Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

21 July 2008

I'll be away for the next ride and won't be back for a couple of days afterwards. So the next circular will be a little bit later than usual – but will still give more than a week's notice for the 17 August ride (which will be a version of that hardy annual the Chichester Harbour/Itchenor Ferry/Bosham extravaganza. Sorry this will mean two consecutive rides from the same station – but the routes are quite different and I don't want to leave this one too late in the year so that the ferry is no longer operating. I shan't be able to do another ride until right at the end of September – which might well be too late)

Planning rides

Here are all the remaining dates for 2008: 17 Aug (Ian) , 31 Aug (Leon), 14 Sept (Jim), 28 Sept, 12 Oct, 2, 16, 30 Nov, 14 Dec.

Clarion Social

If you haven't already done so please let Joyce know your preference/availability for the proposed Clarion Picnic on the beach on either Saturday 23 August or Sunday 24 August.

Mick's Misfortunes – an addendum to Leon's report on the Rye/Romney Marsh ride.

It was just as well Leon and everyone else did not see me again, by the time the rain finally did stop I was just three-quarters of a mile from Rye at the point where the path left the road. I had to hide behind a hedge and take off every stitch of clothing and wring them out, even the mobile was buzzing continuously. Fortunately I got to Rye in time for a cup of tea and a crepe at the internet café before catching the train and a rather uncomfortable trip home. A lesson learned the hard way, never trust the English summer!

Without Comment (or Prejudice)
I've received an email from a researcher from The Weakest Link saying they are 'looking for contestants from your area who may be interested in applying' and asking if we'd like a flier about how to do that . If anyone is interested I will reply to it and send on the details.

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club in 1894 - Latest episode at the end of the Circular as usual. Also some more 'history page' stuff from Michael Walker and Peter Roscoe

I'm off to Paris for the end of the Tour at the weekend. Hope the Toll Bridge ride and Roger's the week after go well with no repeat of 'Romney Marsh weather.'



The Next Rides

Sunday 27 July
Save The Toll Bridge Sponsored Bike Ride

Jim writes:

So far I only have the following names on my list:

Me, Jeff, Joyce, Fred, Allen Turner (+ son) [Amanda has also since joined]

So if you haven't told me you're going yet, please do! ( Apologies for anyone I've forgotten.

Allen and son are doing ride 5 (38 miles), but the rest of us (I think) are doing ride 3 (16miles). We have to check in between 9.40-9.50 for ride 5, and 9.50-10.00 for ride 3. But I think it would be nice if we could all be there at the same time to start with (Fellowship is Life!) and get a group photo. That means that those of us going by train will need to get the 8.50 train from Brighton (it's a Littlehampton train), arriving at Shoreham at 9.05, and it will then take us just over half an hour to cycle the 4 miles to Coombes Farm, as the toll bridge is closed. (My proposed route is over the harbour footbridge, along past the houseboats, through the park and round the airport into Coombes Road).

Meet at Brighton Station in the usual place, just in front of the ticket office, by 8.40. Don't forget to bring your Start Form!

Return trains from Shoreham are at 9 and 39 minutes past the hour, taking about 20 minutes.

My mobile number: 07742-963239.


Sunday 3 August.
West of Chichester - the Five Ws Ride

(23 miles)

We leave Chichester station by the familiar route past the college, but instead of taking the Centurion Way north we follow the south coast cycle route to Westbourne, passing through West Ashling and Woodmancote (that's three Ws). We can stop briefly to admire Ratham mill. Look out for Woodmancote's corrugated iron church.

We'll make our second visit of the year to the Stag's Head in Westbourne for a fairly early lunch, but leave some room for a cream tea (see below).

Into Hollybank Wood, just north of Emsworth, to follow well-maintained tracks through Shuffles Plantation to the Stansted saw mill. We cross the Monarch's way, into Stansted Park with fine views of the house; then along small country lanes to Walderton (W number four).

The final section of the ride is mainly down hill, with a few short, sharp climbs, ideal for those wanting to vary things with the occasional stroll. Again we follow mostly quiet lanes, passing through Funtington and West Stoke (fifth W), and finally joining the Centurion Way at East Broyle Copse for the home run to the station. We could end the outing with tea by the canal, but we may be unable to resist a sign in West Stoke: 'Cream teas in the Village Hall (£4)'.


Meet at Chichester station at 11:19. Train options are:
Southern service at 10:17 from Brighton, arrives 11:19 (leaves Hove 10:26);
A faster Southern service leaves Hove at 10:24 and arrives at 11:02.

Train options for the journey back to Brighton:
Southern service at 16:14 (change at Hove for Brighton);
First Great Western service at 16:22;
Southern Service at 16:53 (slow);
Southern service at 17:14 (change at Hove for Brighton),
… then a gap of one hour apparently.

My mobile is 0789 985 1172.


The Last Rides

[More photos on Flickr]

Sunday 13 July 2008
Putney Bridge to Hampton Court and Weybridge
- Nick's Report

6 cyclists: Norrette, Amanda, Jim, Nick, Patti and Andy.
Some very pleasant weather for Sunday's riverside route to Hampton Court and Weybridge. However, this potentially tranquil cycle ride was made slightly less tranquil when we found ourselves sharing the roads and Thames cycle path with hundreds of cyclists taking part in the annual London Bikeathon sponsored bike ride. 


Jim was on the same five minute train journey as me from Clapham Junction. We met Amanda at Putney station and set off at around 10.30am to meet Norrette at Putney Bridge.  As we passed St Mary's Putney Bridge church, I remembered I had attended a Stop the War meeting there earlier in the year (the church was also to feature on the BBC TV news later in the day when a sermon conducted by the world's first openly gay bishop was disrupted by a lone protester).
We met Norrette at a particularly busy stretch on the Thames for the London Bikeathon, where hundreds of cylists in pink t-shirts had assembled.  The plan was to then take the National Cycle Network 4 to Richmond Park to meet Patti and Andy and cycle as a group of six to Hampton Court and Weybridge. Jim and Norrette had detailed OS maps of the proposed route, but we found that the Cycle Network 4 was very well signposted. It seemed we didn't really need maps to cycle to Richmond Park and started to use the cycle network signage instead. What could possibly go wrong?
Somehow Amanda and myself took a wrong turning and were separated from Jim and Norrette. This was rather annoying because Jim and Norrette had the maps and we seemed to have lost the National Cycle Network 4 route. I had also failed to make a note of Jim's mobile phone number. It was at this point that I was phoned by Andy and Patti. They were rather concerned because they had been waiting for us in Richmond Park for nearly an hour. Just when it seemed that the cycle ride was stating to fall apart, Jim cycled back to find us. It seemed we had missed a National Cycle Network 4 sign, which was located high on a post amongst shrubbery.
When we finally met up with Andy and Patti in Richmond Park, the rest of the ride was fairly straightforward.  Although we encountered less London Bikeathon sponsored cyclists as we left Richmond Park, we did find that we were sharing the route with quite a few other cyclists and walkers.

July 13, 2008: Putney to Hampton Court cycle
The Thames tow path was particularly busy as we approached Hampton Court (a Daily Mail sponsored garden event seemed to be attracting large crowds for some reason). When we stopped to have a look at Hampton Court Palace from the tow path, a knowledgeable palace employee gave us lots of facts and figures about the number of chimneys (all different designs), number of rooms and the number of Hampton Court Palace live-in real tennis advisers for members of the idle royal family with too much spare time on their hands.
We arrived in Hampton Court town at around 2pm. There were a number of rather expensive looking riverside restaurants and cafes, but we decided to buy rolls and sandwiches and have an impromptu picnic on a bench overlooking the Thames.  Some of us had other commitments and decided to take the train home from Hampton Court after lunch. Andy and Patti were the intrepid two who decided to continue the cycle route to Weybridge.
Although I think I prefer cycling in the countryside, this was an enjoyable day out.  It would be good to try another London route at some point in the future.

July 13, 2008: Putney to Hampton Court cycle

Andrew adds:

We made it to Weybridge - and beyond, as the train station was quite some way out of town! Was further and took longer than we anticipated, but was a pleasant enough ride. Caught the train back from Weybridge to North Sheen and cycled home from there. Did about 28 miles in total, which wasn't bad for my first post-hernia op jaunt!
Enjoyed your report above, and especially your shoehorning of a couple of leftie references into the narrative - I would have been disappointed had you done otherwise! 'Members of the idle royal family'? What can you mean? Surely: 'our brave boys in khaki'. You appear not to have read your copy of the Daily Mail closely enough old boy!
Also, a pedant writes: there isn't such an entity as Hampton Court Town, as far as I am aware. The town next to HC, where we lunched, is called East Molesey.
All the best.

20 July 2008
- Fred's Report

Where is everybody, I wondered as I lurked by the ticket office at Brighton station. As the clock ticked towards 10.20, I got myself a non-Groupsave ticket and proceeded to platform 8 for the Ashford train. Still no sign of anyone else as we set off, and only Ian was waiting at Berwick. They must be saving themselves for the Tollbridge ride next week, we thought. So after taking a 'group' photo using the timer on my camera from the back of Ian's car, the two of us set off against a north-westerly head wind along country lanes.


Ian was worried that the Vert Woods track might be muddy, so we took a road that met the east-west track halfway. It didn't look too bad, so we set off 'off-road'. I thought I saw a deer in the distance, and we certainly saw lots of brown butterflies. Soon however, we came across some ruts filled with water, some very deep indeed!


But it wasn't far to the tarmac and the Six Bells at Chiddingly. It was still early so we had a pint of Harvey's each from a barrel on the bar, ordered some food (stilton and walnut pie with salad for me; chilli con carne for Ian) and sat in the empty 'jazz bar'. As we lunched, the place filled up with motorbikers and a jazz combo (guitar, keyboards, bass and drums) arrived and began tuning up loudly. When they started properly however, they were quite tuneful, and we crept out the long way round the bar so as not to offend them! Outside the pub were parked two genuine steam rollers making gurgling noises and emitting sulphurous smells!



We carried on through Muddles Green and made a short diversion to admire Lee Miller's house (the famous photographer, friend of Man Ray and wife of Roland Penrose). As we had an hour to the next train we popped into Arlington reservoir to check the levels, as John Shuttleworth would say, and try to spot ospreys. We had a cuppa at the Berwick Inn, where there was more live music, then I caught the train back to Brighton. A nice easy 15 miles, and the weather wasn't too bad, either. Cheers Ian.


Clarion History

Quite a bit this time. First some memories from Peter Roscoe, our National Treasurer. [There'll be a piece by Peter about the National Clarion Cycling & Athletic Association in the next Circular]

My story will be like so many others - indeed reading Brighton's excellent website and time travelling is quite a pleasant way to spend half an hour or so. Good to see all those records from 1950 preserved on your website.

I was born in 1934. After the war coach trips to Blackpool were very popular. But while I enjoyed them I would see many cyclists on the road and I knew what I wanted to do. Getting started with a cycling club was not the easiest thing to do for a young teenager so it was not until 1949 that I really got going. I started riding with Bury Clarion that year and it was wonderful - I had arrived where I wanted to be. In those days there must have been between 20 and 30 on clubruns and I was surprised to find that old people rode out on Sunday rides. The oldest was Ellis Barlow, he was 66 that year, and he was pushing young girls up hill if they could not keep up - I was amazed. We called him 'owd Ellis - would 14 year olds today think of 66 year olds being elderly? I suppose they would. Now anybody under 70 is young to me.
The first clubrun with Bury Clarion was to the Vale of Chipping but after the Mytton dinner stop Brian Berry decided this was not hard enough and took the lads from Little Lever over the Trough of Bowland. What a marvellous late summer's day it was -  I had never been to such places and cycling into Yorkshire was almost like cycling to a foreign country. Afterwards I recounted to a jolly aunt of mine how at the boundary stone I stood in Lancashire and pee'd in Yorkshire - not that I feel an antagonism towards Yorkshire people you must understand. We were enthused by the Tour de France and identified with Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali - flat out up the hills and sprinting for boundaries - not the done thing if we had stayed with the club.
Clubruns were what it preferred though. We did rough stuff* that would have been better on a mountain bike if they had been invented then - Salter Fell and Calder Fell spring to mind. I was delighted to be with the people of the club. Socialism was never a campaign although the older members were staunch socialists. They did not push socialism although I was influenced by being in the Clarion. I was already drawn to the Co-op. I have to say, though, that at heart I am no more than a democrat - appreciative of the National Health Service and the Co-operative Movement. I love the latter almost as much as the Clarion but my involvement in the Co-op leaves me cynical.
Bury Clarion has a website and you may find our history interesting

* At the time Peter is talking about 'rough stuff' was the usual term for what we would now call 'off road' cycling. There was even a Rough Stuff Fellowship, I seem to remember, which specialised in this. (Innocent times!) Ian

London Clarion Club-House Michael has drawn our attention to a local, broadly labour movement, blog in Hayes, Middlesex which has photos and other material on the Club-House. There are other Clarion entries on it which I haven't yet had time to check out. Have a look at

Clarion Park Benches

Michael also sends us this item from The Times 15 May 1950


MR. HERBERT MORRISON, Lord President of the Council, dedicating park seats to the memory of Robert Blatchford and Alex M. Thompson of the Clarion in Battersea Park on Saturday, said that the Clarion and Robert Blatchford helped to pioneer the great tide of enlightenment from which had come our modern Labour and Socialist movement. Our work now was to bring those first steps of progressive legislation into practice, to make them work, to turn Acts of Parliament into live assets benefiting both our country as a whole and the lives of every individual and every family in our country. We needed a new Blatchford. We needed the spirit of Blatchford and Thompson to tell the people that the great social advances would not be safe until the people understood what they had achieved and were united in determination to make them work successfully. We could not have social advance without social responsibility. All the activities which grew from the Clarion - the scouts, the cycling clubs, the Clarion vans and the rest - were permeated with a simple and friendly gaiety. We must recapture and foster that spirit. It was the spirit of hope and youth and purpose. LORD AMWELL spoke on be, half of the Clarion Fellowship Memorial Fund, which had provided the seats, and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Alderman G. H. Humphries, was in the chair.

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

13 End of season report from Birmingham CCC – more light on the origins of the Easter Meet.

'Swiftsure' for the first time had a 'Clarion Cycling Column' within his 'Cycling Notes' on 22 September 1894.

As it is now the end of the season, perhaps a short report of the first year of Clarion cycling clubs may be interesting

Clarion Cycling Club No 1 as thus: [i. e. Birmingham CCC. IB]
Our first season has been a great success all round. We started early in March with five members, and now number thirty. We have had very good attendances on the runs, and those runs have been glorious – not a dull one on the fixture card; each with its own pleasant memories, and the whole crowned with the sense of goodfellowship.

This spirit of comradeship has increased with every run. And how can a fellow help being chummy after a good run along Warwickshire roads and lanes, a splendid feed at the journey's end (and shades of the Bounder, how we have learnt to eat!) and a quiet run home in the dark.

Our Socials have given great joy. The first Saturday's run in each month is arranged at some place where the non-cyclists can meet and help make things hum. The last of these – for this year – was held on the 1st inst. At Lichfield. The Potteries Clarionettes arrived and great was the joy thereof. The weather was fine, the roads were good, and the going rattling. The tea at the Dolphin was splendid and the 'smoker' which followed one of the most successful among a crowd of successes. The do you well at the Dolphin, and one of the feeds we had there will lie on our memories for years. Lichfield contains many parsons – also bishops. Cycling among bishops ought to be compulsory or else they should pad. The Potteries CC started homewards just after ten p.m. – thirty-two miles and pitch dark. We haven't heard of them since. Where's 'Clincher'?

On the whole we are very satisfied with our season. We have made real friends among ourselves; we have fraternised with Hanley, helped the Red Van, scattered Clarions and leaflets, helped the Cinderalla outings and have the Bounder for our President. What club can hope for more?

Next year we hope to fraternise with the many other Clarion C. Cs which do exist. Why not a big meet early in the spring – say Easter – of all the Clarion cyclists. Will other clubs help? Bradford, we look towards you. May we meet you at the meat? (sic)


Next time – Reports from Bradford.

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