ExeterBikeBusReports201301

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Exeter Bike Bus - Ride Reports - January 2013

31 January 2013 - Powderham

Keith reports for a fourth week running ! ...

Please find below my attempt to describe at least some of yesterday's experience:

Those Bike Bus members who have had the privilege of Kirby’s acquaintance far longer that I will undoubtedly already be aware his influence on other people’s lives extends far beyond Bike Bus or even CTC circles. I have witnessed recent personal experience of this. Since last week’s Bike Bus report was published my domestic life has changed, probably permanently. Janet, has neglected her family duties spending an inordinate amount of time scrubbing and bleaching her jodhpurs in what appears to be a futile attempt to get them as white as those depicted in Kirby’s publication and, perhaps more seriously, she has demanded tea in bed every day since!

However, let me move on to yesterdays ride. I had a very pleasant ride to Topsham during which I enjoyed conversation more interesting and on a much higher intellectual plane than I had become used to on bike bus excursions. Yes, you’ve guessed, I was on my own talking to myself. As I passed Exeter Airport the windsock was rigidly horizontal from a Westerly direction which indicated, as I remembered Ian telling me once, (anyone remember him?) a wind speed of 30 knots. There were no passengers to collect at Topsham so I went on to the swing bridge where I arrived precisely on time. On alighting from my bicycle, however, my foot caught in my rack bag and I slid unceremoniously to the ground just as Sue Booth led the Exeter contingent around the corner to find me on my back in the middle of the cycle path like a stranded turtle.

The remainder of the journey to Powderham was enjoyable but uneventful. Whilst Bike Bussers and coffee potters were enjoying the various delights on offer, Glenis arrived. She offered some lame tale about a faulty front mech changer which caused her to be delayed (she must be running out of excuses for missing the bus), a story which was exposed as a fib later on our journey.

Glenis rock cake remainder.jpg

After coffee Kirby, Glenis, Richard, Mike and Sue Booth, Wolf and I set of for Halden Hill with Mike in the lead. I’d like to thank him for taking us in the completely opposite direction so we could all experience the steepest approach to the top! Glenis streaked up the hill to the extent even I had to change down to my middle ring to keep up with her. She had apparently forgotten her 'faulty' front mech was supposed to be slowing her down! We took luncheon, however, near the obelisk where we enjoyed the most beautiful views over the Exe estuary. From there we went to the Haldon Grill for a hot drink. Glenis bought a fruit scone a third of which she generously saved, wrapped in toilet paper, apparently for her family’s evening meal.

Refreshed, we left the café where, outside, Richard found the need to fiddle with his front wheel. He had fiddled with the rear one on a previous trip. Whilst he did so the remaining passengers amused themselves by helpfully performing an intricate version of synchronized cycling through the puddles in the café car park.

We went our separate ways home and I accompanied Glenis as far as the approaches to Topsham where she said she had to call in at Darts Farm. She didn’t explain why but I assumed she felt the scone portion needed something to liven it up a bit before it reached the dining table.

Overall, it was an extremely enjoyable day out in great company.

The data I recorded are as follows:

Distance: 50.15m
Time: 4.31.41
Ave Speed: 11.1mph
Max Speed: 33.4mph
Elevation Gain: 3,858 ft
Calories: 3,131
Maximum Temp: 59.0f
Minimum temp: 46.4f

Mike responds indignantly:-

I would take issue with Keith on 2 points:-

Mike powderham haldon.png

1. The ride from the Swing Bridge to Powderham was hardly "uneventful". Having seen the mirth (oops sorry, I meant concern) with which we all treated Keith's stranded turtle impression, Laura decided to copy him and throw herself from her bike. Luckily Nurse Pauline was on hand to assist her, and Dr Wolf administered First Aid in the form of a sticking plaster.

2. Regarding my apparently wayward and steep approach to Haldon, this just displays Keith's lack of understanding of the finer points of Bike Bus leadership. With more experience he would have realised I was employing the "sneak up on it from behind" technique to enable us to use the flat route rather than the steep one we took. This technique would have worked had it not been for a formal complaint regarding the route submitted to me by another member of the party (no names etc, but she had a gear problem). Following this complaint, I had no alternative but to reroute, hence the steepness. Incidentally, I could have found a much steeper way than the one we took, so Keith should be thankful, not critical.

24 January 2013 - Exmouth

One of this week's reports comes via Facebook (whatever that is) ...

587


Keith reports via a more traditional means:-

I hardly slept a wink on Wednesday night! An ambiguous weather forecast and acute anxiety over whether ‘management’ would let me ride the following morning, deprived me of any meaningful slumber. So, after a long and restless night, it was with no little trepidation I waited for dawn to reveal my fate. Alleluya! The snow was almost gone and there was no visible sign of frost or ice so, fortified with bowl of porridge, it was with a scintilla of optimism I took Janet her tea in bed.

Janet potlock on horse.jpg

After just one sip, however, she casually mentioned she was taking her horse out - so I knew I was home and dry! I didn’t even have to mention ‘geese and ganders’. So, subject to the usual conditions and with her words of caution and thinly veiled threats as company I set off to Exmouth.

My only concern was the sleep deprivation I mentioned earlier. Informed opinion is that those subject to it are more likely to have accidents, become ‘dumbed down’, have a reduced sex drive, become forgetful and suffer impaired judgment. Happily, as the day wore on I appeared to be suffering from none of these ill effects (perhaps, however, I am not the best judge of some of them).

Scone.jpg

My journey to Exmouth was uneventful and I arrived at the allotted café to find Kirby already ensconced. We were later joined by the Exeter contingent and, eventually, by Susan and Judy, the only other representatives from East Devon. As usual the welcome at the café was excellent. Unfortunately, however, for Judy and Geoff, the scones were not! Future, scone-eating patrons of the café should be grateful to Geoff who found a diplomatic way of telling the proprietor to find a new supplier. Incidentally, the toasted teacakes were perfect.

After coffee, under Mike’s expert leadership, we took the cycle path to Budleigh, meandered to Otterton and then went our various ways home.

Overall, a day which, for me, started with such uncertainty, proved, in the event, very satisfactory indeed!

The data I recorded for my ride are as follows:

Distance: 34.10m
Time: 3.02.36
Ave speed: 11.2
Max Speed: 28.5
Calories: 2097
Elevation gain: 2641 ft.
Max elevation 588ft.
Max temp. 59f
Min Temp: 33.8f

SHOCK HORROR!!!

EX-MET MAN SEEN CYCLING IN EXMOUTH!

Mike adds:-

Contrary to popular opinion, ex-Met man Kirby James has not given up cycling completely. It can be reported that several reliable witnesses saw him on a secret outing from Exeter to Exmouth last Thursday. One witness, Trevor Bishop, even managed to cycle with Kirby during this amazing event. When interviewed about this, Trevor stated "Well I was just like waiting at the Swing Bridge, y'know, when he came along. I was a bit early for the Bike Bus, and I think he was hoping to sneak by all unseen like. But I saw him and latched on, rode all the way to Exmouth with him, I did!"

Pills.jpg

Rumours have been circulating recently that septuagenarion Kirby had hung up his bike clips following a sustained bout of man-flu, but it looks as though all that could be untrue. Instead let us hope we are seeing the return of the Weatherman par excellence and Bike Bus Driver extrordinaire. Or is he just teasing us with this threat of returning to competitive cycling, particularly as he has had to admit to prolonged drug-taking (allegedly to combat his recent illness).

Time will tell, but we all wish him well for a speedy recovery.

17 January 2013 - Uffculme

Keith reports:-

Given the imminence of our forthcoming escape to sunnier climbs and my recent propensity for throwing myself off my bicycle in icy conditions so that our first couple of weeks in the sun are usually spent supporting me on crutches, Janet has banned me from cycling in any actual or expected sub-zero conditions. It was with some trepidation, therefore, that I met the dawn yesterday morning and studied the weather forecasts and interrogated the young lady from the Met office who is lodging with us at the moment. Between us, and not without considerable difficulty, we managed to convince Janet that the temperature was expected to remain the positive side of 0 degrees!

Keith preparing to set off in 'balmy' conditions

I was permitted to set off, therefore, but only under some very stringent conditions, namely; only on a bike with no clip in pedals, wearing high visibility clothing and a promise to abort at the first sign of ice.

In the event the conditions were almost balmy and I joined Hugh, Susan, Judy and Tim at Whimple for an enjoyable but uneventful ride to Uffculme where we met the Exeter contingent and Kirby who, sadly, was in mufti having not yet fully recovered from the horrible bug afflicting him. After a nice bacon buttie (Judy had an egg in hers for the extra protein) we elected Glenis to lead us on a route to Honiton for lunch. Beautifully exercising her obviously well practiced management style she immediately delegated leadership to us all collectively. As a consequence, I set off with Susan, Marilyn, Roger, Judy and Tim – followed at a safe distance by Glenis – and somehow we managed to wend our way to the Boston Tea Party via a quiet and lovely route taking in Culmstock, the challenging Lemon Hill to the Beacon and down into Honiton.

Overall a very enjoyable ride during which I recorded the following data:

Distance: 42.9m
Time: 3.56.26
Ave Speed 10.9.mph
Max Speed: 28.7 mph
Elevation gain: 3179 ft.
Max elevation: 824 ft.
Calories: 2602
Min Temp: 4C

Meanwhile Glenis reports, somewhat sheepishly:-

With my usual efficiency as soon as the Bike Bus schedule was issued, I hastily printed it off and stored it away for Thursday. I vaguely remember something about a revised timetable and I thought I had checked all was Ok.....

Thursday morning came - no ice - so I set off eagerly looking forward to the ride and camaraderie among fellow cyclists. I confess I missed the Woodbury stop but unusually I was on time at Aylsebeare - but no cyclists. I continued without concern to Whimple - unusually still arriving on time - but again no cyclists - not even the Greens. Deciding to gather as much information about the situation as possible, I asked the people in the Whimple bus queue - um - they confirmed that they hadn't seen any cyclists either. Still unpeturbed I continued as per the timetable to Talaton - but again no cyclists. Something about "revised timetable" entered my conciousness, so I decided it would be best to open the map and establish my route to Coldharbour Mill.

Split in map near uffculme.jpg

DISASTER I was alone in Talaton and Coldharbour Mill wasn't on my map.

Quickly, I remembered the newly formed BIKE BUS CO-ORDINATOR - and located the emergency number. The service from this new department of the organisation was first class. Firstly my name was taken and then my location was established; the BBC then quickly moved onto the location I was trying to get to and ascertained the nature of the problem. There was no requirement to go through musical hold; no need to fill in any forms or even provide any security information - wonderful. The BBC then efficiently provided the required information to supplement my limited map facility and I was on my way again in no time.

I arrived at the Mill at exactly the time the bus timetable I had with me showed, which shows how excellent the BBC were. An enormous thanks to the BBC without whom I could still be wandering around Devon looking for the infamous Coldharbour Mill.

After a welcome coffee, I was asked to lead - surprising given my mishaps with the revised timetable. However, as any good manager would - I involved the whole team and took the opportunity for others to show their true potential. I'm delighted to report the Team worked well together and chose an excellent route to a good location providing delightful rocky road and hot chocolate. Well done team!

Glenis lost near uffculme.png

Extract from the Bike Bus' Operation's Centre Log:-

Hub’s emergency line rang at around 9.50 am from a lonesome Glenis who had unusually missed the Bike Bus at both Whimple and Talaton stops – with passerbys unhelpfully claiming to have not seen any cyclists in the area for quite some years.

Uffculme being infuriatingly just off her Exeter/East Devon map, she needed guidance from just north of Kentisbeare. With both maps already at standby excellent directions were provided by Hub for keeping west of Smithincott and crossing the river. All in a mornings work for the Hub.

Steph

10 January 2013 - Exmouth

Keith reports:-

In John's enforced absence (we hope he recovers soon) I was thrust, somewhat reluctantly, into leadership of our East Devon contingent. Arriving at Aylesbeare Cross in plenty of time I was soon met by an equally punctual Judy and Tim. Although Glenis was a minute or so behind, in her usual athletic way she was soon storming up behind us as we breasted the hill at Tipton Cross.

From then on, each bus stop was reached in ample time and, with the help of precision GPS time-keeping, departure achieved precisely on schedule. Visibility, especially over Woodbury Common, was fairly limited but, mercifully, everyone behaved the best they could and I was able to keep tabs on even the most unruly passengers. Despite numerous stops whilst Judy tried various combinations of her extensive cycling wardrobe, apparently wrestling with a decision between fashion or comfort, we reached Kings very close to the allotted time.

Budleigh-beach.jpg

We were pleased to see the Exeter lot already in attendance, especially those in various stages of recuperation from the variety of ailments unfortunately afflicting them. After coffee it was decided that those willing and able would head to Budleigh for lunch on the sea-front. We set off under the leadership of Judy who, by then, had reached some sort of equilibrium over what to wear (I am not competent to offer an opinion as to whether fashion or comfort was victorious!).

By the time we reached Budleigh it was raining persistently and Judy's trusty lieutenant, Glenis, organised us with a precision John would have been proud of, so that our bicycles were stored at one end of the shelter whilst we dined at the other. The executive may wish to consider a letter of apology to the residents of Budleigh for whom there was no room left for them to shelter from the elements. We enjoyed a luncheon punctuated with conversation about, inter alia, the London Olympics which, I suppose, was not surprising given the collective athleticism of those present.

Judy and Glenis then made their way to visit Steph** whist the remainder of us took to the cycle path to Exmouth and then on to the Estuary cycle way from where we peeled off to our various destinations. Overall, it was a very enjoyable if somewhat unremarkable ride but, in the unlikely event that anyone is interested, I include some of my ride statistics below:

Distance:        50.79 mi
Time:            4:44:31
Avg Speed:       10.7 mph
Elevation Gain:  3,586 ft
Calories:        3,017 C
Avg Temperature: 45.5 °F

Judy reports in her inimitable breathless style:-

Yesterday! GLENIS and I decided to check Steph was following Drs orders and pay her a visit in deepest Feniton. All other riders having said they would head for home because a weather front was pending!! Well!!

In the end a band of 8 set off towards the bike track via the Lympstone loop. Kirby who said he was too ill was spotted at a distance also in outer Lympstone. Exeter being in the other direction!

Tim was seen shortly afterwards coming from Exmouth?! More clandestine cycling!

Clouds did give increasing precipitation at Exmouth. This was to Marylyn’s delight as she had new over trousers to be tested. The first pair she has ever owned!

On to Budleigh Pavilion, where a dining room was set up at one end and the bikes sheltered happily at the other.

Judy and GLENIS suddenly realised deepest Feniton was 20 miles away. Quick phone call and steph, who is now allowed to drive, agreed to afternoon tea at Joshua’s.

With all speed we retraced our morning’s peddle over mud, sand, thorns and road craters to arrive sopping wet at the said elegant tea room.

I’m pleased to report the Brigadier of cycling operations is making good progress. judy

Judy and Glenis' Covert Visit to Steph's Operations Centre

Bike bus plotting table.jpg

Many of you have asked for more details of Stephanie's operation which tracks cyclists.

The assistance of Bikelands, Exmouth is gratefully acknowledged

Thus Judy and Glenis were dispatched on a covert mission, ostensibly to inquire after Steph's health, but in reality to uncover the secrets of her tracking facility.

It had been surmised that Stephanie had employed Warren to design a hi-tec electronic tracking and display system but the reality proved to be rather more prosaic.

A map was spread out on a large table. On this were placed scale models of each member of the bike bus - complete with appropriate clothing.

Judy reports that the map also was covered in crumbs - evidence that the operators were refreshing themselves during their period on duty. Glenis managed to snatch a photo of one corner of the table showing four cyclists apparently lost somewhere near Okehampton.

From the blurry photo we have not managed to identify the riders but the suspicion is that they are Ian, Huw, Richard and Steve.

Operation's Centre Log

We also have a record of the events from Stephanie's Operations Log

I’d set myself up as a temporary Bike Bus Hub during an enforced period of rest as I didn’t want to miss out on the shenanigans and had noticed ongoing failures in recent months to meet at given times, read timetables, have relevant mobile numbers, know how to txt and even to carry maps. I sat by the operations map and waited for signals (txt, Morse code or Roy’s Pigeon Post).

Rescue vehicle.jpg

Reliably, two hardy sorts with phenomenal enthusiasm for additional miles and/or hills and no fear of the forecasted inclement weather, txted in with decision to take a loop after coffee to visit the Operations Room but needed advice for route. Great! This is exactly what the Hub was set up for.

Hub advise: Kings - Yettington - Otter Valley - Tipton - Fairmile - Escot Estate - Feniton, (Hub estimated a possible arrival time of between 1 and 1.30pm, just in time for lunch).

Therefore route taken was: Kings - Budleigh - who knows where? Second txt came in at 1.30 from Budleigh with weather closing in fast indicating abortion of plans. Hub pottered out to emergency vehicle (medics have advised against speed and undue exertion) and met the drowned rats at Joshua’s, Ottery (where 20 minutes was spent peeling off soggy layers). Failure to adhere to route advise or attend to weather can be overlooked – they paid for Hub’s pot of tea and flapjack!

3 January 2013 - Honiton

Dave reports ...

As the sun rose on a sultry January day the passengers of the bike bus were shaking off the cobwebs of their Christmas and New Year celebrations and preparing for their first outing of 2013.

There was an early surprise when one of the key quay passengers didn't even make it to the terminus - could he have over-indulged during the festive season?

Some other evidence of lack of match fitness was seen when one passenger got off the bus at the Swing Bridge to return home and another turned round a couple of miles later - we wish them all a swift recovery.

Boston tea party honiton.jpg

Onward we went and despite the lack of sunshine, the warm weather meant we were all sweating nicely on the first incline. An uneventful but pleasant ride followed until we got to the stop where John had informed us that he would meet us. After ten minutes of waiting we realised that this was a ruse and he had slipped off in front of us in an attempt to get to the coffee stop at the head of the queue. Of course, trying to outwit the bus was futile and we caught and overtook him 200 yards from The Boston Tea Party where we enjoyed our well earned refreshments.

Bike-rim-cross-section.jpg

Most of us then carried on towards Budleigh. On the way Richard's bike started acting very strangely-the back wheel locking up intermittently. After 10 minutes of 8 different "experts" poking and prodding at it, that excellent product of German engineering - Wolf - realised that he had got a split rim. He decided to take a short cut home.

Lunch looking out over a benign Budleigh sea with a leaden grey winter sky was a beautiful thing. Keith and John then left for home and the remainder of us headed up to the old railway line, through Phear Park and up the estuary trail back to Exeter.

On the quay, the member who was too "ill" to join the ride was spotted on his bike, panniers full, returning from the off licence (though he swore it was M&S!).

A very enjoyable day and despite some very bad behaviour, not a black sheep in sight!

Bagpipe river.jpg

Penny adds ...

Approaching Ebford a mysterious ring-tone was heard, which on getting closer to the source of the noise we realised was a lone bagpipe player banished to the reeds on the shoreline. There were plenty of wading birds warbling along with him so perhaps he always practices there!

  ... and John writes ...

Liz was the only one that joined me at West Hill Memorial and again there was no one else at the Ottery Car Park so we pressed on alone via Feniton, Buckerall and Weston only to be overtaken in Honiton High Street by Keith's team who again accused me of leaving the pick up points early. Fortunately Tim and Judy then arrived and admitted that they were five minutes behind the programme having left Woodbury slightly late.

None of this mattered as we all enjoyed coffee at the Boston Tea Party before, in the absence of our executive representative (Kirby) a lengthy discussion followed on the route ahead. Finally B Salterton was agreed via (wait for it) Gittisham and East Hill Strips. Eight of us departed with Tim and Judy promising to catch us up and all managed the long challenging hill beyond Gittisham. Most of us used the off road stretch to link in with the Strips although Tim and Judy went the long way round by road which meant they did not catch us up until the White Cross car park.

The next incident was caused by the rim of Richard's back wheel which suddenly distorted while approaching Otterton, so he could only continue by disconnecting his rear brakes. No charge was made for the extensive technical advice offered by all and sundry as he left us and headed cautiously for home in Topsham. After this delay we continued via the damaged road along the Otter ending up in the now well known verandah on Budleigh promenade. Unlike last Sunday the sea this time was calm and grey blue, rather than wild and chocolate coloured, indeed the view was quite pleasant and relaxing.

After lunch we dispersed with most heading for Exmouth and the estuary cycle track while Keith and John headed back up the valley via Tipton St John. A dry if chilly day with patches of grey cloud, but perhaps because of this the overall view from White Cross had been quite spectacular.

The Executive Offer a New Service for 2013

Bike bus plotting table.jpg

Given the large number of people who have been lost on Bike Bus Outings (has anyone seen Jane, Ced, Diane, or Trevor recently?) the Executive has decided to offer a new service for 2013.

After a rigorous selection process Stephanie has been chosen to manage this operation.

Basically lost Bike Busers will (assuming they know they are lost) will txt (assuming they have a mobile phone and know how to use it) Stephanie a message (assuming they know her number) and her team will plot their location on a master map of Southern England (thus assuming that they are not that lost).

The adjacent photo shows a practice session with two Bike Bussers lost in the English Channel.

Then, depending on who is lost, Stephanie's Team will either arrange a rescue or ignore the call.

27 December - Powderham

Bike bus 2012 12 27.jpg

Mike reports:-

Not many! Just Sus and I at the Quay, then Wolf arrived just in time for the off. Swing Bridge deserted when we got there, but Topsham Richard rolled up, so it was 4 to Powderham. We took care through the puddly, muddy lanes, and noted mysterious music wafting in the wind as we headed to coffee. Ten minutes after we got there, Glenis turned up muttering about the headwind slowing her down. Then Mike Bowden came, after finding a p***ture on his bike when he was about to set out.

After sustenance Mike Bowden returned to Exeter, whilst we 5 rode to the Obelisk above Mamhead, still hearing the mystery music. Richard headed home from there, and we enjoyed great views and our sandwiches...

Glenis departed for Ashcombe and Dawlish, so the 3 remaining took the road to Haldon Forest Ridge. On the way we discovered the source of the mystery music - a rave in the woods near the racecourse. Resisting the temptation to join in, we dropped off Haldon and headed home.

20 December - Haldon Grill

John reports:-

Only a few braved the promised rainy day. Keith and John rode in from Ottery and West Hill, through some exceptional puddles, to be joined by Ted; Geoff & Penny; Wolf and Dave at Exe Bridges. Then the long haul via Pottles Lane and Kennford upto Haldon and "The Grill" arriving quite damp at 11:30am. Much steam from wet clothing while consuming large mugs of tea and coffee as mine hostess was busy selling raffle tickets. As it happens it paid dividends for Geoff; Keith and Wolf who all won small (but hefty) Christmas cakes which inevitably filled their saddle bags and seemed to be very heavy!!

Weather conditions influenced the decision to take the easy way out and descend to Exeter via Dunchideock and Ide to the Quay and Lutzy's for lunch. Ted and Wolf left us but we were joined by Dave's wife Gill plus a smart small brown curly haired poodle who behaved extremely well, but left no potential sniff undone. The incessant if light rain persuaded us to eat indoors and so paninies and coffee became the order of the day and sandwiches were left in saddle bags. That is except for Geoff & Penny who were anyway without sustenance and one other (who shall be nameless) who sneaked in a sandwich and secretly nibbled at the table. Much to his/her embarrassment Lutzy who came to join us quickly detected the transgression and remarked tactfully that her food was better quality! Then generously served some port to each member together with a small slice of flapjack.

Black-sheep-small.png

After about an hour we regretfully faced our respective journeys home, while Dave and Gill and their hound had but a few hundred yards to go, the rest had at least an hours ride, again against a background of flooded fields and occasional extensive puddles that drowned our shoes. Nevertheless we all seemed to have enjoyed the day.

Keith, by the way, has volunteered himself for a black sheep award although none of us are aware of what particular event sparked this meritorious admission.

STOP PRESS: Special White Sheep Award

Lutzy white sheep.jpg

Recently some so-called members of Bike Bus have behaved despicably in one of the best known local cafes. As a result the Bike Bus Executive have had to make a personal apology to Lutzy Dias.

The Executive took the opportunity to present Lutzy with a well deserved White Sheep Award for

  • behaving calmly and with good humour in the face of severe provocation, and
  • providing excellent refreshment to cyclists for many years.


A Legal Note from Marilyn

Marilyn writes:-

The realisation that news of Dolly's demise is now public and the possible origin of the information has caused great concern in the Spurr household. Fortunately Roger had already repaired my broken brake cable. Upon taking legal advice, I find that evidence given by a spouse is inadmissible and therefore I would ask that any comments I might have inadvisably made be disregarded.

A Legal Note from Keith

Dear Bike Bus Executive,

WITHOUT PREDUDICE

The purpose of this letter is to object vehemently to the award of a “Black Sheep’ as published in this week’s ‘Bike Bus’ report. It may have escaped your attention that, in British jurisprudence, one is ‘innocent until proven guilty’. You say “Keith has been charged with impersonating the wife of a police officer”. I strenuously deny this offence, and, until a guilty verdict is reached this premature award of a penalty not only demonstrates a crass disregard for one of the prime tenets of English law but it is also a gross infringement of my ‘Human Rights’. I demand, therefore, it be expunged from the record forthwith and a suitable apology** included in next weeks report.

Although the allegation is not specific, I have assumed that the ‘wife’ I am erroneously alleged to have impersonated is my own lovely spouse, Janet. I am sure everyone who knows us both would agree that the chances of me impersonating her successfully are remote in the extreme. Whilst I admit trying on her clothes occasionally, her rare beauty, much greater intelligence and fairly obvious female attributes surely render any possibility of confusion laughable.

Yours sincerely,

Keith A Portlock

** A Suitable Apology: The Bike Bus Executive write - Keith appears to mistakenly believe that the Black Sheep Award is related to his pending court appearance. If he re-reads the report below he will see that no such connection was made. Thus the Executive have nothing to apologise for.

Kirby satsuma.jpg

A (non legal) Note from Sue Booth

Kirby is reported to have said

"Satsumas disagree with me".

Sue writes

"Kirby you were right, satsumas do disagree with you".

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