The wind was coming pretty much square on from the north, so I thought I’d try a route that I devised a few weeks ago. This would take me up to Castle Donington the usual way, then up to Borrowash – then up to Ockbrook, which is a small village a few miles out of Derby that I frequented occasionally in the early ’90s. I hadn’t been there for about 20 years. I set off at 1510.

Noticed a few planes taking off from the airport in the distance as I approached Donington. Thought I might be fortunate enough to see one taking off as I passed. I did see a DHL A300 taxiing so I stopped at the roundabout for a few minutes to watch it take off, but it didn’t.

I passed a number of ROAD CLOSED signs on the way through Donington, hoping I’d be able to squeeze past whatever obstruction had closed the road to traffic. But the road wasn’t actually closed, in fact there was a temporary traffic light system in place to allow vehicles to pass the roadworks that had (presumably) prompted the signs, in both directions. I suppose it’s a useful deterrent to keep the traffic down.

Over Cavendish Bridge, through Shardlow, up past Elvaston Castle. Then I crossed Nottingham Road and negotiated a steep climb into Ockbrook. Very nostalgic, as I approach the end of my career, to pass two pubs which I used to visit on Friday lunchtimes with work colleagues from my first job. I stopped at a bench at the top of the hill to refuel with crisps and a pork pie that I’d bought. I continued on through Ockbrook then took a right onto Spondon Road. Another old haunt from the ’90s lies along there; a pub called the Bartlewood Lodge. I did come this way a few years ago. I passed it, kept going for another couple of minutes then turned back. Just as I did so, the sun came out! It had been a cool, gloomy day until then but I had bright, warm sunshine for the rest of the ride.

I decided not to come back through Ockbrook. Instead I thought I’d visit Spondon. A girlfriend of mine lived there, as I believe she still does, and I used to cycle to her place from my own house in Oakwood, on the outskirts of Derby. So I pedalled into Spondon and repeated my old ride home, past Locko Park. Lovely in the early evening sunshine. I didn’t actually visit my old house. I pedalled southward along Morley Road to Nottingham Road. Normally from there I’d head toward Borrowash but on this time, since I was indulging my nostalgia, I decided to risk Raynesway, so I could ride past my old place of work between 1989 and 1994. I was pleased to see that the building where I worked on the Rolls-Royce site is still there. I think it’s due to be demolished soon.

Raynesway is a lot scarier for the hapless cyclist than it used to be. It’s a very busy, multi-lane road. I did resort to the cycle lane eventually, somewhat reluctantly. Since I worked along there a bypass has been built which connects to it and unfortunately, I found my way onto that rather than into Alvaston, where I intended to join Shardlow Road.

Ah well. I propelled myself along the cycle lane alongside the bypass for two miles then joined Shardlow Road a bit further to the south than I intended. I came home through Aston, Weston, over Swarkestone Bridge then Melbourne and Coleorton as I have many times before.

Near Weston, a young man driving a fast hatchback of some sort pulled alongside briefly as he overtook, pointing his finger in an agitated manner. I only caught a couple of the words he shouted through the passenger window, these being “left side”. I think he was intimating that I was, in his view, not riding close enough to the gutter. But I was considerably closer to it than the broken white line in the middle of the road. Still – he wasn’t aggressive or threatening, just irritating.

Not far from Coleorton I stopped to make a phone call and as I checked the road behind me before remounting the bike, I saw two very young deer strolling across.

I was passed by a few riders with yellow squares pinned to their backs bearing a numeral and the text “JUST BIKES ASHBY”. I wasn’t familiar with Just Bikes but Ashby is only four miles from Chez Moi so I did a google search on my return and found their website. Oddly it just features the text “SHOP NOW CLOSED” and “Thank you for your custom”.

I listened to 5 Live and more of Pete Townshend’s autobiography, one of the most fascinating audiobooks I’ve ever downloaded.

Back on 48.88 miles which took my May total to 649, and my 2024 total, slighly irritatingly, to 2499. Would have been nice to hit the halfway point to 5000 miles before June. Not quite.

Really a nice sentimental ride out past old haunts. And the evening sunshine was glorious.



The forecast was for rain (again) in the afternoon, but I hoped to get 41 miles or a little bit less in to bring the May mileage total to 600. I set off at 1005 to do a moderately long bypasser.

Cool and windy as I pedalled away from the garage door. Sunny, but a few ominously dark grey clouds lurked the skies.

I did the whole length of Fenn Lanes right along to Sutton Cheney. Hadn’t done that for a while. Very nice with a tailwind. Stopped at Sutton to backpack my tights and relax on one of the sofa-sized wooden benches there. The temperature climbed a bit after 1130.

Listened to 5 Live until they decided they’d cover Keir Starmer’s speech in its entirety, which – since he’s a self-serving liar and a conman, wasn’t quite to my taste. Then I listened to another couple of chapters of Pete Townshend’s autobiography. Fascinating man.

I did get rained on, but only lightly and only for about 20 seconds. There was a downpour about 40 minutes after I got back.

The Bypasser route generally takes me over a road that passes Twycross Zoo, at a crossroads. Today the road I was crossing was choked with traffic. Bank holiday zoo enthusiasts, possibly.

40.88 miles, so I judged the route nicely to bring the May total to 600.19 miles. 2450 done this year now so 5000 seems like an eminently achievable target for 2024.


Short Eastbound

Rain due over at about 1400, but I thought I could get 35 miles or so in before then. Set off at about 1015. With the wind coming from the east, the idea was to do 17 or 18 miles of the eastbound then come back.

I went east the “old” way through Rempstone. At the crossroads there I noticed, as I waited for a green light, a metallic grey Range Rover (or similar) in my mirror. He isn’t going to try to overtake me going up the hill is he? I wondered. There wouldn’t be a lot of space given the oncoming traffic.

He did overtake me. I was relieved as he passed though, he wasn’t too close. However a split second later I discovered that he was towing a caravan, and that missed me by about seven inches. I shouted WANKER at the top of my voice. Not sure if the driver heard me or not. Bloody annoying.

By the time I got to Wymeswold, I’d decided to join up with the newer route. But when I got there I thought I’d keep going east for a bit first. I wasn’t wholly sure I was on Narrow Lane, my intended way to the “new” route (although actually, I was). So since I’d done 18 miles by this time and I was half expecting to get rained on, I turned back. But I came back via Hoton and Cotes, to do the “new” route at least as far as Zouch. After crossing the A6 I extended the ride a bit by detouring through Long Whatton and Diseworth, then I came home down Top Brand.

I didn’t get rained on. Actually as I type it still hasn’t rained today, meaning that I could have done a fondo in very nice weather. It’s sunnier now than it was this morning. Irritating.

Listened to another few hours of Pete Townshend’s autobiography. Fascinating. Back on 40.46 miles.  559 this month now so I should get that to 600 before June.



A couple of months ago I might have described today’s weather as “mild”, but in a late May context I think it’s fair to say it was cold. But at least it was dry. I wrapped up warm and set off to do a Twycross Bypasser at about 1500.

Came back along Heather Lane for the last couple of miles, which I haven’t done for a while. Even though it’s a country lane, it’s usually less likely to be flooded than the road from Ibstock, which is the A447.

Listened to election coverage on 5 Live. Then I listened to another hour or so of Pete Townshend’s autobiography. Very good.

Back on 35.36, and that’s 518 for May so far. First 500+ month of the year.



I planned to do a long ride today, to take advantage of lovely weather. The wind was coming from the east. Too early in the year and a bit too cold in the extremities of the day for Sutton Bridge and back, but I hoped to do at least 100 miles, depending when I woke up this morning.

I woke up sufficiently early and was pedalling away from the garage door at 0705. The basic idea was to do some variation of the route to Norfolk, but turn back for home somewhere in Lincolnshire.

I made it to the village shop at Buckminster at about 10:30. Stopped and had a feast there. After Buckminster there are two options to go eastward, one route goes directly east from there and the other dips south first. Today I did the lower version. I haven’t done this one so often and I missed a turn after Castle Bytham. But that was fine, I was happy to go exploring. After a while I came to a sign for Stamford so I headed in that direction. Well surfaced roads, decently quiet (although it was a Sunday of course).

I went right into Stamford. As it happens one of my brothers lives there, and I did briefly consider paying him an impromptu visit. Then I thought to myself – what would my reaction be, if he did that to me one Sunday? It wouldn’t be positive. So I didn’t. I turned back at a convenient roundabout. As I made my way back I wasn’t 100% sure I was coming back the right way. I’d tried to memorise the turns. Fortunately I got them right.

There’s a handy little village shop / cafe at Castle Bytham, but annoyingly it had closed by the time I passed it on the way back. But I found a handy shop at South Witham and bought some more stuff, including a Mars Bar drink. Ideal fuel for the return leg of a long ride.

At Buckminster I turned east again to take an excursion along the “upper” route eastward as far as Colsterworth, just to add a few miles before turning for home.

Came back via Burton on the Wolds and Stanford on Soar. I’d gone through Rempstone and Wymeswold on the outbound leg. I also had a bit of an excursion through Sutton Bonington and Kingston on Soar.

It was a beautifully warm, sunny day. Cool in the morning but I wrapped up decently warm. I’d backpacked my tights and two upper layers and was down to minimal clothing by 1100. Caught the sun on my arms and topped up the tanlines on my legs.

Listened to 6 Music, the first few chapters of Pete Townshend’s superb autobiography, read by the man himself and then coverage of the final Premier League games of the season, on 5 Live.

Back on 127.17 miles. Probably should have done more given that I was back more than two hours before sunset, but I limited my options by going to Stamford I think. Lovely day out on a bike anyway and especially nice to do a bit of exploring in that bit of Lincolnshire. Lovely over there.



A beautiful afternoon and I wanted to escape from work at about 1500, and do a fondo. Then someone thoughtfully invited me to a meeting at 1700.

So instead I thought I’d take an extended lunch at about 1300 and do maybe 35 miles or so. A light wind was coming from the east, roughly, so the plan was to do about 18 miles of the eastbound route, then come back.

After about four miles, I entered Loughborough Road as usual, only to find that it had been “resurfaced”, if I can dignify what they’ve done with the term, by having a huge quantity of dusty, sharp gravel piled onto it. I tolerated it for about 150 metres or so then decided to turn back. My tyres were liberally coated in grey dust.

I’ll have to avoid Loughborough Road for a while, but fortunately there are other options for that part of the route.

I went west along the Coalville bypass then past Sinope and north through Peggs Green and Griffydam, up Top Brand. Rather than pursue the eastbound route I did a sort of loop through Belton, Long Whatton, Diseworth – just following my nose – and came back down Top Brand. Then west along Alton Hill, to Ashby then Packington, then Normanton Road to Heather, which I don’t think I’ve done for at least two years. Back home via Ibstock, on 37.81 miles, in plenty of time for the meeting.

Really nice out there, warm and sunny. I trialled a pair of cycling shorts in a garish black and green colour scheme that were a Christmas present from Stepdaughter 2. You’d think I’d get a bit of credit for this from her mother but no, she just wanted to point out that they look ridiculous with a black and red cycling top. I suppose I need to buy a new top, I don’t really have one that goes with it.



Showers were forecast for the afternoon at about 1600 but I was keen to add some distance to the May tally, so I resolved to tolerate it. Last time I did that, instead of the light shower I expected, I got rained on for half an hour. This time, I didn’t get rained on at all! The sky went ominously dark grey for half an hour at about 1630, but it didn’t follow through on its threat.

A bit windy, not quite so warm as of late. I did a Twycrosser, with the added twist that I went east to Kirkby Mallory after Cadeby, to take in the last 12 miles of the return leg of the southbound route.

Back on 41.86. 318 this month now which is more than good enough for half way through May.



Rain was forecast for the afternoon but it was a lovely morning, so – clothed once again in minimal cycling gear – I set off at about 1000, with the intention of doing about 35.

I was going to do about 17 miles of the usual eastbound route then come back the same way, but before I got to the junction at Zouch I took a left through Long Whatton, toward Diseworth. I had the idea of going into Loughborough, which I haven’t done for a long time.

Before long though I realised I was actually going in the opposite direction of Loughborough, but I decided to keep going, just in the spirit of maintaining momentum.

At Diseworth I took a right turn I hadn’t taken before, signposted to the airport. Nice little road, nothing special and less than a mile later I was on the A453, running south of the airport. I’d only done 13 miles by this time so I was struggling to think what to do to make up the miles I wanted. I probably should just have kept on going rather than take the left near Zouch.

I took the road down past Breedon, then went north toward Melbourne, then took the road to Ticknall from there – which I haven’t done for at least a year. I chickened out of Bastard Hill and came home via Hartshorne, Woodville, Ashby.

Really a lovely ride over the first half. I spoiled it over the second half by giving myself too much hill climbing to do.

I listened to The Who’s Who’s Next.

Back on 37.04. I didn’t get rained on and in fact hours after I returned home, still no sign of rain. Just warm sunshine. Annoying, as if I’d know I’d have done a fondo. But at the moment next weekend looks clear.



Another warm, sunny day. I left work shamelessly early with the intention of doing about 45 miles. A light wind was blowing from the south again but I’ve done the southbound a few times in the last week or two so I wanted to do something a bit different.

I devised a route that would go south down the “old” southbound route through Desford, but cut across to the “new” southbound route before Enderby. It looked easy enough on the map but (of course) I cocked it up and ended up on Coventry Road, a very busy road that sprouts south-westward out of Leicester. I have been on it before but the Friday afternoon traffic made it a bit hairy. So I took an opportunistic left.

Quite a nice stretch of road after that, nice to do something new. The bit of road I did before arriving on Coventry Road was quite pleasant as well. Always good to do new roads for a change. I stopped for a sandwich and a Bounty bar at a village shop at Huncote. Hadn’t been there before.

Eventually I found myself at a place called Cosby where I took the pic. Saw a sign to Broughton Astley from there. From Broughton I came back pretty much the usual way, except that I attempted to hit the Earl Shilton bypass, took a wrong turn and ended up looping back on myself.

I really must learn to make better use of the eTrex. Too idle to upload the routes, that’s the trouble.

Lovely out there and I dressed appropriately this time, minimal clothing. Listened mostly to 5 Live.

About two years ago I bought a cheap Chinese wireless “bike computer” off Amazon and I got round to fitting it to the Boardman today. The idea, if I remember correctly, was that for short rides I’d be able to use my phone to record the ride directly via the Strava app. I calibrated the computer using notes I’d made last time I fitted a speedo to similar-sized wheels and seem to have got it spot on. 49.32 acording to the Garmin watch, 49.3 according to the speedo (it only does one decimal place).


Down Fosse Way

With a beautiful day forecast and plenty of rain on the way later in the month, I decided I’d take the afternoon off work and do a longish ride.

I set off at about 1110. My vague plan was to go down to Welford and possibly a bit further south, but by the time I got to Stoney Stanton I decided I’d go down Fosse Way instead. So I did. I kept on keepin’ on right down to Princethorpe, which is further than I usually go down that way. Then I bought a sandwich and a Magnum ice cream at a petrol station there, and turned back.

I intended to come back the same way but I took a wrong turn at High Cross somehow. But I found my way to Broughton Astley, which is on my usual Welford route, and came back (mostly) the usual way from there.

I trialled a detour that goes round the hill at Earl Shilton while avoiding the little cycle path that goes down from Thurlaston Lane. It involves a couple of miles of fast road, but it was quiet.

Listened to LBC, Talk Radio and 5 Live. Plenty of people talking nonsense from both sides of the political divide, bloody irritating. I also listened to Jerry Paper’s Like a Baby.

I had a shocking case of hot foot on the Earl Shilton bypass, in both feet. A couple of miles from Kirkby Mallory, I stopped to sit in the shade of a tree. I took off my shoes and socks and cooled my feet in the grass. I gave them a bit of a massage before putting the shoes and socks back on and they were fine after that.

Back on 76.52 miles and I should have done more really. But I’d cooked myself slightly by overdressing (I’m always too cautious at this time of year). Also, I’m on call for the penultimate time. Furthermore, Fosse Way is a bit hilly and I couldn’t think of anywhere particularly interesting to go after Princethorpe. But at least I’ve topped up my tanlines.


That’s 2039 done this year now. 190 done this month, and hopefully I can get another 250 or so in before July.