And if we blend in the Government of the day augmented with traffic wardens, estate agents and any person who volunteers to be on a committee, we have created a body onto which all the evils and ills of the world could be blamed.
â€œReady the Scorpion Pits and Bring Fresh Spidersâ€ I hear you cry, but even in the benevolent dictatorship much loved by the Hedgehog, first there must be a trial where evidence of misdeeds and character assassinations can be aired. I didnâ€™t say it was going to be a fair trial.
The Wednesday FoD ride is become a confusing juxtaposition of slack and speed.Â Which I reversed by turning up early, before becoming increasingly lethargic. Whereas the riding widdle* rolled in at ever increasing intervals, with excuses ranging from forgetting what day it was to a total boycott of the Julian date system.
Now I had every reason to invoke faff-time what with the Cove maidening itsâ€™ reincarnation, no such latitude should be available to a man who has dispensed with his entire selection of gears. And yet, Adam appeared to be having significant car-park issues with his Inbred** resolved largely with rolls of gaffer tapes, and the occasional targeted trail tool wang.
Obviously I made jolly jest at his japery, and just as obviously he paid me back in spades.Â Â First tho a rude awakening â€“ of the arse mainly â€“ riding a single sprung end. Immediate and direct are good things when the front wheel is sniffing dusty trail, but less appealing when the rear attempts to insert the saddle up onesâ€™ jacksey.
I stopped for a pointless fettle only to find I had been abandoned. I donâ€™t think you need to be told which individual failed to pass on my need for a halt do you? In his defence, his knees may have been exploding, but this gave me little comfort in my increasingly desperate meanderingsÂ searching for riding pals, tell tale tyre tracks or a mobile phone signal.
I found the latter at exactly the time one of the Al-finding splinter groups called me up, established my location, listened to the confused silence after directing me back to the riding cluster, before hovering me up with more cheerfulness than Iâ€™d be exhibiting in his position.
There was some joshing around my under-developed sense of direction.Â I countered that it was developed just fine thanks, itâ€™s just a bit rubbish. Anyway while I was happy to re-united with the fine fellows whoâ€™d spent 15 minutes chasing round the forest searching for me, I couldnâ€™t help thinking the uni-cogged one was entirely responsible.
â€œSplit â€˜em up and the do â€˜em one at a timeâ€ I could see him thinking. My imagination ran wild projectingÂ a vision of a forest full of smashed derailers and severed limbs, as this advance guard of the one-geared Jihad carried out his dreadful night-work.
I was installed mid-pack and given stern warning not to wander off on my own again. A pack that snaked on some old-school trails skirting an enormous lake hidden by vegetation and some kind of invisibility field. Honestly, one minute there was nothing but trees and the next, some great bloody body of water looms in your field of vision. I fully expected to see some Athurian knight fetching a sword out of it.
Following on was a rooty trail needing pedalling to maintain motion.Â Puts the hard into hardtail that does, and watching the dual-spring boys riding away makes you appreciate just how damn good modern full-suss bikes are.Â Come the next big climb tho, the low weight, high power transfer of the Cove reels it back a bit.
But bikes â€“ mountain bikes especially â€“ are for riding downhill and a perfect example of such a trail now awaited. Two brilliant things happened down here, firstly I was reunited with the simpe joy of sorted hardtails nailing swoopy singletrack, and secondly the Singlespeeder fell off.
Adam looked a bit bemused at the cause of the accident. I was able to help him out by explaining that he had been unable to select the correct gear.Â What with him Â not having any.Â He may have laughed but I reckon when the rest of his alien tribe land, Iâ€™m first in line for the anal probe.
Light running out, we made hasty tracks onto â€œGreen Laneâ€ a peach of a trail arcing through head high vegetation. The super fast boys disappeared pretty quickly, as did any sense of where the trail went next as I found myself heading up the rest of the pack.
These fellas are also pretty rapid and I certainly couldnâ€™t deal with ignominy of being passed by an injured man missing vital components, so head up, imbibe virtual bravery pills, let the bike do itsâ€™ thing. Which it did stunningly well even with my wide eyed twitchiness at the speed we were now travelling.
Ace. Not quite as ace was Steveâ€™s short cut through a spiky part of the forest where he pretended there was a route. Clearly heâ€™d been egged on by the Singlespeeder, or the mind control was beginning to take over.
It did at least take us to a trail I ACTUALLY HAD DONE BEFORE. Only in the wet and on one of my first visits to this MTB playground. It did seem to pass far quicker this time around, but maybe I am just thinking slower nowadays.
Properly going dark now***, we finished up on a rollercoaster of a track that you probably wouldnâ€™t risk in the day. No better way to round offÂ a great ride than some dusky trail poaching. Except possibly for beer which was on the agenda, but a 5am start meant I had to wearily decline.
But, I thought, probably time for a quick cold one when I get home. Except the fridge was empty of liquid therapy, and the only alcohol alternative was to make myself a Snowball. Not even I am that dependant.
No beer in our fridge? I know, itâ€™s unheard of. Almost an impossibility. How could it be allowed to happen?
I blame the Singlespeeder 🙂
* What is the collective noun for a group of mountain bikers? Iâ€™ve always favoured â€œFlangeâ€ but could be persuaded on â€œGussetâ€ or even â€œTrunionâ€.
** This is a bicycle brand. Oh to be a fly on the wall during those marketing meetings. The hilarity eh?
*** I was going to use the phrase â€œThose nights are drawing inâ€ but dare not say it out loud in our house. It tends to trigger a violentÂ rolling pin reaction from Carol.