Forest Row Bike Club
Redhill-instead-of-Nutfield: 8 April (Easter Sunday)
Being as I sort of got involved with today’s ride, I felt obliged to put pen to paper, so to speak.
From about Thursday, my wife had been asking if I was going cycling on Sunday.
“No, there isn’t a ride”, I said. “It’s Easter. Apparently the club don’t ride at Easter”.
That is what I had had got to understand on the previous week’s ride, but as you know my hearing isn’t all that good.
Saturday evening I casually looked on to the club web site. There, in black & white, “Nutfield”. There hadn’t been any updates on the site for a couple of weeks.
I guessed the ride would be going through East Grinstead and that I should be able to pick it up at the railway station.
“There is a ride”, I told my wife, “and it’s probably going through East Grinstead, so I won’t have to cycle to Forest Row”
Of the FRBC members, I only had John’s number. I called him for advice. He couldn’t help, but gave me Steve’s number. Steve wasn’t going, nor was a few others who had been out the previous week. That’s where my misunderstanding about the NO ride had come from. Steve had no idea who was leading the ride, so if I wanted a ride I would have to go to Forest Row and pick up the ride from there.
So, Sunday morning, as I carefully joined the Forest Way in East Grinstead, some yob behind me shouted to get a move on and get out of the way. It was John, making his way to the start for more sympathy. As it turned out, all he got was criticism. In no time we were at the meeting point.
Only Martha was there, together with her absolutely fantastic new bike. The only additional weight was a water bottle. “Where’s your tool kit “, I enquired.
“In my pocket”, she said.
I had my usual bag full of food, first-aid kit, spare jacket, and map etcetera, etcetera.
Others started arriving, but it seemed that I was the only one who knew the scheduled ride.
Jane, Christa, Don, John and I got into a discussion about the ride. I mentioned that I didn’t fancy the ride along the A25 from Nutfield to Bletchingly and it was on my last ride to there that I was introduced to the café at Redhill Aerodrome. John was sure that it would be open on Easter Sunday. From this, Don suggested that we should go as far as the café at Redhill Aerodrome, have a break and decide where to go from there. After a bit of discussion I think I was elected to lead the ride to the café, avoiding the very bumpy bridleway from Gullege to Felbridge. Anyway, that’s what happened.
In the mean time, Peter had arrived and the seven of us, including John, set off up the trail to East Grinstead. At he end of the trail I enquired of Martha how she was finding riding her new bike on the uneven surface with her new bike. “Very bumpy”.
At East Grinstead, I led the party around the houses, footbridges, parks, pavements and car parks to reach Worth Way, about ½ mile west or East Grinstead station. John left us at this point. From here, we followed my usual route to the aerodrome, which for some was new.
Road traffic was very light and in the glorious sunshine we had an excellent ride. The café was open, and we sat at a picnic table outside on the grass for our break, enjoying the sunshine and looking at the aeroplanes taxiing about.
Before we arrived at the café, I had quizzed Martha about her bike. Where she bought it, if it was an off the peg job or if she had had it made to her own specification etc?
During the break, she told me that it weighed just 19lbs. confirmed by weighing herself with and without the bike. When I asked what she and the bike weighed together, she quickly retorted that she would not tell me. I thought I was going to be sneaky and find out her weight.
The break over, it was decision time on where to go. We agreed to turn for home via Outwood Mill, Furnace Wood, Felbridge and East Grinstead. Unfortunately, we lost Christa and Don at Outwood, because I made the mistake of taking a turning without checking that everyone was there, or had seen us turn. Luckily, they realised what I had done and caught us up at the next junction, where this time we were all waiting.
As we arrived at Furnace Wood, Christa realised she had a slow puncture. So close to home, she decided not to fix it but put some more air the tube and hopefully keep going. Knowing that we might be holding up Jane, Martha and Peter who had further to go than the rest of us, they set off to Forest Row, while we were pumped up Christa’s tyre. This held fairly well, only needing an extra shot of air at Felbridge.
Personally, I enjoyed the ride very much. It’s certainly not as hilly as some.
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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