Monday, 6 April 2015

Fast way to Botley Hill for tea and biscuits...

Saturday 4th April 2015: It must have rained overnight as there were huge puddles everywhere, especially along the B269 and this can be dangerous if you're riding a bike as the urge is to drift into the middle of the road to avoid them (especially if your bike doesn't have mudguards!). The sky was dark and overcast and, let's face it, it might have rained at any time, but it didn't, which was fortunate, as today we were riding to Botley Hill where there is little, in fact, no cover whatsoever.

Andy and I met on Warlingham Green and headed off towards our destination in a good mood. I hadn't been on the bike for a long time, or at least it felt that way. The last time I rode out was to the churchyard prior to my trip to Rio, which has been well-documented on this blog (just scroll back a few posts or check out individual postings on the side panel to the right of this text).

The bikes at Botley Hill on Saturday 4th April 2015
When we reached Botley Hill we parked the bikes and got out the tea and biscuits, which we scoffed while discussing a variety of topics, including, of course, Clarkson's recent sacking, although not for long. The main topic of conversation was the new café/bicycle shop that recently opened in Westerham. Andy brought along an advertisement that had appeared in his local rag, which shows that the shop has some kind of link to a fitness company. We talked about the 'boutique' look of the place, which we both disagreed with (the Tudor Rose Tearoom is more in keeping with what a cyclist wants from a caff in our opinion) and the fact that the ad has a load of people standing in front of the café/bike shop in some kind of cycling uniform – possibly a  Lycra uniform – was also a little off-putting as we also abhor Lycra monkeys with a vengeance. What we also found slightly irksome about the ad was the phrase that went something like 'you don't have to wear Lycra' to visit the caff, which implied, of course, that the Lycra Monkey was their primary focus but, alright, if you don't wear it you can still come in. It's a bit like saying, "You don't have to wear Lycra, but it helps.'

Andy said that the worst thing about the new caff would have to be the sound of Lycra Monkeys in those awful cycling shoes they wear, clickety clicking across the wood or laminated flooring of the establishment. "Imagine. You're sitting there and suddenly the door opens – dinga ling! – and then the next thing you hear is 'click, click, click, click, click' as the Lycra Monkey makes his way into the shop," said Andy. I nodded knowingly as we continued to enjoy our tea and Belvita biscuits (which somehow taste different when you're standing up – there's no bench at Botley Hill).

And then, of course, we discussed the Lycra Monkey and asked our usual question: why? Why get up in the morning and put on body-hugging, brightly-coloured Lycra leggings and a top covered in brand names? Why? You're not being sponsored. And why do they wear those luminous cycling shoes?

Something has happened to the Botley Hill Farmhouse but we're not exactly sure what. It's still there, but they've tidied up around the pub itself and Andy says the marquee, which was used to host live bands, has gone and is going to be replaced with a more permanent structure. Good news, I said, because if there's new management involved (I'm not saying there is, but IF there is) then they don't want to get rid of the live bands as I'd imagine they are the chief revenue source for the pub.

The ride back was cold and, as usual, there was a headwind. I was glad to be out on the bike again. Not riding for a couple of weeks or more was noticeable. I found it quite a hard slog cycling up Church Way this morning, which shows how easy it is to get out of condition. Tomorrow we're planning to ride to Westerham as the weather is supposed to improve for Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. Here's hoping!

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