After The Show Onion's attempt at bringing in change by suggesting a new start venue for this week's night ride was poo-pooed by The Committee we found ourselves meeting up at The Red Lion. It was a kind of weird scene in the car park: a load of scruffy mountain bikers assembling bikes amidst folk in their finest heading for a Xmas meal.

Our Middle East correspondent (who doesn't do too much corresponding!) Jimmy is back from Oman for Xmas and fished out a bike from The Magic Shed to ride with us. It was a mild night for us but still felt cold for him! I guess the muddy gloop was a change to dry sandy conditions too? He hasn't lost it and was late turning up!

It was an icy, cold morning as I met up with a dozen of the lads on Saturday morning for breakfast at The Fox & Hounds. Unfortunately I hadn't been able to make the annual Xmas do the night before so I was feeling better than some sat around the tables waiting for their fry ups.

I was keen to hear tales of the night before and who had taken a trophy home but the hangovers made everyone fairly quiet! Eventually I discovered Baz was "Rider of the year" and had got "The Trophy". Mick had got "crash of the year"; more for persistence and repeated attempts than for serious injury!

As I always have to be prepared for the weekly night ride in adavance and head there straight from work I'm generally going to be there whatever the weather. This week there were proper storms blasting against the office windows in the late afternoon so I had everything crossed that the BBC weather forecast was right: it said it would clear before the ride began at 7pm.