Sextuple Fondo September

Once again I started work at a preposterous hour – working from home allows you to spring out of bed and start at 0530 if you wake up early and feel like it – so I was able to leave early with a view to getting a fondo in. I’m unlikely to be able to do one at the weekend now due to another commitment on Sunday, and dodgy weather on Saturday afternoon.

The wind was coming from the south so I did the regular southbound route. Once I again I didn’t bother going right down to Welford, I just turned back on the half fondo distance.

The headwind was a bit stiff on the way down, but I see I managed a few PRs (as usual, without trying to) on the way back.

The animals in the photo are, I believe, bulls rather than cows. One of them tried to mount one of the other ones while I was taking a wee. They all came right up to the fence. Last time I parked a bike against a fence next to some cows a few years ago one of them started to lick the saddle, so I withdrew the bike to a safe distance this time.

Stopped at the bench at Gilmorton for a quick snack on the way back, but didn’t use the village shop this time.

Listened to Cockney Rebel’s The Best Years Of Our Lives which I hadn’t played since I was 16. It really is a great record, just as I remembered. What a shame it took me the best part of 50 years to revisit it.

Also listened to an interview with Michael Palin on 5 Live. Michael is 80 now.

Back on 62.44. 628 this month and 4777 this year, so 6000 looks doable.

Six fondos this month! Pleased with that.

Half-Baked Southbound

I started work unreasonably early this morning with a view to downing tools at about 2pm to take advantage of more decent weather. Very mild, intermittently sunny with a stiff wind coming from the south.

I set off at 2:10pm with a fragile intention of doing a southbound fondo. I’ll probably get another fondo in at the weekend, so if I’d done one today, I’d end up having done seven fondos in September.

But after 15 miles or so, common sense kicked in. There’s a balance to be struck, isn’t there? I do have other things to do with my life than riding a bike all the time. So I decided to turn back after 22 miles. I came home the slightly longer way through Battram and was back on 44.71.

I listened to the Stones’ album of blues covers from 2016, their most recent to date, Blue and Lonesome. Not bad at all. Not great.

Nice out there, enjoyable run out. 565 done this month and I think I can squeeze another 100 out before October is upon us.

Down Fosse Way, Again

Really, I wanted to spend  my Saturday lounging around the house, but a dry day was forecast so I got up (fairly) early to do a fondo. The wind was coming mostly from the south so I thought I’d do my underused Fosse Way route again. I set off at about 0915.

I’d decided to go down through Battram rather than Bagworth over the first few miles. Usually I only come back that way, and presumably that’s why I missed the left turn toward Newbold Verdon. But I carried on to Nailstone and went south via the main road, picking up the route again at Kirkby Mallory, where I realised that my unintentional detour had added about a mile.

I really enjoyed the long stretch of Fosse Way after High Cross. I don’t get why it’s so quiet; it’s a wide, well-surfaced road. I did have a scary moment along there, though. At one point I saw a guy standing next to a motorcycle at a lay-by in the distance. He was holding something in his right arm. He extended it, and slowly brought it up to eye level.

“‘kin hell”, I thought to myself. “He’s got a gun!” He seemed to be aiming it at something on the other side of the road. I reckoned he was about 180 metres ahead. His chances of hitting me with a pistol at that range weren’t good, but obviously they were improving with every pedal stroke. I was about to perform an emergency u-turn when I realised he was taking a selfie with a phone.

I did turn back eventually, having done the necessary half-fondo distance, just south of Bretford. Stopped at the Post Office at Brinklow on the way back for a cheese and tomato sandwich and a Magnum ice-cream. My other half won a massive bag of Cadburys mis-shapes from the chocolate tombola (sorry, the what?) at a charity event we attended last night, so I brought a few of those with me as well, to keep me fortified on the way back.

Listened to 5 Live, and the Stones’ A Bigger Bang from 2005. Another surprisingly good record (mostly).

I think I got the clothing strategy pretty much spot on today. I wasn’t too cold early on, and once I took a layer off later on, I wasn’t too warm.

I was back over four hours before sunset, which given that it’s a nice sunny day out there did make me think I should have done a longer one. Not many nice Saturdays left this year. It’s the autumn equinox today apparently.

Still – glad to have achieved my first ever quintuple fondo month. Qute an enjoyable run out. I wonder if I can sneak in another fondo this month?


Wasn’t going to go cycling today. The forecast was for showers in the afternoon and early evening. But I had a look at the rainfall radar forecast, which suggested I’d get away with it. So I went at about 1530. I did a Bypasser; a medium length version I guess.

Some time I must work out how many possible versions of a “Bypasser” or “Twycrosser” there are but anyway, this one went up to Ashby and down through Packington at the top, and along Atterton Lane at the bottom.

I thought I was going to escape untouched by precipitation until I picked up a few sporadic spots of rain near Carlton. No great hardship I thought, but five minutes later it was properly coming down. Not heavy, but not light either. But it only lasted ten minutes. I was wearing contact lenses again. I guess one big advantage of them is that they don’t get pebbled by rainwater.

Shortly after I made the right turn for Heather off Odstone Lane, I was confronted by the most gobsmacking rainbow I’ve ever seen, in the last of the late afternoon sunshine. It was unbroken, perfect, vivid. And hypnotic; I couldn’t stop gawping at it as I cycled in to Heather. Like a fluorescent arch straddling a dozen miles of the NW Leicestershire landscape.

I did stop to take a pic but it had faded a little by then and I didn’t do it justice. Every colour was individually distinguishable.

Had to give the bike a clean and wipe down back at the garage but that was quite therapeutic.

Back on 35.74.

Eastbound with Modification

Today’s weather forecast threatened rain from about 4-5pm, which gave me enough time for a fondo if I got up early enough – which I did.

With a stiff breeze coming from the east, the basic plan was to do the eastbound route. However I planned a diversion on the way back, to take in a road between Thrussington and Cotes that I discovered while exploring a month or two ago.

I set off at about 0915, did the usual route for a little over 28 miles, then turned back. I’d calculated that the detour would give me the necessary 100km if I turned back at that point and I didn’t want to do more than that – every unnecessary mile was a hostage to fortune with the weather. It wouldn’t be the first time the rain had turned up early.

I plunged south into the detour through Ragdale and Hoby about 6 or 7 miles later. The main route out east at that point is nice and flat, but it actually runs along a sort of ridge, or spine – if you go north or south from it, you end up going sharply downhill. As I approached Hoby I was overtaken by an old bloke in a powder blue 911 with the top down. Unfortunately he wanted to take the descent, and the curve into Hoby a bit more hesitantly than I did and I had to put the brakes on more than once, to avoid colliding with his rear bumper. Annoying because I never like to waste kinetic energy or brake pad material. If you can’t outpace a bike in a Porsche, maybe you shouldn’t have one. Either that or refrain from overtaking on a steep descent.

Well – the detour was a bit of a rollercoaster and while it was all quite pleasant, It’s only really the last few miles through Walton on the Wolds that I’d want to repeat. There are more economical ways of doing that than going all the way down to Thrussington.

I added a couple of miles by taking a wrong turn after Walton; only realised when I found myself entering Barrow on Soar. I just turned back rather than rerouting.

Listened to the Stones’ Bridges to Babylon – another thoroughly decent record. Then the Singapore Grand Prix.

I didn’t get rained on.

Back on 64.05 miles; fourth fondo this month. Not sure if I’ve ever done five in a month before but it looks like I will this month.


I particularly wanted to take advantage of a warm, dry day with light winds to do a long ride. The weather forecast looks poor from Sunday and other plans have been made for me tomorrow.

So I booked the afternoon off, with the idea of sneaking out of work at about 1130 and doing 80 miles or so. Alas – my participation was required at a meeting on the afternoon, so I unbooked my half day. I thought I’d be able to get away by 1430 and maybe get in another fondo but nope, I wasn’t able to get out of it until 1500.

So I settled for a Twycrosser. It’s a nice Friday afternoon tradition, to mark the end of the working week. I took the S Works, because I’ve just changed the rear inner tube (again). I think it was a valve fault. Just wanted to check all’s well with the new tube on a relatively short ride.

I had to stop for a wee after only 11 miles because it’s Urology Day, apparently. 5 Live had a piece on this, and they played some running water sounds as examples of aural stimuli likely to make people want to wee. It worked. But what if I’d been stuck in a car in heavy traffic on the M1?

Anyway I came back along Fenn Lanes but took a short cut past the Judith Birch bench near Shenton. Back up through Bosworth and the villages, but I looped through Burgoland and Swepstone to extend the ride a bit.

Back on 36.21, not as much as I’d have liked. But every 30 miles at this stage is 10 miles I don’t have to do in each of the last three months.

357 this month, another 100 before October will do nicely.

High Cross

Nice day. Dry, much cooler. When I stepped out of the front door I was convinced I’d need tights and a fleece. However when I actually went to get the bike out, I realised I wouldn’t need the tights so I removed them there and then. I put them in my backpack, think I might need them later. But I left the fleece on.

The intention was to perform a fondo based on the Southbound route. I set off a bit before 3pm. But when I got to the crossroads at Stoney Stanton, I decided to go straight on instead of left, to do the Fosse Way version of the route. I confess that this was mainly because I could see a cutie with a colourful pair of jogging pants receding into the distance, and I wanted to get a better look.

Well – I wasn’t sure I’d remember the way. Superficially it’s a straight line on the map thanks to the Romans, but when you zoom in there are some tricky turns and manouevres through villages.

But I only needed to do another 14 miles or so, and I did. I thoroughly enjoyed doing that one again, actually. I think I’ve done it six or seven times at the most. I really should do it more often; even at teatime on a weekday the Fosse Way part of the route is strangely quiet, despite being a wide, very well surfaced straight road. I stopped at Brinklow to get a very nice sausage and chutney sandwich on the way back. The last time I went through there was about three Reacher novels ago; I recall that I’d just started The Enemy. Just checked and it was October last year, thought it was longer ago than that.

Took a pic of the bike at the High Cross monument, built to mark the centre of Roman Britain at the intersection of two great Roman roads.

Sorry to objectify women twice in the same post but my God there was a fit but well built young lady strolling along the pavement at Kirkby Mallory wearing tiny – I mean tiny – pink running shorts that looked like they’d been applied from an aerosol.

Oh yes, haven’t seen any discarded knickers recently but there was a discarded black stocking along Bumblebee Lane.

I listened to the Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge (not too bad, surprisingly) and 5 Live. The comically bad radio presenter Nihal Arthanayake had Clive Myrie on his show. It’s hard not to like Clive, and I find him relatable as a well-spoken articulate Northerner of a similar age myself. Sadly, but perhaps predictably, Clive’s interview consisted of non-stop race-baiting and wallowing in victimhood.

Back on 62.78 miles. Third fondo this month, 24th this year.

Narrow Lane

I really wanted to do at least a fondo today, maybe even 100+ miles – but then the weather forecast changed to threaten thunder and showers in the afternoon. I set off at 0850 hoping to do 30 or 40 before the rain came over.

Actually spots of rain were coming down as I wheeled the bike out, but they died off ten minutes later. Warm out there from the outset, even in minimal clothing. Conditions grew uncomfortably warmer and more humid ad the ride wore on.

I went eastbound as far as Narrow Lane, which I took to hook northward to Wymeswold, then came back via Hoton. After crossing the border back into Leicestershire I detoured via Diseworth. Came back down the longer way through Griffydam and Peggs Green.

Spots of rain again over the last couple of miles but it didn’t get any worse.

Listened to the Stones’ Steel Wheels, then Nai Palm’s Needle Paw. Then (unusually) a bit of classical. Georg Solti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Back on 45.44. 258 this month. Looking good for 500.


Well that was a bit different. I started work at 0600 so I left early, with the intention of maybe doing 20 miles of the Lower Westbound route, then coming back.

Unfortunately I somehow missed the turn for Lullington. Realised this when I found myself about to enter Coton in the Elms. Well, no matter – I’ve been that way dozens of times as well. But then I missed the turn for Walton. So I found myself entering a depressingly busy and urban Burton on Trent. I kept on keeping on though until I saw a sign for Abbotts Bromley, and I took that.

Went as far as Needwood, where I stopped for a very welcome cold can of Dr Pepper at a petrol station. Then I took a sign to Barton under Needwood, which is also familiar territory.

Quite enjoyed the new bits of road between Burton and Barton under Needwood though it would be tricky to get them into a regular route without negotiating Burton.

Later, trying to get back on the usual track on the way back I unnecessarily took a turn for Lullington that was no more than a pointless detour. Then bizarrely, later on again, I strangely missed the turn to Packington and continued right on to Ashby.

I can only think that the heat must have cooked my brain a bit. It was hot out there.

On the way into Ashby I overtook a lad on a BMX. Clearly he was affronted by this and he attempted to overtake back. He pulled alongside with a huge grin on his face, bless him. He was about 13. I’m sorry to confess that I did indulge him. He was never going to catch even an old man on a Roubaix with short legs and a BMX. I suppose I shouldn’t have done that, he wasn’t wearing a helmet and he gave it a good go. Then again, neither was I.

I think I probably missed an opportunity today .. should have taken the day off and done Wales and back or something. Probably not going to get another opportunity for a long day on the bike in weather like this in 2023.

Listened to Steely Dan’s Aja and Radio 5. Back on 49.12 miles.


Another very warm day with light winds. I did a Bypasser. Unusually, I went right down to Atherstone – not done that for a couple of years – and I found a short cut to take me back northward without going right into the centre of town. I think I’ve done that once before. I suppose there must be a way to search the times you’ve done a particular segment on Strava.

On the way back up I decided to take a left to take me to San GIovanni at Sheepy, for a pit stop involving a margerita. However, embarrassingly, I somehow got lost and ended up looping back onto the main road, further down than when I’d taken the turn! I decided just to head for home at this point. I came back the quick way along Gibbet Lane.

That must have been the warmest ride since last summer and I wore my skimpiest cycling clothing. But the last 45 minutes or so was glorious with a cooler breeze and that beautiful pre-sunset light.

I listened to a highly entertaining feature about the Rolling Stones’ new album on 5 Live Drive, in which they had the guitar player from a tribute band accompany listener’s Rolling Stones anecdotes with classic Stones riffs played as background music. And they played a snippet from the new single – nothing special but remarkable energy.

Back on 37.89 miles.