Two weeks ago when my faithful red rattler lay in a crumpled heap by the side of the trail I honestly believed that it finally reached the end of the road and that it was destined for the local landfill. Now, only 14 days later, it was back again looking better than ever. An amazing testimonial to the tender loving care and expertise of the guys at Cycle Science in Mitcham.
This was planned to be our last twilight ride before the end of daylight savings this coming weekend, so I was expecting a good turnout. The original plan had been to start at Mt Evelyn at 4 pm, but I was very keen to get in a healthy number of km so I decided to start from Yarra Junction instead and then ride back to the start and meet John there.
I headed off in high spirits, but with more than a little concern that the rattler might not be able to take the strain. My fears were soon laid to rest after a few km when I felt the old bike cruising along better than ever. When it feels good I feel good, so I put my head down and tried hard to set a cracking pace.
The afternoon was mild and sunny and the ride back to Mt Evelyn wnet so well that I arrived about 30 mins before we were due to meet. This gave me some time to rest on the grass in the sunshine. After 15 mins or so John arrived with a fierce looking attack dog in his car. Obviously intended to keep would be thieves away from his bike.
We were soon on our way and looking forward to the rest of the afternoon’s activities. Mal had rung in to say that he would be joining us at Woori Yallock. On the way down the hill we caught up with another (mature) rider heading in the same direction. He was apparently on a flexi day off and was using his time as an opportunity to train for possible acceptance into the Warby Riders he had been hearing so much about. We were able to encourage him to keep aiming high but had to inform him that there were very high standards to maintain and that it was very hard to earn a set of Warby Colours.
A little while later we were treated to a truly astonishing sight. There on the trail ahead was someone riding a bike towards us with a set of teeth unlike either of us had ever seen before. They looked like something of a cross between Chad Morgan and a demented piranha fish.
When the teeth had passed us John and I looked at each other and John asked “Were they for real?”. I just reminded myself that, on the Warby Trail, anything is indeed possible.
Around the next bend we were met by Mal riding towards us on his Yellow Peril. With Mal in the peloton the pace instantly increased significantly, inciting John to shout his familar refrain of “why do we do this ?” all over again.
We managed to maintain a good speed all the way back to Yarra Junction, where we took the opportunity to enjoy a coffee while we waited for the rest of the riders to arrive. Soon we were joined by Warren and his new recruit Dave “Rocket” Garrett. Dave appeared to be likely looking type of rider but soon confessed that he had not ridden a bike since the unfortunate accident on his 3rd birthday. This did not auger well, but we assured him that we were all relative late starters, and that he would soon “get the hang of it”.
The increased peloton of 5 riders headed off at a slower rate and we soon noticed that we were being pursued by a myopic old lady waving her credit card in front of her. This had us confused for a while until we realised that she had mistaken Warren for a ATM machine (He really needs to get his shorts adjusted).
A little before Milgrove we noticed a bearded guy riding towards us. As he got closer he began to look vaguely familiar, and we eventually realised that it was our English riding mate Rob “Stretch” Williams. We now had the making of a real peloton, however at this point of time an unfortunate series of events took place.
Mal realised that he had forgotten his trousers and had to head back to collect them from his car at Woori Yallock and Warren and Dave decided that discretion was always the better part of valour and so turned back to grab the best seats at the restaurant.
Rob, John and I did complete the ride to Warburton and rested for a few moments at the old seat in the park and then headed back to meet the waiting support crew members. At this late stage Rob started pedalling like a pinwheel and left us to chase after him in his wake.
We did not see the other riders until we were almost back to Yarra Junction where we were startled to see an elderly guy come leaping out of the bushes wielding two big sticks. At first we thought that some nutter must have been off to see the Ned Kelly film and was trying to reenact one of the scenes, but we soon saw that it was none other than our old mate Bob “Crasher” Lewis returned to the track. It was a great site to see him back in action again, even if it was on two crutches.
Enjoying the dinner
After a quick change of clothes we all headed to the Yarra Valley RSL club where we enjoyed a good meal while we reminisced over the afternoon’s ride and other bygone times. We also had a chance to see the new logo for our riding club.
Ross and Estelle also joined us later in the evening to give Ross another chance to brag about his new bike.
Another great afternoon of fun, food and friendship.