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Gateway 2020

Gateway 2020
Great name for a film. I envisage a science fiction film. A post-apocalyptic world with quiet skies save for a singing skylark fluttering down. Abandoned streets, with cars littering the pavement. Occasionally a fleeing runner moving hurriedly across the landscape. I’ve seen the films and read the books. I’ve just never been in one before.
However, as in all such scripts there are some that are lucky (through genes, geography etc.), some that survive. You know, the Harrison Ford character, who, of course, has to put up with various trials and tribulations but, with a plucky smile, because, this is his time. His time to shine.
Thus in 2020, when the world as we knew it started to disintegrate, and a contagion enveloped the globe, the roads emptied and the Quiet descended, cyclists came into their own.  The Mad Maxs of the road. Sure, they had to adapt. No more of that wheel licking (in fact all licking was out) they became the Lone Wolves of the road. While others sulked inside their houses or worst still, had to go on little walks with their partner and teenage children, these intrepid travellers were given a get out of jail free card. When they weren’t on the road, they retired to their garages to secretly work on an antidote known as Zwift.
A small band of desperadoes (Mark Woolven, Dave Retigan, Dave Hellen and Robert George) using such technology, spent hour upon hour toiling away and despite only moving a few feet (rather than their 1000 miles) they did their bit for making the world a better place. An amazing bit, over £3000 bit.
Similarly, Peter Watts with another group eschewed such equipment, although seemingly, they also decided against compasses and had trouble locating Paris. But they did clock up a lot of miles and another fantastic sum.
Meanwhile, the rest of us crisscrossed Thurrock, Essex and when the ferryman was running, Kent. The ley lines were recorded on ancient manuscripts now deposited in the museums of Garmin, Strava and, in at least one case, Ordnance Survey. The journeys were made despite the ever-changing rules. Lone wolves become bands of six then pairs. Sitting in a warm café with a homemade cake became standing drinking a coffee, to eventually out and back raids with only a plum stone to suck on.
So, we know how the film ends but we’re not at the credits just yet. The scientists, in their white coats, discuss a weapon, an antidote, or in this case, a vaccine. They look back in the old manuals; Day of the Triffids, The Andromeda Strain, Alien. They develop one, it’s peer reviewed . They need a guinea pig. Someone has to has to take a bullet for humanity. An unlikely hero steps forward…….Bob Drake.
We are saved. We can meet up on a Wednesday, Saturday (a special mention here to Clint and Anton) and Sunday in groups the size of Woodstock. We can stop in cafes with cakes worthy of TGBBO. We can even cycle past a cricket green, decide to stop for a warm pint and listen to the crack of leather on willow. We can cycle back to the Fifties.
Just, ………… not quite yet. In the meantime, pray for none of those endings with a twist, no Sixth Sense moment. Until you can feel that tailing off in the film’s momentum, make the most of the still quieter roads and the achievement, you know, that is all your own, when you return from a far-flung journey. And that more relaxed start, who cares if it’s 9:40. That more relaxed pace.
Wait for that sudden blackness, wait for those words writ large in the middle of the screen………THE END.
Then party ………and look forward to the sequel, Gateway 2021.
I see an adventure movie, perhaps a romcom……..
Philip Baker

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