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Old CRABs: More old stuff here: old weakly

RIDE no :: 139

Sat 11th Jan    The Boot, Dullingham

Scouts:: Kinky and Thumper

Well, not a bad turn out for such a frozen day. But it was bright and sunny and the hard-frozen ground was to prove a blessing later on when the trail sent us over what would surely have otherwise been impassable bogs. Apparently there were breakdowns before the ride even began (Drew I'm told) but I don't know anything about that because I was late. But I do remember his expensive looking overshoes.

So we set off in the general direction of Westley Waterless (I think), lost the trail and all rode around aimlessly for a while with no flour to be seen anywhere. Then we somehow ended up re-united and riding over a long frozen track until Mr Bossy decided to stop and make us wait by a frozen pond while he tried to persuade Joss to ride over it (and failed). Somewhere near Carlton we met Sticky Fingers and Glueless on a tandem, which was when I was handed the enviable task of writing this report. On we rode to Great Bradley [is that Pete's brother - ed] followed by a path round the edge of some fields (still can't work out where the hell that was looking at the map now) and then some treacherous ice-coated lanes which caused a good few riders to hit the tarmac. Some of us were unfortunate enough to head off down a particularly slippy lane to our left only to find a turn-back and barely be able to find the traction to get back up the hill.

Kirtling for lunch where Alex had a piece of cheese as large as that included within the average family's weekly shop and then after the highly predictable 'oh, that's funny, I'm sure I left my shoes just here by the door' routine and the mending of many punctures we were off on our merry way once more. And feck it was cold.

The tracks were good - in between a few studs to Little Ditton and Wood Ditton - followed by a bit of road and a long bridleway to Ditton Green water tower. Except for Crabbo who spotted a short cut down a footpath and buggered off ahead. On! On! on roads via Stetchworth back to The Boot, except for a couple of us who detoured down a fine stretch of frozen Icknield Way by a stream; nice little short-cut pointed out to us by 'Local knowledge' Joss. But why is that when you think you're in the front and you get to the pub there are always already people there? I must be missing something!

A couple of pints later we were nearly into the down-downs and Marshall (no bash handle yet...) was nowhere to be seen. Poor lad had been left behind - puncture, mended it, seat broke off, another puncture, too dark, lost, had to walk... tantrum, bike thrown in bush, still had to walk anyway, oh dear. But he got there in the end. Other down-downs? I remember something about Kinky getting his car stuck up a byway while checking out the trail but I think the beer was taking its toll by then.... and that's about as much as I can remember....

On!On!

La-di-da

Christmas capers!

RIDE no :: 138

Sat 14th Dec    Hadstock

Hares:: Kinky & Thumper

Santa gets his kit off! Pictures -> here!

First of all, I apologise for the fact that it's taken me two months to get round to writing this. Since it was a long time ago, it's also possible my memory is not entirely accurate...

We set off into the trackless wilderness that is rural Essex, hacking through the jungle for three days before we emerged on the banks of a mighty silt-laden river. Here we were set upon by cannibals, and three of our party were carried off. Perhaps their shrunken heads adorn a mantlepiece in Linton or Hadstock to this day. Next we headed for higher ground, finally reaching a range of majestic soaring peaks which we had to cross. Over the next few days we were forced to climb several terrifying precipices, and we were grateful that only one member of our group plummeted to their doom here. Our gratitude was short-lived however, after an avalanche swept away two more. Altitude sickness was now taking it's toll on us all, and we made slow progress for several more days. Our descent to the valley was further hampered by the fact that most of us were now suffering from frost-bitten feet. Finally, in our weakened state we had to spend nearly a week crossing snake-infested swamps, where several of us succumbed to malaria and yellow fever.

However, what I am more certain of is that it was a smooth and well organised trail, with an absolute minimum of punctures and bike breakages, and we even had dry weather! Lou Lou and Pert Blobs were a little late arriving as they took the scenic route which included Stansted Airport (plane-spotters or something?). A pub lunch was eaten at Castle Camps (at a reasonable hour this time). Talking of camp, FagAsh Lil and La-di-da looked a treat in their matching orange jackets, for which they were awarded a 'Mr and Mrs' down-down later on. By the time we reached the pub I was falling asleep, so I'm not really sure if anything interesting happened there. Finally, a special mention to Tongue Job & Head Girl who turned up bright and early on Saturday morning ready to ride... sadly not the same Saturday as the rest of us!

On!On!

Paul

Oh my Gordmanchester!

RIDE no :: 137

Sat 9th Nov    Elsworth

Hares:: ToungueJob & family

Luckily enough it had been tipping it down for approximately 3 days solid prior to the Bash so we were ready for plenty of shiggy... and we were not disappointed.

A band of 19 super-keen bashers set out from Elsworth and soon found themselves splattered with mud on a cunning off road route set by Thug and Weakest Link (resplendent in high quality birthday bonce-wear) with the valiant help of ToungueJob and HeadGirl. It wasn't long before us hapless sheep were berated by the hares for not checking out all of their devious false trails - well, if they will set them up hills (the nearest we get to hills in Cambs anyway) what do they expect??

Being a Spokesperson of very little brain I'm finding it difficult to recall exactly where we went. I recall a jolly jaunt through Cambourne and some confusion at Caxton (I believe one of the hares even threatened to show us where the trail was) as well as several nourishment stops initiated by BabyMinder. Suffice to say that it was a trail of the highest calibre, although it's gleaming gorgeousness was somewhat marred by the extensive shiggy. Around 12.45 a small group of back-riders happened upon a decidedly punctured Umplebum... Checkpoint soon appeared too after having been summoned from the front of the pack. Us back riders took the opportunity to have a bit of a rest on the pretence of commiserating and offering lame assistance with tyre levers.

At this point maps were consulted (not by me you understand) and we discovered that we had only completed 1/3 of the morning's trail!!! How so? With little leggies going 19 to the dozen, how had we managed such a paltry distance? It didn't take long for us to reach a consensus and head straight for the pub in Godmanchester(!!).

While all this was going on poor Tandem was struggling with a knackered rear mech and ended up splitting chains and all sorts of nonsense before having to limp back to Elsworth. Meanwhile a veritable cornucopia of punctures were wreaking havoc on the front riders: Crabbo sustained six (surely a record?), Schoolboy'sDream got off lightly with 2, (but she did foul up her axle) and Rob K also found himself walking for a stretch.

The White Hart in Godmanchester played host to a particularly pathetic bunch of Bashers and quite a large quantity of Cambridgeshire mud. It was at this point that much wimping out took place (I will mention no names), and Drew carried out a mercy mission to reunite damp cyclists with warm cars.

Out of 19 starters a mere 5 completed the distance (with one more puncture adding to the total), and two of them were virgins!! MrBossy conducted his inaugural circle as Big Wheel at The Poacher in Elsworth - it was small, but beautifully formed. Thug and WeakestLink gained their first down downs and disposed of them with such swiftness that if one didn't know better, one might suspect that they had been practising.

Oh, and the results of the Bossy survey reveal that Tandem is to dress as a fairy on the Christmas bash (no arguing JB, it was unanimous).

On!On!

StickyFingers

Thumper's Story

RIDE no :: 136

AGPU 2002

Sat 12th Oct    Shepreth Stn.

Hares:: TalkingBollocks (Big Wheel) & PertBlobs (Tandem)

Despite the pouring rain, there was a large turnout for the Ride of the Year, including two virgin bashers brought along by Mother'sBoy. The rain had mostly stopped by 11o'clock, and the pack set off down the hill from the railway station. After a few spins round the town we headed off to Melbourn. Some cunning cross country trails with plenty of shiggy took the pack to Fowlmere, where we held a spontaneous regroup. Taxidermist turned up at last having fallen off his bike and hurt himself horribly. Like a true Basher he cycled on despite his wounds, and some of the Bash (led by MrBossy) celebrated with a swift pint in a local hostelry.

The trail went on to Thriplow where MrBossy persuaded some bashers to take another pub stop. The trail then meandered through Foxton to Newton for lunch.

Despite having been forewarned of our arrival the pub at Newton produced the food very slowly; but the soup and sandwiches were well worth waiting for, and the real ale straight from the barrel kept us going while we waited.

DogHouse found his bike had its usual puncture after lunch and he, Lurcher and Schoolboy'sDream stayed behind to patch it up.

The afternoon trail led us northwards through Harston to skirt the motorway before swinging back to Harlton and then across the Big Hill to Barrington.

The first group of Bashers back to Shepreth found that the pub was not open, and complained bitterly to TalkingBollocks who attempted to mollify them by offering them some bottled beer from the boot of his car - he flung open his boot to find it completely empty . Apparently Tandem had already drunk it all. Four of us drove to Melbourn for a swift pint at the Star, before heading back to the on-on at Tandem's house in Cherry Hinton.

There was a barrel of beer to facilitate the down-downs and the election of the new mis-management committee to mis-lead the Bash for another year. Then we found Tom had been slaving over the stove all day, producing some delicious curry which we all scoffed with great delight.

On!On!

Thumper

A massage from the BigWheel

RIDE no :: 136

The AGPU 2002

Sat 12th Oct    Shepreth Station

Hares:: SlidingBollocks & PertBlobs

I have pleaded with Crabbo to insert this on the webshite. A BIG THANKYOU to you all, so overcome am I that the results from the free and fair vote held at some indeterminate time 12th Oct 02 have led to my investiture as Big Wheel; I tried so hard to become Baby-Minder! The rest of the Committee also extends their appreciation at being re-selected and coerced.

For my part (as a man of few words!) I am unsure what you expect. I would like to think you would let me know, so email me when you want to whine, let off steam or suggest ideas or names. I may not answer, but will take on board the obvious.

My first obvious task is to thank last year's committee for their tireless dereliction of duty! A year in which we saw the hosting of Nash Bash, Checkpoint admirably controlling the site leaving Umplebore to strut his stuff -  personally I don't think he will make an accountant and should have let me at the 'free beer' on the Friday, which would have definitely ensured no surplus on the year!

Also thanks to SlidingBollocks as last years Big Wheel, October his finest hour setting the trail from afar, whilst allowing his co-hare PertBlobs to return to the warmth to cook a most delightful repast having also volunteered Bruce and Helen to help, then running the AgPoo without reference to an agenda! I hope he cleared up in the morning!

On a more serious note I am aware this is an outfit without rules but as a few seem to carry out most of the tasks (as in any club), make it easy for the committee - volunteer to set a trail. It will free up Kinky to take Thumper out. We always struggle on ride reports, our current incumbent scribe Schoolboy'sDream will be chasing you to fill her filofax - so supply her with photos and jokes, and her task becomes easier.

Who has got the Boot? StickyFingers needs to strut her stuff.

Me??? I aim to take it easy leaving everything to Tandem (Mummy'sBoy), drink beer and dream of Portugal and Stiffkey.

We, after sitting on top of BashCash (you see fat boys have a part to play!), have a vague plan to use his ill-gotten gains to fund camping, beer and BBQ at Stiffkey probably in June or July and not necessarily a randomly active weekend! I have also volunteered to lay the Saturday trail with Umplebore and suspect Kinky will lean on us for a shorter Sunday trail.

So 'Here's to the committee they are blue' and another years aimless Bashing!

Forward notice - December will be in full seasonal dress.

On!On!

MrBossy (aka BigWheel)

Watton earth's goin' on?

RIDE no :: 133

Sat 10th Aug    Watton-at-Stone Station

Hares:: Lurcher & DogHouse

Lesser hares might have been intimidated knowing that one member of the pack had cycled 8856kms through desert, over wadis and up and down mountains to attend their bash. But not these hares. Doghouse and Lurcher found the hillier parts of 'East Angular', mainly off road including lots of mud, arranged real British summer weather and all in all provided one of the best bashes I have ever been on. A particularly gruelling part of the trail was a very muddy stony uphill where even the more experienced riders mistimed the gear change and ended up walking; for the first time ever I saw Sue Umplebum get off and push!

It was great to find that in my absence the bashers have not changed much and I was entertained by their antics more than any so called comedy showing on the Beeb. It started with reports of Thumper being uncharacteristically athletic, apparently doing complex acrobatics involving shoe laces, pedals and being catapulted off saddles. When questioned, the only eyewitness, Jennifer's other half Phil, confirmed the rumours but Gail declined to give us all an action replay.

Good to know that not all bashers are such exhibitionists as one Mr Crabb though, who will go to extraordinarily inconvenient lengths to ensure a down-down. This time he took off his backpack (rather large and containing what?) at a checkpoint, and then cycled off without it. He had problems finding it at the lunchstop probably because they were separated by a good 5 miles. After much exclaiming, searching and strutting back and forth putting me off enjoying a rather good pig and chips, I decided to put him out of his misery.

'You left it at the checkpoint where you were showing off after having parked your bike in front of a 'No Parking' sign.' Disbelief from Crabbo that he could have been so stupid.

'I thought at the time when you walked away from your backpack left on the verge that there was a potential lost property situation here, but I did not say anything because I did not think you were so stupid.' But you were. So off he went to retrieve it, still gesticulating and muttering something about it being my fault. . .

And the entertainment continued. Rob, a virgin basher and former colleague in 'Khartoumb', got off to a flying non-start by managing to pedal backwards when changing gear and so jam the chain on Umplebum's spare bike in a stupendous manner defying all laws of physics and in a way Umplebum could not imagine possible. After freewheeling the final couple of miles to the lunch pub Rob then experienced bash preparedness at its best; Kinky had just the right kind of screwdriver, patience and brute force to un-jam it. . . And then Lurcher did exactly the same thing with her chain in the afternoon!

Roger continued to lose his backpack at the final pub, finding it up a tree he had not put it in and rounded off a spectaular day's bashing for him by cycling Mummy'sBoy, Mike and myself back to the wrong station by following a 'short' cut which obviously did not go to Stevenage as I could see its rather picturesque concrete buildings getting smaller and smaller on the horizon.

All in all a lot of fun which left my bike sufficiently muddy that when the Cambridge Evening News photographer turned up to take an action shot of me and machine he was most impressed with what he thought was 7 months of accumulated mud; guess he has never been off road near Stevenage!

On!On!

Sal ('Schoolboy's Dream')

Forest Frolics

RIDE no :: Nash Bash #4

Friday 19th July 2002    Thetford

Hares:: Crabbo (with thanks to MrBossy for research)

After 500 miles and very thirsty, I finally found Bidwells Scout camp at 5pm, somewhere on the outskirts of Thetford Forest, thoughtfully located beyond the low railway bridge (lucky Robocop wasn't coming) and down some unmettled roads fit to test any 4WD. My first encounter with CRABs life was Crabbo (and the rest of t'committee) 'testing' the Bash beer, informing me that it wasn't available to the general Nash Bash proles until 11pm and the nearest pub was miles away and was probably shut and there would be a trail there but it wasn't laid yet. I was sent away to drive over another assault course to my allocated camping area.

My next encounter was with TalkingBollocks, who relayed the instructions from MrBossy (who was out mislaying a trail) - where I had to camp and park, what time I was allowed to go to the pub, where and when I was going to eat. Apparently he had arrived three days earlier with a collection of farm vehicles and trailers to set up the extensive Camp Bossy. Other bashers were now drifting in from all points south and were involved in frantic efforts to assemble tents and bikes. Most entertaining was Cannonballs, who was using all his army training to demonstrate how to erect his new '3 minutes to erect' tent in just over an hour.

Finally around 7pm, with the trail laid (all 3 miles of it), we were allowed to go out in search of beer. Crabbo provided something of an obstacle course for the gentle ride to the pub - junk yards, gravel traps and a rugged trail teetering on the edge of the river bank. After 20 minutes, at last a pub. Time for a couple of pints of fine local ale before force-feeding and lager in the local Chinese. Back to the trail. On arrival at the 2nd pub the pack had already left; the reason was obvious - they'd drunk the pub dry! MrBossy suggested a 'short cut' over the local slag heap (apparently the highest hill in Norfolk). We arrive at the 3rd pub at 10:55. It still has beer (and the pack), so we make up for lost time by stock-piling a few pints.

Being the last to leave the pub, we were now reliant on MrBossy to get us back to Camp Bossy. All went well until we arrived at the start of Crabbo's gentle in-trail. Mr Bossy insisted that we re-trace the perilous out-trail, risking life and limb, not to mention a late night swim. Luckily we met up with Mother and his bright night lights to guide us home. Miraculously we made it back to Camp Bossy to find the crowds gathered round the camp fire. More beer, wine and even champagne flowed until the early hours. All good preparation for the following day's events.

On!On!

Eileen

RIDE no :: Nash Bash#4

Sat 20th July    High Lodge, Thetford Forest

Hares:: MrBossy, Eliott & Mummy'sBoy

So it was that with consultation with Gobbler we planned our summer sojourn to this sceptred Isle to coincide with biennial festivities known as Nash Bash. On the first eve, as I dined heartily on Far Eastern delights, I was approached by a rotund jovial chap, by the name of Bossy who cordially invited me to write a report on the following days events.

It all began very well, with a fine breakfast, and the three hares long gone into the woods to spin their web of mystery in blobs of flour. Our leader, TalkingBollocks, assembled the masses, and after a vast amount of bollocks had been spake, the pack of over 50 strong-hearted bashers galloped off into the woods.

The morning' s ride was spent meandering through the forest, idly seeking blobs of flour, far from the maddening din of the Iron beast, left and right the packed searched with much calling, and good-hearted merryment. Just as people were getting thirsty, we chanced upon a hostelry, and as the landlord served us one by one, the heavens kindly watered our steeds.

Refreshed, the pack charged on, appetites whetted with the mention of single track, or perhaps the thought of lunch. In the depths of the forest the Black Run was found and brave knights demonstrated their time-honoured skills, of riding fast, and falling off. So after some gnashing of teeth and gnurling of gears, we arrived upon a clearing in the undergrowth designated as the lunch stop. Awaiting us was a veritable feast prepared by the finest cooks in the land Neil and Debbie. We feasted heartily on fish, foul and ox and quenched our thirst with the brew of Red Beard of Milton.

A brief respite as the pack dozed in the summer sunshine, dreaming of endless downhill, and constant tailwinds before the revallier call of Umpelbore. Off again into the woods once more, and again the skies opened and the heavens roared, but this valiant bunch was not disheartened and they stuck to their task seeking blobs hither and thither. The end came as sure it would, a gallant sprint by four brave knights, and taken on the final bend by the local champion.

Many happy riders reunited to form the ritual circle as TalkingBollocks bestowed his favours on those who had bashed well, and chastised those who had sinned. Despite an unfortunate incident where one rogue knave failed to accept his penance with dignity, the circle was completed, with an incongruously large amount of bollocks.

The evening was rounded off with much merrymaking and jollification, as the Maidens danced to the sounds of Crabb the Younger's Disco their Menfolk imbibed more of Red Beard's potions, and told tall stories of bygone feats of daring.

On!On!

SoftKnob

RIDE no :: 

Sunday 21st July    Grimes Graves, Thetford Forest

Hares:: Crabbo

icedCrabbo 'iced' for
apalling trail-laying debacle.

Blurb awaited (still!)

On!On!

Beaver

Hitchin' a Ride!

RIDE no :: 129

Sat 8th June    Hitchin rly stn.

Hares:: Kermit & Antar

Crabbo hams it up in Hampshire

To deliberately exhaust one co-basher could be considered cruel, but to exhaust two in one week is surely sadistic! Mummy'sBoy was the first to crack, on the Ridgeway after just a short and not too energetic CRANKS bash the previous day, and a night of no more than five pints of London Pride! We had started the day later than hoped with a jubilee Sunday breakfast in the Wheatsheaf at Northleach, and cycled down through Gloucestershire lanes getting occasional updates on the England/Sweden score from people we passed, until lunch just outside the picturesque Wiltshire hamlet of Swindon. From Wanborough we made our assault on the gentle curves of the Ridgeway.

Memories of earlier exploits came flooding back as we wheeled along over hill and dale, stopping occasionally to view prehistoric sites. But soon it became clear that all was not well; Mummy'sBoy was beginning to flag! Twenty years his senior, Crabbo goaded and encouraged, but to no avail. Before Didcot power station hove into view the hapless youth was finished, and with all hope gone of reaching Goring by nightfall, he pleaded for mercy and we hurtled down into Wantage and thence to the train at Didcot.

Three days later it was the turn of Tim Cotton to feel the strain as Crabbo persuaded him to join him on a trip down to the Teign Valley Pedal Bashers in Devon. Crabbo it has to be said, did not start things off on the firmest of footings having avoided the tedious business of pre-booking accommodation, prefering to leave things entirely to chance. Then an unscheduled hold-up waiting for bike places on trains meant that we were late for the trail. While Crabbo did what he could find of the trail (wonderfully steep and greasy it was), Cotton applied himself selflessly to the task of finding beds for the night. Round and round he pedalled in ever widening circles until he had covered three parts of Devon, finally joining the seething, singing throng in the Carpenters Arms at 10pm, with the news that he had at last found somewhere cosy and inexpensive just a mile from the pub!

The next day it was off to Hampshire for the (other) CRABS curry caper. But first, Cotton insisted on an unannounced visit to his relatives outside Exeter. The snag was, this involved more frantic cycling around Devon lanes and by lunchtime he was pooped. Fortunately the onward journey to Brokenhurst was for once uneventful, and with Crabbo on this occasion doing the room-finding, a relieved Cotton slumped into an armchair with a pint of lager.

The Christchurch Ramshackle Antique Bicycle Society (CRABS to be sure), are a wonderfully eccentric bunch. They make us, their namesakes, look sensible and well-adjusted! The evening began with a few beers and some jollity; continued with a delightful jaunt led by their Secretary through forest, bridleway and heath mounted on ancient steeds that seemed to lack all the basic ingredients for efficient and safe bicycling (like brakes and lights); and finished in the local curry emporium with more beer, singing and frivolity. I do hope they send a contingient to NashBash; their presence would undoubtedly add colour to our proceedings.

initiation Watched by Roger Street Chairman of the CRABS, our
scoutmaster is subjected to a humiliating on-trail initiation ritual.

The next morning, after an early morning train to London and a ride across Waterloo Bridge to Kings Cross, the exhausted Cotton declined my kind offer of a splendid ride with our own CRABs, preferring to head straight for Cambridge and a well-earned rest.

On!On!

Crabbo

Something Fishy at the Pike and Eel!

RIDE no :: 128

Fri 24th May

Hairline :: Louise

I have not been on a bash since Kennet last November. At the Pike and Eel I was expecting to meet the usual happy smiling bunch of bashers milling around like a swarm of bees, but on arriving at the pub at about ten to seven that Friday evening there was no-one. I checked the outside seating by the river which was void. I entered the pub and saw no-one I recognised. I walked along to the start of the tow-path by the river and saw no bashers. I found a blob of flour on the road by the pub so I knew I was at the correct place, but where was everybody? At seven o'clock, with no other bashers about, I got on my bike to return home. I assumed the bash must have started at six o'clock. . . when from a widow of the pub I heard someone knocking on the glass. I returned to the pub and peered through the murky glass to see Crabbo's grinning face. In a very secluded corner of the pub I found the two Crabbos and Mr Bossy Mark. . . I was delighted to at last find some friendly faces. Soon after, in ambled Kinky and Thumper Gail followed by Robocop Rob.

So after more and yet more beers and with just six intoxicated and intrepid cyclists the bash started at about 7.15 p.m. I was delighted to note that Bash time is still strictly observed. The weather was very unsettled and it started to drizzle but as we mounted our bikes Mike and Sue Umplebum arrived. On sighting this debonair, fine, healthy, fit, athletic geriatric Basher, in his utter amazement Umplebore immediately retired. Sue retired soon after. Honestly I said nothing. They obviously realised with me about they would just not be able to keep up the pace.

This was a DIY trail with the occasional blob of flour. From what little flour found I am not certain if the trail was laid by the hare or the front cycling bastard. The pack rode down to Baitsbite Lock and over the river via Horningsea and Waterbeach to Milton where the pack split. With no flour those with nous returned to the start.

Has anyone seen Louise, Mike and Sue since this event as they were not at the pub on our return?

The bikepack consisted of -

Rob Sliding Bollox Linney - the Big Wheel; Mark Mr Bossy Jones - the Spokesman; Roger Crabbo Crabb; Ruth Struth Crabb; Ray Kinky Davies; Gail Thumper Wynne-Jones; Tim Scribe Cotton; Mike Umplebore Umpleby; Soo Checkpoint Umpleby.

On!On!

Tim Delhiwallah Khan Cotton

Crabbo's footnote

The Big Wheel awarded down-downs for various misdemeanours, but most notably the dearth of flour, for which Louise will henceforth be known as 'TwoBags'. Some may venture to suggest that this is uncommonly generous.

Fun and Games in The Fens

RIDE no :: 127

Sat 11th May    Ely Railway Station

Hares:: PertBlobs & Crabbo

Great ride - no wind and no hills! The trail took us through the Bishop's Palace with beautiful views of Ely Cathedral and we even managed to run down a dog-walking bishop! We continued through the outskirts of Ely to Witchford where Mr Bossy, Antar, and Kermit cycled straight past the CRABs beer stop kindly provided by Jellybean and Nina. The smell of beer soon brought them back! Passing rape fields Mr Bossy invited Struth for a "bare-bosomed romp" with David (Kinky) Bailey to record the event in the "best possible taste": she declined. Lunch was at Gorilla and Chimp's 3rd favourite pub - the Kings Head at Wilburton. It was great to see old friends again, let's hope they'll be on their bikes next time.

The post lunch trail took us out into the Fens and alongside the river where we were entertained by Mr Bossy, Antar, Jim and Talking Bollocks' river crossing. Hopefully our resident photographer will have the evidence. There were plenty of fallers this week: Nick (virgin basher) 2; TongueJob 2; Jim 1. Mr Bossy once again had trouble with his forks.

After a rather devious route we all managed to regroup for down downs. Beers were awarded to: Hares - Pert Blobs and Crabbo for a brilliant trail; Returners - Antar and Kermit (also for new shoelaces - a CRABs variation ); Bondage - TongueJob and HeadGirl - They were late for the trail as Drew (he who must be blamed) had forgotten the key for their bike lock and they had to have it hacked apart; Depravity - Mr Bossy for jelly baby abuse; Ineptitude - Struth for not controlling Mr Bossy ( could anyone!); Helpfulness - Kinky for collecting money for the Nash Bash; Sliding Bollocks - a name change for Talking Bollocks for his stylish rope walk.

Finally a joke from Christie: What goes tick tick woof woof? A watch Dog

On!On!

Lurcher

RIDE no :: 126

Fri 26th Apr    The Zebra

Hares:: LimpMember

MrBossy seems intent on drumming up business for himself (he's in re-cycling for your information, or scrap metal as it used to be called). This is not the first time that I have been pedalling along minding my own business when an airborne MrBossy has come hurtling past me followed soon after by a bicycle. In this latest incident he landed on top of the blameless machine, and he being of a stout disposition caused its forks to disintegrate. We were in about as remote a part of the city as can be found within its boundaries, and our ill-fated Spokesman was forced to suffer the ignomy of a bus ride back to the pub. I would dearly liked to have been present as he explained to the driver that the bunch of bits he was carrying did not constitute a bicycle, but was mearly a bunch of bits and could therefore quite legally be conveyed on an omnibus! MrBossy seems to be so prone to abnormal events of this nature that I would be interested to discover just what he considers to be a 'normal' day.

It had been an uneventful trail up to this point: a tour of one of the finer achievements of the Liberal city council and/or the Conservative county council, neither of the illustrious members amongst us being sure just who was responsible. But a cycle path that actually goes somewhere - now that is surely cause for celebration! Stourbridge Common has been paved over in what can only be described as a good cause - the rapid progress of the CRABs! Then after a cunning checkback in Fen Ditton, and the debacle with MrBossy's bike at the airport the trail began losing its hounds at regular intervals. FartinMartin got cold and went off doing his own thing not making it to the pub; Donno got the whiff of beer in his nostrils and headed straight back to the Zebra; Umplebore got so far ahead that he left the three remaining participants, Kinky, Checkpoint and Crabbo gasping for breath in his wake; and the BigWheel seemed to just drift off into a world of his own arriving eventually at the Zebra having been who knows where?

Talking Bollocks awarded down downs of course in the time honoured way but not necessarily for the expected reasons. The hare LimpMember got one not so much for the quality of the trail or the events which it precipitated, but for his gallantry in seeing MrBossy safely on to the bus. HeadGirl refused her puncture beer on the grounds that she was driving, nominating her paramour TongueJob to drink it for her, and then chortled while he immediately got another for some other figment of the BigWheel's imagination. The evening concluded amiably with beer, sandwiches and pizza.

Crabbo

On!On!

RIDE no :: 122

Sat 9th Feb    Great Chesterford stn

Hares:: Miss Beaver & Crabbo

Ruth and Liz should have been the hares, but where were they? Guest hares were Miss Beaver and Crabbo. We met in Gt. Chesterford Station at usual time 11:00 am. But where was the Cambridge contingent?

Started on time. Just down the road we came to our first checkpoint of the day. Mr Bossy went on to check out. After On on and lots of whistling (from me!) we came to a turnback. We all went back with the wind behind us. Some of the bashers went under the railway line but some waited at the lowered railway barriers. After long waiting a small train went past. The barriers stayed down. All of us except Mike decided to go under the railway line. We then went along a track at the other side of the line. Mike was still at the barriers. Slowly a very long slow moving freight train chugged past! Mike had to wait ages for the barriers to go up.

We carried on up over the M11 and down the other side of the embankment. We came to another check that Mr Bossy and Mike checked out. We found hat it was up the side of a field. At the top we came to the third check. I decided to check left while virgin 1 went to check the other route (risky!). I started on left only to be shouted at "On on right", by Mr Bossy. We all went on right only to come to a turnback arrow, which the Virgin hadn't seen. Mr Bossy told me wrong. We were on on left, the way I had been told was not ON ON! We carried along the road to come to another check. On on straight and up a hill. We came upon a check back. Mr Bossy was first back to the check only to empty his bladder! One DownDown for Mr Bossy! We carried along up a hill and down the other side. Gaynor and I were one of the first at the next check to arrange a jellybaby stop. Mr Bossy came flying past, not noticing the jelly babies because, if he had seen them I'm sure he would have stopped. Mr Bossy had said at the start that black jellybabies were the best so naturally I told everyone to eat the black ones!

We carried on up a steep hill where I overtook lots of bashers who had got off their bikes! I wasn't moving very fast and as a result a jogger over took most of us. He was probably thinking 'I'm overtaking them all, ha ha'. But I was thinking about the other side of the hill where we shot past him! We carried on to a small village called Chrishall where we thought the pub was. We spent about half an hour in here looking for the flour trail. Eventually we found it and later caught up with the rest of the Bashers.

We went off the trail to go the shorter distance to the pub as it was already 13:30. We soon came into the village where the pub was. The pub was called The Bell. The food was lovely and the huge dog was friendly. We were turfed out of the restaurant area as the landlord needed to clean it for his next guests. In the pub some of us where given a set of instructions to guide us back to the station. We left the pub at 15:00 and started with virgin 3 on the instructions. Her set of instructions led us to the outskirts of the village, where Mr Bossy (uh oh!) took over. He was determined to lure us the wrong way but we wouldn't follow! Mr Bossy's set of instructions led us to the top of the hill where I took over. We came down a big hill and to the check where we were earlier in the morning. We all new our way back to the station so we didn't bother with number 4. In the pub garden (The Crown and Thistle in Gt. Chesterford) Mr Bossy noticed a set of stocks. Unfortunately he didn't lock my brother in as I had hoped! The down downs started with the first given to me Alastair and Head Girl because of the absence of Tongue Job and Weakest Link. I set the record for the longest DownDown in the history of Bashing. I was still drinking at the end of the DownDowns. Mike got the next DownDown because he apparently got blown off but we all knew he couldn't have got blown off as he is too heavy. Mr bossy then got a DownDown for emptying his bladder at the side of the road. We sneakily gave him a pint of Prune Juice because he always enjoys a DownDown! He absolutely hated it. He then got a beer for sending Mike up the wrong way. Because he was driving he had to give his beer away. Yes you are reading this right, Mr Bossy gave away half a pint of beer! After that many people left.

On!On!

By Thug (Douglas Carmichael) Age 13.

RIDE no :: 121

Sat 12th Jan    Crown & Cushion, Gt. Gransden

Hares:: Thumper & Kinky

Things have come to a pretty pass! No words & no pictures yet this month!

On!On!

Anyone?

RIDE no :: 120

Sat 8th Dec    Thetford stn.

Hares:: MrBossy & Eliott

Can't be doin' with all this writing? Then just read the pictures!

A lovely sunny and crisp morning. Gathering at the station, we found MogulMattress gathering the pack together and sorting out our lunch orders. We were also told that we had to get away by 10:45 but we were late as usual due to some faffing-about. HeadGirl was early for once though, and didn't know what to do with herself with the spare time before the off; she decided that buying jelly babies would be a good idea.

Jimmy and Alex joined us for their first Saturday bash and Zorro threw a spanner into his aeroplane engine so that his tour of duty in the war zone was delayed because he wanted to bash. We set off across the meadows next to the river and everyone went through the brook even though there was a bridge just a little further on. We took the path out of town along the river for some distance and what lovely peaceful scenery - apart from the ditched cars that is. Still frosty, bright and hardly a breath of wind. At the weir, only Umplebore took the checkback, waiting ages for the rest of the pack to turn up and ended up some way behind. They had all crossed the river and headed into the forest. It was a bit muddier here as it was in the sun but not a problem except for Umplebore who found a large muddy hole that swallowed his front wheel. All gathered at the next checkpoint and the scenery changed to firm or sandy tracks through the forest, some wider and open in places that gave pleasant views.

The pack regrouped at the Bidwell Guide and Scout Centre, a new building next to a great campsite, set back some distance off the road, and the venue for Nash Bash in July. On through the campsite and under a bridge, either via the stream or a tricky walkway - most took the stream. Some more super tracks and a bit of road with well laid trail that kept the pack thinking. After a while we got a little split up but we had been met by MogulMattress to remind us about making the lunch stop by 1:30 - no chance really but we gave it a go. This section was also the trickiest, getting into the very technical sections of Thetford Forest that included bomb holes and lots of twisty single track through heavily wooded bits, shiggy, puddles, switchbacks, roots and ruts (plus a slimy green puddle that everyone avoided - apparently no-one's been in it for years). A few of the more adventurous checked out the bomb holes and found 'The Beast' which wasn't on trail. Towards the end a couple decided that a mile of road was the best option to get to lunch while the rest of us followed the single track just inside the wood that included another bomb hole.

Lunch at the Elvedon Inn was very welcome, good food in a pub that time had almost forgot. The barmaid also seemed to be in a world of her own! When we were ready to ride again we found that the hares had left us all a blob of flour on our saddles!

The afternoon section was a lot shorter and started with a ride along the path on the A11 then to a checkpoint and on up a tough grassy hill, field edge and then onto good tracks through woods, and then open fields. It ended by following a path along the river through pretty parts of the town to the final pub, the Rose & Crown.

Mr Bossy and Eliott had ensured that we would have plenty of decent beer and the landlord put on a barrel of Bombardier for us, what a reasonable price too. Down downs were taken inside but as Eliott had to leave earlier only Mr Bossy got the scouts' one for a great trail: well researched and cunning, with plenty of variety, little tarmac, very pretty and superb tricky stuff. This is going to be a fantastic area for Nash Bash. Doug got named 'Thug' because not only can the Yanks not speak correctly they also seem to have a hearing problem: at lunch Jimmy (not at Down Downs) asked Douglas his name. After the reply he retorted, 'THUG?' 'No, 'Doug.' 'What, 'Thug?' 'Noooo!!!' The same exercise was repeated at Down Downs with Zorro acting out the part for Jimmy with the same result. Struth got one for not bothering with the afternoon bit and Crabbo for opting to miss the bit in the forest and take the road to lunch. Umplebum and Checkpoint got theirs for carrying strange implements implementsthat weren't required, and Liz for leaving the boot again with Mummy's Boy who should have received the award. Mogul Mattress was also awarded one for pretending to be Mrs Bossy at the start and organising lunch so well, and Zorro for being there. Pedro got one for being overdressed on the grassy hill - he never wears anything other than a t-shirt.

The pub session ended up with Crabbo & Struth debating what time their train left and how much time they had for drinking and finding an eatery.

All in all, a really great day.

Pheep!Pheep!

Umplebore

RIDE no :: 119

Sat 10th Nov    Kennett stn.

Hares:: Mummy'sBoy

Kennett Station at 10.45am. Well that caused confusion from the start - what do you mean 10.45, some of us have a problem getting ourselves up and ready for 11.00, don't we 'new' Big Wheel?

We were met by the limping hare (Mummy's Boy) somewhat after 10.45 who proceeded to tell us that just over 2 miles into laying the trail he'd tried to do a u'ey and slipped on black ice. What hope was there for the rest of us? Having said that I don't think there were any accidents - Mr Bossy, Meredith?

The reason I don't know if there were any accidents is firstly coz I didn't see any and secondly because I missed the down downs. Well the hare finished the trail at the closed Cock in Kennett, what use is a closed xxxxx!! And then directed everyone into the centre of Newmarket for down downs but I for one couldn't get parked and one of the twins was threatening to come down with something nasty, so we went home. I owe you bash cash!

Enough of this nonsense to the serious report of the quality of the Kennett bash. Trail was a perfect length, flour had been expertly laid, no major confusion and arrived at the lunch time pub in Barrow at 1.10. Bit of mud along the way, bit of on-road, bit of off-road but not too much of either. Pedro had a new bike very nice too. Struth was seen checking out at a checkpoint. In fact I saw Struth go one way and Meredith the other, very impressive. Turn out was exceptional for November - 20 or so, we filled the lounge bar at the lunch time pub anyway.

Liz turned up at lunchtime and joined us for the afternoon session. Afternoon was short, muddy and cold. No jelly babies as I forgot until it was too late, no virgins, no punctures, no tandem - Anna was rowing. No Louise - she's abandoned us!

On!On!

Head Girl and the twins (Weakest Link and 'I don't have a hash name yet!')

RIDE no :: 118

- the AGPU 2001

Sat 13th Oct    Golden Ball, Boxworth

Hares:: HeadGirl, TongueJob

The weather was unseasonally warm, the trail tantalisingly crafted to make us think we were heading back to Cambridge, and the pubs hospitable. This being the AGPU Mr Bossy made it a point of honour to visit every hostelry on trail. piss stop Unsurprisingly there was plenty of shiggy and the White Horse at Barton probably had to have the premises de-contaminated after our lunch stop. There was a distinct lack of flour especially in the afternoon - perhaps because the family of hares had no cross-country transport, TongueJob having locked their bikes to a lamppost and thrown away the key!

The On!On! had been hurriedly rearranged for Crabbo's studio owing to a lack of movement by HeadGirl and TongueJob, and their pub being shut. After a few preliminary beers the circle got under way with Rory being named WeakestLink for his delaying tactics before lunch, plus the usual suspects for the usual misdemeanours.

The AGPU proper was cranked up with Umplebore presenting the stats for last year. Several people certified them as completely incorrect, and he was therefore duly re-erected as BashStats/HandleBar. Umplebore was also made NashBash coordinator, at which point it was observed that HeadGirl had cunningly avoided having to do anything at all this year, so in recognition of her unstinting familial behaviour of late was made Baby Minder.

Mr Bossy thought that being made Spokesman entitled him to rabbit on all night, but got his comeuppance by the morning when he discovered that he'd lost his voice. The awakening overnighters felt priviledged to have witnessed this rare occurrence. PertBlobs pleaded ignorance when made Tandem, TalkingBollocks feigned incredulity when made Big Wheel, and Crabbo said 'oh no, not again!' when no-one else volunteered for Scoutmaster. Finally we welcomed the return of Thumper as Wheelwrite.

The meeting was put out of its misery without further ado, and curry and beer were consumed in vast quantities.

On!On!

Crabbo

RIDE no :: 107

Sat 21st Apr    Red Lion, Gt. Sampford Kirtling (and Cheevely) Kenninghall

Hares:: MrBossy, Eliott, Simon

So it has come to this. . . a hare has to write his own obituary under great pressure from the committee. The 21st April ride dawned bright and early, the hare knew this as he had to struggle from his pit at 5.45am (sunrise), 2 hours after co-hares had departed from the preemptive planning party at fortress Bossy. Cannonballs (nice visitor) adding to the mayhem by insisting we saw off the fortress Bossy collection of beverage! Bright and clear (for once) the efforts laying the trail in snow, hail and torrential thunderstorm the evening prior were not in vain. It was still there! I thank God for Foot & Mouth on this occasion - some would later disagree. . . . . . One last dash round and an alternative breakfast venue to sort impending piles.

11am and nil show at Attleborough rail. A few P's laid in chalk to Wolf Brewery (Paddy thought the P was for him and missed the start! meeting us later in Kenninghall but remaining to drink rather than ride. . . a few phone calls (thank God for the electronic age Crabbo) and the job was sorted covering everyone as everyone was still on Wintertime. We leave Wolf's kind hospitality a little fuller but not that interested in how it's made. Mr Bossy confirming beer can shrink the brain back to its usual size, or smaller! Remaining behind in the interests of self preservation (more beer) and knowing certain shortcuts it was a surprise to see a panicking Talking Bollocks (mega late arrival - even later starter) 20 minutes later reappear. He now meekly accepts missing the first dust. He can remember the statement 'on left past the Dutch Truck' visible from Wolf's. His own inebriation the night prior considered a feeble excuse. Mr B kindly moving the required 80 metres to put him On and also collecting Virgin Ford that TB had been shepherding and had lost in the 80 metres return to Wolf!

With the time close to Crabbo and Upper Class Tart arrival given they were too lazy to get an earlier train, Mr B returned 5 miles to meet the 12.10pm . .NO XTRA BASHERS! What is the matter with them? Is Crabbo's hangover from the Batemans trip so bad from 2 days prior he has not recovered as his garbled message through alcoholic haze of 24 hours earlier had suggested? I shortcut, worried and dehydrated towards New Buckenham. At one point against the pack. They are On. Local knowledge from a passing toy boy of Mogul Mattress and VVW declined! Was the tow rope misunderstood as a bondage opportunity???

You would have thought the sight of tightly clad black lycra thighs and Cresta run separation buttocks going the other way would have given them a clue for later. The usual tirade toward Mr B and his co-hares, which in my informed opinion was due to additional carbohydrate intake required, did not go unmissed! Mr B was happy to wait at each short cut to field additional comments.

Virgin Ford (suitable future CRABs material) forced Cannonballs into the Kings Head restoring my faith in Bashing, however, they said it was in the interest of checking or was it the lunch stop? Checkpoint proved her worth in the village, the only one impressed by the deliberate loop and successfully following it . . .

Umplebore now muttering profusely about a 3 at the front of his odometre. It's not my fault they were so keen on checking. Mogul Mattress and Virgin virgin's wife (Sue) were not impressed at seeing the hare again - local knowledge not meaning a lot - 2 miles since the turn back which they now passed the other side of by 20 metres, 50 yards from where the hare had been seen going the other way! What is it about Mummy's Boy I hear at this point he has 3 checks correct first time so MM and VVW sit on a check and follow him every time. Due to age ratio - shouldn't it be the other way round?

SoftKnob seeing the light and requiring a rest manufactured a puncture on tarmac. He tried to refuse Mr B's help perhaps thinking of his own lunch by shortcut which had been ably manufactured by TB evening prior when stating ' where was lunch he might appear later!'. This knowledge was now common to most of the pack who had opened the brown paper bag jobs (No not cash incentives to ride) so VVW's got to do the airfield and all it's bumps leading to physical attack on Mr B - she also declined his ministrations and saddle seat alteration. They headed for lunch. Farting Martin in the vanguard, still going at speed, first to the checks by design or intelligence? No one knows! One occasion waking Mr B at a check!

The Red Lion at Kenninghall restoring everyone's vitality with it's fine mix of Wolf and chips! The posted theme night menu perhaps putting CRABs's off with reference to 'Dog' on Thai night . . .Umplebore thinks he now has a 4 showing on his odometre! Surprise surprise UCT and Crabbo appear a little lost perhaps doing their own CRABs thing on an A-B and in possession of a fineable O/S map. The trouble is they got the wrong station - Thetford! Crabbo is now fired up for the 2nd half (talked a good game - Yarmouth to Barmouth or something about passing Fortress Bossy before etc etc). The rest of the pack may have bribed them to pick up the trail earlier - who knows???

The hares now fed up at the continuing acid comments about laying more flour (we only used 1 bag but 4 sacks of sawdust) buggered off to lay the 2nd half. It didn't help, or was it the hills? MM splitting off to become baby-minder, spotting the pack in Grove Road heading for the zoo, she put them right telling them 'no pub at the zoo' they still got lost! Reporting to the hares, they are unable to put them straight as they shortcut home - poor Crabbo and UCT, late and miss the trail on arrival. Relief! The hares have been wise enough to arrange 'phone a friend' and the remnants on the pack are On! They congratulate each other from the Griffin at the thought of no involvement in down down misdemeanours!

Short cutters arrive, somehow finding the only pub serving Wolf. Umplebore now complaining there was a 6 at the front of his odometre. SK and TB chuffed as hell at completing last half but only 6 miles and 3 checks - wasn't difficult was it??

Down downs the usual mixed debauchery based on above with Mr B as usual volunteering to help. Crabbo must really have been out of sorts as seen recovering on gassy beer and going the wrong way (with the one-way) on departure.

On!On! Anon anon anon anon . . .XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Mr Bossy

Stop Press . . . .

The CRABs would like to thank MrB for later culinary entertainment put together by his own fair hands, including a visit to the bearded moustachioed landlady at his local (kisses free), and the following day's post mortem carried out by Rugrat, aged 6, proving the next generation of CRABs can follow the trail even if this one can't.

RIDE no :: 99

Sat 14th Oct    Red Lion, Gt. Sampford Kirtling (and Cheevely)

Hares:: Boy-named-Siew, Beaver

Red Lion Kirtling The weekend's happening's included the usual sort of CRABs trail - plenty of the wrong sort of mud, and a lunch stop at a well-known Red Lion. The pub being warm and dry and the outside not, there was a certain reluctance to get moving again, and there were of course the inevitable post-lunch punctures to fix. But the promise of another refreshment stop and another built-in short cut for the Bramblers, eventually got the pack moving again.

The FRBs were again kept guessing by the hares and only the very cleverest beat the bramblers to the pub (another Red Lion!). A night of drunkenness and debauchery was promised, but the pack were too shagged out from the day's exertions to be doing with all that dancing, eating and drinking. Underwear, Ettles and Lightning (hereinafter referred to as the band) were energetic enough and indeed had obviously put in a mountain of work on lyrics and technical things like music, but although the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak and most people went to bed before closing time.

an intimate moment Amazing really: all that free beer and no-one with the energy to drink it!

RIDE no :: 100

Sun 15th Oct    Red Lion, Gt. Sampford Kirtling Brinkley

Hares:: Crabbo, GoldFlinger

Big Wheel After a night disturbed by a cacophony of grunts, rumbles and some rather more frightening noises echoing around the gymnasium, we all emerged at an improbably early hour to find that a new committee was probably in charge, but that no-one was likely to remember it's make-up.

T'boot2The trail (precisely the 100th to be ridden by the CRABs) set off a bit later even than usual so as not to get to the Boot before it opened! Hairs of dogs were consumed and bids for the freehold of the pub were discussed, before the pack set off again in pursuit of the live hares Crabbo and GoldFlinger. At this point some of the visitors decided to peel off in the direction of Newmarket and go for a 'proper' ride, taking Mummy's Boy and SoftKnob with them. Our two CRABs heroes may have preferred to do the trail as some of the rebels were a bit keen!

On!On!

Crabbo

RIDE no :: 93

Sat 15th July    Red Lion, Gt. Sampford

Hares:: Liz, Roger & Ed

It was a beautiful day, blisteringly hot and sunny. Somewhere. Somewhere else. Not, unfortunately, in Great Sampford, where it pissed down as around 16 of us assembled our bikes outside the Red Lion and waited for instructions from Liz.

We set off in the rain, wondering what the hell we were doing and when/if we would start to have any fun. Thankfully the rain didn't last too long - there were showers throughout the morning, but the afternoon was dry.

Ed and Liz's trail took us through undulating Essex countryside - along country lanes, across fields and farm tracks, with plenty of checks, but despite our best endeavours, we didn't manage to lose anyone. Not even Jim, who failed to understand that checking out a route for half a mile and blowing a whistle downwind of the pack is unlikely to be heard. We went through Great Bardfield then a long road stretch to avoid four miles of heavy mud, before reaching the White Hart at Great Saling, where we stopped for lunch.

A renegade splinter group calling themselves 'Bramblers' did a shorter route, meeting up with the rest of the pack at various checks and looking decidedly cleaner and more refreshed. They also made it to the lunch-stop first, no doubt to ask the pub staff to lose Pringle and Talking Bollocks' food orders. Grrr. (Future hares take note - it was only (marginally) funny the first time...)

After lunch we gave the hare a head start so that, at the pack's request, the trail could be adjusted to go through some 'heavy chod'. Something (terrain? beer? lardiness?) proved too much for Crabbo' saddle bolt, which sheared off halfway across a field, Crabbo narrowly avoiding becoming a falsetto. We huddled round the broken bike, consulted an impressive range of tool boxes, suggested improbable and bizarre solutions, and found little that we could mend it with, until Umplebum fished out a ... (wait for it) ... velcro strap. Ingenious! (No doubt he'll be selling them next!)

Pity it didn't work then really. Crabbo finished off the trail quietly, joining the Bramblers as soon as we met them again, more to preserve his remaining dignity than to avoid any physical risk.

On, and on, via Shalford, Waltham's Cross, Finchingfield and back to the Red Lion at Great Sampford. We raided the last beer from the Village Fete's beer tent before having a go on the crockery smashing stall and the tombola, winning luxury prizes, such as Umplebum's wine rack and coasters, Talking Bollocks's Molton Brown toiletries, Strooth's £1 coin holder. But I think I topped them all, with my 'Rubber on a Stick', which caused much amusement among the North American contingent. Talking Bollocks also bought a gas lamp and some plumbing hoses (for his mum, apparently - yeah Rob, right). We popped to the Red Lion for a warm up and a quick drink, before heading back to the Schwier's for plenty of down-downs.

Puncture League - Final score: Doghouse 1 Rest of Pack 0

Many thanks to Liz and Roger for their hospitality, and to Ed for co-haring. Top trail!

On!On!

Pringle

RIDE no :: 92

Friday 30th June    Jolly Brewers, Milton

Hares:: Meredith & Yeti

Quite a good sized pack gathered for a slightly late start, setting off towards the river, only to run out of flour. The trail was found entering the country park. We toured around the park along small tracks encountering checks at what seemed like about every 50 metres. This caused a fair amount of confusion, especially when we left the park and started heading straight back towards the pub, finding a mark only 100m from the pub, which looked like OH (On Home???) It was only 7:40pm, could this be the shortest ever bash? It was in fact a check with a number 4. The number meant that we were to be asked a question about Canada (it being Suzie & Ian's last bash before leaving for Canada after getting married earlier in the week). The questions were rather strange with a choice of 3 silly answers. Anyway, we continued, not to the pub but around a housing estate. Alistair joined us here; although it's not unusual for him to be late, on this occasion he was misinformed of the start time. A few more checks and questions then over the A10 and a quick re-group with Meredith handing out maple & pecan nut confections to the pack, again in honour to Ian & Suzie.

We then went onto some tracks in the countryside, by strawberry fields and orchards to Landbeach. It was along here that Crabbo laughed as he saw Jill falling off after her front wheel entered a large hole and then promptly did exactly the same himself. Later they compared bruises! We cycled through the village and a short time later we were back at the A10 to discover Steve waiting at the Slap Up for a beer stop. Suzie insisted on having a Labatt's!

On leaving the beer-stop the trail went to Waterbeach and a few cunning checks took us to the river, over the locks and eventually to Clayhithe. After getting onto the towpath back towards Cambridge the on inn was seen which was a fast bit of single track along the river back to Milton. All were back safely without tumbling into ditches - even Meredith.

Back at the pub, those that had pre-ordered supper were soon fed. Down-downs were given to Meredith & Steve as scouts, several virgins: Lea & Tony from Australia, Tony, Karen and Rebecca; Gaynor for her new mountain bike's virgin trail (Sally is hoping for commission); SoftKnob for stealing strawberries and Checkpoint & Umplebore for the first wedding photos (check out the pics , ed).

A few more beers were imbibed and several of the pack went back to SoftKnob & Gobbler's empty house to make a start on the last barrel of beer left over from the wedding celebrations.

SoftKnob & Gobbler will be sadly missed, though they will be back.

On!On!

Umplebore


Read about Charmouth to Barmouth - the 4th and final installment in the coast to coast trilogy!

RIDE no :: 91

Sat 10th June 2000   Audley End station

Hares:: Umplebore & Checkpoint

A rare fine warm morning saw this bash off to a staggered start. The first group setting off about 11:15 from Audley End station and the second group about fifteen minutes later when the second train had arrived. Apparently WAGN have trouble fitting too many bikes into one train. The trail was sufficiently foxy though, that the chasing group soon caught up with the advanced party.

The scouts had laid a good mixed trail, some road work and many tracks and grassy trails, a little mud but not too sticky for once. Well up to their very high standard.

A couple of mechanical problems struck during the morning. Doghouse had to stop to fix the first of his 3 punctures of the day. He has these clever tyres which are virtually bald in the middle - for optimum road work - and knobbly on the edges for grip in the shiggy. They don't work, of course - and they are prone to punctures...

The second problem was a broken chain for Chris Chapman. Unfortunately no one else was aware of the problem and Chris didn't have the tools to sort it out. The rest of the pack only found out about this at lunchtime when we managed to get through to him on a mobile phone, and he had decided to give up and go home. Sorry, Chris.

Lunch was at the Fox and Hounds at Clavering. The management and staff were very welcoming and the excellent food was served quickly and cheerfully all except for our virgin riders, Michael and Gill, who were forced to pinch everyone else's chips until their food was finally served. Doghouse fixed his second and third punctures... So suitably re-energised we set off for the second half.

Lurcher had abandoned her usual hybrid to try out Schoolboy's Dream's new all terrain bike. Her eulogies about this machine whetted Gaynor's appetite to give it a trial too, the "Teflon tourer" being something of a handful on the lumpy bits of the trail. So started the great musical bicycle saddles game. Kinky "lost" this game and ended up on the Teflon tourer, while Lurcher soon decided she wanted the Dream machine back... Anyway all 3 got down-downs for this behaviour so it was worth while in the end.

The afternoon ride proved just as enjoyable as the morning and ended up at the friendly Bell in Wendens Ambo. The still fine weather meant we could wind down in the garden and finish the day off with the now traditional "sitting-down" circle. (What is this bash coming to?)

On!On!

Kinky

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