Saturday 21st August 2021
C RIDE to NOT FLEETWOOD - Ken Roberts
So the traditional title would usually be C Ride to Knott End as one sees the larger town in the near distance although never actually goes to it, maybe then the above is a more accurate description, however, due to the malignance of that day’s weather forecast as RC I considered maybe not even going as far as that & hence C Ride to Not Knott End might yet have become more appropriate. Anyway, as I arrived at the Bellflower in my car I decided to resist changing the venue unless it became absolutely necessary due to worsening conditions, I had over the previous week consulted BBC weather forecasts willing the presenters to portray Saturday’s forecast as at least relatively favourable but as progressively these predictions sunk into a meteorological Slough of Despond I ended up hurling yet more extreme vitriol & expletives at the screen as the week went on. I should probably point out at this juncture that I hate rain more than any other thing in life, I consider precipitation to be the antichrist, to put it into context my maxim has always been ‘genocide might be bad but it’s preferable to rain’! Resignedly I put on my winter bib tights, 2 jackets, 3 capes & snorkel & rode to the start of the ride, as a party of 6 we set of in the pouring rain in the direction of the coast, I’m not saying that the precipitation was severe but I think I saw a Coastguard’s vessel pass by us just before we entered Stakepool. I was aware from national news that most of the 75 million population of the UK are now populating UK cafes rather than going abroad & a dearth of foodstuffs caused by a lack of lorry drivers was causing shortages of chicken which would inevitably lead to a shortage of eggs with no birds to lay them so that was half the café menu wiped out already, hence by the time we got to the café there might not be anything to eat. I thus resolved to get my party to the café before the aforementioned 75 million got there before us & filled the place so pushed on at considerable speed down the country lanes throwing women & children behind me whilst my companions were getting ever more soaked from the plume of spray thrown up by my tyres & deposited all over them. We thus arrived at Knott End in what was probably the fastest time ever & as we did I ran into the café to get my order in before the entire UK population to find it was, err, empty. So I & my bedraggled companions sat dripping on the seats & carpets desperate to replenish our by now much depleted fuel stocks not helped by the just completed GCC team trial & to my dismay nearly everyone ordered double poached eggs & I was last to do so & was then left concerned that I might miss out on the final remaining ones. The waitress service was thankfully quick & sundry poached eggs arrived at everyone’s place on the table, except mine, “fried egg on toast”, the young girl announced, “nobody wants it then, I’ll take it back to the kitchen”. At which I jumped up, snatched the plate from her hands & fought her off with the cutlery, I know from previous experience that if it goes back to the kitchen you will never see it again & thus go hungry for the rest of the day! As we left I noted some discontent from within the ranks as we stepped outside again into the rain, “it’s all your fault”, Frank protested in my direction, “my fault”, I enquired? “You could have cancelled it then we could have stayed in bed instead of getting wet”, he said & the others all nodded in agreement. Oh well, as ever, ‘An RC’s Lot is Not a Happy One’! As we left a damp Knott End I was suddenly aware that an ambulance passed me rather closely, this was a rare occurrence indeed & caused me to wonder that as there is at present spare capacity in hospital intensive care units whether there is a strategy to fill them with unsuspecting cyclists & another thing I have noticed recently whilst watching Le Tour & La Vuelta is the proliferation of adverts concerning ‘injury lawyers’, which led me to wonder if there is a connection between the two? I’m aware this might seem a bit of a conspiracy theory but ‘ambulance chasing’ lawyers are nothing new so imagine if lawyers instead of chasing ambulances actually began driving them on the highways, the ability to drive cyclists off the road & get the paramedics to patch them up whilst they filled in the compensation forms would create a sea change in the profession & much concern for us so look out for white vans with flashing lights, beware the vanbulance driver! In conclusion, one of my cycling friends was a teacher & upon reading one of my recent ride reports complained that it was annoyingly to him bereft of paragraphs, he insisted this could best be ameliorated by my writing out 200 times, ‘I must not write ride reports without including paragraphs’. Frustrating that rapidly approaching 78 years of life I am still having to write out schoolboy lines, Oh well, might have been worse, could have got detention instead!