There are mornings when you set off for a bike ride with a song in your heart. And there are mornings when the song is ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’. This morning was one of the latter. I was supposed to be leading a nice social ride, but I had managed to send out an email two weeks ago to everyone who was likely to attend with the wrong date and only realised my mistake yesterday, so very few people could actually make it. And anyone else who might still have been able join me would have looked out of the window and seen that the weather was designed to put to the test the saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s only bad clothing.’ It was that sort of fine damp rain that not only gets you wetter than any other kind of rain, but can go on for ever. And besides, I was wearing my waterproof overtrousers and if those aren’t the definition of ‘bad clothing’ then I don’t know what is.
But anyway, it had been in the paper that there was going to be a ride and I had better be there at the rendezvous point in case any particularly masochistic nutters fancied a bike ride, and so I had to cycle the eight miles there, rain or no rain, muttering to myself that if this was cycling campaigning then perhaps I had done enough of it. Nobody duly turned up and I was just about to go and have a nice coffee and a slice of cake with the other half instead when two chaps arrived having come all the way from England just for this ride. And they were keen. When I tentatively suggested cutting it short and just heading for the cafe they weren’t having any of it. In fact they suggested a nice detour around the coast road to boot to add a few miles on. Rain? Well, we were dressed for it weren’t we? And off we went.
I have long theorised that it’s impossible to be truly grumpy on a bike. And indeed, although the rain kept going for most of it, and the wind managed to be in our faces both out and back, in the end it was fine. Not, perhaps, fun in any technical sense of the word, but fine. One of my fellow riders was a local campaigner across the border and we swapped ideas as we went along. We visited a church with an Anglo Saxon cross that was saved from the iconoclasts of the Reformation by being buried by the local congregation and later reinstated. We stopped at Brow Well to see the one place Robert Burns drank in that wasn’t a pub (and which probably killed him), and again to admire a huge flock of oystercatchers waiting for the tide to turn. And then we reached the cafe – a largely community-run venture on a spectacular spot on the river where we were revived with hot drinks and (for my part, anyway) an egg and sausage roll that hit the spot like nothing else. And the rain finally stopped and the clouds parted as we rolled back the last four or five miles, steaming gently in our waterproofs. And then I cycled the last eight miles home and collapsed by the Rayburn for the rest of the day
Now my understanding of the coffeeneuring rules was that a coffee stop taken as part of an organised ride does not count. However I’m hoping that as this ride was partly organised in order to go to a cafe, then it might sneak through on some sort of a technicality …
Mileage (including to and from the start point: 44 miles)