Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

Isfield - 8th November 2009

Yawn yawn. Why can’t I get out of bed? I feel like a ton weight. I’d better move or I’ll miss them. It’s no good, I’ll have to phone Graham and tell him I’ll be late. And so it was that I found myself an hour and ten minutes late cycling past the bike shop, with that long drag up the A22 to Wych Cross to look forward to. Deep joy.

Who ever rides up that road? No, me neither. But I’m glad now that I did, ‘cos I saw a few things which I’d have missed. Firstly, being the damp, sort of chilly time of year that it is, a large clump of dark yellow fungii had taken root on the grass verge. I suppose no-one walks along there, and no-one will be cutting the grass, so they have developed into quite a sturdy colony. Secondly, a large sign informs passers-by that there have been 160 deer collisions along there already this year up to the end of September. 160! What are they thinking about? You’d think they would look where they are going. I mean, there they are with all that space, pronking about. I believe that’s the right word. It’s when they bounce around as if they had pogo sticks instead of legs. I expect they’ve been eating too many of those magic mushrooms. Having mulled that over as I pedalled up the hill, just as I reached the top there was a house sign saying ‘Speedwell’. Appropriate, I thought, as I applied the accelerator.

The best bit of my journey was still to come, and I turned off of the main road at Nutley just past that garage where we all mooched about for ages a couple of years ago looking for one of Tony and Val’s clues in their treasure hunt. Remember? They reckon that the thing we were all searching for had been taken away in the meantime by the owner. Oh The direct route from there is all along lovely lanes, and almost all downwards. My kind of ride. Even the drizzle gave up two minutes after it had started, and having passed through Piltdown, I was passing the Isfield sign before I knew it, and pulling up beside a few other parked bikes outside the station café. Gordon appeared, and informed me that we had a friend of his along for the ride today, and she’d had the bad luck to puncture as soon as they arrived, and they’d only just got it sorted out. I entered the café to be greeted by Ron, Sally ( the puncture lady), Georgina (our second newcomer of the day) and of course there was Gordon too. As we all ordered, it transpired that the others had gone on a bit further and would be joining us soon.

A largish crowd of cyclists came in just as we were getting settled, not any of ours, and then a wet Martha, Graham, Kate and Chris dripped in behind them. Bad timing! Now they would have to wait in the queue.

Sally knows Gordon from his rambling club. She is a very plucky lady, having recently cycled with a friend of hers from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I reckon that that is something most cyclists would love to do one day if they ever get organised, including me, and Sally has actually done it! I was sectretly envious of her, and resolved to look into it again when I retire for good.

Georgina has done some cycling in the past, and used to do triathlons, and for this ride borrowed her daughter’s bike, a mountain one with thickish tyres. She reckoned she was trying hard but didn’t look like she needed to. She said she was really enjoying the day, and hopes to come again.

Ron reckoned that his back has improved quite a bit since he has been going to his osteopath (or was it physiotherapist?), but he’s got a way to go yet. It was really good to see him out this week.

Chris is busy sorting things out for a short trip to Florence, followed by a rather longer trip to Australia, so is snowed under arranging all manner of things in order to be ready.

We were all so engrossed in yacking amongst ourselves that we didn’t say anything to The Wet Ones who had their own table at the other end by the fire, bless them.

There comes that time after you’ve had your breakfast and a rest when you have to start off again, and it came all too soon. We’d just about got warmed up when we were passed by the other nippy group of riders who were in the café at the same time as us, and they said a few mickey-takingly patronising words to us as they did so. So it was with some glee that we pootled past them a mile or two later as they were delayed by, I suppose, a puncture. Another outburst of banter greeted us as the group once again sped past us, only to immediately split up all over the road as the one who was supposedly leading them decided that he had just missed their left turn. Ha ha! We would never do that, now would we? As we pedalled, Kate recounted a story about how Gordon had told her on a recent ride that the red cover to her rear light was missing, and a day or so later, she made a long bike trip back to where she thought she had lost it, covering the whole route with her beady eye on the ground. No luck. I’ve lost one of those before, and it is really annoying, especially as you are left with a perfectly good, but now useless light. Anyway, having given the thing up as lost forever, Kate finally found it weeks later on the floor in her garage. Just shows you Kate, you should tidy the garage more often.......

By the time Kate had finished her story, we had almost arrived home (sorry, Kate), and Martha, Gordon and Sally turned right at Wych Cross to go home, leaving Graham, Kate, George and myself to whizz down the hill for coffee at Java and Jazz. A fitting end to a smashing ride.


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