Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

Hadlow - 12th March 2017

There wasn’t a report last week, as you may know if you haven’t got a life. The rain was bashing down, and although the forecast was for it to give way a bit later in the day, it was heavy enough to sap the will of all the riders. Except me. As a sort of penance, I stripped off, turned my shower to the coldest setting, and stood under it for four hours. That showed you all.

This report is very late because although I did begin to write it, my computer had some annoying things wrong, and I’ve only just got it back from the menders. The first thing that I have to mention is that Martha tells me that when I write a report, she takes her laptop to bed and reads it there, with a vessel of something suitable. Sometimes I have regarded this writing as a bit of a chore, but the thought of Martha in winceyette, reading my words, has reinvigorated me. So here goes.....

There was rain forecast again for today, but even though I donned my rain cape on the way to FR, I was able to take it off on arrival there. Outside the shop there was Graham, and sometime during the mid-afternoon Trex put in an appearance, then we were off. We were to meet Steve at the Cowden crossroads, and there he was, and had been since early morning. Steve being a complete gentleman confined himself to only calling Trex a ****************. Now, Steve had selected his heavy winter bike for today’s journey on the understanding that there would be rain. This was a little surprising as he has been coming out on his best bike for a while now, despite the rain, but each to his own. Trex soon called that decision into question, whilst we were climbing the hill at Cowden. What he hadn’t considered, however, was that Steve is made of sterner stuff. Than Trex, that is. As we all are, in fact.

I crave a bit of indulgence here, as it has been some time since the ride. I cannot be 100% sure who won what signs, but if I try really hard, I think it was me who won them all. I am writing this, so I can be pretty sure I am right. Let no-one dispute this. On consulting my notes, I indicate to myself that I can’t remember if Graham won any. I recall now, he didn’t.

As we rode, Graham let slip, very loudly to all of us, that he had been out on his bike last Friday, and had covered a mere 100 miles. (My words). He could have fooled me, and the rest of us I expect. If I had ridden 100 miles at any time, I wouldn’t have been seen outside of an oxygen tent for a fortnight.

Fortunately I hadn’t, therefore I was able to twiddle along enjoying the spring flowers. The snowdrops were more or less over now, although not entirely, and the daffodils were now out in force. The leaves of the bluebells were poking through in the wooded areas, promising another good show later on. I mentioned to Steve that I had been digging yesterday, and a robin had come to snatch a grub of some sort right in front of me. Steve had been digging in his garden too, and we agreed that spring was well on its way.

Trex gave an early indication of what was to come for him, when he announced that the profile of today’s ride seemed to be extraordinarily steep. Nobody agreed with him, as we are all trained athletes. As we climbed the hill beyond Cowden, Trex reminded me that he now thinks of that hill as ‘Fat bloke with a beard hill’. I was considering punching him until I remembered to what he was referring. If you haven’t been paying attention to my previous reports, it serves you right.

On we went, and we got a bit near Underriver. Most of us except Graham began to tremble, until it became clear that we were going to bypass that particular torture. Relieved, we pedalled onwards.

Soon the tower of Hadlow was in view, and as we turned into the road towards our café stop, there were loads of cars and policemen and signs announcing lambing week. I don’t know what exactly this entails. Well, obviously I do know, I’m rather old, after all. But are there demonstrations, exhibitions, raffles for the first born lamb? What? We saw none of this. We cycled past the queuing cars and into the food emporium, arriving just in time to beat a fairly large group of other cyclists, and rushed to grab a table before them.

There’s good and bad in everything, except me. The bad was that we chose a table right next to the entrance, and it is a fact of human nature that nobody, except me again, thinks of anyone else when it comes to closing doors behind them. Therefore it became my job to keep closing the thing, and all the rest of our group’s to berate all entrants as lazy, selfish, ignorant chaps. I think that is what they said.

The good, apart from the very welcome food, and Trex’s observation that the staff all seemed happier than hitherto, was the lovely young waitress whose name was spelt ‘Roisin’, as indicated on her name badge. When asked, she informed me that this was pronounced ‘Rosheen’, and was of Irish origin. I interpreted her blush to mean that she wished I was a great deal younger, and that I might then have had an outside chance. Oh, well.

Food consumed, we left with stiff legs, and donned our rain capes as the drizzle had resumed. Except Trex, of course, who is waterproof. Or thinks he is. Lucky for him, it didn’t persist.

I don’t want you to misunderstand me. I am not gloating. Much. Anyone who has been a cyclist for a while will have experienced the same thing. But Trex normally hammers up any hill as fast as he can, without any consideration for how long the ride is. Until he can’t. And this is what happened again on this ride. The poor chap became more and more tired, until he became a gibbering wreck. Cries of “I can’t”, and “Leave me to die”, and “I’ll give you £100 to push me home, John” still ring in my ears. We all endured this until we reached Hartfield, where Trex staggered off to the local grocers. Shortly Steve left us for home, and Graham and I headed for Forest Row. There was Trex, sitting on the kerb outside the shop, next to a huge pile of pastries and other assorted comestibles, with an expression of relief stretched across his bulging cheeks. He was obviously so ashamed at being caught out that he insisted that Graham and I left him to his gourmand meal, and we finally went on without him.

Back at Forest Row, Graham departed and I climbed Wall Hill for the second time today, as must have Trex later on. In my defence, I did text him later on to make sure he wasn’t in a casualty unit somewhere, or in a refuge centre for down-and-outs. He assured me he wasn’t.

John


If you took part in a ride, why not write a report? The more florid the language, the more inflated the hyperbole, the more tumescent the innuendo, the greater your chance of winning the FRBC Prize for Original Plagiarism.

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