Dear fellow members and friends
20 September 2006
Dear fellow members and friends
First of all, thanks. Thanks again Neil for organising the ride before last and to Joyce for taking on leading the last one after I had last-minute bike problems. Fingers crossed for the future!
Thanks also to Ed, our Chair, who has responded to my plea for someone to take it on by volunteering to organise our usual Christmas get-together. While I'm on the subject of volunteering, please feel free to propose a ride for any date you like; no need to wait until I'm pleading for help because I can't make that particular Sunday. Though obviously that's when it's most important to find someone else in order to keep our regular schedule going.
Ed also came across a handout about Walter Southgate, at a Morning Star event during the TUC. It includes a mention of his Clarion CC activities. When I've time I will retype it (correcting the spelling mistakes!) and ask Fred to put it on our 'history page'. There's another piece from Michael that came in while I was in Canada that I must also send on for inclusion.
Nice to see Helen – at Brighton Jazz Club last Friday, where, incidentally, we had a turnout of 6 Clarion members; as good as a ride! As you may remember, she had an accident and broke her leg earlier in the year. She's not yet back on her bike – but she is walking again. Leg problems seem to be endemic this year; I ran into Chris – the only 2005 member I failed to get a reply from at the end of last year – quite understandably in the light of the problems he's been having. He's had several leg operations in recent months. Quickest and fullest recoveries for both, we all hope.
The Next Ride
Sunday 1 October
Unexplored Cuckoo Trail, Sovereign Harbour, Normans Bay… and back
Perhaps you were thinking that we'd done all the possible Polegate-based rides involving the Cuckoo Trail and the Pevensey Levels – most of them this year - and that it would be impossible to work out anything that involved any 'new' bits of route? But not so!
We'll set off down the most southerly part of the Cuckoo Trail – not an inch of which we have yet used on a Clarion run and follow Cycle Route 21 into Eastbourne and around Sovereign Harbour then along the coast road to Pevensey Bay and on to Normans Bay where we'll cross the railway line and repair to The Star for lunch.
We'll return via Pevensey Castle, Stone Cross, Hankham and Rickney with the usual stop at the Old Loom tea rooms if time permits.
I usually manage to avoid too much in the way of hills – but this one will be among the flattest in our repertoire.
Catch the 10.20 from Brighton or meet at Polegate station at 10.49. Trains back leave at 42 minutes past the hour (direct) and 2 minutes past (with change at Lewes)
The Last Ride - Tessa's report
17 September Ride to Wiston Tearoom and back
Joyce, Anne, Suzanne and Roger were on the train when I joined it at Hove and greeted me warmly as I haven't been seen for a while. Arriving at Shoreham we looked for Fred who had made phone contact to say he was in Shoreham already. He wasn't at the station so we looked round and about but there wasn't a Panama hat in sight. Five minutes later he turned up in a very stylish cloth cap.
The start of the Downslink – Fred, Roger, Joyce,Tessa, Suzanne and Anne
We forgot the photo-at-the-station shot but got a Shoreham air show enthusiast to do it at the start of the Downslink. We decided against the tea stop at the airport later, there was a big sign saying 'Entry to Air show £16'! As we pedalled along, a group of Russian jets were looping the loop in formation to our left. It was rather beautiful. So was the dragonfly that hovered above our heads when we stopped to pick a blackberry or two on what was the most glorious day to be out cycling, soft sun and mellow fruitfulness.
Along by the River Adur
Joyce leads the way through Steyning
We carried on the Downslink at Bramber roundabout, reached Steyning and followed Ian's suggested route which led us onto the fairly quiet B2135 Ashurst road and then onto the delightful quiet Spithandle Lane. On the dot of one o'clock we arrived at the bustling tearooms but managed to get a table in the shade where lunch was spent in heated discussion, focussing on the new Air Street cycle lane project and the Cycle Forum. Joyce invited us to attend a discussion on the Future of Food at the Old Market theatre on 27 September at 7.30.
Lunch at the old Post Office
After lunch we visited Buncton Chapel, a tiny Norman church hidden from the road and accessible only by footpaths. It was decorated with both wild and cut flowers and rows of ripe apples. Simple, with a beautiful arch and a scrap of fresco on the wall, it stood in a field of large yew trees and old gravestones.
We decided to retrace our steps as Spithandle Lane had been such a delightful ride. We crossed the A283 to head back to Steyning when Joyce spotted a bridle way leading through the woods signposted 'Downslink'. The path was soggy but manageable but the 'Downslink' signs disappeared. We asked a passing family who said the route we had chosen had 13 stiles on it! We carried on and decided they were winding us up as we only came across 3 gates through fields of sheep, cows, horses and donkeys. We made a wrong turning down an overgrown bridleway that led nowhere, retraced our steps being guided by Anne looking at the sun's position in the sky.
Off the beaten track!
We found the 'Downslink' signs and a proper if narrow road and carried on retracing our steps, having avoided Steyning altogether. We chose Coombes road to return on rather than the river path. A fighter jet was breaking the sound barrier. I found the noise frightening and its antics aggressive.
As we crossed the river on the wooden bridge, everything had calmed down, crowds on the riverbank were watching a glider being towed through the air and a solitary man was digging in the sand for worms below us, oblivious to the whole spectacle. We all managed to squeeze onto a South Western train back home, the guard was not very happy about it but let us on anyway.
A lovely day.