Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

18 May 2009

You'll recall Tony Brookes' recent piece about the Prestonville Nomads. I've had another message from him saying 'the thought crossed my mind that rather than leaving my Whitcombe road bike hanging on the garage wall would it be of any interest to your members, at a reasonable price! I can send pics and specification if anyone is interested' If you are interested please contact Tony direct It occurs to me that Bob may know people who might be interested but not on any of our mailing lists. If so, Bob, please pass the message on.

Toll Bridge Ride

Several more of us have now signed up for the 5 July ride – mostly for the 16/20 mile version. If you still need a form emails are and And/or phone 01273 885994 or 01273 462233. We need to sign up by early next month – otherwise it costs more.

Planning rides

2009 rides for the rest of the the year will be on Sundays 14 (Roger), 28 June ( Leon), 12, 26 (Leon) July, 9, 23 August, 6, 20 September*, 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. But the one marked * are ones I definitely can't do. 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.

Open Houses

The final week of the Festival. If you're visiting Open Houses at the weekend don't forget Fred at 48 Ditchling Rise, Brighton, BN1 4QN. 01273 682017, He's at the award winning Dragonfly House.
Open times: 12.00 - 18.00pm, Saturday 23 and Sunday 24th. [I'll be there on the Sunday if you want to say hello - Fred.]

and Tessa at 38 Lorna Road, Hove BN3 3EN
Tel: 01273 777574

Tessa Wolfe Murray - ceramic vessels, wall panels & jewellery
Brenda Anderson - etchings
Katrina Beattie - blown & kiln-formed glass
Wendy Dolan - stitched textiles
Jackie Raybone - drawings & paintings
Linda Kemp - felt & textiles
Tim Gill - photography
open Saturday 23 and Sunday 24th from 11am to 6pm.

Lots to report this time, so I'll leave it at that. Origins of Clarion CC in 1890s at the end as usual.



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 31 May 2009
Picnic on the beach at Cuckmere Haven

Kevin and Annette put me on to this one. It's – more or less – a ride done by East Sussex County Council. We might pinch a few more from that source.

Leaving Berwick we head for Arlington and then down to the main A27 – which we'll cross very carefully – and through Wilmington. Past the Long Man we follow the road down through Wilmington and Litlington – with the White Horse coming into view on the other side of the river to the Eastbourne road near Exceat Bridge. We can then enter the Seven Sisters Country Park and take the track down to the Haven for picnic. Returning the same way to the road we can then take a marked cycle track through a bit of Friston Forest to West Dean and then the road out back to Litlington. We'll cross the Cuckmere near Alfriston and after a mile or two of fairly busy road we can use the newish cycle path back to (almost) Berwick Station


Meet: Meet at Berwick Station at 10.43
Getting there: Catch 10.20 from Brighton station (arrive at 10 for chance of Groupsave)
Distance: About 18 miles
Hills: Less hilly than last time but there's a bit of a hill by the reservoir coming out of Berwick. Later the Wilmington road is certainly noticeably 'undulating' but we can if we so decide avoid most of the biggest bit of hill – not a very big hill in any case by walking down onto the lower road at Milton street.
Off road: possible c 400 yard walk down to Milton Street Country Park track down to the Haven and back – bit of marked cycle track – but not surfaced one like Cuckoo Trail – through a corner of the forest
Catering: Bring you picnic requirements with you. Possibility of a tea stop at the well-known Litlington Tea Gardens (or at the Berwick Inn at the end of the ride – or both!)
Getting home: Trains back at 48 mins past the hour

My mobile: 0789 985 1172

Points of Interest - Chalk Hill Figures

1. Wilmington Long Man

According to the Sussex Archaeological Society's website:

The Long Man of Wilmington, mysterious guardian of the South Downs, has baffled archaeologists and historians for hundreds of years. 

Until recently the earliest record of Europe's largest representation of the human form was in a drawing made by William Burrell when he visited Wilmington Priory, nestling under the steep slopes of Windover Hill, home of the 235 feet high Wilmington Giant. In 1993, however, a new drawing of the Long Man was discovered, made by surveyor, John Rowley, in 1710. 

2. Litlington White Horse

According to Wikimapia:

Between Alfriston and Seaford a large white horse carved onto the side of the downs looks east over the river Cuckmere. The horse was carved into the chalk on Hindover Hill just below the White Way, which also takes its name from the chalk. There are actually two white horses on the hill, the first is no more, lasting only until the 1920s, cut either in 1838 by James Pagden of Frog Firle Farm and his two brothers, to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria or in 1860 by two youths who saw a patch of bare chalk in the turf that looked like a horses head and added the body. The second, still visible today and in very good condition was cut in 1924 by John T. Ade, Mr. Bovis and Eric Hobbis. The three men cut the horse overnight with a full moon to see by so as to startle the locals with the sudden appearance of the horse in the morning and make the men famous. Since its initial cutting, the horse and Frog Firle Farm have been acquired by the National Trust in 1991 and has been scoured several times. The first scouring was after it had been camouflaged during the war in 1930. East Sussex County Council scoured it in the 1980s during which they changed the position of the legs from standing to prancing to help prevent slippage of the chalk rubble used to fill the figure. The latest scouring for this 90 foot hill figure was in 1993.

Friston Forest is not that old. What was then open downland was bought in the 1880s by the Eastbourne Water Company to use the water held in the chalk as the town's water supply. In the 1920s the company leased about 2000 acres to the Forestry Commission to create a forest which would help protect the water supply Most of the Forest was established between 1945 and 1960.

Cuckmere Estuary and Haven From a Daily Telegraph article last November – now on the web.

July exhibitions

Low tide at Cuckmere Haven, and the water brushes meditavely along the shoreline. Just east loom the sheer, chalk white cliffs of the Seven Sisters. On the hill above the west beach, the ancient Coastguard Cottages once kept watch for contraband, a boom 'industry'" in these parts two hundred years ago (see Fred's celebrated pic I B) A red brick pillbox, smothered by vegetation and square, concrete anti-tank barriers are a reminder of the big role these parts played as front line coastal defences in World War Two.

The Cuckmere River, which reaches the English Channel here, has been the focus of countless school geography trips over the decades for its famed meanders. It's a haven in a real sense, too, for wildlife, the air ringing with birdsong. A colony of black-backed gulls sits on a small shingle island just beyond the tide line. Further inland, beyond clumps of sea aster, a glistening black cormorant soars skywards out of the river. In one of the drainage channels, a Little Egret treads gingerly through the shallows, like a man wearing shoes a size too big. There's even a pastoral element too, with the National Trust, owners of much of the farmland on the west side, having reintroduced cattle and sheep grazing to the meadows.

The Last Ride - Suzanne's Report

Sunday 17 May 2009
Lewes – Barcombe – Lewes

[More photos at Flickr]

8.30 am Pitter-patter raindrops, pitter-patter raindrops (Trad.)
Anne, Ian, Joyce, Mick and Roger and Suzanne in their snug little beds open one eye, hear the rain, say 'Nah!' and turn over.

9.30 am
Anne, Ian, Joyce, Mick and Roger and Suzanne put a foot out of their snug little beds and say 'Maybe'.

10.30 am Joyce's wet through! (anon.)
Joyce arrives at Brighton Station having carefully timed it so that she is drenched by the monster downfall that floods part of the concourse.

17.5.9 Clarion Barcombe picnic 001

11.30 am Hail, Hail, the gang's all here (D. A. Esrom 1915)
The bus-y bustle of Lewes Station is left behind as we wiggle down Cliffe High Street (when will they ever finish the 'road' works?) , turn right out of Lewes and up and away 'o'er hill and o'er dale' around the foothills of Mount Caburn and into Glynde. The sky is blue and powder-puff clouds sail high in the heavens.

17.5.9 Clarion Barcombe picnic 012

12.30 am 'Watch out you don't get mashed' (I. Bullock 2009)
Ian is nominated for winner of the worst joke of the decade as we bowl along the pleasant pasture lands of Potato Lane (doh!) to Ringmer, cross Norlington Lane, scurry briefly along the A26 and back onto the quiet reaches of the Barcombe Mills valley. At the late, lamented Barcombe Station (even the tea-rooms on the former platform have disappeared), we take the course of the old line and chug our way to the Anchor Inn.

17.5.9 Clarion Barcombe picnic 003

1.30pm Picnic time for teddy bears (Jimmy Kennedy 1932)
On the far side of the River Ouse, opposite the Anchor Inn, Ian has arranged for us a large field complete with two comfortable tree trunks as seating. Picnic-less Mick and Anne (oh ye of little faith in the weather!) buy an expensive baguette from the aforementioned hostelry, before realising that when Joyce says she had loads of food to share, she meant she has LOADS of food to share. A good lunch is had by all and a passing walker is pressed into the duties of official photographer. Both Renoir and Maupassant are evoked as the rowing boats, inn, swans, sheltering tree, chairs and tables on gravelly ground are admired from the east side of the river – but the ladies and gentlemen in their gaily striped Sunday-best at La Genouillière did not have to contend with high winds and incipient rain. It is time to move on.

17.5.9 Clarion Barcombe picnic 009

2.30 pm Everything stops for tea (Goodhart, Hoffman and Sigler 1935)
Heading west along Anchor Lane, we pass Delves Farm and a group of buildings bizarrely named 'Scufflings'. A little push up the hill into Barcombe Cross brings us to the Royal Oak which has undergone a woeful transformation – gone the handy little woodshed giving access to the large garden, gone, indeed, most of the large garden onto which has been erected a four bedroom house. Tea, coffee and rhubarb crumble and custard were consumed as the wind got up and the rain threatened to come down.

17.5.9 Clarion Barcombe picnic 016

3.30 pm Show me the way to go home (folk song popularised by 'Irving King' in 1925)
Six yawning cyclists make their way past Camoys Court, along Church Road, Barcombe, over another branch of the disused railway and gently up and down to Offam. The path past Landport Farm to Landport was not too waterlogged so good time was made to Lewes Station.

17.5.9 Clarion Barcombe picnic 004

4.30pm I'm dying for a piece of cake (J. Edmund-Smith 2009)
The Infamous Five say farewell to Ian and 'thank you' for a well planned ride. The bikes all fit neatly onto a busy train and soon the tired little teddy bears are back in Brighton, looking forward to their next outing with Clarion.

PS. If you're not taking part yourself, Joyce is more than willing to accept your sponsorship for the Tollbridge Ride on 5 July She's at


Brighton & Hove Cycle Forum Meeting – 12 May 2009
Jim's Report

I am afraid I missed half of this meeting – Roger got his meetings mixed up and told me it was starting at 5pm instead of 4, but it turned out that applied to the March meeting, not the May one!

Hence I was unable to make much of the presentation that was going on when I arrived, except to say that it involved on-line maps of cycle routes – something that might be useful to us in planning rides, although of course only if it extends behond Brighton & Hove, into true 'Clarion territory'! The website was mentioned, although a quick glance at that did not immediately reveal anything cycling-related.

As on previous occasions when I have attended these meetings, I was somewhat bemused at the level of detail discussed, including the question of whether you can turn right from X street into Y street, and if not, why not … it amazes me that a body that meets for only two hours every two months has time for such details! To be sure, all such items were dealt with fairly quickly, and there was a hint that in future these types of matters will tend to be shunted into the Council's Cycling Issues Database (mentioned in a previous report) and not discussed by the meetings at all. That seems sensible to me, since I feel the Forum should talk only in generalities, or discuss only the most major schemes.

One item that did, I think, merit discussion, because it has implications for all sorts of places, was the question of cycling on the Undercliff route between the marina and Saltdean. Apparently it is illegal to cycle there! (Nobody told us when we had our 'Summertime Special' ride last year!) but because the fine is only £5 and it costs £500 to prosecute someone, it is not enforced. The matter was raised because a cyclist had reported having rocks thrown at them by pedestrians on the undercliff. Everyone felt that this route was an ideal 'shared space' where there is room for both cyclists and pedestrians; the trouble is that the fine exists, not because the Council or anyone else has ever deemed it dangerous to cycle there, but rather, as Mark Strong put it, for 'historical' reasons – basically, when it was built several decades ago, there weren't many cyclists about, so it was made a 'no cycling' route! Worse still – it is felt that if an attempt were made to raise this with the Council with a view to abolishing the fine, it might go the other way and end up having a £500 fine imposed instead, to match that applicable on the Hove promenade. What an absurd situation!

I say this applies to other places, not because of fines, but because it seems to me that people need to learn to use shared spaces. The day after the meeting, a minor 'altercation' occurred in Beaconsfield Road, near where I live, when a pedestrian 'tutted' at a cyclist coming towards her on the pavement. The cyclist had obligingly slowed right down – as I do when I use this route, a busy one-way road which is part of the main route into Brighton – and there was no danger; but such situations can easily get out of control. Mark Strong has been involved in 'shared space'" initiatives elsewhere in the country, and they work, as long as both cyclists and pedestrians behave responsibly.

I also learnt about 'Operation Crackdown' which has a website linked from the Bricycles site. This is aimed mainly at reporting abuse and assault, but apparently if cars are seen parking in cycle lanes, they can be reported to the Crackdown team.

There was mention of a 'stakeholder workshop' being held by Cycling England, on Wednesday 20th May from 5-7.30 at Hove Town Hall. Not sure who is supposed to go, but Roger or I could probably find out more about this from the on-line forum if required.

National Bike Week will be from 14-20 June, and will feature a bicycle ballet in Jubilee Square, and gigs in bike shops, amongst other things. Details are apparently available at

The Cycle Forum is drawing up a constitution; this wasn't discussed, but it was confirmed that Roger's comments on the draft document had been received. I have now also made some comments of my own and sent them in.

The next Forum meeting will be on 14 July (not June as previously proposed) and will include an AGM at which the constitution will be discussed, and (hopefully) adopted.


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

34. The first ride of the Manchester CCC and the coming first Easter Meet

Swiftsure's account in The Clarion 16 March 1895 of the first ride of the new Manchester club he had taken the lead in getting off the ground reminds me a lot of our first run back in 2004 when Joyce, Sheila and I rode up and down the Cuckoo Trail trying to persuade ourselves that it wasn't really raining that hard. True, we were spared the mud – but on the other hand we didn't have a kindly friend to offer us tea and shelter! And we have had our fair share of 'slithering through the mud' since. Ugh! Indeed.

Nine members of the C.C.C. Manchester and District essayed to carry out their run last Saturday as per card.

Instead of which they slithered through the mud at Dunham Park. Ugh! And we imagined it was 'pleasure.'!! On the return journey the ran overtook us, and on the invitation of two of our members, Mr and Mrs Sutcliffe, who reside at Stretford, we adjourned to their house for tea, and afterwards spent a very pleasant evening. The best incident of the run occurred when the writer – who had just been elegantly descanting on the splendid grip of his new 'Clinchers' had in the mud – happened on a deeper rut than usual and, accompanied with a bit of careless riding, found himself – well, not in the saddle.

The proposed meet at Ashbourne is troubling many of my readers. 'Peddlar' of Bradford writes to say 'They want it postponed to Whitsuntide'. He also says 'They have forty-three members, five of whom are ladies with more to follow' (Ahem) I should think myself that Easter is a very good time since it falls so late in the year. Howerer the following letter will explain more about it

Dear Swiftsure With regard to the proposed meet at Ashbourne, will you kindly ask those clubs that have not yet done so to send me the approximate number of those coming? Would also be glad if you would suggest to any club unable to be present the advisability of sending one or two delegates. The Birmingham men are intending starting on Good Friday, and if agreeable holding a conference of the different club on Sunday afternoon, so as to give everyone the opportunity of being present. Details later. Thank you in anticipation

Yours fraternally F G BROWNE Hon. Sec. Birmingham C.C.C.

Next time. Clarion cycling continues to spread as the first Meet approaches

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