10 Sept – Selborne – The Fields of Fear (10,11)
It was decided after the previous ride the week before (QE – The land that time forgot) that Selbourne would be a suitable venue for another ride as we “haven’t been there for a while” and Smashie was all agog as RM with Chuffy as DRM. We convened in “shaggers” car park behind the pub (named after a previous gathering had witnessed a camper van parked up; the occupants of which were testing the suspension from the inside with some horizontal jogging).
So, it was Smashie as RM, Chuffy as DRM with Genghis, Slumpy, his carer Tonka, Big Ring, Algee, Fracker and new starter Nigel; who gathered in the car park ready to go. As we are about to set off Algee has a mudguard crisis and decided to remove his mudguard because it was providing an unauthorised aerodynamic advantage (rule 578 part A subsection ii) having forgotten rule 1 – which is that cheating is not only allowed, but actively encouraged.
However, before we get into the ride let’s talk about the riders, and this week’s in-depth interview is with Slumpy’s carer, Tonka, or to give him his full name Simon Guvnor Dickson Tonka Corke.
He was born in 1873 to Mr and Mrs Tonka and spent his childhood in the regions of Byfleet and New Haw (anyone who has travelled by train and had the misfortune to stop at Byfleet and New Haw will know that this is no-man’s land sandwiched between the opulence of St George’s Hill and the badlands of Woking ( see previous in depth interview with Big Ring who comes from Woking).
New Haw - Circa 2019:
However, drawn in by the big city lights, Tonka was always destined to move up in the world:
According to Tonka (and there are witnesses) his mother was a computer programmer for Winston Churchill:
And his Father was a prostitute (sorry they are called sex workers these days).
Despite, or maybe because, of his parents’ diverse occupations our Tonka had a great start in life but no-one knows how and why he chose to become a Law Enforcement Operative. Having researched the subject for at least five seconds your blogger believes he has stumbled on the truth. When he was very young and impressionable, our Tonka was on a family holiday and entered a Haberdashers in Little Snoring on Sea. However, on this fateful day, when Tonka was “minding his own business” he happened to observe a bespectacled and disabled old Granny helping herself to some stock and secreting these items about her person. He quickly surmised this was a hardened criminal and “shopped” her to the store Owner (the old Granny is still incarcerated but the smell emanating from her cell suggests she might have died)
Then some years later, whilst under the control of the “babysitter” (noo don’t go there) he was lucky enough to watch an episode of The Sweeney.
Too young to remember?… See below:
Well that was it – young Tonka aged 2 ½ only wanted to be a Law Enforcement Operative and not only that, he wanted to get into solving major crime AND do like they do it on the telly.
So our Tonka joined the “Really serious crime squad” – Surrey branch, known as the “Guvnors”. He started at the bottom, as all good Law Enforcement Operatives do, and worked his way up and soon came to the attention of the senior ranks (the ones who can set out traffic cones without referring to a higher authority). Then came his big break and was promoted to become the “bag man” for the head honcho, Billy “bust their balls till they talk” Knasher Pollark, aka the Guvnor of the Guvnors.
Together this duo became the most celebrated crime fighters in their own lunchbreak. Signature “busts” include:
The Brinks Matt robbery – £498 million of gold stolen and the team recovered gold worth £23.80 – total 93 people convicted serving a total of 3 weeks and 4 days in open prison, released on licence after 24 hrs. Tonka receives a commendation.
The Hatton Garden Jewellery heist – 170 million of precious stones and metals stolen - £3.80 recovered and 102 pensioners from a nearby care home sentenced to a total of 1,719 years with no parole. Tonka always said it was an inside job. Tonka gets to take anything he wants from the “evidence room”
34 teenagers locked up in a high security prison for mentally unhinged for the crime of anti-social behaviour (loitering with intent to use a pedestrian crossing and “looking at me in a funny way”).
The Guildford Toy shop blag where a Barbie Doll was recovered from a single mum on benefits – sentenced to 18 years and the child is in care.
Some big individuals are doing a long stretch thanks to our Tonka including:
Osama Bin Laden – extradited to the USA – didn’t go so well for him there.
Baron Von Richthofen
Billy “Rip yer face off” McNally
Jeremy Corbyn (now released)
HRH Prince Andrew (still on the run)
There is only so much a success a man can have before jealously forces is enemies to act. Indeed our Tonka was “retired” and is now Slumpy’s carer where he can show the softer gentle side of his personality. Big respect to one this country’s finest Law Enforcement Operatives.
So, onto the ride, and the RM was not relishing the fact that the ride was un-scoped and he knew that many many miles of the ride would be on Bridleways (misspelt as Footpaths) and someone might get wrong idea and all that.
All goes well to start with and the RM is able to disguise the repeated referral to the map by pointing in another direction and shouting something distracting like “look – there’s a baby dinosaur”. By the time the Peleton realised there was really no “baby dinosaur” your RM had been able to unfold the map, take a reading from the sun, moon and stars and determine exactly where we were to an accuracy of a couple of miles…..and refold the map and stow in his camelbak.
So onwards and onwards with new starter Nige taking it in his stride, even volunteering that he “knew where we were” (clearly a lot to learn about SHABI protocols but we can forgive this once).
We speed on along dry tracks in great order at a fair old speed (for the SHABI’s) and finally emerge from the Woods of Woe and go up a very sharp incline (known as a false flat) and come to rest at the top.
It was here that our RM takes stock. He knew the following section of trail would pass in front of a couple of farmhouses and he was anxious not to “alarm the natives” with a group of ten riders all with lights blazing plodding across the fields on a Bridleway misspelt as a Footpath. So, the RM decreed that everyone was to be in stealth mode – no lights and no talking and certainly no smiling or enjoyment shit.
Futhermore, the RM decided to take the Peleton on a diversion so the sun could sink well below the yardarm and hence provide cover to the Peleton when in stealth mode. The diversion went well for about 100m before a beckoning section of downhill was spotted. Thinking of the QE experience, Algee does a recce and proclaims the vertiginous steps downwards had a “chicken run”. RM Smashie goes first, and decides to take the chicken run, but finds there is no “chicken run”, and is now descending very fast and out of control through the shrubbery. So, all hope of riding was abandoned and everyone walked down the hill we had just ridden up on the road. The Peleton weren’t happy at all.
Then we go along a footpath that was waist high in nettles. The trail was thick with old and half dead nettles that were determined to put everything into their last sting of the year. The riders responded to this thorough lashing from the nettles in a number of ways: gentle giant Fracker “oh that is a bit unpleasant I must say” all the way down to DRM “if I had my way I would tazer that flucking RM in the genitals” (clearly our DRM had a day of being nice to everyone so needed to get it out of his system). Despite the decree from the RM to go into “stealth mode” Tonka and Chuffy have their lights blazing away – Misdemeanour points to both riders.
After the suffering….. the romance – yes ROMANCE. You may think the SHABI’s are the “hard men” of the mountain bike world, but no, it turns out that our Daisy is still deeply in love with his wife of some 87 years. So befitting his soft and romantic nature he decided to pick her some flowers. Stymied at first only being able to find some “more flucking nettles”, he then alighted upon some large sunflowers. WOW. He gently perused the selection on offer and spoke them all nicely and asked which ones would like to be part of the bouquet to his wife. All the sunflowers told him to “go and do one”, so he unceremoniously ripped the heads off two and placed them delicately in his rucksack. No doubt the Peleton will hear next week if this romantic gesture got him anywhere…. Its been 87 years for goodness sake.
So we head onwards and once again enter a section of riding requiring “stealth” and once again Tonka and Genghis had their lights on full – Smashie was reduced to his ususal exhortation in these circumstances “what part of ‘turn your lights off’ don’t you flucking understand”.
All is good as we pedal through fields of stubble and grass. A few stops to read the map and check for baby dinosaurs and we bask in the quiet evening air bathed in moonlight.
We then reach the pub and no need for further stealth riding. The moonlight is obliterated as 1.5 million lumens are powered up. A message from the DRM “get a flucking move on or we will miss the food”. This is indeed a stern warning, and it has been known for Chuffy to get very very angry if he misses the meal.
We pedal uphill on a false flat and Smashie piles into a sticking out tree …ouch …that hurts ..and then Tonka does the same thing. We know how to pit the “i” in idiot.
Then along the ridge and a bit of brain fade from the RM means a quick circuit around a field of stubble before a brilliant descent through a maize field with the plants significantly higher than the riders. You just had to hope the baby dinosaurs were tucked up in bed.
Then onto the pub and the RM even manages to get lost walking from the pub car park to the bar ..how did we ever get find our way home ….one of life’s mysteries.
So into the pub and we question Nige about his day job. He is a jet/rocket engine specialist and is working on the current land speed record attempt. Some factoids – to achieve the goal of doing 1,000 mph over the standing mile the vehicle needs a staggering 23 mile run up and a further 16 miles to slow down. That’s a bit like the SHABI’s going down Butser hill only a bit slower. Anyway our Nige is a top chap and we hope he returns.
Scores on the doors
I love you all