|Andy and Matt, Tatsfield Village, Sunday 24 November 2013|
So today we headed for Tatsfield Village, the slow way, on the basis that the more familiar we get with Beddlestead Lane the shorter it will become.
We started off discussing cycling in London, which is big news at the moment due to the amount of people being knocked off their bikes by lorries and killed. My view? First, there's a lot of silly cyclists around who take unnecessary risks; second, there's a load of awful drivers around; and three, let's not forget that London is a busy place. Nothing like Montreal where the roads are virtually empty on a Saturday morning. Personally, I wouldn't ride a bike in London, not even a Boris Bike, although I do think it would be good if we could have established cycle lanes like those in Holland and, dare I say it, Milton Keynes. Over here in the UK a cycle lane is basically a line drawn in the road; there's no protection, no segregation from the traffic, nothing. Sort it out, England!
Then it was Doctor Who. I'm not a great fan. Apart from the Weeping Angels (and by that I mean the episode that first featured them) I think it's a bit naff – and it probably always has been. What I find rather irksome is the way the BBC are bigging it up all the time, going on about how scary it is, when it's not scary at all and then over-indulging themselves by over-staying the Doctor Who welcome with Doctor Who Confidential. My problem with Doctor Who is that it's not easy to suspend belief: the alien costumes are not realistic enough, it's all a bit juvenile and yet it's made out to be the best thing since sliced bread. It's not. I wouldn't go as far as saying it was rubbish, because it's not rubbish, it's just a little naff and I can understand why Michael Grade wanted it off the air when he took over at the BBC. Still, people like it. Millions of people like it, all over the world, so perhaps I'll reconsider an article I was writing for this blog along the lines of 'Doctor Who is Rubbish'.
When we got to Tatsfield Village and started to drink our tea, a man arrived in an old Nissan 2.0 that I loved. I can't remember the model; was it a DX? Andy will know. It looked a bit like an old Opel Mantra, but according to Andy it was rear wheel drive, which is rare these days, apparently. Most cars are front wheel drive. I really liked the Nissan, albeit an old N reg motor. Andy said it was good for 'drifting'.
I mentioned to Andy how, try as I might to buy myself a decent motor, I've always ended up with something naff, like a Morris 1300, a Honda Civic, a Cavalier...you get the picture. Oh for the day when I can buy a car that I wouldn't be embarassed about if I found myself on Top Gear. Not that I'll ever be on Top Gear, although you never know. If my novel hits the big time, perhaps? Watch this space. Then again, don't watch this space as it'll never happen.
Phil's sausage sandwiches of a couple of weeks ago were brought up by Andy – not literally – both yesterday and today. The general feeling was that his efforts were way beyond the call of duty. We both compared our morning routine prior to getting on the bikes with Phil's: putting on the grill, arranging the sausages, grilling them, cutting them in half, placing them in the bread and then individually wrapping them in silver foil after adding tomato ketchup. Nice work, Phil, if you're reading this; once again, respect is due.
We were thinking about Phil's fine sandwiches as a fine rain began to fall. Nothing too unpleasant. We both watched from the safety of the bus stop, but then realised that we'd have to head off sooner or later. The rain was so fine that it was almost non-existent as we rode towards Clarks Lane, turning right and heading for Botley and then the point where I wave farewell to Andy halfway along the 269. He's not going to make next Saturday, but Phil and I will probably go...or I might use the opportunity for a lie in, who knows?
The weather was fairly warm again and this time I didn't wear any gloves (unlike yesterday) and it wasn't that unpleasant, although, if I'm honest, I'd have been a little more comfortable if I had been wearing them.
It was a good leisurely ride and typical NoVisibleLycra weather. We saw a few Lycra monkeys en route, as always, especially going up Beddlestead Lane – we hear them first, chatting about stuff, probably pensions and financial planning. It seems as if the slow way, avoiding the B269, is now our preferred route as it provides us with a suitable work-out on a traditionally shorter ride. Taking the slower roads is by far the best option: we can hear traffic coming for miles and while the roads are empty we can ride side-by-side, chatting about this and that.
I reached home at just gone 10am, enjoyed a hot cross bun and a cup of tea and then had a most welcomed hot shower. Nothing could be better after a decent ride.