A dry afternoon, though it rained heavily in the morning. Wanted to do at least 36 to get me to 500 for August, which I’m more than happy with having been away for the first ten days.

I did a Twycross Bypasser; the version that takes in Ratcliffe Culey and Fenn Lanes. I was a bit annoyed that the western end of Fenn Lanes has had the el-cheapo resurfacing treatment sometime in the last few weeks. But apart from that, a thoroughly pleasant run out.

Cool at first, warm when the sun came out later. I listened to more Reacher throughout and I have to say that it’s gone a bit bizarre. The plot doesn’t quite make sense.

40.29 miles, 505 done this month. And that’ll be it for August.


The forecast threatened showers until 2-3pm, but I took a chance and set off at 1325-ish. A fairly strong and rather annoying wind was coming from the west. I decided to go up over Swarkestone Bridge and west along the A road. I wanted to do at least 35, to get my monthly tally to 450. I was going to go to Hilton or thereabouts, then come back.

However, not long after Willington I decided to take a right turn and navigate my way into Derby. This took me to Etwall, and not long after that, a T junction – with both directions signposted to Derby, somewhat counter-intuitively. I took the right turn indicated by my sense of direction. Unfortunately after a couple of miles, this led me onto a stretch of the A38 that is a three lane motorway in all but name. I felt absolutely ridiculous pootling along there on a gravel bike. More embarrassed than unsafe. Fortunately the traffic wasn’t heavy and I came off at Kingsway – a part of Derby that I used to frequent often in the early ’90s. I used to go to the EnormoTesco there before one opened closer to my place in Oakwood, on The Wyvern.

From there, down Uttoxeter Old Road, past the place where I lodged with a colleague in 1990, right onto Friar Gate and right through the City Centre. Memory Lane.

Ideally I’d have liked to come back homeward via Alvaston and onto Shardlow Rd, but that would have involved negotiating Raynesway, a fast dual carriageway. So I played it safe and left Derby via Nottingham Rd, to Borrowash. About 16 years ago I used to cycle up Nottingham Rd regularly when I commuted to work via Derby Railway Station. It was a bit of an ordeal as I recall and yet today, even on a relatively heavy bike, it hardly seemed much of a climb at all.

I decided to come back down through Donington although I was in two minds about this, because of the high likelihood of annoying my other half by being late for dinner. Which in fact I was, but only by 15 minutes. I eat faster anyway, so I caught her up.

Looking at the track I did turn off Shardlow Road to go through Aston, and yet I looped back up onto Shardlow Road a mile later. Not sure what I was doing there. Perhaps I was thinking of going the Swarkestone Bridge way when I made the turn.

Came back the quickest way from Donington, down Top Brand. Back on 50.34 miles.

Cool and cloudy, but the Sun came out later in the afternoon. I snapped the pic at Shardlow in bright sunshine. Fortunately the wind was behind me at this time and the heavy clouds in the distance were moving away. I didn’t get rained on.

Listened to a highly entertaining game of football between Man City and Sheffield Utd. Then more Reacher.

This ride was an odd experience in that I was wearing contact lenses – I’m wearing trial disposables at the moment, pending my proper prescription ones arriving some time next week. They’re supposed to be varifocal but for me they don’t seem to be. They’re great for reading the bike computer, using a phone or checking a watch, but the view to the distance looks a lot like not wearing any sort of eyesight correction at all, ie blurry, but adequate. Still – they were comfortable enough. Nice not to have to wear glasses to ride a bike, not sure how often I’ll wear them for cyclng though.


Yet another warm, dry day – we’re being spoiled, aren’t we? I was a bit tired today after a night in a Travelodge and a long drive up from Oxford, but I always seem to have enough energy for 30-odd miles. Almost as if it comes from a different internal power supply.

So I set off at about 1600. I went up to Swarkestone Bridge the long way via Isley Walton, went west as far as Willington, looped round the village there and came back the same way (barring very minor deviations over the last few miles).

Back on 37.63 which very pleasingly takes me to 414 this month. Will be happy with 450, but 500 seems likely. A decent enough figure given I was away for the first ten days.

Listened to another couple of hours of Reacher.

Very pleasant run out apart from jamming the transmission near Melbourne. The chain is too short on the X and there’s a combination of big chainring / big cog at the back which will do that every time. I must put a longer chain on. I had to turn the bike upside down to free it up.

Defiant Bypasser

Couldn’t leave work as early as I wanted to but I’d set off not long after 1600. I intended to ignore the ROAD CLOSED sign forbidding the turn-off to Norton, and do a bypasser. When I got to the roadworks it was easy enough to get the bike through the traffic cones and past the big hole in the road.

I did a longish version, along Mythe Lane and Atterton Lane at the bottom. Unusually, I went through Upton and Shenton on the way back up.

The road going east into Shenton is lovely – narrow, quiet, scenic but well surfaced. Every time I do it, I ask myself – why don’t I do this more often? Then I forget about it.

Back up the usual way through Bosworth.

Warm and dry out there, but overcast. Unusually humid. I stopped at Heather, a couple of miles from home to take the pic at the derelict petrol station there. It must belong to someone so I assume I was on someone’s private land but I was quick. I suppose some of the residents of Heather consider it an eyesore, but I quite like it. The following image is lifted from Google Street View.

Listened to another couple of hours of the Reacher novel, Nothing to Lose. Definitely one of the better ones.

Back on 36.60 miles and that’s 377 this month, 4012 this year.


I wanted to dedicate most of my Saturday to idling around the house but with more delightful weather on offer, it seemed rude not to do at least 30. I set off on the S Works at about 1115. The wind was coming from the south-west, so I decided on a Twycross Bypasser

I got held up for a long time at the crossroads on Gallows Lane / Swepstone Road. There were temporary traffic lights there, for roadworks. The two cars ahead of me went through on a red light. I assumed the light had just changed. I stopped. Then about six minutes later I gave up and just went through. I’m pretty sure all of the lights were frozen on red. As I passed them I noticed a large queue of stationary motor vehicles in all four directions.

The road to Norton Juxta Twycross is still closed, so I continued down to Twycross – making today’s outing a Twycrosser, rather than the intended Bypasser. I did do the detour to Orton though.

I went down to Ratcliffe Culey and across to Twycross Road, but rather than coming back up through Congerstone or Bosworth, I went west through Sibson back to Sheepy. I’d forgotten to bring a bidon with me so I decided some hydration (pictured) was in order.

I came back up the quick way from there, up the usual downward stretch. I did take a mild detour through Ibstock over the last couple of miles.

Really nice out there. I overclothed again, with two tops on. The temperature climbed pretty quickly after the first hour.

Listened to more of the Reacher novel – very entertaining so far.

Back on 34.40, 340 miles done this month.

Bourne (Nearly)

Yesterday looked like one of the last perfect cycling days of the summer – warm, very low winds, dry, sunny. But someone arranged for me to attend a meeting with Australian colleagues at 0800, so I took the day off today instead.

Conditions weren’t quite as good with a stiff breeze coming from the east. I thought I’d do the eastbound route, maybe as far as Bourne. I thought I’d probably set off at about 0800 but in the event I woke up early and I was away by 0630.

I was going to wear a long-sleeved top over the first couple of hours and risk bare legs, but I changed my time at the last minute and put tights on. Glad I did because it was pretty cool until about 0845. I stashed the long-sleeved top and the tights near Waltham after 30-odd miles.

Stopped for food at the Deli at Waltham on the way out east.

I got as far as about half a mile from Bourne, then I took a right turn for Stamford to go exploring for a bit. This took me to a place called Essendine, in Rutland. Spent a while eating on a bench there, then turned back and came home exactly the same way. Bourne is where the flat bit of Lincolnshire starts so it would have been better, or at least flatter, just to keep going through Bourne rather than looping south into Rutland. But it made a change.

Stopped for food at the village shop at Buckminster on the way back. Remarkably, I was served by a young man of (at a guess) nine years of age. His mum was on the phone. Very professional though .. the lad scanned all the stuff I bought, presented the card machine, announced the cost, took the payment.

I got the food strategy about right for a change. Often I end up carrying around stuff I don’t actually eat but today I consumed all the items I brought with me and bought.

Listened to R5 mostly – mostly anecdotes and clips from Michael Parkinson’s old shows. Then I started another Reacher novel, Nothing to Lose. Seems a lot like Killing Floor so far, with a local capitalist who owns an entire town and has the local police in his pocket doing something nefarious.

That was a fun day out. I was back not long after 1800 so perhaps I could have stayed out longer, but I need to plan a new route for that really. Happy enough with 121.67 miles for today. The time flew past, felt more like a fondo.


Another warm afternoon, another run out after work. I had every intention of doing a Twycrosser, but as soon as I began to absorb the warm sunshine I had an urge to go up Top Brand. So I did. I pretty much made it up as I went along but I went through Castle Donington after that, then west to Shardlow.

I looped back through Aston on Trent then came back the same way. Except that I used the cycle path that bypasses the roundabout over the A50. I saw another cyclist turn off to use it on the outbound trip so I thought I’d give it a go on the way back. It was fine actually. No bits of broken glass or excess of stones, or pedestrians.

Listened to the Rolling Stones’ Tattoo You which is another poor record overall, but mainly put together from patched up outtake tracks. Does have a couple of decent moments, though. Hard not to like Start Me Up.

Back on 32.69 miles which is less than I intended, but I’ve done 184 this month now. Not bad considering I was away from a bike for the first 10 days.

Lower Westbound

I was going to get up early and do at least a Fondo today, but in the event I didn’t get up until 1000. I was annoyed about that until a downpour of rain at 1100, after which I considered that I’d dodged a bullet.

But the weather brightened up nicely in the afternoon and I had mounted a bicycle by 1245.

A fairly strong wind was coming from the west and the plan was to do the westbound route for 20 miles or so, then come back. I took a longer route than usual over the first ten miles, firstly by going up through Packington and secondly by taking, on a whim, a different right turn out of Measham. I guessed that I’d probably be able to navigate back onto the usual route a bit further along and I was right. Made a change I suppose but it was a bit of a rollercoaster ride and not that interesting, so I won’t do that again.

After Kings Bromley I’d done 23 miles and only wanted to do another couple (I’d decided to try for 50 miles by this time). So I went exploring for a bit. I took a left along a road called Shaw Lane, then a right turn off that, also somehow called Shaw Lane. Both the Shaw Lanes had evidently been resurfaced fairly recently with the the sharp gravel which Leicestershire County Council (or was I in South Derbyshire at this point?) is keen to distribute on its public highways. So when I came to a T junction with a main road, I took a right onto that rather than turn back the same way.

Fortunately this led to the traditional route. I came back the usual way. Back on 50.69 miles.

The weather was lovely and the puddles had all dried up within about an hour of setting off. I suppose I should have made better use of it; I was back more than three hours before sunset.

Listened to football mostly; Brentford vs Spurs and the first half of Liverpool vs Chelsea. The latter game was the more interesting.

I also listened to the Rolling Stones’ Emotional Rescue. Like its predecessor Some Girls, a bit flaccid. But it does have some interesting quirks.


It was a delightfully quiet work day – I sometimes suspect that most of our customers start their weekends on a Thursday night – so with another warm, dry afternoon forecast, I thought I’d risk an early exit and a post-work Fondo.

The wind was coming from the south-west and I decided on the southbound route. I didn’t quite go all the way to Welford and the Northants border like I usually would; I just turned round after the requisite half fondo distance.

Stopped for a nice snack and a bottle of Lucozade at the village shop at Gilmorton on the way down. It’s a very cyclist-friendly place with seats and tables outside and they always offer to fill your water bottle. It was open until 7pm so tactically, a stop on the way back would probably have been better.

Very nice out there. Very warm. The wind was quite strong but it was mostly a slightly hostile sidewind on the way down, and a more sympathetic sidewind on the way back.

Once again I clocked up a faster average speed than I usually would. I think my dodgy knees are the limiting factor and a break from cycling enforced by a holiday in Scotland has given them a welcome long recovery period. But – regular cycling definitely helps as well. A bit of a delicate balance.

Three dogs attempted to intercept me on the outskirts of Stoney Stanton. They just bolted out of a house on the right and came for me like I was a fox being pursued by hounds, yapping vigorously. I shouted NO! at them and pedalled hard to outrun them but for the first couple of seconds the yapping of the dog in front – obviously the ringleader – didn’t seem to be receding into the distance behind me.

I don’t think they were much older than puppies to be fair but on my very first spreadsheet-recorded ride in January 2015 I was bitten by a dog – so for it to happen again would have been an ominous portent.

Back on 63.35. Happy to have done a bit more than 100 miles since I came back from my hols.


Just back from a ten day holiday today and after a 167 mile drive this morning I wasn’t planning to go cycling this afternoon. Just wanted to unpack and chill out. But the forecast for this afternoon promised just about the best cycling weather I can remember – warm, sunny, 0% chance of rain and a 3mph wind. So I decided I’d get the August campaign off to a start after all. I set off at about 4pm.

Wanted to do about 35 miles and thought a Twycross Bypasser would do nicely. But the road to Norton was closed, so I continued down through Twycross. I did the detour to Orton on the Hill from there. I came back a longer way in the latter half of the ride, through Shenton and later through Swepstone.

Beautiful out there in the warm sunshine. The wind did seem a bit stronger than 3mph to be fair but it didn’t bother me. I was slightly concerned that ten days of restaurant food, usually including an unhealthy dessert and invariably preceded and / or followed by a couple of Scotches, a few beers or a cocktail or two might have taken a toll, but it was a breeze. I mean it was only 37.30 miles but interestingly I did clock up a higher average speed than I normally would, without trying to. Just the joy of being out there in warm sunshine with minimal clothing.

Noticed that the front derailleur (on the Cannondale) is rattling a bit on some gears. It can be rectified easily by using the trim and it’s changing gears smoothly and quickly enough. Maybe just needs the cable to be tightened. I’ll have a look at the weekend.

Listened to the Stones’ Some Girls. Does have a couple of good tunes but it feels a bit half-baked and limp.

Very nice run out, very happy to be back in the saddle.