21 June, Watercress Line, Alresford
Blog 21 June 2022 – summer solstice from Alresford
Many less well informed individuals might surmise that all matters Summer Solstice are held at the pile of rubble known as Stonehenge. That is just urban myth propagated by those who want to strip naked, rub themselves with Vaseline in the middle of a muddy field next to the A303 whilst stranded motorists stare and point.
The REAL summer solstice celebrations are held as part of a ceremony dating back to the times of the dinosaurs where MTB riders would gather in the Alresford station car park and talk bollocks for hours on end whilst consuming local food. The guardians of this ancient ceremony is now the hands of group known as the “idiots” (aka The Sussex and Hampshire Association of Biking Idiots) who take the ceremony very seriously indeed. Everything must be just right.
So here is an exhaustive and highly accurate version of the ceremony held in 2022.
The celebrations begin in the carpark where participants maintain their ceremonial mountain bikes and don various ceremonial robes. As is traditional on this day, many riders prepare carefully to resist the ritual “flailing” by the brambles and nettles along the ceremonial route. Every year one rider fails to heed the warning from the wise wizard and is known as the “village idiot” – this year its Strangely Brown.
So the ceremonial procession sets off to the first stop which is the Fish n Chip emporium where the waitresses tell the wise wizard that they are not really interested in selling any food past 8.45pm and if the procession arrives at 08:45:00.001 then they can feck off.
Then the first of the traditional “time wasters” from the man they call Genghis with the ancient ritual of the “misdemeanour point for failing to maintain his MTB” requiring assistance from the man they call Tonka. Tonka earns a “hero point” for assisting Genghis but as we shall see loses, them all and then some, later on.
Finally the Wise Wizard, or Route Master, takes the procession down Alresford Highstreet and off into the countryside.
Traditionally the procession chats and chats as they wend their way through traditional ox-drove tracks. The first part of the procession is gently uphill but the man who is known as “the Faffinator” is struggling with an injury sustained whilst fighting with the militants from the SURREY and Hampshire Association of Biking Idiots who have long challenged the SUSSEX and Hampshire Association of biking idiots for the right to conduct this traditional ceremony.
We settle down for a rest in the shade of the Jumjad tree where in less modern times a local troublemaker was dipped in molten marshmallows and rolled in sheeps wool. It was hard in olden times but some of the stuff they did was fun (unless you were a troublemaker).
Then a pleasant bimble along the metalled roads and the man called Tonka has a tyre deflation issue. His chosen tool for reinflation had a “rotating bit” and there was much discussion from everyone as to whether this should, or should not, rotate. Either way inflation of Tonka’s extra large tyres took for ever. Even the New Zealander called Slumpy got involved which luckily speeded things up.
Then onto more Oxdrove tracks and simply marvellous down hill sections with the procession at maximum bimble.
We arrive at the halfway village of Bladderly and all is well with minimal injuries from flailing (the traditional practice of riding through brambles and nettles to see who can bleed the most). However, the man called Genghis takes a fall whilst stationary in the time honoured way of demonstrating complete incompetence.
Then into the fields to search for baby dinosaurs. Sadly due to habitat loss and over exposure to Sir David Attenborough they are rarely seen these days with the last one spotted in 2016. Notwithstanding, the procession gets stuck into the searching but gives up once the photos have been taken.
The man called Tonka has to pump up his tyre with the pump with the rotating snozzle again. We wait and wait.
More Oxdrove tracks follow and the flailing starts in earnest and there is much whimpering and complaining. Modern processions are soft compared with the ancient ceremonies. It was not unusual to lose an arm in them days.
Then the “European Championship Freewheel face off course” and another furious competition which was lost at the last moment when the leader, Tonka, took the wrong turn letting Strangely in to win by a wheel nut. Competition at its best.
The man called Tonka has to pump up his tyre with the pump with the rotating snozzle again again. We wait and wait and wait some fecking more.
Then more flailing before a great run back to Alresford including the traditional ride adjacent to the river where we are not supposed to ride. The man they call Mrs Doyle is bleeding a lot (by modern standards) and wins this years bloody idiot of the year award. We meet one pedestrian who has a face like a slapped arse but we greet him/her/questioning and we all part hoping never to meet again.
Then the whole procession stops at the Chip shop to beg to be served but are rejected by the Fish n Chip Witch with the plastic eye lashes and 6” false nails. Its off to the Kebab van for excellent take away food from the chap with no name.
Strangely gets straight into negotiation and manages to get a free sachet of salt and a wooden fork implement thrown in.
We settle down in the car park in a traditional circle seated on garden chairs whilst the man called Mrs Doyle serves tea and cakes. There is a lot of talking bollocks led by the chief “teller of verbal bollocks” the man they call “Love Bus Driver” and his assistant deputy Genghis.
The New Zealander called Slumpy is a very attentive waitress and everyone nearly fancies her for a quickie by the end of the evening but it was getting very dark.
I love you all ♥
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)
I was on the regular Tuesday night ride and we missed Fish and Chips at the end because of the RM.
Should I go around to his house and break his legs?
Yours in anger
FC of Crondall
I can totally understand your frustration. You have been riding all night and all you want at the end is a simple plastic foam container filled with the local delicacy. What is so unreasonable about that?
I am a great believer that revenge is a dish best served cold. Next time take the RM’s food and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours – that’s properly cold. Then when he gets to the end of the ride he will freeze as his tongue gets stuck to the food when he tries to eat it.
Ha, he won’t be laughing then and you will be able to have your Fish and Chips and eat it!
Hope this helps
I am having trouble arranging my diary so I can have time off to go riding with my mates. Recently I missed the Summer Solstice procession and I’m gutted.
I have heard talk of “Diary Engineering” – how does it work?
WaD of Bognor
It’s a very common problem in todays modern high pressure work environment.
Planning is the key;
1. Think up some excuses for absence from work or loved one
2. Deploy these excuses in the correct manner
3. Enjoy your riding.
First you will need levels 1-3 excuses and I recommend;
Level 1 – very serious – no one is going to question these but use sparingly
1. I’ve got an STD and need to go to the clinic (many times – its really bad with weeping pustules etc)
2. My Granny/dog/budgie has died and is beginning to smell a bit in this hot weather.
3. I’m going to a gender reassignment meeting and please call me Jennifer from now on
4. I’ve broken a bone in my arm/leg/neck
5. Russia has declared war
Level 2 – credible but can’t be used too often but more than level 1
1. I might have Smallpox/Covid/Typhoid
2. I can feel a psychotic episode coming on
3. Gentleman’s sausage caught in trouser zip – suffering from blood loss.
4. I’m in a relationship with another person and its complicated
Level 3 – Everyday excuses
1. Tennis elbow from over use of paperclips
2. Head stuck in photocopier lid and now blind
3. Got really bored of working here and hate my boss
4. Projectile diarrhoea has flooded the downstairs
5. Didn’t feel like going to work / coming home
6. plastic surgery for enhancement purposes needed some 'tweaking' to get it just right.
7. sitting in the bathroom and feet and legs fell asleep. When I stood up, fell and broke my ankle
8. had been at the casino all weekend and still had money left to play with on Tuesday morning
9. woke up in a good mood and didn't want to ruin it
10. had a 'lucky night' and didn't know where I was
11. had a gall stone I wanted to heal holistically
12. accidentally got on a bike
You may have to tailor your own excuses to add to these.
Next you just go riding on a Tuesday with your mates.
Then when challenged by; work colleagues or partner just select an excuse from the list above and bingo – you are in the clear. Try to vary your excuses and mix in the ratio of 5 level 3 excuses to every level 1 excuse. Helps with credibility.
It taken minutes to write out this detailed system and it is fully copyrighted. You had better do it from now on and I’m confident you will experience a new freedom.
Hope this helps