Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

Rusthall - 2nd October 2016

Urrgghh! Late home from work early this morning. Up at the crack of seven o’clock, but decided to ride to Forest Row just so I couldn’t give Trex a lift up Wall Hill at the end of the day. It would be worth that alone. (And it was). It’d been raining quite hard during the night, so I took my winter bike in case of more rain, or remaining puddles. Can’t get the best bike wet, now can I?

At the top of Ashurst Wood, (which is only a nano-second from Trex’s house, so he couldn’t possibly be last to FR, could he?), there are some road works going on. I hesitantly wiggled my way through them. Just at the other side, I thought I was dreaming. About eight luscious lovelies astride bicycles appeared, wondering if it was possible to traverse said road works. When they asked me, I replied “Sorry, I tried too, but I’ve had to turn back”. They were just about to take a diversion, when I confessed that it was just one of my terrific jokes, and that really they could get through. D’you know, they laughed so much, they had to restrain themselves from cuddling me, each and every one of them. Hard to believe, I know, but that’s the way I prefer to see it anyway.

Once outside the bike shop, I was delighted to see a throng of cyclists, Graham, Gordon, Ros and Steve. I was also very pleased to see that Ron had stopped to talk to us on his way walking his dog, who I was also over the moon about seeing. And Martha was there too.

Guess what? Trex appeared 10 minutes later. Never! He did. And not an excuse in sight.

Gordon and Ros started off up Priory Road where they were to meet Zoë for their own ride, and we said our goodbyes. That left the rest of us to continue on our ride to Rusthall. How many of us were there, and who were they? A prize for the first correct answer, and derision from the rest of us for being a nerd.

The more attentive of you may be wondering whatever happened to my wayward Garmin last week. Everyone else in the universe couldn’t care less. I’ll tell you anyway. I fixed a date for it with a 16oz. hammer which I keep in my tool box. It wasn’t a prolonged contest, but amazingly satisfying.

Not long after that car park at the top of Priory Road, something to do with goats, I think it’s called, the official route set by Graham would have taken us down a swift descent, across a ford, then up through a dank, shady wood and a steep incline to Chelwood Gate. Today, however, after I had built myself up to it, an easier diversion from the official route was substituted by Graham. Maybe he’s beginning to feel his age. I do hope so.

Arriving at the A22, I hesitated a bit until the traffic had ceased, and, turning left, I heard a crunch and an epithet which cannot be repeated here. I looked behind me to perceive a prostate cyclist getting close and personal to a couple of square feet of tarmac. Trex, let me tell you that one is far better off remaining upright on a bicycle, if at all possible. Lame excuses about not knowing which way the bike in front of you is going are not good enough, even if they give everyone else a laugh.

Have you ever had a conversation with a sheep? It’s a fair question. I just wondered if you have an opinion about their intelligence. Because on our journey across the Ashdown Forest, there were several of them taking a rest safely beneath the trees, but two who were doing so in the middle of the road, right in the path of oncoming traffic. They don’t seem to care what they do. Good for them, I say, as long as they don’t mind taking the consequences.

Last week, I mentioned that bare legs were in evidence. This week, however, although the sun is persisting magnificently into October, the temperature has dropped somewhat. For this reason I donned some leg warmers, which I would be able to remove later if the day warmed up enough. I was the only one of our group to do this, and my internal gloating was rewarded when Martha became cold enough to enquire if she could swap trousers with me. What? Even when I was a dashing young blade, no female ever, ever asked me anything whatsoever to do with the clothing covering my lower half. Unfortunately, being the age I am, 27, I could only bask in the satisfaction of being warm, because of my selection of legwear for the day. Survival of the fittest, I say.

It is gratifying to note that nowadays, since the Olympics in 2012, there are many more cyclists on the road than heretofore. (Would you believe that I trained as a solicitor? No, I thought not.). Strangely then, that many of them no longer respond to a happy “Good morning”, “How’s it going?”, or, “Watch’a Mate”. Trex opined that it is probably because there is locally, a care home for deranged people who are all on some sort of medication, and who are allowed out for a short period on a Sunday to ignore everyone else. He may be right.

You couldn’t read one of these reports, if you do, without noticing that Trex has become fitter and more capable at climbing hills than heretofore. (That word again). Not long ago, he would bash up every hill in sight, but gradually run out of steam before we got to the end of the ride. Now, however, he seems to keep bashing along until the end. A little irritating, eh? More than that, it p****s me off bigtime, but you won’t hear that from me.

Nevertheless, I was delighted to whizz off unexpectedly, claim the Lye Green sign, only for Graham to inform me that he had already done so for the Friar’s Gate sign just before. ‘Bad loser’, I thought, so I immediately claimed the sign for Groombridge. The one that gave me the most pleasure, though, was Bells Yew Green, which I went for a mile or so beforehand, and staved off all attempts at chasing me down. Nothing after this could spoil the day for me. Except when we had passed through Tunbridge Wells, and Graham stole the Rusthall sign. Cheating, of course.

The 2nd. of October, and we could still sit outside the cafe in the sunshine. Fantastic. We each had the breakfast of our choice, and conversed about all manner of things. Martha had explained that when she became 50, (she can’t be), she had lost a stone. Gentleman Trex enquired why she had put it all back on again. I ask you. Steve noticed a large brick arch just across the road, and wondered what it could be for. “No matter, Steve, we’ll go and investigate when we’ve had our breakfast”, said I. Sitting here at home, I’m wondering how on earth we all can forget things so quickly.

We passed the time, apart from eating our breakfasts, telling naughty jokes, including the best one liner of the day from Steve. We all laughed for ages as it was so funny. Life being what it is for an older person, I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember what it was. We also, believe it or not, tested each other on converting metric and imperial measurements. I can remember some Smarty Pants correcting my statement that 1 gallon = 4.55 litres. Infuriatingly, he was bang on with 4.546. I looked it up when I got home. What sort of life must that man lead? It soon became time to wend out weary way home.

Dear reader, in the singular, you notice, you may think that I rather dwell on having a go at our dear Trex. The problem is, that the material keeps coming and coming. We turned a corner and were met with a bucolic vista of a massive field containing a large collection of grazing animals. OK, the sun was in our eyes, but I had to do a double take of Trex when he pointed out the large flock of sheep in front of us. Except even I could see a huge herd of those beautiful pale cattle called Charolais, I think. Maybe there’s a little clue there into why he keeps falling off his bike. Next time he’s in a restaurant and orders a steak, they’ll be able to pass him off with a lamb chop.

We turned into a narrow roadway called ‘Frank’s Hollow Lane’, and Steve warned us that this thoroughfare is rather crappy, forgive me. It wasn’t his term. But it proved to be so. Steeply down for ages, with potholes, gravel, a huge dollop of set concrete dropped Lord knows when, followed by a steeply up for ages incline. We all cursed bloody Frank.

If you’re still reading, sad person, you will be glad to know that I have no further recollections of this ride, save for arriving at the junction of Smithers Lane and Shepherds Grove Lane, (look it up if you care), where I took my leave of my companions, climbed another 500 yards, (450.72 metres), and dropped the last 3 miles, (4.828 kms), to my home and a beverage.

John


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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