Report – Origami Ride – Saturday 8th December

Tony Care went on this month’s Origami ride – organised by The Folding Society – and writes:

I arrived at Meriden in bright sunshine after a trouble free drive and was
thoroughly looking forward to the ride, the conditions were perfect, a cold
crisp sunny winter morning. The only draw back was I had only just recovered a
few days earlier from a nasty virus, which had left me with the residue of a
chest infection, but I had established beforehand I could cut the ride short, at
any point should I need to, so all eventualities covered.

The ride started from the Meriden Tea Rooms, well known to most cyclists, being
only a few yards from the famous Cyclist’s Memorial on the green.

settingOffSetting off from Meriden Tea Rooms

I should point out that at the Christmas “Origami Ride” it is regarded
obligatory to decorate your bike as well as yourself on a festive theme and I
was attracting quite some interest from passers by as well as the riders –
resplendently dressed as “Santa” with my red Brompton ablaze with red tinsel and
flashing lights. I am glad to say there were plenty of other Christmas hats,
coats, ear muffs, bells and flashing bikes in evidence too, but, judging by the
enthusiastic comments, I was the bookies favorite for the best adorned bike and
rider prize.

santaTony as Santa

The ride was to the north of Meriden in picturesque lanes near
Packington Deer Park in the countryside between Shustoke and Fillongley and
there were variations of approximately five, ten or fifteen miles dependent on
which short cut on the map you took (“Heath Robinson” folders are sometimes
specially created just for the Christmas ride, hence the “Get-out-of-jail free”
routes back to The Bull at Meriden. None were in evidence this year though!)
Although the ride is an important part of the day, a big focus is the social
“Christmas” lunch that follows and everyone was looking forward to both.
If anyone tells you Warwickshire is gentle rolling hills, they are wrong! There
are some stiff climbs and with my residual chest problem I was soon feeling them
and it, wheezing my way up the steeper inclines. Despite being a clear bright
day the lanes were running with water and at one point, at the bottom of a
descent, we were confronted by a completely flooded road from one side to the
other, so it just goes to show how wet it is everywhere at the moment (a very
considerate driver waited patiently as we all made our way through, I thanked
him for waiting and he said it had been like it for weeks, he had slowed as he
knew it would be there).

peletonThe Origami Peleton in the Warwickshire lanes

Shorty after the next hill I started to feel a bit tight across the chest and
advised the “Sweeper-up” that I was taking one of the short-cuts back to
Meriden, as it turned out, a very challenging short-cut, as I shortly came
across a three way divide and as the lanes were single track and well out in the
“Sticks”, the signs were not just sparse, but non existent. so I asked a local
farmer who was in his yard washing his four wheel drive, which way to go, he
sent me the quickest route, rather than the cyclists route, which unfortunately
for me took me over the highest point in Warwickshire (the forest of aerials on
top should have told me something), apparently the local cyclists call it the
“Ansty Alps” (I was informed later). Anyway, a three speed Brompton was not the
bike to be climbing it on, I can tell you, I was puffing and wheezing like a
train when I reached the top! The short ride into Meriden was not surprisingly
all downhill and on a main road, so I got plenty of hoots and waves dressed as I
was, of course, as “Santa” I did my duty and returned all the waves, (it would
have been unforgivable to disappoint any children in the cars), I had an aching
arm and was feeling very festive by the time I reached The Bull. The main group
arrived not too long after and we had a splendid pint of Timothy Taylor’s, a
good lunch and good company and yes I did win the best decorated bike and rider
prize, which was presented at the lunch along with plenty of good-natured
banter. Chest problem aside, a most pleasurable and enjoyable day out.
An invitation was/is extended to anyone from Northampton CTC who wishes to join
us on any of the “Origami Rides” to come along as a guest. (you don’t have to be
riding a folder to join the rides as a guest) I have attached the the 2013 list
below, you will note the nearest one to us is Milton Keynes in May, but you will
be made most welcome at any other venue, we are a friendly bunch and the bikes
are interesting too!

I will provide start information before each ride, when it is e-mailed to me,
for those interested.

A Very Merry Christmas to everyone, have a splendid festive season,
TC

These are the Origami rides we have planned for next year :

January 12th       Cosford, West Midlands
February 9th       Coventry
March 9th            West London
April 13th             Long Eaton
May 11th              Milton Keynes
June 8th              Shrewsbury
July 13th              Leominster/Shobdon
August 10th         Didcot
September 21st  Swindon
October 12th       Duffield
November 9th     Melton Mowbray
December 14th   West Midlands

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3 thoughts on “Report – Origami Ride – Saturday 8th December

  1. Nice report!

    I go to two or three Origami Rides each year. They’re on Saturdays so usually
    the football season gets in the way – but this summer the rides based on
    Watford/St Albans and Swindon were really enjoyable.

    Always go by public transport, thought! Proper “multi-modal” travel!

    P.S. I “joined” the Folding Society because I liked their slogan: “If you’re thinking of becoming a member, you already are one!”

  2. Iain writes:

    I have fond memories of The Bull in Meriden. Much will have changed there by now of course. I see what you mean by “the Folding Society does shorter runs”.

    » “Always go by public transport”
    Well that cheered me up. Give yourself a laugh: find the train times for getting from Kettering to Berkswell (the station nearest Meriden) in time to make the meeting (say a 20 minute trip from station to start).

    • Good call, Iain!

      I see you could catch the 0801 train on Saturday from Kettering to Leicester, change for a train to Nuneaton, change for a train to Coventry and change for a train to Berkswell – arriving at 1021. Well, it’s a challenge!

      Of course, for me, the 0935 from Northampton would arrive at Berkswell at … 1021 – presumably the last leg of the journey from Kettering.

      I’ve looked at the X4 bus timetables: you could catch the 0755 bus from Kettering Horsemarket to Northampton bus station arriving at 0905. The next bus leaves at 0840 and arrives 0937, too late for the 0935 train but fine for the 0955 arriving Berkswell at 1040.

      Two journeys I’ve made to join an Origami ride stick in the mind:

      • One was to the Peak District. I pedalled to Whitehills bus stop, caught the X7 to Leicester, train to Derby, change trains to Matlock. Proper multi-modal.
      • The other was to Swindon. Pedalled to Northampton train station, caught train to Euston (ate packed breakfast on the way), pedalled to Paddington, caught train to Swindon.

      Made getting to Watford Junction for a ride starting at Watford a piece of cake.

      I suppose that’s why the Origami Rides are on Saturdays. When I joined the Golden Beeches Sunday Ride, a “simple” journey from Northampton to Tring was difficult and the return … well, I pedalled to Hemel Hempstead where the trains do actually stop on a Sunday afternoon!

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