Saturday 17 March 2018
Phil Williams 1942-2018
THE RIDE THAT NEVER WAS
Mike Anyan and I arrived at The Udder Shop punctually at 10.00 on a very cold and windy morning. Something was wrong – no bikes could be seen parked outside the building, so alarm bells already started to ring. I knew Richard Nicholl would not be present as his body refuses to function on the bike below 5 degrees, Jill and Roger would probably find patches of ice on their lane at Marnhull, even though Mike and I had passed within a whisker of their pad 15 minures before, Mary would be riding with the Gillingham Wheelers offshoot club (the 3C mob), Ron was entertaining family, another 3 members ie Robin, Jackie and Martin were living it up in the warmer climes of South Africa and new member Mike Pain was getting very wet and wind blown in Normandy, covering 400 miles in 4 days.
We knew that Ed should be there as the ride leader, but where were the rest?? We hurried inside to the warmth of the café whereupon the leader was indeed already there – but dressed in his civvies! Sitting with him supping very weak tea was the aforementioned Richard N – also in his town outfit! It transpired that Ed was indeed going cycling, but surprisingly – mounted on a static bicycle in one of Gillingham’s gymnasiums – he never intended to lead the ride cos it was far too cold, the forecast was for light snow flurries and – he never thought anyone would be daft enough to turn out. Ten minutes later, the Yeovil mile eater Ben arrived after braving 25 miles into a fierce headwind. After chewing the fat for half an hour giving ‘Ed the wimp’ quite a fair bit of stick and now realizing it had started to snow with intent, the 3 cyclists decided to head west towards South Cadbury for lunch, giving Ben some shelter on his way home.
However, 2 minutes after departing, the snow came down in earnest, cutting visibility to not much more than nil – which led to a swift change of plan. We would go straight back to Stalbridge where Ben would continue west to Yeovile.
So, that’s what happened to today’s ride. Mike and yours truly rode back to my pad for another drink and stickybread in the comfort of a centrally heated abode, while Ben chose to carry on home. The snow was still falling, albeit a trifle less intense – there was one plus however, he would have a stiff tailwind for the last 15 miles.
The moral of this story is:-
· Never assume the ride leader does what is expected of him/her
· Never trust British weather entirely – although today, the met office got it spot on
· Unless it’s perfect weather, always expect some wimp to turn up in non cycling attire
· Always enjoy your rides – the next one may be cancelled!
Mike and I covered a massive 17 miles today while Ben did quite a bit more. My hands were frozen as usual, but it wasn’t for too long. Mike is setting off for Egypt tomorrow, partaking in his second love – deep sea diving – this time in the Red Sea. See you in April Mike.