18th December 9:00 / 9:30 Joint Christmas Ride

Riders: Santa, Santa, Santa, Rudolf, Elf, Elf, Pixie, Pixie, Santa, Fairy, Elf , Comet, Donner, Blitzen, Santa, Santa, Elf, Fairy, Elf, Pixie, Pixie, Pixie, Pixie and Pixie

Twas the last Sunday before Christmas and all around Tickhill Cricket club not a creature was stirring not even a mouse until 9:00 when riders started arriving for the annual TVC fancy dress Christmas ride!

Some snow would have been nice but in reality, the weather was perfect, not too chilly (some even wore shorts), not too windy, and nice & bright an all-round perfect cycling day.

30 riders in various guises including Elves, Pixies, Fairies and positive festive feast of Santa’s gathered to compare costumes, bike decorations and catch up on pre-Christmas activities. There were some brilliant costumes but Alan Hunter’s Santa outfit was so good he was asked to show his membership card to ensure the real Santa hadn’t gate crashed our ride.

Tinsel and baubles attached, mp3 player fired up, final costume checks done it was time get the show on the road but on a serious note there were 30 of us so we had a safety briefing from Santa and split into three groups to leave an over taking gap for passing cars. Group one lead by Santa, Group two led by … Santa and Group three also led by Santa pulled out of the Cricket club and turned right into Tickhill.

Although still early the few people and motorists about set the tone for the ride in the first few minutes with friendly waves and toots from drivers and calls of “Merry Christmas” from passers-by. Never has there been so much love for cyclists from motorists leading us to the conclusion that we should change our club kit from Magenta to Red and Green pixie suits to continue the phenomenon, one for the AGM agenda?

Basking in the festive goodwill we headed out of Tickhill and up Malpass hill towards Oldcotes. At this point it became apparent the fancy dress costumes are not built for exercise with several fairies overheating and certainly one Santa suffering a catastrophic costume failure in the gusset region. Note to Kit Secretary; perhaps we should investigate the Bioracer festive aero suits for next year.

Malpass hill showed no respect for the festive season and split the groups up as usual but we had reformed by Oldcotes and held formation for the ride into Langold. It was a strange sight to see a group of Elves and Pixies in front of you giving all the usual hand signals and warning calls of “car up” & “car down” and the festively appropriate “Ho Ho Hole” to warn of potholes up ahead.

Not sure the good folk of Langold were ready for us as several “Merry Christmases” from the peloton went unanswered and a couple of motorists returned our waves with not too friendly hand gestures! Note to Santa: no presents for these naughty folks!

Langold became Carlton and the festive love returned as we made a right turn at the Co-Op and headed out towards Gildingwells passing the biggest inflatable reindeer in the world whose red nose was even bigger than the one on Mark’s pants!  On we went, Fairies wilting due to exertion but we made good progress bolstered by DJ Mark’s selection of Christmas songs and carols.

One problem experienced by the Santa’s on the ride, when you look over your shoulder your fake beard blows up covering your eyes! Not a problem Matt has with his real beard, perhaps we should ban fake beards next year for Elf & Safety reasons and encourage the growth of real face furniture.

The ride back into Tickhill was via Gildingwells, Letwell and Firbeck the residents of which returned the good will securing their visit from Santa on the 25th and as we were making good time a detour was taken to spread the TVC Christmas spirit around Harworth and Bircotes before rolling into Wellingtons Café for fuel.

Excellent service as usual with a quick turn round on coffee, tea, scones, cakes and buns while the Santa’s on the ride looked for the traditional mince pies and milk left out by the kids. Fully refreshed we were only ½ mile from the Cricket Club but Chief Elf Adrian had other ideas and took us on a 6 mile tour of Tickhill taking in virtually every street at least once, probably allowing the Santa’s on the ride to plan their route. The Peloton paused outside Fentons Butchers for a photo with one of our key members and sponsors and a gasp of amazement was heard as Chief Pixie Pete performed a classic over handlebar dismount.

Photos taken and with no roads left to explore in Tickhill we made our way back to the cricket club. What a fantastic end to 2016, looking forward to 2017 and more memorable rides with some great people.

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!!!

S. Claus

More photos on the club Flickr page - Click Here