Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

Wadhurst, er, No, Forest Row, 6th. April, 2008.

8am. Bloody weather people. What do they know? Forecast snow you can hardly see through, and the sky is as clear as a bell. Well, a bit grey I suppose, but anyway, I've always said they were useless.

9am. Those weather people. Got it spot on again. Brilliant! Snow falling all over the place, with flakes the size of, well, er, snowflakes. I've always said they were marvellous.

So, clad in two layers round the nethers, an extra woolly under my waterproof top and hat that comes down over the ears to complete the ensemble, I ventured out into the virgin snow, leaving a wobbly trail behind me. (Well, it wouldn't be in front of me, eh?). I rode a bit gingerly at first, not wanting to take a tumble, but soon I knew that the tyres were holding well enough, if only just. Almost immediately I was on the Worth Way. Nobody but me. Not even a footprint.

Brrrinnggg! Brrrinnggg! Brrrinnggg! Brrrinnggg! Once I'd worked out which pocket my mobile was in and fished it out, a lovely female voice enquired where I was. The Forest Way I erroneously replied, having been caught on the hop. It was Kate, checking to see if I was going out, because the tougher-than-he-looks Andrew was ready to leave. See him in ten minutes then.

Up through the nearly deserted main road and High Street of EG, in that strange quietness you get in the snow. A couple of skid-ettes down the slope onto the Forest Way, and I saw the trail of another bike freshly left in the snow. That'd be Chadwick-The-Younger. A short way along, I met an older gent with his dog. I've seen them so many times there that we're on speaking and throwing sticks terms now, so we whiled away a few pleasant minutes doing that again.

Brrrinnggg! Brrrinnggg! Brrrinnggg! Brrrinnggg! Same phone, same pocket. Different lovely female voice enquiring where I was. Blimey, this must be a dream. Two in ten minutes. Hilary! What are you doing out? Don't see you for weeks and then you choose a blizzardous day. I was informed that she and Andrew were huddled together in the bike shop doorway awaiting the late arrival, and would I please hurry up? I immediately did so in the hope of getting in on the huddling, having pulled rank on Andrew. It was not to be. Instead we all congratulated ourselves on what tough cyclists we were, and where were all the others? Hilary had on a superb new waterproof top. Her overtrousers would not have made the catwalk, but were adequate. Andrew was less suitably attired, but was game for a ride anyway.

Chat, chat, chat, blah, blah blah. Then Hilary and Andrew spoke too. Are we going yet? they enquired, and where to? Pulling myself up to my full height having found myself in charge of something for the first time in years, I pronounced that in view of the inclement weather etc. etc., we would head to Tunbridge Wells for a full English at our usual bad weather café next to the station. They complied like lambs, and we were off. I was in heaven. I got to talk at Hilary all to myself, and took full advantage of his mum's absence to bully Andrew mercilessly. What more could I want?

We cycled slowly-ish, mainly to avoid becoming covered in mud, but we chatted and blah-ed our way a fair distance. Suggestions were made to break into, first Martha's place, as she was away in Spain, and then into Steve's place, as he was away in Australia in search of tea-making facilities. I admit to being a bit thoughtless, being the only one having toasty overshoes on, but by the time we had nearly reached Groombridge, Andrew suggested we turn around and seek out a hot drink at Java and Jazz back at Forest Row. Hilary and I readily accepted the suggestion, and so we were soon seated there, dripping onto their floor not for the first time, and glugging our coffees and hot chocolate. We chided Andrew without pity that he had robbed us of our full English, but we were both secretly glad to be nearer home, and instead consumed luscious warm bacon baguettes, a suitable alternative.

Its amazing how long you can spend sitting letting the time slip by when its cold and wet outside. Further hot drinks came and went down, but eventually we were gently kicked out. Andrew left some of the Forest Way behind him on an armchair, causing me to offer apologies to the Manageress.

Have you ever noticed that the time that you least want a puncture is, by virtue of Sod's Law, the time you are most likely to have one? Have you got a puncture outfit Andrew? No. A bicycle pump? No. Do you know how to mend a puncture? No. Fine. So packing Hilary off to her nice warm flat, Andrew's wheel came out. Tyre levers? B****r! The very helpful lad in Future Cycles lent us a pair, offered to let us stand inside in the warm, and even fetched us a spiky thing to get the thorn out of the tyre. Soon we were back en route for our respective homes, where I, for one, quickly hosed the muck off my bike and my spindly legs from the knees down, ready for the next, hopefully drier enjoyable trip out.


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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