Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

22 February 2009

A same-day service, thanks entirely to Leon's extraordinary speed with the ride report.

Members! I now have your membership cards from the national membership secretary. I will be mailing them out – the main secretarial expense of the year! – sometime in the next week or so unless I see you before that.

In the meantime I'm in the strange situation whereby on the one hand I am still waiting for the £6 I've paid on their behalf from 2 members while at the same time I have the subscription - but can't do anything with it until I get the form – of another – although it is promised soon! No names/pack-drill, but would those concerned make life a little easier by rectifying the situation soon, please?

An idea for an 'event-focused' ride – anyone interested?

There was general support for Fred's suggestion at our AGM that we try to link some of our rides to particular events – as we did last year with the Chiddingly Festival and we have in the past with Bluebell Railway events. Here's an idea I've had - a ride to the monthly Farmers' Market at Shoreham and a look at the two architecturally interesting Shoreham churches.

The markets are, of course, on Saturdays – the 2nd Saturday in the month in fact – rather than Sundays. The dates I'm thinking of are Saturday 9 May or Saturday 13 June. In the first case the ride would be an 'extra' in between two Clarion Sunday rides. In the second we would either have to make a one-off change to the Saturday or have rides on successive days.

It would be a very flat ride of about 15 miles (Palace Pier to Palace Pier). We'd start a bit earlier than usual – say 9.30 or 10am and having reached the market via our usual 'over-the locks' route I would volunteer to take first turn in keeping an eye on the bikes in the churchyard while other people looked round the market – and bought whatever they could carry back on the bike. We could either buy something to eat at the market itself or repair across the high street to the Crown and Anchor (that pub with the huge figure of a late-medieval sailor as its sign) for lunch after we'd had a look at St Mary's – which itself does a brisk business in light refreshments on market days.

Then, I suggest, we would wend our way through the back streets from New Shoreham to Old Shoreham (appropriately placed at the end of the Old Shoreham Road) near the toll bridge and have a look at that other interesting medieval church St Nicolas. We'd return by the usual 'back street' route with the possibility of another stop to look at St Julian's at Kingston Buci which has some worth-a-stop architectural features and fixtures and fittings

What do you think? If something along these lines would interest you, please email and say so – and also tell me which date you would prefer. As ever I'm on

An interesting commute?

I received this email just too late to include in the last Circular. Get in touch with her if you can help.

I am a freelance journalist researching a potential feature for Cycling Plus magazine looking at people around the country who have fantastic commutes to work everyday by bike. This may be a really interesting or historic inner city route, a breathtakingly beautiful route (mountains, coast, rivers etc), a hair raising route etc.
Please would you be kind enough to pass my request on to your members and ask them to drop me an email if they have a cycling commute they want to share? If they want to email me a brief outline (where, why is is it special, how far is it) that would be great,
Nicola Smith
Tel. 01326 314949
Mob. 07877 582586

Planning rides

2009 rides for the rest of the first half of the year will be on Sundays 22 March; (4/5 April IoW weekend but we'll try and have a ride for those not going on 5th), 19 April; 3, 27, 31 May; 14, 28 June.

All offers gratefully received for any of these dates. 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 Next Ride

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

Sunday 8 March 2009
Wivelsfield, Hundred Acre Lane, Plumpton and Underhill Lane

This is another short one. Much of the route – inevitably we have done before at one time or another – but not all of it by any means

We leave Hassocks station and take a left turn at Keymer. Reaching the outskirts of Burgess Hill we turn right and then left by Ditchling Common and on to Wivelsfield where we take Hundred Acre Lane all the way down to Streat. There we'll take a short stretch of bridleway (we've used it before but in the opposite direction) and then down Plumpton Lane to the Half Moon for lunch. Then it's along to Westmeston where we can get away from (most of) the traffic on a stretch of Underhill Lane.

I thought that for a change rather than sticking with the Lane right the way to Clayton which we usually do, we could take the little lane off it that leads back to Keymer – but we can decide that definitely on the day


Meet: Meet at Hassocks Station at 11.10
Getting there: Catch the 11 a m from Brighton station
Distance: About 17 miles.
Hills: Pretty flat as usual but a few undulations
Off road: Less than a mile of bridleway at Streat.
Catering: Lunch at the Half Moon which advertises a 'Ramblers' Lunch menu.' They will be expecting us.
Getting home: Some trains back to Brighton involve no less than 2 changes at Burgess Hill and Hove! But the 15.38, 15.46 16.38 and 16.38 all look all right. But it's always best to check them for yourself if you are coming by train

My mobile: 077 7074 3287


The Last Ride - Leon's Report

[More photos on Flickr]

Sunday 22 February 2009
Seaford and Newhaven

When I arrived on Brighton station there was already a group of cheerful Clarionettes eager to get started.

Roger and Suzanne were busy supplying all with 'group four' or 'group three' rail tickets in exchange for £2.60 minus a small adjustment to equal our total number. Things were happening quite quickly due to the Seaford train leaving at 10.10am. There was plenty of room on the train for us all; Roger, our ride leader, Suzanne, Alice, Joyce, Sue, Annette, Fred, Jeff, Kevin and Leon.

The start

The air was buzzing with happy chatter all the way to Seaford where we met Angelika, Liz, Angela and Ian. I think several photos were taken in the station car park before setting off, but wait, a head count was necessary to help keep ourselves organised and prevent loss of any falling behind.

There were fourteen of us, this is the second largest number since Jim's ride on 04-11-2007 when we numbered sixteen.

Seaford view

We were underway and heading through the small streets of Seaford in what seemed to be a circle before reaching a high point above Seaford Bay. Pausing a short while to take in the view we could see the East pier and breakwater of Newhaven harbour, the furthest point of our journey.

Down we went to sea level and passed the Martillo tower and headed west to Newhaven. After a short while cycling on the Esplanade and Marine Parade we left the tarmac behind and walked on the pebbles that covered the path almost to the remains of the Tide Mills. The site was not very impressive but there was a notice to explain what had been there.

Tide Mills

Leaving via a small track down to Mill Creek and a concrete footbridge over the railway. The path and bridge were in a disgusting state due to antisocial dog walkers. Then through the sheds and terraced houses backing the harbour until reaching the swing bridge on the A259.

Dog Poo Bridge

The route now improved along the riverside with some quite nice flats and boat moorings until we reached Fort Road and our lunchtime break at the Hope Inn. The clamber to quench our thirsts with jugs of ale and tea for the more refined members introduced us to the landlady; a very prim and proper North Country woman who exuded an air of authority that must not be tested. The meals came in good time and were of good quality and reasonable cost. The toilet facilities here were guarded with a coded lock to prevent unauthorised use by non-customers.

The Hope Inn

After a very relaxed lunch break we mounted our machines and headed back to the swing bridge where we needed to share our space with motor traffic for a while before joining a super new cycleway that led us back to Seaford. Along this very welcome route that wended between areas of marsh-grass and meadow were adult rabbits scurried this way and that, not showing much fear of humans or even Clarionettes.

Back to Seaford

Now it was journey's end and farewells to Angela and Sue, then Liz and Ian at the station.

The train was waiting so we quickly boarded and were happy with such good timing. Angelika was next to leave when we reached Lewes where the train started to fill, and again filling more at Falmer. At Brighton station I lost sight of most of the riders and dashed for my Hassocks train, only to sit and wait fifteen minutes for it to depart.

I enjoyed this winter ride of just sixteen miles and by the smiles on the faces of all other riders I am sure I can say a big thank you from all of us to Roger for organising it.

Cycling with fellowship is a winner for me.


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

28. The Manchester Clarion CC is formed

Swiftsure's 'Cycling Notes' began like this on 26 January 1895:

Hurrah for the Clarion Cycling Clubs! At last one of them has been formed in Manchester. In response to my invitations, twenty-five Clarionette 'pedal-pushers' came to the scratch and hey, presto! the 'Clarion C.C. Manchester District' is an accomplished fact.

This number will doubtless be more than doubled before the season commences; and if the enthusiasm manifested at the inaugural meeting goes for anything, the club will have a long and successful career, and no cycling Clarionette in the district should be outside it.

After the preliminary work of formation it was resolved by a majority of three to do without a president (Will the chief please note?)* The officers elected for the year were Secretary – Mr R Dawson, 697 Rochdale Road, Manchester, and Mr C Ellinger, 53 Palmerston Street, Moss Side, Manchester. Both are well-known amongst Clarionettes and are enthusiastic cyclists. Anyone wishing to join can do so by sending their name and address to the secretary.

A small committee was formed for the purpose of drawing up the necessary rules which will be submitted to another meeting to be held at the Labour Church Institute, Sunday, February 10th at 3 p m. Anyone wishful of joining them are invited

The subscription feee was fixed at 2s & 6d per annum. Ladies, free. The members are anxious to attract lady cyclists, and two or three have already joined. There are not many cycling clubs which include members of both sexes, and this way I hope the Clarion Cycling Clubs will make it an unique feature of their organisation.

It was also decided to adopt the Clarion badge made by one of our Birmingham friends, and mentioned in the Clarion some time back. Perhaps the maker wouldn't mind giving the secretary of the new club some information on the point and also send a drawing of the design along with the price.

So that is all for the present about the Clarion C.C Manchester District.

I am now waiting to see which will be the next town to organise one. What say my cycling readers in Halifax, Burnley, Leeds, Hyde, Stalybridge, Bolton, Rochdale, etc, etc?

Surely, there must be enough unattached ** cyclists in some of those towns to start a club? My opinion is no cyclist should be outside a club, because the benefits can be made very real in it is only worked on up-to- date lines

* A few weeks before, in November 1894 Blatchford (= 'the chief') had, in response to readers' queries on how he thought the ILP should be run, said that such posts as president and vice-president should have no place in a democratic organisation. This began what Keir Hardie, president of the ILP until 1896 when the title was changed to chairman, described in Labour Leader his rival paper to the Clarion, as 'a sort of craze' for dispensing with such offices.

** Swiftsure means cyclists not belonging to a cycling club of course. This is interesting in that a little later in the 1890s the Clarion made much of the supposedly large number of 'unattached socialists' who were put off from joining either the SDF or the ILP because of the rivalry between the two organisations. Blatchford advocated joining both and working for unity.

For more on both these see Logie Barrow and Ian Bullock Democratic Ideas and the British Labour Movement, 1880- 1914.

More next time.


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