A fitful sleep, last night. I kept dreaming that I was playing for Manchester United, but I couldn’t find my shirt. I woke up a few times and got to sleep again without too much trouble, but my unwanted dream resumed each time. The kit man just couldn’t be found and we were playing City, so taking to the pitch in my light blue t-shirt was unthinkable.

Normally I have my second and final coffee of the day at around 4pm but yesterday, for reasons we need not explore here, this was postponed until 8pm – and I think this was the cause of my nocturnal unrest.

Consequently I felt a little worse for wear this morning when I got up, a little later than intended. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do a Fondo but I thought I’d set off westward anyway and see how I got on. But I felt fine once I was out on the bike so I resolved to do the regulation 62.14 miles.

The idea was to go as far as Sudbury then turn south, then take a road called Holly Bush Road to the right which I hadn’t tried before. I missed the turn for this but decided to press on anyway; I only needed to do another three miles or so before turning back. Unfortunately from this point the road was something of a rollercoaster of hills, with one monstrously long steep climb south of Draycott especially. But it was a lot of fun whizzing back down it coming back. I stopped to turn back on 31.5 miles, about a mile from the National Football Centre at St George’s Park.

On the way back I took a wrong turn, coming back through Coton in the Clay. I stopped after a bit to consult Google Maps and get myself back on track. This turned out to be a fortuitous mistake because I passed some lovely hilly scenery (I took the following pic at the point I checked the map). It took me through Tutbury, which was interesting. And when I passed my 20-mile-to-go landmark in Hilton I realised that I’d actually taken a short cut, the return journey being about 0.12 miles shorter than the outward leg.

The headwind on the way west was a bit of a pain but having it push me along on the way back along the flat A road was delightful.

Listened to discussion about 9/11 on LBC, then the Ronaldo-obsessed footy discussion on 5 Live ahead of the Prodigal Son’s return to Old Trafford. Then some of the game. But I got fed up waiting for him to score after 20 minutes so I started the next Reacher audiobook, Without Fail. One thing I like about it is that he doesn’t get involved in this latest adventure purely by chance. Someone in the US Secret Service comes looking for him based on his reputation as a major in the Military Police.


62.91 miles, 236 this month.


A hot, sunny day, possibly the last opportunity for cycling in shorts this year. Other things to do tomorrow, temperatures will drop on Thursday and it’s October in about three weeks’ time.

With the wind coming from the east, I thought I’d do the usual eastbound route for 20 miles or so then come back. However, I got as far as Prestwold Park near Burton on the Wolds, and decided to do something else. I took the road to Hoton then to Wymeswold, to join the old, deprecated eastbound route and came back home from there. Once back over the Leicestershire border though, I detoured through Diseworth and came back down Top Brand.

Something a bit different. Nice run out. The road between Hoton and Wymeswold especially is lovely for cycling; secluded and quiet. But it’s difficult to incorporate it into a route.

Noticed that some netting has been stretched over Ashby Road near the A6 junction, between two newly erected scaffolding structures and directly under the electricity lines – is there a danger that one of them will snap? Or perhaps they’re installing new lines there soon.

Listened mainly to the press briefing about the health and social care tax. I laughed when Sajid Javid joked that Rishi Sunak had “been trained well”, but I think there’s a touch of regret that his understudy has upstaged him.

39.26 miles, 173 this month.


Glider Club

A warm, sunny day with a light wind from the east. I decided a trip down the southbound route to Welford and back was in order. I’ve done the eastbound route a few times recently and couldn’t be bothered with it today.

Within half a mile of setting off, I realised that I’d got the clothing strategy wrong. I’d settled on shorts + long-sleeved top + lightweight cycling jacket, and I was already comfortably warm. I’d expected it to be cool in the morning, but it didn’t seem to be. However I couldn’t be bothered to go back and change so I pressed on. I was definitely too warm in the afternoon, but not intolerably so.

Rather than go down to Welford, I decided to take a left for the gliding club along Sibbertoft Road. I’d already done 31 miles and wasn’t particularly motivated to cross the Northamptonshire border. I thought I’d watch the gliders for a bit instead. This was thoroughly entertaining – I saw a glider come in to land only about 80 metres from where I’d parked the bike against the fence, and a small aircraft came down shortly afterwards. Best of all though was watching one of the gliders take off – it went up very steeply, like a Lightning jet taking off – within seconds the cable it was attached to was nearly vertical, so that it looked like a giant kite. Then it was disconnected and the end of the cable came down connected to a little parachute. The glider wheeled away to the west, like a seagull. It must have been 1500 feet up in about 20 seconds.

Disappointed to find the village shop / cafe at Gilmorton closed on the way back. I particularly wanted an ice cream and a coffee. But I snagged a bottle of Lucozade from the Co-op at Stoney Stanton further on. Unfortunately I pressed the “pause” button on the bike computer a little too long, causing it to split the track. The second part of the track after Stoney never made it to Strava so I’ve synthesised it and stitched it on. I made a slight Horlicks of it so that it looks like I detoured through Ashby Magna, but I didn’t.

Listened mostly to the women’s football on 5 Live and LBC.

Really nice to do that one again, it’s been a while.


64.59. 134 this month.

Twycross Bypasser

Warmer than I expected today so I didn’t want to waste an opportunity for cycling in shorts. I did a fairly perfunctory Twycross Bypasser. The sun came out, as if for my own convenience, ten minutes before I set off. But it only lasted half an hour.

Some new bike lights turned up from Amazon today and I fitted the rear one to the second Boardman. But I took the X today and was back before sunset.


31.66 miles, that’s 69 this month, not bad for three days in. Perhaps a Fondo on Sunday, when temperatures will be in the 20s around these parts allegedly.

Spon Lane

Gloomy afternoon and relatively cold, but I hadn’t been out on a bike since the weekend so I wrapped up warm, put a dutt on and withdrew Boardman II from the garage after work. I did a longish Twycross Bypasser with a bit of an excursion down the Dad’s Army route. Pleasant run out.

One odd thing – I fully intended to come home along Gibbet Lane but after 25 miles I realised I was pedalling along Bosworth Road. I didn’t even remember taking that turn. It’s not even similar to the Gibbet Lane turn; it involves a steep climb for a few yards just after you turn. I must have been on autopilot.

While I was pedalling along Bosworth Road, I noticed a Mitre football lying on the grass next to the road. Over the hedge to the left, some young lads were doing football practice in proper kit, with a coach. So I stopped the bike and booted it over, in the manner of Jonny Wilkinson taking a drop kick. I didn’t get so much of a nod of thanks. You would think the ball had returned itself, like a boomerang. I’ll just take it home next time and put it on eBay.

Speaking of football I quite enjoyed Denmark v Scotland on 5 Live.

I was caught without lights – I thought sunset was about 20:15 (I didn’t check of course) but nope, 19:55 this evening! Enough light to see but I definitely should have had a rear light on over the last couple of miles. The second Boardman is the only bike in the fleet without a permanent rear light fitted, I must fix that.

Anyway 37.70 miles, I’ll aim to do another 275 or so this month.


Little Bytham

Another thoroughly decent day for cycling forecast today. I thought I should probably do a 100 miler, but wasn’t really sure I wanted to, for some reason. I decided that if I woke up early enough and felt like it I’d do at least 100 miles, otherwise a perfunctory Fondo would do. As it happened I did feel like springing out of bed and doing a long ride when I woke up, so I did.

I’ve devised a new route to Norfolk which is essentially the same as the one I did a few weeks ago, except that after 40 miles it turns south, to join the first Norfolk route that I did four years ago. I certainly wasn’t going to go all the way to Norfolk today, but I thought I’d do 50 or so miles of it then come back the same way.

Cold and cloudy when I set off at about 07:50 but I’d wrapped up warm enough to be comfortable. I was trialling a larger-than-usual backpack to stuff my fleece and tights into, later in the ride – which I did after a few hours after conditions had warmed up nicely. The sun came out in the afternoon. On a longer ride than this I might just have sucked up the hostile temperature over the first part of the ride to save the weight of the additional clothing, but not today. The backpack is nothing special; not very sporty looking or posh. It’s an Amazon Basics product that I think is intended for kids to take laptops to school. But it’s lightweight and did the job very nicely.

I missed the turn for the connecting road unfortunately and had to track back. But the new bit of road connecting the two routes was a delight – nicely surfaced and very quiet. Called ‘The Drift’, for some reason. I went as far as Little Bytham and turned for home again. Really nice to be in that part of the world again. Nice round there. Pleasant memories of my first trip to Norfolk and back, which was a distance record at the time (179 miles).

Like last time I stopped at the shop at Buckminster with a bench outside for a rest and refuel on the way back. Treated myself to a Magnum ice cream. Funnily enough while I was waving my debit card in the proximity of the card machine the proprietor asked me “how many miles you doing today, 100?”. And when I said yes, I’m sure he thought I was going along with his joke.

I was a little dismayed that my lithium AAs in my DAB died after only about an hour, having been freshly recharged. But I put a spare pair in and they lasted the rest of the ride. One of the first pair must be buggered. Shame as they were lasting 12+ hours on a single charge and I’ve only charged them three times. Not to mention they cost £20-odd.

And speaking of disappointing technology I used my GPS G Shock to track the ride. It’s very nice to use, with a brilliant battery life and useful information on the display, until you try to get a track off it and up to Strava. I’ve never yet managed that without re-pairing the watch with the Android tablet and restarting the app a few times and today was no exception. Very cool gadget but let down by the ancillary software.

Anyway that was a really nice run out, one of the best ones this year. 20th Fondo and 5th 100-miler of 2021. 103.72 miles.



A dry afternoon, just about warm enough for shorts (and how many of those are left in 2021?) so I went out on a bike after work.

Up through Thringstone and Belton, all pretty familiar stuff until I got to the junction at Long Whatton. Normally I’d take a left there and come back down Top Brand, or maybe go over to Melbourne. But I noticed a road sign to Loughborough and thought – why not? This took me along the A6, not the best time of day for it really with rush hour traffic going past. Don’t think I’d ever done that on a bike, though I used to go that way sometimes in a car many years ago.

When I got into Loughborough I pedalled around aimlessly. All very suburban but quite pleasant. A bit of a change, anyway. I thought of looking for my ex-girlfriend’s family home there, where I used to visit for weekends over 30 years ago. I know exactly where it is in relation to the main road off the M1, but not in relation to where I was. So I gave that up after a while and came back toward Ashby along the A6 again.

However instead of continuing all the way to the usual crossroads at Zouch, which would have been the sensible thing to do, I turned left for Shepshed, in a spirit of adventure. From Shepshed I followed a sign to Whitwick. I quite like having to find my way home along unfamiliar roads – but this was undoubtedly an error as this one took me through Oaks in Charnwood and Abbey Road, a route I always bypass to the north as it’s a sort of rollercoaster of unwanted uphill climbing.

But the steep downhill curve near Charley Road was very exciting, I must admit.

Felt like a lot of work for 27.58 miles, but there it is.


259 miles this month so far, more on Saturday I hope.

I think I’ll have another nose around Loughborough some time soon but I’ll pick a quieter time of day.

Twycross Bypasser

A bit windy, very overcast but warmish and dry. Left work as early as I could with the intention of getting 25 miles in. Didn’t have time this evening for much more.

I did a Twycross Bypasser, with the Warton extension. Quite a pleasing run out. Forgot to take my phone with me, so no pics. Felt a little insecure without it, but I reminded myself that no-one used to take a phone with them on a bike until the 1990s. And I wasn’t going far.

Sad to hear the news of Charlie Watts’ passing while listening to LBC. That first generation of rock’n’rollers who came to prominence in the ’60s is already filing through the exit.

Due to navigational incompetence I did 30.06 miles instead of the intended 25, but I made it back in time.

I saw a very small dead bird, near Heather. Fully feathered (perhaps fledged is the term) but really tiny. Hard to say what killed it, it looked intact apart from the fact that it was completely still and lying on the road. Perhaps a Goldcrest (I’ve just spent 5 minutes Googling small British birds).


231 this month! Quite pleased with that given that I was on holiday for a week.

Twycross Bypasser

The forecast for today removed its threat of rain, so I thought I’d have a leisurely 30-odd this afternoon. I did a Twycross Bypasser. An unusual variant, in which I did some of the roads in a different configuration would normally be the case.

Cloudy but quite warm, and intermittently sunny. Once again I stopped at San Giovanni for a crafty margarita.

Forgot to resume GPS tracking after stopping briefly along Orton Lane so some of the track is a straight line. But I’ve done the necessary measurements on Google Maps and adjusted accordingly for the spreadsheet.

I was a little concerned to see glowering black clouds gathering a few miles in the distance with a few miles to go, although I was pedalling in bright sunshine at the time. Sure enough I did suffer light rain over the last mile or so. Bad timing you might think, but a few minutes after I’d put the bike away and made it into the house, it started coming down in bucket loads. I’ll call it a draw.


35.19, that’s 201 this month.

Eastwell and Back

Ideal Fondo weather yesterday, ignoring a very slight risk of rain. Warm, with a light wind coming from the east according to the BBC weather site.

Escaped from work early and was on the road by 3:30pm on the Cannondale. After using the Boardman a couple of times it felt delightfully light and quick, I must say. A real pleasure. It just seems to devour the miles you put in front of it.

Had a wee stop in the trees off the road at Prestwold Park, not long after my DAB batteries had died. The spare rechargeables I’d brought with me were flat, I must have put them away without charging them. No matter, I thought – I’ll start the next Reacher novel on my MP3 player. Nope, I’d forgotten to put the micro-SD card back in. So I listened to 5 Live using the BBC Sounds app on my phone.

My bike computer ran out of juice as well later on, so I used Strava on the phone to record the last half of the route then stitched it to the Garmin track using a GPS editor (gpsprune). Normally I’d be annoyed not to be able to see how many miles I’d done without pulling a phone out of my back pocket. But on my default Fondo route I have memorised a number of exact distance-from-home landmarks, at 21, 18, 15, 12, 10 and 5 miles.

I was quite annoyed when I reached the crossroads at Eastwell to notice the two small wind turbines on an adjacent farm there spinning determinedly in a direction that implied I’d had a tailwind, not a headwind, on the way out. Sure enough, when I turned for home I had it in my face. But it wasn’t strong and the bike still seemed to zip along quite happily on the way back.

I used the MP3 player app on the phone on the way back, to listen to Blood On The Tracks, then Low. For some reason the app was set to ‘shuffle’ mode and despite a long and distinguished career in Information Technology and an honours degree in Computer Science, I couldn’t work out how to switch that off. But Low works surprisingly well with the desolate, atmospheric instrumentals from the second side intertwined with the stripped-down pop tunes from the first. I started to think that Bowie might have missed a trick.

It didn’t rain.

Dark when I got back on 62.32 miles. An enjoyable Fondo, the 19th this year.

Lamentably poor preparation on the electronics front, but my phone came to the rescue. I maintain that a smartphone is the single most important piece of cycling equipment after the bike. I was quite pleased to see that running Strava and a radio app or MP3 player at the same time didn’t put too much of a dent in the remaining charge.