Julian writes…. (with photos by Mark Waters)
With good intention I don the lycra to ride over to the AGM in Godalming but have to clear some of the leaves and other garden rubbish before I set off. And as I get the bike out it starts to rain – hard. I don’t fancy sitting in wet clothes for hours as ther AGM works its way through the packed agenda. Change of plan, change of clothes and get the car out.
“Oh you’re the one who writes the blogs.” “Yes, and you’re…….ah yes – the webmaster.” So let me ask, please can you put a counter on the blog pages so I can see if anyone reads my ramblings other than those with whom I ride and who make comment on the next ride.
“Oh you are the SAD-R(?) who writes the blogs.” “Yes Bob,” but I am too polite to ask you what you meant. Sad rider who has too much time on his hands after a ride to imagine a crazy world and write about it? Perhaps – but what did you say and what did you mean?
Under grey skies and into the face of a strong wind I set out for the Sunday ride from Godalming and amazingly arrive on time. The Captain is there, “You didn’t write any blogs so I did not know what was going on whilst I was away.” The chief photographer is there, “If I take the pictures will you write the blog?” Hey, when I get home I have to sell hello to anyone who is home, answer the question did I have a good ride, have some rego drink, ring my parents – which I have done every weekend since university – drink a cup of tea, check the key stats on the cycle computer, clean myself up, put the chickens to bed, clean the bike – nope that just gets put on the to do list – eat dinner – roast if you want to know and how can you have a roast dinner and not open a bottle of wine. Put feet up, chat to daughter who is away at university and she wants me to get a piece of computer kit sorted out for her, and then find time to write. Oh and it helps if I have some inspiration.
Humpfffff is all I can say.
Clive fails to appear on time. At least it is mild and I am not freezing cold. Peter decides to ring him – as Clive is unlikely to be expecting him to be on the ride. He will meet us at the traffic lights. Multiple punctures en route over. When we finally met up way, way past the official 9:10 start time six of us head of for Milland.
Grey skies, mild conditions, leaves still on trees and with fading colours, slippery patches on the road. An autumn ride if ever there was one. I bought the luxo-cruiser just for this purpose – to extend the riding season beyond the summer months. Last time out was on the grin machine and we had fun…… well, possibly too much and we got carried away. The grin machine knew it was its last outing and it just wanted to play. Together we rode off the front of the group and started chasing balloons. We did not hear the cries of turn left – we did not even see the junction – we were just flying and having fun. Then realisation struck, no-one was following me. Back up, find the turning, ring Clive and say not to worry – I’ll meet them at the lunch stop. But the group was delayed by a puncture. I caught up with them in minutes. Sorry.
And today – two more punctures on the way to coffee. What’s the collective noun for punctures? We thought an aggravation was a likely candidate. Don and Paul were waiting at Milland, identifiable by a fixie, the most shock pair of working trousers you have ever seen and a pair of walking boots. Don, you need a new pair of trousers if you want to be seen in polite company! You did have the grace to acknowledge they were terrible.
The cake at the Milland village shop is very good but the sight of lyrca clad men seems to have an effect on the ladies who serve. I was given a pot of tea, cake and “oh yes, I’ll get you a fork.” “Thank you but can I have some milk and a cup please.” “Oh sorry here you go.” “Thank you can I have a cup as well please.”
The journey to Kirdford was notable by the absence of Paul who said that he would make his own way at his own pace. We weren’t going fast, honest and we had had done all the bunny hops pre-coffee. And the chief photographer trying to get pictures of more than backsides of riders. Attractive buildings – shall we stop? Telephone box and post box (by the way, where is that blue post box that we occasionally pass and why is it blue?) – that would make a good picture surely? No – not enough light. Two young women on horseback – perfect. “I like to have something interesting in the background.”
“Hey chaps I have a slow puncture.” We sent Mark on ahead to get to Kirdford before his air expired whilst we waited for our backmarker. But when we got to Kirdford – no Mark. 5 minutes spent trying to find him only to discover he had set off for Plaistow before lunch. 30 minutes later Paul turns up. “Where have you been, the South Coast?”
Discussion over lunch was animated but I was keen to get going so as not to have the cycle the A246 in the fading gloom with everyone piling out of Guildford. Fat chance – the goodbyes and thank yous and see you next weeks to the Haslemere lot turned into ….. well I don’t know… two of us wanted to get going so we went. At Dunsfold we reformed and shortly after I bade farewell to the Godalming group before speeding off for Hascombe Hill, Bramley, Guildford and the 246. Home at least half an hour later than hoped. 70miles, 3,300 ft of ascent and they still want a blog!
For further information on this 80km / 50 mile route click on this link.