The annual Halloween night ride kicked off again this Wednesday, Halloween being a tenuous excuse for drinking, riding, falling and rolling around in the dark woods.
This traditional drinking excuse has been running for around ten years now. What was originally a couple of mates sitting around a fire having a drink and a smoke has grown into a semi-organized, semi-race event of 50-plus.
That's about the only change over the years though. There's still the mad dash on the day to get back from work in time for the meet up. Which, I've only made on time once.
The scramble to find a set of working lights as interesting, as we had only one set between the five of us...so at least we could get to the secret location after missing the start.
Then the packing of provisions. One gallon of old Scrumpy, a hipflask of whisky, 8 bottles of beer and something in a container found lying under the sofa.
Only 40 minutes late and we're off trick and treating. Arrive at the secret location in the woods, where the advanced party has already got the fire going - good work Mikey. Then the apparitions start to arrive. It was like something out of ET as lights flickered through the woods and the merry throng arrived.
Then the organized fun started. This led me to drink and the cracking open of the paint stripping Scrumpy which probably tasted like cider at some stage.
Split into teams of five and forced off on a relay race around the woods, Jeff had a stormer of a first lap. Apparently a tree wouldn't get out of his way. He dropped from 2nd place and finished being lapped by a man in a tutu.
And this was only the first of five laps.
It's a strange almost out of body experience riding around the woods in that state but one that's quite enjoyable.
In the end our mob of five ghouls got through the cider, the beer, and a block of stollen. We even managed to polish off the left over mulled wine that was going to be used to extinguish the fire.
By the witching hour we were in quite a shabby state and fully prepared for the ride home - an event in itself. We somehow slid our way down the woods and into the lights of the city. Slices of pizza and more beer waiting for us.
A fantastic night, we're covered in bruises we can't remember getting home and the whole irresponsible event was just what we needed to welcome in winter.