Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sausage sandwiches at the Tatsfield Churchyard...

Last Sunday Phil and I rode to Warlingham Green to meet Andy and then onwards to the Tatsfield Bus Stop for the usual round of tea and biscuits. I think both Andy and I half expected Phil to reveal his revered sausage sandwiches, but he didn't. Instead, he waited until yesterday (Saturday 26th September) when we reached the churchyard. We stood there enjoying what amounted to a kind of alfresco 'full English' – tea, sausage and bacon sandwiches and a few BelVitas for good measure.

Phil, Matt and Andy last week at the Tatsfield Bus Stop
Avid readers of this blog will know that at any particular time my bike has something wrong with it: either the gears or the brakes are playing up OR there's a puncture. Well, in many ways, all three boxes can be ticked. I've only recently fixed a long-term slow puncture, the front brakes are highly ineffective (new pads are needed) and for the last week or two I've been permanently stuck in the lower eight of my 16 gears, having previously been stuck in the higher eight. Right now I'm back in the higher eight after we examined – and attempted to fix my gears – at the churchyard. The problem, it seemed, was the cable, which was a little on the slack side, nothing an alun key can't fix!

The weather was perfect yesterday – clear skies and sunshine – and, as I look out of the conservatory window now at 0636hrs on Sunday morning the skies are a light grey colour, but there's plenty of brightness too and wispy grey clouds.

While both Andy and Phil have resorted to gloves, I'm still riding without them despite the 'chilly starts' mentioned fairly regularly by the weather forecasters. As I mentioned to Phil and Andy yesterday, I'll probably keep the gloves off for some weeks until, suddenly, it's colder out there than I think it is and spend an entire ride quietly freezing. After that day, whenever it comes, the gloves will be back on until the start of next summer.

Yesterday's ride was pleasant. After the sausage sandwiches there were BelVita biscuits and it goes without saying that I bought the tea (I always do).

The conversation was one of our staples – the relative merits or otherwise of high-specification bikes over more conventional models. I mentioned my view that the less complicated a bike is, the better. When I was a kid my bike had block brakes and a single gear. Nothing ever went wrong with it apart from the occasional need to replace the brake blocks or fix a puncture. If there was a major hill I remember riding up as far as I could and then getting off the bike and walking the rest.

Andy countered my argument with the story of his pal Richard who bought a low-spec bike and spent the next few months in and out of the bike shop having been recommended higher-spec brakes and gears. He eventually bought a better bike. 

Phil is considering getting rid of the Kona Smoke (it's too small for him – remember, Phil is tall, very tall). He asked me if I wanted it and while my desire to have a 'normal' bike would be achieved by taking him up on the offer, I'm kind of attached to the old Scrap (for better or worse). Incidentally, in May next year, the 'old' Scrap will be just that – 10 years old.

With a bike loan scheme operated by his company, Phil is likely to buy a new bike towards the end of the year and hand the Smoke to his girlfriend who might then join us on a ride, replicating, perhaps, that moment on Long Way Down when Charley Boorman appears visibly irritated by Ewan McGregor's decision to bring his wife along on what was essentially a lads' adventure. Not that we would be even slightly annoyed. I've always welcomed people to ride with us, but so far nobody has taken me up on the offer. My mate in the office, Martin, has a bike stored at the top of his garden. I said to him last week, "get it out and meet me outside my house at 7am." But I doubt he'll ever do it. Likewise my pal Geoff. Still, it doesn't really matter.

On the ride back it was good to be back in the higher eight gears. We stopped halfway along the 269 to bid farewell to Andy. Phil said he wouldn't be going on Sunday so it's just Andy and I. In fact, I'd better get going as it is Sunday morning and I need to make the tea.

Sunday's ride
I'd endured a restless and somewhat sleepless night, but felt fit enough to rise at 0600hrs and start writing this post. By around 0700hrs I was out of the house and riding towards Warlingham Green. Outside it was bright and wonderful, but a little chilly so I wore the gloves for the first time since the beginning of summer. Not that I really needed to, the weather was great and improved by the minute.

Yours truly at Tatsfield Village, Sunday 27th September 2015
At the time of writing this post (Sunday, 1302hrs) the sun is shining brightly and I should be out in the garden doing something rather than sitting here, alone in the house, writing this blog. But, there you have it, while there's no time like the present, as they say, I simply lack the motivation to do anything that might improve the well-being of the household.

It was just Andy and I this morning and we decided to ride to Tatsfield Village and sit in the sunshine at the covered bus stop opposite the pub, which was in the shade and, therefore, colder than where were sitting. We drank tea, we ate BelVita biscuits and then we rode home, parting halfway along the 269 and both vowing to be on the green at 0730hrs next week.

I rode leisurely along the the Limpsfield Road towards Sanderstead and home and then padlocked the bike until next weekend, although I've seriously considered riding to work next week – apparently the good weather is set to continue. Let's see if I get out of bed feeling motivated.

No comments:

Post a Comment