Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

1 December 2008

The Next Two Sundays

Sunday 7 December
Christmas Festivities

Meet for a game of boules on the terrain at Al Frescos (between Al Fresco and the West Pier)  at 11 and lunch at Al Frescos. For those who don't want to play you can come and watch - wait for us at the bar of Al Frescos, or join us later.

Make sure to be there at 11 if you want to play – Roger will be organising the teams.

Joyce has booked at Al Fresco from 12.30.
But PLEASE let me know if you are coming and if you have a set of boules (we will anyway try to borrow some). I'm at and 01273 680705.

And later that day everyone is invited to a show at Tessa's house, 38 Lorna Road, Hove, for mulled wine and mince pies to see the work of 7 artists - ceramics, painting, etchings, glass, jewellery, textiles, cards and buttons.

Also on the next day or the following weekend the Open House Christmas Show continues: 6/7th and 13/14th December 11-6pm.

To find out more contact Tessa at 38 Lorna Road, Hove BN3 3EN, 01273 777574.

Sunday 14 December – Final Clarion Ride of 2008

Berwick Circular c 14 Miles only

As is becoming 'traditional' for the last ride of the year I'm going for this really short and flat one that maybe will tempt everyone out unless the weather is atrocious. (Fingers crossed! We were dead lucky yesterday.)

We'll do the usual loop round the Berwick, Ripe, Chalvington area (with some variations) and stop for lunch at the Yew Tree pub.

Distance: c 14 miles.
Hills: If I say there aren't any hills, someone is bound to point out that the road went 'up' for 10 or 20 metres at some point – but it really is pretty flat
Off road: None
Traffic: Quiet roads
Catering: Yew Tree for lunch. Possible tea stop (depending on train times and our own progress) at the Berwick Inn for tea (or by adding a couple of miles we could revisit the Selmeston tea-room.

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station or meet at Berwick station at 10.43. Train back at 2.48 reaching Brighton at 3.12 (next one an hour later).

(Be at Brighton Station by 9.50 for Groupsave.)

Ian's mobile number is 07770743287.

The Last Ride - Anne's Report

The Last Day of November

[More photos on Flickr]

Checking back to Fred's account of May 07, I see how lucky we were with the weather [especially compared to them] but how unlucky not to have Fred's photography skills this time, though I hope that Jim's pics have come out better than mine. Metcheck was forecasting sleet and NE winds so I piled on the layers and packed spare clothes of all description, but although there was a short, sharp shower as I started to leave the house and the rain is thumping down on our roof again now and many lanes we cycled down had huge puddles for splashing through with legs akimbo [unfortunately not able to photograph exuberance as too afraid of falling of and taking a soaking] a white sunshine accompanied us for most of the morning and we were able to eat lunch in the garden with splendid view of steep slope of Downs and pleasant brook. Ian's feet were cold so he and Leon had the last remaining table inside the popular Shepherd and Dog.

6 out of 7 set outshowing Angela's super, furry gloves

It's a cheap train ride to Hassocks and 4 of us caught the late running 10.44 to be met by anxious Ian and Leon. [Jim had tried to phone but tunnels must have interrupted the transmission] and quickly joined by Simon from the slightly later Southern train. So a Magnificent Seven set out after persuading a passer by to do the group photo. Annoyingly he seems to have missed out Simon and we only have the 1 pic of smiling six. However, I feel that the view from the inside of the station is more picturesque than the usual outside shot we take. Autumnal trees grace the track and the sky looks white, though fortunately, not with sleet.

4 by fine tree

Carefully crossing the treacherous road beneath the station we head off to Hurstpierpoint, down Blackstone Lane and Bramlands. It was around there that I again saw the ostriches or emus that I'd seen on a previous Clarion ride with Joyce. This time I had a camera and tried to immortalise them, but, as I was on the end, didn't take enough time or care and the resultant photo is such a disappointing blur that ostriches can not be identified, even by me on it, which is such a shame as this time there were baby ostriches as well and no-one else seems to have seen these chimeras. The route was a bit more undulating than usual for us and on the uphills it has to be said that the 4 men outrode the 3 women, but all equally enjoyed the downhill, especially when there was a large puddle to ford. Fortunately no-one fell off on the whole ride, in spite of some of the lanes being coated with large expanses of wet autumn leaves, leaving only a narrow path to steer, which we all skilfully managed. Hardly any cars bothered us, again this was just as well as there was so much water around and a couple we did see were going fast and thus splashing up huge waves of spray when they did hit puddles.

Glowing Jim at Shepherd and Dog

The Shepherd and Dog has a marvellous setting but the food was gastronomically priced [or should that be astronomically priced?]. It was good but not good value, though swiftly served and swiftly eaten by my companions. Us girls had extra hot water for our teas too, thanks to Angela's boldness and her dismay at their prices. It was a pub with no soup though and that is disappointing for me. The Royal Oak looked even more gourmetted up, as we passed it by afterwards and not much sign of the jollity of the 1880s or garlands. Simon left us shortly afterwards for a trip up and over the Downs to home. He had told us over lunch of his trip to Norway , Northern Lights and sparkling snow and other sea crossings were recalled and savoured.

On Clappers Lane

We had a quick detour for Newtimber Place – the moated grange with huge, gorgeous oaks and geese, sculptures and glimpses of the lives of the richest 1% who'll doubtless suffer from Alastair and Gordon's extra 5% of tax to solve the credit crunch - hardly think it will make their pips squeak. The geese seemed to be having an exciting game across the other side of the moat, but my photos don't record it – hope Jim's do.

Don't mention Christmas

The equestrian route was fun and challenging, being muddy as equestrian routes often are, but no damage from dung, though Leon had to clean his bike earlier from dog droppings dropped carelessly and irresponsibly in his way. There was a vote on whether to stop for tea at Washbrooks Farm and it was agreed by 2-1 that we should. I was the one voting for a swifter return but was glad to be outvoted and adored the food and the farm. Amazingly beautiful and bountiful turkeys greeted us and after tea, when a great selection of goodies, scones and chocolate cake, at reasonable prices and with extra free hot water were offered, I visited the animals in the barn. A very messy llama was enjoying his tea too inside and the pigs and pygmy goats, ponies and carthorses enchanted me and other young[er] visitors.

Ian reckies the grange .

Ian said goodbye as he rejoined his car at Hassocks station and we 4 sailed under the bridge and back up to the homebound platform. Leon waved us off on the train and Ian waved from the other side of the tracks. Jim's computer said 17.25 miles at average speed of 8.1 m.p.h with max speed of 26.4mph. Jim thought that may be a bit too fast, but it sounds good and felt good, going both up and down.

At Washbrooks

When we arrived home around 4pm it was still light [just] and Radio 4 had a programme on CF Cavafy's 'Ithaca' poem, parts of which seem to apply;

But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to offer you riches.
Ithaca has given you a beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.

For 'Ithaca' read 'Ian' [and 'her' him] and thanks very much to all 6 for a delightful trip.


Thanks Anne, but if I start showing any tendency to see myself as Odysseus please do not hesitate to send for the folk in the white coats.



Planning rides for 2009

Dates – New Year's Day Brunch Ride - 11, 25 January, 8, (Jim) 22 February, 8, 22 March. It looks as though I may be away for 22 March so offers of rides – welcome for any date – would be particularly helpful for that one.

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club in 1894

Fingers in a twist last time –Sorry! – 'stared a club as you suggested for purchase of machines or hisre system ' should have read 'started a club … hire system'. Latest episode at the end of the Circular as usual.



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

'The Bounder in Brum' including the B'ham CCC's dinner

As I said last time 'The Bounder's' humour – what's so funny about the letter K? - has lasted less well than some of the other features of the early Clarion. The extracts below are from 8 November 1894. The Bounder was met in Birmingham by our old friend Tom Groom. The Bounder had been, you'll recall, drafted in as the Birmingham Clarion Cycling Club's president.

The O' Groomie took me straight off from New Street Station to the steam trams in Korporation Street. When the O' Groomie's courage failed him, the McAtkinson took his part of guide, philosopher and personal conductor on the coffin trams the engines of which yield a periodical aroma of soot and sulphur which reminds you of the Underground Railway


The Lady Clarionettes of Birmingham are the 'best looking' I have ever seen. I say this without prejudice and despite the fact that they fell upon me… like one woman, with an artillery of scissors with which they cut samples of my new trousers for the purpose of providing themselves frockks of the same material … they left me hardly a shred to be going on with. Fortunately, it was dark, and I walked in the middle of the crowd to the Arts Club the members of which are so fair minded and tolerant


The Birmingham Clarion Cycling Club dinner was a great funkshun, and a grand success. I had two helpings of muttom, and three plates of roast kapon. I also occupied the chair. I drank claret wine, and was introduced to two parsons. I likewise made a


* * * *

space prekludes a protracted description of my first appearance in presidential capacity. It is very arduous being a President.

* * * *
The C.C.C. had me on toast, so I return the kompiment. Musical honours please.

So here I give the toast sublime
Which aye shall live in deathless rhyme:
"The C.C.C. which none surpasses
For gradely chaps and bonny lasses.
With which I couple a graceful trio
And kind regards to the barley brio.
McAtkinson, when we must dub
The 'handsome Captain of the Club',
O' Groomie, the Clarion Scald,
The bold, the beautiful, the bald.
And last – hallo, there! Shades of Sherbet
The grand old, blond old double t Garbutt.

Tom Groom's report at the end of Swiftsure's 'Cycling Notes' was a shade less 'poetical' - and the spelling was better.

Birmingham Clarion Cycling Club

First Annual Dinner

It was a great function. The great function of the year. Eighty good Clarionettes and true – including fifteen from the Potteries C.C.C. – graced the gay and festive board. The Bounder from the chair beamed on the assembled company; the assembled company from the chairs variously beamed on the Bounder. The Bounder made the speech of the evening. He said, 'Bring in the dinner!' The process of assimilation began. A strong , healthy waiter was told off to attend to the President, and to him alone.

The dinner was great shakes, and moved by its various courses to the toasts. The Bounder's waiter was then wrapped up and sent home in a cab, and a clean one was brought in.

The 'Club' was enthusiastically toasted and replied to at some length. The company next proceeded to drink as much of the Bounder's health as was good for it. Then was toasted the visitors, and replied to by Labour Agitator Leonard Hall.

We had several more toasts to get through, but the President objected – said we had had enough of cackling – and put his foot down. I think the Board will agree with me that when the Bounder puts his foot down there is not much chance of going on. So the room was cleared for the 'smoker'. A really gorgeous programme drawn up and set down on paper by the club's artist was got through with considerable pleasure, including the very excellent glee by the Potteries C.C.C. After which we warbled 'Old Lang Syne' and then gat us to our respective homes – at least some of us did.

Altogether a most enjoyable function. The President presided in great style and his new trousers, which same do him credit. We shall look forward to his second coming with much joy.


[Leonard Hall was a well-known ILPer close to the Clarion and a personal friend of Blatchford. He is best remembered as one of the four authors – all members of the ILP's National Administrative Council - of what became known, from the colour of its cover, as 'The Green Manifesto' in 1910 - a tract entitled Let Us Reform the Labour Party. [Yes, even then!]

The 'Board' was of course the editorial board of the paper. A few years later in the midst of an intractable dispute Blatchford was to refer to it on at least one occasion as 'The Bored']

Next time – Swiftsure takes steps to create a Manchester CCC.

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