Dear fellow members and friends
15 November 2006
After leading the ride in the wrong direction for about 2 miles – there and back – in spite of Roger's well-judged warning, which I swept aside with the sort of confidence that all too often precedes a 'fall', my head is still hanging in shame. (Profound apologies, Roger. Will I ever live down the 'sewage farm'?)
At this time of year, with it getting dark ever earlier and the weather becoming colder and possibly wetter, some specially short rides, with longer lunch and/or tea stops possible, seem the thing to go for – since we want to avoid people having to ride in the dark on the return to Brighton (and setting off earlier in the morning would not be, I somehow sense, a popular solution.) Details of the last two rides for this year (we agreed to go for just the one in December) follow, as do a reminder about the Christmas lunch, Anne's report on Sunday's ride and mine on the most recent Cycle Reps meeting.
The Next Rides
Sunday 26 November
I had planned – down to the minute details – a new(ish) ride based on Lewes – only to find that the track is under repair that day. So, thinking quickly…
Hurstpierpoint – Hickstead – Twineham – Wineham – Blackstone
c 16/17 miles
Taking the little roads past Hurstpierpoint College crossing the main A27 (by bridge) at Hickstead, more quiet lanes to Twineham and then Wineham, where we'll stop for lunch at the Royal Oak. Then down to the pretty hamlet of Blackstone and via Bramlands back to Hurstpierpoint, with a possible tea stop at Washbrooks Farm, and on to Hassocks station
Catch the 10.44 from Brighton or meet at Hassocks station at 11.10 . Trains back leave at 47 minutes past the hour. The 15.47 gets you back to Brighton by 16.10. But we can probably get back in time for the 14.47 if this is what people want to do.
Sunday 17 December
Berwick Circular – only about 16 miles… and pretty flat at that!
We did this in January this year and in 2005, but it seems to me a nice one to finish off the year – and I expect that the Christmas tree may be up outside the pub in Ripe. If you can't make the lunch on Tuesday why not come out on this one as a 'social' event?
All on quiet and pleasant country roads from Berwick station to Chalvington and Golden Cross then back down to Ripe (stop for an early and/or long lunch at The Lamb) then Selmeston (tea rooms?) and back to Berwick with another 'tea' opportunity at the Berwick Inn next door to the station.
Trains are one an hour, so catch the 10.20 from Brighton station or meet at Berwick station at 10.43. Trains back 14.48 (arrives Brighton) 15.12 or 15.48 (16.12).
Brighton Clarion Christmas Get-together
Tuesday 19 December – from 12.30
In the upstairs Function Room of the Open House, Springfield Road
Members and friends all welcome. The pub is next door to the [back] entrance to London Road station and on the following bus routes – 5, 5A, 5B from Preston Circus 26, 46, 46A, 50, 50A, and 79 from Ditchling Road
The Last Ride - Anne's report
Sunday 12 November
Centurion Way – Bosham – Dell Quay. Round and round the sewage farm
It sounded simple on the website, but events on the ground proved more convoluted. In fact, next time Ian offers us the choice of the quick route to the pub for lunch, or the more alluring extra five or six miles, the seven of us who went for the latter option, might have a different view, since lunch proved somewhat elusive. Indeed Sue and Tessa, from the Bricycles wing of the Clarion, wanted to go for a cuppa as soon as the train arrived at Chichester station, but they had to wait till 3.30pm for that. Ian greeted 9 old Clarion members at the station at 11.21am, a bumper turn-out, but 2 newcomers (from Portslade) soon introduced themselves as Jim(#2) and his daughter Janie, making a round dozen. Jim had scoured the cycling websites and been enticed. Trains were replaced by buses west of Chichester and a cluster of bus drivers hanging around were invited to take the customary group photo, which they duly and delightedly did.
A bumper turn-out
We set out on the Centurion Way around the city, under the wrought iron Roman Archway by Richard Farrrington), past the Roman centurion gas cylinder squadron (The Chichester Road Gang, by David Kemp) and Roman Amphitheatre by Justin Marshall. We may have passed the Chichester Entrenchments, iron-age territorial divisions or defences, or might have turned off left just before them. [That must have been that big ring earthworks thing where we turned off the Centurian Way - Fred]
Joyce in her new council hi-viz, going under the arch
Shortly, at a junction, the vote was taken on whether to go the quick way for lunch and do a mere 15 miles as it was November, or whether to take advantage of the sun and adventure of new terrain. Those who didn't vote for the terra nova declared themselves abstainers, so no-one was disappointed when we set off down pretty, leafy lanes and no-one could be blamed when we later got a bit lost. The tide was out at Bosham as we cycled by the shore. Seaweed was on the track and the sun shone on our tour.
Entering the new section of the Salterns Way
Things got more complicated when front-runners dashed ahead and the rear guard spotted some tasty looking roadside pears, while at the same spot I spotted a white heron-type bird in the shallows and encouraged Fred to photograph it [my batteries had run out and it flew off before I could get new ones in - Fred!]. The bird or photo proved elusive, though pears were appreciated. At the next junction there was a debate on direction and mobile phone call to Ian [via Joyce], then visitation from Mick, from the front to the rear and we were all reunited. But still we couldn't find the pub and must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. This meant passing the sewage farm 4 times. Once would have been quite enough.
The Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay at last
After passing through Apuldram and Fishbourne Ian led us to another cycleway with swing gates which seemed to aim to deter or at least , delay hungry cyclists. Once we were all through, the views were extensive. We passed a field of pumpkins, but they are one of the very few vegetables one cannot eat raw and the thought of pumpkin soup was inviting, in spite of the wafts from the sewage farm, not yet so close. The back half of the ride lost Ian again and again we had to debate how to reach the promised pub for lunch. After exploratory forays by Roger and Sue, consulting compasses and maps, which reveal the tricky topography of the area, where the sea licks into the land. Finally reunited with Ian, the route to the Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay was revealed by our leader and it was with great relief that we all arrived at the promised venue.
View from the garden
Although we weren't quite the last at the pub, all the veggie dishes were finished and Joyce was forced to stuff herself with crisps and emergency banana ration. New rider, Janie, though a veggie, went for the fish. Although the pub was delightfully close to the sea, almost in the sea and had fantastic views, they hadn't stinted on the food miles as none of the extensive fish choices on the menu seemed to be local, Mick and I (shouldn't have) shared red snapper. The pub was being televised for a reality family food show on healthy eating, so obviously, a tasty treat was in store, if TV stars hadn't eaten all already. The garden deck was just above the beach and there were beautiful views across the bay from it and from inside the pub, where a log fire warmed the bottoms of the outsiders and outriders.
Back on the road after lunch
Since it was now rather late we voted for the quickest route to the station, not wishing to miss the train and or become benighted. So we arrrived at the station half an hour early and Sue and Tessa led us off to the canal coffee bar, after we had said a fond goodbye and thanks to Ian. Volunteer at the coffee bar somewhat miffed to have to serve 10 extra people just as she was about to close, but hot tea was most welcome and the cheap home-made cake was not too bad.
A record 9 bikes in a space officially designated for 2 only
(the other two were further down the train!)
Good thing the train terminated at Chichester!
Bikes were again allowed to be heaped up on the Southern train and we all had a pleasant ride back East with glorious sunset surrounding us. Jim and Janie vowed to return and thanked us all for making them so welcome. They said they enjoyed the little diversions and didn't even mention the sewage farm. So a lovely autumn day of fun and adventure for Joyce, Sue, Tessa, Jeff, Jim, Jim #2, Anne, Mick, Roger, Fred, Janie and many thanks to Ian for organising, leading and planning the ride hope we can do the other half another time.
Cycling in Brighton
City Cycling/Cycle Reps meeting, 9 November
The proof as always will be in the pudding, but this was one of the potentially most productive meetings cycling I've attended. That Joyce – wearing her councillor's hat – attended the first part of the meeting certainly had something to do with this.
I'll confine myself to a few salient points in this report – anyone who would like to see the breakdown of money spent on the Cycling Demonstration Town (CDT) project or other matters of detail please let me know or visit the Council's website. Part of the CDT project is the Hangleton cycle route. The current plan involves segregated cycle lanes from the seafront up Grand Avenue, The Drive, and a short stretch of Old Shoreham Road, signed routes around both sides of Hove Park, Goldstone Crescent, Toads Hole Valley, and Downland Drive. Work has already begun on vegetation clearance, toucan crossings and signage on the signed parts of the route. For more info, including a map, access the council website and find the Environmental Committee papers for 9 November.
In the nature of local government, with its committee timetable, consultation requirements and so on, improvements we'd all like see taken care of quickly always take longer than we would wish to become reality. But we should be seeing some progress on the following:-
North Street Quadrant - an audit has recommended a shared space solution to this problem. Subject to safety audit this is likely to become reality in the second half of 2007.
Cycle Lane Parking There was a united push on this one from all the cycling organisations present. We emphasised the fact that this issue had been raised over and over again for many years. The practical conclusion, I argued, was that the authority should be sure that its efforts were not going to be negated by parking problems before engaging in further cycle lane projects. The Giratory/Elm Grove changes in Lewes Road, had been, I argued, of dubious benefit. We are promised a report back on the possibilities for enforcement of parking restrictions from the authority.
Dangerous 'Cobbles' in Providence Place/ Ann Street. This will be looked into and reported on at an early meeting.
We were invited to submit our concerns about cycling problems without waiting for meetings – so please let me know what issues you would like passed on.