17 Mar, Bat n Ball, Farnham, (9,14)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

  1. Conditions under rubber: 

  2. Dry, with some moist mince at the entrance of Alice Holt. 

  3. Sandy and abrasive near the Frensham Pond. 

  4. Very wet, with risk of drowning at the Pierpoint Farm river crossing. 

  5. Slight smell of ‘Moist Tarmac’ throughout.

Backdrop: The backdrop to the first Farnham-based ride wasn’t looking good – SHABI confusion between a “lock-down” and a “lock-in” had coincided with the annual SHABI accreditation audit, conducted by a local representative of the Council Of Very International ’Diots, established in China in 2019 (Note: In China, Idiots are not allowed to refer to themselves with an ‘I’ as it is a totalitarian state and therefore an expression of the ‘self’ is forbidden.  Although eating Bats is allowed on a Tuesday evening).   In-line with all audits worldwide, the audit would be conducted by a DFB (Why ARE all Auditors DFBs?), but operating strictly incognito, so as not to arouse suspects suspicion. In a blatant attempt to appeal to the COVI’D auditors’ Tuesday evening dining habits, the Bat and Ball pub in Farnham had been specially selected.

Bat & Ball, (as in the sport, not the dish)

Pub staff quickly confirmed that strangers had been recently spotted in the area and this was quickly dismissed as routine witchcraft, although these were clearly unprecedented times and shocking scenes were apparent from the start:

  • Smashie was late arriving [Horror!], despite having been to the same start point only 3 days before for the recce

  • Faffy was ready 5 mins before 5 mins before 6:30 [An event literally never before witnessed in the known, universe]

  • DFB was present [On an actual bike, and it wasn’t even the Christmas dinner] – it couldn’t be him could it?

  • A New Person (also known in some circles as a ‘Stranger’) was present.  Vouched for by LBD but sporting very suspicious antennae and, as a result, immediately named “Grasshopper” – it couldn’t be him could it?  No – not fat enough, doesn’t eat Bat. 

The key criteria for the annual SHABI audit were simple enough to follow, aligned to the SHABI initials:

1) Rides must be Sussex and Hampshire based.

2) Riders must be a member of an Association (i.e. Minimum 10 people).

3) Riders must be able to ride a Bike.

4) Riders must be Idiots.

5) Six additional “tiebreaker” questions, randomly selected from club rules (there are only six anyway) to demonstrate compliance were:

  • i. Prompt 6:30pm pedal-off

  • ii. No riders lost en-route

  • iii. No falls

  • iv. No mechanicals due to neglect (rider or bike)

  • v. Back in time for dinner being served

  • vi. £17 quid at the pub

6) Finally to ensure complete impartiality the Auditor must not also fit into the category of a “Rider” nor attend any “Ride”.

A score of 1 out of 6 is required for re-accreditation.

The ride:

9 riders were present, all of whom were happy to confirm they were “In the Club” (