This year the Origami Rides are mostly being held away from our original Meriden base, and May was no exception, with a ride from Leominster, organised by Dick Hanson.
Although the starting point was the railway station, at one stage it seemed likely that everyone would arrive by car, as a first attempt to find trains at suitable times and prices from the Midlands failed. However, by doing a web search and specifying the start point as Tamworth, rather than Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, or any of the possibly more obvious places, we found that there were indeed trains at the right times, and that we could take advantage of a group saver for four of us - quite why the web search is so much better based on a start from Tamworth than from Birmingham is not obvious - the route is through New Street and Wolverhampton, but we have had a similar experience before. Anyway, tickets were booked, and Susan Barlow, Dave Minter, Paul Evans and myself had a pleasant and relaxed train journey to Leominster, where we met the others.
Despite the fact that this was an away ride further from out usual haunts than usual, and that I had forgotten to send out an email to the Origami mailing list reminding them of the event (it has been a rather hectic couple of weeks), there were fifteen riders taking part - a good turn out. The bikes were the usual collection of Bromptons, SPs, Moultons, a Micro and a single Birdy Red. There was also an Airframe present (more of this later), but it did not take part in the ride on this occasion.
Before the event, I had lobbied Dick to keep the ride reasonably gentle, as the following day I was due to do a 100Km Brevet Populaire over a fairly hilly route (1400m of climbing). Whether my pleas had any effect or not, I don't know, but the route we took was certainly easy cycling, with no significant hills, and some quiet roads in beautiful countryside. Lunch was taken at Eardisland, a very picturesque village. The weather was quite cool, and on the outward part of the ride we had a slight head wind for part of the time, although the nature of the roads meant that this was not really noticeable. After lunch it became slightly damp, though not a real problem, but the fact that we had the wind behind us was very obvious, and the journey back to Leominster was made very quickly. In fact, we got there a lot earlier than I had expected - my check on train times had shown that they ran at 16:01 and 17:01, so I hurried to the station on the assumption that there would probably be a 15:01. Unfortunately this turned out not to be the case - this seemed to be just about the only point at which there was a 2 hour gap in the service! Most of the others had gone off to look around Leominster or to visit a cafe, but Dave and I retired to the small buffet at the station - rather well camouflaged - to await the 16:01 train. Like all the other trains we used that day, this arrived on time, and we were soon changing trains at Shrewsbury for the return to the Midlands.
Apart from the slight dampness after lunch, the weather was reasonable, though it would certainly have been more attractive had there been some sun. All the bikes performed as they should.
During the journey down by train I recalled that one of the reasons I had originally thought of going by car was that I had arranged a few weeks ago to collect at this event an Airframe for testing, which presented me with the problem that I was going to have to return by train with 2 bikes! Getting two bikes on the train was not really a problem, and the changes of platform at Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton were fairly straightforward, but I had to walk the two bikes back from Tipton, about 2.5Km, which was a bit of a pain, especially as I had put on cycling boots which are particularly uncomfortable for walking. I'm still working on the folding and unfolding of the Airframe, but a report on the bike can be expected on the Folding Society web pages in due course.
Many thanks to all who attended this ride, and of course especially Dick who organised it.
Above: The lunch stop at Eardisland
Copyright (C)2004 Ferrets Anonymous
Last updated: 10 May 2004