Cycle Tour: Buckinghamshire 2012

This year’s UL Cycling Tour was organised by Ryan to his home in Buckinghamshire and although advertised to the whole list, only 8 UL members turned up and all of them male. Perhaps the threat of the Buckinghamshire Hills had made the tour “Not for girls”! There may have been some ringing early in the evening, but I was working on the Friday and therefore could not make the first tower. In the evening much beer was consumed leading to substantial wastageness.

Come the Saturday morning, we left in glorious sunshine to ride to our first tower of the day, Granborough, an 8cwt 5 where the UL demonstrated their surprisingly impressive abilities of doubles ringing! During the ringing, there was an almighty downpour, but fortunately the sun was out again by the time we had finished ringing and we avoided much rain for the rest of the weekend! Chris and Simon who, having realised that cycling between towers might use precious calories (or worse, drinking minutes) travelled between towers by car (wusses, I know!). The remainder of the band, however, used a selection of bikes in a wide variety of states of repair (indeed much like their riders!). Asher, who was carrying around huge panniers containing everything and the kitchen sink, stormed up the hills at a rate of knots, whilst Robert (whose “bike” regularly needed stops for mending and to be put back together) was a little further back.

the second tower was Winslow, where a quarter peal was rung of Stedman Triples which was Mr Sibley and Mr Rimmer’s first in method as well as being Asher’s first inside! Quite an achievement on bells that we hadn’t rung before. We retired to the local pub afterwards for lunch before heading off to East Claydon and Quainton in the afternoon. The final tower of the day was Waddesdon, a tower which would need all the ringing euphemisms in the world to describe. I will try: With a “good band on them” the “unusual musical quality” would have been “appreciated by the locals”, but we were a band who “don’t always ring together” and “struggled a bit with the ropes” and are sure that the “local band can really do the bells justice on a Sunday morning”. Yes, they were crap!

The Saturday evening saw burgers and sausages for dinner with Ryan’s dad, sister and her friend before we retired to the lounge. As the evening carried on and Ryan’s Dad had gone to bed, drinking games predictably started being played. A game of “Never Have I Ever” was proposed and despite Simon’s very strong recommendations against playing it with siblings in the same room, it was played. I think it was probably for the best that Ryan was outside the room when we found out what his sister had to drink for otherwise I have no doubt that he would never visit a National Trust property again in his life!

On the Sunday morning, service ringing was at North Marston and Whitchurch before heading back to London after an excellent tour. Thanks go to Ryan for organising and I look forward to Chris’s Tour to Surrey next year (after he was “volunteered” to organise the next one after a few beers on Saturday night!). Let’s hope we get some more people (and indeed some girls) next year!

Peter Jasper

(QP details on bellboard: