Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

21 September 2010

In Ian's absence (in France) I'm circulating this edition of 'Clarion Latest'. There's just one gap in the future rides list for the rest of this year: offers to Ian please.

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s (Episode 68) 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 Led by
3 October* Roger – West of Chichester Circular
17 October Ian – Shermanbury (from Hassocks)
7 November  
21 November* Jim – Gatwick circular
5 December* Roger – West of Hove, starting at the pier
19 December 'Traditional' end of year Berwick circular - Ian (subject to train availability)

* 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 3 October 2010
Chichester Circular (24 miles)

This is a repeat of a ride first done in August 2008, but only by four people if I remember rightly. On that occasion it was called the Five Ws Ride (see why below). It takes us through some beautiful West Sussex woodland and landscapes.

We leave Chichester station by the familiar route past the college and follow the south coast cycle route to Westbourne, passing through West Ashling and Woodmancote (that's three Ws). We'll detour briefly to admire Ratham Mill and ornamental pond.

We can have a fairly early lunch in Westbourne and then dive into Hollybank Wood, just north of Emsworth, to follow well-maintained tracks through Shuffles Plantation to the Stansted saw mill. We cross the Monarch's way, into Stansted Park with fine views of the house; then along small country lanes to Walderton (W number four).

We continue to follow mostly quiet lanes and tracks, passing through Funtington and West Stoke (fifth W), and finally joining the Centurion Way at Brandy Hole Copse for the home run to the station and tea by the canal if there's time.


Meet: Chichester station at 11:19
Getting there: 10:22 from Brighton (be at the station by 10:00 for a chance of a group-save ticket). You can join this train from Hove at 10:26. There's a 9:17 from London Victoria which gets to Chichester at 11:02.
Distance: 24 miles
Off road: The section from Westbourne to Walderton is mainly on reasonably cyclable tracks. The final couple of miles into Chichester will be on the Centurion Way.
Hills: Yes - a few, mainly after lunch I'm afraid. The worst one is on the road to Funtingdon - a walk will be called for I suspect - but it does pay back with a glorious downhill run into the village.
Catering: Lunch at the White Horse Inn (extensive menu but probably busy) or the Good Intent (cheap and cheerful). Tea and cakes by the canal near Chichester Station, train times permitting.
Getting back: Through trains to Hove and Brighton at :22 (First Great Western - fast but probably limited bike space) and :53 (Southern - slow).
My mobile: 0789 985 1172. Please let me know if you're coming but will not be meeting at Brighton Station.


The Last Ride - Jim's Report

19 September 2010
Clapham Junction Circular Ride
Wonderful Wanderings in Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Wichmond

[More photos on Flickr]

There was an impressive list of apologies for this ride. Ian was in France; John was in Italy; and Suzanne was in Nairobi! Goodness - the lengths some people will go to to avoid a Clarion ride! Joyce was said to be in Budapest, although this was believed to be a corruption of 'Buddha Fest'. Fred had declared that it was too early a start for him, and besides he did not fancy the steps at Clapham Junction (I nearly contacted him to point out that the lifts might well be finished by now, but was glad I didn't, because they weren't). Tessa also sent apologies; I forget the details, but at least she had done the practice ride so she didn't miss out.

19 Sept Clapham Junction

Even our other Londoners (the ride was led by Angelika) were unable to make it. Amanda had her mother visiting, and while Nick did actually set out, he soon discovered a puncture, and phoned through to say he would not be coming. We did think about sending 'Bicycle Repair Man' Leon over to sort him out, but Leon's thumb is still too weak from his injury, and pulling bike tyres off is not the sort of thing that is likely to help it heal. We could have all gone to rescue him of course, but Nick's house was not on our route, and fellowship only goes so far, and could not manage the three miles from Clapham Junction to Brixton.

Heron on the Wandle

Luckily, the list of participants was even longer, and Angelika pronounced herself very pleased with the turnout as Angela, Anne, Jenny, Leon, Maureen, Mick, Roger, Sandra and myself joined her for this 20-mile ride. It was very well organised; there were no fewer than two stopping places (future ride organisers please note!) and Angelika produced several copies of Transport For London's 'Local Cycling Guide 10' with the route marked on it in felt pen, in case we got split up. She had promised us 5 parks, but in fact we visited 6: Wandsworth Common, Wimbledon Park, Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park, Barnes Common, and finally Wandsworth Park. There were also two rivers; the first of these was the Wandle, a sort of dual carriageway of a river, with a central reservation made of concrete, on which Anne spotted a heron. Seeing the heron brought to our attention the design of the bridge we were on. It was guarded by little men who were either Vikings or, as someone suggested, Noggin the Nog.

Wandle Bridge Guardian

Wimbledon Common provided the first stop, at the Windmill Museum and its associated café, with most riders opting for the latter while Leon and I investigated the windmill but did not go in. (After our wonderful tour of Shipley windmill last year, it would probably have been something of an anticlimax.) Another large group of cyclists turned up, looked at the windmill, saw the entrance fee and quickly disappeared. We thought they looked a bit like us - i.e. a raggle-taggle bunch with not an inch of Lycra in sight - and wondered if they might be the London Clarion, but I don't think they could have been because I understand the London section has very few members. Later, we came across a huge woodpile where people were helping themselves to logs. A bit like the piles of wood we saw on the beach on a previous ride (see report for 20.1.08) but without the guilt.


Next we went through a lovely woody section where the map was endorsed with a rather worrying 'Off-Road Bikes Recommended'. But we all made it through, off-road bikes and on-road bikes, and very lovely it was too. At the end of this section we encountered the second river - Beverley Brook, which was more of a babbling-brook sort of river, as its name suggests. The bridge over Beverley Brook was a very busy intersection, with cyclists, walkers and horses appearing from all points of the compass.

Beverley Brook

After a rather scary transit of the A3, we entered Richmond Park via Robin Hood Gate, which I remembered from my hitch-hiking days as the last place to get a lift before the Kingston By-Pass. Richmond Park is a real treasure - so big and wild that you feel like you're in the country, and not in a park at all; with both open and wooded sections, and lots of lovely deer who obligingly posed for our cameras. We found a nice spot for our picnic; the Pope's visit, and religion in general, provided the topic for our lunchtime conversation.


After lunch Angelika took us to Pembroke Lodge on the west side of Richmond Park; the path round the back of this building affords a spectacular view to the west of London. Having brought my compass and an O.S. map, I became a sort of impromptu Blue Badge guide, not only to our group but also to some passing strangers who wanted to know what we were looking at. (My response, 'Staines', seemed to elicit a certain disappointment for some reason; and Sandra and Maureen wanted to see Wembley Stadium, but it was hidden by trees).

View from Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park.

After Richmond Park, our route took us past the London Wetlands Centre and then to the River Thames. Here, going eastwards now along the south bank, back towards our starting point, we re-crossed our two little rivers (in reverse order of course), and at Wandle Creek Bridge we saw another heron, or maybe it was the same one, having moved downstream in search of dinner. Back at 'Clapham Junkshop' we said our goodbyes and our thanks to Angelika for a lovely ride.

Back at the Junkshop

But it wasn't over yet! Anne, Leon, Mick, Roger and Sandra got the Brighton train and Maureen went home to Sutton, but the Lewes train was not due for 45 minutes, so Angela and Jenny had a cup of tea with Angelika at Costa Coffee in the station forecourt, and I decided to join them and get the London Road train home from Lewes (a fatal mistake, as it turned out). We were soon surrounded by strangely-dressed young people spilling out from an old church across the road. Angela asked some of them what it was about; it turned out that there is a 'day club' (similar to a night club but in the daytime) held at the old church every Sunday, and presumably you have to be in costume to get in. There were some truly amazing costumes, and we thought it was a very good idea - maybe we'll see one in Brighton soon?

Picnic at Deer fold, Richmond Park.

On the train, we were once again besieged by strangely-dressed people when the train stopped at Plumpton and all the race-going toffs got on. Finally I had to go all the way back to Brighton via Haywards Heath, because there were no trains from Lewes to Brighton, and so I got the drunken race-goers all over again.

A long day, but a very enjoyable one. My thanks to Angelika, who is already talking about a future Royal Parks ride, starting and finishing at London Victoria.


Cycle Forum (14/9/10) - Roger reports

Undercliff Path:- still no news on legalisation of cyclng. A Council report has been prepared, which may recommend it; It has been seen by Councillors but details are still not public.

King's Esplanade:- some improvements are to be made signage and parking to reduce the risk to cycle path users at blind corners. More significant improvements such as moving the cycle path onto the footway are not financially feasible at present.

Elm Grove:- none of the proposed changes to parking nor the introduction of one-way streets are now going to happen as the result of public consultation.

Stanmer Park \ Sussex University:- big changes are afoot. There will be a new entrance to the University. A toucan crossing will be provided for cyclists on the northbound cycle route but it may not be installed until after the new entrance is brought into use - so if you cycle that way, watch out!

Falmer Station etc:- there is to be a pedestrian bridge across the railway line just south of the station to provide access to the University of Brighton; cyclists will be able to use it but will be required to dismount. A new cycle link between the stadium and Moulsecoomb is planned along the east side of the railway line; it is expected to be open in time for the first match at the stadium (16th August 2011).

Parking in the Northbound Cycle Lane between Elm Grove and the Gyratory:- there was lots of discussion about the legal niceties of cycle lanes, arising from John Clinton's original query. Phil Clarke, Council Road Safety Manager explained that it is illegal to park in most of the Lewes Road lane because of double yellow lines, but enforcement officers don't have time to issue tickets because people only stop briefly. If the cycle lane had a solid white line it would be illegal for vehicles to cross it, but it would be an offence requiring police action and they would only prosecute if they actually witnessed an obstruction occurring.

There were some positive conclusions: offending vehicles should be reported to Operation Crossbow because if the same number keeps coming up the police will contact the owner. A longer term vision is needed for this stretch of road, for example providing some reasonably located short term parking for shoppers.

20 mph Limits:- a council scrutiny panel has made various recommendations for new limits but they are unlikely to be implemented because of the cost and because a city-wide speed limit review is currently under way.

Gap in Seafront Cycle Route at Wharf Road:- the Forum had asked for the cycle path to be extended past Hove Lagoon to join Basin Road South but it is not going to happen; advance stop lines will be provided at the traffic lights where Wharf Road joins the A259.

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

68. Blatchford in "sticking labels on things'

One thing people tend to remember about the early Clarion cycling clubs is the propaganda activity of putting socialist stickers on cows. What is less appreciated, unless they read Denis Pye's history of the first century of the Clarion CC Fellowship is Life (p 30) is that this was controversial, discouraged by the paper itself and seems to have been a very short-lived practice. Here's Blatchford from his "Editorial Notes" 1 June 1895

I see that the Candid One in the Scout, approves of the fashion of sticking Socialist labels on things.

I must say that I don't like the idea and never did. If I saw any kind of labels - Socialist, religious or what not - stuck on the rocks on rocks and trees, I am sure I should not be pleased.

And do you think much good can come of it? If a man sees these labels plastered over the woods and hills, is he not more likely to be angry at the defacement of Nature than be edified by the matter the labels bear?

Besides, we are not all discreet, and it is easy to get into trouble through an injudicious zeal in this practice. These things the Candid One has come to see, and it is at his own request that I allude to the matter now

A nod in the hand is as good as two winks in the bush to a Clarion Scout - or any other man.

Next time. Some of the dangers of cycling - according to Swiftsure

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