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17 Aug, Midhurst – The return of the Zombies

Dearest SHABI’s

It was the best of times, the worst of times and time to ride from Midhurst.

Before we can even get to talk about the riders your blogger must report a general absence due to “holidays”. Here are some of the excuses submitted;

1. Genghis – possible snow predicted so went on holiday to Greece for some slightly warmer weather

2. Whoops a Daisy – Butlins in Bognor – local; so he could pop home and sit in his “love bus” for peace and quiet and a chat with his imaginary friend.

3. Slumpy – Going to NZ in 2022 so getting “in the mood” by adopting NZ time zone – sleeps during the day and walks on his hands to get used to being on the other side of the world.

4. Tonka – not strictly on holiday – more like recovering for back surgery ie malingering.

5. Captain FrackBladder – Isle of Wight – well someone has to go there?

So attendees on the night were; Smashie (RM), Tarmac St John, Simon the Wheels, Mastic Man, Nurse Brown, Dobbie, Faff Cheeks and Big Ring.

Crisis for the RM before the start as the restaurant known as “La Calzone” is shut for August – WTF! So the RM desperately rings around and the first reserve is Pizza Hut but this has closed its Midhurst branch – the website helpfully suggests Haywards Heath as the nearest. So the White Horse in Easebourne steps forward with the offer of food till 9:00pm – whats not to like!

So rather than change the rendezvous point at the last minute, the RM leaves the instruction to gather in the carpark next to the drug dealers. The thought of lost SHABI’s driving around Midhurst like lost sheep (only with less intelligence) looking for the change in location was too big a risk.

So we set off through the Polo fields and arrive at the White Horse for “pre-ordering”. The RM suggests that all riders should “re-hydrate” with a local ale as we are about to climb up Bexley Hill. Not a single SHABI rider wishes to re-hydrate – not even Big Ring, who as we all know, is renowned to be enthusiastic on all matters re-hydration. The unforeseen consequences of Covid eh!

We order Pizzas as that is the only food offering on Tuesday and almost immediately there is an “incident” with Faff Cheeks. The conversation goes something like this:

· Faff “Can I have an egg on my Pizza?”

· Attractive barmaid “No”

· Faff “but a soft egg is a traditional topping..”

· Attractive barmaid “We don’t do eggs”

· Faff “I am sure you must have some eggs?”

· Attractive barmaid “No”

· Faff “but I want an egg on my Pizza”

· Attractive barmaid “No”

So the other riders felt that an intervention was necessary as the Attractive Barmaid looked pretty handy in the “life changing violence” department so Faff was advised to ..”stand away from the food counter”. Faff is wise, and knows when he is at risk of serious violence, so backs down. Crisis averted – phew! We finalise our order and mount our steeds for the false flat to come.

Now the ride is underway, and in time honoured tradition, let’s talk about the riders.

This weeks in depth interview is with Nurse Brown who as you all know is an NHS key worker in the numbers department. So I could go into a discourse as to why numbers are important, and especially in the NHS, but before I do lets have some background.

Nurse Brown was born in 1903 into a family of notable number crunchers including; Ada Lovelace, Isaac Newton and surprise surprise Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz. Bit of a love triangle thing going on, but lets not hold our Nursie responsible for that. From the age of three he was involved in complex quantum calculations that would eventually used to calculate the time it would take an Elephant to walk to Mars. So how did such a mathematical genius end up working for the NHS? Unfortunately, our Nursie got involved in the complex calculations for the launch of spacecraft and “forgot” to put a “minus” sign next a destination co-ordinate. The result was that the large booster rocket complete with satellite payload arrived in its geostationary orbit with the pointy bit upside down. So, he is now in the NHS doing the number thing and is a huge success as the NHS is not quite so fussed about accuracy as NASA. How many patients have Covid? – answer; well about 330,000 … ish or maybe it was 3. How many beds do we need on critical care? – answer; about 258,982 or maybe 258,981. So as you can see – critical to the safe running of our beloved NHS. We are all safe in his hands.

So back to the ride and we head up Bexley Hill which is a false flat that keeps on giving and giving. Much puffing and panting from all riders as we plod up. We meet a group of runners coming the other way who all look so miserable. In fact, has anyone ever seen a person who is running, actually “enjoying themselves” ie any sign of smiling (as opposed to grimacing) or have a happy expression? Nope me neither.

We reach the top and its fair to say the pain is rewarded with pleasure as we swoop down into Lodsworth at top speed avoiding the Vining Farm decent due to brambles/nettles/mud which is not a novelty anymore.

A bad call in central Lodsworth by the RM leads to a temporary retreat but not much time is lost as we blast down to Pooh Sticks Bridge but no time for games – the peloton tackle the sharp hill the other side with a mixture of grim determination and whimpering.

Then onto the “precipice of death” and we ride along the small ledge leading to the Tilington Olympic freewheel face off course. Due the absence of the usual protagonists; Chuff, C2C7, Captn FB and Genghis there was no cheating and we all had a very pleasant bimble to the bottom and everyone was declared a winner….. blaaargh this kind of woke equality bollocks will have to stop IMMEDAITELY.

So with the “pre-ordering” at the pub having delayed matters, the RM declared “Hammer time” and the ride took on the appearance of a team time trial in the Tour de France. The valley of certain death was tackled at speed and a narrow escape when our path was crossed by a speedy Telescopic handler with the fork lift blades extended. (TSJ identified it as the new JCB 532-70 AGRI model with sileage bail lifting spike) We flash through woods, fields and splash through the ford at the end of lake Windemere. Through the stinky mud at the bottom of the cow sheds and past the polo fields.

Then there is pain for Dobbie as gasping for breath, he sucks a hornet into his mouth. The Hornet was surprised at first, thinking that fast approaching Dobbie was in fact a cow. But once inside and realising his mistake, he set about stinging our hero throughout is oral interface. Dobbs was reeling in pain from the furious pace set by the RM and the furious hornet in his mouth. So being the nature lover he is, he chewed the hornet and spat it out before pedalling furiously to keep up. It can sadly be reported that the Hornet was rushed to the nearest NHS facility where Doctors worked tirelessly to revive the Hornet but he was declared dead at 11:57. That makes 3 Hornets this week or is that 330,000 – who knows or cares. Meanwhile Dobbie looks like he has gone ten rounds with the Attractive Barmaid and lost to a knockout.

Then the Peloton is stuck behind a sewage pumping truck but no quarter was given and we speed onwards with the distant thoughts of food foremost in our minds. Inevitably the RM begins to lose his flock and by the time we reach the outskirts of Midhurst at least 3 (or was it 4? – the RM was relying on Nursie for the counting bit) were missing.

Hero points for Mastic Man who joined the RM for a search only to find the missing 3 were already in the carpark!

So the remaining riders; Nurse Brown, Faff Cheeks, Dobbie, TSJ and Smashie (RM) toddled along in the pitch black to the pub for a GREAT pizza. Serious consideration will be given to riding from this pub in future. Great!

Scores on the doors.


BINKY BYKEKNUT – A Cycling legend answers your questions

In this feature, Binky will fearlessly tackle any personal or technical issues you might have (these can be submitted via the SHABI Whatsapp group)

Dear Binky,

I was out riding with some “friends” and we had a competition called the “freewheel face off”. The usual winners always cheat but were absent and on holiday. Consequently, I won the “freewheel face off” on the Tilington Olympic Course and I am so proud of my win (in a record time I understand).

Its so unfair that the usual winners have to cheat to win and that honest freewheelers like me never get a look in.

I cried all night thinking about the injustice and am going to form a new group called FLM – Freewheelers lives matter.

Please advise how I can get rid of those cheaters so they don’t come back from holiday.

Your sincerely

LL of Grimsbury

Dear LL,

No-one likes a cheat but the best way to deal with a cheat is to out cheat them. Then they can see the folly of cheating, and that in cheating you, they are cheating themselves and will feel more cheated that if they had cheated their imaginary friend in a cheating competition. Obvious eh?

So for next time, get yourself organised to cheat quickly and ruthlessly and no-one will notice;

· Eat A LOT of curry the night before, chick peas and lentils for lunch and you will soon develop the flatulence of a water buffalo with a tummy upset. You will blast your way to victory but be careful you don’t blow a hole in your shorts. The tricky part is to time the “big effort” just right, too soon and you will ruin that afternoon zoom meeting with your boss, and too late, and the duvet will be out of the window.

· Get an electric bike. Lag at the back of the Peloton so everyone thinks you are unfit and useless, surging to the front at the critical moment.

· Hang onto other riders and slingshot yourself forward

· Direct other riders down a dead-end alleyway (easy at the first left hander on the Tilington Course)

I have seen some of the techniques above used to great effect, so good luck and I hope that helps.


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