|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.
Offers to organise/lead rides are, as ever, more than welcome! And talking of which Jim writes:
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:
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
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.
Return train times:
The Last Ride - Nick's Report
Sunday 25 July
[More photos on Flickr]
Sunday's Clarion group consisted of eleven cyclists - Corinne, Fred, Jenny, Jim, Sue, Angelika, Joyce, Roger, Tessa, Sean and Nick.
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.
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!