TSJ 1st RM ride!
As an RM Virgin, anxiety set in well before pedal off. What happens if I get lost, nobody shows up, the pub is closed, Boris reintroduces a new tier which means no cycling on a Tuesday. Sleepless nights and sweaty palms followed as the mushy cabbage between my ears attempted to process all of these potential fails as we approached RM day.
"Just as a broken clock is correct twice a day, indeed the Genghis weather prediction had an elemet of accuracy"
The weather Gods were not kind, leading up to the off, torrential downpours and hailstones threatened to change the previously dry trials into a treacle of mud. No worries, the Shabi’s are a hardy bunch and a little mud wasn’t going to stop a group of idiots from having some fun.
So I arrived at the Coach and Horses Compton in good time. What’s going on though? Where’s the car park? Some Shabi’s had already bagged a space and sat smugly in their cars the rest of us circled with intent. Using the parts of our brains which is necessary to become a fully signed up member of Shabi-dom those circling Shabi’s came up with a solution and we were all ready to pedal off at 18:32hrs.
Recollection from the evening activities and reference to my copious notes and photographic evidence informed me that the following were present:
9 Shabi’s, 2 potential new Shabi’s and one lost Shabi (more about that later).
One particular Shabi of note joining our ride was our illustrious leader Smashie. Much missed and welcome sight for all. We have much missed the bike bollocks and bling that Smashie brings to our rides and we look forward to knowing more about Hope orange bike component bits in the future.
I was so pleased to see Smashie, I thought I may adopt, and action the new Covid compliance protocol ref: COV- 12345 part ABC, which permits hugging. However, as our Health & Safety Officer was not present to advise me on the correct action, I merely nodded and expleted a term of affection.
It was heart warming to see Smashie back in the saddle:
So off we set, however, early descent in the ranks occurred before we had left the car park with LBD requesting a comfort break. This was not planned in my itinerary, but those who know me often refer to my accommodating nature so a comfort break was delivered with a view across open fields. A candidate for toilet of the year me thinks.
The ride continued, down a trail following a couple of deer, and then back to the road yards from the pub where we started. Refusing the draw of going back to a comforting bar we pressed through West Marden and breached a bridlepath which was well, vertical in nature. Some grumblings were noted in the peleton but I was not perturbed, I knew this was just friendly banter.
More climbing followed. We crossed the aptly named ‘three fields of hell’.
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Interesting fact, it appears that the landowner is harvesting flint in the field. How very ingenious, why grow staple food crops when there is a world demand for flint feature walls. I dob my cycle helmet to Farmer Giles (not related to our own Slasher Giles) and will write a letter of intent to the aforementioned farmer of my desire to have a flint feature wall across our lounge/dining room area. Mrs Tarmac will be so pleased.
After enjoying a bit of down hill more climbing beckoned. This was a serious climb, but I know the Shabi’s love a big climb. We breached the summit and I expected a few pats on the back thanking me for finding such a scenic and jolly climb, instead many members of the mostly silent peleton had a piss. I took this as a sign of respect, marking and scenting the trial so it was easy to find again. I do love a bit of Shabi logic.
Onto the South Downs way and continuing to Harting Down. Reference to my phone at this point indicated a missed call from our Shabi colleague Dobbie. Oops, that was 45 minutes ago. Blimey, I knew he would be late but why was he referring to Ditcham Park School? Recollection about an early phone call with Mr Dobbie reminded me that the words Ditcham and School were included in my route synopsis, oh dear, I meant towards that said school. Anyhow, all was not lost. Dobbie tracked our position with his own personal satellite orbiting above and said he would meet us along The Gallops.
This is what the SHABI LIFE is all about!
The ride was now on a downward trajectory, a free pedal face off was discussed but then dismissed by the RM Virgin who hadn’t read the relevant safety note on actioning such an activity. This was soon forgotten as an even more important sight beheld us. Approaching in the opposing direction to the pack was Dobbie.
"Hoorah! we all shouted, and Dobbie was dutifully emersed in the peleton and onwards to the following descent to the pub."
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Shabi’s returned to their cars and re-emerged in the pub in reduced numbers with Daisy missing out on some top pub grub.