Sunday, 8 November 2015

Remembrance Sunday Ride

Last year we had the most excellent Sunday club ride visiting local sites of significance from World War II as our way of marking Remembrance Sunday. So this year we thought it would be rude not to do it again. This time we decided to leave poppies with a shop key ring at the memorial's we visited. Once again this was a very special ride and it was a pleasure to share with a brilliant group of people.

There have been many tributes this weekend. I took part in the silence at Franklin's Gardens yesterday where the wreath was laid at the only war memorial inside a rugby ground. Then came the emotional traditional reading it was stirring stuff. Here's the reading:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Before we made it to our first stop at Chelveston we had our first puncture of the day. The weather was much improved on the day before but it had left the roads filthy with all manner of debris. It was heavy going in mud and leaves and inevitably damp bits of sharp stuff worked their way into our tyres. Graham was the first victim. As is customary we tried to be helpful but mostly took the mickey.

I wasn't the only photographer today. Rob and Phil before he left us took some nice shots. Nat sent me hers and we open up with a picture that reminds me the diet still has some work to do but hey look at that magnificent photobomb from Steve. Great place to have a puncture, I've always liked the view from here on the road between Addington and Ringstead.

Hi Neil, you wish you have a bell on your bike...

Captures the conditions well, quite arty actually Nat

Despicable Steve, more on him later!

The first memorial is in memory of the bombers stationed at Chelveston. It feels utterly bizzare to imagine that flying machines of death and destruction were regularly rumbling out of here to rain hell on Germany. Brave as those lads were I often reflect on the innocent victims helplessly being obliterated below. War is abhorrent to me. Honoring the fallen  and praying it never happens again is the reason it's so important to me to wear the poppy. Right at the start of today's ride Steve dropped one of his informative bombshells (which is highly inappropriate wording by me.) The lad knows stuff and riding through Cranford he told of the German airmen buried in Cranford churchyard who had been shot down after bombing the furnaces at Islip.

Can you spot our small tribute?

Nat checks the firmness of Graham's tyre

Next stop was the site of Kimbolton airfield where a large gathering was in progress. They invited us to join their service but we politely declined and were thanked for our poppy. There's good information about this airfield here

Neil likes to take his jacket off safely

We were respectful at the war memorials but in between we were still us. The banter flowed and silliness reached new levels. How I never fall off my bike laughing I really don't know.

The village is for local people only

Nat's request to twiddle Steve's nipples was denied!

The chimps have escaped 

The next stop was Polebrook. Now Steve always says Errol Flynn was stationed here during the war and the swashbuckling Lothario sired many local children. However wikipedia says it was Clark Gable! Amazingly there is you tube footage of the operations at Polebrook.

Nat took another shot of my poppy placing

Then she captured my comfort break behind a tree

Behind that tree I found a geocache! How ridiculous is that? I've spent ages looking for those flipping things and then I go for a whizz behind a tree and one just happens to be there! Whilst we went to the memorial Stuart was the second puncture victim of the day.

More flaccid inner tubes

The hangar at Polebrook has an inaccessible memorial so we put a poppy on the fence

I have no idea what village we were in when Stuart punctured again. It was a bit of a mystery until the eagle eyed Rob found a tiny bit of flint stuck in his tyre. Whilst they sorted it out it seemed a good opportunity to stop off at another memorial and leave a C&D Cycles CC poppy. It's a proper village too. Check out the post box and red phonebox. Meanwhile Steve discovered a dog on a roof!

There's our poppy

fixing continues

The dog on the roof picture is a disappointment...zoom in you'll see what we meant

The next part of our journey was to visit the site of the bomber crash near Lievden New Bield link. This is a detailed memorial with a lot of personal information about the young men killed. It was good to see that others had already visited.


Information board

This time last year I lost my legs at this point. It was no different this year and I started to lag behind. The brigstock bumps were horrible and the wind was starting to pick up again. Even so I was loving it. This was a great ride. Next stop was Grafton Underwood which was a massive airbase that has lots of structures remaining with some still being used by farmers. wikipedia link also some 'urbex' people have done some interesting exploring.

Group shot

Poppy placed

It's a nice memorial 

info board

At ridiculously historic Geddington I left the group to get my self home. I had to get home quick so we could get to Northampton for recovery Sunday lunch at my parents. On the way I had one poppy left so I dropped it off at the Rushton memorial. The fact somewhere so tiny has a memorial shows just how much the two world wars affected every part of our country.

there's our poppy

wider angle with Clive in shot

So that was that, a great ride and great company. Well apart from I haven't told you about Steve Duke yet. Here's his crime:

  1. Rule #23//
    Tuck only after reaching Escape Velocity.
    You may only employ the aerodynamic tuck after you have spun out your 53 x 11; the tuck is to be engaged only when your legs can no longer keep up. Your legs make you go fast, and trying to keep your fat ass out of the wind only serves to keep you from slowing down once you reach escape velocity. Thus, the tuck is only to be employed to prevent you slowing down when your legs have wrung the top end out of your block. Tucking prematurely while descending is the antithesis of Casually Deliberate. For more on riding fast downhill see Rule #64 and Rule #85.
Steve is obsessed with getting into a tuck on downhills. On one point he was doing it on a flat piece of road, A heinous crime Steve, consider yourself told ;)

I had so many other ideas for this blog but without researching the role of bikes in wars or looking up more history to do with remembrance Sunday I just feel I got enough for one blog. So that's it.

Happy pedalling

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