|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Dear fellow members and friends
18 April 2007
Talking of Bob reminds me that we have now a growing group of members in the Upper Beeding area who might – if free and so inclined – care to join us for lunch (or just for a pint) at The Bridge during our next ride. Be nice to see them.
The Next Ride
Sunday 29 April
Meet 10.30 by Palace Pier. If you live at the Hove end I suggest joining us near the King Alfred – outside Marocco's café on the seafront where the cycle track goes round the houses. We can wait for you there if you're going to be late – as long as I know. Phone me before 10.10 on 682133 or after that on my mobile number 07787528433. Total distance is about 25 miles (Pier to Pier) but apart from a couple of small hills (we dodge the big one) on the Coombes road on the way back it's as flat as all our recent ones have been – if a shade longer (depending on where you live).
We'll follow the usual route to just before the Old Toll Bridge then the Coastal Link track to Bramber and on to The Bridge at Upper Beeding in the garden by the river if it's warm enough. For the return, as usual, we'll cross onto the Coombes Road near Botolphs and then go to Shoreham Airport for tea. And then back to Brighton (or Hove).
The Last Ride – Anne's Report
Sunday 15 April
Fred, Linda, Sue, Joyce and her great nephew Roman, from Paris, took the scenic route via Littlehampton by train, meeting car-borne Ian and Mick and Anne at Chichester station. I was feeling guilty about our carbon footprint, but that was mitigated later on when Fred and I were entirely surrounded by Porsches and 4x4s on the bendy, picturesque little road (B2178) around Fishbourne. Indeed they nearly all bumped into each other when Fred's gears stuck on an uphill bend and the Porsche behind me overtook us both on a blind corner, just missing oncoming vehicle. We'd have been a sandwich!
Ian, Mick, Anne, Sue, Joyce, Roman and Linda at Chichester (spire of cathedral on far left)
We started out much safer on the Centurion Way leading straight from the station. Joyce pointed out the cathedral to Roman and we enjoyed the roman legionaries sculptures on the Sustrans trail, looking like characters from Asterix, plus the peace and perfect weather. The B road had sparkling brooks beside them, clear enough for the Hampshire watercress beds to the west and bluebells masses enough for June.
Sue had already succumbed to buying a sandwich after the 70 minute train trip and as we neared Dell Quay hunger pangs arose. The Crown and Anchor has prime position on the Quay with outside tables overlooking the sea bay and island or peninsular. We sampled several dishes on the fishy menu between us, basking in the sunshine, as Ian reported to us on the recent Clarion Meet that he and Sue had attended, as our delegate. Congratulations to Bob Harber who did brilliantly in the race and cycled all the way there, most of it in one day. Thanks to all 3 for keeping our section in touch with the mother ship. Ian gave Linda an introduction to Clarion's origins, especially as it related to the main business of the Meet and the resolutions.
Mick outside the Crown and Anchor
Joyce and I lingered a bit too long slapping on the sun cream and while discussing the local election campaign sailed past the other six at the crucial turn for Salterns Copse and Mick had to hare after us to reset us on the trail. Now we entered the AONB and ancient woodland, oaks, hazel with catkins, both hawthorn & blackthorn in blossom, bluebells, and birdsong = delightful.
Setting off again
Through the woods
Joyce and Sue keep an eye on their boats
Across the lock
Salterns Marina, by contrast, was thronged with yachts and people. We filed over the swing, ziz-zag bridge, meeting other cyclists and relaxed and happy walkers and joining the road by the start of Chichester Canal; on one side a large car-park for the large cars and on the other - the intriguing houseboats, in all their variety, among the waterlilies, weeping willows and wildfowl.
On the canal
Chichester Ship Canal
The next section of the canal wended narrowly between nettle patches and high water, thus needing attentive cycling, but was thronged with birdlife; a swan's nest with graceful occupant taking after-lunch nap, then dozens of baby coots and moorhens with their respective parents, with their red or white bills, and other nesting birds that could have been curlew. The area has international importance with SSSI, SPA (EU special protection area) and Ramsar designation (wetland of international importance) but for cyclists needed care, as could be slippy and stony. We all arrived safely and dry at the tea-shop at the end of the canal, run by volunteers who served super cakes and tea cheaply.
What a great day out in a very special and precious area, seeing, hearing and smelling our local flora and fauna heritage, without polluting it, especially those who travelled by train. Thanks so much to Ian, for planning and guiding the ride and to Clarion crew for all the fun of the trip.
The Clarion Easter Meet 2007 – Ian's Report
Descriptions of other folk enjoying themselves are the favourite reading of very few, so we'll take the civic reception, annual dinner etc. as read and concentrate on the conference – which occupied just a few hours on the Saturday morning. But on the webpage version of this you will – I hope and trust! – find at least one photo of Bob – who cycled the whole 180 odd miles to Hereford – all but about 30 of it in one day – receiving his certificate from the Mayor of Hereford for coming fourth in the 10 mile time trial. Well done, Bob!
Bob receiving his certificate from the Mayor of Hereford
Bob and Colette with certificate
The conference was scheduled to end at 12 noon – it actually finished (with some difficulty) at 1 pm. Like our own AGM, this took much longer than is usually the case. Those who were there will remember that conference delegates were mandated to vote for Charles Jepson as National Secretary and on a number of the change of rules proposals. The recent change of name of Charles's section, from Oakhill to National Clarion Cycling Club, 1895 caused the consternation it was bound to – with a few delegates wanting to rule out of order the motions and amendments on the agenda in the name of Oakhill. This didn't happen, I'm pleased to say. It would have only made the situation more fraught.
Charles's explanation was that they were involved in soliciting donations from trade union and other organisations to finance the ride to Barcelona to commemorate the International Brigades and that such bodies would be reluctant to give money to a section named – as it is or was – after the private school, Oakhill College, at which Charles works. I asked if the intention was to revert to the earlier name after this – hoping that this might defuse some of the hostility that was building up, but, unfortunately, there was no clear answer to this. [A proposal to donate £250 to the Barcelona project was later defeated. Our AGM had taken the view that we should hear anything the Treasurer had to say on such things. He made no comment so our votes were cast for it – but to no avail as it turned out. We did make very small donation to Road Peace later – which we also supported on the same basis.]
I'd already filled in the ballot paper for the national officers and other posts with our 28 votes as instructed by the AGM (we've declined in numbers since last year – non-renewals and very late renewals) when Charles withdrew his nomination at the very last moment leaving Ian Clarke, who has you'll remember been Acting Secretary since Charles's resignation, in post.
The proposals we supported to change the name back to the National Clarion Cycling Club and to deal with the question of a casting vote for the Chair at committee meetings were carried. On the rules about objects and aims etc we had taken the view that we were quite happy with the status quo and would therefore vote against all the proposals for change, irrespective of which 'side' they came from. We hoped thus to signal our wish for an end to this rather sterile squabbling. Since rule changes required (as is usual in most organisations) a two-thirds majority we were successful – at least to the extent in helping to ensure that all the proposed changes were defeated. But it may be too early to say that this will see an end for a while to further attempts to make such changes, though I hope that will be the case.
Bob got projected into what turned out to be a very difficult and vital role as a teller. It was not just a matter of counting the card votes held up – often unsteadily and for insufficient time – but of calculating what would constitute two-thirds. Fortunately, Sue happened to have brought with her a small calculator originating from an expensive cracker last Christmas (!) which Bob was able to make some use of. I'm pleased to say his efforts – and those of the other teller – were unanimously appreciated. Quite rightly. A bit more unanimity in the substance of the conference as well would have gone down well with me!
Picasso / Cycling Race
(Cut to Raymond Baxter type standing in front of map. A small cardboard cut-out of Picasso's face is on map and is moved around to illustrate route.)
Baxter: Well Picasso will be starting, David, at Chichester here, he'll then cycle on the A29 to Fontwell, he'll then take the A272 which will bring him on to the A3 just north of Hindhead here. From then on Pablo has a straight run on the A3 until he meets the South Circular at Battersea here. Well, this is a truly remarkable occasion as it is the first time that a modern artist of such stature has taken the A272, and it'll be very interesting to see how he copes with the heavy traffic round Wisborough Green. Vicky.
(Cut to Vicky, holding a bicycle.)
Vicky: Well Picasso will be riding his Viking Super Roadster with the drop handlebars and the dual-thread wheel-rims and with his Wiley-Prat 20-1 synchro-mesh he should experience difficulties on the sort of road surfaces they just don't get abroad. Mitzie.
(Cut to linkman at desk with Viking on one side and a knight in armour on the other.)
Announcer: And now for the latest report on Picasso's progress over to Reg Moss on the Guildford by-pass.
(Reg Moss standing with hand mike by fairly busy road.)
Reg: Well there's no sign of Picasso at the moment, David. But he should be through here at any moment. However I do have Geppo witm me Mr Ron Geppo, British Cycling Sprint Champion and this year's winner of the Derby-Doncaster rally.
Geppo: (in full cyclist's kit.) Well Reg, I think Pablo should be all right provided he doesn't attempt anything on the monumental scale of some of his earlier paintings, like Guernica or Mademoiselles d'Avignon or even his later War and Peace murals for the Temple of Peace chapel at Vallauris, because with this strong head wind I don't think even Doug Timpson of Manchester Harriers could paint anything on that kind of scale.
Reg: Well, thank you Ron. Well, there still seems to be no sign of Picasso, so I'll hand you back to the studio.
Announcer: Well, we've just heard that Picasso is approaching the Tolworth roundabout on the A3 so come in Sam Trench at Tolworth.
Trench: (Standing at roadside) Well something certainly is happening here at Tolworth roundabout, David. I can now see Picasso, he's cycling down very hard towards the roundabout, he's about 75-50 yards away and I can now see his painting... it's an abstract... I can see some blue some purple and some little black oval shapes... I think I can see...
A Pepperpot comes up and nudges him.
Pepperpot: That's not Picasso – that's Kandinsky.
Trench: (excited) Good lord, you're right. It's Kandinsky. Wassily Kandinsky, and who's this here with him? It's Braque. Georges Braque, the Cubist, painting a bird in flight over a cornfield and going very fast down the hill towards Kingston and... (cylists pass in front of him) Piet Mondrian – just behind, Pier Mondrian the Neo-Plasticist, and then a gap, then the main bunch, here they come, Chagall, Max Ernst, Miro, Dufy, Ben Nicholson, Jackson Pollock and Bernard Buffet making a break on the outside here, Brancusi's going with him, so is Gericault, Fernarid Leger, Delaunay, De Kooning, Kokoschka's dropping back here by the look of it, and so's Paul Klee dropping back a bit and, right at the back of this group, our very own Kurt Schwitters..
Pepperpot: He's German!
Trench: But as yet absolutely no sign of Pablo Picasso, and so from Tolworth roundabout back to the studio.
(Toulouse-Lautrec pedals past on a child's tricycle. Cut back to studio.)
Announcer: Well I think I can help you there Sam, we're getting reports in from the AA that Picasso, Picasso has fallen off... he's fallen off his bicycle on the B2127 just outside Ewhurst, trying to get a short cut through to Dorking via Peaslake and Goreshall. Well, Picasso is reported to be unhurt, but the pig has a slight headache. And on that note we must say goodnight to you. Picasso has failed in his first bid for international cycling fame. So from all of us here at the 'It's the Arts' studio, it's goodnight. (Pig's head appears over edge of desk; linkman gently pushes it back) Goodnight.