Panic stations

This afternoon I had a call from a damsel in distress, the wife of one of our club members. He’d left the house this morning for the club ride (every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday) and hadn’t come back. It was now 14hr, at least 2 hours later than his normal return time and there was no sign of him. Nor was he answering his mobile phone. Although this particular gentleman has been a member of the club for many years, his wife doesn’t share his passion and they don’t socialise or attend any of the club events, so she’d had no idea who to ring. In desperation, she’d found my number on the club web site.

I tried to calm her nerves and said I’d talk to those who normally ride during the week. I said I was quite sure there was a simple explanation for his late appearance. Actually, I wasn’t sure. This was said more in hope, and for her benefit, than expectation, as we’ve had a number of riders injured this year in contre-temps with cars. I quickly rang ex-M Le President who explained he’d last seen the gentleman in question in  a small group of other riders, some way behind. We both started ringing around the other riders. Most of the ones I spoke to had cut short their ride, but confirmed that they too had seen him. So, good news, he had at least gone on this morning’s ride and hadn’t used it as an excuse to conceal some other activity.

Ex-M le President rang me back. It appears that they’d decided on one of the longer routes for today’s ride although a number of them had foreshortened their rides to get back home for lunch. Among the retirees, who you’d think could afford to be more spontaneous, the world spins off its axis if they’re not at the table for lunch at 12:30. The gentleman in question, having almost reached home decided to stop and have lunch. Lunch, as you know, in France takes 2hrs. By my reckoning, the missing man would be back home just after 14:30.

I rang his wife, whose fears had reached fever pitch when she discovered her hubby had left his phone at home. This, of course, explained why he’d not been answering her calls. I quickly summarised the situation and said he’d be home soon. I then suggested that she ask her hubby for the mobile phone numbers of his regular riding companions and to encourage him to always take his mobile phone with him. Methinks this chap’s going to be in for a bit of an ear bashing when he finaly gets home and some gentle ribbing from his team mates on Sunday’s ride.

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