Put new pedals on the X, basic cheapo metal Shimano PD-R540s. The black & white colour scheme turned out to be an inspired choice – they go very nicely with the black & white “PLANET X” branding on the green frame.

Also adjusted the front brake on the S-Works so that there’s just the right amount of lever travel – had to reclamp the cable at the brake and managed to pull off the crimped cap, but I put a new one on.

I’ll give it a couple of hours then go out on the older Boardman, I think. The lower gears are usable enough. Will get a bit more use out of the chain and cassette before I put new ones on. Planned a relatively high elevation (1,292ft) route up to Melbourne, across to the airport at Donington then back down through Belton.

Melbourne and Wilson

Went out at 2:35-ish on the Boardman and did exactly the ride I’d planned, for once.  Although the Twycross route is a bit of a Saturday tradition, it’s nice to do something a bit different for a change. This particular ride involved a new stretch, between Melbourne and Wilson which is not a super-quiet road but does have a lovely view of the landscape for miles to the north. That particular part of the ride, just south of the race track was particularly enjoyable as I had a powerful tail wind.

I didn’t find the wind too bothersome overall. Only a very small part of the route involved cycling straight into it. But the bright sunshine promised by the BBC forecast never materialised, sadly. In fact things became a bit gloomy around 4pm. But it didn’t rain and the roads were nice & dry all afternoon despite a bit of rain this morning.

Noticed another expired mouse in the garage. Got to say these simple plastic traps really work well – nice clean kill every time. I think that’s 18 now.

Used my Garmin Foretrex to record the track – it’s not the most convenient device to use for a shortish run like this but it had been so long since I last used it that I thought it deserved a run out.

Nothing but flippin’ rugby on 5 Live this afternoon so I listened to Gilles Peterson on 6 Music, and that was a nice change as well.

Knees held up pretty well over 22.58 miles – quite pleased and quietly confident things are going the right way, albeit slowly. Maybe a 25-miler next weekend, weather permitting.

Curiously the elevation recorded by the track as uploaded to Strava – 939ft – is significantly less than the Strava route planner claimed.

That’s 85 miles this month, 120 to target.

New Stuff

Just ordered a new chain and cassette for the Boardman – lost count of the number of new bits it’s had since I bought it in 2015. Two cassettes, three or four chains, a stem, a seatpost, new wheelset, front derailleur, skewers, bar tape, not counting pedals, mirrors, bike computers.

Hoping to do 23 or so tomorrow, may take Boardman II. Should be nice-ish weather.

Tarmac Test Drive

I attached the X pedals to my new bike, an S-Works Tarmac 56. With a few days inclement weather forecast but none of it due over until about 7pm this evening, I thought it would be rude not to take her for a spin and see what she’s made of. It was nearly 4:45pm when I set off so I decided to keep it reasonably short to beat the darkness. Clipped a couple of flashy blinkers to it and set off.

First impression – it has the same WHOOSH factor as the Cannondale in that it takes minimal effort to push it forward but it’s also very very smooth and refined with it – I don’t know whether it’s the carbon rims, the carbon seat post (has a bit of backward flex in it) or the carbon bars but it made ordinary roads feel like nicely surfaced tarmac. Really a revelation.

I didn’t adjust it before setting off as the frame is the same size as the X and the saddle is in the same position. The bars were lower than I’d normally have them and although I wasn’t as comfortable as I’d be in a slightly more upright position I wasn’t uncomfortable either. At most I’ll flip the stem, it doesn’t need a new one. I might even leave them and see if I get used to them.

All the gears changing very nicely and very slick. The only bummer is that the right brake lever has more travel in it than is normal or proper, but that should be an easy adjustment.

I went round a short Twycross route like I was on rails. 18.04 miles of smiles. A bit dark by the time I got back but not as bad as yesterday. I could see the road well enough.

Wasn’t quite sure about doing a ride the next day after doing more than twenty but the knees felt surprisingly ok-ish today so I risked it. And I think they’ve held up pretty well. A little bit sore now but really not that bad. I don’t like being optimistic about them because I’ve been proved wrong in the past, but I do think they are improving gradually. Maybe.

I will stick to my physio’s prescribed regimen of adding 2 miles per week.

62 this month now.


Downed tools at about 4:30 and retrieved the red Boardman from the garage. Thought I’d do a Twycrosser, since I didn’t do one at the weekend. Dry enough weather. From the forecast and the Met Office rainfall radar it looked like I might pick up a brief shower. Interestingly the roof of my car was wet indicating that a shower had occurred, but it must have been brief because you couldn’t tell from looking at the roads.

It was very flippin’ blowy though, not to mention a bit cold. After the first couple of minutes I decided to keep it short, just a statutory 15 miles to get me out of rowing machine duties – but as time wore on I got used to it and decided to perservere. I did do the intended 21+ miles. Picked up a bit of rain later on but very light.

Only had a little blinky flasher front light with me and I’d intended to be back while there was enough light, but unfortunately I had to take a phone call for ten minutes a mile or two north of Twycross, which upset my timing a bit. Ended up relying on passing and oncoming cars to illuminate the road in front of me over the last mile and a half.

Because I pushed a bit harder than usual after Twycross to get home before dark, my knees feel slightly knackered now. But I hope my strategy of working them regularly will help them to recover. Eventually.

My Soleus GPS claimed 22.23 miles when I stopped recording and Strava took it at its word, but I knew that about half a mile of that was LIES due its GPS doping habit so I dutifully pressed the “recalculate” button on Strava to get a more realistic 21.80. And that’s 44 this month, not too shabby.


Did a modest 22 miles earlier on to kick off the March campaign, but didn’t do a Twycrosser this time. Thought I’d do something different, and I fashioned a route that would take me through Coalville, up through Whitwick and up to Belton, then across to Diseworth, just south of Donington then home via my old way back from the office. This would have given me 20.35 miles, so I was a little puzzled when I realised that I’d end up doing at least 22. As it turns out, I took a wrong turn at Diseworth that resulted in me taking a longer loop round at the top, though I didn’t realise it until later.

The red Boardman was once again my instrument of preference today. Mostly nice out there, fairly blowy but bright and dry. I mostly took at easy, though I put my boot down a bit in the middle 7 or 8 miles as I’m on call, and was taking a bit of a risk being more than a few miles from home. Could have done without the headwind over the later part of the ride.

The Boardman has started doing that annoying thing where the transmission is a bit juddery in the smallest 3 cogs at the back – I can’t remember how I fixed it last time; new cassette, new chain or both. But it’s not that bothersome at the moment, I don’t use those gears that often. I’ll have have to have a look back through this thread to find out what I did to fix it before.

Noticed a blue purse lying in the grass just off the road about a mile from home. Stopped to have a look – it was rather damp, but contained quite a few debit / credit / loyalty cards and a driving licence with a name and address, so I brought it back with me. No cash in it of course. Took it round to the specified address in the car shortly after I got home, and the lady to whom it belonged was very surprised to see it – said it had been taken from her bag in a supermarket before Christmas. She gave me a £5 reward – I honestly did my best to refuse it, but she was so insistent that it actually seemed rude to argue the point. So I accepted it gratefully and humbly, and shall stick it in the breast cancer charity fund.

22.24 miles. 385 this year.


It’s March, and my spready has recalculated the monthly targets for me to hit 2112 miles this year based on the remaining 1749 miles; this month’s requirement is 168. The biggest target is June’s, at 210.

Since I did 185 in Feb and it’s a short month it would be rude not to jack up the yearly target a bit. I’ll say 2500 for now.

The weather forecast for the weekend has improved a bit. Cloudy and a bit blowy, but no rain.


As planned, I downed tools early to go cycling in the beautiful quasi-summer weather we’ve been having. I wore a mere two layers on top, and shorts. Possibly the earliest date in the year that I’ve ever cycled with my legs out, but needless to say I was certainly adequately warm.  Perhaps not having shaved them helped.  And I wore a helmet, for what I think is the first time this year. Clearly a woolly hat is not appropriate in this weather. I wore a peaked sport cap on Sunday.

I took the X with me this time, bringing to an end a run of 448 consecutive miles on the red Boardman. The X certainly felt different – a fair bit lighter and more refined – and it made light work of the slightly-longer-than-Sunday Twycross that I embarked upon. I set off 20 minutes earlier than Sunday with the hope of being back in bright daylight, and I’m pleased to say that I achieved that. A slightly later sunset and a quicker bike also helped, of course.

Really nice to be out on the green one again for the first time in four months.

Did a Twycross version that I’ve probably done quite a few times; straight through Twycross to Sheepy then back along Gibbet Lane. Knees did OK, feeling a bit sore now but I think they’ll be back to what passes for normal these days by Thursday.

My new DAB radio performs beautifully – it sounds great and even hangs on to the 5 Live DAB signal in what I’d hitherto assumed to be a DAB black spot just south of Heather. It’s just a shame that it only does 5 hours on a single charge (according to the manual). The supplied earplugs are of decent quality but protrude a bit and pick up wind noise – I shall replace them with my favourite variant of Sennheisers.

Annoyingly the X’s bike computer ran out of juice (a CR2032 in this case) after about a mile and I was using my phone in my jacket to track the ride, so had no functioning odometer. But I didn’t really need one.

No wildlife of any note but a very pleasant 21.79 miles. A couple more than I want to be doing at this stage really but having a quicker / lighter bike is a mitigating factor.

185 this month.

Just looking at the track on Strava, I’m struck by how accurate it is, following the road really smoothly and closely. I used the same phone to track a walk in the City last week and it was all over the place – jagged and wobbly. I think reflections from tall buildings must interfere quite a bit.

Bilstone / Carlton

Lovely day. Unfortunately I’d booked lunch for 2pm at a local hostelry. I was determined to do 20 miles or so, and decided to do them after lunch rather than before as it was a bit cool and misty in the morning. Perhaps more hazy than misty, but anyway – afternoon seemed a better bet with temperatures slated to climb quite a bit from 1pm or so.

I hoped to be out of there by 3:15pm or so but due to their pitifully slow service – I’ll be crucifying them on Tripadvisor later – I hadn’t mounted the Boardman until just after 4pm. Just enough time though for a decent run out without resorting to a powerful front light.

I’d planned a route which I thought would give me a bit more than 20 miles, but it didn’t, for some reason. Must have got it mixed up with another route.

I used my Soleus GPS watch to track the route. To my amazement it spontaneously started using BST time about half-way through the ride after I fiddled with the buttons. But it looks like an update to my Windows lappy has buggered up Java on it, and I haven’t been able to upload the track to Strava.

My right knee was feeling a bit sore before I set off so I thought I’d try my tendon strap again. It did hold up pretty well through the ride. My left knee has started giving a bit of discomfort after 10 miles or so, which it wasn’t before I did that stupid 50 miler two weeks ago.

Ah well.

Bit of an unusual route, this one. I stopped short of Twycross again to head left to Bilstone, but this time I went straight through and on to Carlton, then back up the usual way from there. I don’t think I’d done that stretch of road between Bilstone and Carlton before but it was lovely – very quiet and scenic, but well-surfaced. Not muddy. I’ll incorporate it into a longer Twycross route.

Home with the very last of the light.

Don’t know if I’ll be able to get the track off the watch. But 19.64, which takes me over target this month to 163 miles.

Looking at the weather, a run out on Tuesday looks on the cards. Sunset at 17:38. I’ll try to finish work early.

Cleaning and DAB

No cycling today, shame as the weather is glorious. But I did hose out the Boardman’s chain with GT85 and relubed it. I think it was the filthiest I’ve ever seen it. Managed to get most of the gunk off the jockey wheels – it was coming off in hard chunks.

Also gave the grimier parts of the nether regions (the bike’s, not mine) a wipe with a GT85-soaked rag. It deserves a proper clean, really. Maybe in the summer.

In other news – I’ve bought a new personal DAB, you can’t have too many. At 55g it’s the lightest one I own. Doesn’t have removable batteries so not that useful for a long ride. Also bought myself a new bike lock while wandering around Spitalfields on Wednesday. Not ultra secure as it uses a simple two-prong key to unlock. Not much more than a sort of steel-reinforced plastic tie. But again, very light at 27g including the key.