Till May is out – Knights get a soaking
Routemeister Ray has today chosen a flat ride East, following last week’s hillathon. The Great Raymondo had split the Knights into 3 groups:
In Group 1 ‘Express Train’ we have Andy, Captain, Colin, Mark and Michael
In Group 2 ‘Stopping Train’ (what did Ray know that we didn’t – read on) we have Chris, Karl, Neil, Heather and Mike, and joined by Knights veteran Martin
And finally Group 3 ‘The Shunters’ is comprised of ‘SJN’ (Steve to the rest of us), Ray, Matt, Russ and Seadog
This author arrives early for about the first time ever, to find that there’s already half a dozen eager Knights already waiting. Colin isn’t one of them, obvs…. We notice there’s a few brave (or stupid) Knights amongst us, with Karl, Matt (also obvs) and Ray modelling their freshly shaved legs. “Never cast a clout til May is out” shouts Mark, which I haven’t heard in years, but makes me chuckle and realise my choice of full winter attire was the right one. “Bright but chilly” a weather forecaster might not say.
The Express Train sets off with appropriately rapid speed. Picking up Isle of Man diaspora Andy en route, the train is averaging an impressive 18MPH, with Captain and Mark (only need a Phillip for pun hilarity) taking the bulk of the engine room. The train is briefly stopped in its tracks; first for a particularly impatient single carriage train behind beeping its horn (which was greeted, equally impetuously, by this author flicking the proverbial Vs – this will no doubt get me in trouble one day, when driver stops and gives me a good hiding), and second when Colin stops to pick up something that he thinks has fallen out of Andy’s pocket – an empty packet of fags. Nasty habit Andy!
The Express train takes the scheduled route through Brandesburton, Bewholme, Beeford and Foston and arriving at Hutton Cranswick station in double quick time. Refreshments duly ordered, and duly scoffed, we are joined by the Stopping Train, which had equally lived up to its name by getting a puncture en route, with Chris the unlucky recipient. The Stopping Train are thus incredulous to find that they have arrived at the Station ahead of the Shunters, who has passed them in Leven when Chris was undertaking major repairs. It turns out that the Stopping Train had taken not one but two unscheduled detours, playing havoc with the rail network. The system is there for a reason dontcha know!!
As the Express train is about to set off, the Shunters arrive, having rightly stuck to the schedule. And as the Express train has travelled barely a mile it happens. First light rain. Then heavy rain. Then light hailstone. Then heavy hailstone. Then a further downpour to finish the job. It lasts only 10 minutes or so but is very unpleasant, not to mention painful with those stones bouncing off our cold, bare cheeks. The only solace we can find is that we’d rather be enduring it on our bike’s with satisfied bellies than back at the Station with no shelter.
Sorry Stopping Train and Shunters! I can only imagine the look on Mike ‘WP’ Straw’s no doubt grumpy face as he bites into his dripping wet bacon sarnie! I can equally see Neil’s stern look as I hand him back the now sodden ‘Way of the Roses’ map which had been in my back pocket and taken the brunt of the (Floyd) May Weather…. Thanks for lending it me Neil!!
Clear skies once more, we make steady progress through Bracken, South Dalton, Etton and home. Big shout out to Steve who for no other reason than ‘cos I’m a stubborn sod’ (or words to that effect) decided to ride the whole route in a single gear. Complete waste of time and energy if you ask me (I’ll definitely be replicating said feat soon) but well worth a ‘Walster Chapeau’.
Another great ride with splendid organisation from the Greet Raymondo. It’s great to be back riding in a group again. Until next time…