Thursday, 9 May 2013

Beer ride....

This month has been busy for cycling - ok, I realise we're only on the 9th - but so far I've been out seven days of the nine. There was a hint of excited anticipation hanging over this week's beer ride - one of the clubs elder statesmen, Tim, has taken delivery of a new Morgan sportscar - it's one that is built and looks like the original three-wheel Morgan's - and he announced that instead of cycling to this week's venue, he would drive over so that we could all stand and admire it.

I'd arranged to meet Gary at our usual spot, and I set off into a torrential downpour. The hot summery weather that we all enjoyed over the bank holiday has reverted to something more typical. Within a mile I was soaked through, I almost turned back, there simply is no fun being out in the rain on a bike. To make matters worse I was riding my old bike - and it's been a while!..... The brakes had siezed up and are still sticking slightly as I descend into Congerstone to seek sanctuary in the bus shelter.

The rain eased and I pressed on, meeting up with Gaz and Paul from over the road. We headed through Snarestone, across to Appleby Magna, climbing and then descending into Austrey and from there a couple of miles to our destination - The Queens Head at Newton Regis.

Newton Regis is a pretty, picture postcard village with some interesting old houses, a few of them thatched and a lovely centrally situated duck-pond, complete with ducks. Gary made a sharp turn just next to the duck pond, onto a gravel driveway that he though led to the pub - it didn't - it was someone's driveway, but his wheels got caught in the gravel and he was catapulted sideways from his bike - he was okay!

The pub was situated a few yards further along the road - we were the first to arrive, and although the rain had stopped, our wet clothes and generally lower temperatures made me feel decidedly cold. Next to arrive was Norman accompanied by ....Tim - on his bike, no car. I suppose it was predictable, a new Morgan, all shiny and clean, no point getting it dirty and wet - besides, as Gary pointed out, We don't think it has a roof. We'll just have to wait another week and hope for better weather.

In the pub then. This is a friendly, welcoming venue, very 'traditional' in appearance; lots of beams and blackboards, a smallish bar but with a good selection of beers, quite a few people eating and a separate room with a few blokes playing darts. We settled in a large window seat and got to grips with a decent pint of Southwold Bitter. Black Sheep was also available along with Marstons Pedigree. We ordered some chips - the options were; a basket or a bowl - the baskets were bigger so we ordered a couple of those. £2.25 a basket - but enough for two people to share. These were a good offering, piping hot and plenty of them, served with a ramekin of spicy ketchup they went down a treat.

The landlady was friendly and asked us how far we'd travelled - then another pint later it was time to head for home. The evening still held some light as we set off - and the rain had thankfully abated. I cycling back with the group to No Man's Heath, splitting off there and making my way back to Austrey and from there the ten miles or so back home. On the old banger it took a while longer than usual - but I became aware of how peaceful everything felt, how quiet and calm - I lost myself for a moment, in the moment, and thought that everyone who rides regularly should attempt to get out for an occasional evening spin - it really is good for the soul.

A good mid-week ride, I think the best one so far this year.

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