Three trays of flapjack
A case of full strength coca-cola
A box of french fancies for old times sake
A dozen cornish pasties
A dozen beef pasties
A dozen cheap sandwiches in white bread
Four packets of chocolate biscuits
Two dozen Kit-Kats
One days food shopping for us finely tuned, athletically sculpted sportsmen before and during our marathon Old Gits Bike Ride this weekend, and thats just during the ride – we start each day with a full English fried breakfast and enough toast and coffee to capsize the largest of supertankers and finish each day with a session in a pub and a cow pie dinner that would stretch the most efficient of kitchen staff – all times twelve.
None of us are racing snakes, we all carry the evidence of fifty four years of over indulgence, we have no need to try and hide the evidence from each other these days, gone are the days when you could walk into a pub and pat your mate on the belly and ask him when the baby was due for that joke wears thin when your beer gut is larger than the subjects.
The two backup vehicle drivers have the unenviable job of supermarket shopping on each of the three days, while the rest of us are flogging our way down coastal paths on bikes the two drivers will be stood next to the bakery counter in a Morrisons somewhere, waiting for more pastry goods to be dragged from the oven and they will be trying their best to remember what Rod the Medical Man tells them every year – “None of that diet coke fookin rubbish mind, whats the point in drinking coke with no sugar in it when I need an energy rush”, and I’m sure he has a point too, he is a fully qualified medical man after all, the strop he got in on our first Coast to Coast ride when he saw 24 cans of diet coke in the back of the van was something to behold.
Big Phil will be more than pleased to see our medical man in attendance this year being that it was Big Phil who had the heart attack a few days after wandering around a golf course with us a couple of years ago, and alarmingly Big Phil has promised us that he will be riding some of the route this year, is even bringing his own bike, which is a shame because we had sourced a tandem for him with Rod the Medic sat on the back monitoring his blood pressure while keeping one hand on the portable defibrillator.
Two of our team have retired from work during the last three months, we are taking pensioners with us on a bike ride.
Two of the group are grandfathers, ten of us have not yet completed any of the marathon routes that we choose and the two who still have a 100% record are Rod the Medic, (chain smoker and the most unlikely looking candidate for cycling any sort of distance) and Stevey Fart-Pants, pensioner and grandfather of the parish.
This weekend the route from Dunbar to Tynemouth will be littered with discarded knee support bandages, ankle support bandages, a truss or two, empty tubs of fiery jack and well worn padded underpants and for the spectators lining the route there will be a lesson in English profanity as every curse in the language is directed towards the next hill, the bike, and principally, me the organiser.
In two days time The Old Gits Cycle Club will once again set forth on a journey of discovery and sore arses and a three day mission to cycle from (almost) Edinburgh to Tynemouth using the most excellent Sustrans Coast and Castles cycle route in order to raise funds for the Sue Ryder Trustand specifically for their hospice at Wheatfields in Leeds in memory of one of our group who was taken into their palliative care two years ago before passing away peacefully and pain free, for this alone they have earned our support but we do this because they are also nice people and have given us t-shirts.