In honour of Ben’s relocation to the Big Apple and my re-engagement with intellectual pursuits, we organised a local meet of the first urban bicycle fox-hunt, in the hopes of earning some monies for the LCEF and some glory for the red-suited huntsmen and dastardly Fox. Using a Heath-Robinson style contraption we secured several litres of paint to Ben’s bike with a tap to release it in a small but constant trickle. After assembling the hounds at The Foundry, the fox was released with a blast of horns, leaving a clear line of glistening paint in his wake. The hunters were chomping at the bit, anxious to pursue the quarry, but I held them off for three minutes to ensure a clean run. The scent of blood was in the air, and buoyed up by stirrup cups and fine cigars they were hard to control. After the allotted time a shrill horn-blast sent them shooting off down Gt Eastern Street, scattering all in their wake. Competition was fierce, with some of London’s most hardened gentlemen of bicylosical leisure competing. The pack got the scent and followed it doggedly, across Shoreditch High Street and into the populous environs of Brick Lane. Ahh the blast of horns, the rush of hounds, the trampling of discarded bagels and fag-ends, the elegant leaps of gate and fence, the rush of wind and cries of fear from onlooking peasants. Over moor and railway line led the wily fox, through kissing gates and unmarked paths, before emerging somewhere around Cheshire Street, perhaps. By now the pack were by all accounts in hot pursuit, apart from one wizened old rider who had been thrown and winded by his steed, and who lurked in the general area of the hunt. Then, as the fox neared Brick Lane again disaster! he struck a cab, hit a drain cover, and buckled both his wheels. As he limped slowly back to ground, the crafty Overdrive espied him, popping out from behind a well-placed car and scalping the injured beast. There was little honour in the kill, but this was a race that celebrated craft as well as speed and might. The two skulked home to The Foundry, with the rest of the pack mere seconds behind them. Of these, it was Martin who prevailed, followed by James Brown and Dazzler, and for the rest, much wassailing was had.

by Jon Day aka Jontyponty

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