Bonus Day Twycrosser

I felt sure I wasn’t going to get out again this month due to rotten weather, but happily the forecast for this afternoon changed. I’d abandoned my desk and set off on a Twycrosser by 1545. Only wanted to do 30-odd miles since it was likely to rain later, but that would see me over 400 for the month.

Stopped along Gibbet Lane on the way back to put my lights on – and found that I didn’t have a rear light attached to the Tricross. Well, no matter – I was bound to have a strappy one in my backpack. And I did, but the little plastic hook that tethers the two ends of the silicon loop had gone missing. I tried to fashion a makeshift connection, but no joy. Fortunately the head torch in my backpack had a red light mode, so I switched that on and put it on my head backwards.

Not so fortunately, the red light would only stay on for a few minutes. I have no idea why. I only found that out because I got shouted at, not unreasonably, by passing motorists a couple of times.

Absolutely disgraceful that I didn’t check I had proper lighting before setting off. I must own about 15 rear bike lights, as well.

Still – I didn’t get run down. Back on 33.74 miles. 409 this month.

Very pleasant out there, not too cold and there was even a bit of weak sunshine early on, just enough to cast faint shadows though it wasn’t bright. I didn’t get rained on though I went through standing water a couple of times.

Nice to get a ride in on a Feb 29th.  An opportunity to boost the yearly tally that you don’t usually get.


The plan for today, to take advantage of a rare dry day with the wind coming from the east, was to do Lincolnshire and back. I worked out a route last night that would take me to a new entry point to the county of Isaac Newton. Essentially my usual route over to Waltham, Stonesby, Buckminster et al, except that I took a left turn before Waltham along five miles of road I hadn’t done before – toward Grantham, through a village called Croxton Kerrial, then to the Lincolnshire border a bit further on.

So I did that. I can’t say I greatly enjoyed the new stretch of road – the first couple of miles of it were a mostly gritty narrow lane with passing places. The rest of it had a long, steep descent followed by a slog of a climb (which of course meant the same again coming back).

On the way out I took the high road via Rempstone and Wymeswold to avoid standing water. On the way back though I needed to refuel at Burton on the Wolds petrol station because the village shop wasn’t open at Croxton. So I took the more usual route, and I did have to propel the bike through a couple of floods. Nothing dramatic. Just a couple of inches of water.

I detoured via Waltham to avoid the narrow lane on the way back as well. After Belton I came back down through Griffydam and Coleorton, just to do something a bit different.

Cool at first but after a couple of hours I was warm enough to remove my overtrousers and outer nylon top layer. Really nice in the sun. On the way back the temperature dropped quite quickly so I put them back on at the petrol station. Made a very welcome difference.

I had to contend with quite a stiff headwind going east, but the wind speed actually increased gradually over the afternoon which meant that – for a change – the tailwind on the way back was stronger than the headwind had been.

Really glad to be out on a bike for a few hours after a week of rubbish weather. I listened mostly to footy on 5 Live (most notably the EFL cup final).

Back on 76.69. That’s 375 this month which is nicely over target. Also, my average distance for 2023 is up to 45.07.

That’s another neighbouring county ticked for this year, just Rutland to do now.

Up and West

The weather forecast for today had improved substantially by this morning, to the point where I thought I might be able to get a fondo in without getting rained on. I set off at about 1045 to do the Upper Westbound route. That’s an option that’s fallen out of favour recently for apres-work rides due to the irritation of having to share the Beloved A Road with rush hour traffic, but no such reservations apply on a Sunday.

I stocked up on food at the petrol station near Hatton. Crisps, a sandwich and a Fry’s Peppermint Cream. Then, rather than turning south into Hatton I decided to keep on – I suspected that my way would be blocked by a flooded road near Scropton (again) so I wanted to do a bit of exploring. I continued on to Foston, then took a road north called Hay Lane. I’ve been up there before. It’s a bit narrow, twisty, bumpy and gravelly but I perservered until I came to impassable water. Then I came back south onto the main road again. Then I tried a road north called Woodyard Lane until, once again, I came to a watery impasse. I turned back south again.

By the time I was back on the main road I’d decided not to bother going down through Hatton and Scropton at all. I decided just to head for home, but add a few miles some other way. I took a detour through Etwall from Hiilton, and after Swarkestone, I came back the long way via Weston, Aston, Shardlow and Castle Donington.

A nice mild day. Sunny when I set off, then gloomy for a bit with a faint hint of drizzle. Then nice sunshine again. I didn’t get rained on but I went through water on the roads so many times that the bike was filthy when I got back. I actually gave it a cursory hose down and clean with some car shampoo before putting it away, which is a very rare turn of events for me. Only took ten minutes, not a proper clean by any means. But I should do that more often.

I took the first pic at the left turn onto the main road, after Etwall. Water was gurgling into the drain at about a litre a second (at a guess). Both wheels were up to the spoke nipples in it.

Arrived at the road next to the runway at East Midlands just in time to see a plane take off, going west. A 737 I think.

Listened to footy on 5 Live and the rest of the Reacher novel, 61 Hours. Definitely better than the last two.

Back on 65.24 miles, about 45 minutes before sunset. 298 done this month.


Sunny, dry and mild by the time I downed tools this afternoon. A bit windy though. I set off to do 20-odd of the Lower Westbound route, then come back. Got as far as Handsacre then came back.

Quite a bit of standing water from heavy rain overnight, and some of the fields had been transformed into shallow lakes.

Listened mostly to more of the Reacher novel, just a few hours from the (no doubt righteously brutal) climax now. Back on 49.54 miles.


Hadn’t been out on a bike for a few days so I was glad to get an opportunity after work today. Nice and dry, but windy and rather cold. I did a Bypasser, with a bit of exploring at the south-eastern end near Dordon. I’d been over that way once before, there’s a nice view looking back into Leicestershire from the high ground there. But I took a different route last time, along a horrible narrow gravelly road (Dordon Hall Lane I think).

Comfortable enough before sunset but very cold after that. Listened to another couple of hours of the Reacher novel.

Back on 40.15, 183 this month. Really looking forward to longer days and warmer weather. But quite enjoying a bit of night riding for now.


Would have been a lovely day for an eastbound fondo – very light winds, no chance of rain and mostly bright and sunny (albeit I’d have been coming back in the dark). But I had scheduled work late this afternoon so I couldn’t. So I took a long lunch break instead. I did a Twycrosser.

Once again I saw a helicopter apparently headed for the field near Measham and sure enough it was parked there when I passed the field fifteen minutes later. I saw a well-dressed lady in her 50s in a Range Rover pulling away from the gate, a man of a similar age in a business suit was walking along the path to the helicopter.

Quite an enjoyable run out, if brief. Nice to do the whole thing in daylight, at least. Back on 26.35.


Wasn’t able to abandon my desk as early as I wanted due to a meeting but it was mild and dry, if a bit windy and gloomy. I thought I’d do the usual 30-odd after work. I did a Bypasser.

Saw a helicopter travelling in a south-westerly direction not long after setting off and wondered if it was headed to the “helipad” field near Measham. Sure enough when I passed the field it was there, red lights flashing and spinning up the rotor blades. I stopped and watched it take off.

Even better, I saw an old steam locomotive on a huge trailer being pulled along Gallows Lane.

Tested a new torch that I bought at Tesco on an impulse – it takes 4 AAs and is quite heavy so not practical for longer rides but great for these shorter jaunts. Very bright.

Listened to 5 Live and more Reacher.

Back on 37.27 miles.

Halfway to Wales

A dry, very mild day was forecast (about 13C) so I took the afternoon off with a view to doing a long one. I decided to do the Lower Westbound route, but to take the turn for Rugeley rather than Abbots Bromley. In essence my Wales route, although I wasn’t going to go nearly that far today.

I set off not long after 1100 but had a false start – After about half a mile I realised firstly that I’d forgotten to adjust the saddle on the Boardman like I intended (it came slightly loose and after I’d tightened it, it was about a centimetre too far forward), and secondly that I’d forgotten my phone. So I turned back, adjusted the saddle, went in the house for the phone and set off again.

Bit of a bothersome headwind on the way out. But the sun came out, which I wasn’t expecting. I stopped after about 38 miles (including the superfluous mile at the start) and turned back. I’d done about half of the Wales route.

I missed the turn for Armitage and King’s Bromley on the way back, but only realised some time later. I’m sure I did the same thing on the way back from Wales, last time. But I saw a turn for King’s Bromley a bit later on and took that. My unnecessary detour added about four miles but I didn’t mind – it was well-surfaced and mostly flat, and I had a decent tailwind so I was flying along.

The A51 was resurfaced in part a couple of years ago and it was pretty rough for a few miles but I’m glad to say it’s bedded in nicely now.

I listened to 5 Live, and started the next Reacher novel, 61 Hours.

Back two hours after sunset, on 79.71 miles. Very enjoyable trip.