"Bumps": an explanation

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by S N Trav » Wed, 13 Jul 1994 18:55:06


I recall one Conan (the barbarian?) requesting clarification from Rachel
Quarrell on what the term "bump[s]" referred to.  Whilst unable to claim
being the aforementioned RQ, I can, however, claim to have rowed in a
bumps race, so hopefully I can enlighten you and anyone else interested
as to what this quaint custom entails.

Bumps racing is done in Cambridge and Oxford, and also, I believe on the
Thames between colleges of London University (though I'm not *totally*
sure about this).  I think it originated because the rivers in Cambridge
and Oxford are very narrow and preclude side-by-side racing over any
reasonable distance.

Bumps racing is processional, it is done in divisions of eigh*** boats
at a time, each separated by 1 1/2 lengths.  All the crews are started
*at the same time*, usually by means of a cannon.  The object is to catch
and touch (yes, touch!) or "bump" the crew in front, without being bumped
by the crew behind.  If one crew catches the one in front and bumps, the
two crews pull into the side of the river whilst the others continue
until they have crossed the finish line, or have been bumped/bump
themselves.  Getting all the way down the course is termed "rowing-over".

The bumps are held over four days and the starting order is inherited from
the previous year.  When a bump is made, the crews switch places in the
following day's starting order, hence a crew can "bump-up" four places in
four successive days.  If this feat is achieved, crew members are
entitled to a painted oar, and the cox a painted rudder, with the names
of the crew, college crest, crews bumped etc.  This is termed "winning
blades".  If they reach the head of the first division, they
try and remain there until the end of the final day by rowing over, and
are termed Head of the River (though, of course only crews within five
places of the head have any chance of getting there).  Crews at the head
of the lower divisions also row over at the bottom of the next division
up, and try to "bump-on".  Further complications: if two crews bump out
ahead during the race, you can proceed to try and catch the crew ahead of
them; if achieved, this is termed an over-bump.  In the top divisions
where crews are evenly matched, it occurs rarely, but in the lower
divisions it is more common, as are horrendous pile-ups caused by crews
and coxes who are inexperienced and don't get out of the way after
bumping sufficiently quickly to avoid the chasing crews.

In Cambridge there are University bumps between the colleges twice a
year.  The Lent Bumps are usually around the third week in February, and the
May Bumps are the second week in June (or so).  The town clubs hold bumps
in July.  Bumps racing is probably the most exciting rowing to watch,
with so many crews and the prospect of spectacular crashes.  Also, people
follow the crews down the river on bikes, signalling by means of
whistles, bells and hooters to their crew to tell them how close they are
to bumping the crew ahead.  Making a bump is very exhilarating, and
being bumped is dreadful.  Watching that crew sneaking up on you and
getting overlap is not at all pleasant.  Making the bump is rather
different, because, of course, you can't see it (unless you're the cox).

Well, I hope that goes some way to explaining.  If you have any other
questions on bumps, drop me a line.

Steve

Bath Univ BC

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by Rashid Kar » Wed, 13 Jul 1994 20:36:59


Quote:

> I recall one Conan (the barbarian?) requesting clarification from Rachel
> Quarrell on what the term "bump[s]" referred to.  Whilst unable to claim
> being the aforementioned RQ, I can, however, claim to have rowed in a
> bumps race, so hopefully I can enlighten you and anyone else interested
> as to what this quaint custom entails.

> Bumps racing is done in Cambridge and Oxford, and also, I believe on the
> Thames between colleges of London University (though I'm not *totally*
> sure about this).  I think it originated because the rivers in Cambridge
> and Oxford are very narrow and preclude side-by-side racing over any
> reasonable distance.

Yes there is a form of this race held in London, its not all the London
colleges, its confined to the Hospital crews and is called the Hospital
Bumps, and is rowed in May (I think) from Kew Gardens to the University
Boat House.
Quote:

> Bumps racing is processional, it is done in divisions of eigh*** boats
> at a time, each separated by 1 1/2 lengths.  All the crews are started
> *at the same time*, usually by means of a cannon.  The object is to catch
> and touch (yes, touch!) or "bump" the crew in front, without being bumped
> by the crew behind.  If one crew catches the one in front and bumps, the
> two crews pull into the side of the river whilst the others continue
> until they have crossed the finish line, or have been bumped/bump
> themselves.  Getting all the way down the course is termed "rowing-over".

> The bumps are held over four days and the starting order is inherited from
> the previous year.  When a bump is made, the crews switch places in the
> following day's starting order, hence a crew can "bump-up" four places in
> four successive days.  If this feat is achieved, crew members are
> entitled to a painted oar, and the cox a painted rudder, with the names
> of the crew, college crest, crews bumped etc.  This is termed "winning
> blades".  If they reach the head of the first division, they
> try and remain there until the end of the final day by rowing over, and
> are termed Head of the River (though, of course only crews within five
> places of the head have any chance of getting there).  Crews at the head
> of the lower divisions also row over at the bottom of the next division
> up, and try to "bump-on".  Further complications: if two crews bump out
> ahead during the race, you can proceed to try and catch the crew ahead of
> them; if achieved, this is termed an over-bump.  In the top divisions
> where crews are evenly matched, it occurs rarely, but in the lower
> divisions it is more common, as are horrendous pile-ups caused by crews
> and coxes who are inexperienced and don't get out of the way after
> bumping sufficiently quickly to avoid the chasing crews.

> In Cambridge there are University bumps between the colleges twice a
> year.  The Lent Bumps are usually around the third week in February, and the
> May Bumps are the second week in June (or so).  The town clubs hold bumps
> in July.  Bumps racing is probably the most exciting rowing to watch,
> with so many crews and the prospect of spectacular crashes.  Also, people
> follow the crews down the river on bikes, signalling by means of
> whistles, bells and hooters to their crew to tell them how close they are
> to bumping the crew ahead.  Making a bump is very exhilarating, and
> being bumped is dreadful.  Watching that crew sneaking up on you and
> getting overlap is not at all pleasant.  Making the bump is rather
> different, because, of course, you can't see it (unless you're the cox).

> Well, I hope that goes some way to explaining.  If you have any other
> questions on bumps, drop me a line.

> Steve

> Bath Univ BC


 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by ENienab » Wed, 13 Jul 1994 23:52:02


Quote:
Travis) writes:

Ahhh!!!! Doesnt that drain your equipment stock? Sounds exciting, but very
expensive!

Erik
Rowing GMU

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by Uwe Nimsche » Thu, 14 Jul 1994 05:09:28


Quote:


>Travis) writes:

>Ahhh!!!! Doesnt that drain your equipment stock? Sounds exciting, but very
>expensive!

It is indeed. The idea of the bumps is to put 9 spoilt and pampered public
school kids into a boat and let them smash up $15000 worth of equipment.
But they don't have to pay for it themselves so they don't care.
That's actually the reason why in the Town Bumps, where people pay for
the equipment with their own money, crews are not allowed to physically
bump into each other.

Uwe
--

U. of Cambridge, Computer Lab, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG

"Ich fahre Horex, weil mir beim BWM Fahren immer so schlecht wird."

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by N.T. Saunde » Thu, 14 Jul 1994 21:20:55

Quote:




>>Travis) writes:

>>Ahhh!!!! Doesnt that drain your equipment stock? Sounds exciting, but very
>>expensive!

>It is indeed. The idea of the bumps is to put 9 spoilt and pampered public
>school kids into a boat and let them smash up $15000 worth of equipment.
>But they don't have to pay for it themselves so they don't care.
>That's actually the reason why in the Town Bumps, where people pay for
>the equipment with their own money, crews are not allowed to physically
>bump into each other.

>Uwe
>--

>U. of Cambridge, Computer Lab, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG

>"Ich fahre Horex, weil mir beim BWM Fahren immer so schlecht wird."

In actual fact it is very rarely the expensive boats that get damaged in
bumps racing - more normally damage occurs to novice boats with inexperienced
coxes.

If you can find me a boat containing 9 spoilt public school kids I would
be very impressed!

It seems a rather uninformed comment from someone who is claiming to
have knowledge about rowing at Cambridge.

Nick Saunders

Captain Magdalene College Boat Club Cambridge

.

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by Kathy Prest » Thu, 14 Jul 1994 20:54:39


Quote:



> >Travis) writes:

> >Ahhh!!!! Doesnt that drain your equipment stock? Sounds exciting, but very
> >expensive!

> It is indeed. The idea of the bumps is to put 9 spoilt and pampered public

                                                ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Quote:
> school kids into a boat and let them smash up $15000 worth of equipment.
  ^^^^^^^^^^^
> But they don't have to pay for it themselves so they don't care.
> That's actually the reason why in the Town Bumps, where people pay for
> the equipment with their own money, crews are not allowed to physically
> bump into each other.

Excuse me?  I never went to public school, I am not a kid, and I am neither spoilt
nor pampered and yet I have rowed in the Cambridge Bumps.  Last time that I checked,
anybody from a particular college could trial for one of their college's boats.  

I would like to dispel the myth that we go out there and play smash-up derby with
the boats.  Causing damage to the boats is strongly discouraged - especially by
the college boatmen!  In fact, coxes can and are fined for not acknowledging bumps
soon enough.

Uwe, you seem to have a pretty big chip on your shoulder and I guess that I'm
having a bad enough day that I felt compelled to reply.  

Kathy
---

Kathy Preston      
Ladies Captain
Pembroke College Boat Club
_____________________________________________________________________

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by H.A. Lad » Thu, 14 Jul 1994 21:42:57



Quote:
: >Travis) writes:

: >
: >Ahhh!!!! Doesnt that drain your equipment stock? Sounds exciting, but very
: >expensive!
: >

: It is indeed. The idea of the bumps is to put 9 spoilt and pampered public
: school kids into a boat and let them smash up $15000 worth of equipment.
: But they don't have to pay for it themselves so they don't care.

That's a bit harsh.  It is the cox's responsibility to conceed (when about
to be bumped).  So in general the boats do smash into each other - the bow
may brush against the stern or a blade may touch the stern.  Of course
there are times when stupidity prevails and you have accidents - expensive
for boats and people.  In the lower divisions where most hard bumps occur
the boats used are not very expensive - old eights.  However, if you where
to watch the crews on the river, the boats they row in (in general) does
not indicate a bunch of rich, don't give a damn, public school kids who
have 15000 pounds/dollars spare.

Cheers,

Hanif.
: That's actually the reason why in the Town Bumps, where people pay for
: the equipment with their own money, crews are not allowed to physically
: bump into each other.

: Uwe
: --

: U. of Cambridge, Computer Lab, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG

: "Ich fahre Horex, weil mir beim BWM Fahren immer so schlecht wird."

--
____________________________________________________
Hanif A. Ladha          {Opinions are my own}
King's College
Uni. of Cambridge

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by Bonnie M. Voigtland » Thu, 14 Jul 1994 22:56:59

Quote:
>: It is indeed. The idea of the bumps is to put 9 spoilt and pampered public
>: school kids into a boat and let them smash up $15000 worth of equipment.
>: But they don't have to pay for it themselves so they don't care.

Oh, isn't it fun to watch a flame war from the more gentile side of the
Atlantic.  They argue in such proper English!  ;-)

Now, doing an improper translation into Americanese we would say that
"9 spoilt and pampered public school kids" would be nine ghetto kids spoilt
by drug ***ion and pampered by the government having given them clean
needles.  (Public school being a good thing there and an average to bad
thing here.)

Long live the British Empire!!

--
              o
            /---/
 ............../.........

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by Malcolm Bin » Thu, 14 Jul 1994 23:30:45

Quote:




>>Travis) writes:

>>Ahhh!!!! Doesnt that drain your equipment stock? Sounds exciting, but very
>>expensive!

>It is indeed. The idea of the bumps is to put 9 spoilt and pampered public
>school kids into a boat and let them smash up $15000 worth of equipment.
>But they don't have to pay for it themselves so they don't care.
>That's actually the reason why in the Town Bumps, where people pay for
>the equipment with their own money, crews are not allowed to physically
>bump into each other.

Uwe,

I think you have been roundly flamed for most of this message, so I think it only
fair to fill you in on the details about the town bumps. In the town bumps you are
allowed to hit the boat in front, and in fact I have managed it several in the last
two years, rowing for a town club (City of Cambridge) and one of the university
departments (Engineering Dept.) During some of these bumps physical contact was made
between the boats. You should note that for the most part the speed difference between
the two boats is such that the coxswain will often acknowledge a bump just before a
bump is made. For the record City 2nd boat went up 4 and CUED 1st went up 3.

Sounds like you got that detail wrong as well.

Malcolm Binns
City 2nd Boat 1992
CUED 1st 1993/4
Magdalene College 1st boat 1991-4

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

>Uwe
>--

>U. of Cambridge, Computer Lab, Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QG

>"Ich fahre Horex, weil mir beim BWM Fahren immer so schlecht wird."

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by quarr.. » Thu, 14 Jul 1994 23:40:35


Quote:

> Bumps racing is done in Cambridge and Oxford, and also, I believe on the
> Thames between colleges of London University (though I'm not *totally*
> sure about this).

        yup
        start of May or so.

Quote:
>  If they reach the head of the first division, they
> try and remain there until the end of the final day by rowing over, and
> are termed Head of the River.

addenda:        

        If a crew does successfully retain the headship, it is traditional to
        burn an old wooden shell, get totally pissed and jump over it in a
        celebratory fashion.  Alas this year in Oxford the Osler women's head
        crew "melted" a plastic shell instead (a very old one), so lots of
        noxious fumes ensued.

        In Oxford's Summer Eights, and for both the Cambridge events, when one
        crew bumps another, both drop out of the race, wind down and sit at
        the side until the rest have come past.  In the Oxford Torpids (named
        because the university triallists aren't allowed to row, so the races
        are slower, or more torpid), we add to the fun by only allowing the
        boat which GETS the bump (ie the one behind) to stop.  The other has to
        carry on, but as a bonus, can then try and bump the crew in front.  We
        often get a "ripple" effect where crews bump in order, so that the one
        which bumped out first goes head of a whole line, then the second
        fastest etc.

        Some things which enliven proceedings include - in the unfixed
        divisions, where the order is set by a "rowing on" race rather like
        Henley qualifiers the previous Friday, the standards can be wildly
        variable.  "Schools" crews are usually good oarspersons who have finals
        exams to sit, but often shift a boat very fast, and try and bump the
        crew in front before striding.  "Nodgers" are rugby or football players
        or the college darts team or similar, and more often *get* bumped
        before striding.  There is always one crew who decide that the quickest
        way out of the situation is to climb the bank, bows first...

        You might be interested to hear that one of the organisers of Summer
        Eights in Oxford this summer was trying very hard to make the bumps a
        non-contact sport.  I ask you.  Chocolate teapot stuff - what's the
        point?

If you ever get the chance to row/cox in a bumps race, snatch it.  It has to be
the most fun way of organising rowing races.  

Rachel.
Oxford.
(it's ok, the flamethrower's safety catch is on today).

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by Chris Harris » Fri, 15 Jul 1994 01:08:12


|> >
|> > Bumps racing is done in Cambridge and Oxford, and also, I believe on the
|> > Thames between colleges of London University (though I'm not *totally*
|> > sure about this).
|>
|>   yup
|>   start of May or so.

But only between the medical schools, the normal colleges don't
get a look in. :-(

chris.

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by Conan L H » Fri, 15 Jul 1994 10:04:28

Gee, y'know, when I asked for an explanation about "bumps" I didn't mean to
start a "flame war" about who is spoiled, who gets all the equipment, etc.

But thanks to all those across the pond who wrote to me and explained
everything.  Bumps sound like fun.

Later,
Conan

 
 
 

"Bumps": an explanation

Post by a.. » Fri, 15 Jul 1994 20:59:02


<>: It is indeed. The idea of the bumps is to put 9 spoilt and pampered public
<>: school kids into a boat and let them smash up $15000 worth of equipment.
<>: But they don't have to pay for it themselves so they don't care.
<
<
<Oh, isn't it fun to watch a flame war from the more gentile side of the
<Atlantic.  They argue in such proper English!  ;-)
<
<Now, doing an improper translation into Americanese we would say that
<"9 spoilt and pampered public school kids" would be nine ghetto kids spoilt
<by drug ***ion and pampered by the government having given them clean
<needles.  (Public school being a good thing there and an average to bad
<thing here.)
<
<Long live the British Empire!!
<

So!  We're being patronised by ***y colonials! ;-)

This is actually teasingly topical, because over here in the UK we've just
celebrated July 4th, that glorious day when the rest of the empire were
granted independence from America.  Traditional festivites included a marathon
tea drink (with milk and two lumps), calls of 'Rounder! rounder! rounder!"
when someone scores what would be called a 'Home-run' in our (original)
version of baseball (called Rounders), games of 'catch' (known as football
across the pond), pig sticking, fox hunting, trooping the *colour*, and
***ney rhyming slang contests:

Stone the crows me ol' china plate, fell dairn the
apples an' pears last night, completely Brahms and Liszt.  Felt like a right
Gareth Hunt, I should coco!

Meaning:
Flipping heck my friend, I fell down the stairs last night while I was pissed
(drunk - not angry).  I felt like a female *** organ, I should say so!

Then we all go out to find American Ex-pats and ask if we can 'bum a fag',
just to watch them run off with checks clenched, when all we wanted was to
scrounge (sort of borrow but not give back - bit like our 'lend lease'
arrangement in world war two) a cigarette.

Pip pip!

Lord 'Chinless Wonder' Fortesque-Smythe-Sprote, Third Duke of Earl, (deceased).

ps  'You're from London!  Gee you don' happen to know Fred Smith ...'

pps  Flame right away ...

ppps  I can't remember what this has to do with rowing, but they do row in
London.

pppps  Does anyone in the UK (or elsewhere for that matter) know the
difference between British 'public' and 'private' schools?