One Swallow Dive...

For those unfamiliar with my “wride ups”, the rules are these: everything in the story is true except for some specific “deliberate mistakes”. In this story, there are 3. They are general knowledge and everyone has an equal chance. If you want to play, PM me the answers. Winners will be posted in a couple of days. If not, please don’t spoil it for eanyone else by referring to the mistakes in replies to the thread.

Wednesday, my concertina lesson cancelled, and an evening unexpectedly free. In a way, it was a relief because two of the strings need replacing before I can play it as well as I’d like.

I searched through my diminished fleet of unicycles. Road Razor: sold. Coker: sold. 20: only for Morris performances. KH24: only for extreme stuff. Bacon Slicer: needs a new inner tube. That leaves the Holy Roller: advertised for sale several times, but no takers.

The Holy Roller is a Pashley 26" MUni with 125 mm cranks and a Maxxis Holy Roller 2.4" tyre. It’s great fun, but a little heavy.

So, all dressed up in Lycra for the first time in ages, I set off for my old hunting ground, the National Water Sports Centre. I am travelling light, with just helmet, wrist guards and a belt with a small plastic bottle of water. No tools, no Camelbak. Keep it simple, don’t overdo it… Mike, you’re 44, and you’ve had no exercise for months.

So of course the very first thing is I turn off the ballast path and set of up the soft wet mown grassy slope at the back of Scoreboard Hill, grunt up the last little steep bit, then take the steepest route down. I cross the next path and soon I’m riding the skyline of the biggest area of landscaped hills at the side of the main rowing lake. I weave past someone’s abandoned picnic cloth - they are playing football down the hill - and reach the little dome-shaped hill at the end. The descent is only 3 metres, but I take the steepest route. For the first time in ages, I feel properly up for it.

Then I pick my way carefully up the loose and steep zig zag path, reach the top where a few bored youths are too surprised to comment, then I swoop down towards the whitewater course. I pause for a couple of minutes to get my breath back, and to watch a coxed four go through the slalom gates, then I remount and continue on my way.

A few minutes later, I am on the bridle path that runs along the river bank, then I turn off onto one of my favourite green tracks. White-blossomed hawthorn blooms along both sides. Rabbits scamper out of my way. However, the surface of the track has been spoiled by horses. A new equestrian centre nearby is clearly using this path as a “gallop”. I reach the tricky little dip half way along and it is ploughed into deep mud. I’m not in a mud plugging mood and I try to thread my way through on the dry bits, but UPD.

Some time later, I’m back by the rowing lake. I make my way on smooth tarmac round to the hill that leads up to the back of the waterski lake. It is early in the season and the grass is short, so the climb is easier than I remember it. I reach the crest with little effort and drop down the steep slope to the waterski hut. There are no skiers. It has been a wet winter and early spring, and the waterski slope is a little steeper than is ideal for early season training.

Over the single-sleeper bridge and off round some of my old familiar paths, then out of the Water Sports Centre onto the road. Eventually, I reach the old “Buggy Land” site where motor trikes and quads used to be available for hire. I climb over the gate and ride round both tracks. It’s not as difficult as some of what I’ve laready ridden, but somehow it amuses me to think I’m unicycling on a quad “bike” off road course.

Back to the Water Sports Centre, I divert fromt he tarmac along one of the hinged “gangplanks” that leads to a mooring pontoon. Someone is (allegedly) testing an outboard on one of the rescue boats, circling fast enough to set up some medium sized waves. I’m unicycling on a floating pontoon which should be great fun, but the waves are disappointingly ineffectual.

Back up the ramp and onto the smooth tarmac, I’m just considering my options when, for no reason I can explain, I UPD. Everything goes into slow motion. I know I’m going to fall full length. I have time to think, to position my wrist guards so that the plastic protectors skid and dissipate the energy of the fall. But it’s not enough, and I take skin off my elbow and knee. Later I realise I’ve done my hip too.

A passing bicyclist expresses concern, concealing his amusement fairly well. I tell him, “That’ll teach me not to concentrate. I was miles away.”

Strangely, after several months of living and breathing work, and no exercise, now that I’ve drawn blood, I feel properly alive. The pain isn’t too bad, and the adrenaline has kicked in.

Probably only 3 or so miles covered, but an enjoyable ride.

Three good sets of answers so far, and one person who got one out of three.:slight_smile:

great write up. Thanks.

I just sent in my answers, but I only got 2 of them. Maybe its some kind of funny english thing that threw me off…

Nice! :slight_smile:

I just sent mine. Hope i win. :smiley: :smiley:

So, when are you revealing the right answers?

Well he said in a couple of days. I hope i’m one of the winners cause i found all 3. I think :thinking: :thinking: :smiley:

A bit rushed for time, so I can’t do the full analysis I usually do. I received loads of answers. Many people got all three correct. A few got two, and a tiny number got only one. At least one person got none, picking out three typing errors instead of three “general knowledge” deliberate mistakes. Always read the question!:slight_smile:


A concertina is a reed instrument, with bellows, a bit like a small accordeon. There’s no need to replace the strings on a reed instrument.


A coxed four is a rowing boat with four oarsmen and a cox (steersman) all sitting in line. That makes the boat about half a metre wide and about 15 metres long. They are for racing in a straight(ish) line on flat water, like the coxed eights used in the Oxford & Cambridge boat race. A coxed four would not survive long on a white water slalom course, and wouldn’t fit through the gates!


The waterski slope. A waterskier is towed behind a powerful boat. You don’t waterski down a slope. It doesn’t matter how wet the winter and spring have been, the lake will still be perfectly level. Have you ever seen someone waterskiing down a steeply sloping lake?

Bonus point:

Thanks to GKMac who said it was definitely a mistake for me to be wearing Lycra at the age of 44. Thank you so much.:o :slight_smile:

Thanks to all those who entered.

And the winner with the best answers to all three is Mark Williamson. Here are his answers:

Sorry to hear about the strings on your concertina… I’ve been hoping to get an air leak in my ukulele fixed for some time, so I can relate to your disappointment.

Only coxless boats will go down whitewater courses: it’s imperative that nobody in the boat can see what lies in store for them.

Also, it’s probably just as well nobody is out on the waterski slope at this time of year - as you’ve commented before there are a lot of telemark terns flying around at the moment and they’d only get in the way.

(Note, “telemark terns” is a reference to an earlier one of my quizzes. Mike)

Waterski slope! That’s priceless! How could I miss that?!

Oh well, I’ll do better next time(I hope).

Hi Mike,

Too late to enter the official competition, but I found another one, presumably unitentional:

It is too early for hawthorn blossom - what you saw was most likely blackthorn, which blossoms prior to the leaf buds opening. Hawthorn, or May Blossom (the clue is in the name…) doesn’t flower until after the leaves buds have opened. Blackthorn has a darker, smoother bark (clue in the name again…) and the fruits are sloes which I always look forward to harvesting and utilising to make one of my favourite christmas time tipples - mmmmmm !

Glad to see you are back on the wheel and the keyboard again.

Tell that to the cycling shops that olnly sell the decent shorts in sizes too small for this unicyclist. Obviously you’re not supposed to do anything energetic if you’re not slim and sylph-like. :frowning:

I’ve just got back from a 2 hour Coker ride, and for any kind of distance like that, I wouldn’t consider anything other than lycra with padded cycling shorts. Why? Well, 90% is purely from the point of comfort. The other 10% is the fun of dressing up to shock innocent drivers I guess :smiley:


Maybe i should try that. After all, i am a weird and unusual person. :smiley:

:open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth:

Maybe 15 feet? :stuck_out_tongue:

Hmm, fours are genreally around 12 metres long, so he’s not that far out. I would raise issue with saying they’re half a metre wide. While the hulls are this narrow the riggers usually make the boat around 1.5 to 2 metres wide, and then of course the oars stick out, making the whole thing around 12 feet wide (yes im mixing units) as you approach the catch. But this all so much pedantry.

I do like how one of the ‘mistakes’ in a write-up of an off road unicycle ride is laughing at how blatantly silly it would be to take a rowing boat* down a slalom course. I bet over on they would be very dissapointed. And waterskiing down waterfalls must have been done.

I got the answers, by the way, just read the thread two days late. Glad to see you’re back on form Mike.


*(skif? there must be a better word than boat - it somehow doesn’t tell the whole story)

Nice ‘wride up’ as usual. I didn’t see it until today, unfortunately. The first time I figured them all out, too. I really hate it when I go fully flat on a forward UPD. The plastic inserts in my wrist guards are like skate blades on ice and, even though I’m trying hard not to eat pavement, I end up sliding all the way down. Ugghhh.

Lycra is very comfortable and reveals that which ought not to be revealed.:wink:

P.S.; I remember the ‘Telemark Tern.’

if you wear plastic kneepads too you should try to slide. from longboard sliding i learned that its a lot easier to slide on knees and hands (with pads of course) than eat pavement. but i’m sure it will be a lot harder to pull off on a coker bail.