Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

13 July 2010

As many, but not all, will be aware, Leon, who was going to lead the next ride on 25 July has had to withdraw from the task suffering from a knotted thumb tendon which has made holding the handlebars extremely painful. Within minutes of me alerting members to the need for a replacement Anne and Mick had volunteered to take it on - only to have to back out a few days latter when they were summoned for grandparent duties. Fortunately, Suzanne has leapt into the breach - closely followed by Joyce who will be assisting her with the ride on 25th. It will be as Leon planned - and we all hope he won't be out of cycling action for too long. Special thanks to Suzanne and Joyce.

Future Rides … for the rest of 2010

The ones marked with a * are ones I already know I can't make – and there may be one or two more. It is not possible to check train availability more than 12 weeks in advance, so later rides will be provisional for this reason.

Sunday Led by
25 July Next Ride Hassocks circular - Leon
8 August Bosham Ferry Ride NB picnic – Ian
22 August Eastbourne to Hastings along the coast – Roger
5 September Lewes circular - Jim
19 September* London ride – Angelika
3 October* Gatwick & Horley (provisional) Jim
17 October  
7 November  
21 November*  
6 December*  
19 December  

Offers to organise/lead rides are, as ever, more than welcome! And talking of which Jim writes:

On Sunday 18 July, which is not a normal Clarion day, I will be doing the recce for the 'off-road' version of my Lewes Circular ride, which the club will be doing on 5 September. Having recently walked along a short section of the Kennet & Avon Canal and remembered that I am partly descended from a sea monster and therefore have a craving for water, I decided that I will arrange things so that I can take a short (1-2hr) break in the middle of the ride, and go boating (rowing or punting) on the River Ouse at the Anchor, Barcombe, in order to satisfy that yearning. I will be leaving Brighton especially early (around 9am) to fit this in. If anyone would like to accompany me, please get in touch by e-mailing - these things are always nicer if you're not on your own. The ride is about 25 miles altogether (it says here - though I think I may have made a mistake in the calculation, in which case it will be less than that).

African Revival in Zambia

I've also had a message - addressed to Brighton and Hove Clarion - from Ed Spencer. I haven't yet explored it any further but it sounds a very project. Ed writes:

I am raising money for a small charity called African Revival by taking part in a 500km bike ride across Zambia. African Revival build schools and provide basic education and teacher training in Zambia and other African nations.

Zambia faces a difficult situation since gaining independence some time ago. While it is a peaceful and friendly country average income is falling year on year and life expectancy is just 41 years of age.

Think about that for a moment, if you are over forty you would be dead or dying if you had had the misfortune to be born in Zambia. As if to add insult to injury the rate of death at birth is over 20% of live births.

Through education people can liver longer better lives than if they did not have that advantage. This lifelong benefit is why African Revival promotes education programs rather than headline grabbing 'relief' aid.

There is more information on my just giving page

With so many people in your group you can make a difference with just £1 if we all get involved. Please give that pound. Please bear in mind you can make an even bigger difference with £10 or £100 of course!

In addition to money you can help in two other ways:-

The charity is looking for more people to take part in this challenge, join us. There is a link from my just giving page.

Please distribute this link and information to everyone you can.

Never has 'every little helps' been so true. Many thanks for your time

Ed Spencer.

London-Brighton Heart Foundation ride

So far I have one response to my request for reports on the London-Brighton ride. You'll find Mark's account below after the report on the last ride. Full of incident, it includes a warning about the dangers from drunken idiots on Brighton seafront early on Sunday mornings!

More Clarion History

Another piece of Clarion history has been blogged by Michael Walker (see the history page on our website for lots more from him) which I think will be interesting to everyone and especially our London-based members. And Roger will be interested to learn of the early involvement of Hintons. What with this and other things this newsletter has started aspiring to book length yet again - so I'm going to hold over the next episode of my extracts from the 1895 Clarion until next time.


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 25 July 2010
Hassocks circular - finishes at Hassocks railway station.

We will use 'B' roads west to Hurstpierpoint, then country lanes up to and slightly beyond Bolney, using Langton lane, Bishopstone lane and Pickwell lane. Heading west again, then south on lanes that are new to the club i.e. Jeremy's lane, Colwood lane, Cross Colwood lane, Bulls lane and Kentstreet lane.

Lunch at the Royal Oak at Wineham.

After lunch, heading south on Wineham lane to the Albourne road and back to Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks.

As I have been informed that the Sussex Weald does not have hills, we will only encounter slight undulations on this ride. Also there are no tracks, bridleways or dirt footpaths to negotiate.

Train times:
Meet at Brighton Station at 10.25am for Group four saver tickets.
Catch the 10.45 First Capital Connect train to Hassocks. Arrives at 10.53
Or for those using Oil burners, meet at Hassocks station west side, by 10.50

Return train times:
Hassocks station east side, 15.30 and 15.35 then each subsequent hour

The Last Ride - Nick's Report

Sunday 25 July
Haywards Heath, Bolney and World's End

[More photos on Flickr]

Sunday's Clarion group consisted of eleven cyclists - Corinne, Fred, Jenny, Jim, Sue, Angelika, Joyce, Roger, Tessa, Sean and Nick.

The start at Haywards Heath

Excellent warm and sunny weather helped make Jim's Haywards Heath circular ride extremely enjoyable. Although it was hard to agree totally with Jim's pronouncement that all of his rides took place downhill, the occasional steep hills we did have to negotiate weren't too numerous and we seemed to spend more time either on relatively flat roads, or in the dappled sunshine of picturesque nature reserves.

The main drama took place before the ride had even started, when two of the the London Clarion contingent became confused as to where Jim's ride was due to start. Amanda and Nick became concerned when delays from London meant that they might miss the planned 11.20am start.  Although on different trains, Amanda contacted Jim to explain that she and Nick would be late arriving and asked if it was possible for the rest of the group to wait a few minutes. Jim and the rest of the Clarion cyclists kindly agreed to wait until Nick and Amanda had arrived.
Nick arrived at Haywards Heath at around 11.30, but couldn't see any Clarion cyclists around. He immediately phoned Amanda to say he was at Haywards Heath and wondered what time she thought she would arrive. Amanda said that she was under the impression the ride started at Hassocks  and was on her way to that station instead! There now seemed to be some doubt that the ride started in Haywards Heath. Just as Nick was about to phone Jim to explain that it didn't look like he would be able to make that morning's ride, Jim arrived on the platform and explained they had all been waiting at the other Haywards Heath exit. After a further phone call to Amanda, she decided that the trains were too slow to make it back to Haywards Heath for the start and opted to head home and read a book in the afternoon sunshine instead.

The Bolney Stage
After the morning's initial delay and confusion, we finally started the ride at just before noon. A late start was always planned because the Bolney Stage pub lunch stop was at quite an early stage in the route.  The lunchtime food at the Bolney Stage was quite expensive, but the cauliflower soup and plate of chips option was a good budget alternative to some of the pricier options on offer.  [More photos of food on Flickr]
Most of the day's cycling (18 miles) was actually completed after lunch. Although it was slightly problematic to enter Bedelands Farm Nature reserve via a narrow kissing gate, the eleven cyclists all agreed that the effort of carrying bikes over kissing gates was worth the effort. When leaving the nature reserve, the willow trees in Coopers Close were also rather impressive.

Bike trap
Possibly the steepest hill of the afternoon was the one leading to the 'High Bridge' railway crossing.  Although many of us walked up some of the steep road leading to the bridge, this was the last major cycling exertion required and it was reasonably a straightforward cycle back to Haywards Heath station.


Thanks to Jim for organising a very pleasant day's cycling. Although there was quite a lot of road cycling, none of the roads seemed particularly busy with cars. After being used to sometimes lengthy waits at stations for Sunday service trains, it was a pleasant surprise to find trains waiting for the Brighton and London Clarion cyclists when we arrived at Haywards Heath station. Unlike the the delays experienced from London in the morning, there was plenty of time to cycle home and watch the early evening coverage of the World Cup final on TV.

Timing Issues - 2010 London To Brighton In The Slow Lane - Mark reports

I had one goal for the London to Brighton ride. I had ridden it several years ago (when trains took you the start and before mobile phones were prevalent) and failed to ride up the Beacon. Up to that point I had managed to haul my 25-year old tourer up all the hills on offer. So my goal this time was simple and singular – to cycle all the way this time.  I had even 'trained' by going up the Beacon successfully on a solo circular ride from Hove. What could go wrong? 

My brother-in-law Gavin was participating for the first time. A relative newcomer to cycling, he commutes 15 miles each way now. 

On my previous attempt I had a 6.00 am start, so I repeated this. These days coaches and trucks take you to the start, and I had a 4.00am start on Maderia Drive. I decided to get there early and left at 3.15am, cycling along the front. However late night revellers made me move to the road, but not to be defeated, a group of super-drunk revellers wandered out onto the street pouring out of a nightclub tried to tackle me close to the roundabout by the pier, but I sped up and swerved by, and a nasty accident was (just about) avoided. 

I then joined a queue for the coaches; I was about 20th in line. There was another nightclub close to where the queue was, so an interesting dichotomy was on show with stoned/drunk people of the night staggering past shivering, lycra clad cyclists.

We waited for ages. 4am came and went. There were maybe 100 of us in line. It seemed that while the coaches were there the trucks weren't. 'They didn't turn up until 5am last year' moaned a regular. We eventually left at 4.50am, and I didn't cross the start line until 7am. I didn't think this hour difference would really matter - but it did. I hadn't recalled how crowded the ride was, but we must have stopped for weight of traffic two dozen times; I guess the previous time I had avoided the worst by being near the front. The masses also walked up the first serious hill, again due to weight of traffic. I managed to set the Roberts in its lowest gear and cycled slowly up. This hill (and the next three like it) thus produced strange moments - me cycling up alongside people walking, and no one commenting, not even a glance. Odd. 

I sent my first text of the day to Gav at the start, and got a reply that he had just woken up and had to 'cycle to the start'. I did some mental calculations (he lives in Epsom) and decided he wouldn't make it before they closed the ride. 

I did stop for a pleasant cup of tea at my friend's house on the route, about 30 minutes in. He was expecting me at 7.30 (7.00 plus 30 minutes cycling) but I was there at 8.10 - a reflection of the significant delays. His young family were preparing for breakfast, and for a minute I forgot I was on the ride and nearly joined in. 

The ride itself, apart from the number of people, was pleasant enough, and hillier than I had remembered it. There were a few in fancy dress, and everyone was chatty and friendly although all frustrated by the crowds. As the miles unrolled, I got texts from Gav who had got a lift in the end to the start, and he seemed to be steadily catching me. I pressed on, secretly not wanting to be overtaken (we were meeting our families at my house in Hove) and I grew weary. Running over my training, I realized that I actually hadn't done that many Clarion rides, and virtually nothing else, and just had one 30 miler in the last three weeks under my belt. By the time I got to the foot of the Beacon Gav was apparently breathing down my neck. I sat on the grass on the bank my the bottom and my legs were lifeless; I was finished and a walk up seemed my destiny.  

I took a deep breath, got in the granny gear and started turning. And to my surprise I found I could get up. It seemed to me at least to be almost easier than walking. It had taken my 13 minutes to climb the Beacon on the occasion I had attempted before, and I knew the hill had 'false finishes', but I was unprepared for when it suddenly ended and I was on the top! I let out several whoops of joy, which seemed to startle a few people around me, and then waited for Gav. On the top I received a text saying he was approaching the Beacon. Good, I could wait for him and we could cycle together to the finish; no honour lost there. However, after an uncertain period of waiting - 30 minutes, maybe longer - he rang to say he was at the finish. It seems that his text had been delayed in the ether and he had already passed me.  

I then tried to hurry to the finish to save face, which was frankly impossible. I think it took me an hour to get from the top of the Beacon to the finish (with two gents with verbal diarrhoea having been recklessly given a microphone and seemingly believing they were unable to take a breath) to Marocco's where a soothing ice cream was our reward.

Gav was gentle with me back at the house - Mark left for an hour at the top etc - but the reality was he started 90 minutes after me and finished 60 in front. I chatted to lots of people on the route, and even got the odd compliment (and a few odd compliments!) on my bike. 

At the end of the day while my timing was awry I had achieved my goal – non-stop cycling. Albeit very slowly! 

Mark :)

^ top