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.