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Midhurst 8th Jan (8,13)

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

Dearest SHABI’s,

It was a welcome return to riding for Yours Truly (YT also known as Smashie) after the festive season but apprehensive in the knowledge that there has already been one ride this year on New Year’s Day – now that shows how the “new comers” have really spiced up the mileage and points competition – its going to be tough to win in 2019.

YT is preparing the pikey van and loading the faithful Bird when the call comes in from Genghis. It was a long rambling excuse; something to do with a wheelie bin, the weather (too hot/cold/sunny/cloudy/dry/wet), the flue, and the need to add to his brood of children. I leave it up to seasoned SHABI’s, who are used to this by now, to decide which excuse is valid.

Dry, 3 degrees, 8 riders, 13 miles

So, with the winter weather as miserable as ever, bordering between freezing and not so freezing the peleton assembled in the Midhurst carpark behind the bus station. Early arrivals included; Fracker (Formerly Surgio), YT, Chuffy, Daisy, Corke and Slumpy. Late arrivals were Algernon and Sir Fallalot. Lord Points Master to adjudicate on a misdemeanour point for each for late arrival. A very respectable 8 no. SHABI’s in attendance on a very miserable night.

It was a disappointing night mechanically for the two late arrivals as Algernon has a flat tyre and had failed to carry out a basic “fitness to ride” test on his dropper post which went up and down without any restraint. Oh that hurt him the whole way around the ride.

Meanwhile Sir Fallalot was putting on his front wheel (removed for transport) and the quick release lever came off in his hand. The conversation went like this..

Undeterred, our brave Sir Knight exclaimed “is that an important part?”

Smashie “well yes …. it holds the front wheel on…”

Brave Sir Knight “well tis but a small part and I’ve had worse…”

Smashie “ I salute you Sir Fallalot …you are indeed a brave Knight”

Many observers do not recall Smashie’s last comment as reproduced above and detected some Anglo-Saxon slang within the original response …I’m writing the blog so the above is verbatim and the truth.

Smashie stows a large gusset wrench in his Camelback just in case someone needs to have their gusset wrenched … or Sir Fallalot has a front wheel issue.

So after quite a bit of flucking about we set off up to the top of Bexley Hill with a new and admirable discipline within the Peleton. Calls of “left” or “right” or “we are lost” were echoed down the group as each rider sought to warn the rider behind what was about to happen, or not, as the case may be.

Meanwhile it turns out Chuffy is becoming quite aesthete (no not athlete) commenting on the subtlety of the lighting to the Cowdray ruins and giving a lengthy discourse on the architectural vernacular of the new police station in some godforsaken north Hampshire town. Its impressive, but don’t get stuck riding with him for too long – you will want to ram a tree at full speed to relieve the tedium.

At the very top it was seatpost’s down (or up,down,up,down in the case of Algernon) and the full joy of the Vining Farm descent was enjoyed by all – what a great descent. The bitter cold made it look like everyone was crying at the end …the pain .. the joy …the freezing weather. Noted that Daisy is growing in confidence on his new Bird – the most improved rider award 2019 is going to be a tough call this year and my money is on our Daisy.

Then, just as Slumpy was musing about the lack of mud, we enter the path of never-ending mud. Corke tries to ride it and stalls before gently toppling into a fallen tree. On standing again he trips over his bike and falls back into the tree.  New boy Corke is really getting into the SHABI spirit demonstrating total incontinence by falling off twice at the same time. It was the sort of fall that has everyone laughing but then feeling guilty as actually it was probably quite painful. Corke resumes riding with no obvious ill effects apart from damaged pride.

Then into Lodsworth and a great blast down to the “half-way” house pub. We meet the Midhurst Manor Gang on the way and there is a very polite exchange of New Year greeting before they disrespect the SHABI RM with the incorrect “fist bump” and a knife fight breaks out. Luckily for the Midhurst Manor Gang, who have forgotten their knives, the SHABI’s are only equipped with plastic forks issued by Dobbie in 2016 for use at the Kebab van in Alresford. So after a tense stand-off both gangs go on their way with honour satisfied until the next encounter. Where is a Police officer with a Tazer when you need one.

Onto the Tarmac and we extend the riding onto Heyshott common. Good riding with only a few diversions for “scoping” / “admiring the view”. Then over Heyshott crossroads and into the Midhurst woods where Chuffy (who else) leads Fracker astray but they re-join the peleton using our lights as guidance. Corke then gets a puncture and he manfully changes the tube having all the correct spares and tools. First puncture of the year to Corke.

Sir Fallalot wins the freewheel face off due to the lightness of his bike (quick release lever has fallen off in the car-park) so a point for him in the 2019 Freewheel face-off competition.

Then we pedal on through the Cowdry estate dairy farm and onto the flood plains by Cowdray ruins. Daisy take a tumble throwing himself to the ground with a squelch. He cheerily gets on and continues – a well-deserved point for a fall (I am told not like the comedy fall last week claimed by Dobbie).

We all get changed in double quick time and head for the Italian. Great service as we are the only ones in the place. Lets hope they keep going – the food is really good. It is noted the “newcomers” are not quite getting the hang of the T-shirt competition with only Smashie, Fracker, Daisy and Chuffy remembering to wear the regulatory apparel.

So the scores on the doors:

  1. Smashie – RM, T-shirt, meal and blogger

  2. Sir Fallalot – Freewheel face-off winner, mechanical, meal but late arrival

  3. Corke – Ride plus meal. Puncture plus fall

  4. Slumpy – ride plus meal

  5. Fracker – ride, meal plus T-shirt

  6. Daisy – ride, meal, T-shirt and fall into mud.

  7. Chuffy – ride, meal plus T shirt

  8. Algernon – Ride,meal, T Shirt and late arrival and failure to carry out pre-ride checks … don’t be too harsh dear Points Master even though he is in the lead on points and miles. I am sure Algy will submit a grovelling apology.

I love you all and recommend you all attend next week. The weather is miserable but the riding is great – think how fit you will be for the summer when it arrives!

IMPORTANT announcement – SHABI trip to Wales 10th – 12th May to Wales.

RSVP to Smashie by 5th February – Smashie and Fracker already confirmed.

(See Separate BLOG for more details:)

Chuff itching to get going again, while Steevo is happy to wait for Corkey to fix his puncture

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Paul Garner
Paul Garner
11. Jan. 2019

It was a fun ride!

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