sometimes. 296 miles done this month which is a few miles short of the December target – but although the weather forecast for the rest of the year looks a bit iffy, I’m sure I’ll get another couple of rides in.


Newtown Unthank and Shenton

No rain in the forecast and a few degrees warmer than Thursday. I didn’t feel a need to go far though, maybe 30-40 miles? And with a moderate wind coming from the south, I set off on the southbound route not long after midday.

Had to take a detour along Beveridge Lane from Ellistown to avoid roadworks. Then when I got to Bagworth I decided to take a left at the T junction instead of a right, just to follow my nose and do something random for a change. So I went down through Merry Lees and Botcheston to Newtown Unthank. I’ve done that a few times before; not sure why I don’t do it more often. It’s a pleasant and convenient enough route.

In the past I’ve taken a left toward Kirby Muxloe from Unthank, so I took a right to do something different. This led me, to my surprise, to Kirkby Lane and my usual southbound route. I’d been meaning to turn back and take a turn to Markfield, but I didn’t bother. I pressed on to Kirkby Mallory. From there I took a turn to Sutton Cheney rather than going any further south. Then to Shenton along Shenton Lane, a road I’ve only ever done a couple of times, then up to Bosworth and home the usual way, or one of them.

Despite the alleged improved air temperature, I felt colder than I did on Thursday or Tuesday – presumably because the sun wasn’t shining. But at least there was no rain or snow. A bit of ice on the roads on the quieter stretches but not much.

I passed a steam tractor parked outside the Gate Hangs Well pub at Carlton. Really a beautifully preserved old thing, in shiny dark blue paint. I stopped to take a pic and a minute later, the driver started shovelling coal.

I listened to Foolgita Myska on LBC mostly.

Back on 34.41 miles and that’s a modestly pleasing 260 so far this month.



I have a few days off work and since today was slated to be sunny, I thought I’d attempt a fondo. Got up later than I intended and didn’t set off until 1130, meaning I’d have to do a couple of hours in the dark – but I didn’t mind that.

Very cold again out there, a degree or two warmer than Tuesday but that’s not saying much. Peaking at 1C in the afternoon. Below freezing after sunset.

The wind was coming from the west so I did the time-honoured route up over Swarkestone Bridge and west along the Beloved A Road through Willington and Hillington. Once again I missed the right turn up Ashbourne Road, so I pressed on to Doveridge. Unfortunately after that you either take the A50 (the coroner would probably record a verdict of suicide) or minor roads that degenerate quickly into twisty, gravelly lanes extravagantly furnished with potholes, but I pottered around as best as I could before turning back. I stopped at a Church in Doveridge to take a pic of the bike with a frosty graveyard as the backdrop. Would have been a cracking photo. But I couldn’t find the phone! It wasn’t in any of my (many) pockets.

This did make me feel a little insecure, I must admit. What did cyclists do before mobile phones came along in the ’90s? I suppose you’d take a few 10p pieces for public phone boxes. But actually I had the phone in my backpack all the time, although I only realised that after arriving home.

I thought the part of the ride after sunset was going to be an ordeal – the temperature was due to drop a couple of degrees and the bright sunlight had definitely made a positive difference – but it was bearable. Even so the water in my bidon was cold enough to hurt the back of my throat and give me an ice cream headache more than once.

I realised I was going to be half a mile short of the requisite 62.14 miles fondo distance as I passed my twenty-miles-to-go point (a hairdressers’ salon in Hatton) but I made it up with a detour round the village over the last couple of miles. Back on 62.34 miles. That was this year’s 30th fondo.



A brighter day than of late, with a wind coming from the north-east. But cold. The air temperature was -1C when I set off on the Tricross, due to dip to -2C a couple of hours later.

I really didn’t want to face those conditions to be honest, but I reminded myself that it’s usually not as bad as I expect once I’ve done a mile or two – and I definitely wanted to get 20-odd miles closer to my target this month. So I set off at about 1410 on an extended lunch break ride.

I was right, it wasn’t that bad out there. My left thumb went painfully icy but otherwise I was fine. I set off on the eastbound route as far as Smithy Lane, where I turned off to Long Whatton, then looped back through Diseworth. At the roundabout at the top of Top Brand, I decided to head up to Isley Walton to extend the ride a bit. But on a whim I took a turn for Tonge. I’ve thought about doing this many times but never tried it. Well – all that happened was that I went into the village of Tonge, then took a turn that looped back to the same road. So I came back home from there. Looking at the map though, I could have navigated to Melbourne from there, via Wilson. I’ll try that some time.

Darkness seemed to fall like a curtain after sunset.

Unfortunately my Garmin bike computer, or the one I used for this ride, seems to be on the way out. It gave up the ghost after 16 miles, despite having had a full charge last night. I’ll charge it overnight with a different cable and see how it does, but I suspect it’s for the bin. I edited the remainder of the track in with a GPX editor.

Anyway – back on 22.58 miles.


Broughton Astley

Cold out there again, 0C. I hoped I’d be able to do 30 miles or so. A very light wind was coming from the south, so my simple plan was to do about 15 miles of the southbound route, then come back.

I set off at about 1100. The road surface was thinly glazed with frost and ice near home, but the more frequently used roads were clear. Once again I was more comfortable than I expected – the bright sunshine on my clothing made a huge difference, I think. So I pressed on to Broughton Astley. I took a left turn there to go exploring, but this only led to a new housing estate. So I found my way back to the usual route, then came home roughly the same way (I did the usual detour along Wood Road on the way back).

Listened mostly to Iain Dale on LBC, sitting in for Matt Frei. Iain wanted to discuss the power of prayer, following the revelation that Bukayo Saka, or Backward Bukayo as I shall now know him, reads the Bible and prays every day. And my heart sank listening to the number of callers who also talk to a sky fairy on a regular basis.

Back on 43.00 miles. 141 done this month.


Infinity Park Way

A very cold day today – 1C due to dip to 0 at about 3pm. I didn’t think I’d be able to tolerate more than 25 miles or so on a bike, so I decided to go for a ride during an extended, late lunch break.

I had no particular plan except to go north, since the wind was coming from that direction – which, along with a crystal clear sky was presumably why it was Baltic out there. I went up through Coleorton and up Top Brand, swung a left at Isley Walton and pedalled up over Swosser Bridge.

I was going to potter along the Beloved A Road for a bit but instead I thought I’d go over the A50 roundabout and flirt with Derby via Infinty Park Way. This took me, as usual, past a number of Rolls-Royce sites – most impressively the huge engine test site at Sinfin. I must admit I felt a pang of nostalgia at seeing RR personnel leaving the car parks, presumably on their way home. It’s (somehow) 28 years since I worked for that company myself, but it was a very memorable first graduate job.

I wonder what I’d be doing now if I’d stayed there? Running the place, probably.

Conditions were nowhere near as hostile as I’d expected – the bright sunshine was very pleasant, even if my toes were starting to feel like ice cubes. I pressed on into Derby for a little while. I joined the ring road, then took a left along Victory Road.

An important element of Derby culture and folklore, held dear by its people, is their belief that they were instrumental in winning the Second World War, because the famous Merlin piston engine, which powered the Hurricane, the Spitfire and later the P-51 Mustang, was made there – and this is of course where Victory Road derives its name.

Anyway I arrived back on Infinity Park Way eventually so I turned south for home and came back a quicker way, directly through Melbourne.

The temperature started to drop as the sun set, as I expected it would. Fortunately I was home 15 minutes later. Good timing.

35.13 miles and that’s 98 this month. Moderately pleased with that, 8 days into December.



Took the afternoon off with the intention of doing a bike ride. I particularly wanted to do a fondo today, because I hadn’t been out on a bike at all so far this month. A ride distance of 62 miles would see me on course to do about 300 this month, which is the target.

Rather cold out there, only about 4 degrees C, but the weather forecast promised mainly dry conditions. I wanted to do a ride I’ve done a couple of times in the past in which I do my usual route up over Swarkestone Bridge and west along the Beloved A Road, then north along Ashbourne Road.

However I got confused at the remote end – I hadn’t planned it properly or checked the route beforehand, I just assumed I’d remember – and I took a wrong turn which led me eventually along a little road called Aston Lane, which degenerated eventually into gravel and potholes. I consulted Google Maps though and saw that I’d be able to take a right turn to Foston a bit further along. I did that. I’d effectively looped back in a homeward direction. If I took the usual way back from Foston I’d end up on quite a bit less than the requisite fondo distance so I took an excursion up along Woodyard Lane toward Alkmonton, which I’ve done before a few times. Nice to do that again.

Getting quite dark by this time, but I had highly adequate lights.

I checked my projected ride distance at my twenty-miles-to-go point at Hatton and was surprised to see that I was only due to do 60 miles. So I did a detour to Isley Walton and down Top Brand after Melbourne. Saved me from Bastard Hill if nothing else.

I listened to the last few hours of my Reacher audiobook, The Enemy. The way the plot is tied together when Reacher solves the conspiracy that’s the basis of the story is frankly over-complicated but there’s a very interesting and affecting thread about Reacher’s French mother, who dies in this story. He attends her funeral in Paris in the last part of the book, and I cast my mind back to my own mum’s funeral in Whitley Bay. Then minutes later, at the very end of the recording, I heard “If you’ve enjoyed this recording, please write to us at Isis House, King’s Drive, Whitley Bay”. Really odd, not least because I assumed it was an American production (it’s certainly an American voice actor who does the narration).

One of my rear brake pads squeaks like a train whistle when I put the brakes on.

Anyway .. back on 62.73 miles. Glad to have the full set of monthly fondos for 2022, which was one of my goals at the beginning of the year, as it always is.