Saturday, 9 January 2016

To the Tatsfield Bus Stop on Saturday, but rear wheel puncture aborts Sunday's outing...

Yesterday morning, when I left the house around 0730hrs, I was amazed by how dark it was outside. It was pitch black. I put this down to the fact that the last few rides over the festive period were later than our usual departure time and, for some reason, I thought it would be lighter than it actually was.

Phil texted me just before I left saying he was coming and please wait for him. Not a problem. When I waltzed outside – I didn't 'waltz' outside at all, but it sounds good, even if it does make me sound a little dandy – there he was, bike parked by the kerb. He'd brought along the last of his Mary Berry Christmas cake, which we later enjoyed at the Tatsfield Bus Stop. Yes, despite New Year Resolutions it's still our preferred venue, although yesterday we reached it via the slow route.

An unwelcomed rear wheel puncture put paid to my cycling this morning
The slow route is fine if you want to chat and not worry so much about the traffic, as avid readers will already know, but there is one killer – Beddlestead Lane. Phil was out of condition and cited half a bottle of wine and some cheese and Port on Friday night, plus little in the way of cycling over Christmas – as the chief reason behind his sluggishness.

As we trundled up and along the tiresome Beddlestead Lane we chatted about this and that, but Andy powered ahead. It was a clear day and at one point I could see him in the distance ahead, his rear light flashing like a beacon, as Phil and I continued to chat and 'mosey along' trying not to over-exert ourselves. Eventually Andy returned to see if we were alright and we all cycled along together for the last 200 yards or so to Clarks Lane.

The weather was fine. In fact, the mild weather I've been going on about since November last year continues and while there was a few angry clouds dotted around, all was fine. Or rather it was kind of alright. It had been raining heavily through the night, leaving puddles everywhere – not ideal if, like me, your bike doesn't have any mudguards. Later, when we embarked upon on our ride home, there was a mild drizzle that quickly gathered momentum.

Once at the bus stop, however, out came the tea and biscuits and, of course, three huge slabs of Phil's interpretation of Mary Berry's Christmas cake. The guy is a genius! His culinary expertise knows no bounds – savoury or sweet – and it goes without saying that we all enjoyed the cake. We had a couple of Belvita biscuits too and soon it was time to head home in the aforementioned mild drizzle which, by the time we reached Warlingham Green, was bona fide rain.

Sunday morning...
And now it's Sunday morning and the time is 0646hrs. I was softly awakened at 0600hrs by Radio Four's Something Understood, which today, ironically, was all about 'sleeping on it' – something I wished for at that moment, it has to be said. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and then again around 0500hrs. I still managed to summon up the energy to jump out of bed, skip downstairs (alright, I didn't skip) make tea, toast and Weetabix and sit downstairs, at the dining table, laptop on, writing this post.

Today it's just Andy and I on the ride and, judging by a cursory glance outside, it seems to be pretty dry out there, which is good. Yesterday it rained on and off throughout the day and well into the night, so I'm hoping it'll need a rest this morning. The roads were dry and the trees were still, so I'm hoping for a trouble-free ride.

But then...
When I ventured outside to the garage and unpadlocked the bike I discovered a rear wheel puncture. How frustrating! I'd It would mean an 'abort' text so there would be no riding for me today, more's the pity.

Weather note: it's still fairly pleasant and mild, but of late there's been a lot of rain and today (Sunday) it's definitely turned a little colder and more in tune with standard January weather. As I walked back to the car park in Petworth, West Sussex, around 4pm this afternoon – after an enjoyable lunch in Tiffins – there was a cold wind and rain and it wasn't pleasant, especially considering my leaking Sports Direct trainers.

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