Monday, 30 November 2009

28 and 29 November 2009 – life's a beach? Not when you're cycling in the rain

I forgot to take the camera with me on Sunday so here's a picture of the beach at Felpham on the West Sussex coast, a cycling destination the No Visible Lycra Committee have discussed but never attempted. In fact, we briefly touched upon it on Sunday. Perhaps next year, eh, chaps?
It was one of those weekends. First, there was reasonably decent weather. On Saturday morning (28th November) it was one of those clear days, not too cold and just fine for cycling, but for various reasons I didn't bother going. To be honest, I slobbed around a bit. Normally I am out of the house by 0700hrs and on my way but I got used to making myself comfortable, drinking tea. And then I remembered my slow puncture. Time was moving on.

Still, Jon and I had communicated and the cycle was still game on – and then it wasn't. Time was ticking by, there were things to do and in the end I thought no, I'll go tomorrow. Which, of course, was a big mistake. Why? Because the following day it pissed down. I got up early and could hear the rain hammering down on the conservatory roof, it was heavy. But then it stopped, suddenly, and when I looked out it was clear and quiet and I had already arranged with Andy to meet at the top of Foxley Lane so I had to just get out there and go. 

Such a downpour had prompted Andy to write the obligatory 'abort' text message but just before pressing it, the rain had stopped and we met, as usual, at around 0730hrs. Over in Epsom, where Jon lives, the rain was still hammering down and it didn't look as if he would be at the green. We, that is Andy and I, managed to avoid a soaking until we were nearing Woodmansterne Green, but by the time we got there we were drenched through and sought refuge under the covered gateway at the church where we sipped hot tea and munched on our cereal bars.

Just when we'd accepted the fact that Jon wasn't going to turn it, he arrived and stood around chatting about various subjects, some mirthful, others a little more serious. One of the more serious topics was racism, prompted by a man who approached and asked for directions to a church hall where later in the day a wake would take place. We admitted we didn't know the area that well and suggested he spoke to the man in the newsagents. "Nah, he's Indian he won't know," he said, dismissively and that's how the conversation began.

We continued to chew the fat under the gateway as the rain started and stopped, started and stopped, until we realised we'd have to just go for it. Parting company with Jon, Andy and I went home the quick way, which for me meant a ride along the busy (and wet A23). It was very unpleasant and I was soaked through. From the Purley Oaks Road onwards, until I reached home, I effed and blinded to myself, like some madman with Tourette's. "Fucking, fuck!" and words to that effect. It was the only way I could cope with the driving rain for some reason. Fortunately, nobody heard me.

I reached home drenched through and had to peel my clothes off, dry myself down and then change into something clean and dry. One thing that did please me, however, was the fact that I'd got up and gone cycling, however unpleasant it turned out I still did it.

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