|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Dear fellow members and friends
10 August 2009
First an important message from Suzanne.
Summer picnic - Preston Park 'Velodrome'
Note: The 'Velodrome' is at the north end of Preston Park in Brighton. The area is not in the permit-parking zone. The nearest parking points are:
The rides for the rest of the year will be on Sundays 6 (Ian), 20 September (Roger), 4 (Roger), 18 October, 1, 15, 29 November, 13 December.
As always I'd welcome offers to organise/lead on any of the dates above that have so far not been 'claimed'. Make sure to let me know at least 3 weeks before – and to let me have full details at least 2 weeks before the date of the ride. After the latest ride report in this issue you will find a piece by Joyce discussing possibilities for a Dieppe-based ride next year. See also a contribution from Leon about his – I quote – 'crazy lifestyle'.
The latest episode of the Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s the Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s is, as usual, at the end of the circular.
The Next Ride
Sunday 23 August
One of the great challenges of cycling in Sussex is how to get to Selsey Bill and back without using the traffic infested B2145. I think I've solved it, all but half a mile.
We start at Chichester. We have often ridden north on National Cycle Route 88 (the Centurian Way); this time we will use the recently opened southbound section. It crosses the lakes to Mundham and then follows reasonably well surfaced farm roads down to Sidlesham Quay. Unfortunately it ends there, with a promise that work is in hand to extend it to the coast.
So we join the dreaded B2145 for half a mile or so and then turn onto another, slightly bumpier farm track which takes us into the suburbs of Selsey (can a suburb have suburbs?). Lunch will be a picnic on the beach at Selsey Bill, the southern-most tip of Sussex, with views of the Isle of White if it's a clear day. (There is a pub nearby for those who prefer.)
Having got into Selsey avoiding the main (and only) road, the challenge now is to get out again without re-tracing our steps. We will do this by cycling through the vast caravan city to the west. A bit of teamwork will be needed to get the bikes across the ditch at the far end, but it will be worth the effort since we will then be on delightful and almost traffic free country lanes pretty well all the way back to Chichester. The final stretch along the canal path brings us to the café for a tea stop, less than five minutes from Chichester station.
My mobile 0789 985 1172
The Last Ride - Anne's Report
[More and bigger photos at Flickr - just click on the photo]
Nine of us met at Brighton station, but since that included Jim who has a free pass, Joyce queued to buy 2 lots of 4 groupsaves. However, Jim then spotted Maria all togged out and ready for a bike ride and, assuming she was coming with us, asked Joyce to buy 1 extra senior railpass ticket. It turned out that Maria was not coming with us and only going to Shoreham, but she gamely accepted our spare groupsave to Ford and paid £5 for it. But, Joyce still ended up with 1 extra set of Ford tickets. After lots of checking we had to assume that this was a mistake by ticket office and try to catch the train. Jim was distracted by another acqaintance who enquired about our trip just as the rest of us grew tired of waiting for the platform to show up on the display panel and decided to try and head through the barrier and towards the western platforms.
We found the bike carriage and got 4 bikes on, then Jim hurried in and explained that he had been told not to get on the train as there were too many bikes already. He'd only got through the barrier by saying he was going to London Road. He thought he'd better disappear in case he was being chased. He was being chased as the ticket collector then came on to the train and demanded to know who the red bike belonged to and where he was. We protested that there was still plenty of room, but the guardian of Southern Trains reputation as bike enemy no. 1, insisted that a wheelchair user may wish to use the space at any point on the journey. There were no wheelchairs in sight or prospect. However, there was another bike and it was Maria and her Ford groupsave. Officious guard then shooed her off the train and had to deal with yet another complaining passenger. Pretty soon the train started off and Jim reappeared magically. Hove was the next stop and another cyclist got on. She looked like Maria so I went and asked after her. She was Maureen, a member of Brighton Explorers Club, like Maria. She had been forbidden entry to the train at Brighton so had cycled on to Hove and then 2 more women cyclists appeared the other side of the barriers at Hove and we pressed the open doors button and let them on. They seemed to think that Maria was on the train too, somehow!
Joyce got a text message from Nick via Fred, that he [Nick] would be a bit late at Ford, having stayed up too late with Fred in Islington, the night before. Fred was still abed. When we arrived at Ford after stopping at every station, 2 new Clarion riders were there, Joan and TJ from London Clarion C.C., plus Ian and an unfortunate Angela. She had dismantled her front wheel at Saltdean to stick in her car and drive to Ford, but when she'd arrived at Ford, she discovered she must have dropped a wheel nut at Saltdean and couldn't put her bike back together again. Nobody had any spare nuts to give Angela, but she'd brought her book and so decided to follow[?] us in her car and meet us at Climping beach, then for lunch at Walberton and then again for tea at Arundel. While we waited for Nick, 2 more cyclists arrived at the Ford level crossing and performed a dramatic dog rescue. Just before Nick's train arrived a loose dog went through the level crossing gates onto the track in front of the train. We couldn't call it from our side but the two the other side managed to catch it and the train driver, too, seemed to notice it and slowed right down, so fortunately, we were spared the sight of mashed dog. Angela took the photo of the twelve Clarion cyclists and Joyce set off at a fast pace as our leader on her new bike.
Nice flat roads around Ford followed by a flat track through fields, brought us out at the beach at Climping, pleasantly situated away from the huddled masses arriving by car and confined in/near the carpark. Angela soon joined us and 7 of us went in the sea for a swim.
Back on the bikes refreshed, it was then a pleasant half hour's ride to Walberton and The Holly Tree, Joyce again setting a cracking pace. Food and situation proved first class, with varied menu and everyone enjoying and commending their meal. I particularly covetted Geoff's whitebait, but my salmon pate, Mick's chilli, Richard's baguette, Joan's roast and starter and everybody's chips etc all drew praise. The gardens were colourful with busy lizzies and/or petunias and the houses opposite charmed with names like The Old Post Office, The Old Forge and the Old Schoolhouse, but tasteful not tatty. Table talk at our end turned from past adventures; like Angela's trip on the Bosnian convoy during the war in former Yugoslavia, Alice's trips home to Oz and the past and future Clarion rides. Not a chip or carrot was wasted as we left and wended our way to Arundel.
Joyce led off at the usual fast pace and took the majority up the first hill we had encountered all day. But, no, Leon shouted, that was not the way. Joyce was so fast she had missed the turn. So we left the roads and entered the bridleway. The pretty lane was lined with cherry plum trees which Leon shook vigorously, dislodging a torrent of delicious little yellow plums, which he assured us were safe to eat. We all found room for an unusual food for free treat.
The track through Binstead Wood was a lot wetter and muddier than when Joyce and Leon had reccied the ride and proved challenging, but no-one fell off, though all got spattered and exhilarated. We came out on a road and calmed down a bit, but had to return to the woods and a narrower footpath, preceded by a leap down into a ditch/river crossing, then up the other side. At some point there was a narrow plank bridge to cross too; bit tricky with a bike, but all twelve crossed safely. You could hear the main road at some points as we passed through the pretty wood. Poor Angela was missing all the fun, having to drive along the busy road, while we frolicked under and around the trees, through the mud, tree roots, rivers, puddles and ditches.
Arriving back on the road right near Arundel we now had to negotiate a very busy roundabout. Our leader suggested the best tactic was that of Critical Mass; ie a mass assault on the roundabout. This was performed and it was a delight to behold our cohort as we were waved through by a large petrol tanker - 'oil' indeed - and all safely arrived at Arundel three quarters of the way round the roundabout. We swiftly toured around the town and castle and headed down to Swanbourne Lake. Joyce went in to the lake area to find Angela and we discussed ways of conveying her to Offham.; a mile or more down the road. She was about to try hitch-hiking when Leon gallantly offered her a ride on the back of his bike. They gracefully glided down to The Black Rabbit by the river at Offham, as did we all.
Tea was copious, Alice had cool lime and soda, I had pea soup and Joan and TJ both had 2 smashing looking apple cakes with toffee sauce and ice cream. Shortbread biscuits came with the tea too, as did a super view of the castle, the river, boats, trees and flowers. A few August wasps, as at The Holly Tree, but no squashing of wasps and no stinging from wasps, so wasps were allowed to waft away. As trains were only one an hour we didn't linger long, though Joan and TJ didn't want to rush their cakes and stayed to finish all the tea. The rest of us pushed on through Arundel's one-way system and many delightful eating opportunities, negotiated the roundabout in a mass strike safely once again and arrived at Ford station with plenty of time to spare.
Nick was pleased to see that the Victoria train was due in a few minutes, but before it did, Joan and TJ hoved into view and their train arrived. Bit of a melee to enter the train as the station was packed with foreign language students not sure which train to catch. I glimpsed Nick trying to put his bike in one carriage, half succeeding and then being ejected onto the platform and trying for the next carriage. I pressed the open door button on the carriage near me, but think the guard was looking out for him anyway [hopefully in a good way!]. We assumed he did manage to get on the train and waved like mad at all the many carriages as the London train sped off with our three London Clarionettes aboard. Ian had left us at the station and the Brighton train arrived very soon afterwards. Mick and I missed the conversation on the way home as we were in a different carriage, packed full of young German school students, playing cards and loud music. We said goodbye and thanks to Joyce, Alice, Geoff and Richard at the station, knowing Leon would be taking a train home to Hassocks, but where was Jim? Do hope he wasn't being chased by that officious, grumpy guardian Gorgon of the Southern gateway. Hope, too,that Angela found that missing nut on her return to Saltdean.
Clarion Dieppe weekend - a message from Joyce
We have talked about a trip to Dieppe for some time, this year we had the wonderful Isle of Wight weekend, so perhaps 2010 should be the Dieppe Clarion weekend. I would envisage it to be around end April (Easter is very early next year 2 - 5 April), or perhaps beginning May. I know that is a very long time away, but maybe it is worth starting to think.
If we are to go outside the Bank holiday I would envisage getting the boat Friday morning for some, and perhaps for others the evening boat (re work etc.). Saturday would be market in the morning, then a bike ride , along the new 'Avenue Verte'. Sunday au choix, to be decided - there is a wonderful sea-water pool in Dieppe which deserves a visit. Leaving on the early afternoon or early evening boat on Sunday. There is of course the May Bank Holiday, Monday 3 May which would allow for a return on the Monday.and perhaps going out on the Saturday (but that would mean missing the market which is part of the fun unless we went on the Friday).
Sharing my crazy lifestyle - by Leon
This year I reached three score and ten years without seriously injuring or abusing my body, I've been just lucky I guess.
I won't go into any of my previous years' exploits, as they seem to me to be unimportant now. Over the past few years since meeting the Brighton section of the National Clarion Cycling Club, I have been introduced to an interesting way of enjoying life, if not to the full, then very near to it. Like Topsy things have grown and developed, one thing leading to another through introductions and meeting with like-minded people.
One of the most bizarre events in my life occurred in 2008 when I was introduced to the World Naked Bike Ride in Brighton. I was intrigued to knw what it was all about and why people would take off all, or most of their clothes, and ride a bicycle through the city streets for all to see. The reason behind the protest became almost secondary as I pondered whether to join this seemingly crazy event.
As the day of the ride neared my feelings became scrambled with fear and daring and the thought of making a fool of myself. I put all these behind me and set off, now determined to just enjoy myself regardless. I became hooked on the thrill and adrenaline that surged through me. My mind was opening and I felt at ease and unashamed of my body.
Then this year, I wanted to celebrate being born seventy years ago in London by riding the LNBR naked through the city streets. I made new friends and had a truly wonderful time. Also this year was my second Brighton naked bike ride that turned out to be even better than 2008 because any inhibitions that remained had now melted totally away. I met a couple who was keen to introduce me to walking naked through the Sussex countryside on footpaths, not streets, but it is necessary sometimes to cross roads where traffic and clothed folk may be offended by nudity.
Unfortunately the couple split-up before I could join them but, they did introduce me to the 'sarong' that I have become familiar with at home. I now have another problem to overcome, wearing the sarong in public should be easy for a guy who rides a bike naked, and you would think so, but I feel feminised. To overcome this feeling I took a big step toward the liberation that I seek and wore the sarong on a Clarion ride that I lead on Sunday 26 July this year. I did get some very strange looks from people at Three Bridges station, but that was expected and I overcame it.
Then I was invited to join a group of cyclists who cycle along the wet sands of Sussex at low tide. The ride was from the west wall of the Shoreham-By-Sea harbour to the pier at Worthing, about five and a half miles. The going is obviously flat but none the less quite hard going due to sand ripples, rocks, and stones covered with seaweed. There were only two of us at the start (Nick Sayers and myself), joined by another rider (Tristan) a mile or so along the beach.
The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
40. The Bounder and Dangle discuss the imminent first 'meet' at Ashbourne
Just to remind you Edward Fay (aka The Bounder) was a journalist on the Clarion and member of its editorial board specialising in humorous accounts of his adventures – last heard of in our context appearing at its annual dinner after being roped in as President of the Birmingham CCC. Dangle (aka A M Thompson) was Blatchford's (aka Nunquam) partner in running the paper.
From Swiftsure's column of 13 April 1895. Dangle is upbraiding the Bounder about his latest jaunt.
Next time. 'Who's for Ashbourne this weekend?'