Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Dog......

It's been a couple of weeks since the last 'beer' ride - the weather just hasn't been kind enough for me to make the effort - a poor excuse but that's how it is. This week, a random day of sunshine caught in the intestines of incessant rainfall, like trapped wind, meant that an evening ride was at last possible. My working arrangements of late mean it is too much of a rush to make the arranged rendezvous point in Burton on Trent. Instead I am faced with a solo effort through the leafy lanes of Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Derbyshire and finally into Staffordshire and the destination for the evening... Whittington - the entire ride made into a wearing headwind that made me decidedly miserable. On top of that it felt cold, and I was overtaken by a girl.

I got to the pub, The Dog Inn, at around 8.15pm - there were a few bikes chained up in the garden, I added mine to the pile and headed indoors. Norman, Tim, Ken and Richard were all there, about halfway down a pint glass. "Don't mention the Tour" were the first words to greet me from Richard. Apparently Norman had recorded the days stage but hadn't watched it - he didn't want to find out that Bradley Wiggins had retained Yellow and was looking increasingly likely to make history later this month.

The Dog
The Dog Inn at Whittington is not a pub I could ever enjoy, a soulless, tedious and unispired place with cloudy beer (Black Sheep) that tasted past its best. Not many people there, always a bad sign, the bar staff seemed preoccupied, it all seemed like too much of an effort. It's one of those new-fangled restaurant style pubs really, a confused, stuttering statement of pubby nostalgia and pretentious gastronomy. But it doesn't hit the mark, not by a long shot.

The main group from Burton arrived at about 8.30 - there were loud hushes as Gary started talking about Bradley's performance in the Tour. By now there were eight of us. There should have been nine but Graham - who looks like 'Suggs' from Madness, had suffered a broken spoke and went home to change bikes. Gary told us that on the way to the pub they had approached a group of young women on the canal bridge - a couple of them pulled down their trousers revealing their pants - and shouted out to Pete "Nice legs". This struck me as a bizarre incident. Women revealing their undergarments on canal bridges to passing cyclists must be quite rare. And Pete's legs are over 70 years old.

Suggs turned up in the end - he really does look like him - and he has a Madness tribute act to prove it. Upon arrival he spent an inordinate amount of time at the bar , it transpired he was ordering food - He came back to our table with a big smiley face "I'm having a proper chip butty" he said.

Chips have become a necessary factor on these bike rides - in fact they are almost essential to stoke up the boilers for a speedy return trip. Gary, Barry and I decided to join Suggs - we raced to the bar to place our order - £4.25 for a proper chip butty, a bit steep, but, we were assured, these were proper.

Alas, what arrived was far from proper. A big bundle of lettuce leaves filled the plate, artificially inflating the presence of the main event - the chip butty was a couple of pieces of sliced bread but no butter (how can a chip butty be so described without butter?) The chips were tasteless, scorchingly hot, no salt, no vinegar, no ketchup, but instead a vase-like recepticle of mayonaisse - it was all very dissapointing - by far the worst bike riding supper I've ever had. Nevertheless we wolfed it down.

The ride back started off cold - and dark. Gary and I headed to Fisherwick, up to Elford then Harlaston, Haunton, Clifton Campville and up the hill to Netherseal. The wind was behind us and we moved along at a reasonable pace. After leaving Gary I had a further 13 miles or so to go. By now it was proper dark - and I mean proper, unlike the chip butty.

I was home by about 11.30pm - 48 miles covered. Not bad for a Wednesday evening.

No comments:

Post a Comment