Sunday, 11 January 2015

Stars in the early morning as we head the slow way... to the Tatsfield Bus Stop

Warlingham Green, Sunday 11th January around 0730hrs.
Like the beginning of most years, it's looking as if 2015 will be a slow start where cycling is concerned. Last week we only went out on Sunday; this weekend was no exception and it looks as if next week will be the same. It's a mixture of Andy not being able to make it and then yours truly deciding to lie in and not go riding, but then, ultimately, the weather proved to be so awful that neither of us would have gone out anyway.

I enjoyed my lie-in: for a start, I needed it. I fell in and out of sleep and it was just before 1000hrs when I finally found it in me to get up and start the day.

Last Saturday it rained all day. This weekend it was wind and rain and who knows what next week will bring? Hopefully not snow.

Trees near St Leonard's Church, Chelsham
Today's weather was fantastic and having enjoyed my lie-in yesterday I was raring to go. I was up at 0527hrs and downstairs before 0600hrs enjoying Shredded Wheat and a large mug of tea while watching BBC Breakfast News – there was some bad news during the week when some Islamist terrorists decided to attack the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. The radical magazine's cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed led to a handful of the magazine's cartoonists being gunned down in cold blood. While this was happening, another Islamist terrorist took hostages in a kosher supermarket on the other side of town in what looked like a co-ordinated attack. Needless to say it all ended badly. Innocent people were killed and the French security forces managed to take out all the Islamists bar one, a female, who escaped and is believed to be in Turkey. There's been a march through central Paris today attended by world leaders (including Buzz Lightyear) and, once again, the world is on high alert.

The mayhem has put me in a subdued state of mind, reinforced by some personal uncertainty in the family, which we're all a little anxious about. The weather is much improved over yesterday. The wind and rain has gone, the skies are clear and when I left the house at 0700hrs there were stars clearly visible above me as I pedalled towards Sanderstead High Street at the top of Church Way. It was still dark and my front and rear lights were both flashing, creating a strange strobe effect.

Andy on the return journey near St Leonard's, Chelsham
At the green I had time to take a few shots of the bike before Andy arrived. I could see his flashing front light a mile off and soon we were on our way to the Tatsfield Bus Stop (the slow way). As we headed towards the turn-off point at Chelsham the skies brightened up and we wound our way around the country lanes towards Hesiers Hill and then Beddlestead Lane.

At the bus stop it was business as usual: tea, BelVita biscuits (this week we had the chocolate-flavoured variety, which reminded me of Coco Pops). Coco Pops in biscuit form – what could be better? 

Surprisingly – and for the first time in NoVisibleLycra history – we didn't see a single Lycra Monkey on our outward journey; they didn't make an appearance until we headed back along Beddlestead Lane towards Hesiers Hill. And they certainly made up for their earlier absence. We found ourselves constantly nodding and saying 'good morning' or 'alright?' and other pleasantries.

For some reason my gears were working again and I managed to ride up Hesiers Hill without dismounting, unlike last week when I had to walk up. We weaved our way around the country lanes near Saint Leonard's Church and back into Chelsham where a woman walking two dogs asked us to keep a look-out for a beagle that had seemingly escaped bail. We saw the fugitive dog crossing into woods but there was little we could do, other than offer it a cigarette or a light, so we headed towards the mini roundabout at Warlingham Sainsbury's and then right along the Limpsfield Road towards the green.

Andy won't be around next Saturday so if I'm going to take a ride I'll be alone. I'm already thinking of a ride to mum's, but if the weather's good I might even head for the churchyard or the village or, if I'm feeling really adventurous, Westerham.

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