The Last Ride: Sunday 4 August – Chiddingly

The day dawned with promise of fantastic weather – firming up my decision to make this my first ride for some time. It nearly didn’t happen for me, nor for Corinne, Terry and Sika though. I arrived at the station at 10 for the 10.20 train, unthinkingly assuming that would be plenty of time to get a ticket as it usually is. However, the station was absolutely heaving with people and every ticket outlet had a queue of about a mile long. Had all these people stayed over from Pride??? Refusing to panic I espied a ticket machine with “only credit or debit cards” and bee-lined towards that – only to find after waiting some time that neither cash nor cards worked. Dash to the other one outside the concourse – a smaller queue but after queuing I could not make it work – Berwick was too much for the station finder to cope with.

Determined to try anything I made my way to the information desk, only to meet with Sika on the way also rushing. She had managed one ticket but the machine then gave up. Time now had almost run out so with Richard who sensibly had a ticket we dashed to the gates and threw ourselves on the kindness of the guard who eventually let us in with the injunction to “check the inspector”. No time for that because the train was practically on its way so vowing to get a ticket on the train we practically threw ourselves on – hurrah we were on our way …

As it happened we were not able to get tickets on the train and tickets were not checked at Berwick. But as we had resolved, we ensured our journey was paid for by getting return tickets at Berwick station. So all was set to rights. Arriving at Berwick we found the rest of the contingent had also had problems with a diversion which sent them a long way round to reach Berwick. But, finally Angela, Corinne, David, Helen, Ian, Joyce, Julian, Richard, Rob 1 and Rob 2, Sika and Terry were ready to set off.

This was a perfect summer ride, in my view made even better because the riding was smooth and easy. As Ian said he could not take credit for the weather, but it could not have been better cycling weather – warm but not too hot, with a pleasant breeze to ensure we remained comfortable. So we made our way along roads lined by vegetation still green despite the recent hot weather. Arriving at Vert Wood we decided to try it even thought there had been recent rain. The start was fine but we finally had to retreat because the mud was still very much clinging on, not helped by the churning up apparently by 4x4s. On then through Whitesmith lane (so what’s a Whitesmith ? No prize for the answer) …

Lunch at Six Bells was, as always, pleasant and talkative. The talk around my end of the table ranged around the madness of fracking, cycling in France, and tales of dastedly deeds . Food dealt with, the group showed its independence of mind by gradually hiving off. Ian had spent a bit of time listening to the very good band in the pub. Helen had gone off to find some statues and have a picnic. Then Sika, Terry and Corinne decided to depart looking for a pudding not available at the pub.

We all met up again at Berwick where some decided to spend some time at the Berwick Inn having tea, whilst others made a dash for the forthcoming train. Even within the Berwick Inn the dispersion continued – I could not take the hot sun where most were sitting (added to by the smoker at the next table). I was eventually joined by Ian and Rob in another part of the garden in the shade, and when I hurried to get the train expecting all the others to follow I did not see them – so – mystery … Where did you all get to?

A lovely ride – thanks Ian

Joyce

Corrinne recorded the ride on her iPhone and got the following results. I don’t think we’re going to win any prizes

Distance: 15.4 miles
Elapsed Time: 2:05:06
Avg Speed: 7.4 mph
Max Speed: 17.2 mph
Avg Pace: 8′ 06″ per mile
Min Altitude: 0 ft
Max Altitude: 191 ft

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