Temperance

Discussion in 'rec.sport.unicycling' started by Mikefule, Jul 3, 2005.

  1. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    A whole day free to go riding - almost unheard of luxury these days!

    The first section of the ride is my old MUni route through the Stoke
    Bardolph Estate. This is a mixture of tarmac track, then wide muddy
    cart track, then single track along the river bank. It's about 4 miles,
    give or take, to the car park of the Unicorn pub. It used to be my long
    term goal to ride the whole route "clean" on the MUni. Today, I manage
    it quite easily on the 28.

    In the old days, I'd have stopped at the café, had a drink and a bite,
    then ridden back. That was a nice 7 - 8 mile circuit. Now, I ride
    straight past the cafe and along the river bank, through crowds of
    people, until I reach the magic 500 metres from the car park, and get
    past the crowds.

    The meadow beside the river is full of cattle, and a calf is suckling
    right next to the track. It looks a little nervous, and skitters away
    as I approach. Many of the cows are lying down, it's so hot.

    Last week, I reached the road and then turned back. Today, I carry on,
    riding along lanes and through Hoveringham (cue the "pigs might fly"
    jokes) and on over the railway crossing to the Coach and Horses pub.
    It's tempting to stop here, because I'm very hot, and starting to feel
    saddle sore, but I push on, my sights set on the tea shop that I have
    visited over many years as a bicyclist, tandemist, Morris dancer,
    motorcyclist, unicyclist and driver. It's a lovely little tea shop,
    with a tree-shaded garden. Somewhere along the route, I'm overtaken by
    four Triumph Stags and a Lotus Elan, obviously in convoy.

    When I arrive at the tea shop, I see the back field is full to bursting
    with old sports cars, including the Triumphs and the Lotus. In the tea
    shop itself, there is a jovial queue of vintage sports car types -
    ladies with faintly dishevelled hair, and elegantly amusing hats, men
    with waistcoats and moustaches. I queue for 15 minutes, order a black
    coffee and a slice of cake - and I'm asked if I can wait 15 minutes as
    they're busy. Fifteen minutes for a black coffee? Yes, the machine's
    broken. A kettle a jar of instant would be too simple. Only in
    England!

    Disgruntled, I ride on to the Waggon and Horses and console myself with
    a pint of real ale. Two couples in their late fifties engage me in
    conversation about the unicycle. The lady starts the conversation with,
    "I suppose it's to make it harder to steal?" which is original enough to
    hook my attention. The blokes have a few genuine questions, and I try
    to make the opportunity to convey that unicycling is a sport, not just a
    performance skill. As I get up to leave, the lady asks me to ride down
    the lane and back so she can photograph me. She patiently waits for a
    beautiful vintage Alfa Romeo to pass so she can take my picture!

    The next leg of the ride is only a mile or two of mainly back lanes.
    I'm overtaken by a few of the vintage sports cars. I reach the Bromley
    Arms by the river at Fiskerton in one, and buy a newspaper at the shop
    next door before ordering a pint. Unwisely, I choose a beer that is
    4.6% ABV. That's reasonably strong when you're drinking in pints.

    The newspaper is disappointing - mainly about some pop concert that's
    been on over the weekend, and something to do with a tennis competition
    down in London. Bored, I finish my beer and leap onto the unicycle - a
    little unsteadily...

    Being a thoroughly sensible sort of chap, I know better than to ride on
    the road after two pints, so I follow the river bank back upstream, with
    the river on my left. It's a while since I've been this way, and the
    track is worse than I remember, rutted, uneven, hard baked, and
    overgrown. I UPD rather too many times, and know that the beer has
    affected my concentration.

    I stop and sit by the river, taking off my shoes and dangling my feet in
    the cool water. Shoals of minnows dart about in the shallows. Huge
    dragonflies and electric blue damselflies hover low over the water. The
    bigger dragonflies are about 4 inches (10 cm) across, and I can hear
    their wings rattling as they fly. Many of the damselflies are paired up
    and mating as they fly low over the water - a good trick if you can do
    it. Just down stream, a fisherman belches loudly.

    One day, I'll try to understand fishing. But only when I'm very short
    of things to think about. It seems to consist of sitting on the river
    bank (fair enough) with hundreds of pounds worth of equipment, impaling
    and drowning maggots. The tedium seems to be relieved only by the
    occasional fart or belch, and the inane comments that these prompt from
    your companion a few paces downstream. My best guess is that it is a
    good way of getting away from your family for a few hours.

    Be that as it may, after a brief rest, I decide to continue, but soon
    decide that the track is just too much like hard work. To be honest,
    I'm regretting that second beer. I walk for about half a mile until I
    get to a tarmac private road, then ride along that back to the main road
    and keep a steady pace for several miles, resisting the temptation to
    stop. The saddle is making itself known to me, but the way to deal with
    saddle pressure is to get used to it.

    The long unbroken ride does me good, and when I stop at the gate to the
    riverbank, I'm feeling a little fresher. I ride back up the riverbank
    for a mile or two until I get to the café (the one I'd ridden past much
    earlier) and I stop for coffee and a late light lunch.

    From here, it's simply a case of retracing my route back along the river
    bank, then along the tarmac track and a short section of road. However,
    the heat and dehydration has taken its toll, and I find myself UPD-ing
    far too often - even once on the smooth tarmac, as I take a couple of
    tight turns past a gate. By the time I get back to the car, I'm pretty
    much exhausted. I've ridden through the hottest part of the day, and
    covered something like 25 miles, with much of it on difficult
    surfaces.

    Unicycling and beer are both fun - but they don't mix well.


    --
    Mikefule - The first cuckoo of unicycling

    Sumer is icomen in, loud sing Mikefule!
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  2. s7ev0

    s7ev0 Guest

    Hey Mike - you're in a veritable riding/posting frenzy!

    I love reading of your rides and it amazes me that you remember every
    last section.

    Beer doesn't work for me when unicycling, either. I did think that it
    might loosen me up and release some kind of inner balance, but then if
    the way I walk after a few is anything to go by...

    I even started 'a thread ' (http://tinyurl.com/b9jpc) about it some time
    ago.


    --
    s7ev0 - Here comes the summer!


    We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there
    were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was
    to blame but us. Remember accidents? ~ GILD
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  3. MattPH

    MattPH Guest

    Mikefule wrote:
    > *
    >
    >
    > Unwisely, I choose a beer that is 4.6% ABV. That's reasonably strong
    > when you're drinking in pints.
    >
    > Bored, I finish my beer and leap onto the unicycle - a little
    > unsteadily...
    >
    > Being a thoroughly sensible sort of chap, I know better than to ride
    > on the road after two pints,
    >
    > By the time I get back to the car,
    >
    > *



    I'm saying nothing.


    --
    MattPH - Muni Hungry

    You do WHAT on it?
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  4. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    MattPH wrote:
    > *I'm saying nothing. *



    There were 10 sweaty miles, about three hours, pints of water, a meal
    and a coffee between the second beer and the car. Give me some credit.


    --
    Mikefule - The first cuckoo of unicycling

    Sumer is icomen in, loud sing Mikefule!
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  5. unicus

    unicus Guest

    Another nice long ride report – when’s the book coming out ;)
    Mikefule wrote:
    > *The lady starts the conversation with, "I suppose it's to make it
    > harder to steal?" which is original enough to hook my attention.*


    Recently whilst at Center Parcs I was locking up my Coker and my wife’s
    bike (hired) and someone who I’d not long rode past said with a smile “I
    don’t know why you’re bothering locking it up you’re probably the only
    person here who can ride it” which was nice. I know most of the people
    who go to Center Parks aren’t avid cyclists but it was a very fun
    weekend overtaking lots of bikes, in fact I was never overtaken :)

    (If you don’t know in 'Center Parcs ' (http://www.centerparcs.co.uk) you
    can cycle or walk but no motor vehicles, with some small exemptions)
    Mikefule wrote:
    > *The newspaper is disappointing - mainly about some pop concert that's
    > been on over the weekend, and something to do with a tennis
    > competition down in London.*


    What no report on the EMU hockey tournament? If you’d have been there
    Mike we would have a much better report than 'mine'
    (http://tinyurl.com/9wnxc)

    Cheers, Gary


    --
    unicus - I need to change this

    Mikefule suggests changing this once in a while
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  6. U-Turn

    U-Turn Guest

    Paraphrase from Lawrence of Arabia, one of my favorite films, as
    Lawrence has just let a match burn down to his fingertips:

    "Of course it hurts; the trick is not to mind."


    --
    U-Turn - Cool water for the flame

    Weep in the dojo... laugh on the battlefield.
    'LiveWire Unicycles' (http://www.livewireunicycles.com)
    'Strongest Coker Wheel in the World'
    (http://www.unicyclist.com/gallery/albup39)
    '29er Tire Study' (http://u-turn.unicyclist.com/29erTireStudy/)
    'New York Unicycle Club' (http://www.newyorkunicycle.com)
    -- Dave Stockton
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