Thursday, April 26, 2007

Buriton Betrayal

With John using one of the lamest excuses in TCA history; “I have to pick up a camper van”, and Jon’s bike hamstrung by a succession of technical faults, with parts on order, it was looking bleak for the long-awaited trip to Buriton. However, Jon resorted to taking his ancient rigid bike out of mothballs and, having tweaked the brakes and pumped up his tyres, arrived in Hambledon with his day-glo monstrosity (below).

With more mileage than usual to cover this evening we rushed to get ready, donning our usual garb and making last-minute adjustments to equipment and lights. We were out of the house before 6.30pm. At about 6.40pm we were in a lay-by, Jon’s bike upside down to attend to the problem of his rear tyre rubbing against the frame. Was it going to be another one of ‘those’ evenings we thought to ourselves as Jon undid the well-worn nuts with one of the various adjustable spanners which have to accompany an evening out on his ‘old school’ bike.

With Jon’s pedaling efficiency vastly increased following the pit-stop our average speed increased considerably: Al’s mapping software suggested that we would only be home in reasonable time for dinner if we maintained an average speed of over 10 mph and we had the formidable Butser Hill ahead of us. As we made our way up past the Bat & Ball and up to the ridge of the South Downs Al supplied the appropriate ‘encouragement’ to Jon “Come on you miserable worm, the average speed is only 8.7 mph!” or “Step it up you lousy piece of…” you know the kind of thing.

It was raining lightly when we left Hambledon but the evening cleared offering magnificent views down the Meon Vally from Butser Hill – we could trace the return route at the foot of the downs and also see the second ascent through the Queen Elizabeth Country Park across the valley ahead. The descent of Butser Hill was terrific although we were both rattled around a bit more than usual as we longed for our plush suspension bikes. With 30 minutes in hand before our scheduled appointment at Buriton we steeled ourselves for the final serious ascent of the evening from the visitor’s centre.

Joining the road for the descent into the village we were soon pulling our bikes into the garden of one of the TCA’s favorite pubs (curiously we had never cycled here before though), the Five Bells. Knowing we would have had the full endorsement of Tortoiseshell we ordered two pints of Badger’s Tanglefoot and waited for our rendezvous.

This had been a ride several weeks in the planning, conceived during the recent Boy’s Weekend. Our contact, in the blogosphere known only as ‘Sloppy Porridge Maker’ (SPM), was to cycle the relatively short distance from his home in Petersfield and join us for a couple of beers. Imagine our disgust as the familiar form of our acquaintance emerged, not in the saddle but from the comfort of his Landrover Explorer! The excuse provided was so tenuous I struggle to remember it… something to do with work. Shame.

Sloppy Porridge Maker (identity withheld for fear of retribution),
Jon and Al enjoy a pint at the Five Bells, Buriton

We shared a quick beer with SPM and tried to hide our distain as best we could. SPM vowed to plan things a little better and cycle next time. Nevertheless we drank our pints swiftly, made our excuses and left the muggle to his own devices, only to see him briefly as his Chelsea tractor overtook us on the road out of Buriton spewing it’s carbon dioxide as it went; ‘next time’ indeed.

Knowing that we had tackled the most serious climbs and that the rest of the route was road-based Jon and Al settled back into the saddle for a leisurely ride down the meandering country lanes towards Frogmore and East Meon. We stopped for a second beer at Ye Olde George as a reward for keeping the average speed above the critical level. More Badger beer to choose from but we plumped for Tanglefoot again as we sat in the pub garden and enjoyed the cool, clear evening.

A toast to absent friends

Suitably reconstituted we headed back towards home with a final climb over the downs and a speedy down-hill approach to Hambledon. We made it home in good time; perfect time as Tee took a delicious home-made lasagna out of the oven. Jon and Al both felt that the route was really worthwhile, of an ideal length with top-class pubs and reluctantly agreed we would indeed give SPM one last chance in due course.

Route Map (click to enlarge):

Elevation Profile:

Speed Profile:

(Posted by: Al)

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At 10:56 am, April 28, 2007, Anonymous Mrs BB said...

The drive of shame! tut tut!

At 11:23 am, April 28, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

A pint of Tanglefoot always tastes better after a ride eh. I am not sure which is worse Patio heaters or Chelsea Tractors. Looked like a good circular route and pretty good time given that you had to cross the A3! I am surprised the Buriton taste police allowed Jon in the village with that loud bike.


At 9:04 am, April 29, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

BB, Your memory is failing you!

You can go UNDER the A3 at both the QE park and at Buriton...


At 6:26 pm, April 29, 2007, Anonymous spm said...

This is unfair - I spent hours the weekend beforehand fettling up the bike and was all raring to go when I get landed with a partnerhip meeting. That goes on to 5 past 7 so I was lucky to make it for a beer.

Retribution will follow at the moment it takes the form of how to sabotage Big Al's ascent of Ben Nevis next year or any of the other events at next year's boys weekend in the West Highlands. 12 months planning should suffice for a fitting revenge.

At 5:23 am, April 30, 2007, Blogger simon said...

well done boys.

I was put to shame by a 70 year old rider yesterday
( I kid you not!)


At 12:11 pm, April 30, 2007, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Awesome post boys, keep up the good work. Sorry to hear you are going to be busy for the next month or so - perhaps Simon could post his experiences with 70 year old bikers?

At 4:07 pm, April 30, 2007, Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

Nice post! Will be blogging more on badger ales in a bit...

At 5:16 am, May 01, 2007, Anonymous spm said...

It is a Petersfield Tractor and TCA members haven't been shy taking a ride in it when it suits them so leave it alone or it will not come out when you might need it.

On the subject of Badger Ales - one of my current projects is the redevelopment of the Blandford Brewery which includes a new brewery.

At 5:23 am, May 01, 2007, Anonymous spm said...

Calling all TCA members - how about making a trip to the Pub with No Name Beer Festival on Friday 22 - Sunday 24 June? Overnight camping can be arranged. What more can you want that a cycle ride, a few beers in the evening and then a good kip in the tent?

After my Buriton shaming I am keen to make amends so is anyone else up for meeting at the No Name on the Friday evening _ I can't do Saturday as I have a 8:30 plane to catch to Sicily on Sunday morning.

At 6:33 am, May 01, 2007, Blogger simon said...

ju's you are RUNCIBLE for sure! :o)

At 7:21 am, May 01, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

SPM - Blandford Brewery eh? nice project, a few site visits me thinks on that one. Beer festival sounds good, sadly a bit far at present for me, although I am sure some of the more local TCA contingent would be up fo that.

P.S that is some blackhead on the last photo :O)


At 8:20 am, May 01, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

SPM, We will consult within our Executive, put a ballot out to members and take a formal vote on the Beer Festival but it certainly merits our consideration.


At 6:00 pm, May 07, 2007, Blogger Ad said...

John was that your victorian mountain bike, now i see why you stuck to the roads...

At 6:27 pm, May 07, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

Great to catch up with your exploits. Wasn't it the QE Park where we saw the Purple Emperor butterfly?

At 4:36 am, May 12, 2007, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Nice profile AD ;-)


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