Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

Awayday - Horsham 4th May 2008

Ron rang me on Saturday, "Have you worked out a route for tommorrow yet? You said you would." I of course didn't remember any such promise and said so. "Never mind" Ron said, "David is unexpectedly back and coming out with us, so if you haven't got a route he will lead"

Sunday dawned, it was fine so I decided to ride down to Horsham. I set out in plenty of time thinking that if I arrived about 9:30 I would have time to fit in an extra breakfast. Good plan, but unfortunately, although the scent of frying bacon filled the air, they didn't start serving hot food till 10am so I had to make do with a coffee.

I'd just sat down in the sun with my coffee when David arrived. "Are you leading" he said hopefully. Good try David but I'm not quite that green, "No, Ron said you were" I replied. "Well I printed this off the net, it goes onto the Downs link" he said. Now I definitely didn't want anything to do with leading, I've ridden up and down the Downs link a few times and I knew that there would be as many moans from the tender bottomed / fragile bike membership as there are bumps (and there are lots) in the surface of that track. "Have you at least got a map" David asked plaintively. "Yes" I replied before I could bite my tongue. Greener than I thought!

Graham, Gordon and David study the mapI got the maps out while David got a coffee and we had just started to look at them when Kate Andrew and Gordon arrived. Gordon heard David wondering which way we could come back if we used the Downs link to Steyning. "Isn't that the old railway track" he said, "we don't want to go down there, the last time I used it, it was so bumpy that I could only ride on it for a mile or so". We hadn't even started and the moans had begun.

Soon the rest of the riders appeared, Ron, Martha, Jane, Hilary, John and Steve. No-one else had any ideas, or showed any enthusiasm for leading, so before Hilary could seduce us all into staying put and having bacon butties, David led the way.

The first stop was outside Christs Hospital School, which David informed us had been used for the interior shots in the Harry Potter films. I think he was just trying to distract everyone before he set off down a bridleway onto the Downs link.

Ron and gordon fix the wheel bearingWe rode down the track, which if bumpy was traffic free and it would have been quite peaceful but for the constant twittering of John and Martha's "are we going far on this bumpy track" and then more ominously a sort of graunching noise coming from the rear of Ron's bike. Sounded as though Ron was siezing up! "Not me" he said "it's coming from the rear wheel".

The noise was coming from the wheel bearing so while some of the party rode on Ron and Gordon without further ado dismantled same and cleaned out all the crud. Now if I'd tried to do that job at home I would have lost some of the ball bearings so how they managed not to lose them all in the grass I don't know. Re-assembly however was not simple, grease was required. Had any body got any cream or vaseline?

Martha and Ron fix a punctureWe phoned the forward party, yes Hilary had. Martha volunteered to get it and decided to borrow John's bike. Could she get in the saddle? Yes just, but it produced a rolling action that stopped all the men pretending to help with Ron's bike.

The vaseline duly arrived the wheel bearing was fixed and we were on our way again, bumping along nicely until Martha had a puncture. While we were fixing this the leaders had found a pub and decided to stop for lunch

Lunch over we discovered that Gordon also had a puncture, we fixed that and continued on to Steyning (minus John and Hilary who were too busy sampling the ale!) and then slowly wended our way north through the lanes back to Horsham.

A different ride, but an enjoyable day with good company as always


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