16 Jul, Oxdrove tracks, Alresford, (5,20)
16th July 2019 – Oxdrove tracks from Alresford
One of our longer rides in the West and requiring perfect weather to make it round in time before darkness. Smashie (RM) duly issued advice to all riders to bring lights and nettle protection which may have reduced the number of riders to a paltry five including;
Chuffy, Big Ring, Fracker, Slumpy, and of course Smashie as RM
Before we get into the ride let’s talk about the riders;
This week’s in-depth interview is with Chuffy:
As you may know Chuffy is a very senior Law Enforcement Operative with the Hampshire Statutory Enforcement Agency and this gives him immense power when he is in uniform. To give you a small idea of his seniority; he is able to deploy and arrange traffic cones without referring to a higher authority. He is able to escort children across a pedestrian crossing and tazer any teenager in the genitals, repeatedly, as he sees fit. Wow!
But Our Chuff has made it to this level of seniority the hard way, so he served his apprenticeship doing all the unglamorous things that junior law enforcement Operatives do, such as organising major anti-terrorism operations; campaigns against knife crime and organising resources for major incidents (wouldn’t want this important shit done by senior officers FFS!). Before this he has had a number of jobs including; managing a fish farm and mobile disco DJ.
I understand that his spell as a DJ means that he can throw some pretty sophisticated shapes on the dance floor – Michael Jackson – rank amateur in comparison. It is hoped that one day he will be able to translate the moves on the Dance floor to the “big air” he regularly achieves on the bike. Sadly its only when he crashes that we see a glimpse of his dancing prowess. Those of us lucky enough to witness the “wheelie bin incident” have never forgotten the “innovative interpretative dance routine” that was disguised as a “crash into to a stationary wheelie bin”. It was awesome.
Now onto the ride.
We set off in excellent order and soon are zipping along the Ox-drove tracks which are dry and firm but a tad dusty. Many brambles are enjoying the hot and humid weather and are reaching across the tracks but no blood is drawn from our heroes at this early stage. Simply the most fantastic riding as we bimble along (at a reasonable pace it must be said) and talk amongst ourselves and put the world to rights. We reach the mast at the top and start the first road section. Outrageously a car interrupts a free wheel face-off but it is not really a suitable bit of road for a freewheel face-off, and the finely-honed skills of the SHABi’s, so we “back off” and carry on. Then onto more ox-drove tracks and a tremendous section in the woods. Slumpy follows Chuffy into a wheel rut so deep it is impossible to pedal and there is a chat about “skills” (other riders have wisely and skilfully remained on the ridge between the wheel ruts).
We then traverse a superb downhill section through the trees with the dark under the trees and bright sunshine making visibility “interesting”. At the bottom Chuff discovers he has a large insect in his eye and asks for assistance in removing aforesaid insect. Given the miniscule size of the insect, and the delicacy of Chuff’s eye, and the desire to save the life of the poor insect, the SHABI peleton searched around for a suitable “surgical instrument”. Pumps, chain breaking tools, 6mm Allen keys were all proffered along with Slump’s renowned surgical skills (an expert with a chainsaw I understand - your blogger has seen him build a wooden fence fashioned from a tree trunk and some twigs). Anyway Chuffy suddenly became rather reluctant to let Slumpy have a go at saving the insect as, using his “thinking technique” had alighted on the feed tube from Smashies Camelbak and was proposing to “suck” the insect out of Chuff’s eye in a technique he has used before for rattle snake bites in the Australian outback. As suddenly, just as the “insect in the eye” crisis had arrived, the insect flew away and Chuff was “back to normal” whatever normal is for Chuffy.
The insect crisis did have the unfortunate effect of draining Slumpy’s water bottle (drier than a dead Dingo’s digeridoo in the desert) and which Smashie generously refilled from his Camelbak. Big Ring’s offer to refill the bottle from his bladder was rejected on the grounds that one of the reasons that Slumpy left Australasia in the first place was so that he would never have to taste “that” kind of water again! Hey ho – another ride testing the limits of human endurance.
Then onto a bit more road, and the Poppy fields.
As we all know, drug taking to improve “performance” of any sort, is totally permitted, indeed encouraged at all times in the SHABI Peleton. And lo, we came across a field of poppies. Smashie immediately stuffed a “small” poppy up his nose with no discernible effect, and attempts to snort a “line” of whatever is in the poppies appeared ridiculous, and frankly demeaning.
Often discussed, Rarely witnessed; "Doing some Poppies"
Meanwhile the SHABI Peleton posed for photos in the corn, Gladiator style, which was ruined when Fracker thought he saw a small dinosaur heading towards the group “Jurassic park” style. Chuff wanted to catch it and take it home as a pet.
So we set off again and traverse many beautiful Oxdrove tracks. In a run against form, Smashie wins the “freewheel face off” – Fracker is nowhere again – how the mighty have fallen. Over the main Brighton to Yeovil road and we head for home. Yet more superb riding with the dust making the group look like a heard of stampeding bullocks. Then a final zig-zag and we are riding along next to the River Test in stealth mode. No, I didn’t see any signs saying strictly no cycling – neither did anyone else.
We stop at the Chippy for some Fish and chips and head for the Railway station for a slap-up meal – Mrs Miggins style.
All in all, a superb ride with great company and 20 miles under our tyres.
Meal points for Smashie, Chuffy, Fracker, Slumpy and Big Ring plus T shirt points all round. Smashie was RM and no DRM appointed.
I love you all
PS News just in – the insect survived and has now come to terms with its experiences and has self-identified as a horse. No-one is going to want one of them in their eye!