Looking back - some reflections from Brian Greenwood

Looking Back

In the late 1970s a group of us, who were YHA members and cyclists, started Cumbria Cycling Club. We agreed that much of the, then present, writing about our sport had the appeal of a stale scone.  So our magazine ‘Cumbrian Cyclist’ had to be different. We were also in the Rough Stuff Fellowship and their journal was a focus of our interest. ‘Rough Stuff Routes – no 93’ was a parody of a fairly typical contribution.

Rough Stuff Routes no 93 – cont

Ethel eventually lit the third Primus stove and put on the stew. This was going to be the ‘drum up’ to end them all. Bert looked up from the back wheel he was rebuilding and smiled.  He pushed the last spoke through one of the extra holes he had thoughtfully drilled in the cogs on his block. “I knew it would work,” he said and trued the wheel in a trice. Harold and Alice arrived and said Harry was having trouble with his bottom bracket and he would soon be with us.

We all settled down just inside the tree-line on the sheltered side of the pass. The idyllic scene stretched into the distance. The scurrying clouds and shafts of golden sunlight vied for our attention. Ethel passed round the bowls of ‘hunter’s stew’ and mugs of steaming tea. Alice said she was feeling old.  Harold kept quiet. George asked about the gearing on Bert's bike. The crack continued as it only can amongst Rough Stuffers. Gears, spokes, frame angles and Alice’s age.

The wind blew up the valley and we decided to set off. We soon packed up and pressed on. Just before we reached the road one of Bert’s rear cogs broke – then another – then another. “Perhaps that’s with drilling those extra holes” he said thoughtfully. With a cheery wave we left him to walk the 33 miles home.

At the top of the next rise we could see the golden sun setting. We turned and looked back at our ‘drum up’ spot. At first we thought the red and yellow flashes amongst the trees were stray lights from the dying sun. The pall of smoke seemed out of place and then Ethel remembered that she had left one of her Primus stoves just inside the tree-line. * To be continued in the next issue.