Ride Report from The Little Old Man

A Cycling Holiday Ride Report from the Lost Soul’s Perspective

Following on from Dave’s  ride report of our holiday in Warwickshire, I thought it might be appropriate to present my side of the “Lost Soul Saga”.

First of all, I should say that I have had quite a lot of experience of dealing with the Army during my 30 odd years in the Royal Air Force and I was, therefore, not altogether surprised that things turned out as they did.

The ride began pleasantly enough and we were all looking forward to our first tea stop, it being a very warm day, and we were thus a little fractious when we couldn’t find it.   Dave had evidently arranged to have it heavily camouflaged and moved to the other side of the road.   Strike One to the Army!

The next part of our assault course came when the innocently entitled “unmade road” turned out to be a quagmire that only a Chieftain tank could have successfully negotiated.
Strike Two to the Army!

A further blow to team morale came when it was discovered that the much anticipated luncheon venue was in fact extinct.   Dave’s dastardly plan was, however, thwarted by enterprising team members who led us to a most excellent pub for a slap-up lunch.   Ball One to the Army!

As you will all know, Dave is a firm believer in paper maps for en route navigation that require the rider to stop every 5 minutes to turn over the page and are, in any case, covered in Napoleonic measurements that nobody but Dave can understand.   As a result of having fallen off the map, we found ourselves being led down a lane, at the beginning of which was a large T sign intimating that it didn’t go anywhere.   Much milling ensued and I volunteered to our leader to investigate.   I should have realised that, as usual, Army comms were not up to much and my message had not been received.   Ball One to me!

Anyway, I cycled about 200 yards  (182.88 meters in eurogabble) down the lane and realised quite quickly that it led nowhere.   Arriving back at the T-junction a few moments later to find no one in sight initially caused me to think it was an Army jape and that they would all be hiding round the corner,   Not so!   I then realised that it was actually an Army initiative test, a variation on the many Escape and Evasion Exercises I had undergone in the RAF.   Put the victim in an enclosed truck, drive him for hours without food or water and then throw him out in some benighted spot with no money, no phone, no map, no water, and worst of all no specs, and leave him to find his own way home.   Having very little idea of where I was  and knowing that I wanted to go to a village whose name I was unsure  how to pronounce, I began to think that maybe the Army had won.   But no, I made it back and 10 minutes before the main team to boot!   Ball Two to the Army!

Well, what I really wanted to do was to say that I have thoroughly hoisted aboard all the lessons to be learned here and that I know I am getting a barbag for my birthday in which to store all the things I should have had with me on this ride.   I also wanted to apologise to my leader and to all the other members of the peleton for the delays and inconvenience my getting lost caused.   It will not happen again.   And finally, I wanted to record my thanks to the lovely young lass behind the bar in the pub who went to great lengths to find me a way home without using A roads.   Pity she had to spoil it by calling me a LOM.   Little maybe, but old – NO WAY!!

Ken Rhodes


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