Riders: Fairy, Elf, Head Elf, Cow, Father Christmas, trainee Father Christmas, Grinch

 

True to forecast we met in cold dry weather at the cricket club ready for a 9.30 start. For a while it looked like we were but two. One from the 9.00 group and me from the 9.30 group. But things picked up and the 9.00 group swelled the ranks till they made the numbers up to seven!

 

Personal fashion and bike decor was inventively and artistically carried out and we set off confidently towards the Buttercross - already practicing the “Merry Christmas’s” and “Ho, Ho Ho’s”.

 

For those, like me, who have never gatecrashed a 9am ride don’t be alarmed, give it a go. The image of Lean, mean racing machine is only partly true — the cow for instance didn’t look lean enough to sell on eBay. They chatted and for half the ride they sang and the clincher for me was they have piped music!

 

The temperature was 4o and forecast to rise, the roads were wet but not icy, it wasn’t raining or snowing so we sped along through the village without a care ….. A left at the travellers’ rest and we headed towards Oldcotes and the greater world beyond. There were cars but not many so we doubled up and singled out. The fairy rode at least half the route with one hand in the air waving at passers by dispensing seasons greetings and providing the soprano to the bass of the mornings sing-along. Most but not all recipients of the greetings respond favourably (probably down to deafness!) other than little boy racer who almost took out the cow when he failed to spot the traffic island the other side of Langold. But Heigh ho and onwards we went. 

 

Somewhere along the road it began to rain, gently at first and increasing over the next hour or so. We were made of finer stuff — well they all were, as my Poundland Santa suit didn’t perform well a) outside and b) when wet. The red bling on my chainrings more or less matched the black hole on my right Poundland ankle. 

 

A quick loop round the side streets of Carlton-in-Lindrick and we started what turned out to be the return leg. A journey without incident up to the point when the decision to do all the unknown back roads and footpaths of the village made me realise Head Elf knew where he was going and what he was doing. Check out his Strava map — he was clearly trying to do the flying swan image. 

 

Part way round Tickhill the Poundland trousers had me trapped and were confined to the handlebars. But we were not finished, even taking the road (is that even public) through Estfeld Farm. Somewhere along this section my Poundland jacket reached the end of its useful life — do you know how heavy a pair of trousers and a jacket fully laden with water is? If it was your bin I filled please don’t try to recycle trousers or jacket perhaps donate to your dog as bedding!

 

We made an early entry to Wellingtons where management didn’t realise I was from the 9.30 group so let us sit inside! What more excitement could I cope with! Coffee and scone went down well although it felt like spreading scone on butter to me rather than the other way round — well if they provide lots of butter I feel it’s only polite to use it.

 

Café manager took his own photo and we managed a few of our own before admitting it was time to head home (a couple of hundred yards for me, longer for others). It was a short but very enjoyable ride, thanks guys and have a good Christmas see you in the new year.

 

PS not sure who named Grinch and I couldn’t think of an appropriate Christmassy alternative. Being of an uncertain age I have no idea whether it is good or bad