Sunday, 5 August 2012

Caught in a downpour at the Tatsfield bus stop

Rapeseed oil fields near Botley Hill on Saturday 4th August 2012.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, it had clearly been raining. Everything had that drenched appearance and even the air seemed damp. The word 'abort' sprang to mind until I realised that it was only 6am and that a lot could happen within an hour. I held back and instead made a cup of tea and sat in front of the computer checking emails and blogs.

By 7am, I was almost ready to go, but was waylaid by this and that and when I finally reached the garage, I found that my bike was concealed behind a huge mattress. We had a new one on our bed and this was the old one, cast out and waiting for the local council to take it away. My bike was behind it and it was unpadlocked. I'd unlocked it earlier in the week, but never went out on it, preferring instead to walk to the pub. But that's another story.

Everything seemed sluggish as I hauled myself and the bike up Church Way. I'd sent a text to Andy explaining that I was running about 15 minutes late and eventually arrived on Warlingham Green at 0740hrs – ten minutes later than my intended time of arrival.

Time was short. I had what turned out to be a pointless appointment at the bank and Andy had to get back too so we headed off for the Tatsfield Bus Stop. The weather was looking alright, but we figured that it might rain and decided that the bus stop was the best place in a storm.

When we got there we sat and chatted about this and that and then, as the weather began to look really murky we watched a recumbent cyclist riding towards us with powerful headlights mounted on his helmet. He stopped to take cover and he told us how he bought the bike because he'd had a slipped disk at the top of his neck and it was easier than riding a conventional bike. He was out on a 30-mile ride.

The strange thing about cycling is that, for years, it's been regarded as a bit nerdy, until recently. Today, a lot of people are taking to riding bikes to save money on train and bus fares into work and because it's a good way of keeping fit. I think the nerdy aspect, however, has transferred from traditional cycling of the two-wheeled variety to recumbent cycling, which I think will always be a bit eccentric, probably because it's just a little too close to the Sinclair C5 for comfort.

The B269 about a mile north of Botley Hill. Note general dampness.
The rain was getting heavier and showing no sign of abating and soon Andy and I were looking at our watches. We decided to head back home regardless of whether or not we were going to get soaked. The conditions were treacherous so we stuck to the off-road path the length of the B269. Andy left halfway along, taking his off-road path towards Wapses Roundabout and I carried straight on. The rain stopped but there were plenty of puddles and the roads were wet.

I stopped halfway along the road and took the two photographs that accompany this post and then powered my way towards Warlingham Green, Sanderstead and home – where a warm shower awaited me.

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