Had a closer look at the bike this morning and I’ve taken the rear mech and hanger (pictured below) off.

I was worried I’d deformed the frame or ruined some threads in it but the threads for the hanger are in the hanger itself, and the frame is unscathed. The spokes in the wheel that the mech collided with all seem fine, as well.

The hanger definitely needs replacing. Although it’s not obvious from the pic, it’s properly bent out of shape. Fortunately I’ve found one here https://www.rearmechhanger.com

£13 including delivery. I don’t know what a new mech will cost yet! But at least I’m not going to have to convert the X to a fixie.

Moderate Disaster

I booked today off work. A sunny, dry day was promised, albeit it was likely to be cold, with a stiff wind from the north. The plan was to set off at about 0930 and do 75 miles or so. A nice big bite out of the remaining distance requirement.

However at 0845 as I lay in bed pondering the day ahead, I received a phone call from work. Would I please take part in a Teams meeting with a customer? Now? Please?

So in the end I didn’t pedal away from my garage door until 1055. I decided to make do with the fondo distance. I was tempted to try a route I worked out last night which would take me up north-east of Derby, but in the end I plumped for the easy familiarity of the time-honoured Upper Westbound route.

That all went very well. Very nice out there in the sunshine. I’d wrapped myself up a bit too warm but I stuffed a layer into my backpack. I turned back near Cubley to come back the same way.

I stopped at the petrol station at Hatton for a sausage roll and a Fry’s Chocolate Cream. But just as I was about to rejoin the road, I went over the handlebars. I’m not completely sure what happened but I think the front wheel had got caught in a drain grille. The bike and I both smacked the road. I was OK – I banged my right knee but it’s very superficial. I also hurt the wedding ring finger of my left hand somehow and it’s a bit swollen, unfortunate from a guitar-playing perspective but I think it’ll be OK in a few days.

I inspected the bike carefully. The rear mech was bent inward and fouling the spokes. Uh oh. But I bent the rear mech back outward, very gingerly. Clearly it was still out of alignment but it looked rideable. The right hand shifter / brake assembly was also banged out of alignment, but it was working OK. I got back on the bike and rode homeward. Fortunately the gears were still changing fine. But I made a mental note not to downshift too far at the back, in case I fouled the spokes with the rear mech.

All in all I wasn’t too unhappy. I could easily realign the shifter and I probably just needed to give the rear hanger a careful bend, perhaps with the mech removed, to get it back to spec.

I made it up Rotter’s Rise without shifting onto the bottom gear at the back. Alas – at Newbold, with about four miles to go, my concentration must have slipped. I operated the shifter incautiously and the rear pulleys went right into the spokes, bending the rear hanger quite emphatically and breaking the pulley assembly. All the tension went out of it and the bracket that the pulley wheels connect to was snapped.

I took a quick look by the roadside with the bike upside down but it was clear that I was walking the remaining four miles. I managed to pull the rear mech away from the back wheel again at least. But there was no way the pedals were going to make it spin round.

So I pushed it home from there, wheeling the bike in the road while I clogged along the pavement or the grass verge in cleats. To be fair I did mount the bike and freewheel down some of the descents.

I’m not sure what the extent of the damage is. I’m hopeful that a new alloy hanger can be attached to the frame. It’s the Planet X, so it’s carbon but as long as the frame itself is OK the hanger can be replaced, I think. And I’ll need a new rear mech, assuming the frame isn’t a write-off.

Ah well! At least I’m not short of bikes.

58.78 miles, then.


Lower Westbound

Another mild, dry afternoon. With the wind coming from the south-west, I decided to do some of the Lower Westbound route. Again, I wanted to do at least 45 miles. Usually I’d be happy with 35 or so on a dark evening after work, but I’m determined now to equal my 2020 distance tally so I need to put a bit of an effort in.

Went out through Packington on the way out. I’d forgotten to bring water with me so I stopped at the petrol station at Measham to get a bottle of Fanta. And just out of sheer indulgence, I brought a sandwich and a flapjack as well. Just as well I did, because on arriving home I noticed my cheese pasty and oat bar still on a kitchen surface! I’d forgotten to pack them.

I took the customary left turn at Kings Bromley, but rather than take the right turn after that, to Rugeley or Abbots, I decided to keep going straight on. Nothing particularly interesting, but it was a nice, well-surfaced flat road and not too busy. I turned homeward a couple of miles after that anyway.

Saw a large owl near Croxall and was buzzed by a bat near Alrewas.

I listened to 5 Live for a bit, then another three hours or so of My Effin’ Life, which has proved to be a very absorbing listen.

I was bothered several times by drivers with full beam headlights. Fortunately I was sporting my most punishing, dual-lithium-rechargeable powered head torch and a quick blast of that to the offender’s windscreen works wonders.

Back on 49.28. 5815 done this year now, which is more than my previous second-best year (2016).



Left work early. Wanted to do at least 45, having been robbed of a pretty good cycling day on Friday by illness. Fortunately I seem to have recovered now.

I did a Twycross Bypasser, with a long detour south-west down to Old Grendon and back. The roads were a bit damp but there was no rain apart from a bit of drizzle over the last half hour. Mild out there, which is always welcome in the dark.

Listened to Geddy Lee’s My Effin’ Life throughout. Some really eye-opening insights.

Back on 46.17 miles. 5766 this year, and if I can do another 545 before January, I’ll have equalled my 2020 (all time) record, 6311. So I’ll try and do another 130 this month if I can.


Odd Bypasser

Bit of a strange one. Nice dry day, colder than of late but still reasonably mild. I sneaked out not long after 1430 with the intention of doing some of the Lower Westbound route and coming back on 45 miles or so.

But – I was so engrossed in the audiobook I was listening to (Geddy Lee’s My Effin’ Life) that I took the turn down Gallows Lane, as if doing a Twycrosser or Bypasser, on auto-pilot. So my options for doing more than 40 miles or so were a bit limited. I did a bit of the old Dad’s Army route down as far as the A5, then went down toward Atherstone, through Ratcliffe then west to Sheepy, after which I came home via a part-reverse Twycrosser.

Home on 43.15.

Nice run out on the whole, the only really annoying thing was having to cope with copious quantities of mud in great big chunks along Sibson Road. It was fine last time I went along there a few days ago; clearly some large farm vehicles have come and done their stuff. It was so bad that my own road bike tyres were flinging off chunks of mud like tractor tyres, and the wheels were slipping. Not what you want in the dark. I stopped a couple of miles later and was pulling huge clumps of earth out of the front fork, jammed under the front brake.

More on Friday I hope, might take the afternoon off work.



Very windy out there today, 40+ mph in the early afternoon, but conditions had improved markedly by the time I mounted the X at 1550-ish. Still pretty windy though. But unusually mild, about 12C I think.

I did a Bypasser. I only had half an hour before sunset but it was lovely out there in the dark. Especially in the open between Norton and Orton. Listened to the commentary about David Cameron returning to government and Suella leaving it, on 5 Live.

Unbelievably, yet again this morning the weather forecast had warned of rain later in the afternoon, then later claimed that it wouldn’t rain. And of course the rain did come down, for the last half hour. Still – it was worth it for a very enjoyable run out.

Back on 35.45 miles. 5677 done this year now, so 6,000 miles in 2023 looks nailed down.

In 2020 I set myself a target of doing 6214 miles, or 10,000km. I could well do the same this year without particularly having tried to. Not sure why it’s been such a high-scoring year really.



I hoped to do at least 80 today, originally. Very light winds were forecast. It was going to be sunny. But the forecast changed to threaten mist after sunset, so I decided to keep it down to fondo distance or thereabouts.

The wind was coming from the west, but I decided to go east anyway. It was only supposed to be 4 mph, not enough to worry about. The wind direction was due to do a 180° turn later in the afternoon interestingly, although not until after sunset so I wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of that.

I put too many layers on, unfortunately. I ended up stashing a pair of overtrousers and a winter cycling tunic in my backpack after about 17 miles and I didn’t need them again during the ride. I guess I hadn’t taken the direct sunshine into account, it does make a big difference.

Got to the Eastwell crossroads at about 1150 (I’d set off at 0905) but decided to press on. I went right past the left turn to Belvoir Castle and kept going, something I hadn’t done before. This led to a long, steep descent. My curiosity to visit the village of Knipton overcame my instinct not to go down the hill. Happily it had a (very small) village shop with a table outside, so at least I was able to take a break for lunch before slogging back up and homeward.

Took a different way home after Six Hills, through Wymeswold and Hoton. And after Belton, I came back through Peggs Green and Coleorton.

I took the pic near Cotes. Very impressed with the multi-exposure capture function on my phone; even with the camera facing the Sun directly, the bike was exposed nicely.

Listened to LBC,  the British Sea Power album Do You Like Rock Music? and 5 Live, including some of United v Luton.

Back on 74.05, about half an hour before sunset. I could have done a bit more. But the lure of a coffee and a couple of digestive biscuits is strong.



I set off on a Bypasser at about 1500.

Twice in the last week, the weather forecast has changed from rain to dry in the afternoon, but it rained anyway. And today, once more, by midday the BBC had replaced the rain cloud symbol in the forecast for the afternoon to a harmless-looking white one without the raindrops coming out of it.

It didn’t take the wisdom of Nadine Dorries to work out that it would probably rain regardless. And it did, but it was very light and only lasted half an hour.

I was going to go down to Kisses Barn Lane at the bottom end, but Orton Road was closed off near Warton, so I backtracked and took Sheepy Lane instead.

Mostly listened to liberal conspiracy theories about the Home Secretary on LBC.

I had the bright idea of using the Strava app on my phone to record the ride since I have an old-fashioned magnet-driven bike computer on the Tricross handlebars. Unfortunately the app (or the GPS chip on the phone) seems to have gone into some sort of weird minimalist mode. It only saved a couple of dozen track points then claimed I’d done 32.20 miles. But the bike computer recorded 34.75, and a route planner agrees with that very closely. So: back on 34.75, although I haven’t fixed the track on Strava.



The weather forecast held a threat of showers at around 5pm, although this had been withdrawn by midday. I left work early and set off at 1500 to do a Twycrosser (I thought Orton Lane might be a bt too waterlogged for a Bypasser).

About a quarter hour later, rain. Cold, persistent and somewhat unpleasant. About 45 minutes later though as I approached Twycross, the rain died away to be replaced by blue skies, yellowy fluffy clouds and sunshine, and the roads were dry. Looks like if I’d set off an hour earlier I’d have missed the rain. It was actually really nice out there by this time in the last of the afternoon light. I mostly dried out except for my feet, which were in woolly hiking socks.

Back on to the wet roads as I approached Bosworth coming back up north. Pretty horrible in the dark. I enjoy cycling in the dark mostly but wet roads are annoying even with a bright front light.

Came back up through Newton Burgoland and Ibstock. Quite an enjoyable run out on the whole. Back on 37.35. 159 done this month, I hope to get that up to about 400.



Wanted to do the time-honoured Upper Westbound Fondo today. Sunny, no rain, fairly mild and not too windy – but there’s a lot of standing water around at the moment.

I took this image of Ferry Lane, off the Beloved A Road as I passed it – fortunately I had no intention of going that way, but thought it was worth a pic.

So I wasn’t surprised when, about nine miles later, my path was blocked by a flood near Scropton. A couple out cycling were coming the other way so I let them try it first so I could gauge the depth. At the deepest point their chainrings were part-submerged.

So I gave it a miss and turned back. I headed down through Tutbury instead. I didn’t have that far to go to make up the necessary mileage for a fondo before heading homeward, so I went exploring. I followed a sign out of Tutbury for a place called Rolleston on Dove and that was really a very pleasant stretch of road. But ultimately, a couple of miles after Rolleston, it ended in a T junction with the A50. After turning back I followed a sign for a place called Stretton. That took me to Burton on Trent, ultimately. I turned back at a roundabout near the Burton Albion ground before going too far into the centre.

Back the same way to Tutbury, then the A road, then homeward. I realised at my 20-miles-from-home point that I was going to be short of a fondo. I didn’t fancy the hill south of Melbourne (aka Rotter’s Rise) anyway so I detoured home via Shardlow and Castle Donington.

I also took a detour into Donington via a place called Hemington. I’d noticed this opportunity while perusing maps a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately this involved a brutal climb up a narrow, twisty, but inexplicably beautifully-surfaced road that was far worse than Rotter’s Rise. This led to a sphincter-tightening steep descent to the main road in Donington which had me jamming the brakes on tight, and I hate to waste kinetic energy.

Saw two Airbuses taking off just as I was passing the airport. One going to Antalya, the other going to Lanzarote. I checked when I got home.

Listened to 5 Live and 6 Music. Very entertaining game between Forest and Villa.

Anyway, back the usual way from Donington and home on 69.37, about half an hour after sunset. That’s 122 this month despite the weather, pleased with that. And 5495 this year, which takes me past last year’s total (5477). More on Tuesday hopefully.