24 Aug, QE, (9,13)
Nine fine young Shabis lined up at the Red Lion Charlton, ready to tackle an evening which promised hellish brambles. The thought of riding through an assault course which was mostly likely going to lead to a removal of an outer layer of skin resulted in one early sick note being received. Said note received from Master Daisy of Bognor Regis, (written by his best mate in a plausible imitation of his mums hand writing),
‘Dear RM, Master Daisy, kant com out today as hes got a coff and he needs to go to Cornwall’.
1830hr arrived, meals were ordered and the pack was off! A bit of tarmac to start, just to keep the RM happy, and then a sharp division right towards QE Park and the first encounter with hellish brambles. Well hellish to me, for the Shabis it was nothing to worry about, ‘was that it they cried’ I had to warn them there was worse to come.
Before TSJ was a supplier of high quality surfaced drives and paths to retired couples in Hampshire and Dorset he provided commentary to parties on bus tours, pointing out interesting facts and figures relating to the countryside outside the bus window. This previous life came in useful for the RM as it provided further opportunity to describe the route ahead and areas of interest likely to be encountered.
Onto QE Park and a quick lap of the blue circuit. So named incidentally, as the first rider to discover this trail had an extraordinary passion for cheeses, specifically Stilton, Saint Agur and Dorset Blue. In reflection of blue cheese passion, we now have the aptly named ‘blue’ trail.
The blue trail appeared to be enjoyed by all. Strangely Brown even suggested that he may bring Strangely Brown Junior to experience the sweeping berms and flowing corners. Good plan I reckon.
With QE behind us it was down to Buriton to look at the duck pond. A group of 9 Shabis at rest is quite a sight and often attracts a lot of attention. (This is one of the reasons we like to ride at night when we are less likely to be seen). Even though Buriton is a quiet backwater the word was out that there were Shabis around. Within minutes of the pack pulling up and drinking in the views to the Church and pond a young lady dressed scantly in black ran towards us all. For our own safety we quickly got on our bikes and headed south.
The RM mentioned that the land was not flat ahead. This was well demonstrated by a vertical track ahead with an estimated grade of 300%. This did not deter our glorious leader, Smashie. He knew at the top of the climb there was a defibrator so he cycled up the mountain at top speed on the basis that if he was first to the summit he would be front of the line for any performance enhancing equipment. Once the climb of death was conquered Smashie celebrated with a piss. Good job! Take note lesser mortals amongst us who strive for the top spot on the Shabi Committee Board.
Even though we thought we were on top of the world, there was yet more climbing required. This was made more challenging as Tarmac St John had previously scoped the ride in his Caterpillar 12M3 Motor Grader HO Series with optional leather, CD multiplayer and extra cup holders. Tarmacs new toy had torn up the idyllic track and made the climb hard work for the Shabis.
At last we had reached the hellish brambles. A warning was raised and we apprehensively proceeded. Once through the other side a quick count of personnel was made to ensure we had all survived. Again though the pack shrugged and dismissed the hellish brambles as little more of a threat than a bouquet of pansies.
The end was nigh (of the ride). A brief Health & Safety warning was issued before descending a fast and furious downhill. Thank you Slumpy for the necessary training. The warning was so scary in fact that Smashie did not even attempt the downhill, instead he diverted to the nearby field and chanced his arm with a field of Friesian cows.
The Shabis regrouped and heading off in the fading light back to the Red Lion. Bikes loaded back into our vehicles, fetching Shabi t-shirts adorned, we entered the pub and enjoyed whale and chips and the biggest pie ever made.
The famous 9:-
TSJ – RM. Tee & Meal
Simon the Wheels
Big Ring Tee
LBD – DRM. Tee & Meal
Dobbie. T & M
Chuff. T & M
S Brown. T & M
Faff Cheeks T & M
Smashie. T & M
About 13 miles I reckon.
Tarmac St. John x