Author Topic: A ride to remember


A ride to remember
« on: July 25, 2012 »
Ride reports are like baby pictures: you've proved you can make one, but can you make one that's interesting? Here are some tips.

Make stuff up
Works best with solo efforts, but still doable with group rides after deciding which direction to take. Concoct a meticulously planned fantasy with everybody on the same page, or stay flexible and improvise? ("I was ahead of you, so you may be right. That scream I heard could have been that otherwise quiet guy, who nobody seemed to know, falling off the cliff. When you said we dropped him I didn't think to take you seriously.") Memory is notoriously fallible, as any policeman taking statements will verify.

If you feel troubled by outright fabrication, find your comfort level:
a) I drew that picture, or could've
b) I commissioned an artist, feeling that the expense of illustrating this post was worth it
c) I found a gif after an image search of far less than a minute, and hope that whoever created it will forgive me for the appropriation

Where nature doesn't provide, software can, and should, step in. A listless off-white sky is not an option. Choose an extreme and run with it.

If you find writing tedious, words a letdown after actions, have your account ghostwritten. It shouldn't be hard to find a volunteer. The web is full of people with too much time on their hands, willing to work for likes or smileys.

Secure in the knowledge that many professional writers and almost all reporters use this productivity boost, think of it as sharing the commonality of literature. Concentrate on nouns. If you choose wisely you shouldn't have to sweat the verbs. Or maybe it's the other way around.

Write, Revise. Repeat.
Only as a last resort.


Stockholm Syndrome
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2014 »


Another year of the bike
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014 »


What I did over the bank holiday
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2015 »
Wow, what a trip. They promised me the moon – actually, Mars – and they delivered. A week mountain biking on the great singletrack of the red planet. I wanted the standard package, but they talked me into an upgrade, said I'd never forget it. It's in their contract: memory implants are guaranteed for the life of the brain.

Orientation was a bit rough, I sure don't look very happy! (I don't look like that at all. Total Recall offers Total Facelift for all holiday snaps.) But I don't remember a thing about that part, as promised.

My first view of the terrain. Soon I'd be at the top of that that mountain on my 29er.

My guide. I know he's not much to look at, but he sure knew his stuff. First lesson on Mars: it's not about the bike. It's about the oxygen.

They threw an episode of witnessing a horrific accident into the package to give the experience an edge. Always wear your helmet, people!

My other guide. Didn't tell the wife about this. [Discretion also guaranteed.]

The upgrade involved a complicated espionage plot. At one point I smuggled myself past a checkpoint as a woman – my tranny friend Malvern will be so jealous when s/he sees this.

The great thing about holidays is they take you out of your routine. You get the opportunity to meet all kinds of different people. This guy had a dominating parasitical dwarf growing out of his abdomen. Would've been OK if it looked like Peter Dinklage, but as you can see, no such luck. I played it cool, like I chatted with belly dwarfs all time.

Getting a top-up near the end. It was a bunch of ads and trailers for other holiday destinations. I hate to think I'm that suggestible, but I now have an urge to go to the Bridge of Dreams and ride with the Stone Men.


Christmas actually
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2016 »
Got one of those 'Experience Days' for Chrimbo. You know, Dinner for two at a fancy restaurant, Bungee jump into a mud bath, Patrol with The Bill, etc. Mine was Santa for a day. Only they hadn't sprung for the full sleigh experience. It was literally "get on your bike."

Fair enough, I thought. We're all feeling the pinch these days. So I joined the other budget Kringles for a festive spin. We had to provide our own presents – nobody likes an empty-handed Santa. I filled my bag at Poundland so as not to disappoint the kiddies.

Everyone wanted pictures, of course. A heartwarmer for the hearth. There wasn't anything in the rules about not charging, so I managed to just about break even.

Spent a nice afternoon cheering everybody up and ho-ho-hoing through red lights. Who's gonna give Santa a hard time?

Unfortunately we ran into a group of community support officers also out on an Experience Day: theirs included a chance to kettle protesters. As pickets were a bit thin on the ground, they settled for us, and would not be bribed by my shopworn Toblerone, despite its potential resale value. I only escaped by promising one of them a Primark gift certificate.

Got home in time to catch Love Actually, which I love to hate actually,

except for Bill Nighy. Threw the suit in the wash. I don't think that Toblerone is coming out.


« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2019 »
or, Writer's Block

The result of GoOgling "porn" with SafeSearch turned on

Willowy Winifred (she/her/hot) – Willow to her many friends, because of her extreme litheness and suppleness – had a problem. She had a nasty old puncture, and no tools to repair it. She'd been on her way to her new job as a hand model when her previously trustworthy Harvey Wallbanger (her jokey name for the Il Pompino, a gift from an ex who had been a bartender) let her down. Now she’d be late for orientation! Just her luck it had happened in an unfamiliar part of town. And it was starting to rain. What on earth was a girl to do?

‘Hard’ Hank (he/him/horny) was just finishing the late shift at the gym. There was no official late shift, but a valued client, a divorcee in dire need, so she claimed, of firming up as she prepared to re-enter the dating scene, had paid him for his expertise. This he had been happy to provide all. Night. Long.

As Hank locked up and prepared to mount his sturdy utility bike for the wet ride home, he noticed a woman pushing her bike past the gym. She was tall and, well, willowy. Her dirty blonde hair was just starting to plaster itself against her rosy cheeks.

He ambled over and noticed the flat tyre. She gazed at him, hunger in her eyes (she had missed breakfast in her rush out the door this morning), clearly a damsel in distress. Thanks to the light but persistent drizzle, he also observed that she wasn’t wearing a bra.

“Can I help you, miss?” he asked in all decorum, feeling that a bit of retro in the morning would put her at her ease. Having read his share of choose your own adventure books as a lad, he was primed for action. Any action.

“Yes you can!” she blurted out, abandoning her usual flirty innocence and not a little embarrassed by her urgent desire for assistance from a total stranger. It was obvious what must happen next.

He mended her puncture, she thanked him sincerely, and they both continued on their way.


First draft
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2019 »

You like old typewriters? I got more.


À la recherche du temps perdu
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2019 »

Seriously, I spent more time working on my last post than on the road. If it gets your thoughts moving in so many different directions on so many levels you need a spreadsheet designed by Escher, I’ll have done what I consider to be my job. (Yes, I can do a 'normal' ride report: exhibits A, B, C.) If it’s not your cup of tea that’s fine, there’s other tea out there, though not nearly enough. An event like this needs a multiplicity of views to make it whole.

There are lots of old FNRttC accounts buried in the historical strata of the increasingly arid CycleChat rides board* and scattered about on blogs, with more lost in the wreck of the good ship acf. It would be nice to have a master index of them. I don’t see that happening.

I would've liked a big collection of fond ride memories in the replies to the Guardian piece, but that didn’t happen either.

Facebook isn’t built for stories; it’s barely fit for purpose for sentences. The seemingly anachronistic forum is a superior vehicle in almost every way, but my wish for an anthology to materialize here may be the definition of fanciful.

As the man says, you can’t always get what you want. Surprisingly often, you indeed get what you need (the ability to retrofit your expectations also comes in handy). Right now I need to get back on my bike, having set it aside after my somewhat creaky [both body and bike] journey home from Brighton. In order to truly relax I'll first have to diagnose what's up with the Enigma before heading into the 3-5 or preferably a bit later – god knows it would be easy enough to dawdle till dawn's early light.

It all comes down to time: time to read, time to write. Time to ride in the first place.

PS. That classy-looking contraption actually makes coffee, not tea. Did anyone remember to bring the madeleines?

Last Edit
Adrian in B&W, which is more fitting.

Also, I just noticed that this post's exhibit A, 'Almost Wrath', contains a glaring error (also not caught by the editor at Cycling Plus 19 years ago): Paris Brest Paris is definitely not annual. Unfortunately I can't correct that at present.

* Last last edit: most of the action is here and here.