Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

10 January 2011

What a splendid turn-out on New Year's Day (see Suzanne's report below) and indeed yesterday (see Anne's report). Such a good start to the year (punctures excepted!).

Fame at last!

Rose Collis's The New Encyclopaedia of Brighton has a whole page (p. 92) on Cycling, which includes three sentences about the Brighton and Hove Clarion - check it out!

Members - present and future

Current members will have received the agenda papers for the 2011 AGM.

To renew your membership for 2011 send £7 (£6 national subscription plus our £1 fee) to Jim Grozier, 92a Springfield Road, Brighton BN1 6DE. Make your cheque (or PO) out to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club.

Jim will then be able to send a single cheque for £6 x the number of renewing members to the national membership secretary at the end of January.

Those who have not yet joined - what about it?

Here's what to do:
Print out a membership form.
Fill it in, sign it and send it to Jim with your sub.

In this connection can all members let Jim and Ian know of any changes of address (or email address) please?

Future Rides … 2011 until the beginning of May

It is not possible to check train availability more than 12 weeks in advance so later rides will be provisional for this reason.

Sunday To/Led by
23 January Lewes - Barcombe (Jenny)
6 February Berwick circular (Ian)
20 February Telscombe & Southease from Pier (Roger)
6 March* Gatwick circular (Anne/Mick)
20 March Bluebell ride (Jim)
3 April Berwick-Glynde via Blackboys (Jim)
15-17 April New Forest weekend (Jim)
1 May** ??????

*Ian definitely not available
**But can we think of something really appropriate for 1 May?


The Next Ride

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.

Sunday 23 January - Short and sweet winter ride
Lewes, Barcombe, Lewes

The ride starts in Lewes station car park and heads through Cliffe, leaving Lewes via Malling, where we join the A26 and head north. No need to dice with the traffic though, as there's a good pavement hardly ever used by pedestrians but often resorted to by local cyclists. Soon we turn off into peaceful Wellingham Lane, past the eighteenth-century walled herb garden (sadly not open to visit in winter, but worth a summer return) and on to Barcombe Mills where we can detour to see the weirs and sluices that control river levels in Lewes and beyond. Lunch will be at the Royal Oak in Barcombe.

After lunch we'll head back through the familiar lanes to Cooksbridge where there could be tea and biscuits at my house if enough people want to stop. At this point, if riders are confident of the route back to Lewes, I might desert the ride - but of course I'll be happy to escort everyone back to the station if needed.

An easy, short and largely flat ride of 11 or 12 miles. Meet in Lewes station car park at 10.54. I don't have a mobile phone, so can only be contacted on 01273 400896 until 10.30 that morning. Please let me know if you're coming but not catching the train.

The train leaves Brighton station at 10.39 am (as usual, arrive 15 minutes earlier for Groupsave).


New Year's Day Brunch Ride - Suzanne's Report

Ride report 01.01.2011 (twenty eleven / two thousand and eleven?) Palace Pier to Carat's Café, Southwick

[More photos on Flickr]

Outside Carat's

Tessa, Suzanne, Sue S, Sue B, Sue P, Roger, Mick, Leon, Joyce, John, Jim, Jenny, Janet, Ian, Fred, Bruce, Angela, Anne, Alice managed to squeeze themselves onto three adjoining tables at Carat's Café. The noise level rose considerably thereupon. All that shouting "Oil" and having "rolling" conversations along country roads, as well as the invigorating ride from the Palace (sic) Pier had put the Clarionettes in good voice - well honed to combat any competition from babies, small children, dogs (all of which were very quiet, as it happened). The queue looked endless and yet meals were served quickly and cheerfully. Christmas tales were exchanged. New Year's resolutions revealed - let's hope the main one is "To go out more often with the Clarion Club."


The Last Ride - Anne's Report

Sunday 9 January 2011
Boots, Spurs & Thorns, or 3 Punctures & a Chain Problem

[More photos on Flickr]

A sunny Sunday had been forecast for a week and it duly dawned. What a treat at this cold, dark time of the year to have a Clarion ride planned. Powering down to the station I guiltily remembered that I'd forgotten, yet again, to oil my shamefully neglected bike & wished I'd asked for a vice scribe to stand-in for me, should my chain break, or any other rusty part let me down. Arrived a fraction behind Sue/Sikka, but before Richard. One set of four groupsavers had already bought their ticket and so Joyce now bought a return for us. It was a new system to me that only one ticket given for the group of four, instead of the four individual tickets that we used to be given. Jenny and Janet were planning to cycle back to her Hangleton home and Roger & Suzanne to ride home. So eight of us piled onto to the Victoria bound train and spread our bikes out among the much luggage and many passengers. We set off sideways to Hove, then back through more tunnels than scenery to the London line and Hassocks station, where John and Sean met us. John had cycled from Brighton, and Sean from Plumpton but on his partner Jane's bike, as his had a puncture.

Hassocks station 9th Jan

Joyce pointed out that there was a great deal of happy chattering as we regathered at the station, but eventually we exited and took some photos by the recycling bins. There were no passers-by, so Jenny and John took turns to take the other nine.

All went well until we reached the Hurstpierpoint mini-roundabout and found we were now only six. Soon Suzanne, acting as backstop, came rushing along the pavement with the bad news that Joyce had a puncture. John donned his surgical gloves and his team helped with the operation to insert a fresh inner tube. John and Joyce carefully examined the tyre and removed a thorn from its side [recalling Hazel O'Connor's song]. A convenient sunny spot had been found and there was not enough time for Sue to go for a coffee. We were quickly en route again.

Turning left towards Henfield the familiar undulating road was quiet and gave sunny views of the Downs we had passed beneath on our train. Successfully crossing a busier road, we then took a quiet lane and left the noise and smells of oily engines behind, swapping them for birdsong and bushes, draped with old man's beard. The lane became more puddly and stony, and our leader John left us to explore the paved road track to Newtimber Place, which "is a Sussex moated house, built of flint and brick with a roof of Horsham stone. The original house was probably built by Richard Bellingham's son, who was Sheriff of Sussex in 1567. A special feature of the house is the 18th-century Etruscan style wall paintings in the hall [which we didn't see] and the moat which is fed by natural springs and is 50 foot wide in places" with Georgian dovecot and ancient trees in the gardens. A passer-by told us that in a month hundreds (or thousands?) of snowdrops would decorate the borders of the path where we now paused. Richard's chain had come off and he was repairing this, but more extensive surgery was necessary as the chain hung loosely. It was a beautiful spot for more surgery in the sunshine with John's disposable gloves and indispensable skills again deployed.

At Cora's Corner, Poynings

Off again down a narrowing path of puddles, mud and brambles. Eventually most, if not all, dismounted and pushed, before anyone came a cropper. Back to real roads again and more pleasing undulations, with the Downs to our left. The previously mentioned passer-by had informed us that Newtimber Hill, on the horizon, had extensive mistletoe, though he could have meant the next hill to the west, all within the SSSI & AONB of the "spectacular Fulking Escarpment" looking lovely in the sunlight. As Joyce and I juggled for position climbing the hill together she mentioned a noise coming from her front wheel, and then stopped on the summit and sighed - yet another flat tyre. Sue returned from the front and reported that a better spot than the verge lay a few yards ahead, so we proceeded there for more repairs.

Puncture no 2 at Poynings

This was "the unusual shelter, built as a dedication to Cora by the impresario Sir Emile Littler. He and Cora his beautiful wife, herself a famous stage star, adopted two daughters who are also mentioned on the shelter seats. Before leaving, look around for a plaque and take note of the verse depicted" - a lovely brick building opposite Fulking Church, which I think some Clarionettes visited while others watched, and tried to learn, as bike doctor John donned the surgical gloves, Jenny gave up her spare inner tube and Joyce's tyre was replaced yet again. I didn't take note of the verse, mentioned on the village website, unfortunately, but will do next time. I passed around some almonds and Jenny dispensed some wine gums, as by now all were about ready for lunch, and explanations were given to Janet and Sean, relative newcomers to Clarion, that not all our rides had so many interruptions. Since the sun still shone no one complained as we all enjoyed the pleasant resting spots and now returned to the open road.

Heading off to puncture no 3

On the next undulations we were joined by our London Clarion friends TJ, his son James, and eventually his partner Joan, aka Butterfly. How lovely to see them after long absence. Teenaged James had overslept, making them 2 hours late for the meet at Hassocks station but they had now managed to catch up with us! A short ride brought all thirteen of us to The Castle Inn at Bramber.

After having rearranged all the tables in the conservatory, we were offered their splendid dining room for our exclusive use. Now we had a large book- and window-lined room all to ourselves and an excellent menu from which to choose. Soups, sandwiches and pies soon arrived, but a bit of "and the last shall be first" meant that our leader and saviour, John, had to wait for his soup till sandwiches and pies at my end of the table had all been eaten. The food was super, with the pie winning my prize for best plateful as it had a full array of winter vegetables, enough to satisfy veggies if the pie had been removed. Conversations ranged from the convoluted arrival of our Boots & Spurs and the several ways we had reclaimed them from the annoying postal services, due to the large letter premium which is a pain, and Tory privatisation plans for Royal Mail, resulting in huge pressure on posties, to the latest Tory plans to re-organise the NHS. News headlines were of the shootings in Tucson, killing at least six people, including a 9-year-old girl, born on 9/11/01 and dubbed a "Child of Hope", as she went to her Democrat Congresswoman's street surgery, whom the 22-year-old killer shot through the head. A sad start to 2011 in USA for 9/01/11.

Our London late arrivals had picked up leaflets in the pub about the local attractions in Bramber, but no time to visit now on short winter days. However, St Mary's and Bramber Castle were glimpsed, and our bikes parked in the pub garden by a pretty stream doubtless heading for the River Adur, to which we now cycled on the Downslink trail, which was moist and devoid of other cyclists, unlike my last visit there when I'd collided with two on a blind bend. Due to the puddles we all voted to take to the road at Botolphs, even if it meant a few more hills. We passed under many leafless trees and by many old man's beard-strewn hedges, up and down several hills, seeing the River Adur below us, before, unfortunately, Joyce's third inner tube started to deflate and required pumping. Once all thirteen of us had crossed the busy, roaring A27 it was time, being past 3 pm, to decide whether to take tea at the airport or head for home, by train or pedal power.

Joyce, Sean, Sue and I decided to rush to the station while there was still air in Joyce's tyre and strength left in our legs. I think the Londoners were going to the airport, as it is well worth the visit and they are very fit. I think that left six to cycle home at sunset and I hope they arrived before the bright new moon appeared. The guard came to see our ticket on our train home and said that we needed four people for the Groupsave, and by now we were only three, having left Sean to take the following London train back to Haywards Heath and change there for home. As it was a Sunday he said he'd overlook it, but Sue feared the stricter exit regime at Brighton station and so when we arrived she talked a puzzled young Spanish woman cyclist into joining our group to make up four. International solidarity prevailed, but Joyce's tyre's air had not. We tried our various pumps, valves and connectors to no avail, and thus left Joyce to push her bike downhill to its bike shop, hoping they were still open at 4 pm on a Sunday.

In spite of all the bad luck endured by Joyce, it had been a brilliant day out for all thirteen. Great thanks are due to John for all the leading, repairing and preparing, and to Jim, who had devised the ride, planned and prepared it originally, but was now busy researching for us a New Forest Clarion trip, soon to be revealed.


John adds: Thanks for writing the notes. I was going to research the house at Newtimber but you've managed to do it so beautifully. One thing you did miss was a further puncture, Roger's, on the Hove promenade. This one was slow so needed just a quick pump to get him home. That should be the quota of punctures for the new year, what do you think? And Joyce, I hope she made the bike shop. I did think as we all stood on the corner of the noisy A27 that she may not make it home and should have got the trusty gloves out yet again. This time it would have been a repair and not an exchange of tubes. Sorry about that Joyce. It would have taken me less time to fix the thing than the time possibly taken by yourself to push your bike up the hill!

The origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s

75: "Random Scrip on a Tandem Trip" concluded

Still Clarion 8 June 1895

We now start in earnest for the last twenty miles of our journey to Shrewsbury, where we are to stay for the night. C.F. says we can do it easily without leaving our saddles. When we had covered twelve miles and reached a little village called Cressat C.F. was sure something was wrong with the machine and would have me off to look. There was nothing wrong, and I immediately saw the deception. We had passed a House Pursuant, and C.F. said it was against his principles when cycling. We turned round and found a miniature Ashbourne smoker was in progress and C.F. sang his only song "The Leathern Bottle". This fetched them instantly, and we remained until they turned us out.

Saturday morning, how sad this was the last day of our happy pilgrimage. C.F. wanted to delay it as long as possible, and I had to fling furniture at him to get him out of bed. What a glorious morning! How the birds did sing! Our only and continuous regret was the Chief had not the passenger garden seat. I believe C.F. would have run all the way on his feet if only the Chief had been with us.

We take a circuitous route from Shrewsbury to Chester, so that we can view Candid Friend's new country cottage at Malpas. We shall visit him when the bloom is on the peach. At Chester we met the Scout Van, with the Lone Scout, Dodd, and Campbell in charge. Here we had to part, but before going the Lone Scout told me that the van horse was a daisy to go up hill, but they had to push down. So different from its owner on a tandem!


Next time - adverts for The Scout

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