Monday, 2 January 2017

First ride of 2017

There was talk on the radio of ultra-cold weather, but when I peered outside, all seemed normal enough until I noticed the frosted windscreens and the solidified puddle on the roof of my neighbour's extension. A cold ride lay ahead, although, when I hit the air at 0745hrs it wasn't as bad as I imagined, although I was wearing a balaclava.

Rockhopper Sport 29 at Tatsfield Village, 2nd January 2017
The ride to the green was uneventful (when is it otherwise?) and Andy was there when I arrived so we headed off in the direction of, yes, you've guessed it, Tatsfield Village. We toyed with the idea of White Lane, but decided against it and instead rode the slow way to our destination, weaving our way around the quiet country lanes, down Hesiers and then along Beddlestead.

The conditions were icy – frozen puddles and sparkling roads – and when Andy suddenly hit the tarmac I realised that we had to ride carefully. Not that we were being in any way reckless, far from it. In fact, how Andy came off I'll never know, but one minute he was there, the next he was off the bike and sitting on the tarmac. Somehow the rear end had slipped, taking Andy with it. Because we were climbing the slow but steady gradient of Beddlestead Lane, Andy was fine and quickly dusted himself off before remounting, we were probably doing about 3 mph so all was well.

For the rest of the ride we played it safe, keeping to the middle of Beddlestead Lane and only moving over when we heard a car (or Lycra monkey) approaching. We remained cautious on Clarks Lane and when we turned left on to Approach Road we kind of free-wheeled into the village and arrived at the bus stop in what can only be described as a 'sedate manner'. I thought back to 1st October when I made that rather fast, sweeping left turn and took a nasty tumble. I shudder when I think about it and while I no longer bear any scars, there are still minor problems with my left knee; nothing worth visiting the hospital about, just aches when I bend my knees and then try to come up again. Things have improved massively, however, and riding is no longer a problem. Nor is walking and I'm not about to start running.

After tea and biscuits – no more cake unfortunately – we headed out of Tatsfield and rode home. The sun was up, the ice had thawed and the roads were wet, but the skies were blue so there was nothing to complain about.

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