Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

21 September 2009

Ian is on holiday so I'm sending this circular. It starts with a message, which needs your immediate attention, about planning for next year's Dieppe trip.


Dieppe in April?

The planned dates for the Dieppe trip are Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th April, with two nights accommodation, probably with a choice between hotel or hostel. Full details are still to be fixed but please let Joyce know by 30 September if you are likely to come; this will help with planning. You're not committed to anything at this stage.

Joyce's email is

Future Rides – a message from Ian

The rides for the rest of the year will be on Sundays 18 October, 1, 15, 29 November, 13 December.

As always I'd welcome offers to organise/lead on any of the dates above that have so far not been 'claimed'. We've had a wonderful response over the summer – I hope it's not going to fade away as the colder weather approaches! In the absence of other volunteers I should be OK for the rest but I definitely can't make 15 November so a volunteer for that one would be particularly welcome. Make sure to let me know at least 3 weeks before – and to let he have full details at least 2 weeks before the date of the ride.

The latest episode of the Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s is, as usual, at the end of the circular.


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 4 October 2009
Barnham – Chichester Circular

We often start and end rides in Chichester, but we rarely spend much time there – apart from at the café by the Canal. So this ride starts and ends at Barnham with lunch in the centre of Chichester.

We leave Barnham by the main road west and soon turn off onto quieter roads. These take us through Oving and into Chichester. Lunch will be at the Dolphin and Anchor near the Cross, with a chance of a quick look in the cathedral afterwards.

We cycle north-east out of Chichester, passing the Goodwood Airfield and Estate. Just past Halnaker we will turn onto Tinwood Lane, which is more of a path for most of its length but is good for cycling and takes us through some attractive woodland. A few more miles of country lanes, with a possible tea stop, bring us to a subway under the A27. We then return to Barnham via Walburton for the train home.

Meet: Barnham station car park at 11 minutes past 11.
Getting there: The 10:17 from Brighton (10:26 from Hove). Be at Brighton station by 9:50 for the chance of a groupsave ticket. There is free parking at Barnham station on Sundays. (If you're coming by train from north of Brighton, note that buses will replace trains between Haywards Heath and Brighton on this date.)
Distance: 20 miles.
Hills: Mainly flat before lunch. We climb gently out of Chichester with a couple of fairly short, steeper sections, but we carefully avoid the really steep hills up towards Goodwood race course.
Off road: A section of footpath at Nyton Copse which we also used on the Bognor ride; also Tinwood Lane (see above).
Traffic: Mainly quiet roads. The first mile leaving Barnham will have some traffic, as will the roads into Chichester; we'll use an on-pavement cycle route to avoid most of the traffic on the way out.
Catering: Lunch at the Dolphin and Anchor in Chichester (it's a J D Wetherspoon – is this a Clarion first?). We can stop for tea at the Aldingbourne Country Centre, time permitting.
Getting home: Through trains to Hove and Brighton leave Barnham at eight minutes past the hour. There's also a service at 43 minutes past which involves a change at Littlehampton.
My mobile: 0789 985 1172


The Last Ride: Jim's Report

Sunday 20 September: The Ascent of Hill 81

[Many more photos on Flickr - click on the pic for a bigger version]

Mention of the words 'high' and 'hill' in the ride description deterred all but the hardiest, toughest, meanest characters; so it was that the Goring Seven (we can't call them the Magnificent Seven as that phrase was used last time) rode out on September 20th. Here are their names, lest anyone should forget their brave stand against impossible odds: Fred, Jim, Joyce, Richard, Suzanne and Tessa, under the command of the redoubtable Roger.

The start

Highdown Hill (also known – by me – as Hill 81 after its height in metres) looks down menacingly on Goring-by-Sea station (5 metres a.s.l.) from the north-west. But we were too cunning for it; we didn't go that way. To lull it into a false sense of security, we actually proceeded away from the hill, in a southerly direction, towards Ferring, crossing fields on an old concrete road and admiring a tastefully designed newish block of flats in the 1930s style (ask Roger for architectural details).

New 1930s building at Ferring

The last time I cycled through this quiet, somewhat opulent area there were people everywhere with armfuls of timber from the wreck of the Ice Prince. But it was quieter now. We crossed Ferring Rife (a stream that flows from Durrington to Ferring; 'rife' is not in the dictionary in this sense, so is it generic or unique?) and passed through Kingston Gorse, before negotiating a tricky level crossing east of Angmering Station.


By now you will hopefully have realised that our strategy was to circle the hill, keeping it guessing about precisely where we would strike. It appeared every so often fleetingly, through tress. That was how we wanted it: we could see it, but it couldn't see us.

North to Angmering village, past a former Clarion watering-hole, the Lamb (Roger explained that we were eating at the Fox, and they have to keep the Fox and Lamb on opposite sides of the A27 for obvious reasons) then up Dapper's Lane and across the aforementioned highway to the Fox, which is officially in Patching and was once on the A27, before they built the dual carriageway.

The Fox

We voted the Fox the best lunch venue for ages – choices were wide, with no fewer than 3 menus; and the food was brought quickly – in Richard's case, before we'd all even sat down; portions were plentiful, prices were reasonable, and the waitress even took our photo! Conversation topics ranged from nuclear waste to next year's Clarion trip to Dieppe, and there was an animated discussion about advance stop lines at traffic lights, by the end of which Joyce's napkin was covered in strange hieroglyphics and could probably have fetched a tidy sum at an art auction.

The Fox

Back over the A27 – and it was then that we struck the fatal blow, scampering up the bridleway before Hill 81 even knew we were coming. On the way we saw a newborn calf just getting to its feet, and being licked all over by its proud mummy.

Newborn Calf

Before you could say 'Last one up's a wimp', there we were on the Neolithic earthworks, admiring the view and doing a bit of off-the-cuff triangulation. The view certainly lived up to what Roger had promised; OK, it was not a totally clear day and we couldn't see the Seven Sisters, but we were happy to make do with the Seven Cyclists instead.

The summit

On the way down we had a look at the Miller's Tomb. The 'eccentric and colourful' John Olliver kept a mill here in the 18th century, and erected his own tomb here too – 27 years before he died. His white coffin was kept under his bed until his death in 1793, when it was drawn by eight ladies in white robes (one of whom was called Ann Street – so now you know) before 2000 curious onlookers.

The Miller's Tomb

Further down, we came across Highdown Gardens. These gardens were created by Sir Frederick Stern during the early 20th century, in what was once a chalk pit. They now host a huge variety of plants; we spotted, among other things, a Paper Bark Maple, Vipers Bugloss, a Chusan Palm and a Judas Tree. Stern left the gardens to the Council when he died in 1967.

Judas Tree

Then it was time for the adjacent tea rooms. Some of us had cake with our tea, but Fred did not know quite what was coming when he ordered a rock cake. It was enormous, and despite help from Richard and Tessa, he had to take most of it home with him.

Highdown Tea Rooms

Down the (unnamed?) lane to the A259, and thence to Goring station once more. Only eleven miles, but it's quality that counts, not quantity; and what quality! A newborn calf, a lovely pub, a stream with a weird name, stupendous views, an eccentric miller, lovely gardens and huge cakes! But maybe the last word should go to quantity after all – 31.4 mph down that last little lane, a thrilling end to a wonderful ride. Thanks to Roger and his glamorous assistant, Suzanne, who had persisted doggedly in their quest to carve a ride out of this initially unpromising territory, and thus unveiled all the hidden delights of Hill 81 to a grateful band of followers.

We'll be back!


Cycling Forum

Here's a brief summary of the main points from the meeting on 15 September:

Chris Boocock of Sustrans wrote to the chair explaining that his reason for no longer attending Forum meetings was that Council officers rarely attended. Ironically there were four Council officers present when his comments were reported, but his complaint is a valid one.

One of the four, Tracy Davison, was introduced as the new cycling officer.

Two members of the Council's environmental protection team gave a presentation on air quality management. It seems that Brighton and Hove is currently meeting 7 of the 8 statutory targets; the exception is nitrogen dioxide. They said that the results for this are improving, though some members questioned whether the evidence really supports that view.

There was a serious accident in July near the junction of the Drive and the Upper Drive, caused when a cyclist trying to turn right into the Upper Drive hit one of the low kerbs which separate the cycle path from the main carriageway; she did not see it because she was looking behind to check traffic before pulling out. She was seriously injured. This is clearly a hazard and needs removing. The Council officers were not able to comment because of pending legal action but promised to report back.

There is currently a consultation on plans for a cycle route along the Old Shoreham Road. Concerns were expressed that it will not be a continuous route and will be too narrow. You can see details and comment online at Consultation ends on 16 October.

The Council is currently carrying out a safety audit related to cycling on the Undercliff Path. At present cycling is not legal on this route unless you are on your way to work in the immediate area. The Forum is keen for legalisation of all cycling.

The Council has refused to allow cyclists to turn right at the Clock Tower from North Street into Queens Road, even though buses and taxis can. The reasons relate to concerns about safety – but it's safe for busses and taxis.

There have been two accidents at the junction of Lewes Road and Coombe Road since the removal of the advanced stop line for cyclists. Council officers are looking at the possibility of re-instating it.

Fred had asked me to raise the lack of cycle parking in central Brighton but there was not enough time because the air quality control discussion took almost an hour – sorry Fred. I'll ask for it to go on the agenda for next time.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 17 November at 4pm. I can't go – would anyone like to represent Clarion?


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

43. The Clarion Board and the Ashbourne Meet – and a plea for 'lady' members in Liverpool

Still from 13 April 1895

From Swiftsure's 'Notes'

I am informed that the Clarion Board will reach Ashbourne on Saturday afternoon and evening. And be it known to all, the-Bounder-will- be-there! Even La Belle France couldn't keep him from his duties to all Clarion cyclists as "President" of that pioneer organisation, the Birmingham Clarion C.C. And let all who are so inclined save for dire weather this Eastertide.

Next to Swiftsure's piece in that issue was 'Our Woman's Column-and-A-Half'. The following caught my eye.

The Liverpool Clarion Cycling Club is extremely anxious to enlist "lady" members. Any "votaries of the wheel" hereabouts please look up Hy. Cummins, hon.sec. L.C.C.C. 25, Rupert Grove, Liverpool. Cycling Clubs in other towns please copy – Liverpool, not this notice.

Next time. The Ashbourne Meet (at last!)

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