Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

19 April 2010

So, we'll have a circular this week after all. With such a good turnout - including me - yesterday I may have been a bit precipitate about cancelling the ride last week - but the Beeding one was definitely 'off' and it was difficult to quickly judge the impact from out point of view of all the road closures, diversions and extra train use. But thanks to Tessa for her idea and Leon for getting together a route so quickly we had a good ride - as Tessa's report below will demonstrate. Thanks to you both.

Future Rides … for the rest of 2010

Sundays 16, 30 May; 13, 27 * June; 11, 25 July (Leon?); 8, 22 August; 5, 19* September; 3*, 17, October; 7, 21* November; 5*, 19 December.

Offers to organise/lead rides are more than welcome. The ones marked with a * are ones I already know I can't make - and there are likely to be a few others.

* * *

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s latest episode, as usual, are at the end of the circular. Just a little one this time.


The Next Ride

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.

2nd May 2010
Balcombe Circular:
Balcombe – Ardingly Reservoir – Worth Abbey – Worth Forest –
Pease Pottage – Slaugham – Staplefield – Balcombe

The area east of Balcombe looks, at first sight, like Clarion no-go territory: too many brown lines on the map. However, after a big dip down to the reservoir and a walk up the other side, it turns out that Paddockhurst Lane and Back Lane are 3 miles of lovely, quiet, Clarionesque lane, and basically flat. After a brief look at Worth Abbey (a Benedictine monastery, which has some old buildings but is mainly modern, having only been a monastery since 1933) we will follow a bridleway through Worth Forest, then over the railway and along Parish Lane to lunch at the Black Swan at Pease Pottage (huge pub, good choice of ales and food inc veggie options, average pub prices).

After lunch we join up with the second half of my Horsham-Balcombe ride which we did in July 2006; this time we will do all 3 ½ miles of Grouse Road, which has a pleasantly downward gradient, losing 65 metres in height from one end to the other; then to Slaugham (pronounced, as in Annie's 2006 report, 'Sloffam, Slaffam, or Slawfam'). We can stop off for a look at the 11th century St Mary's Church, with its 600-year-old yew tree, if anyone missed it last time; then to Staplefield, and back to Balcombe via a public track through a private estate, a brief glimpse of the distant railway viaduct, then a big whooooosh down a rather scarily steep hill to the station. If there is time, we can visit Balcombe Tea Rooms, and hopefully will have a few minutes on the platform to appreciate one of the few remaining station flower gardens in Sussex.

We will see most of the Hammer Ponds that featured in the 2006 ride. Here is what I said about them then: 'The Weald was the cradle of the British iron industry in the 16th century - as it had been in Roman times - but now with the advantage of blast furnaces and immigrant French labour. To work the huge bellows and forge hammers, streams had to be dammed and diverted to provide a sufficient head of water. The resulting hammer ponds are the most obvious remaining relic of the Wealden iron industry.'

Length: 22 miles.
Duration: About 4 ½ hours, including stops en route but not tea stop.
Terrain: Mainly quiet tarmacked lanes; 1 mile of B road; about 3 miles on bridleways (avoidable if very wet). Mainly flat with a few 'undulations' and a couple of walkable hills.
How to Get There: 10.00 train from Brighton; 9.32 train from London Victoria (9.38 Clapham Junction) or meet at Balcombe station (northbound platform, adj to car park) at 10.30. Be at Brighton by 9.30 for Groupsave.
Return Train to Brighton at 15.23 or 16.23; to London at 15.26 or 16.26

My Mobile: 07742-963239.


The Last Ride - Tessa's Report

Sunday 18 April 2010
Hassocks to Newick

[More photos on Flickr]

Well, it started with a phone call from me to Leon, asking if he would lead a ride out of Hassocks, either just him and me, or extend it to Clarion members living West of the London Road. My reasoning was that those living East would find it impossible to get to Brighton station because of the route of the Brighton Marathon.

Leon took the idea and ran with it. He offered the ride to the whole of Clarion, reasoning that some would love the challenge of getting to Hassocks Station.

And he was right. I spoke to Joyce who had managed to thread her way across the sea of runners on London Road, and John, who had cycled through the runners on Oxford Road, albeit to jeers! Also from Brighton by car came Anne and Mick and Ian.

When we assembled for our photo at Hassocks Station, Leon was joined by 5 train arrivals from Brighton: Roger, Suzanne, Joyce, Mark and Tessa. Nick came by train from London and Jenny from Lewes. In total 12. Chris, a possible future Clarion recruit, took our photo and cycled with us as far as Ditchling before heading off on his planned ride to Burgess Hill.

The first miles were dogged by traffic until we reached Swatham Lane where we were given the choice of a shorter, hillier smooth road ride with inevitable traffic, or a longer track route that would be bumpy in parts. We chose the latter. The first part of our chosen route was not bad at all and we savoured the perfect weather, ponds, ponies, butterflies, burgeoning bushes, birdsong and an array of flowers, predominantly yellow primroses and a pale lilac stock like flower that no-one knew the name of.

Spring flowers, The Hooke.

The 2 mile track led out by Streat Church and soon we were on a bumpier track called the Ridge which led to Plumpton Racecourse. At the junction, Anne found a pound coin, so was instructed to buy everyone drinks at the pub.

Enjoying a wooded glade, The Hooke.

We joined a lane that was fringed with wild garlic which some of us stopped to pick. It led us to East Chiltington Church. Whilst Leon, Mark and Roger headed off to the left, the rest of us were enchanted by the setting and went in to have a quick look at what turned out to be a rather garish stained glass window. As we passed through the lytchgate, Jenny pointed out the underside of the roof tiles. They were marked with the names of everyone who had contributed to the church's restoration.

Nearly all the group.

The road to Newick led us along Honeypot Lane, onto another track that became wooded, and passed the Hooke, a big country estate. We hit the A275 for a short while then turned into Markstakes Lane, a long hill, a downhill reprieve, another hill, then finally Newick and lunch at the Bull.

Lunch at The Bull, Newick.

Meals were deemed good but ranged from substantial to minimal. Joyce added some of her wild garlic to augment her buffalo mozzarella, Nick took photos of the mushroom soup and the squid, so Fred will be happy.

The afternoon is a bit of a blur. Quite hard work as we cycled into a strengthening wind with several uphills through some memorably named lanes: Butterbox, Slugwash, 100 Acre, and back to Spatham where we retraced our steps through Ditchling, Keymer, Hassocks. On the way, Ian and I noticed a dead badger, and we met up with an old friend from another ride, a piebald pony. This time, probably because of the frugality of lunch, we had nothing to offer him.

The end of the ride at Hassocks.

The lanes were littered with election billboards, mainly blue, but that didn't spoil what turned out to be a wonderful impromptu ride.

Thank you Leon!


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

59. More Clarion CCs

We're still with Swiftsure's "Cycling Notes" on 11 May 1895

"More Clarion C.C.s "

A club has been started in Glasgow, fifteen have already joined and probably many more will when they know of I t. The sec is William Mill, 115 Mann Street, Bridgetown, Glasgow to whom all inquiries can be addressed!

London must also have its Clarion C.C if not several

Mr. W.H. Crisp, 45, Wirtenberg Street, Clapham, London, writes me that it is intended to establish one in South London, and that all who are willing to join are asked to communicate with him at the above address.

All are invited, whether they ride solids, customs, or pneumatics.

* * * *

Have you read the May number of The Scout? If not, why not?

More next time.

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