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Cycling 2023

Started by Slim, January 02, 2023, 09:13:23 PM

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I set off with the firm intention of doing a Twycross Bypasser of roughly, but at least, 34 miles in distance - to get the January total up to the target (324 miles).

Cold out there, but bearable. Until I watched the sun disappear over the horizon while pushing along Kisses Barn Lane, at which point the temperature seemed to subside by a couple of degrees almost instantly. I decided there and then to keep it decently short although I didn't come back the very quickest way.

Beautiful clear night with a fantastic view of Orion especially, marred slightly by the fact that I'd come out of the house with my reading glasses instead of a pair of varifocals, so was having to make do with unadorned eyeballs.

I got back just in time, or so I hoped, to get a decent view of the ISS coming over at 6:20pm once I'd got the bike into the garage and grabbed a pair of distance specs, but nope - somehow I missed it. Oh well it's due back over tomorrow!

I took the Tricross out for the first time this year and I must say it's rolling really nicely at the moment. Responds really smoothly and the big tyres soak up road buzz very well.

I entered Warwickshire briefly on the western end of the route, so that's another neighbouring county box ticked.

Back on 29.34 miles.


Actually got out today for the first time in over a week :)

Cold, but not too cold out there and nice in the sun. I think I've finally shrugged off the effects of the virus I had over Christmas, but the old fitness levels have taken a plummet. However it did feel a bit easier today and my average speed had picked up a bit since the last time I did that - 23 mile - ride. That could be because the headwind was lighter today...

David L

Haven't been out for a couple of weeks - hopefully Sunday


Another very cold day but at least it was sunny. A light wind was blowing from the south. I'm on call today, but I thought I'd go down the southbound route for as long as my nerve held, then come back.

I got as far as Broughton Astley before turning for home. I wouldn't have had any qualms about going further probably except that our not-overly-talented sys admin team did some operating system patching for one of our customers early in the week, and the customer was due to reboot the servers in question today. Therefore there was a higher-than-usual probability that I'd get called. Although I wasn't.

I didn't regret turning back as soon as I did after sunset though - the temperature fell off a cliff. But it had been nice out there in the sun.

Listened to the remainder of The Man With The Golden Gun - so I've got through the whole thing in two rides, which surprised me. I guess it must be a lot shorter than the average Reacher novel.

Stopped at the Post Office at Broughton and bought a sausage roll, which was awful - very dry, and an Ice Cream Snickers Bar which even at 1C was delightful.

Back on 44.46 miles.


Another very cold, sunny, dry day. I mounted the Boardman and headed south again, into a light wind. I particularly wanted to do 36 miles, to get the January total up to 400.

But once I got to Earl Shilton I decided I didn't want to push up the hill there again. I only did it on Saturday. And it was uncomfortably cold, so I turned left instead, and along Leicester Road. Then I took a left along Peckleton Lane and looped back into Desford. I believe I did exactly this over the Christmas hols, except that I came out of Desford in a more coherent fashion. This time I got lost a bit in the suburbs.

I came back a different way just for a change, through Barlestone and Nailstone.

Beautiful sliver of a crescent Moon on display, with the rest of the sphere just visible in the ghostly Earthshine. Looked like artwork from a 1950s sci-fi comic strip.

Ended up on 30.67 miles, not quite as many as I wanted.


Managed to get back out again a bit quicker this time. Thought it might have been a bit warmer, but the sides of lesser used roads were still frozen and/or had bits of snow left in them.

Seems to be getting a bit easier now, went higher uphill than I have done since mid December and unlike the rides since Christmas where over half my ride has seen my heart rate in the red, today it was only 3% Not getting much quicker though.


Managed an hour earlier just before dark.. good to get out.. just a quick scoot around Alloway.. the seafront out to the harbour and home.. very cold once the sun disappears.. a measly 12 miles
From The Land of Honest Men


Almost forgot, made it out again today. Got in my first 30 miler of the year and first categorised climb. Was all a bit easier than I thought it would be, probably due to taking things a bit easier since Christmas and the short sharp Turbo Trainer sessions I've been doing.

Still struggling with a bad finger from my pre Christmas crash. Should have listened to Mrs S and immobilised it, instead I've just carried on as normally as possible and it's not let it heal. Doesn't help with all the clearing out I've got to do at my Dad's.


Someone invited me to a meeting at 3:30pm so I couldn't get away as soon as I wanted to this afternoon, but I attended it in cycling clothes - not something I'd have done in the days when I worked in an actual office - and I was away and pedalling by about 4:05pm.

The wind was coming from the west as usual and I thought I'd do the time-honoured Upper Westbound Route, or about 20 miles of it - then come back. I always enjoy doing that one in the dark on the way back.

Just as well I took an abundance of spare front lights (I'm a bit paranoid about rechargeables) as I had two run out of juice along the Beloved A Road.

Not too cold out there. Very nice to get out, it's been a few days.

Back on 45.05 miles, which takes me to 440 this month and the tantalising possibility that I might get it up to 500, which I think would be a first for a January.


Today's mission was a simple one - to do a fondo, which would get the January distance tally up over 500 miles. Not bad weather for it - mild, mostly sunny and dry - apart from a stiff wind from the west. So I decided on the Upper Westbound Fondo route, an extension of my usual trip along the Beloved A Road that takes a turn northward after Sudbury, toward a village called Marston Montgomery.

I did that, turning back after I'd reached the requisite half-fondo distance, to come back the same way. Or so I thought. Once I reached my 20-miles-to-go landmark in Hilton I noticed that I'd done fewer miles than I should have, and was due to arrive home short of the requisite fondo distance. Couldn't understand it, but on checking the track after I got home, it turned out that I'd turned back after 30.2 miles instead of 31.2. Must have been pure absent-mindedness.

Actually the road off the A515 that goes toward Marston Montgomery is a bit crappy, and worse still it involves a steep descent, which of course means a steep climb on the way back. It's brutal, but short. But it's very hard to get a viable fondo distance route over that way.

Anyway, I made up the distance by coming back detouring via Isley Walton after Melbourne.

Listened to 6 Music, Cerys played some good stuff. Then Peel Acres with the actress Tamsin Greig; an odd choice since she seems to know next to nothing about music. But it was entertaining enough. Then FA Cup footy.

Pleasant run out and very happy to have done 500 miles in a January (502 in fact) - that's the first time I've done that.


Didn't even manage 150 road miles in January, what with one thing and another.

Had a bit of a cold of late so haven't bothered with going out, but I seem to have sorted out my leg imbalance with a few Turbo Trainer sessions and what was 46%L/54%R in my last road ride has got to 50/50 on the trainer. Bet it won't work out like that on the road, too many other things to think about.


I wanted to do 25 or so, despite a fairly powerful wind blowing from the west. I was going to do a Twycrosser but shortly after setting off I got the urge to go up Top Brand. It's lovely along there when the sun's shining, as it was this afternoon.

Unfortunately that left me at a bit of a loss as to where to go after Top Brand. Usually from there I'd do Isley Walton, then Melbourne. But that would mean coming back up a steep hill, or a longer ride than I intended. So I turned left after Tonge, toward Breedon.

About three miles later I saw a sign for the Cloud Trail. This is a cycle and walking route based on an old railway line converted to a path. I've been meaning to try it for years, and I was on my gravel bike, so - I gave it a go.

Unfortunately even on the Tricross it was a bit too stony and rough, for me anyway. Not my sort of thing. So after a bit less than a mile, I turned back.

It does have a very nice view of a quarry, though. Would be a good walking route for sure.

Anyway from there I descended through Worthington and Newbold, much as I did a few weeks ago except that it was dark that time, then Coleorton and home the usual way. Back on 25.79 miles. 528 done this month. I'm sure Nick will have overtaken me by March.

Happy to have made a strong start to the year because I want to get my monthly targets down to the same as they were last year. They were based on a lower yearly target.


Quite an eventful run out after work today (or yesterday; I'm typing this after midnight). I was going to do either a trip along the Lower Westbound Route and back or a Twycross Bypasser. I deferred the decision until I got to Gallows Lane, whereupon I decided on the Bypasser. Fifteen minutes later, I was nearly wiped out by a Roberts Travel coach (as I described here).

Then about an hour later just as I was approaching Ratcliffe Culey, both pedals jammed up very tightly as if they'd been spot-welded to the frame. WTF? I freewheeled to a convenient grassy spot and inspected the bike. There was plenty of daylight at this point (but by the way, this is why you should always take a head torch if you're going to be cycling after dark - otherwise you might find yourself doing a narwhal impression with a torch sticking out of your mouth). A section of the chain had somehow got wrapped backward around one of the chainrings and jammed between it and the derailleur cage.

There was no play in the chain at all, no way to get it onto a smaller cog at the back to get a bit of slack to play with. I couldn't budge it with a tyre lever. But I turned the bike upside down and by the judicious application of brute force, managed to free it by turning the pedals backward with my hands.

The bike seemed OK - it was certainly rideable and I didn't have much trouble shifting gear at the front, but I did find I needed an extra nudge on the shifter to get it to change up once or twice. I think the cage might be slightly bent, or possibly the cable got stretched a tad. I'm sure it'll be fine with a bit of fettling.

Went down to Fenny Drayton and came back along Fenn Lanes. Then back up through Bosworth and much the usual way from there. Back on 39.93 miles.

Nice out there - mild. The temperature didn't seem to drop that much after dark. Windy, though.

I did enter Warwickshire briefly, not sure if I've done that already this year. Still haven't ventured into Staffordshire in 2022.

Saw the helicopter in the field along Gallows Lane again. I must find out what that's about some time.


Managed a 30 miler earlier... some well cycled routes..out onto the Dunure road to the Carrick Hills up and over and thru Knockdon and Minishant then onto Dalrymple and heading home via Auchencruive..
Was hoping to miss the rain but the last 4 miles was just cycling into heavy soaking rain which was no fun at all...
From The Land of Honest Men


A dry, sunny day with a light wind. I'd been looking forward to doing an eastbound fondo again for a while; I hadn't done one this year. The wind was actually forecast to change direction later in the day so that I'd have a headwind both ways, annoyingly. But I hoped it would be sufficiently light to put up with.

I set off just after 10:00. Would have been a few minutes sooner except that, for some reason, the mirror on the X needed adjustment. I hadn't been out on it since November; of course I could have checked it yesterday but I didn't. So I spent five minutes looking for the correct Allen key.

The headwind wasn't too irritating on the way out. I arrived at the bench at Eastwell at 13:00 exactly. I'm actually on call at the moment. Usually I wouldn't risk a "proper" fondo in which, at the furthermost point I'm a 31 mile bike ride from home. But it's been very quiet recently. I was so relaxed about the prospect of getting a call that rather than turning for home as soon as I reached Eastwell, I had lunch there. A cheese & onion pasty on the bench, anyway.

Sure enough about 25 minutes after I set off in a homeward direction, I was definitely riding into a headwind again. But it wasn't too bad and it seemed to die down a bit an hour later.

With 17 miles to go, I refuelled at Prestwold Park with two Christmas Cake slices that I had left over from the festivities in December. It definitely makes a big difference to get a sugar dose on the way home. The uphill stretch of Ashby Road just west of Zouch that runs under the M1 can be a drag but today it was a breeze.

Lovely ride. Cold when I set off (about 1C) but comfortable later. Sunny the whole way round. Back on 63.45 miles.

I passed through Nottinghamshire, so that's another neighbouring county box ticked for 2022.

Started a new Reacher novel, One Shot. The one the first film was based on. Good stuff so far. Then I listened to Forest vs Leeds. I've started to believe that Forest will stay up.