Tuesday, 6 January 2015

An Autumn of Cycaling

Sadly, the long days of summer are well behind us, and the onset of winter meant the end of my cycling season. On the plus side, my feet are becoming reacquainted with my walking boots and I'm once again walking on a regular basis

Anyway, here's what I've been up to, Cycaling wise, over the past six months.

August Bank Holiday was the traditional Cycale ride to Felixstowe, via the Ipswich Beer Festival, and this year was no exception. Well, apart from the fact that there was no Ipswich Beer Festival this year, but that didn't stop us.

A decent turnout, and we must have cycled at least 2 miles before having a tea stop in Boxted.

 As luck would have it, the excellent Briar Bank pub and brewery had their own beer festival on, so we didn't go thirsty.

Keith organised a fine ride to Felixstowe, via the Ship 

and on to the ferry to Harwich.

Sadly, Keith become so excited by the impending arrival of the ferry that he promptly fell over. Normally, I wouldn't publish pictures of an elderly man losing his dignity, but Keith is a morris dancer, so he's quite used to that sort of thing.

It was a splendid day, despite passing through the twin dumps of Felixsowe and Harwich, finished off with a visit to the Waiting Room beer festival back in Colchester.

Next up was our equally traditional ride out to the wonderful Chappel Beer Festival, with the usual ferret racing and assorted eccentricities.

Unexpectedly, the Jamaican Bobsleigh team made a surprise appearance.

In September Robin had the excellent idea of riding out to the annual CAMRA Games Day at the Felstar Brewery. Everything one would expect to find at a CAMRA Games Day was there - beer, food, and, somewhat surprisingly, no games whatsoever. I'm not sure how we can have a Games Day without any games, but we made do with beer and food.

Our host was the gloriously bonkers Franco, whose method of transport reflects his own eccentricity

Home made pizzas were on offer for a bargain £3 each

Keith, being eagle-eyed, noticed a lack of eating implements and asked for some cutlery."Oh no" replied the lady serving us "it's a hand job".

We all agreed that £3 for a pizza AND a hand job was excellent value indeed.

A new Cycale record on this ride, 49 miles before our first pub stop, but it was the glorious Bell at Castle Hedingham

As ever, the Cycale season reached it's climax with the traditional ride out to the Norwich Winter Beer festival.

We are creatures of habit, and the trip is ALWAYS.........

Day 1 - Setting out at first light in autumnal temperatures that are hopefully above freezing

A tea stop at the excellent Bredfield village shop.

Lunch at the Station at Framlingham

Late lunch at the Peasenhall tea shop

A break at Wissett - although sadly the pub is no longer open all day

Overnight at the lovely town of Beccles, hopefully completing the  70 miles ride before darkness falls

Fish and chips on a cold concrete bench by Tescos car park - we know how to enjoy ourselves

And then beer in the Caxton Social Club before retiring for the night

Unusually, we stayed in an excellent Wetherspoons Hotel in Beccles, and, even more unusually, there weren't any homeless people in the bar. Not sure about the secure bike storage facilities, though.

Day 2 - Up bright and early the following morning

A flurry of punctures on the morning ride  into Norwich - two for Nigel and one for me

 then a lunchtime session at the superb Norwich Beer festival, serenaded by the superb Sherringham Shantymen, then home on the train, joined by a somewhat inebriated non-cycling Cycale Supremo

Incidentally, this was the first overnight Cycale trip for Bernard, whose faffing is reaching legendary status. Bernard is the only participant to complete the annual TGO coast to coast backpacking event despite LOSING his tent in the Monadhliath mountains. He managed to complete the ride despite appearing to be completely exhausted after the first hour, and,even more impressively, he actually managed to get lost IN the hotel, so hats off to him. Rumour has it that Bernard has been flirting with the "Dark Side", and I'm sure he will make an excellent Morris Dancer.

Congratulations to Nigel, this year's winner of the coveted Cycale Puncture of the Year Award, for managing to get a puncture in a tyre that appeared to have welded itself to the wheel. Impressive stuff. Nigel really should be up for a Lifetime Achievement Award, for services to the rubber industry (NO, not that sort of rubber) - he has successfully punctured and replaced more tyres than almost anyone on the planet

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