Author Topic: Fenland Friends/Yorkshire via Essex [Flatlands Reversed] 600 8th September 2018  (Read 25081 times)

Ode to the Flatlands

There is no easy six hundred
        Tomsk will say frequently and often
You blithely ignore the wisdom of those words
        And sign up, a naive cycling boffin.

This naivety can last all day
   As you tick of the funny spots
The Mountain Rescue Team, Peak Hill
   And other witty bon mots.

You’ll scythe the endless fields of brassicas
   Grinning with the joys
Of a tailwind on the way out
   That creates men from boys.

 Even a pile of swedes
   The highest thing around
Becomes a pleasant artistic piece
   A turner-winning mound.

For the roads may never ascend, and the roads they never go down
But the Flatlands roads double the distance betwixt every town

But then comes the fall of night
   And that savage spectral ghoul
The golden M that haunts
   The historic port-town of Goole.

At least the staff are smiling
   But what choice do they have
When the wet lycra posse
   Outnumber the normal chavs?

‘Tough half the ride is done
   And you still feel quite super
Further challenges lie in wait
   Beyond choking down a burger.

You venture to the toilet
   In order to dry out
To find the dyson already dominated
        By some ancien lout.

For the roads may never ascend, and the corners they are scarce
But the Flatlands can be endless and the route sheet deadly terse

And then the challenge to find
   That elusive friend called sleep
In sodden breezy bus shelters
   Festooned with souvenirs of sheep.

You ride along the Lincoln ridge
   All hotels are taken by others
Whom now we detest and loathe
   These daylight sisters and brothers.

Finally you find a four foot bench   
   And settle down to rest
A fantasy of two hours sleep reduced
   To a toss and turn at best.

And then the morning crawl comes
   The body lethargic and slack
And the mood among survivors
   A grim and deathly black.

Finally! Spoons! At eight sharp
   We fall upon the door
We are so effing hungry
   We’d eat it off the floor.

For the roads may never ascend, and the downhills never there
But the Flatlands can be endless and motivation can be threadbare

But with the morning comes the wind
   The troll with the slapped red face
Who hits back at you double hard
   And halves the onward pace

And then a helping more of that
   And then another helping again
The wind becomes a constant needle
   That inflicts an endless pain

The landscape that you once flew over
   Is now reversed and sour
And it seems to take a day
   To complete a ten mile hour

The swede’s revenge is cruelly sweet
   They all seem to have grown a face
They jeer and laugh and cackle
   And spray you with their mace.

Hour after hour this all carries on
   Each stop gets further and longer
Time elongates then snaps
   And the end is less hither more yonder.

For the roads may never ascend, and the downhills never come
But the Flatlands can be endless and bite you in the bum

Even then the last thirty miles
   Have a nasty little trick
Of throwing in some steep short hills
   Your arse laid bare to kick.

And the sudden appearance of scenery
   Reminds you of the prior lack
This miracle of things to look at
   After thirty hours of cak.

Suddenly it’s over
         And none too soon for me
I loathe the Flatlands once again
   Swearing forever to flee.

It takes just one day dear reader
   To discard my resolute resolve
And sign up to the next one -
   Another years revolve

For next year is the ride in france
   That wee coast and return
So I cannot forgo this ride
   Despite this poem to spurn.

For the roads may never ascend, and the downhills have been banned
The Flatlands can be endless but it’s easier than Bryan Chapman.

Turn, turn, turn again
Turn, turn to the rain
And the wind


  • ACME (Herts Branch)
Absolutely superb Al  :thumbsup:

Excellent ode.
I admit to haveing a mini melt down (fortunately on my own) on the return to GD after Spalding I found a fellow Flatlander and into the wind we started doing bit and bit nothing said just a natural reaction to the headwind. It worked well until I took my eye off the ball at a round-a-bout just before Cowbit. A dutch wagon bearing down on me from the left exit and I went straight on istead of right. I did about 150 metres before resolving the problem by which time the bit and bit companion had gone....  After a while I stopped in a gateway (no modesty providing hedges) and devoured a chewy bar and some juice and shouted at the one heard! 
I saw my companion again at Whittlesey and shrugged at my misfortune (stupiity)
The Flatlands 600, a wonderful event, a wonderful experience. Many excellent companions on the road. Some stunning countryside and the ting that struck me most...the change in local accent each time i stopped.
Thanks Tomsk and team. 

Hello Nothere, we were the tandem crew in Boston well out of time. We figured that if you could bounce the control and sit on our wheel to the finish, you would make it to the finish but a long stop when already a couple of hours behind the cut would probably be ride-ending. Sorry to hear that was true. Hopefully you'll find food that suits you better.

Word to the wise, boab and I only gained enough time on Saturday to get about three hours of sleep in Scunny (stopped there for about four). You were stopped in Lincoln for a whole lot longer than that. Also, riding in a group through the windy fens is a sensible way to avoid grinding yourself into dust, for your legs and head.

What is Boab an abbreviation for?


  • Whimsy Rider
Bird on a bike, my stoker for that event.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Great poem alotronic, that's something I might take along and chant to get me through the wee hours on my first attempt next weekend!

Oscar's dad

  • aka Septimus Fitzwilliam Beauregard Partridge
Hello, I'm after some advice.

I'm working on a route for THIS LITTLE ADVENTURE and my cunning plan was to pinch the relevant sections of the Flatlands 600 / Fenland Friends.  But I notice the section from Gainsborough to Goole is largely on A roads.  I remember when I rode the Flatlands some years ago this section was done at night so A roads aren't so much of a problem.  What are these roads like in daylight?

If the A roads are not safe in daylight does anyone have an alternative for getting from Gainsborough to Goole?

Thanks in advance.


  • Cyclinggeezer
Yes you can alternatively go up the east side of the Trent to Scunthorpe and cross there, on to the Isle of Axeholme to Goole there. What ever way you chose to Goole it will be windy

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

+1 for what cyclinggeezer said. The A181 is fairly quiet though - wouldn't be worried at all by having to ride it in the daytime.

The farmers will have spent most of September and October moving the fields onto the roads though. It will be muddy whichever way you go. There is an interesting short cut from Crowle to Swinefleet which takes you past the old Fison's peatworks. It only shortens the route by around four miles but there won't be any traffic on it. About 3/4 mile is off road but I regularly ride it on fixed with 23mm tyres.
Hear all, see all, say nowt

Oscar's dad

  • aka Septimus Fitzwilliam Beauregard Partridge
Thanks for the info.  I've decided on another option now  ::-)  Sorry to waste your time!  :-*

Phil W

Was on it (A181) mid afternoon on this year's Fenland Friends, quiet as anything. Provided you are not on it during one of the rush hours you'll be fine. Should you of course return to this option.