Author Topic: Saturday Day Ride to the Coast


Saturday Day Ride to the Coast
« on: April 01, 2020 »
Crossposted to help achieve critical mass

Once herd immunity has been achieved, then a bit longer to be on the safe side, why not try the Saturday Day Ride to the Coast, aka the SDRttC?

This will be run under the auspices of the Velosolo Club, responsible for such events as Hastings to the Sea, the heartfelt Three to the Sea, the bewitching Wen to Wen, and of course, the classic Hastings Hustle.


Where to, again?
Hastings, which is the only coast the Velosolo Club officially recognises.

It’s something to look forward to.

Will there be a crowd cheering for us at the end?
They cheered for the Olympic Torch Relay, I can’t see why they wouldn’t for us.

(Checks calendar) Are you serious?
Absolutely. I’m going to be doing another one of these at some point. Until then I’ll leave you with this:

(it's not a race)


Ride report!
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2020 »
The SDRttC took place this past weekend, on the Sunday. Yes, I changed the day at the last minute, as well as the direction, both without notice (fortunately the initialism stayed the same). Interest was so overwhelming that it seemed prudent to limit numbers, as a nod to the grave situation in which we find ourselves. Somehow word got out anyway.

We gathered along the seafront in groups spaced prudently apart. theclaud, Shadow, Adrian, StuAff, rb58 and Dogtrousers took point, all having been on previous rides of mine.

Flying Dodo and Trickedem volunteered as Tail End Charlies, their squad filled out with expendable red jerseys.

In between were allsorts. I bade hello to srw, jiberjaber, Edwardoka, gavroche, Bazzer and Blitzen. ianrauk was hard to miss, as was Pale Rider, who looked exactly like his avatar; either that or Clint was in town to film his latest, and free for the day. classic33 had phone at the ready to maintain his stratospheric reaction score.

rogerzilla and Brompton Bruce (who has changed his name by deed poll) were both on Bromptons, and mudsticks brought a bag of aubergines as fuel. Drago kept offering sips of Red Bull to attractive passers-by. I waved to Randomnerd, a pleasant surprise from Yorkshire way. TinyMyNewt had come along despite being rumoured to aggressively dislike hills. dellzeqq turned up incognito, but the knee bandage was a dead giveaway.

My powers of enumeration tired after clocking wheresthetorch and Ian H and PaulB and Mr Celine and roubaixtuesday and Profpointy and SpokeyDokey and Beebo and Salty seadog and alicat and deptfordmarmoset and Yellow Fang and YukonBoy and nickyboy and vickster and SteveF and Mrs M and… just so many who were probably surprised to find themselves here.

We were a merry band, possibly because we were London bound rather than the other way around, though for the record, Hastings has one of the lowest Covid-19 rates in the country. It was my job to to ensure we arrived safely. Most of us, at any rate.

Before we even got started a red jersey perished in quicksand, which is odd as it’s a shingle beach. Drago tenderly left an empty can of Red Bull as a grave marker as ClichéGuevara shed a tear.

First stop was The America Ground, so-called after a fun but doomed bid for independence in the 19th century. Fortunately tensions were markedly lower than its namesake, the only incident being a stolen aubergine. (It later transpired that GrumpyGregry had taken it, in a delirium of manganese deficit. He later offered full restitution.)

We made our way out of town like a snake eating a series of eggs. Progress was slow because of the hill, but it didn’t help that we suffered a litany of punctures thanks to nails left on the road by the constabulary as a border defence against disease and wanton joyriding. As we passed Conquest Hospital we dropped off another red jersey, felled in the line of duty after a clipless moment left him similarly poked full of holes.

A dozen miles north we commandeered Bodiam Castle, or at least its disabled toilet, that key I got from Amazon making short work of the lock. The womenfolk queued as usual, while the men relieved themselves in the moat, the carp making handy targets. One of the locals came by to lecture us, but was kept at bay by Randomnerd, who had whittled a pike to kill time.

The next big attraction was Mad Jack’s Pyramid, sitting high atop the weald. There we laid to rest yet another red jersey, who had died of natural causes on the road west and been transported draped over Pale Rider’s top tube. “That only leaves one more,” intoned Trickedem gravely; he’d led the charge to Eastbourne without any casualties at all. Fortunately my toilet key opened the gate in the pyramid as well,

and so the anonymous fellow joined Jack Fuller to repose for eternity in a folly. Drago, apparently an ordained minister, said a few words, which just seemed right. Afterwards my wife served blueberry muffins, baked that morning, now food for mourning.

theclaud approached me for a private word: “The natives are restless. One dead red jersey could happen to any ride leader. Two are bad luck. Three…” She didn’t have to finish the sentence. Three meant the ride might be cursed. A few of the more superstitious sorts quietly peeled off to the station in Etchingham, never to be seen again.

As we passed Bateman’s, Rudyard Kipling’s old pile at the bottom of the hill, srw dismounted and recited ‘If’ by memory. This then prompted a mass rendering of Gunga Din. They were about to start on Mandalay when I pointed to my watch, which is about the limit of my bossiness on these affairs. We were already running several hours behind thanks to the punctures, the funerals, and an almighty mechanical which saw Adrian and Flying Dodo completely rebuild a recumbent for its grateful rider, who wasn’t even part of our group.

By the time we got to Tunbridge Wells, the halfway point and lunch, it was clear that drastic action was necessary to save the ride. As a desperate last measure, I was finally forced to clear my throat over dessert. This did not have the desired effect. I then coughed, which did. Fast as lighting, all faces were flash frozen in horror. The final red jersey dropped his cake fork, spearing himself in the foot.

Long minutes ticked by as my audience waited on tenterhooks for a second and third cough: when I didn’t oblige, there was a communal sigh of relief. Now that I had their unterrorised attention, I dove in. “I’m very sorry, but we’re going to have to pick up the pace. Some of you have families that will begin to miss you if we tarry longer.”

Another eternity passed.

“I say, the chap is entirely correct,” said Shadow, standing carefully to avoid the pool of blood leaking from the maillot rouge. “Henceforth, I for one shall heed him with alacrity, and a renewed energy.”

There was but a moment’s pause before dellzeqq too arose: “What a capital idea! I’m in.”

An infectious excitement gripped the crowd. Several could be heard making bets who would get to London first. Short odds had r58 at Waterloo Bridge for the win, but rogerzilla, for one, planned to make history with those pint-sized wheels.

Bazzer and Blitzen helped the maimed but still game man onto his bike, with TinyMyNewt promising to give him a slap from time to time if he started to fade, and we were off.

We practically flew to our next stop, Down House, where I insisted on pausing for a moment to pay our respects to the great Charles Darwin. On a sad note, we left the now expired-by-dessert-fork guy (overkill for a fondant fancy was the consensus) near the front door with an apologetic note. “That’s irony for you,” said Rusty Nails, winking. “Or is it?”

You can’t buck tradition, so we also paid a hurried visit to the dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park, there to be joined by Gursh, who had some time to kill, and Aperitif, now a park ranger. jiberjaber grabbed a selfie on the Megalosaurus, then one of the rest of us, for posterity.

Home stretch was a comedy of manners, competitive instincts held in check by esprit de corps. “It’s not a race,” I’d told them at the start, the standard mantra. After a schedule-saving dash, this instruction had more or less kicked in again. Still, rogerzilla’s flame red brompton kept inching ahead until Brompton Bruce steered into it, deliberately or otherwise, bringing both down in a Simpsonesque explosion (you couldn’t make this stuff up) which brought Elephant and Castle bodgeabout to a standstill.

I called 999, as any responsible ride leader would do, then carried on, still responsible for the rest of the group and assured by the victims themselves that they had only suffered flesh wounds.

Waterloo Bridge just in time for sunset was a welcome site. Celebrations were muted, but the survivors (which to be fair, was most of us) assured me they’d had a grand time, and would be pleased to be added to my mailing list for future rides.

The End

Elephant and Castle whatabout? [Newsflash: too late]
More Simpsonesque explosions
Die redshirts die! (and rebuttal)
All my posts are carefully researched (it's possible the context has gone missing, which would be out of my control!)
– It was indeed a ride to remember