Sunday, 30th November
Utley – Connonley – Carleton – Broughton – Gargrave – Rhylstone – Skipton – Utley. 35.51 miles.
Once again, Fatman is playing the blogging ‘Catch Up’ game. A combination of winter lurgies, and the pre-Christmas preamble has given me more than sufficient distraction from the writing for some of the more interesting and newsworthy elements of the bike rides to fall into the darker recesses of my murky mind, possibly never to be recovered again. However, numerous requests and, in some cases, demands have prompted me to pick up the virtual quill and re-commence my mindless scribblings once again.
Today (although, technically, it was one day several months ago, but who’s counting?) started remarkably early, with the alarm sounding at 4.30am, and a trip to Heathrow. Sadly, I was to be remaining in the country, whilst my international jet-setting girlfriend was to board a plane bound for New York, and a week of sightseeing and shopping, leaving me to my own devices. Girlfriend-duties duly completed, I hurried home, loaded the car with my shiny bicycle and the necessary paraphernalia for a few days in the native north, and hurtled the two hundred miles to the borders of West and North Yorkshire, and a lunchtime cycling date with my brother, Patrick.
As I should have expected, Patrick was far from ready upon my arrival, and the cycling didn’t kick off until after the lunch of pizza and more tea (I was the one drinking the tea) than you could shake a tea bag at. He eventually arrived at the rendezvous point of mum and dad’s house, and there was further delays, as dad spent an age trying to decide if he was coming with us or not. Having decided that he would, he pottered around, dressed more like Jacques Cousteau than anything resembling a cyclist, as he tried to repair an inner tube that had more holes than a war-time pensioner’s best underpants.
Inner tubes with so many holes weren’t meant to be repaired. Eventually, dad gave up, and Patrick and I went on our way without him. It being mid-December, we were hardly full of the joys of spring, but rather jovial, nevertheless. This was until the Patrick’s first pedal-stroke of meaning. He popped the chain onto the big ring and stood up on the pedals, then the chain snapped and he nearly lost his wedding vegetables on the crossbar. We turned around, and I pushed him the four million miles back to his house.
Finally, astride his single-speed of unknown gearing and dubious lineage, we started out again. The lack of anything other than the one gear meant that Patrick’s plans of attacking the climb of Fleet Moss and, presumably, murdering me in the process had to be shelved. The route took us out over some rather lumpy roads, but without anything in the way of major climbing. Other than nearly losing the bicycle to the ice (the temperature never got above -1°c) on the dark side of a hill, and a tea-eliminating wee against a secluded tree, the rest of the ride went without incident.
Several hours later, we arrived home. I was knackered, but Patrick was rather disappointed. In a pre-ride text message, he’d said, “You’d better have the good grace to be shite”. I was, but I “wasn’t wheezing enough”. There’s just no pleasing some people, is there?
Fatman: Pinarello Paris with full 9-speed Ultegra and Mavic Open Pros
Patrick: Orbea Somethingorother with buggeredifIknow/Raleigh single-speed thing of unknown-ness
Dad: The sofa. Asleep in front of Bargain Hunt or similar