“If this is Saturday, then this must be
A pictographic storybook for children
of all ages, recounting tales of bicycles, beer, mayhem and multiple
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
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
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.
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
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.
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….
cleared away (and by that, I mean “dumped in the sink for later”) we
kitted up and prepared our mounts for the day.
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.
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
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
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?
Kathys seemed to enjoy fighting with my reflective “slap-wraps” rather too
here we see some very contented cyclists in a post-prandial
the Pub, Kathy was introduced to Aeroflash’s new fixie.
the Things were already starting to show signs of extreme
of bikes everywhere:
have you got in your lunchbox, then?
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…
here is the Lovely Mr Fatbloke, extemporising on a theme of “pints I have
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
touching group scene:
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:
may not believe it, but due to having to drive, our Nutty was actually
Things are sent to try us:
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
we move on to some pictures of the poor victims of recreational Stollen
know – it’s not pretty, is it? Tell your children; stollen cake REALLY
screws you up.
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
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
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
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:
we pootled off down the rutted farm track that is known for its hatred of
bicycle tyres, Kathy waved us off:
very fine and splendid weekend it was, too. Until the next time,
* Kathy’s T-shirt that night read
“NOBODY KNOWS I’M A LESBIAN”
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