Forest Row Bike Club
Reigate: 7 May 2006
It’s that time of the year when appearances can be deceptive, and despite all the years deciding what to wear that day, I still got it wrong. I expected rain and put on a waterproof top, only to find that by the time I’d got to Forest Row I was overheating. Ron, David, Martha, Martin, Jane and Hilary all turned up remarking how pleasantly warm it was, as perspiration dripped out of my hat and down my face. Ron said we were going to start via East Grinstead station and we would meet Steve and Zoë there. What luck! What foresight I had shown 3 years previously, to buy a house just round the corner from there. So that’s how I was able to nip back home, slip into something far more suitable and alluring, and be back on the Worth Way to meet Ron in a jiffy. I won’t mention the fact that Ron had agreed to meet me under the first bridge that you come to along the Way, or the fact that he wasn’t there, or the fact that I had to phone him to find out where he was, or the fact that he was at the second bridge and hadn’t even noticed the first one, or the fact that he’s a ******* old **********!
Once we were all back together, a few of us said how good it was to see Hilary back this week after spraining her ankle the week before. Or so we had been erroneously informed. It was her knee she’d hurt. How did she do that? Well, red-facedly she explained that she’d hit it on the sink. How did she do that? Well, she redder-facedly continued that she had locked herself out, and had been forced to climb through the bathroom window. Halfway through she had become stuck, and rather than remain there ‘til all her neighbours began to wonder whose bottom that was, heaved herself through, only for the Mitchell patella to rendezvous suddenly with the Armitage Shanks. Still, dignity somewhat dented, she was almost recovered, having been left with a nasty bruise.
Jane had fitted a fairing to the front of her bike, (the only place), and now with the wind being diverted around her trim figure, she looked as though she was fairly zooming along with ease. They are supposed to reduce wind resistance by a considerable amount, and Jane reckoned it was so.
We continued for a short distance along the Worth Way, turned right through the woods and across Gullege Farm, and on along a gently downward sloping, but quite rough path which almost rattled Dave’s bike to bits. As it happened, only one of his panniers jumped off onto the ground, and it’s a good job he wasn’t at the back, ‘cos he didn’t notice. Steve, being a gentleman, picked it up for him and didn’t charge him a penny. We crossed the main road at Felbridge, and then took another lane past Hedgecourt Lake where a couple of people were feeding the Canada geese. I hope they had chain mail gloves on, that’s all I can say. On through the lanes to Horne, and up the hill to the windmill at Outwood. That is the oldest working windmill in the country, and is privately owned. I was talking to a fellow recently, (now there’s a surprise), who was restoring one of the sails of the mill. It had been removed and laid on the ground. He told me it was costing £8000 just to do the one sail. Incidentally, there was a second one laying on the ground too. He explained that there was nothing wrong with that one. It simply had to be removed with the other one as it was a question of balance.
Once past the aerodrome, we made an assault on Redhill from the east, just before it made an assault on us by presenting us with a lung-burster before the final level-ish bit into Reigate. Café Rouge looked inviting from a distance, but was too full. Luckily some tables and chairs were on the pavement outside a modern-looking café a few doors away, and we all managed to crowd together having kicked out the other customers. Somebody said that the proprietor was a bit narked with us for some reason. The lovely waitress explained that it was a) because he was a bit flustered as we had all arrived suddenly, and b) he was a miserable *******. Anyway, an assortment of fodder and drink was consumed as we all sat soaking up the sunshine. Bliss!
Meandering on past a large pond, Steve said he’d not been along this part of Reigate before, and asked me where it came out. Confidently explaining in detail every inch of the road which I knew like the back of my hand, we came out somewhere completely different, and Steve, being a gentleman as I explained earlier, declined to call me a big-headed whatsit, which is what I would have called him had the positions been reversed. Had they been though, Steve would have of course admitted that he didn’t know in the first place.
Trying to take my mind off my embarrassment, I changed the subject and remarked on the bluebells of which there are many this year, and we probably passed most of them on out way south to Leigh and on to Parkgate.
It was about this time that Ron began to look a bit confused. “Do you know these roads, John?”, he asked. I wasn’t going to get caught again. “No idea”, I replied. “I’ve got a rough idea, I just want to avoid going into Charlwood”, said Ron. Left, right, a more confused look. “Look at the map, Ron”. “No I’ll be alright, I just want to avoid Charlwood”. In the event, Charlwood is a very nice place; I don’t know why he wanted to avoid it at all. And from there, its not a million miles into Three Bridges, and back onto the Worth Way where we were well on the way to home.
Three nice ladies on bikes came into view ahead of us, and it turned out to be Val, Heather and Jeanita, all looking thirsty. That’s it! Why not all nip round to my place as its so near to the Way? Tea a choccy bikkies for all. We all sat outside in the sun. Val and Martha realised that I had started gibbering and faffing around, so they boiled the kettle for me, made the tea for me, and passed it round for me. What treasures. It was only as everyone was leaving that I realised Martha had left me the washing up. No matter, I smiled as I realised I had forgotten to hand out the choccy bikkies and that I would therefore have to eat them all myself. Thanks, all.
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