Monday, 29 May 2017

Another fantastic day so we head for the Tatsfield Bus Stop!

Monday 29 May: Yesterday the good weather continued late into the night. Around 2130hrs, feeling the effects of mild exposure to the sun, I took a stroll around the block to enjoy the welcoming cool evening air, but around 0200hrs there were some heavy storms. Now, at 0637hrs on Bank Holiday Monday morning, it is bright and still outside and it looks as if we'll get a decent ride.

We rode the slow way to the Tatsfield Bus Stop on the assumption that there wouldn't be a dry seat anywhere else – apart from the village – and when we reached our destination we chilled and watched steam rise from an adjacent field. There was a wonderful freshness to everything and it felt good to be out in the early morning air and close to the cornfields.

Riding the slow way means Beddlestead Lane, a long, twisting snake of dark tarmac that winds its way between the fields and carries Lycra monkeys from one end to the other who always manage to surprise us when the pass.

Our bikes in the cornfield behind the Tatsfield Bus Stop, Bank Holiday Monday
There are two types of Lycra monkey: one is the well-spoken senior management variety, and the other is a kind of working class, Alf Tupper 'Tough of the Track' type with exposed calf muscle tattoos. To make it easier for you, think of Seb Coe and Steve Ovett.

Lycra monkeys wear 'cycling gear' and by that I mean 'sponsored' cycling shirts and, of course, Lycra shorts or leggings. It's not a good look and when you consider that these guys aren't sponsored by anybody, it makes it kind of pointless. They often ride in groups and tend to raise their voices, occasionally shouting "Car!" or "Gravel!" as they whizz past us.

I often wonder what they must think of me in my paint-stained, many-pocketed trousers and my equally paint-stained hoody, unshaven and wearing a dirty old pair of trainers. They probably think I'm a farm worker on my way to the strawberry field or on the run from Border Control. Who knows?

Something must be done about my sartorial elegance. I need to ditch the paint-stained clothing and tidy myself up a little bit. I don't mean go out and buy some Lycra, but I need to smarten up.

It was pleasing to see somebody on a racer who wasn't wearing Lycra. A man puffed his way up Clarks Lane from Westerham wearing an old tee-shirt and what looked like a pair of boxer shorts. Not an ounce of 'sponsorship' could be found on his clothing, which was refreshing to see.

Two cups of tea were consumed and two packets of BelVitas too – it's our staple diet on all rides – and soon it was time to pack up and head home. We headed for Botley Hill and then north along the 269 towards Warlingham, occasionally acknowledging fellow cyclists riding in the opposite direction.

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