They came out in their ‘droves’ today………
No doubt it had something to do with everybody being back from their summer holidays, it being the last Sunday of August and the sun happened to be shining……..all little (but important) factors in the process of deciding whether or not to climb on that bike after an early breakfast.
As I normally do, I headed directly out to the café-stop to meet up with the groups, thus neatly avoiding adding the extra 20 miles to St Ives, and then only to find the route actually goes through my own village on the way out……..
Most Sundays there seem to be 2-3 groups, riding at their respective speeds, and the café seldom has more than 20-25 to serve. Today, however, there seemed to be 5 groups, plus a few independents like myself, and the Old Barn garden in Wadenhoe turned into a sea of red……..
I think the staff were somewhat stretched to serve the 40-50 that turned up, when they were only expecting about 20. But……it was all good for business. I am convinced that the regular business that cycling clubs bring to country tearooms keeps them thriving. And long may it last……
We are blessed in the East Midlands with a huge variety of country tearooms, many of them in sleepy little hamlets, but they manage to survive, even thrive. A mainstay of the numbers that cross their thresholds is the lycra-clad brigade. We arrive, after doing a ‘chunk of miles’, sometimes in challenging circumstances, and expect to be served a gallon of tea and a selection of cakes and scones.
Today, the Old Vicarage Tearoom at Naseby beckoned, along with the pleasure of the company of other like-minded roadies. Except for me, to get my cup of tea and cake, it was the mean distance of 35 miles just to get there, with a similar distance to get back home (of course).
Now I’m not complaining about doing the miles. I mean, someone has to suffer for the benefit of mankind……. But this was suffering of a different order. There was a 20mph (32kph) wind coming from the west, and guess which way I was going………you’ve got it, due west……..all the way.
The last five miles were purgatory (ie. not quite hell). It had taken me about an hour longer to do the distance than in normal conditions, so I was ready for that gallon of tea and endless selection of cakes and scones.
But most afflictions have some compensation……meaning of course, when they stop. But in this case, my route home had the added blessing of a powerful tailwind, making me feel good about the average 20+mph speed. It’s good to be reminded of those days when that might have been an average club-run speed…….