Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

Hassocks - 4th September 2016

Blimey, since I last wrote a ride report, one person, whose name I shall withhold, had the temerity to suggest that I had made an error in that report. Said person believed that the hill which we had climbed towards Westerham was Ide Hill. I had described the ascent of York's Hill, and York's Hill it was. Definitely. I shall overlook this indiscretion on this one occasion. Let no more be said.

Also, following that last report, I have been regaled with 2 compliments. I have therefore decided that from now on in this edition, I shall mention no-one else but myself. This is not for purely selfish reasons. Well, OK, it is, but there is also another point to this restriction. I may, perhaps, have mentioned lately the fact that I have been suffering from a persistently stiff and aching neck. It has now dawned on me what the reason for this is. Why it has never occurred to me before, I don't know. Never having previously received, in my whole life, a compliment from anybody for anything whatsoever, now having received two, my head has expanded to a dimension unsuitable for my frail neck to cope with. Pure and simple. My legs have grown so they can cope with the effort of climbing York's Hill, my backside has expanded to match the dimensions of my sofa, and my stomach has stretched sufficiently to cope with the amount of food that I require it to contain. My neck, however, has not had sufficient time to grow enough to support my expanding bonce. Obvious, really. An article to the British Medical Association will soon be winging its way.

Is it just me, or are all the young girls nowadays in a competition to see who can go out on a Saturday evening wearing the fewest clothes? I was at work on the trains last evening, and whilst I stood next to the train at Purley, I was approached by a semi-naked young girl, whose legs extended to her armpits. I couldn't understand a word she said. She was either asking me from which platform did the next train depart for Chipstead, or howzabout going with her behind the bike sheds for a while, Big Boy? I was still baffled as the train rattled through Norwood Junction. A trip to the doc's for a hearing test is an urgent requirement.

A wise decision, as it turned out to be, was to drive to Forest Row today, because I'd got home late again last night from work, and didn't feel up to the extra miles. Graham arrived just after me, and Trex a little afterwards. If I hadn't been thinking about myself, the default position of course, I'd have asked Trex why he wasn't late this time. This wasn't necessary, as he straight away went into a blether about him being up at the crack of dawn, doing loads of things already, and blah, blah, blah. Trex, I'm losing editorial space for talking about me.

Steve was off with his chums with the Lancia club, I believe. Hope I've got that right, Steve. And Martha was indisposed, for a reason which escapes me, but I hope she's OK. It was nice to see Ron for a few minutes, as he made his way home after walking his dog. He looks really well. No, not the dog. Then off the three of us went in the direction of Priory Road.

Slowly, slowly I came to, and begun to enjoy the ride. The top of Priory Road appeared, then Chilling Street, right at Horsted Keynes station, long drop down, then that short, sharp climb towards Ardingly, where you can hear a waterfall not far off in the woods, but can never stop long enough to look for it. Just at the top of that hill, I espied something from the corner of my eye, and told the others that I would be with them in a minute or two. I went back to see a rather large fungus at the base of a tree, and took a photo as it was quite impressive. When I showed the photo to Trex when we'd arrived at the cafe, he instantly described a face. He was right, the imaginative fellow, eyes, lips in a big smile etc. I hadn't noticed that at all.

Some miles later, I was feeling those miles already. We arrived at yet another hill, and Trex pointed out a young woman dead ahead, dressed in the obligatory lycra, looking like a million dollars. Quick, he said, let's stop wheezing and try to sound like real men. A bit of a tall order, I thought, but trying to remember when I was his age, I changed up a couple of gears, took a deep breath and lowered my voice a couple of octaves. Trex did the same, and we pretended to talk about car engines or something. The said young lady raised her eyebrows in disdain as we passed, and it was only a short while later that we could change gears downwards again, and recommence gasping for breath. And you women think it's easy being a man? You've no idea.

Both Trex and I kept asking Graham how much further was Hassocks. 2 miles was the answer each time, no matter how long we had cycled. Eventually, however, we made it, but not before Graham cheated his way to the Hassocks sign a nano-second before me, and gloated about it.

We had our welcome break in our usual cafe at Hassocks. Trex pointed out that he had never been there before, and promptly fell in love with our waitress. He won't be able to wait to go there again. All too soon he and we had to wrench ourselves away, and try to get out legs moving again.

I had been trying to convince Trex that we were going home via Ditchling Beacon. He pretended to know better, as, so he thought, it was in the opposite direction. However, to my chagrin, when we arrived at the base of that hill, Graham turned to go up it. Oh, we really are going up it then, said Trex. No, not really, I replied. Bloody hell, they really mean it, I muttered, as it seemed that they really weren't going to return. I reluctantly began to climb it. Sod the rest of the story, but whether or not it was a double or treble bluff, we all climbed the Beacon. Thus we all had to go miles more than we had intended in order to get home.

Along a lane some time later, our path was blocked by a couple on bikes, who, when we approached, said they were sorry, but they were just cycling along enjoying themselves. Sitting here explaining this, it sounds perfectly plausible. When you are approaching knackeredness, with miles still to go, it is perfectly easy to understand how you can hate two innocent fellow cyclists. But we soldiered on.

There was one more highlight of the ride home which I wish to report. Gone are the days when I can fool Graham into thinking that I'm not really interested in beating him to a village sign, and then surprising him at the last minute. However, on this one occasion, two tractors with trailers passed us just before the Piltdown sign. This is Graham's sign. I don't think I have ever beaten Graham to it. My old racing days flashed before my eyes, I took up the proper, but dangerous position to the right of the trailer, thought what the hell if I do die, and passed the sign first. We are in out 60's, for goodness sake. Why can't Graham be more sensible?

I have to hand it to him, but Graham didn't sulk at all, like I would've done. He was probably buoyed up by the fact that Trex and I were now done for, and limped all the way back to Forest Row without saying a word.

Once there, Graham clipped off looking as fresh as a daisy, in fact, that could be his new name. I crammed Trex's bike into my car on top of mine, having charged him a fortune, and delivered him to his home at the top of Wall Hill. Worth every penny .

Now all that remains is to sort out next week's route, as Graham will be away.

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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