Arrange a ride with a group of pals and usually, more accurately, you have simply arranged a meeting point and started an argument.
Everyone rolls up to the agreed spot oh-so-casual only for that moment of sudden silence to descend. Right…err…where we going then?
A free-for-all ensues.
Routes are proposed.
The guy who’s feeling in good fettle suggests a suffer-fest that takes in every climb within a thirty mile radius; another suggests a loop that, conveniently, heads homeward right past the front door of his house; while others look on in amusement as the bickering begins.
Then the Routemaster, with a brain like a GPS, pipes up to put an end to this charade. The fools go quiet as he makes his decision.
“How about we go out through the Trough of Bowland, turn left through Dunsop Bridge, over to Slaidburn, turn off at the war memorial and do the climb over the Cross o’ Greet, and then we’ve got two or three options to home from there”.
Yep, sounds good, nice one…and we have ourselves a bike ride.
To those unfamiliar with The Routemaster it may seem like he has simply plucked a well-used local route from his memory banks at random, but his friends have seen this too many times to trivialise the man’s decision.
Whilst others were bickering like schoolchildren he was processing the relevant information – air temperature, wind direction, time of year, likely traffic conditions, size and average ability of the group – before feeding it through his mental database of great rides and coming up with the best possible route for the circumstances.
Occasionally a newcomer to the group might jump in belatedly with his own counter-route.
Eyebrows are raised.
The odd chuckle.
“Well, I suppose we could go that way” The Routemaster muses generously, the inference being that just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, and if you stand there staring at me long enough I will give you a list as long as your arm as to why.
The click and clack of cleats into pedals gives the new boy his answer.
The group rolls off on another perfect ride.
Do this: make a photocopy of the map of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and take it to your next ride. Whip it out of your jersey in the discussion and ask about riding a certain ridge line around Mordor. If your Routemaster immediately suggests the valley of Gondor and ride the coast of Belegaer, you DEFINITELY have a master! 🙂
I like it, that’s a foolproof test! I expect he would also suggest a possible diversion taking in the Lost City of Atlantis.
hahaha! Only if the wind is up! 🙂
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