24 Jan, freezing Zip wire
Jan 24th, below freezing & Zip wire Shabi Ride.
So, I'm sunning myself on a beach (improving on, and living up to, my appointed Shabi name) 4000 miles from my fellow Shabi's compatriots on a tropical island, reading 'Bike' magazine (you know the type, ones that you let your legs dangle instead of pumping pedals and make a terrific noise) and got to the the "letters to the editor section", and remembered that I haven't written last weeks blog! So here goes.....
Ten Shabis assemble, in freezing conditions, at the carpark of the Royal Exchange, Lindford. An establishment we haven't frequented for quite some time, and was offering 'bargain meals & a pint' for only a few quid (where were you Mrs Doyle, just up your street),...... when they haven't run out........, which they had....., which then put Big Ring into tail spin, and was ready to chin whoever was behind the bar, whatever their gender assignment was for that evening.
Fortunately the red mist dissipated quickly as Big Ring is persuaded to go outside & muster riders to mount their steeds.
Everyone arrived in good time, except LBD, who slides into the last remaining parking space at 18:29:59, hoping not to be noticed, and claim he wasn't late. We pre order our nose bag (with Big Ring still doing a Mutley Impression from Wacky Races) and we get under way.
Heading off in the direction of Broxwood Common..... It's at this point I have to confess I only had an extremely vague idea of a suitable route (some where in Hampshire!) that wasn't going to be knee deep in mud or blanketed pack ice. The thought of taking my fellow shabi chums into the pitch black of night, with only a few thousand lumens providing 10 feet of visibility ahead, didn't bother me in the least..... much! This was unbeknown to most, but I did confess this concern to Faff Cheeks, who offered lots & lots of reassurance, like "on your head be it mate".
Will I be able to navigate from memory? The bowels of Bordon can be deceptively similar. Will I bring them home safely, or will I end up being tarred & feathered and lashed to a lamp post outside the Shed, for getting us all lost!
That said, I did have a back up plan. My chosen DRM was none other than Slash, who is known for his navigation skills around Hogs Moor enclosure (that's not a euphemism) and the surrounding areas. However, what I didn't anticipate was that Slash must have been sucking a mouses throat lozenger for most of the ride after returning the day before from his hectic work week photographing scantling glad........ Boats! His calls from the back of the peloton where, to say the least, a tad inaudible, despite his claims of 'hollering' at more than 1db.
From the front, I didn't witness any catastrophes, however, it was reported that Major Mechano did have a fall, but as he's now more metal than man, not a problem.
The only mechanicals sustained, where self inflicted schoolboy errors by Tonka & myself! We both operated our dropper post (mine at the beginning of the ride) and Tonka, (on the former Bordon Barracks Parade Ground), which we all know (now) in sub zero temperatures means complete failure to lock out once operated.
Apparently, moisture freezes the cable in its sheath and will not allow disengagement, which results in a floppy dropper.
Consequently, the remainder of our ride was either in the, BMX riding position (crouching hooded youth), or standing on pedals (circus clown on a unicycle). This was probably Ok for Tonka and his tug boat thighs, but for my chicken drumsticks, I was really feeling it.
Of course, we all didn't make this error, as our illustrious leader Smashie, pointed out, and 'sympathetically' informed us (after the events!) that one should avoid dropper post operation in temperatures of -273 c or 0 Kelvin depending which scale you choose, and smugly pedalled off perched higher than the 'look out', in Pirate ships crows nest!
We meander out of the Ex military area and into Hogs moor encloser and encounter the death defying Zip wire (suitable ONLY for ages 7 years & under). I take up the challenge (nobody did actually give me a challenge) and bring a new dimension to a Tuesday night Shabi ride by, having a Go!
"It's the Shabi Way" Video Below
We carry on for a bit, in and around Hoggs Moor Enclosure, before heading towards Conford and crossing into Dead Water Valley & and the Temple of Pump Track Doom.
This is where our own Indiana Jane (aka LBD) goes all radical and goes around the pump track "The Wrong Way". It was like a scene from Midnight Express. He's sooooo radical.
We are now nearing the end of our ride and I have to call upon the other navigational oracle in our group (as the DRM has lost his voice by now), and ask Big Ring for some directional assistance. I shout, left or right, Reply: Straight on.
We get to the pub, put on our newly fabulously designed t-shirts (by our creative Argy) and tuck into a well deserved, but non bargain, tucker.
See you all in March, as I tough it out in the Bahamas scoping potential Shabi rides .
Scores on the Doors