Club Run, Saturday 20th February, 2016
Taffy Steve’s Ride (according to Strava)
Total Distance: 99 km/64 miles with 1,033 metres of climbing
Ride Time: 4 hours 38 minutes
Average Speed: 23 km/h
Group size: An unknown number of riders. No SLJ!
Weather in a word or two: Well, it was nice indoors…
The return of some dread viral chest infection had me feeling fuzzy round the edges, aching in every limb and confined indoors, missing the club run and wondering if I could get away with another gaping hole in my blog publishing schedule.
I was considering writing about the conundrum of different crank lengths, although that’s far too technical for me, so perhaps something about be the relative aesthetic merits of Castelli vs. Santini gear was more in order, or something else equally as useless, earth-shattering and revelatory …
…and then, crawling bravely through the shattered wire, mud, shell holes, blood and trenches, an after-action report brought words from the front: Saturday’s Club Run seen through the eyes of Taffy Steve and complete with a metaphorical white feather for those caught malingering indoors.
With the odd (and I do mean odd) addition from Crazy Legs, Taffy Steve gamely took up my heavy and less than subtle cudgel of irreverent and sardonic commentary to beat everyone about the head and shoulders with, outlining what sounds like an absolute classic club run.
So without further ado, and only a touch of paraphrasing and one or two embellishments, take it away Taffy Steve… (corny, I know – but I’ve always wanted to say that)
“So Sur la Jante had an unauthorised absence this week, and typically it was a vintage week for nonsense.
At the arrival at the meeting place a small leather strap was found on the floor and we quickly decided that the it must have come from the steed of the BFG which is bedecked solely in cow products. (As you may have noticed from our past encounters with him, the BFG is truly devoted to vintage bicycles featuring the use of all natural materials, even though the more modern equivalents are cheaper, lighter, better engineered and far more effective. Hence he likes to ride on wooden rims that warp after a few miles, while using cork brake shoes that don’t work very well and are scientifically proven to actually speed up wheel rotation when applied to rims in the wet.)
We drifted slowly westward – pushed onward by Crazy Legs until he ran out of steam. During this journey OGL declared that he had been riding a bike “seriously” since 1959 – so not as old as Sputnik but predating the Apollo program. (I often think one of the problems is too much serious bike riding, but then I have been accused of being flippant on more than a few occasions)
He told me that a certain house had actually been there since he had been riding – apparently my reply of “Excellent” made Crazy Legs forget that we were flat out at 22 kph. (Although we all recognise he’s old, I was unaware up to this point that OGL regards himself as a modern day Methuselah – a man who has outlived entire buildings, if not civilsations).
After a couple of splits, four of us were joined by an interloper – dressed all in blue with white stars – Captain America had arrived in Stamfordham!
We caught up with Crazy Legs and Ovis struggling with a punctured Conti 4 seasons which didn’t want to be re-homed and was hanging desperately to the rim like a Calais Jungle refugee clinging to the Eurostar.
Red Max tried to take control, but succeeded only in managing to fire an errant tyre lever off into some brambles and boldly went in after it. (Rumours that he’s still in there and waiting for some kind hearted Daniel to remove a thorn from his paw are I believe exaggerated.)
Unfortunately, Captain America showed no interest in helping with any repairs and any hopes that he was Bicycle Repair Man in disguise were cruelly dashed. He wasn’t a real superhero after all!
Reading between the lines, it would appear that somehow the collective might and manpower of the club (sadly absent any superhero assistance) finally managed to fix the flat, only for Ovis to cunningly, “it was an accident, honest” insert his flip-flop hub the wrong way round so he could do a bit of freewheelin’ with the 40 mph tailwind pushing at his back.
Setting off again Captain America revealed to Crazy Legs that he not only had an amazing outfit, but a cornering style reminiscent of Warren Barguil at his worst. Crazy Legs and Ovis managed to avoid this rather more intimate than expected encounter better than Geraint Thomas, somewhat discomfited, but none the worse for wear.
Captain America then made the fatal mistake of responding to one of the Red Max’s Forlorn Hope attacks and fatally dragged both Max and Taffy Steve to the line, learning as Taffy Steve succinctly puts it “that you shouldn’t tow the fatties,” as he was then mercilessly mugged in the sprint.
In the café recently anointed Grandpa, the Red Max proclaimed to a thoroughly stunned and silenced table that he’d gone through all the computations and worked out that terry nappies were cheaper than Pampers and the pay-back time on the initial investment was only 8 weeks.
This was taking into account the relative material, distribution, transportation and disposal costs, environmental and societal impacts, local taxation rates, power, water and detergent usage, plus the additional benefits of providing the safety pin industry with a new source of users beyond just cyclists pinning numbers to their backs.
I understand that the whole 48-page Excel workbook containing the finer details of his calculations has been submitted for consideration to the Nobel Committee.
We shouldn’t be surprised by such deep and provocative thinking, after all the Red Max is the eccentric genius who developed Horner’s Theorem which irrefutably proves a direct relationship between the number of shiny, posh and clean carbon bikes out on a spring or autumn morning and the number of crap-covered farm tracks, pothole and gravel strewn roads, gates and cattle grids OGL will “accidently” include in our route for the day.
Despite his impressive cognitive abilities however, it was revealed when it comes to devices for expressing milk, then even the Red Max has met his match – or his kryptonite, if you will.
Anyway, Taffy Steve happily concludes that Max’s Grandad switch has now been irreversibly thrown, he just needs to adopt a constantly confused demeanor and selective deafness. He’s actually half-way there with the latter, having successfully been ignoring OGL’s diktats for several years now.
Congratulations Pops, I’ll hopefully see you next week.