It’s a Wrap for 2023

I thought I might get out today but rain came down in the afternoon, so I didn’t. The forecast tells me I won’t be going out again before January, so the 2023 cycling campaign is complete.

Although I hadn’t intended to, I covered more distance this year than ever. I managed 6413 miles, beating my 2020 tally by 102 (and last year’s total by 936). September was my highest-scoring month (628 miles), March the lowest (303).

I did 38 fondos this year, 9 of them covering more than 100 miles. My longest ride was Sutton Bridge and back in June, 181 miles. Pleased to have done Northampton and back a couple of times as well, and Wales and back. I’d taken in all of Leicestershire’s neighbouring counties by March.

Didn’t do Newark and back this year which is a shame, will make it a target for next year.

I did 127 rides in all (120 last year).  My average ride distance this year was 50.5 miles which I find amazing really. The median distance was 43.2.

My Roubaix came top of the distance league with 1461 miles done. My least-used bike, despite getting a new pair of wheels in 2022, was the Cannondale (313 miles). Probably because it needs a bit of fine tuning and I haven’t got round to it. I’m pleased to have got 1094 miles out of the second Boardman, because I replaced a broken freehub spring myself in late 2022 with a generic freehub spring purchased from Amazon, and I don’t completely trust it. Perhaps I should.

Dunton Bassett

A dry, bright day out there and I hoped I was sufficiently recovered from my latest round of COVID to do 40 miles or so; enough to get the monthly total to 400.

I set off at midday with the intention of doing about 20 down the southbound route, then turning back. I did feel a bit unstable just after setting off – I don’t know if the virus has affected my inner ear or something? I was getting flashbacks to learning to ride my first bike! But I was OK after 15 minutes or so.

I kept going south for 23 miles, and took a left up Lutterworth Road to explore a little. I’d started to ponder the idea of doing a fondo at this point. But I definitely wasn’t 100% and I decided to play it safe and turn back.

Back on 48.82 miles. Looking at the weather, that might be a wrap for 2023. 409 this month, 6413 this year.

Really nice out there today. Quiet.


It was a very gloomy, damp morning and I thought I probably wouldn’t ride a bike today but conditions brightened nicely in the afternoon, so I did. Bit windy, not too cold. Only felt a need to do 35 or so. Went up over Swarkestone Bridge and left to Willington, taking the longer way via Isley Walton. But I came back the even longer way through Shardlow so I ended up on 40.48.

Quite enjoyable but the roads were a bit wet and I’m tired of having to wipe down the nether regions of a bike on returning to the garage. 360 this month but looking at the weather I think I can squeeze another couple of rides out of December.

Newton Unthank, Groby et al

No chance of rain today but I only wanted to do 40 or so. Enough to see me past my 2020 yearly total (6311 miles). The wind was coming from the south-west, so I thought I’d go down the Southbound route for a bit. I would have done a Twycrosser, but I wanted to stop at a village shop or petrol station and treat myself a bit.

After Bagworth though, I turned left instead of right. I’ve done this a couple of times in the past. Makes quite a pleasant change, but you do run out of options after a while. However, I was sure I could make up the miles somehow. So I kept on keepin’ on through Merry Lees, Botcheston, Newtown Unthank, Ratby and eventually Groby. I don’t believe I’d ever gone right into Groby before. The traffic there was a little irritating. But I found a terrific little deli where I had a coffee, a slice of cherry & apple pie and a sausage roll (not in that order). I took the pic there. I was wearing my distance prescription contacts and I didn’t notice how shaky it was. I’ve tried to clean it up a bit with a bit of AI image sharpening, but not particularly successfully.

By the way although it looks like I’ve unhygienically placed an unprotected slice of cherry & apple pie straight onto the table surface, I can assure you that it was wrapped in clingfilm.

I kept going straight through Groby and came, unfortunately, to an uphill part of the A50. My Talbot Sunbeam used to struggle up there 34 years ago and unsurprisingly, my bike didn’t do much better. But I made it to Markfield a couple of miles later, where I turned off.

I often cycle to Markfield at this time of year. I’d had no intention of doing so today but since I did, I pedalled round to my old house for a wistful look.

I came home the usual way from there, through Thornton and Bagworth. Except that once I got to Bagworth, I detoured down the southbound route for a bit to make up the miles.

Listened mostly to 6 Music.

Back on 43.36 miles. 6324 done this year! It’s all gravy between now and January.

Upper Westbound / Isley Walton

Another afternoon off work, another fondo. I did the Upper Westbound route but took the long way going upward, through Isley Walton.

I turned back at the roundabout near Sudbury, thinking that if I took the even-longer way back through Weston, Ashton and Shardlow I’d probably end up on the requisite 100km. And I was right. Back on 64.82 miles.

Encountered a bit of drizzle near Swarkestone Bridge, which wasn’t forecast – but it only lasted 20 minutes or so. The roads were pretty wet anyway.

I listened to Adrian Chiles’ show on 5 Live as I usually do. Toward the end of his show, Adrian started to introduce a guest that he was clearly very excited to have on his show. Who could this be? I wondered. It was none other than Rush bass supremo Geddy Lee! Promoting his new book, of course.

Back on 64.82, which puts me within a Twycrosser of hitting a new annual distance record. 276 done this month, I’ll aim for 400. Nice and easy with more than two weeks left.

Lower Westbound

Another rain-free day in the forecast. I might have taken the whole day off work, but I’d agreed to take part in a meeting at midday and anyway, I only wanted to do a fondo. Plenty of time for that. So I settled for half a day. I escaped from the meeting at 1230 and was away on the Tricross about twenty minutes later.

The plan was to do the Lower Westbound route, with a slightly immoderate breeze coming from the west. I’d done about 26 miles though when the road (Uttoxeter Road, going up to Abbots Bromley) seemed to degenerate into a muddy track. It’s fine usually. I suppose a combination of the weather and abnormally high farm vehicle traffic have taken their toll.

So – I turned back.  I took a road signposted to Blithbury, but after a half mile that one presented me with exactly the same problem. I turned for home, but resolved to make up the mileage some other way closer to base. I did that by detouring up through to Ashby then performing a quick excursion into Coalville over the last few miles.

I took the pic near Edingale. The lovely lake you can see in the background is usually a field.

Listened to the PM at the COVID enquiry mostly, then the Can album Ege Bamyasi.

Back on 62.50 miles, which takes me to 6216 this year, or 10004 km. Only the second time I’ve done 10000 km in a year.


The forecast for today changed to suggest that a rain-free day was on the cards. So, to take advantage of the weather and to soak up another of my annual leave days (I’m not allowed to carry them over), I took an impulsive day off.

The idea was to set off at about 0900 and do 70 or 80 miles down the southbound route. But I woke up early and I was away at about 0715, 48 minutes before sunrise. I wouldn’t have set off so early but I knew conditions were decently mild out there (about 6C) even at that time. And certainly I was comfortable enough without overdoing the clothing. The temperature climbed a few degrees after the first couple of hours, and I stuffed a layer in a backpack.

I encountered a Road Closed sign near Potters Marson but defied it. The roadworks there hadn’t started in earnest. Very easy to ride round them, though I guessed it might be more difficult later on in the day (ie on the way back).

Stopped for a second breakfast at the Co-op at Stoney Stanton – two warm croissants. Lovely.

I went all the way down to Northampton. The usual way down into the town was blocked by roadworks for a new housing development so I followed a detour. Pootled around for a bit and came back. Didn’t visit any of my old haunts, but I did find a nice farm shop with a coffee shop coming back north. Sat outside with a turkey sandwich and a large Americano. Very civilised.

I’d done about 47 miles by the time I turned for home, so I decided to bump the ride distance up to 100 miles. To this end I had an excursion to Naseby on the way back. Nice little village. I visited the monument erected to commemorate the battle that took there on June 14th 1645 during the English Civil War.

To avoid the roadworks near Potters, I came back up the ‘old’ way through Husbands Bosworth, Foston, Blaby. I hadn’t done that for years. Wasn’t completely sure I’d remember the way and for a while I thought I’d neglected a turn, so I was relieved to see a sign for Foston at the left turn I thought I’d missed. I was starting to feel a bit knackered by the time I reached Desford, about 12 miles from home. But I gulped down a bottled milkshake I’d bought at the farm shop and a Cornish pasty and was fine after that. The Tricross is my heaviest bike, that was definitely the longest ride I’ve done on it so far.

Listened mostly to 5 Live which is quite entertaining on a Friday.

Back more than two hours after sunset. Nice to spend a whole solar day outside. 100.64 miles.

That was this year’s 36th fondo, nine of them 100+ milers. Quite pleased with that.


A bit of a break in the weather this afternoon although the roads were very wet. I set off determined to do 45 at least, since I hadn’t been out on a bike at all this month.

The wind was coming from the north. It was reasonably mild. I did the Eastbound route. Decided to go the old way through Rempstone, as I guessed that the roads might be running with water on the usual way (through Stanford and Soar and Burton on the Wolds) since it runs a bit close to the River Soar.

I turned back after 23.5 miles, but decided to come back the usual way. I was right about the state of the roads. Some of them were flooded in parts. Since I was on the Tricross, a bike which is designed for this sort of thing ostensibly, I ploughed through. The worst of it was only about three inches deep, and only over a few metres.

Back on 47.96. Relieved to have got December off to a decent start. I need to do roughly 10 miles per day on average this month so despite all the awful weather, I’m only a couple of miles behind the curve.