: The overflow valve for my mind
Home Cycling CTC Rides Drivel Links Who am I?
  Ride Index Rides - Cycling Plus Festive Ride 2004 - Charlotte's Report Matt's report  

“If this is Saturday, then this must be Sevenoaks”

A pictographic storybook for children of all ages, recounting tales of bicycles, beer, mayhem and multiple pudding offences…

I actually arrived at Sevenoaks station on Friday afternoon, having blagged some time off work on account of it being my birthday today and intending to celebrate it with Tim, Kathy, Kitzy and Bomber on Friday night.

Before leaving Ealing, I was planning on doing some (clothed) bicycle maintenance on Fifi to stop her jockey wheel squeaking and her cranks creaking. Sadly I was left with no choice but to borrow the chainset off my flatmate’s mountain bike in order to effect a repair. I only hope she doesn’t plan on riding her bike this side of Christmas as she may notice a severely reduced pedalling efficiency…

After slinging some clothes in some panniers and strapping the panniers to the rack, I jumped on the train up to town and had quite a good ride from Paddington to Charring Cross in the Friday early rush hour. When I say “quite a good ride”, I mean that only two taxi drivers tried to kill me.

Getting off the train in Sevenoaks, I was able to push the bike across the road to the pub to meet up with Tim, Kathy, other Kathy and Kitzy who were all comfortably installed around the hexagonal, rotating pool table, making a right hash of their fourteenth game of cheaty-pool. I can’t say that my joining in raised overall standards any, but it was the first of many new experiences that weekend.

After Bomber arrived, we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and that we would push our bikes up the hill to the Italian restaurant. In all fairness, Kitzy was carrying two week’s worth of dirty laundry in her panniers, having just returned from a stint on an organic farm somewhere and Bomber was carrying his tent. I don’t think that he feels secure leaving home without at least one tent.

The meal was uneventful in as much as we never managed to get thrown out – even when Kathy revealed her T-shirt* to the clientele. Much pizza was scoffed and I was initiated into the delights of the Zizzi baked banana skillet pudding. Yum.

After the brief ride home, Kitzy, Bomber and I were introduced to the Ferrets and had an interesting time playing ferret roulette. If you’ve never played this game before here are the rules:

Find two identical ferrets. One should be cute and cuddly and docile, whilst the other must be a raving psychopath of a rodent, intent on biting anyone who he comes into contact with. It helps if the latter is equipped with a broken tooth and only one eye for reduced depth perception. Introduce said ferrets to the environment in which your guests are comfortably ensconced and retire to a safe distance to observe the consequences. I don’t think I’d be exaggerating if I said that Bomber spent much of the rest of the evening sitting on a chair with his feet tucked under him “Penelope Pitstop” style…

In the morning, Kathy made us all lashings of stodgy porridge and we all made a valiant attempt to make sure that whatever happened, we would not be guilty of eating more porridge than topping.

During breakfast, there came a mighty crashing upon the front door and we found ourselves in the presence of none but the substantial Mr Fatbloke himself, who had driven down from his native Essexland to be with us on the ride. Rumour has it that his hearing is so acute, he can hear the words “pub crawl” from across the Thames estuary….

Breakfast cleared away (and by that, I mean “dumped in the sink for later”) we kitted up and prepared our mounts for the day.

The longest ride of the day was from Chez Pike to Edenbridge to meet the first batch of Cakestoppers. We managed a whole fifteen miles in pretty much one hit, surely a record of kinds?

At the first pub (which was, quite inconsiderately, closed) we met up with the usual suspects and headed for the warmth of another pub and, just to make sure everyone understood the purpose of the ride, beer.

Aeroflash did a fine job of welcoming us all and explaining the plan for the day. His plan revolved around the central theme of “short ride, beer, short ride, beer, repeat until comatose”. None disagreed, so we set off:

It’s a funny sort of thing, a forum ride. You can be pretty much guaranteed that there will be a mixture of nasty hills, silly decents, insults, maniacal laughter, random bizarre comments, beer, cake and pu***ures. None failed to make an appearance and by the time we had reached the lunch stop, Kathy had been visited by the vile fairy whose name thou shalt not speak.

Lunch was good (if not entirely deserved), with some of the broader-pocketed riders plumping for the “pheasant with all the trimmings an’ some more beer, please landlord” option. I had gnocchi, which I am reliably informed by Kitzy is not pronounced “notchy”, but is actually pronounced to rhyme with “veloce”. Sounds like a late eighties band who mimed all their hits, doesn’t it? Gnocchi Veloce?

Both Kathys seemed to enjoy fighting with my reflective “slap-wraps” rather too much…

And here we see some very contented cyclists in a post-prandial pose:

Outside the Pub, Kathy was introduced to Aeroflash’s new fixie.

And the Things were already starting to show signs of extreme relaxation:


Heaps of bikes everywhere:

What have you got in your lunchbox, then?

And here is that man Aeroflash in, what he tells me will be his new Forum profile pic. Some of us pose with our bikes, Matt poses with a pint. I think that says it all, really. Note the delicately manicured fingers of Mrs Pike intruding into the frame…

And here is the Lovely Mr Fatbloke, extemporising on a theme of “pints I have known”

Mr Fixedwheelnut and Ms Butterfly. You’ll note that although Steve has opted for the very popular choice of “pint” for his refreshment, not all of us feel the need to quaff vast quantities of ale at every opportunity.

A touching group scene:

It had to happen – dusk finally caught up with us and we emerged from one particular hostelry to find that some bugger had switched off the lights, so it was time to fire up the Lumicycles and engage dynamos to light our way to the next pub:

You may not believe it, but due to having to drive, our Nutty was actually sober…

These Things are sent to try us:

It was at this point that a very unfortunate incident occurred. I don’t want to add more fuel to the fires or to add to the speculations that cyclists are rabid consumers of performance-enhancing substances, but I think you should have a look at these photos. I should warn you that their contents will not impress you.

First we start with the evidential photographs:

Then we move on to some pictures of the poor victims of recreational Stollen use:

I know – it’s not pretty, is it? Tell your children; stollen cake REALLY screws you up.

Just Say No, OK?

Well, after that reprehensible display of glucose-fuelled behaviour, the landlord asked us to leave his premises and never to return again. Even after Kathy tidied the icing sugar into some nice neat lines…

We were visited several more times that night by the Vile Fairy. Perhaps in retribution for our cake-related behaviour, I don’t know. Just why, oh why does it have to be the rear wheel of tandems, fitted with drag brakes, eh? I mean – both of them got a flat!

Fortunately, the practised skill and finely-honed ability of both captains saw us right in the end. Here we have pictures of Captain Thing attending to his injured steed half way up the feared Ide Hill, lit mainly by Fatbloke’s halogens and the glare from Tim’s bones jacket:

Bomber and Kitzy seemed a little disoriented, but perhaps that was due to the proximity of a student party going on in one of the houses close by?

I’m afraid to admit that it was at this point that the camera battery packed up and our photo story ends. It is perhaps advantageous as some of the incidents that followed might have been best left unrecorded anyway. Nutty’s little off as he pulled into the car park being a particularly good example. Hope your bum gets better soon, Nutty.

We all ended up in a Pub back in Sevenoaks waiting for Fixedwheelnut to catch up with us. It seems that he though Ide Hill was a little too tame and went off to find some bigger hills in order to earn his next pint(s). At closing time, the Pikes, the second set of Tim and Kathys, Fatbloke, Bomber and Kitzy set off back for Pike Manor and bed. History does not recount whether anyone ever managed to find a pint of Skullsplitter. I don’t think it mattered by that point.

The following morning’s breakfast was, indeed of a fried nature thanks to the efforts of the very fine Mr Pike. We were treated to piles of steaming scoff on toast, followed by more toast adorned by Mrs Pike’s extraordinarily chewy marrow and ginger jam. And tea. Lots of tea.

Bomber, Kitzy and I had to ride back to the station and although I wince to recount the story now, I feel that for the sake of accuracy and integrity, I should inform you that they let Tim carry their panniers there in the car. Terrible, I know:

As we pootled off down the rutted farm track that is known for its hatred of bicycle tyres, Kathy waved us off:

A very fine and splendid weekend it was, too. Until the next time, people!

* Kathy’s T-shirt that night read “NOBODY KNOWS I’M A LESBIAN”


Go to top of page.