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Velosolo Club

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sam:
I hereby announce formation of the Velosolo Club. The idea behind the club is very simple. It's for people who ride alone.

Rules are as follows:
- Dress is informal, meaning cycling kit isn't required to go on a club ride (though you may change your mind when this gets its fire safety certificate). Rapha may only be worn if slept in.
- Any type of bicycle may be ridden, as long as at least one component has been changed from the original spec.
- Stop at red lights, go like a bat out of hell when they turn green. If you can go like a bat out of hell. If you can't, no worries.



- Club members keep calm under all circumstances.
- Other riding customs as your experience and sense of propriety dictate.
- Minimum club ride distance is as follows: any ride which takes longer than the preparation for that ride.
- More or fewer rules as they become necessary.

No affiliation with the online shop of the same name.
Enjoys reciprocal clubhouse privileges with The Zero Club.

sam:
Back from a ride under the auspices of the club. The usual circuit. Bumped into a few other cyclists who I believe were members as well, but one of the club rules is to eschew showy introductions and just get on with it. Showed form honking (another rule: honking is fine if you don't do it out loud) up The Big Hill; shall update Strava in the coolness of the evening. I don't have a computer fitted to the bike, so all speeds are estimates based on when I pass a certain gnarled tree.

Lots of branches still down after the storm. I zigzagged so much along one stretch I could've been touring the fjords of Norway. The mayhem included conkers spilled like marbles so it was impossible to relax into a rhythm. I picked up a few conkers and placed them in my saddle bag for later inspection.

One of the sights along the way is Bodiam Castle, whose chief claim to fame is actually looking like a castle rather than porridge melting into indigestible clumps in the rain. There's a beautiful moat filled with ugly carp. Nothing wrong with ugly, it's a description of the species. I can say this with confidence because I've had a good look at Total Carp magazine. During high season guides dressed in authentic costume round up tourists to make medieval-looking trinkets to sell to other tourists in the gift shop.



Today's ride included an experiment with tyre pressure a little lower than normal – I always go for the maximum. (Air being free, I like to hoard it.) Result? Too soft, Nelly! I need to be launched from every divot and chipping in the road.

On the return journey I noted a lollipop lady's lollipop peeking from behind a lychgate. I've never been more than an occasional petty thief, one too many free samples at the supermarket, guest book pens not tied down, that sort of thing, but I experienced an impulse to take this unsecured item home with me. Of course I didn't; I thought of the children.

sam:
From the Things I didn't expect to see on my ride files:


Chapeau, shoppers


And up the road:



Audax passing through?

sam:
Even as the founder of a club devoted to singular cycling, I occasionally go on rides with cyclists other than myself. The Dun Run is one such event: literally thousands of people go who aren't me. Thus the draw.

This year there is – or until recently, was – a delicious conflict: the Nur Nud. It's what the Dun Run could've been if only it was going the other way, presumably ending with a morning dip into the Hackney Marshes.



By sharing the evening with its contraflow sister, the Nur Nud would also share the frisson of an established Big Night of Cycling, with the added bonus of not ending up in Dunwich, which an irate god must have had a good reason for sinking.

The organiser of the NN has been persuaded by health & safety to change the date, so any vote I'd cast would be symbolic, much like the ballot I throws into the great maw of democracy come the general election.

sam:
Went on a club run yesterday as a head cold was brewing. "I'll be fine," I sneezed to my wife. Just 14 miles, up to the pyramid and back. That would be the Great Pyramid of Brightling, its builder now eternally retired from a life of follies. This mysterious structure has been cursed ever since Mad Jack held an orgy at the nearby church and didn't invite the vicar.


see inside the pyramid

It was windy, so I took the straight-barred rock steady Litespeed, which although long since toppled from its position at the pinnacle of my small stable, often still surprises me by the joy it is capable of bringing to a ride.

Passed a couple almost identically dressed and hunched over in effort against the elements. He was only slightly ahead, performing the slipstreaming labour of love.

When I got home it was snowing cherry blossoms.

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