|The Chronicles of the League of Gentlemen Cyclists and the Intrepid Sorority|
How did it all start?|
A long time ago on a message board far, far away a certain chap called Gunner Rodgers, who does actually exist and can be found riding around the Yorkshire Moors on a Giant OCR Team Replica, asked a question of his fellow Cake Stoppers. The question was simple enough, but, in the way of threads on the Cake Stop, it evolved and mutated into something else entirely.
I blame Chuffy, myself.
Although they started off as a collaborative project in the sense that the characters involved wrote some of the text themselves, it did not remain that way for long. The first two episodes of the first volume are thus of a very different style and presentation from the rest. I think it took until Volume 3 for most of the other contributors to take a back seat and content themselves with reading the results.
A couple of years and nearly 100 episodes after their inception the Chronicles moved home to Another Cycling Forum, part of the Bikereader empire. The reasons for this are many and varied and, of course, made it into the Chronicles themselves as part of the plot of Volume VIII.
Almost immediately, the Chronicles moved home again. This time the League and Sorority decided they needed their own premises. All the silliness can now be found in the League's Clubhouse. The Chronicles are housed in the Library.
The basic premise is that anyone can get involved. Forum members present ideas, and those ideas are written in to the story. Some sense of this process can be garnered by having a look at the raw text files. The story is also written with as many references to the various threads going on in the Forum as is possible without it getting unwieldy or dull or interfering with the plot too much. Any Forum member can get a mention: all that is required is that they express the desire to be included. Occasionally the name chosen by a contributor or his posting style will cry out for a particular role in a story, and it can take a while for the plot to get around to including him or her, but we get there eventually.
There are several characters in the Chronicles that are ripped unashamedly and completely without permission from the material of others, and so far these are:
|Captain Jack Sparrow||And his ship The Black Pearl are originally from the Disney film Pirates of the Caribbean.
|Kehaar||A seagull originally from Watership Down by Richard Adams.
|Jack Shandy||A character from the Tim Powers book On Stranger Tides. A thoroughly good read.
|Wolverine||A character from the Marvel universe; one of the X-Men. In the Chronicles he is in his Hugh Jackman incarnation for reasons of artistic punning and because the narrator has the hots for him.
|Van Helsing||From the eponymous film, in which the character is played by Hugh Jackman. It does occur that maybe Mr Jackman ought to find an action hero to play who hasn't lost his memory. Strangely, the narrator does not have the hots for Van Helsing.
|The Humungous||This most noxious of creatures owes a lot to the portrayal of Baron Harkonnen in the David Lynch production of Dune, whereas the name is, of course, from Mad Max: The Road Warrior.
||Westley||The Dread Pirate Roberts, from the film The Princess Bride. His other percentage, Buttercup, also gets a mention.|
There is also a plethora of various pagan gods and goddesses. The Triple Goddess of Cycling is entirely an invention, although that does not mean that it's not worth sacrificing some malt loaf in Her direction before your next TT. The rumours are that She can be very helpful.
Lance Armstrong does not know that we are using him as our God of Le Tour, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind. Needless to say, everything attributed to him in the Chronicles should be treated as fictional.
A-Time isn't really an original invention either. It is to be found in a marvellous comic series called Squalor, written by Stefan Petrucha (better known, perhaps, for his X-Files and Meta-4 comic series) with artwork by the late Tom Sutton, published by First Publishing in 1989. The only commonalities between the A-Time in the Chronicles and the A-Time in Squalor are the presence of the giant clowns, the bouncing balls and the lurid colours.
The ABD exists, of course. They claim to campaign on behalf of British drivers:
"Our aim is to provide an active, responsible voice to lobby for Britain's beleaguered drivers & motorcyclists... The ABD demands an end to the abuse of speed cameras for extorting money from drivers."
I think that is sufficient reason to have them cast as the arch-enemy of the forces of the cycling world in our little collection of stories, however, for legal reasons I should point out that they are NOT led by a bloated, evil warthog of a creature called the Humungous who drives around in a monstrous Humvee; they do NOT, as far as I am aware, support evil genetic manipulation experiments in order to create a sub-species of humans that can only survive in polluted air; and, in fact, much like Lance Armstrong, everything about them in the Chronicles should be treated as fictional. Their website has all the genuine information about them you are likely to need.
Finally there are the contibutors themselves. These are all real people, although they have been rendered into as disparate a collection of superheroes, heroines, and all-round good sorts as you are likely to find in any comic strip.
And that's the point. The Chronicles are, in essence, a comic strip rendered in text form. They are not meant to be great literature. They are meant as entertainment for the people who take part in the forum, and, as such, probably have a lot of in-jokes and obscure references that those who are not forummers are unlikely to understand. If the reader does not even ride a bike, much of it may well seem thoroughly unintelligble. Not to worry. Even the Cake Stop members find some of the references completely unintelligble.
But that's okay. It's all good fun.
One more note. Links rendered in orange in the text are external. They point outside the site.
Any comments, criticisms, observations on grammar and spelling (!) can be sent to the author by taking out the obvious spam trap.
Copyright of all material within this site is held by Samantha Fleming, apart from sections written by other contributors, unless otherwise stated. Please do not use any material on this site without prior permission from the author.