Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

18 October 2010

Sorry about the almost last-minute change to the ride on Sunday. It was very lucky that I happened to be going to London on Wednesday and heard the announcement about the changes. Otherwise I would have been at Hassocks station, wondering (eventually!) why no trains were going past until someone phoned me - no doubt in bewilderment - from Brighton station. And I don't think we would have been able to improvise much in those circumstances. But weren't we lucky with the weather (though it got a bit cold at times)?

I'd like to say that the moral of the story is for ride organisers to check again for unanticipated changes a few days before the ride. It is, but the problem with that is - as I now realise thanks to Leon pointing it out to me - that the national rail info website has changed. Whereas in the past if you clicked on 'details' for a particular train journey you got some words saying 'bus replacement service' or something similar if the train wasn't running as usual, now the only indication is what's supposed to be a tiny picture of a bus, but looks to me equally like a train, on the left-hand side of the entry that otherwise looks as though everything is normal. Not very helpful. Come back British Rail - all is forgiven (even those sandwiches). Have doubled checked Polegate for 7 November.

You'll notice that there's a 3-week gap instead of the usual 2-week one before that ride. This is because we decided (well, I decided and asked anyone who disagreed to say so and nobody did) to avoid the Sunday of the clocks change.

There wasn't exactly a stampede to volunteer to provide a ride for the last available date in 2010, but Leon did try his best - only to be thwarted by diabolical forces intent on digging up the rails between Hassocks and Brighton on 7 November too. But thanks for trying Leon! For the same reason I haven't been able to recycle the Shermanbury ride for that date. But I'm sure there will be a suitable occasion for it next year.

Sue (Pringle) was doing her charity ride yesterday (details in the last newsletter). Hope it went well. And I'm sure it's not too late to make a donation if you haven't already done so:

I'm hoping we'll have a report from Sue for the next issue. In the meantime, after the ride report for yesterday you'll find Jenny's account of the New Forest randonnée she and John did the previous Sunday.

2011 Rides

As you'll see, I've worked out the schedule for next year up to the beginning of May (we must think of something special for our 1 May ride - any ideas?). One advantage of this schedule is that it avoids the beginning of BST - always a good thing with people like me who can be guaranteed to turn up an hour early or (worse) an hour late every time the clocks change. Offers - definite or provisional - for any of the dates are very welcome.

Winter draws on

The old joke. But it's starting to be not such a joke for me. I've never been a great fan of cold weather, and have always suffered from icy feet on bike rides at cold times of year, but last winter on a few occasions I found the cold was getting to me and making me feel really ill on two or three occasions (not always cycling ones). It may be that all the winter dates - and not just 6 March which I definitely can't make - will be 'bagged' by other people. But if I end up doing any myself, this is what I intend. Obviously, one can't predict what the weather is going to be like a fortnight or more in advance and I will turn up at the designated starting point for all my rides come what may. But if I feel that I'm in danger of getting excessively 'chilled' I shall have sketched a route guide (and brought a map to lend if necessary) and will get whoever turns up to take over. Hope that is OK with everyone (I don't want to just say 'I'm not going to do any rides till May'). It might come to that one day - but let's not be too gloomy!

Boots and Spurs cover anyone?

If you didn't get the email from Ian Clarke, the national sec, about special copies of the B&S cover illustration - and would like to know more - just ask and I'll forward it to you.

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s (Episode 70) is at the end as usual.

Future Rides … for the rest of 2010

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
7 November - next ride Cowbeech - Ian
21 November* Jim - Gatwick circular
5 December* Roger - West of Hove, starting at the pier
19 December 'Traditional' end of year Berwick circular - Ian

* Ian not available

…And until the beginning of May 2011

Sunday To/Led by
Saturday 1 January Traditional brunch ride to Carats café
9 January  
23 January  
6 February  
20 February  
6 March*  
20 March  
3 April  
17 April  
1 May  

* Ian not available

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 7 November
Cowbeech - only about 18 miles

For this ride I've borne in mind that we will be on 'winter time' and I want to make sure that everyone can get back to Brighton in daylight. Parts of the route are familiar - some of it is what we did as a 'leisure ride' for the Clarion Meet at Easter - but it's put together differently. I don't think we've been to Cowbeech and The Merrie Harriers before (though we may have been, on a ride I had to miss).
Route is pretty straightforward. Up the Cuckoo Trail (with some nice 'autumn tints' I hope) as far as Hellingly then about 3/4 miles of country roads to Cowbeech. Lunch at The Merrie Harriers then back via Stunts Green, Ginger Green and Cricketing Lane and across the Pevensey Levels to Rickney. Then the familiar route via Downish to near the bottom of the Trail - with possibility of tea at The Old Loom.

Meet: Polegate station at 10.49
Getting there: Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station (arrive by 10 for Groupsave)
Distance: 18 miles
Off road: Just the Cuckoo Trail
Hills: Might be a little one (or two) between the Trail and Cowbeech
Catering: Lunch at The Merrie Harriers, with possibility of tea at The Old Loom
Getting back: Trains at 14.42, 15.02 and 15.42 (the last gets you back to Brighton at 16.12)

My mobile: 0789 985 1172


The Last Ride - Suzanne's Report

Sunday 17 October 2010
Clarion ride from Brighton to Bramber

[More photos on Flickr]

Scene: The Palace Pier, Brighton.

Cast: Angela, Anne, Corinne, Fred, Ian, Jack, Jenny, Joyce, Mick, Leon, Suzanne.

Dialogue: What a lovely day! Nuisance the trains aren't running on the main line. Well done Leon for riding all the way from Hassocks. Well done Angela and Jack for ditto Saltdean.

Group photo

Scene: Marrocco's, Hove.

Cast: As above + John (appeared as by magic) and Tessa (waiting patiently).

Dialogue: Say cheese.

Ye Bramber Castle Hotel

Scene: Ye Bramber Castle Hotel, Bramber.

Cast: Cyclists as above + Mein Host and Meine Hostesse (Germanists, please correct).


Dialogue: Yes, you can move the tables. Yes, we can provide non-meat soup. Facebook is terrific. No, it isn't. Are you going to eat all those chips? Why didn't we know about the demonstration in favour of the 20-mile-an-hour zones? There's going to be an anti-cuts demo on … [Joyce, please fill in details].

Exeunt: Fred (having adorned self with Piranhas badge in readiness for next incarnation - from cyclist to punk fan in 1 easy segue) and Leon (having to rely on self to return to Hassocks sans train).

Downs Link

Scene: Coombe Lane.

Cast: Cyclists as above.

Dialogue: The sun's lovely but it's a bit cold in the shade. Who put this hill here?

Scene: Shoreham Airport.

Cast: Cyclists as above.

Dialogue: Why are we eco-warriors having tea watching smelly little planes? These cakes are delicious. Let's put the worlds to rights, NOW!

Exit: Jack, somewhat cold and keen to pedal just that little bit faster than the seniors.

Scene: Hove Promenade: Exit Corinne. Exit Suzanne. Exit John. Angela to take tea before tackling the long haul back to Saltdean.

And then there were none - save the thanks of all to Ian for rearranging the ride at short notice, for making sure the pub were expecting a whole cast of characters and for making sure we all knew where to come on and turn off.


And Leon (see above) adds:

My ride home from Bramber to Hassocks on Sunday 17 October.

After a wonderful meal and social at the Castle Hotel in Bramber I cycled with the group as far as the castle ruin; this is where I left the group to wend my way up the Downs-link to Henfield.

The way was quiet with only a few walkers enjoying the afternoon sunshine. I was mindful of taking care when riding over the rough stony areas that seem to be plentiful on this section. I didn't want to repeat my error when I last rode here. To those that are not familiar with my thumb tendon injury, I'll say no more.

On reaching the point where the track diverts from the old railway line, the link becomes rather undulated and has some rather sharp bends that seem to follow the contours of farm land. When the link rejoins the old line it becomes much easier to ride, with a finer grit under the tyres.

About half way between Bramber and Henfield is the bridge over the river Adur. I stopped here as I often do to enjoy the tranquillity of the scene. There were swans on the south bank enjoying eating some tender meadow grass. On the west side of the bridge is a more pleasant view with sky and tree reflections on the river that bestow an air of peace on the viewer.

Downs-link crosses the river Adur south of Henfield.

Entering Henfield and climbing a small incline on Station road (there is of course no station now) I turned right at the Cat and Canary pub and then onto the High Street and Furners Lane to take advantage of a short-cut through some lovely country lanes.

The roads are still so quiet; this made my ride into Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks very enjoyable and relaxing.

Thank you Ian for deciding to lead this ride on short notice of rail track closures, I loved it.


...and Fred's


I retraced my ride along by the Adur taking the opportunity to snap some of the sculptures on the way. I continued aling the new cycle path to Ropetackle then caught the train from Shoreham to Brighton. Then it was the Punk Brighton all-dayer at the Prince Albert, where lots of superannuated punk musicians were reuniting, including local legends The Piranhas, playing again for the first time in 30 years!


In her report (above) Suzanne includes a request to Joyce for details of the anti-cuts manif. Telepathy vindicated, Joyce has sent me the following:

Brighton stop the cuts coalition
30 October: 12:00 – 5:30
Location: The Level, Brighton

We face an unprecedented attack on our public services in the form of huge budget cuts. Already vital services are being slashed and this is set to accelerate when the government delivers its spending review on 20 October. Brighton has had the biggest anti-cuts group launch meeting in the country and our unions have organised many events to spread the anti-cuts message.

This weekend march will hopefully be a huge demonstration of our will to halt the government and provide a big platform for workers whose jobs are under threat and service users who are standing up to defend our welfare state.

Despite what we are told, these cuts are not only unnecessary they will damage the economy and more importantly millions of people's lives.

Join in, bring your friends and workmates, help publicise the march.

Email to get publicity material or to offer help and suggestions.

Joyce Edmond-Smith

The Gridiron 100k Randonnée, 10 October 2010 - Jenny's report

This is an annual 100-kilometre ride around the minor roads of the New Forest, organised by Wessex CTC. It's called the Gridiron because it goes over a large number of cattle grids. I would never have imagined I could cycle 100 kilometres (62 ½ miles in old money) in a day, but in fact it wasn't as impossible as I'd thought, and thanks to an invitation from John I got to give it a try, along with about 800 other cyclists of all types, ages and abilities.

Randonnée translates as 'ramble', and although there's a time limit it's generous, so we averaged about 10 mph overall - not exactly racing speed (I'm told that touring speed averages about 8 ½ mph). The whole thing took us a total of 7 hours, including two checkpoint stops where we spent probably longer than we should have drinking tea and relaxing. Our total riding time was about 5 ½ hours. This route has one or two hills, some of which I found quite demanding, but overall it was pretty flat. As it was a dry sunny day we had a brilliant ride and met some friendly and interesting cyclists along the way.

I'd recommend giving longer-distance rides a try. It certainly showed me I could do more than I thought I could, and this one was a fantastic way to see the countryside. Thanks to John for being so patient, when I'm sure he could have covered the ground more quickly without me! Maybe a larger Clarion contingent could try it next year?


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

70. Some of the dangers of cycling - according to Swiftsure
2) overtaking on the inside.

Still relevant, I fear. From Swiftsure's "Cycling Notes" in the Clarion, 1 June 1895.

There is as much danger to cyclists from their fellow-cyclists as from any other cause.


Last week two Clarion cyclists were out riding together. At one place one was riding behind the other, and the back man committed a serious mistake, through carelessness, of riding inside the front man's back wheel. The first man rather suddenly slowed to call at a newspaper shop for the Clarion, and the back man came forward and got forced into the curb, his front wheel getting locked into the other's pedal. Several spokes were bent, and the wheel was buckled very badly

The moral is obvious, that no member should attempt to pass another except on the outside.

So, we can't say we haven't been warned

Next time. A Clarion CC for SW London?.

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