Went out yesterday intending to do 23 or so (a Twycross as usual), but ended up doing 27.17 – partly because when I got to Sibson, I decided do go home via Shenton again, to avoid the climb up the A444. Just lovely out there. So much nicer to be pedalling unencumbered by tights, and to operate the gears without gloves on. And nice to have an opportunity to wear my cycling sunglasses.

I developed a bit of a headache for some reason after the first 18 miles but I had a bit of a rest at the wooden bus shelter at Barton, did a couple of calf stretching exercises and was fine after that.

No knee pain to speak of generally, except for a couple of twinges pushing up hills and a bit of superficial soreness, so I was pleased about that. I had a standing-only gig to go to last night and the knees were a bit uncomfortable, but they seem OK this morning.  However I will be good for the foreseeable future and not operate a bicycle on consecutive days.

And I note that the weather is gorgeous out there again today, but it looks like more of the same tomorrow. So there’s that.

206 done this month.

I must learn to manage my distances properly. I’ve set up an overlay for Google Maps with landmarks showing the distance to home from strategic points along a number of my regular routes which would help, but I can never be bothered to get the phone out.

Perhaps 20 or 30 years in the future, you’ll be able to get cycling glasses with a sort of Head Up Display. They’ll be linked to Google Maps, or whatever the digital map provider of choice might be in the mid 21st Century. And as you approach one of the waypoints you’ve saved, you’ll have a marker projected into your field of view – it will be rendered to look exactly like a signpost sticking out of the ground, to the side of the road, saying “18 miles from here to home” or whatever.

You’ll also be able to have a voice-operated cycling assistant on your phone – so you’ll be able to ask for directions and help using a lapel mic on your cycling jersey. What’s the lowest elevation route to Melton Mowbray from here? Record my track and upload it to Strava. And so on.

Long Whatton

My knee was still hurting a bit from Monday but I went out anyway, thinking of doing 25 or so. Set off without any sort of plan in mind on the X. Went out through Coalville and thought of doing the Sutton Bonington route again. But I passed the sign to Diseworth just before the A6, and thought I’d see where that might take me. Diseworth, you might think. But no, I took a left at Long Whatton then Smith Lane, and came back the same way.

Lovely weather – very spring like; almost warm. Nice to go for a ride with bare legs. I must shave them. Fairly substantial headwind on the way out, but so placid once I turned round at Long Whatton.

A young man in a baseball cap riding a little two-stroke dirt bike pulled alongside me in Coleorton, and offered to race. I declined. About three minutes after that, I experienced the single closest overtaking manouevre by a passing motor vehicle that I’ve ever experienced on a bike, beating my previous record from 2016 by a good couple of inches – not counting of course the time in 2010 when a car actually delivered a glancing blow to the rear fork of my old Ridgeback along Heather Lane, cracking the frame and bringing to an end its useful life.

Ended up doing only 21.27 miles. So much for my strategy of increasing my distances by two miles every week. But my knee pain dissipated quite a bit after the first few miles; I seemed to ride through it. And they don’t feel any the worse for wear now, at least compared to this morning. Will be interested to see how they feel on Friday.

I now have an appointment for an MRI scan later this month which I hope will at least take some of the mystery out of it, though it will be a few weeks after that before I get the results I suspect.

179 done this month.


I normally have a day off for knee recovery these days, but prior engagements on Tuesday and Thursday night this week mandated a Mon – Wed – Fri cycling schedule. So barely 24 hours after dismounting from the Spesh yesterday, I was back on it. Set off with the intention of doing 26 or so.

Because I dropped 0.14 miles yesterday by forgetting to start the Strava app, I had the bright idea of using my GPS-doping Soleus watch, to exaggerate the distance a bit and bring my Strava stats a bit closer to real life. It cheated quite a bit though and recorded 24.59 for a course that was really only about 24.11. Oh well! I’ll put the real distance on the spready anyway.

Went up toward Ashby and through Packington on the first part of the route, since I hadn’t done that for months. Nice change.

Passed a farm with a bird-shaped kite flying from a stick, presumably to scare off (real) birds. It also provided a graphic illustration of the direction of the wind over the second part of the ride; pretty much right in my face.

I’d forgotten completely about the stem and the height of the bars and seemed to be quite comfortable, but later on my back started to ache and I had to stop and stretch my legs a couple of times. I will have to flip the stem.

Unfortunately the second time I stopped, at the top of Heather Lane, my right knee was quite hurty when I set off again. Perhaps I should have had a day off after all. Hopefully it’ll be OK by Wednesday.

I’ve noticed that the most force I ever put through my right knee is when I set off and start pedalling with the right leg. So I’ve been trying to switch legs when setting off, but it’s bloody hard! Reminded me of learning to ride my first bike when I was a kid.

Much nicer weather than yesterday. Not a trace of rain, sunny and a fair bit warmer.  But blowy.

Anyway that’s the British Cycling Ride Seven definitely done, and I’m 18 hours into the Gore Wear 24 in 24 challenge, which requires 24 hours of riding in 24 days. Seven days left so I rather think that one’s in the bag as well. Strava’s very liberal with its challenges recently.


I wanted to do 26 or so, but I ended up planning a 30 mile route through Sutton Bonington and back, same as I did two weeks ago. I reasoned that the relatively low elevation of this route, with long flat stretches, merited a few more miles.

Quite a sunny day when I set off, so I took the Spesh. I also wanted to calibrate its new bike computer. I still haven’t flipped the stem, but I seem to have got used to it and the lower bars were no trouble at all. Will probably leave it.

Once again, cold. I wore warm clothing with two leg layers, and my hijab. It does a brilliant job of keeping ears warm, and keeping wind noise off my earphones.  Had to contend with a stiff, chill headwind for the first half, going in a NE direction. But on the return half of course that disappeared, and I warmed up nicely. I did pick up a few spots of rain coming through the University campus, though.

Had intended to go up to Ratcliffe on Soar, but on a whim I took a left to Kegworth instead. Not that interesting really but I don’t think I’d been to that part of Kegworth. Anyway – I turned round at that point, and came back the same way.

Annoyingly I forgot to start the Strava app when I set off, and only remembered after about .14 miles. I may upload a dummy .14 ‘prequel’ track to Strava to keep it honest. I like my Strava stats to match my spreadsheet.

Over the recorded track, my new bike computer registered 29.76 miles, whereas the Android Strava app (which is pretty accurate I think) registered 29.68. The bike computer is set to a circumference of 210cm, and my maths tells me that if I’d set it to 209, it would have registered 29.62 – which is only slightly more accurate, but I suppose I’ll do that. Good enough either way really. But it’s a shame you can’t set it in millimetres, like the cheap Chinese one I have on the X.

It is, as of today, one year since I buggered my knees while cycling, on a trip to Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire and back. In that time, including today, I’ve done 1950 miles – which is way below what I’d consider my usual yearly average, but I do think things are improving and I was pleased with the way my knees coped with today’s 29.81. Even pushing relatively firmly up the climb through Thringstone didn’t cause any trauma. For sure the exercises I got from the second physio have made the biggest difference.

Anyhoo – that takes me to 796 this year. It also gets me my “British Cycling Ride Seven Challenge” badge, for doing 7 hrs riding between 8-21 April. In fact it looks like I’ve done 7 hrs exactly in that time, by coincidence – I honestly didn’t contrive it. Nice.

The weather is slated to warm up quite a bit this coming week, with 20 C forecast for Friday. Good times!


Had to work until 6, but hadn’t been out on two wheels since Tuesday. So after downing tools, I mounted the X with the intention of doing a 26-ish mile Twycrosser. I hadn’t actually planned the route.

Down through Twycross to Sheepy as usual, then through Ratcliffe and Sibson. Decided to take Shenton Lane to Bosworth, partly because I thought it would be less of a climb than going via Gibbet Lane or Bosworth Lane. I suspect you’re swerving a big hill by going through Shenton. Will check that later.

As it turned out I did exactly the same route as about three weeks ago, when I last detoured through Shenton on an impulse.

Dry, but a rather low temperature. Had to contend with a stiff, cold headwind for most of the last 14 miles.  Bracing. Picked up a few spots of rain near Sibson as well. Shenton was very atmospheric at dusk.

Dark for the last 5 miles or so. I used a head lamp, not as powerful as some of the handlebar-mounted lights I own but adequate, and much better for checking the bike computer in the dark, or looking down at the chain to see what gear you’re in. Handy for putting the bike away in a dark garage as well.

27.17 miles, taking me to 104 this month. This month’s target is 269 so I think that’s decent progress 12 days in, especially as I was in Belgium last weekend.

More on Sunday I hope.


Wanted to do another 26 today but was supposed to be back from a late lunch at about 5:30pm, not really leaving me enough time for that. So I hatched a cunning plan to do 20 or so, arriving back near the house at 5:30 when I would check my email, then if nothing needed my attention, I’d do another sneaky 6.

Didn’t really plan the route. I went out through Coalville and Whitwick to Belton, then across to the top end of Top Brand, back home the usual way from there via Peggs Green and Coleorton.

Arrived near home after about 15 miles with a bit of time left, so I faffed around for another 5 miles or so then checked my Skype and email at 5:30, just near my garage. As things turned out an issue requiring my attention did arise right at that moment, so I had to curtail my cycling activity there and then and call it a day on 20.7 miles.

Could have gone out after work instead, I suppose. Would have had more time but would have had to do the last 5 miles in the dark.

Thought I saw some roadkill knickers coming through Coleorton, but I think it might have been a discarded sock.

Not great weather at first – too blowy, especially for the first 15 miles or so. After that the sun came out, things warmed up a bit, and the wind faded away – or maybe I was just keeping pace with it.

Anyway – that takes me to 77 this month and 739 this year. And today’s ride was sufficient for a Veloforte 120km Spring Shakeout badge for my Strava Trophy Case. Not the most prestigious achievement perhaps, but nice to have.

Looks like dry weather for a bit, but none too warm.

Sheepy / Ratcliffe/ Sibson / Carlton

Spent a happy hour or two on a cruise ship returning from Belgium last night, downing vodka martinis. Drove up from Southampton Docks this morning. Not the best preparation for a cycle ride and I didn’t really feel like it, but I thought I should since I hadn’t ridden a bike since Monday. So I withdrew the X from the garage at about 2:34pm, and set off intending to do about 26.

As usual I hadn’t actually planned a route but estimated that a Sheepy / Ratcliffe / Sibson / Carlton variant of the Twycross would be close enough, and so it proved. 26.41 miles.

The weather was lovely for the first hour, then the wind picked up suddenly, a gloomy haze descended and the temperature dropped sharply. Felt a spot or two of rain over the last half mile, and when I emerged from the garage again having returned the bike to its usual berth, it was raining properly. Good timing.

Happened upon two pheasants at the side of the road near Heather, and they responded to my arrival by flying into my path. Had to swerve to avoid the first one. Not like the duck I saw the other week that calmly stepped out of the way to allow a Land Rover to pass, then stepped back into the road.

Anyway that’s 56 done this month, 718 this year.

Spesh Twycross

Left work early, lovely day so I decided to break out the Spesh and do a Twycross of approximately 28 miles’ distance, after an early exit from work. Almost summery out there. Lovely.

As I approached Twycross I wondered if I could get away with going all the way down to Fenn Lanes and keep the distance within 28 or 29 if I took the direct route down the A444, so that’s what I did. For sure 5.5 miles of A444 is not a lot of fun, especially at that time of day – but it was well worth it to do Fenn Lanes again, normally a feature of longer-length Twycross outings. I hadn’t been down that way for months.

Started to bonk a bit after 15 miles or so – hadn’t eaten that much today, so I assume I was just low on fuel. I did 28 without a problem on Saturday, but that route has a fair bit less elevation than this one. I also suspect the clock change for BST hasn’t helped.

But I had a breather at my favourite bench at Sutton Cheney – what a joy to reacquaint myself with it – and I was fine after that. I’d done 29.6 by the time I got back, a bit more than I intended, especially on a hilly course but I was on a lightweight bike. So there’s that.

I’m in two minds whether to flip the stem on the Spesh. It certainly felt a bit uncomfortably low when I set off – but not physically uncomfortable exactly, more unfamiliar. I seemed to get used to it, so may just leave it. I wouldn’t use it for a very long ride anyway. One thing that does exacerbate it a bit is that the drops are very downward-pointy, so when I’ve got hold of the bars by their extremities, it’s a very downward reach.

Sutton Bonington

Although I’d intended to do a long run out in Lincs today, I decided I couldn’t really bothered to do 100 miles of driving for the sake of 60+ miles of flat cycling, let alone the faff of mounting the bike carrier, then the bike, on and off the back of the car twice. Maybe later in the year when summer has kicked in. But no Fondo for me this month.

I did give it serious consideration this morning, but in the end opted for Plan B, a run out to Nottinghamshire and back of about 30 miles’ distance in total. I took the Cannondale. I’d been looking forward to taking the S-Works out again but it doesn’t have an odometer and none of my GPS watches were charged up. I used my phone to track the ride.

The greater part of this route is the first part of a typical run out to Lincolnshire or Rutland, or just to Melton Mowbray. But after Zouch, just after crossing the River Soar into Nottinghamshire, I took a left turn up through Sutton Bonington and on through the University campus there. Although I worked for Notts Uni ten years ago I’d never visited this particular site. It looked idyllic in the sunshine, with grand buildings set in a nicely maintained green space and some of the students doing archery practice on the lawns.

I stopped at a bench opposite a pub in the village there to check Google Maps and briefly considered a pub lunch in the sunshine, but decided I hadn’t really come far enough to justify it.

I’d intended to continue on to Ratcliffe on Soar but took a wrong turn, and after tracking back just decided to come back home. Which is a shame really because I’d have ended up doing a couple more miles and as it stands, after today’s 27.9, my monthly total is 299. Interestingly my March 2018 total, before i buggered my knees, was 297. But I spent a week in the Caribbean that month.

I came back the same way. Was overtaken by more than 15 (I was counting) Harley Davidsons at Zouch. I caught them up at the crossroads over the A6; the roar of their engines as we waited for the green light was bloody deafening. Quite a spectacle as they rode off into the distance, though.

Anyway. There were a couple of level stretches on today’s ride and my assessment, not very scientific; just based on gut feel – is that I could probably do 50 miles on flat roads without much difficulty, if I take it easy. But I think my knees are still improving so it can’t hurt to put it off a bit.

Ratcliffe-Variant Twycross

Left work a bit later than I’d intended, at about 4:45pm but reckoned I still had time to do 20-odd miles if I took a bit of a risk with oncall duties. So I did.

Took the X again and did a Ratcliffe-variant Twycross. After realising I didn’t have a front light of any sort attached to my bike, I thought of turning left at Sheepy to do a shorter version and nearly did, but decided I’d just about get away with it if I put my foot down a bit. I was back just after 7pm and there was a bit of light, enough to see the road anyway.

Wanted to pay special attention to the stress on my knees over the level stretches, but there aren’t any really. It’s not what you’d call a hilly route by any means, but it’s not level either. Lots of gentle inclines.

24.72 miles, a pleasing 271 this month and for certain my knees are coping OK with regular ~25 mile outings at the moment.

Had a look on Google Maps and the Strava route planner last night to see if I could find a sufficiently flat bit of England closer to home (Notts maybe) to save me driving 50 miles to Lincs on Saturday, but not really.