26 July 22 – The Epic Arundel ride
Despite advanced warning aplenty, many weeks in advance, it was chaos when the day finally arrived to rendezvous in Arundel. There were SHABI’s everywhere except where they should have been. Up the High street, down the High Street and everywhere in between. Frantic calls from distressed riders anxious not to be late and incur the wrath of the RM who had given helpful (but generally completely ignored) advice on leaving plenty of time.
Slumpys carer was particularly at fault as the Slumpymobile ran out of coal for the sat nav which meant that they were lucky to be in the right hemisphere. Last into the carpark in a very smart powder blue mini (looked a bit of a girls car according to Big Ring our new Diversity, equality and inclusion officer) was Slasher which completed a posse of thirteen riders including; Smashie RM, Dobbie DRM, Big Ring, Slumpy and his carer Tonka, Slasher, TsJ, Gary Newman, Major Meccano, Faff Cheeks, Love Bus Driver, Strangely Brown and Lecky Lee making 13 riders in all.
Slasher (who is BTW a noted competitive sailor) was taken to task on his late arrival and as your blogger was distracted by TsJ rehearsing his presentation on Polymer additives to Tarmaccadam, only heard the following;
“….Bordonia flower show….”
“…had a few Sherberts…”
“…..bought a large ocean going yacht for £25……”
“…….thought I’d sail it from Bordon to Dundee…”
“…needed some crew …”
“…seemed like a nice girl…”
“ …..can’t understand what I said wrong …”
However, in time honoured fashion, before we talk about the ride, lets talk about the riders and this weeks in depth profile is more of an update with what he’s been doing recently. Its our very own Faff Cheeks, or the Faffinator as he is known in Pizza Express. Now first a bit of history which will explain the top-secret work that our hero is undertaking. Remember its top-secret UK eyes only stuff so pinkie promise you won’t tell anyone.
As you may recall, during the first world war the Allies and the Germans faced each other across no-mans land and having dug themselves into deep trenches, and protected themselves with minefields and barbed wire, endless slaughter ensued for years on end for very little ground gained. So the Brits set to work inventing a new vehicle that could cross trenches and crush barbed wire. They gave it a code name; The Tank.
Fast forward to today and once again the Brits are trying to invent something new (although the purpose is shrouded in secrecy) and have designated the code name; The Frying Pan NS.
So Faff is in charge of the Frying Pan NS project and Binky has done some research and the MOD specification is something like;
1. All up weight – 73 tonnes
2. Maximum speed – 93,8 mph
3. Range – 15 miles
4. Fuel consumption – 500 litres per mile
5. Engine – 2 No 47 litre turbo cooled and supercharged Rolls Royce Olympus jet engines
6. Armament – 12mm Bofors self-loading phaser
7. Crew – 18 (2,914 if you include supporting Consultants and Project Managers)
8. Stealth – special magnetic mine repelling coating ie non-stick = NS
9. Cost £4.5 Billion each and the MOD has ordered two.
So Faff’s job is to make sure everything works well together to meet the MOD specification and his specialist area is engine performance. Clearly a critical part of the combat effectiveness of the Frying Pan NS is its ability to move and engage the enemy, so Faff has installed a microwave 5G synchronous communication system to monitor the engine performance. Parameters are monitored every 5 milliseconds and include; turbo pressure, oil temperature, synchromesh engagement rate and the location of the nearest kebab van.
Both these magnificent machines have now been fully tested on “live fire” exercises in the UK and here is an extract from a top-secret MOD report;
EXERCISE – ARMAGEDDON RANGER 2022
LOCATION – ANDOVER HIGH STREET
Three highly trained enemy special forces OAPs (old aged pensioners) are terrorising the High Street and have been seen using; a zimmer frame, walking stick and ride-on mobility scooter.
The 3rd Household Foot and Mouth Regiment (The Old Winklepickers) are to deploy both Frying Pan NS fighting assets and eliminate the threat using overwhelming numbers and firepower.
Officer commanding – General Recycling-waste with Adjutant Major Bum-sore
Exercise outcome – Summary.
Although ordered to outnumber the enemy the General staff quickly determined that the three OAP’s outnumbered the Frying Pan NS 3 – 2, so not looking good.
However, the plucky Brits are never ones to back down when the odds are against them and both Frying Pan’s were unpacked from their cotton wool protective casings.
A quick check on the microwave 5G synchronous communication system and it could be seen that both Frying Pans were in need of a 100 hr service and therefore not deployable.
General Recycling-waste overruled the service light on the dashboards and ordered the two Frying Pans to deploy to Andover high Street forthwith.
After a brief encounter with a parking warden the Old Winklepickers retreated under heavy covering fire from the local Cub Scouts taking only a few life changing injuries in the process. One Frying Pan did catch fire but this was doused by Mrs Miggins from the Pie shop with a damp tea towel. Mrs Miggins then directed the confused and dazed OAPs to a waiting Police car to be returned to their carers.
Both Frying Pans are now undergoing a long-overdue service and ready to deploy to other parts of Andover High Street at a couple on months’ notice.
I think you will all agree that Faff is doing work essential to the safety of the nation and if the Ruskies ever get to face the Frying Pan NS in a real life combat situation, they are in for a nasty surprise.
At home and to unwind, Faff is enjoying looking after his two gorgeous daughters and has moved to a new house and is busy massacring the hedges and planting the “Hanging gardens of Babylon” which I can assure you is very impressive. He’s even managed to lose one of the kids in there last week but hopefully she’ll turn up soon.
So the Peleton assemble and it soon becomes apparent that Slash has a “pre-loaded” injury which may, or may not, have anything to do with the “Young Lady at the Bordonia Flower show” incident.
We set off a little late and this would have serious implications later on. A magnificent pelon sweep along the A27, with many motorists taking a very considerate wide berth. Then past the station and left towards Burpham. A little further on and the RM calls a retreat as he misses a “closed” Bridleway. Closed to the public but not the SHABI’s.
Suddenly Slasher declares he has a “broken spoke” and without a “cherio” sprints off towards his powder blue mini clubman. Tonka tells me that just before Slash discovered the “broken spoke” a text came through and he managed to read “…….. okay I’ll crew your boat but as long as you promise you really are a virgin….”.
The SHABI’s then traverse the “Closed Bridleway” known as the Monarch’s Way and on finding it blocked by some strategically placed branches set about dismantling the barrier forthwith. How very dare they block the progress of the finest Peloton in the Burpham region.
Then past Upper Wepham Wood and on towards Michelgrove Park. Most enjoyable riding and plenty of room to have a good natter. TsJ gets distracted by a large wood harvesting machine and has to be dragged away screaming and shouting. The naughty step beckons methinks.
Then the long drag up to the Southdowns way and Chantry Post and once again Smashie suffers from RMitis blasting along and leaving some behind (we all know the problem but its so difficult to stop it when you are RM)
Then we head off down the SDW and Amberley Mount and experience scenery so beautiful we could be in heaven. The sun peeps out behind the clouds in the gathering dusk and some say it was the good Lord himself coming to join us. He’d better behave or there will be misdemeanour points and it doesn’t matter if he is Lord of the whole Universe.
Click to Enlarge:
Then down to the river and the first section to the top of High Titten Lane was especially bumpy. There are many gates to interrupt the smooth flowing of the ride.
Then past the sewage works aptly renamed as a Water Recycling plant….no it’s a Sewage works.
Over the river and no time for Pooh sticks as there are no sticks and we are now running short of time. We join the West Sussex Literary Trail and join the back road at Houghton. The RM has planned to assault the vertiginous climb known as Coombe Wood but Faff interjected that his Long Covid and broken Ribs meant he needed to get back for a soft egg.
So we join the riverside path towards South Stoke Farm and its a rooty ride with the added danger of a mistake resulting in a dunking in the river. However, the SHABI heros persist and all is well until Strangely looses the lacky band securing his rear light. There is tumult as Strangely stamps his feet and holds his breath until the band is found. We restart and time is getting very short. Its now 8:35 no less.
We join the road at South Stoke Farm and head for Arundel passing some lads enjoying their own company.
Past the Black Rabbit Pub and we screech into the car park at 8:45. Its s quick strip off and on with the party clothes and into Pizza express. Faff is nearly thrown out after the last “soft egg” incident along with Strangely and Smashie who are rather disappointed with the small glasses of orange squash. Food service was slow and a bit expensive and overall just about okay.
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 am from “down under” and I don’t go in for all this Pommy sensitivity bollocks and taking about my problems. However, I am trying to “fit in” as best I can, and so I thought I would write and see what you think.
I ride regularly with a bunch of blokes and they are all Brits and they have been complaining about what they call my “personal freshness problem”.
You see I got this lovely yellow T-shirt for an award I won last year, and so I wear it all the time. If I get hot and sweaty, I just squeeze it out and put it back on. Because its yellow it doesn’t show the stains so I wash it when I have my yearly bath (quite easy really – I wear the T-shirt in the bath).
My riding buddies say I smell like a Dead Dingo in the desert but frankly I think they are just a bunch of Pommy P**fs.
What do you think – should I wash twice a year?
S of Liphook
Thankyou so much for writing and overcoming your reluctance to share your feelings with others.
It’s a tricky one and there is no “right answer” so here are some options;
1. Try to get another T-shirt and wear it when you are cycling
2. Also try taking off your yellow T-shirt before you put on the other one
3. Douse yourself in petrol or other flammable liquid – it will reduce odour and no-one will come near you. Can be a bit tough on the skin so suggest you rub in engine grease first.
One thing you should NOT do is wash more frequently as we all know this will make you just like the oversensitive Pommy B@stardss who have made your life so miserable.
Hope this helps