John rolled into the Piazza, panting slightly and claiming he’d beaten Jude on her new electric bike. Jude, as she cruised majestically into view, a vision of unflustered dignity on a machine so defiantly red it will undoubtedly launch a new range of cosmetics, seemed to imply that he’d started half-an-hour ahead of her. I am pleased to remain aloof from controversy, concerning myself only with an objective reporting of the club ride.
I can say, however, that Jude’s bike attracted a swarm of interested club members, who clustered about the machine like tech-heads at the launch of a new Apple product. As ride leader, I quickly called them to order and a posse of ten set off on the leisure ride to St. Agnes, the weather being benign, though with a hint of grey clouds massing, where else? Over St. Agnes. Meanwhile, Nick led a smaller group to the same destination by a longer route.
Along the Newham trail, up the hill past Kea School and down again to join the Bissoe trail briefly before heading along the road to Twelveheads, Chacewater and up past Blackwater school, with a glimpse of a primitive-looking hairy, red and black pig behind a fence. Perhaps someone knows the identity of this type of pig. I do not pretend to know anything about pigs.
Enough of this. Down through Goonbell and into St. Agnes. This is a very agreeable way to reach a destination, as the long descent means one can arrive in an unhurried and dignified fashion, not like the way some ride leaders contrive to have one labouring up some Alpine climb to fall, sweating and breathless, into a venue which can hardly welcome such a turn-up during Sunday lunch.
Of which we did not partake, because Genji was still serving breakfast, and not your usual fry-up either. How fortunate that our chairman wasn’t there! How he would have winced at Jude’s choice of ants’-egg, nettle-seed, bladder-wrack, maiden’s tear-drop and artisan yak-milk granola!
Perhaps I do him an injustice, but it was quite the experience.
During the meal, your reporter made the sensational suggestion that perhaps the club could do without having a ride leader every time. There could be a ride book, and a decision could be made by the group on the morning of the ride. This idea was immediately denounced as being revolutionary and dangerous, and even as being a form of communism. So we won’t be adopting it, then.
After all that, a pleasant and companionable ride home and, for some, the Tour de France on the telly, just to put everything in perspective.
Riders: John Gilbert, Ian Cook, Paul and Roz Delderfield, Pete Hargreaves, David Folland, John Flowers, Penny Holt, Jude Lawrence and Rod Tinson – ride leader and report writer.
Intermediate Riders: Mike Webb, Andrew Cutmore and Niq Carter-Rowe (ride leader).