Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

13 October 2008

Planning rides

Here are all the remaining dates for 2008: 16, 30 Nov, 14 Dec. Last call for volunteers? I've started thinking about next year. New Year's Day falls on a Thursday. We can have our usual 'Brunch Ride' to Carats Café but it's a bit close to follow that up with a ride on the Sunday. So I'm proposing the following dates for early 2009: 11, 25 January, 8, 22 February, 8, 22 March (BST begins the following Sunday, so one advantage of this schedule is that it misses that – another is that I should be available – if only as a fall-back – for all except one of the Sundays up to the end of March. There'll continue to be plenty of other volunteers to organise rides, I hope, but the one I already know I won't be able to make is 8 February. It would be nice to get that one covered early on.

Clarion Christmas Event

Joyce writes:

Just to remind you all.  There has been three suggestions for our Christmas social:

1.  game of rounder at the Level, followed by a 'picnic' at Joyce's or lunch in a nearby pub (there is the George which is very good)

2.  game of petanque on the seafront followed by picnic lunch at Roger & Suzanne's (or nearby restaurant/pub if people prefer)

3. bowling at King Alfred followed by lunch at nearby eating place.

As to dates:- So far Roger & Suzanne will be away from 15-22 -  Jim is not available on 13th and we have our normal ride on the 14th.  So it looks like it might have to be on Saturday 6th or Sunday 7th.  I could not do Saturday 6th since I will be at the national climate change march in London (but that's just for information not a reason why it should not happen then).

I have had a few responses - thanks to those. Grateful if anyone who feels they might want to come would let me know, with their preferences.


Please let Joyce know what you think – it seems a long way off still but it takes time to organise and let everyone know in good time. She's at

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club in 1894 - Latest episode at the end of the Circular as usual.



The Next Ride

Sunday 2 November 2008
Mysteries of Shoreham Beach

Now the restored Toll Bridge is open again I thought it would be nice to do a ride using it. We missed out our usual Upper Beeding ride this spring because of the bridge being closed and I thought about rescheduling – but last time I was in the area there were notices saying part of the Downs Link that we would want to use is closed for the moment. Then I remembered the TakePart ride we were offering (no takers) in July. As originally conceived this was a variation on my 'Mysteries of Shoreham Beach' from early last year incorporating the Toll Bridge. So let's do it now. The last ride took us into Hampshire – very enjoyably. This one, though equally flat is a nice contrast – urban rather than rural (but there is the nature reserve) and no train journey required for a change.


From Palace Pier we set out past (?) Carat's Café, having a look at the harbour entrance, and over the locks, take the little roads from Southwick Green re-emerging on the seafront by the Adur Footbridge. Fine sights of the river and harbour – and of the famous collection of houseboats will be our lot there, and then we'll double back eastwards to visit the Old Fort and the former Coastguard station and see the harbour entrance from the other side. Then its westward (ho!) to Widewater (or is it Wydewater?) Lagoon – Shoreham Beach's nature reserve. We'll follow the path along past the end of the lagoon into Lancing and then after an unavoidable a strip of main road that features some interesting 'seaside architecture' of various 20th century eras, we'll take the New Saltings road down to Shoreham Airport and lunch, returning afterwards via the Old Tollbridge and the useful backstreets route that brings us out on the Hove seafront again. And so back to Palace Pier. We could shorten the route by a mile or two by crossing the lagoon onto the coast road before we get to Lancing proper.

Points of Interest
I'm taking as read all the points of interest of various kinds – of which there are many - on the Brighton/Hove seafront. According to the OS map the very end of the Monarch's Way is where the path ends by the Shoreham Harbour entrance just past Carat's Café. Curious, I resorted to Google last year and discovered that it's Britain's second-longest signed walking trail, a lengthy, 615 mile, meandering route following the flight of Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, and including many sites of historic interest. The Way was devised by Trevor Antill who first published a guide in 1994. There are plans to extend it into France to cover the rest of the Charles' journey. [My 2007 suggestion that we might invent a Roundheads' Way linking all the battlefields where the Royalists were defeated has not been taken up.]

Crossing the locks is always interesting. Before rejoining the main road – momentarily – we'll pass St Mary de Haura in New Shoreham, which is of great interest to architectural historians, being 'Transitional' between Romanesque and Gothic. Then it's off the bike and over the Adur footbridge.

Shoreham Fort dates from 1857. It was experimental in design, according to Gary Baines's excellent website – see – for a wealth of further details. Although quite a few people are unaware of its existence, Widewater Lagoon seems to date from the 1840s when the embankment was built. Now a local nature reserve (since 1997), it has special (SNCI) status as a unique Saline Lagoon. Lots of flora and fauna. Several websites – Google for details.

Shoreham Airport we have often visited. Founded in 1910 when flying was in its infancy, it is the oldest civil airport in the world. (The Argus says so, so it must be true!) Terminal Two is closed so it will be the main airport facility for lunch.

Great views from there of Lancing College chapel – and the by-pass flyover. And when we start for home its over our valued friend the Old Toll Bridge. St Nicholas, the Old Shoreham church is, appropriately, rather older than St Mary's. Ian Nairn says – rather uncharacteristically spitefully for him, I think, that it's ' a good deal more Norman than it was in 1800'.

I like Roger's format
Distance: about 22 miles. (Palace Pier to Palace Pier)
Hills: none.
Off road: none except for a well surfaced cycle paths
Traffic: Shouldn't be a problem – predominantly cycle paths or quiet roads, The bits where we'll need to take particular care are the stretch along the main road from Lancing and crossing the road after the Toll Bridge
Catering: We could stop for a coffee at Carats.
Lunch: at Shoreham Airport.

Meet at Palace Pier at 10.30am (or join us en route if you live to the West e g at Marocco's Café)

Ian's mobile number is 07770743287

The Last Ride - Jim's Report

12 October 2008
Hayling Island

[More photos on Flickr]

This ride started at Emsworth, whose name, according to The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, means 'Measure of time and noiselessness defined as the moment between the doors of a lift closing and it beginning to move'. Some of us had travelled from Brighton, and others from Hove, whose name, according to the same source, describes 'the expression on the face of a person in the presence of another who clearly isn't going to stop talking for a very long time'. Other 'definitions' in the book kept us (particularly Joyce) amused on the long train journey.

Group Photo

After the usual group photo, Roger led Amanda, Angela, Jim, Joyce, Laura, Marilyn, Sue, Suzanne, Terry and Tessa out along the roads of Emsworth, with Ian as back-stop. It was Angela and Laura's first Clarion ride, and both were apprehensive about the distance.


After a stretch of the A259 (thankfully, in the cycle lane) we moved onto quieter roads, including Pook Lane. We came out onto a lovely waterfront looking out onto a stretch of water – the channel that links Langstone Harbour to Chichester Harbour and separates Hayling Island from the mainland. The path here is called Wayfarer's Walk, so we walked. We saw a group of adolescent cygnets (adult-shaped but still grey) whose parents seemed to have abandoned them; then a strange-looking edifice which was built out over the water and also had a lighthouse-like tower attached.


Hayling Island was living up to its name at that time, with the tide in and the only way across being the road bridge. Once over, we turned off the 'A' road and proceeded down the east side of the island through Northney, then back across it and down the west side towards the Ferry Boat Inn. The south-western tip of the island has the unusual name of Sinah, which, from a quick Google search, was apparently Seynor in 1440 and may have descended from a hypothetical Old English word Saeganora or 'bank at the marsh'.


The Ferry Boat was busy, and after queueing to order food and get drinks, we settled in for a long wait. It was a glorious day; the inn looks out over Langstone Channel towards Portsmouth, and, after the hardier among us had had a paddle, we sat outside, the 12 of us spilling onto 2 tables. Table 15 was definitely the place to be; it turned out that Joyce and Angela have both lived in Hackney, while Amanda lives nearby in Mile End, and I have been there once. We discussed the changing face of the place, from the days of the Kray Twins to its current somewhat up-market status.

Table 15

Roger had saved the best bit of the ride for after lunch; we took the 'Hayling Billy' path, the route of the old railway line, up the west side of the island. In many places the path is right on the coast, and looks out over Langstone Harbour, which had now drained out considerably with the tide, exposing mud banks and attracting birds, including a Little Egret. The path has two separate lanes – one for bikes and one for horses, 'so no poo on your wheels' as Angela eloquently put it. As we approached the bridge, there was a discussion of various types of knickers, which Ian told me he would censor if I put it in, so I'd better leave it at that, although I would just point out that the topic arose in connection with warding off saddle-soreness. By this time both our new riders were suffering from this condition, but I am happy to say that they made it all the way and did not need to be carried!

Old Railway Bridge

The original Sustrans proposals for the Hayling Billy route included the building of a new bridge between the island and the mainland, but unfortunately the project was scaled down and this idea was dropped – so we went back on the busy road bridge and gazed sadly at the remaining pillars of the old railway bridge. We continued to follow the old railway line towards Havant Station, leaving it to re-join the A259 cycle lane back to Emsworth. We had done just over 18 miles, with no hills, no mud, and nobody falling off (although Angela's chain did a couple of times); and we had seen an unexpected side of the island – not just tatty seafront and caravan parks. Thanks to Roger for an enjoyable and well-researched ride, and for the wonderful weather!


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

19. Liverpool CCC and 'Swiftsure' on Sunday cycling

As well as various things reproduced already in early Circulars, the Clarion of 13 October 1894 included, this report, on 'Swiftsure's' cycling page.

Liverpool Clarion C.C. reports:-

October 7, 1894

Allow me on behalf of the members of the club to thank you very much for the prominence you have given to our doings, they have given us a splendid advertisement (Advertisers please note)

Today we met at Newsham Park at 10 a m, proceeded to Cronton, through Knotty Ash, Broad Green, Huyton, Roby, and Tarbuck.

We distributed lots of literature and had a most enjoyable picnic. Returned to Liverpool about 2 a m. I hope all Clarionette cyclists will join us, and so spread the good news among the heathen. As for those who haven't a 'bike' let them sell their shirts and buy one

Hy. Cummins, Hon.Sec

P S Next Sunday's run to Chester; meet at Birkenhead boat at 2 p m

I've passed on bits and pieces of 'Swiftsure's' musings on this and that cycling issue from time to time. Here he is again (in the same issue) on Sunday cycling.

I think that the best time for a pleasant ride is a Sunday morning.

Pious people may hold up their hands in horror, but it is then that the true beauties of the countryside can be best enjoyed. The roads are free of traffic, except for the noisy milk-cart. The crisp morning air has a bracing influence which is not felt at any other time. One little factor is, however, prominent, and one which, no doubt, many will have noticed; and that is, that every man, woman or child who have a dog seem to take them out for a mad gallop on a Sunday moring.

* * * *

I don't want to say they have no business to do this, but its certainly a nuisance to the cyclist at times. Thre is one thing, however, I can say about dogs which I can say well here. Never expect a dog to run out of your way. It doesn't follow because a dog will get out from under cart wheels – ay, by inches very often – it will do the same with yours. If it sees you it may get out of the way, but its safest to get out of the dog's way. Steer well clear or risk disaster.

The roads have changed a bit since the 1890s – but I'm not sure dogs have. So let's heed 'Swiftsure's wise words.

Next time - More Liverpool activities and 'The Bounder on Tour' near Stratford upon Avon.

^ top