Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

Newhaven 20th July 2008

You know when you wake up and look out of the window, and the sky is blue with fluffy white clouds scudding about? And you feel a bit yukky, but not too bad, and a coffee soon sorts that out? Well, that's also the day that makes you feel like getting your best bike out, and dressing in your favourite cycling gear, and pedalling off, knowing you're gonna meet your mates pretty soon, and head off for another adventure.

Blimey, I knew I felt even better than expected when I got to the top of the hill near Ashurst Wood and wondered what had happened to the hill. Not long ago I used to struggle up that. A zoom down the slope into Forest Row had me yanking on my brakes outside Future Cycles to pull up in front of Ron, Gordon and Graham. I had hardly got 57 sentences out when Tony and Val, Steve, Peter and Brian had all arrived too. The 58th. was on it's way when Ron dictated that we should set off up Priory Lane. The Council, or someone else had done something to lessen the slope of the hill since I last climbed it, and I arrived at the top hardly breathing. Not so everyone else. Now I am not saying this with any gloatiness at all, but those of you who have cycled a lot, and that probably includes all of you, will know that sometimes for no apparent reason, even though you feel great and have had early nights and stayed off the booze, you ride like a donkey. And sometimes the reverse is true. Well for me, today was that day. The reverse, not the donkey. I had arrived home at 0200 from work, which I'd spent mostly on my feet, drunk two unfeasibly large g+t's, and was awoken by the alarm at 0830 with a stiff neck, dribble down my left shoulder and the light still on. Oh! joy! So I shouldn't have felt this good. But I did!

Let me say at this point a word for absent friends. Hilary, poor love, is the proud possessor of 3 cracked ribs. Did she acquire these by fending off intruders, abseiling or pumping too much iron? Sadly not. She, er, fell out of bed, so I'm told. Now this is not to make light of her injuries. I once cracked one rib, and still get mileage out of it if I can trap anyone in a corner at a party. So 3 I have the utmost sympathy with. Slightly sore it is not. Hilary has continued to go to work through it all. She deserves a medal.

Kate has not yet recovered from a virus, infection of some kind, common cold or even man's flu which she picked up in France. As we all know, Kate is one tough cookie, so it must be real. Let's hope she is OK for her birthday gathering next Saturday. Andrew had something more important on his agenda than cycling (weird boy!).

Don will be AWOL 'til sometime in August, Christa has family commitments, as does Zoë, Martin is in love, Martha is working and Jane has bike problems. I'd like to propose a name-change for the club to the FRNVCBRC, ie. the Forest Row Not Very Committed Bike Riders' Club.

Not sure which way we went, but I remember feeling 10 years younger, (g+ t's obviously not worn off yet), the sun shining and a gentle nagging from the stomach yearning for a little food. Apparently we were headed for a café where a gargantuan cooked breakfast was available for 4d. We approached Isfield and my mouth began to water. However, when we stopped, it was for Gordon, Peter and Val to announce that they would be accompanying us no further, and would be returning home from here. OK, we wished them well, and continued on our way as they gulped a quick tea each before heading home. And so Isfield receded into the distance for the rest of us. The fine town of Lewes came and went too, which we left in the direction of Kingston-near-Lewes.

Some of you may have noticed how Graham has of late begun to sprint to any town or village sign that he is approaching, hoping to impress everyone else present. I personally regard this as childish, juvenile and immature. However, let me say that I felt so strong today that I outsprinted him to the signs at Kingston, Iford, Rodmell, Southease, Piddinghoe and Newhaven as a stiff wind in our backs propelled us along the newly gravelled road through the Ouse Valley to our destination. I am not, of course, going to mention this. At Newhaven we were led to a Portakabin behind a chain-link fence. We had arrived at Fanny Lou Lou's, and we were greeted warmly, and soon were consuming vast quantities of sausages, bacon, eggs, black pudding, beans, tomatoes, hash browns, bread and butter, tea and coffee. And the whole lot did indeed come to 4d. Eventually, though, with stiff limbs, the six remaining intrepids had to begin the slog back into the wind, retracing our path home.

I don't know if it was just me, and I don't want to go on about it, but I didn't find the return journey into the wind anywhere near as hard as I'd expected. In a completely unjuvenile, unchildish and mature way, I beat Graham back to the signs at Piddinghoe, Southease, Rodmell, Iford, Kingston and Lewes. But of course, I am not going to mention it.

With a heavy heart I have to report that since Brian has come back from France, he is going so strongly that it is obvious that he has availed himself of some chemical assistance. It has to be said though, that each time that he sprinted off in front of Graham and me, he displayed the fact that his shorts need urgently replacing, as they have now become rather transparent in the nether regions.

I must also mention here, that Graham, whilst I was distracted talking at Brian, noticed a sign for the village of Piltdown, and quite unsportingly raced away from us so he could get there first. D'you now see why I regard this behaviour as childish, juvenile and immature? Graham, take note, although I won't mention it this time.

Nutley, Chelwood Gate and Wych Cross came and went, the latter being where Ron decided he would go straight home and leave the final three, Graham, Tony and myself to talk about him. We dutifully sped down to Java and Jazz, sat outside with a large coffee each, and tried to think of something to say about Ron behind his back. No such luck. Couldn't think of a thing. Tony's Val appeared though, and all four of us finished our coffees off before making our ways home, having had another lovely day out courtesy of the FRNVCBRC. Thankyou all.


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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