The most direct and scenic route is by the National Cycle Network Route 54 which goes through Mickleover, Etwall, Egginton and Stretton. There is a cycle path alongside the A38 all the way from the Findern roundabout to Stretton, but cycling a few feet away from oncoming 40 tonne artics is not much fun, although inevitable for a short distance on the recommended route.
So NCN Route 54 it is, and we can pick this up in the centre of Derby at Exeter Bridge, being well signed though the city streets out to Mackworth and Mickleover, following the old GNR railway route off-road for five miles to Egginton Junction Bridge on the A5132 road between Hilton and Willington.
....... and proceed on the pavement (shared path) to cross the bridge over the A38 trunk road.
with a nicely painted Sustrans milepost............
and markers for the Kingfisher Nature Trail which runs alongside the towpath,
Since we are on the towpath of the Trent and Mersey Canal, there is the option of riding this through to Willington, Findern, Stenson or even Swarkestone, and although traffic free it is not an easy ride, especially when the path is wet and in places muddy. However in dry conditions, and on a mountain bike, it is a viable proposition.
Initially the canal runs close by the busy A38 and the traffic noise is horrendous, but as we approach Willington the two diverge and sanity returns. Also Willington has more than it's share of public houses together with cafes at Mercia Marina, so a good place for rest and refreshment.
From the Marina, cycle through Findern (on road) to Mickleover and Littleover.