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.

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.


The Last Folly
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2034 »
halfway through. And I thought this one would write itself.
You can probably see where it was headed, given the timestamp...

Jack Fuller was fuming. His latest masterpiece – or folly, as local wags had it – wasn’t going according to plan. As it was to be his home until judgement day, could anybody blame him for being so particular about its construction?

If he’d told the builder once, he’d told him a thousand times: the burial chamber had to be high enough to hold him sitting astride a velocipede, which is how he intended to meet his maker, rolling right through the pearly gates. Yet on his last site visit he’d barely had room to stand. That and a wholly unwarranted remark about his girth compelled him to fire the oaf and bring in someone qualified.

Brunel was summoned, but sent apologies as he was otherwise occupied and would be for some time. Other lesser talents came for interviews, all singularly uninspiring. Just as he was about to admit defeat, a gentleman appeared at his front door, introduced by his butler as Herr Schrödinger.

“This is easily done,” the German announced after Jack detailed his specifications. “Child’s play. But it lacks.”

“Lacks what?” asked Jack after a pause sufficient to allow the man to finish what he assumed was an unfinished sentence.

Schrödinger gazed at him impassively. “What is missing cannot be shown on the drawing board,” he said finally. “But I can supply it nonetheless.”

“What is it?” Jack nearly shouted, his curiosity tinged with exasperation.

“You will trust me,” announced Schrödinger, eyebrows raised slightly in reprimand. “When it is completed, if you do not like, you do not have to pay.”

This ratcheted up Jack’s levels of intrigue to nearly intolerable levels. It seemed he had no choice but to trust the mysterious foreigner.

Schrödinger worked fast, the very next day demolishing the partially built structure. When Jack protested, he was met with a shrug of the shoulders and a Teutonic “This must be done.” Thereafter the site was shrouded by sailcloth, the lord of the manor himself forbidden entry.

Weeks passed, then months. Jack put it out of his mind as best as he could, attending to the many other demands on his attention. He often crisscrossed his vast estate on one of his “contraptions”, as the rector put it; the man was god-fearing and wheel averse, sure the devil had something to do the unnatural mount.

Jack was known to all significant makers of velocipede in the southeast. He had the latest model draisienne, of course: a svelte Dawes Dandy (only 3 stone!), still with its showroom polish thanks to his stable boy. That was his Sunday best, which he’d named Daisy in honour of an erstwhile paramour. Parked next to her were competitors in various states of repair, all cherished for the thrills they provided on his beloved Wealden hills.

He had even obtained, from Scotland, a prototype ‘Macmillan’. This machine used a rear-wheel drive, which excited him tremendously; or would, if it could ever be gotten to work.

One fine spring day, nine months after he had appeared on Jack’s doorstep, Schrödinger came calling. “It is completed,” he said without preamble. They went to the churchyard, where the squire’s influence had secured a prodigiously sized plot.

The unveiling was accomplished without ceremony.

There were gasps from the small crowd of onlookers that had gathered. The rector looked mortified, the consecrated ground in his care now inhabited by…  what, exactly? Not having visited Jack’s fine library, or possessed of an interest in worldly pictorials, he had never before in his life laid eyes on a pyramid.

Jack was delighted: this was a structure to inspire awe as befitting his stature in life, as well as allow him sufficient clearance to await eternal developments atop Daisy.

Schrödinger led him through the portal of his new pyramid, and the future arrived in ways he could not yet begin to imagine.

. . .

The inside was far larger than the outside. “This is not possible!” Jack cried, suddenly as god-fearing as the tremulous rector.

“The sphinx I took the liberty of importing from Luxor,” said Schrödinger. “You will, I hope, forgive the unorthodox placement within the structure; there was no room in the churchyard to fit the pair of them.

“Illumination has been provided via an aperture hidden in the apex. It is not entirely dissimilar to that installed in your nearby observatory to facilitate the camera obscura. The quantity of light admitted would not impress Ra, but it does the job.

“The placement of the Nile I could of course do nothing about. This is the River Dudwell, or rather a man-made tributary.” Jack had not the wit to ask how it had been induced to flow uphill.

“I have laid a modest strip of macadam for your velocipede,” the builder continued. “I think you will find it leads to a very interesting place.”

Surely not the hereafter…?

It was as if Schrödinger had read his mind. “I do not think you will confuse it with heaven. But it does have its charms.”

He then turned to face an awestruck Jack and announced: “You are pleased.” It wasn’t a question. They exited the pyramid.

“My work here is done,” he said. “I will bill you.” And with that he bowed and took his leave.

. . .

The bill arrived promptly. Jack paid it without complaint, though it was enough to bankrupt a lesser fortune. Yet he did not return to the pyramid, sensing the infernal in his bid for the eternal. What had he gotten himself into? He struck himself as eminently rational; this smacked of the dark arts.

Hoping that matrimonial bliss might take his mind off this troubling turn of events, he impulsively proposed to Daisy, reeling her in again with a vicuña stole then offering her a ring with a diamond the size of a blueberry, baked into a muffin. Unfortunately she tried to eat it, chipped a tooth, and said no on the spot.

He considered starting construction on another folly, even going so far as to get planning permission for a circle of trillithons to rival Stonehenge. This was a pagan construction too far for the rector, who threatened to leave his post. Jack always had need of a pliable man of God, so he dropped it.

One night he had a particularly vivid dream in which he took his dandy draisenne into the pyramid, set himself on it, and started down the road inside. Presently he found himself in the company of an odd assortment of characters, including a talking snake. On awakening he couldn’t remember what the snake had said, but felt that it may have been something important.

That day felt the longest of his life. Apprehension and curiosity battled inside his head until curiosity won. In the cool of the evening he wheeled Daisy into what he prayed would not be their premature dead end.

As soon as he got onto the macadem he shoved off without allowing himself to think twice. Whatever lay ahead, they would face it together.

. . .

It’s one thing to find a never-ending road inside a pyramid you’ve just built. It’s entirely another to become bored. For this appeared to be a road to nowhere.

The scenery was pleasant enough, but that wasn’t exactly a draw, given that his estate held a commanding view over the best Sussex had to offer. The roads turned miraculously smooth within a mile or two – he assumed this was a high-tech German invention – but after a while, he rather took that for granted.

Suddenly a carriage passed by going at speed, nearly knocking him off Daisy. The man in charge of the vehicle shouted what may have been an insult; Jack would have to look it up in his latest edition of Dr Johnson’s dictionary when he returned home.