Author Topic: FNRt Ambivalence


FNRt Ambivalence
« on: May 18, 2012 »
I'm going on the Friday Night Ride to Whitstable in a few weeks, packing the usual mixed bag of feelings. I don't care for the route or for Whitstable itself, though perhaps we've never been properly introduced. I'm stupidly shy at these affairs. Large groups of cyclists both attract and repel. Having to officially sign up and then possibly cancel for whatever reason complicates my life — it's just an email or two,* but I'm a turn-up-and-ride kind of guy. Then there's the fact that I'm an idiot, often zooming ahead, which must annoy Simon. It's my way of taking part without immersing myself fully in the crowd; all crowds make me nervous. It's a coping mechanism. I've tried backmarkering the backmarkers to no avail. I don't like lollygagging on hills, and so inevitably pass people.

So why do it?

The vast majority of my cycling is solo. Mr Legg's expertly organised mixers are a ready-made social lubricant. I live in hope that they will stop tasting like medicine.

One of the participants of my recent Hastings run was the embodiment of gregariousness. He could, and did, start a conversation with anyone along the way. He told me that he used to be a miserable roadie bastard, but at some point turned himself around: "I've got nothing to lose."

A cover generator is easier, even if it's cheating

* or not. By the grace of Simon I am still allowed on the rides even when I neglect this formality


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Re: FNRt Ambivalence
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012 »
Interesting. I too have mixed feelings about the FNRttCs, though for slightly different reasons. I'm amazed (and suitably impressed) at Mr L's perseverance in organising them - it must be for wholly altruistic reasons because they don't seem to suit the way he rides. But they're not for me. I've tried a few and I think I like the idea of them more than the reality.

I think it's essentially because for me the riding element is more important than the socialising element. And the fact that a lack of sleep makes me very grumpy.

I live in Whitstable. It's overrated, but it's home.



Re: FNRt Ambivalence
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2012 »


"Defrost muffins"
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012 »
Voice memo to self on yesterday's ride. (Fuel for tonight's. Made by my wife. They're good.) Also, it struck me, perhaps an odd thing to hear a cyclist saying to himself as he passes by you while you're gardening. Not much one can do after that except say it again, louder, perhaps shaking one's fist at the sky, sowing wonder and mystery in one's wake.


turn, turn, turn
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2012 »
Arrived at Waterloo to find rain. Nobody said anything about rain. It clearly wasn't supposed to rain. Yet here was rain.

I'd brought my Enigma. This is a titanium bike which I'd acquired last year and which had yet to get wet. I have other bikes for that. This was terrible. Hydrochloric acid, yes; rain, no. There was nothing to be done.

Granted, it was a light rain: the kind that says, Maybe I'll stay, maybe I'll go. Not enough to arouse true enmity with the gods. But enough about the rain.

Simon gave his usual opening remarks. I've described this elsewhere as a smart bonding ritual. It's also, and I don't mean this in a bad way, a little like the spiel stewardesses give when they're explaining the intricacies of seatbelts, and how to inflate the life vest if it fails to self-fellate.* If you've been here enough times you can tune out, but it's kind of comforting that it's being said.

The talk took an unexpected turn when I suddenly heard my name in the credits. I'm not a designated wayfinder or backmarker. I wasn't sure what I was, because I hadn't heard that bit. It didn't take long to get the gist, as people kept coming up to me during the ride and saying things like "So you invented this?" and "What gave you the idea?"

Of course, I didn't invent the FNRttC. I wasn't even on the first one, though I was a very early adopter, back in the days when we all crowded into Tourist Tony's sitting room and kitchen, and waltzed through Gatwick.

I hosted the forum where Simon's brainchild took its first steps and grew. He also told me that I had inspired the ride. I'm pleased to think that I had a part in such an extraordinary ongoing event. It didn't taste like medicine last night.

As for keeping my promise to myself about not tearing out in front, I mostly did, until the Tour de France finish down Whitstable high street. It felt good to burn off some of the forced idleness handed to us by standing around waiting for punctures to be repaired.

At one point near the end I veered off to find relief in the weeds. Simon took this to mean I was volunteering for wayfinder duty. As I waited, somewhat impatiently this time it must be said, watching everybody turn, turn, turn, I reflected To Everything / There is a season / And a time to every purpose, just point the way, son.

* I can't be the only guy who gets a Julie Hagerty {since upgraded to Lizzy Caplan} moment. Apologies. I’ll add a cunnilingus reference for balance as soon as I can find, you know, an elegant one. Michael Douglas ending up between Kathleen Turner's legs in Romancing the Stone would be great, but damned if I can locate a clip.

Click to see Turner giving Steve Martin a manicure in The Man with Two Brains. You know you want to.


Midsummer night's quandary
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2012 »
To Dunrun, or not to Dunrun, that is the question;
Whether 'tis Nobler on balance to suffer
The Wind and Rain of outrageous weather,
Or to stay Home and not go to the Trouble,
And by staying Warm and Dry, to Sleep
Instead; and by sleep, to say we avoid
The Heart-Ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a No-Brainer
Devoutly to be wished. To rest to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Ay, there's the Rub-
A-Dub-Dub, to bathe in a Tub, that sounds nice,
Then later to shuffle off to bed, that Comfy Bed,
Sounds like a plan. That's the idea
That makes much more sense.


there is no spoon
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2013 »
As spring struggles to emerge, it's decision time again. With my ambivalence upgraded to willful indecisiveness at best, I still don't know if I'll be joining Legg & Co. Perhaps a metaphor will help.

A man is on a road. In the distance he can see that it branches into two very different roads. One leads to a village, with the possibility of conversation or at least the quiet pleasure of being a wallflower. The other promises a peaceful inner voyage offering mental space to think lots of things or nothing at all except how wonderful it feels to be gliding along the face of the earth (and in the darkest hours, how desperately sad it is when somebody disappears from it while riding their bike). Or else he skips both roads and slips down the driveway to his house, couch, and DVD player. Which way should he go?

Let's ask Yogi Berra.


fnrttc sputnik
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2013 »

61 miles, not too tough on the toughometer.

Rain ain't your problem.
Don't forget to line your hat/cap/helmet with tin foil:

According to the linked story there doesn't appear to be much danger to our brains this weekend. However, as Ra's "plasma belch" may be an issue "for people operating satellites in low orbit" I'm going to instruct my personal satellite to attempt evasive action.

As the night progressed I seemed to upset a couple of people, the general theme seemed to be I had undertaken them and this was voiced, IMHO I had not come past at excessive spring speeds and was just keeping an average pace and it was their road positioning which permitted me to creep past, if they were cycling on the left I never would have been able to do this,.. Who's right and who's wrong I don't think we will ever agree on, but I expect what is right is some where in between both views.

The British hate undertaking. Americans, we're not too bothered, as long as you don't also pull out a gun.

. . .

This was my first FNRttC of the year. I enjoyed my usual taking-the-train-up-to-cycle-in-London! Yay! adrenaline rush, followed by a stop at the Swiss embassy. Next a very calming glide through Hyde Park to meditate by the Serpentine. I think the night owls the next bench over were medicating.

The first couple hours were bliss. I enjoyed going up the hill in Coulsdon so much I promptly turned around and did it again. Had a bit of catching up to do after that, but I savour those alone times. I may be the only person that goes on these rides to get away from people. The FNRttC gets all kinds.

Although of course I knew the rains would come (having taken a dip in my neighbour's pool the other day, "Just think of it like swimming"

I told myself), I had underestimated its effect on my mood. Haven't done much wet work these past several years; the sense of innocent pleasure was MIA for me last night.

Preferring to suffer in solitude, after some soggy contemplation at the scout hut I quietly slipped away and rode home. Punctured almost immediately, as penance.


Re: fnrttc sputnik
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013 »