Cupid’s Posse

12th February 2006

Wet start

A wet and windy kick-off

The Mission - to infiltrate deep into ‘enemy’ territory and to capture and occupy the ‘enemy” Officers’ Mess at The Percy Arms in Chilworth, Surrey and thereby to attempt to exhaust his stocks of food and drink (non-alchoholic, of course).

Sunday 12 February dawned grey and wet, just the sort of inclement conditions to bring out the C&F ‘shocktroops’. 9 bikes and 10 people duly assembled at 611 for the 10:30 briefing, with logistics foul ups such as “Oops, I’ve overslept !”, or “I’ve got too much washing up from last night to do” accounting for several AWOL’s. (The other excuses don’t bear repeating !)

Dressed in the latest in weather gear, we tabbed along the familiar bug-out route to the A3 and exited at Tolworth, making our way through Ewell towards Epsom and the racecourse. ‘Stealthily’ skirting around the racecourse, we passed by Langley Vale and headed towards Headley. At this point, we were entering uncharted territory - a C&F patrol was breaking out of the M25 boundary (shock horror, can it be?) and in bad weather, at that. On reaching Headley, we made our way by leafy lane and puddled path to our first RV at Ryka’s at Box Hill. Here, we made contact with our sleeper cell, codename ‘Buzz Lightyear‘ aka Charles Lewis, who had been lying low deep in ‘enemy’ territory, ready to guide us in with his plume of cigar smoke. There was a handful of local inhabitants around the RV but, with our usual skill and training, we managed to remain inconspicuous and undetected. A morale boosting brew and a puff of weed (finest Virginia) was in order at this point.

However, the best laid plans and all that... Friendly agents from within The Percy Arms then rang on the secure satellite scrambled telephone system (cunningly disguised as a Motorola V3) to inform us that the ‘enemy’ had flooded the surrounding terrain and that morning put up roadblocks masquerading as roadworks, such that the approach roads from both east and west were now impassable. A quick ‘butchers’ at the map revealed that the route had to be varied to take us in a wide, arcing left flanker (Norman Schwarzkopf eat ‘yer heart out) past Cranleigh and through Wonersh to approach from the south. No matter, C&F won’t be deterred by inclement conditions and adverse terrain. As we departed Ryka’s, we had one ‘No Go’ though, of course, we now had Buzz with us to boost our fighting strength.

Anticipating that the ‘enemy’ would have been lulled into a false sense of security by the weather conditions, thereby not expecting anybody to be out in the rain (mad dogs and Englishmen etc.), élan and derring-do came to the fore as we executed a daring ride-by through Dorking High Street and then on to Leith Hill, where it got decidedly murky and misty for a while. Oh well, no matter, extra cover. At Cranleigh, David O’Flaherty took over the lead due to his advanced knowledge of the local terrain. Skilfully guiding us through Wonersh and the back country, we arrived unannounced at The Percy Arms with the element of surprise and secured a comprehensive victory. Not since Oxford beat Cambridge by 11 sore bottoms to 1 had there been such a resounding success (statistics courtesy of Gen. Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett).

The Percy Arms

The Percy Arms

It had been a very wet and cold ride but great fun. Having now taken control of The Percy Arms, we proceeded to check out the available provisions and beverage - a block lunch booking for 15 had been previously arranged with the friendly agents. Bringing up reinforcements, we were now joined by Andrew Papas’ family for lunch.

The food, as always, was excellent and the conversation different. It was good to meet new riders, one of whom was new to Harleys and on his first ride in the wet, so well done. Thanks to all who turned out and made this ride so enjoyable regardless of the atrocious weather. Thanks in particular to Andrew Papas, David O’Flaherty and Richard ‘Cap’n’ Beake for their help.

Next time guys (and gal), let’s do it without gloves!

Robin Lahiri - C&F Road Captain