Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

Wadhurst - 19th October 2008.

I knew it would happen. It always does, sooner or later. 'All Things Pass', as someone once said, and they were right. For weeks and weeks I have been feeling a 20-year-old. I'll quickly re-phrase that. I have been feeling like a 20-year-old. And today dawned, the truth having caught up with me, and I had that feeling that I had been run over several times by a steam roller driven by a very fat bloke whose pockets were all full of lead bricks. (That's enough allusions to heavy things. Ed.(adding your own comments under the guise of editor is not allowed - Ed)

So, having dragged on my clothes and plodded out to the garage, catching myself repeatedly saying "Ugh!" on the way, I selected my trusty mountain bike as I wasn't going to be speeding anywhere, and made off.

I had been out the day before, and for the first time this autumn had donned long tights, (if you don't count the occasional discreet nights at the Copacabana Club, but we won't go into that right now). So this morning I had done the same, as the temperature had dropped considerably from that of late.

I arrived at the bike shop to discover for the second week running Stuart (I hope the spelling is correct) whom Jane met a little while ago, and invited along. He wears proper cycling clothes, rides a proper racing bike and rides at a proper racing cyclist's pace, although he will modestly deny it. I can't see him staying with us for long because he seems like a very nice bloke.

Soon we were joined by Jane and the lovely Ron. (Sorry, got that the wrong way round, or have I?). The equally lovely Kate followed, as did Tony and Don. Andrew was staying over with a friend, (that's his story), Zoë was working, so was Martha, Val was helping renovate her son's house, and Christa was in Thailand being a grandmother.(She'd only just a couple of weeks ago come back from China. She'll be getting slitty eyes soon. [See Duke of Edinburgh, circa 1990-something]). Chit chat chit chat chit chat. Then I let someone else speak. They said "Shut up, we're going". So, except for Graham and Stuart (I hope the spelling is correct) who went by road, we made our way along the Forest Way towards Groombridge where we were to meet Steve. We all arrived in more or less the same place on more or less the same day, and after a small amount of faffing about, we were friends re-united. (Geddit?). Ron was once more in charge and led us onward.

Don't ask me which way we went, 'cos I don't know anything about it except it was all upwards. I didn't feel too good, and had a constant whining in my ears. We were almost there before I realised it was me moaning at myself. Kate was forced to stop for a short time as she was in a lot of pain. Her hip joint was giving her trouble, but after she had applied a secret potion to it, having rejected my offer of assistance which would have involved rather a lot of undressing, she carried on, tough lady that she is.

Ron peered through the pub window at Wadhurst. "It's full up in there. It's only 12 o'clock. We'll never get in. We're all doomed. What are we going to do?" The hardy Kate entered, spoke to the landlady, came back out within a minute or so and announced that we could all go in, where tables would be made available to us, and we could order whatever we liked from the menu. Told you she was tough.

Stuart (I hope the spelling is correct), being a proper cyclist, couldn't believe that we could all sit down in a pub and order a full meal during what he thought would be a training ride. Get real, this is the FRBC. Tony looked rather disgruntled (can you be gruntled, I wonder), and complained to me that although we had ordered the same, I had 3 eggs to his 2, my ham had been cut thicker than his and I had several more chips on my plate than he had. I invited him to complain to the lovely waitress on whom my charisma had naturally worked wonders, and ate my food.

All to soon it was time to leave, and realising that I had forgotten to take off my outer layer, knew that I was going to feel a tad cold at first. That is always the worst part, isn't it? You've had a bit of a ride, got hungry, sat in the warm for a while, and then you've got to force the bones into motion again, when all you want to do is nod off for an hour or two and then be picked up by a taxi. Not to worry, the blood was soon coursing round, and the sun had broken through. There's not a much prettier sight in the world than the British countryside on an autumn afternoon with the rusty leaves falling, being dappled by the sun. Sloppy, I know, but to be able to throw your leg over a bike and be out there is priceless. Especially when you've just had a bigger lunch than Tony, and at the same price!

What was it about today? Tony crunched his gears several times, Stuart (I hope the spelling is correct) unshipped his chain, and Graham unshipped his too, more than once. He explained that he had taken his rear gear mech. apart for a thorough cleaning, but had put it back the wrong way round. Nothing to be ashamed of Graham, I did that once when I knew nothing at all about bikes either. (Sorry, joke).

Soon enough we arrived at Tunbridge Wells. Ron enquired of us if we would like to stop and have a cup of tea. Is the Pope a Catholic? So we commandeered a table at that lovely café where they give you a chocolate with your drink. Except they didn't. No matter, we took a seat outside in the sun. Stuart (I hope the spelling is correct) could stand no more, and pleaded other things to do, as did Jane and Don, and the 3 of them cycled off, leaving us to our tea. Or coffee. Some greedy bounder, alias Ron, ordered his tea and a toasted tea cake without anyone else realising. We'll show him, we collectively agreed. Huge slices of cake all round, except Ron. Ha Ha!

Blimey, I don't have enough money to pay for this, says I, and the lovely Kate says "No matter, Graham's pension is more than enough to pay for yours too." I'd just started to enjoy a huge slice of chocolate cake when Tony wailed "Your cake is bigger than mine too". I reminded him of waitresses and charisma, and enjoyed my cake twofold. It is indeed difficult in such circumstances to refrain from gloating, and alas, I failed. Ha ha ha ha ha! I was just revelling in gloatiness when Kate announced that she couldn't possibly finish her unfeasibly large slice of cake, and passed most of it to Ron (Me Me Me) Redgrove, following which she informed me that she hadn't enough money left to buy me a coffee when we got to Java and Jazz. Some people!

So imagine my delight when I emptied my pockets having arrived home, to find a crisp crunchy fiver. Thanks Kate............

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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