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CRABs Camp Out

RIDE no :: 287

Sat 9th Jul 2011 our turd annual trip to the sublime Snottisham

Hare :: Pickup

A rollicking rolling return of the Big Wheel to CRABS

Again I arrived to wonderful sunshine although with the threat of blustery showers. Spent a goodly amount of time checking out the most sheltered sunniest plot to pitch, only to realise I had no tent pegs. A quick sortie to the camp office for possible supplies only to discover I was on the wrong field anyway, so up to my usual standards of checking out, not enough flour I say.

Relocated to correct field and was heartened to see another tent with associated bike rack so set to repitching, using random twigs and tying to car, I was pretty proud of my innovation. Next, look for Pickup who I assumed was associated with the associated bike rack and set up the bike. Oops, no front wheel! What to do? Call for help . . Doghouse? Good suggestion – buy new front wheel. I love my smart phone – type in bike shop, press navigate and on my way, the wonders of flourless technology. Ah! Must untie car from tent, but still blustery, so will 'borrow' tent pegs from tent associated with bike rack; it has too many anyway. To bike shop to discover new wheel will cost too many down–downs and so type in bike hire, and remember there is a bike hire place in Snottisham but no response, OnOn to Ipswich to be rescued by the Bicycle Doctor (highly recommended) who graciously lent me a very thin wheel free gratis. Very disappointed to have been relieved of the need to hire an electric bike from local supplier, can't imagine how how many down–downs would be required to cover that heinous sin.

Returned to camp site to be greeted by owner enquiring about my provenance as a basher. Re–tied tent to car and returned borrowed tent pegs. Greeted an obviously misguided cyclist who informed me he was not a basher who was quickly followed by Pickup who obviously is. To my horror Pickup did not go to the tent associated with the bike rack but our misguided camper colleague did, so I had to admit my temporary theft (I think this may explain my previous greeting by camp owner, he has more than sufficient in testoterone really, perhaps I should go thieving more often).

OnOn to the actual bash

Although only two of us managed to full the pre evening session plus my erstwhile victim and eventually TBlx: how do you time it so perfectly for last orders? Next morning our stalwarts Crabbo, Schoolboy'sDream and ShiggyShagger arrive in time for a bacon sarny to set us up for another of Pickup's epics. Thank you TB for ensuring a timely start.

Yes there was sand and this years new innovation is the use of sand coloured flour, which still enabled us to find all the regroups, false trails and check backs expected on a bash.

It all becomes a little too much for those of use with rather svelte rubber

There were plenty of pubs, lunch in Snape is well worth the on-timely start, thank you again TB. Great scenery and beautiful beer. Thanks to all for a great welcome back.

pic3 Big Thanks again Pickup for another great Annual Bash Camp Out, in particular for the early morning egg delivery, almost the best entertainment of the weekend.


On!On!

Small 'ands

Welwyn, Herts!

RIDE no :: 259

Sat 14th Nov 2009 Our Mutual Friend, Stevenage

Hares :: Re–Membered, Crabbo

We were promised a wonderful trail and a wonderful trail it certainly was. But you'll have to take my word for it as nobody else saw it in all its glory. But let me start at the beginning.

It started well with even TB and Lou making it onto the 9.55 train from Cambridge. In all there was a pack of 7, plus two hares (Re-Membered and Crabbo) on the train. Even Crabbo pulling Lou's saddle off couldn't dent the enthusiasm. Not bad considering the forecast force 10 winds and the inch of rain.

Which there was. More (much more) of that later.

After enjoying Stevenage's cycle paths on the way to the On-Out we met up with Pin and handed out the maps. There weren't quite enough for everybody, so I valiantly handed mine to someone else. After a short, but moving, ceremony we set off to find the flour. The hares had done a pretty good job getting us out of the city and very soon we were checking out leafy bridleways and muddy paths across fields.

Over the hill,

Down the green lane,

Past the Crematorium,

Lovely.

After about an hour we had gone about 6 miles and had reached Datchworth. A simple crossroads checkpoint. What could be simpler? How hard could it be?

Quite hard, actually. We checked out all three routes several times and after about 10 minutes, we divided our efforts and the pack went East and I went West. I found the trail down a fairly obvious bridleway running off the village green. I called it, waited a while, called it again, waited again and went back and marked the check and the road in three places. They can't fail to find that, I thought.

Never underestimate the pack's ability to get it wrong.

I went on down to the bottom of the track and waited for the pack. 5 minutes – nothing. Sod 'em. I pressed on to the next checkpoint and waited for the pack. 5 minutes – nothing. It started to rain. 5 more minutes – nobody. It rained harder with extra wind. I phoned JohnBoy and left him the message "where the f... are you?". He never called back. (he told me later that he did't answer the phone because he didn't want it to get wet). 5 more minutes – still nobody. Sod 'em. I cycled on.

The trail was fantastic. Lots of wonderful green lanes on undulating coutryside. There was a lane underneath the Welwyn railway viaduct, which would have been really impressive had I been able to see it through the storm clouds.

And then, a visit to a beautiful ancient woodland containing the ultimate checkpoint at the top of a monster hill – a junction of 6 paths. It would have made excellent bashing had there been more than 1 person in the pack. As it was, there wasn't and my heart sank. It was still raining, by the way. Like before, but harder. Luckily, fate smiled on me and I found the trail on the fifth attempt.

The trail continued down a gorgeous disused railway track – part of the Sustrans network and then on along more tracks, woodland and country lanes until I reached the "Beer Near" checkpoint at 2pm. Yay. About time, I thought.

A word of advice, dear reader. If you ever see a "Beer Near" checkpoint which has been laid by Re-membered, what it actually means is "Beer Not Very Near". But I didn't know that, so I thought "Beer Near" and set off with fresh vigour.

Did I mention the rain?

It was still raining very hard. Now, it turns out that if you lay a trail and put small blobs of flour on the road, in the bit where the cars drive, and where the water flows, then that flour will stay there for up to an hour. But by this time I was about 2 hours behind the hares and there was bugger all flour to follow. Still, it was "beer near". After much searching I did find the trail which led me to a pub. The "Sprocket Arms" in Arse-End-Nowhere. That's funny – no bikes outside. Never mind, it looks really nice. Nope. Wrong pub.

I set off again and rode for several miles (about half an hour since passing the "Beer Near" checkpoint.). Bollocks – I must have missed the pub and was now riding the afternoon trail. In desperation, I swallowed my pride (which made a change from swallowing rain) and reached for my phone to call the hare. No signal. Bollocky-bollocks.

More cycling. More rain. Finally I arrived at the "Something Arms" in West Nowhere at 14.30. A charming pub full of warm, dry bashers. Apparently they had found the trail a bit hard in Datchworth and felt a bit wet, so they had opened the map (remember the one that I didn't have) and had short cut straight to the lunch pub. They had finished their food and beer and were tucked up in front of the fire. Laughing.

After a quick sausage roll, which the pub had kindly kept warm for me, it was time for me to leave. I had to catch a 4.15 train home so I borrowed a map and headed straight (or as straight as you can using bridleways in Hertfordshire) to the station. I arrived in time to hear the announcement about the cancellation of my train owing to extreme weather conditions.

I would love to report on the delightful afternoon trail and the multitude of fine ales in the on–inn, but sadly I was sitting on Hitchin station waiting for Last Crapital Disconnect to choose to run a train to Cambridge. I even missed my down–down, which I shall be pleased to collect next month.

So a few points for my fellow bashers:

Next time the hare lays a trail and bills it as one of the best he's ever laid – do please ride it. It will be lovely. Even in the wind and rain. And it will be a lot more fun when there is more than 1 person in the pack.

For the record, this is the route. And for your amusement, I will post the route my GPS remembers I went when I find it.

You missed a good un.

On!On!

Pisspot Andrew Ede

Playing the goat - forest bash from Brandon

RIDE no :: 206

Sat 4th Nov 2006    Brandon Stn.

Hares::   Schoolboy'sDream & CLP

goat Sally (Schoolboy'sDream), who was my co-hare, and myself Chris (aka CLP) laid this trail. We set off in good time to catch the train from Cambridge Station at 6.45am to Brandon. This was to be the start of the bash trail, in darkest Suffolk.

The train was delayed. We finally reached Brandon at 7.12 am. On the train we met a man who told us the story of how Great Yarmouth, a nearby town, was covered in semolina when the semolina factory exploded. People tried to wash it off their cars but it turned into cement.

I had 6 bags of flour (9 Kg) in my rucksack. This would be enough to see us to the lunch stop. It was a very cold start in Brandon. A local told us this was because of the weather. Sally told me she also came from the Brandon area.

On the first part of the trail we passed through farmyards close to Brandon. (See picture of the goat above; he warned us about bears). There was a pig as well whose face reminded me of someone. I think he looked like the landlord from a small pub in King Street, Cambridge. The pig, however, was better looking and had better toilet manners.

The start of the trail went south east following the path of the Little Ouse River and many fire road open trails. It passed by small forestry commission owned groups of houses. It passed through the cosy, secluded hamlet of Santon Downham. It then cunningly crossed the river and double backed over it.

Heading north an attempt was made to visit the 'Grimes Graves' flint mines. Unfortunately, most of the interconnecting paths to them were overgrown. It seemed that only the fire roads were clear. Instead, the trail went north east to visit Lynford Hall's picturesque grounds. The trail then got a bit lost there and it ended up in a circle. We then made a dash for the town of Mundford and the lunch stop at the Crown. This is a pub, which welcomes muddy people.

In the pub the bashers enjoyed the good food and told tales of heroism on the trail. Meanwhile, Sally and I, having had a few beers whilst waiting, decided to go and lay the rest of the trail. We bought 3 more flour bags. Flour in Mundford must be a rare commodity as it is nearly £1 a bag in the supermarket there.

The rest of the trail would bring the bashers along more forest fire roads and complete a sort of squashed circular route back to Brandon. It passed by groups of posh people in open vehicles on organised shoots. I explained to them that the bashers were not targets and that they were not to be taken home and eaten. We bumped into a couple of men strolling through the forest in all the right green shooting gear, along with some bloody great shotguns. They were from the St. Hubert Club Shetford Stalking Beat. Sally took a fancy to one of them and referred to him later as 'the man with the nice eyes'. I think she is after a shotgun wedding.

Finishing back at Brandon the down-downs and the circle were held at the Duke of Wellington pub. A good time was had by all.

On!On!

CLP

L'Étape du Tour de France

Monday 16th July 2007.

Foix   – – > Loudenvielle.

Crabbo's personal account of Pain in the Pyrenees.

Étape map No alarm clock was necessary to wake me even though breakfast was at 4 am. I had prepared and trained for this day to the exclusion of almost everything else for the past eight months. I woke at 3.30, made a few final detailed changes to my kit and headed for the dining room. The hotel staff were remarkably cheery and organised even though they had been dragged from their beds even earlier than us fifty cyclists. The bus was packed and ready to roll at a quarter to five, and we headed off on the hour and a half's drive to the village sports centre where we had parked our bikes the night before. From here, just as the sun was rising, we began the 12 km ride to the start. The air was cool but not cold, and the extra layer I'd packed for the pre-race wait and the mountain descents would stay in my pocket all day. The sun stayed behind a thin veil of cloud until midday, keeping us from getting too hot too early, and the strong westerly winds of the previous week had miraculously reversed and almost died, leaving the gentlest of tailwind for more than half the race. There was the minimum of chatter among the 8,000 or so entrants as we assembled in our start areas and listened over the public address to the introductions and commentary, and finally at 7 am exactly, the start gun. At 7.15 I started to move, and at 7.23 I crossed the start line and was on my way.

climb 1Even at this early hour the streets were thronged with cheering spectators, and every village, every bit of road was the same, right up to the end twelve hours later, such is the passion of the French for the sport of cycling. The first climb, the Col de Port started at the 20 km mark, and was the easiest of the day, but was still enough to get the heart pumping and to give a feeling of satisfaction at the summit. After a long speedy descent I reached the first feed station in St-Girons well ahead of my personal schedule. The town was in party mood with music and dancing in all the streets and squares as we headed out towards the Col de Portet d'Aspet. Again an easy climb, but the descent was another matter. It was here in the 1995 Tour that Fabio Casartelli died when he slid off on one of the steep hairpin bends and split his head open on a concrete bollard, only the third ever death in the history of the race. Thankfully no such fate befell any of our participants, though there were several non-fatal but rather nasty-looking prangs throughout the day. At the bottom there's a sharp left hand bend and immediately we were into the next climb, gentle at first, but I could tell the Col de Menté was going to be a hard one.

The sun was now blazing down, the climbs were getting harder, and the legs were starting to weaken. I went to change down a gear, but there were no more gears left. I knew I should have fitted a 27. The short walks I had indulged in on the previous two climbs just to help relax the muscles for a few minutes, were becoming longer and were now the only way to keep moving at all on the steeper sections. I was now struggling to keep up with my time schedule, but the feed station at the top and the thought that Ruth would be waiting to give me extra support and encouragement at the bottom kept me hopeful and positive. This descent was my fastest of the day: no-one overtook me as my speed touched 70kph! Down in the Garonne valley the route turned to the north and into a slight headwind, but for a chap who had started his training on the wild, exposed tracts of Port Phillip Bay it was nothing, and I found myself leading a small groupetto down the road to where Ruth was waiting. Drink bottles were replenished, sandwiches stuffed down and sunblock renewed, and after ten minutes I was on my way again, heading for the fearsome slopes of the Col du Port de Balès.

painThis climb was included in the Tour de France for the first time this year; the road has only just been surfaced. It is rated as "Hors Categorie" (out of category) meaning that it is even harder than category 1, which was itself defined as requiring first gear in a car of the 1930s when the grading system was first devised. It is signed as being 19.2km long, but before the official start there is 6 km of road rising gently through villages given their first opportunity to party "Tour de France style". With 60 km still to ride including this climb and the Peyresourde, I was astonished to see people having given up long before the summit, heading back in droves towards me, and making for the elimination point in the village and a nice comfy coach ride to the finish. As the road climbed relentlessly out of the trees, magnificent views were surely opening below me, but my eyes were fixed on the road ahead, snaking up towards the final feed station at the top. By the time I reached it I had fallen 20 minutes behind my own schedule, though still just ahead of the "Broom Wagon" signifying the end of the race. Descending on the fresh tarmac demanded absolute concentration: the road was open and exposed, and one lapse would have meant oblivion. But I reached the bottom safely, knowing there was just the Peyresourde left to tackle.

Though tired beyond belief I found I could still pedal happily at any gradient up to about 6% and keep up a good speed. Anything steeper however demanded that I walk for about one third of any kilometre, and just three klicks from the top the inevitable happened, and I and the hundreds of others around me were overtaken by the timing car and instructed to pull over and wait to be picked up. My unprintable reply was echoed by many and I put in a valiant attempt to re-pass the car, before resigning myself to my fate and continuing to the top by my now well-established ride/walk routine. To my great delight no official attempted to drag me screaming from my bike, and after overtaking several cars on the descent (the road was now re-opened) I finally rolled in to Loudenvielle nineteen minutes after the timing clocks were shut down, but still in time to receive a medal for my efforts. Crossing that line after 11 hours 56 minutes was the most exhilarating feeling I could imagine, and as the endorphines flooded my brain, all pain vanished and I headed purposefully for the beer tent and some long overdue refreshment.finish

On!On!

Crabbo

Crabbo & Struth in S.E. Asia

Oct/Nov 2006.

Countries :: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia

Struth in Cambodia

Singapore, our first port of call is not the ideal place for cycling - it's more of a motor city - though there is reported to be a bike hash. We spent our two days there doing mostly touristy things such as the Night Safari, though we did manage to squeeze in a hash run on our last night. Melacca, in Malaysia on the other hand is one of the oldest European trading places in Asia, and full of bikes and trishaws. Many of the trikes have elaborate sound systems blaring out traditional or rock music, and all are decorated with flowers and good-luck offerings. They ply a standard route around the old city area, but variations are possible. We paid 40ringitt for an hour's tour, and our man seemed well rehearsed in the history of the place and its old buildings.

Our next country along the way was Thailand, and here we met up with about 5,000 hashers and a few bashers, at Interhash 2006. Motor bike is the principal form of transport in Chiang Mai, the loading arrangements being most original! But as good as it had been so far, the trip really began to get interesting with our entry into Laos. Decades of war have impoverished the land and the people, but peace has finally descended and with considerable UN help the country is beginning some modern development. In other words everyone now rides bicycles! The ancient art of giving a friend a crossbar has been consigned to the dustbin of history since bikes are provided with dedicated passenger seats! Unsurprisingly schoolkids use this facility a lot.

We spent an idyllic week in Laos, mostly just sightseeing and relaxing by the river, but our next destination required us to get active. The temples of Angkor in Cambodia are the largest archaeological ruins in the world, dating from the 9th to the 13th century. The main temples are best visited with a local guide in an air-conditioned car, but on our third day (you could easily spend five days there and not see everything) we hired bikes and went off-road to visit the Western Baray, a gigantic man-made lake with an embankment all around its 40 km perimeter, constructed in the 12th century by a bunch of guys with shovels! It would have been hot work as you can see from the pictures of us toiling around just a small part of it on bicycles.

We're in Australia now, and Crabbo has started training for the Étape du Tour 2007. More of that later, but in the meantime Happy New Year to all bashers

On!On!

Struth

Crabbo & Struth in S.E. Asia

Oct/Nov 2006.

Countries :: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia

Struth in Cambodia

Singapore, our first port of call is not the ideal place for cycling - it's more of a motor city - though there is reported to be a bike hash. We spent our two days there doing mostly touristy things such as the Night Safari, though we did manage to squeeze in a hash run on our last night. Melacca, in Malaysia on the other hand is one of the oldest European trading places in Asia, and full of bikes and trishaws. Many of the trikes have elaborate sound systems blaring out traditional or rock music, and all are decorated with flowers and good-luck offerings. They ply a standard route around the old city area, but variations are possible. We paid 40ringitt for an hour's tour, and our man seemed well rehearsed in the history of the place and its old buildings.

Our next country along the way was Thailand, and here we met up with about 5,000 hashers and a few bashers, at Interhash 2006. Motor bike is the principal form of transport in Chiang Mai, the loading arrangements being most original! But as good as it had been so far, the trip really began to get interesting with our entry into Laos. Decades of war have impoverished the land and the people, but peace has finally descended and with considerable UN help the country is beginning some modern development. In other words everyone now rides bicycles! The ancient art of giving a friend a crossbar has been consigned to the dustbin of history since bikes are provided with dedicated passenger seats! Unsurprisingly schoolkids use this facility a lot.

We spent an idyllic week in Laos, mostly just sightseeing and relaxing by the river, but our next destination required us to get active. The temples of Angkor in Cambodia are the largest archaeological ruins in the world, dating from the 9th to the 13th century. The main temples are best visited with a local guide in an air-conditioned car, but on our third day (you could easily spend five days there and not see everything) we hired bikes and went off-road to visit the Western Baray, a gigantic man-made lake with an embankment all around its 40 km perimeter, constructed in the 12th century by a bunch of guys with shovels! It would have been hot work as you can see from the pictures of us toiling around just a small part of it on bicycles.

We're in Australia now, and Crabbo has started training for the Étape du Tour 2007. More of that later, but in the meantime Happy New Year to all bashers

On!On!

Struth

CRABs in Crabs Green

RIDE no :: 156

Sat 11th Dec 2003    Audley End Stn.

Hares::   Mummy'sBoy

CRABs Green No write-up, but if you'd like to know where we went, click here for a larger pic: -- > CRABs Green

On!On!

2003 AGPU

RIDE no :: 155

Sat 10th Oct    Banham Outback Station

Hares::   Mr Bossy, Twonk & MoghulMattress

The bashers all gathered at Mr Bossy's country home next to their numerous chickens. Drew was seen chasing after the chickens. Why may we ask?? The weather was great and we cycled 35 miles through woods and fields and on the roads. Lunch was at the Angel. A beer stop was followed at the Nag's Head.

We had the AGPU in the evening at MrBossy's and had dinner and plenty of beer. MrBossy had to relinquish his title as the Big Wheel and was replaced by Ruth. Ruth came to power and selected Daffodildo with his water gun as her enforcer. Ruth was seen drinking out the infamous nipple and breast cup, and fondling it.

The AGPU was followed by the Norfolk Full Moon Run. We all went to the Cider Shed in Banham, where Naked Ruby, featuring The Man from Uranus and the beautiful (and scantily clad) Las Vague Showgirls performed. After seeing the lovely girls, Daffodildo went poofter and proceeded to lick hairy bearded hashers such as Twonk! After returning to Mr Bossy's, my memory starts fogging up. I think Daffodildo was passed out in his tent and Pig Farm and Zorro attempted to wake him up, but he refused to drink anymore!! Or did I get my facts mixed up???? The next morning, we all did the Norfolk hash run. Daffodildo got a down down for his licking abilities, Zorro for being a Yank (is that a sin?), and Pig Farm for some unknown reason.

On!On!

Zorro

more . . .

We gathered at Mr & Mrs Bossy's homestead on a fine, bright autumnal morning. It was tranquil apart from the clucking of the chickens behind the electrified fence. Mr Bossy was not clucking as he was still out setting the trail. It was left to Umplebum (beep beep) to read the 'Mr Bossy pre­departure missive' of several pages, which confused new and old bashers alike. Only a short way through it Umplebum decided its best use was for b­b­q kindling and we set on­off.

Over fields and tracks, through forest, under railways and over bridges we went, on­on and further on­on. Scenic though it was, by 2.00pm the pack was getting restless and thirsty ­ when would we get some ale? Just as my cuisses** were really starting to hurt the heavenly sight of the Angel Inn appeared. An anxious hare looked relieved that we had managed the trail so far.

After being watered and fed and having basked in the glorious sunshine, Mr Bossy cajoled the pack into setting off once again with assurances that it was only 6­7 miles on­in. To keep rehydrated we stopped 2 miles later in East Harling to wet our whistles. While we downed our drinks Mr McDrunk at the bar deliberated on and enlightened us on the finer points of rugby and football.

Mr Bossy then led the way across the fields and on­in, laying more flour from his sandcastle bucket as we went. On­in came at a perfect time for me, as after 28.3 miles I was pooped.

The GM (for the final time) disappeared to 'write his speech for the circle' and came back some time later with several sheets of paper that he could not read as he had been drinking the delumptious cider. After delivering his address which we failed to comprehend (something about 'barstriculations', 'imitable' stuff and Bossy 'masinations'), the new committee was duly elected with the firm tackle­checking hand of Stroof at the helm.

We mainly did lots of eating of venison chilli, drinking of beer and cider and jumping into the jacuzzi in various stages of undress. When the alcohol stakes started to run low the not so faint­of­heart repaired to the local hostelery for more imbibing and mainly drinking stuff.

Thanks to Mr & Mrs Bossy for their hospitality and a great day. Good luck to the new committee.

** a French word!

On!On!

U­Bend

Pigging out in the Outback

RIDE no :: 152

Sat 10th Aug 2003   Abington Pigotts

Hares::   Kinky and Thumper

Mr Bossy offered me a choice - either I could make mad passionate love to him, or I could write the ride report. So here is the ride report . . .

We arrived at the Pig & Abbot in Abington Pigotts at 10:45am to find Thumper, the hare and only 2 other riders. Well now we were 4! No sign of any more until 10:58 when Umplebum arrived with 4 passengers and 5 bikes to double the numbers followed shortly after by all the other latecomers. We didn't actually count but would estimate a total of 20 riders.

We were all madly preparing ourselves and our bikes when a very irritated lady came along and said that we mustn't park on that road today as we would spoil her daughter's wedding video. As there was really nowhere else to park we tried to explain to her that it would spoil our day if we had to move. Eventually she offered a field near the church where the wedding guests were to park, and we reluctantly agreed to move. She wasn't convinced that we would, and Mr Bossy had to 'politely' tell her to go away . . .

So, on with the ride; by this time it was 11:20am. Kinky and Thumper had found some good trails but unfortunately the farmers had been sabotaging them by driving tractors over them while they were wet, and now they are all rock hard and bumpy, causing quite a bit of pain and suffering in the posterior area. The visitors from West London Bike Hash thought that it was a race and were dashing here and there, breaking checks with furious speed. It was impossible to get through to them that the first one to the check should hold it while the others checked. The slower of us were beginning to think that we had 2 separate rides as we came to checks unbroken, or broken and showing the wrong direction!! So the first half of the ride was a furious pace and we arrived at the lunch pub 40 minutes ahead of schedule. We made up for it sitting at lunch for twice as long and drinking twice as much beer. We were all dehydrated due to the high temperature, a perfect Australian summer day in my opinion!

So 'onward ho!' for the second half, with rather too much beer I think. Kinky joined us as Thumper had set this part of the trail. No amount of abuse could slow the front riders down so the furious pace was continued. The trick was to keep an eye on Kinky and not be too led astray. There were less bumpy tracks and more bitumen on the On­In and we were all struggling in the heat for the last 5 miles or so. Even the Londoners were heard to ask 'are we nearly there?' At this stage, Lurcher decided that home in Royston was much closer than the pub and bailed out of the ride. In Doghouse's opinion we were 5 miles from the pub and 9 miles from Royston, so we're not sure her decision was a good one.

Back at the pub we were on to our second rehydrating pint and Gavin, our serious FrontRiding Bastard turned up very late and last ­ seems he got lost checking out the final check and did a few extra miles. Justice is a fine thing.

There was very little enthusiasm for the circle. Mrs Bossy was asleep on the bench and Mr Bossy spent half an hour looking for her. Finally he had to draw a chalk circle, due to the fact that no one was willing to form one or even stand up! There were no punctures or stacks, so Mr Bossy was struggling to find charges that were worthy of a beer. The hares were thanked for a great effort and the Australians were charged for wearing his­and­hers outfits. Gavin got one for being an FRB (I think) and V2 from London was charged with having sweaty pants - now we all had sweaty pants but she had a bone coloured pair of shorts over black bike pants and the result was not pretty! Mr Bossy's pièce de résistance was totally spoiled ­ he was looking around wildly for Lurcher to charge her with being too slow to get to a check to hand out jelly babies ­ and then he found that she wasn't there.

At this stage it should be mentioned that the road outside the pub was full of cars ­ including one owned by the stroppy lady with the wedding!

Thanks to Kinky and Thumper for a great ride ­ we all went off home, tired and exhausted by the hottest day in England's history!

On!On!

Scandal

PS: Please feel free to ask Mr Bossy's advice on how much water to put in a vase of artificial flowers.

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