13 Apr, Hayling Island (11,16)
Captain, the General will see you now…
“Ah, Frackbladder, got a job for you. Looks like the hun might try a beach landing down south. Need to check out the sea defences. Take the usual suspects. Have a shufti, Don’t come back…..”
So, on a gloriously sunny but slightly chilly April evening SIX valiant Shabis set forth on a NEW RIDE from the quay at Langstone. Captain Frackbladder (RM) , Tarmac St John, Strangely, Slasher, Whoopsadaisy, Slumpy, Tonka, Love Bus Driver, Faffer (no intolerances) (DRM), Ian and fresh out of retirement, BigRIng.
Smashie had a blowout in Sheffield and was a disappointed noshow.
After a range fettling, pumping and cable tie deployment and with passports duly checked, the RM made the schoolboy error of offering the peloton a choice of routes to Hayling – to take the original Roman Wadeway across the mud shingle and low tide shallows or the late 1950’s concrete bridge. Dropping the ‘idiot’ modus operandi for a brief moment of clarity and sentience, they opted for the bridge.
So taking the east side of the island allowed the Shabi Estate Agents (est. 2021) to show off some the finer properties on the north of the island but meant we were on road for a little while. No lights needed though.
The route then wended across the island to join the Hayling Billy line for the first time with views of Langstone Harbour and Portsmouth. South then down the Billy line to find big air at Bike Park Hayling. After a few circuits with no mishaps, falls or deaths, our gaggle headed to the westerly point of the island, past the Ferry Inn and alongside the entrance to Langstone Harbour – where the Isle of Wight can be seen gleaming like a jewel on the horizon.
All were excited at the prospect of going to the beach but the RM had to stand firm and keep the buckets and spades hidden for this ride.
It had been observed that there are very few opportunities for climbing hills on this ride – noted : zero ft ascent – but the terrain of sea shell banks, sand dunes and loose shingle provided a wheel spinning aerobic challenge of a parallel nature.
Even with the wind behind us across the south of the island – along the dunes, across the beach, through the funfair, taking the miniature train - earlier sight-seeing meant the we ran out of time to reach the Lifeboat Station and we had to head back promptly to the Billy line to ensure a timely return to the pub. A final stop to witness the wide variety of seabirds nesting. All that squawking and bickering - I am sure the birds hoped it would stop/ we would move on so they could get some sleep….which we did.