Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

23 June 2008

Planning rides

Here are all the remaining dates for 2008: 20 July, 3 (Roger), 17, 31 Aug; 14, 28 Sept, 12 Oct, 2, 16, 30 Nov, 14 Dec.

Roger has taken on 3 August. All the rest are up for grabs – but I can cover most of them. The ones I can't and which I still don't have volunteers for are 31 August and 14 September, although Leon is exploring the possibility of the August date. Any offers? And anyone want to organise a summer social event?

The Next Rides

Summer Special Weekend – 5 and 6 July

Saturday 5 July
TakePart Leisure ride

As I've planned it, this will be a variant of the 'Mysteries of Shoreham Beach' ride we did early last year. But although I provided details of route and distance all that appears in the TakePart brochure is 'leisure ride' with time and starting place. So, I don't know a) whether there will be any takers at all (but we've done our bit at all events) or what their expectations may be if there are any. We could always cut it down to a Carats Café and back ride if that seemed best. But assume visits to Shoreham Fort and the Lagoon and at least one stop at Carats. It will be flat!

I will be by Palace Pier from 10 30 – wearing my Clarion hat for identification purposes! Please join me any time between then and the starting time of 11. Bring a pen and scrap of paper with you in case we have takers who'd like to be on the mailing list

Sunday 6 July 2008
Rye - Appledore - Lydd - Camber - Rye

About 27 miles, mostly on tarmacked roads; some cycle paths

Hill rating: None. Really. It's dead flat.
Oil rating: Fine once we get past Appledore.
Wildlife rating: Excellent
Sewers: Lots (that's what they call ditches in these parts)

Please contact Jim if you are planning to go on this ride. As we may pick up some new people from the 'Take Part' event the day before, and the train has only 2 coaches, we will need some forewarning about the number of bikes, and some of us may have to travel on an earlier train.

Contact details:, 01273-505550 or 07742-963239

The route is basically a triangle: Rye - Appledore - Lydd - Rye.

We leave Rye on the long straight Military Road that runs alongside the River Rother and Royal Military Canal. There will be light traffic, some of it going much too fast. But after Appledore, we are on delightfully quiet little lanes.

We will have lunch at the Woolpack, a 15th century inn in the middle of nowhere.

Lydd is an ancient town with a huge church. Unfortunately it is also home to an ugly army base. From Lydd back to Rye we will mostly be on a Sustrans cycle path that runs alongside the road. Camber is a grotty holiday resort, but we may go in for a dip here if we want.

Creatures we may spot: herons, oystercatchers, yellowhammers, swans (and possibly cygnets), sheep, rabbits, and two very fat pigs.

If time allows we can have tea in Rye before catching the train back.

10.20 train from Brighton, arriving Rye 11.44
(Be at Brighton Station by 9.50 for Groupsave)

Return train:
We should be able to get the 16.45 from Rye, arriving Brighton at 18.12. However, if we stop for a dip, it may have to be the 17.45, arriving Brighton 19.12. If we split up at Camber, directions back to Rye will be available.

Sunday 27 July 2008
Save The Toll Bridge Sponsored Bike Ride

If you haven't already done so (and unlike me are available that weekend) please sign up for this. You can download a form at And let Jim know when you've signed up (and which ride you're doing) so he can coordinate the meeting up of the Clarion contingent and the reporting of your exploits!

Jim: or 01273-505550


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club in 1894 - Latest episode at the end of the Circular as usual.



The Last Ride - Anne's Report

Sunday 22 June
CLARION MIDSUMMER RIDE to Lewes, Newick and Barcombe
; rocky tunnels, sylvan runnels, wild west wind and considerable undulations.

[Click on the photos to see them bigger on Flickr (not the first one!). This is a bit of an experiment to save much uploading and downloading - if anyone has any problems seeing the images, let me know - Fred]

Seven of us boarded the train at Brighton. I was last to arrive, due to damp grey sky and hence grabbing rain gear at last minute and facing strong head wind on my ride to station. Ian was at Lewes to meet us and the customary photograph was taken, remotely, by Leon's camera, there being no appropriate passing punters.


To me the route through Lewes was completely unfamiliar and baffling, but we passed some pretty parks by the river and then took a little path through woods with huge stinging nettles on one side and a chasm below with little stream. Saw some interesting ducks among the usual mallards with ducklings, but no time to stop and no camera to record. Although track was quite rutted no-one fell off and most of us kept riding most of the time. Eventually we emerged out of the woods at Offham, but on road with picturesque views, so Leon took another photo.


We whizzed along downhill merrily with wind behind us and purple pyramidal orchids beside us, if you dared to look down instead of ahead. Little roads [and Ian] led us to Hamsey church, which turned out to be less ruinous than Ian had thought. It seemed to stand alone on top of a hill, with bricked up windows and extensive views.


[I've now checked out Hamsey Church – which I should have done before the ride!

Pevsner says: 'St Peter Broad, low Perp tower [so considerably later than the Norman we thought it might be] Norman nave and chancel. Preserved on nave S window, the outline of the nave doorways and the small, plain chancel ones. The chancel re-done c 1300 with a nice three light E window.'

The rest of the entry is about the interior – which we didn't get to look at. Ian]

It was a dead end so we retraced and returned for some more considerable undulations, which were making me hungry. We rode between sandstone rocks, one with a tree growing out of the rock and under avenues of huge trees. We passed a sign to The Anchor along a dead-end track only mile and half away, but no, we weren't allowed the flat track and had to mount another hill, and another and maybe, another. There was a welcome pause in the climbing when Simon noticed his front tyre was flat and some pumping was needed. Ian promised the pub was now not far and indeed, it soon was a most welcome sight.


No room for us outside, although by now we were well warmed from the exertion and the sun was shining as it should on a midsummer day. [Not sure if it was the midsummer day, as is leap year and Roger said the druids had got it wrong because of that. Royal Oak 1 had such a marvellous menu that I was spoilt for choice and greedily chose 2 dishes, both with home-made bread. Everyone was delighted with their food and the service.


As the food was almost finished Leon told us about his unfortunate close encounter with hedgehog droppings, which he had confused with a slug and assured us was an easy mistake to make, though I'm not that keen on picking up slugs myself, either. Ian asked who was able to make the Clarion team for this year's sponsored ride for the Shoreham Tollbridge on July 20th. Jeff, Leon and Suzanne asked me how Liz had fared in The London to Brighton last Sunday and I was glad to say she had completed it successfully. Simon told us about his forthcoming sponsored ride Capital to Coast for various charities and Joyce told us about her favoured charity - a donkey sanctuary in Palestine or Israel. Later, when we emerged from the tea stop, across the road was a house with a donkey in the garden. Unfortunately it wasn't alive, but quite life like and accompanied by a sheepdog and a tiny piglet, also not alive, but charming nonetheless.


More leafy lanes and undulations, during which I saw a beautiful blue jay in flight and then perched in a tree and Suzanne correctly identified some billowing meadowsweet, whilst Leon videoed the wind blowing through the barley field. 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' was a Ken Loach film that won main award at Cannes but sadly, we missed, possibly due to distribution of decent films being restricted, while dross proliferates in multiplexes. Simon's tyre seemed to be holding up, but the three women were holding back and needing more refreshment, so Royal Oak 2 was needed. Here a secluded and interesting garden provided rest and good value tea and more political chat; this time on the 42 day detention bill and our local MPs apparent lack of opposition to it, disappointing , but would we have wanted a General Election precipitated now – not when it would mean Cameron winning, according to the polls.



Another photo opportunity for Leon at the 2nd Royal Oak and it was back to the bikes. After a few more pleasant miles tootling along, with Joyce and me singing happy French cycling songs, Jules et Jim style, the stretch of main road Ian warned us of, now appeared. Lewes was close, but it was uphill, with a very strong headwind, teaming, tearing traffic and a wall on our left. Rather than be crushed against the wall, or forced into a racing car, the three women dismounted and crossed to the safety of the pavement on the opposite side. Leon joined us chivalrously. Eventually, Earwig Corner brought relief from A26 and reunited us with the leading four Clarionettes. The roads and lanes meandered like the river we had circled. A few more twists and turns and ups and [not many] downs, returned us to the railway station, where we said grateful goodbyes to Ian for providing , at least 22 miles of pleasure and training on a bright and breezy June day.


[Many more bigger photos on on Flickr.]

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

11. Sage advice from Swiftsure and the Clarion CC continues to spread.

Some of the advice that Swiftsure dispensed in the Clarion of 15 September 1894 will not seem instantly applicable to regular Brighton and Hove Clarionettes (apart from Bob) in 2008. But the spirit of it is relevant to us all So. here is some of it anyway. I've supplied the sub-heads


I never undertake a long ride, say of from 60 to 120 miles, without having worked up to it. For about ten days before I scarcely miss a day without doing from ten to forty miles, according to the weather or time at my disposal. By the end of this training – as they would call it in racing circles – I am able to do a long ride without retiring home feeling like a wreck!

Walking up Hills

I say, never mind what people may think, remember you are, or should be, riding for pleasure; dismount and walk whenever you feel your powers are getting exhausted. Besides there is this about walking a little when out for a long ride - it will rest your whole body better than either sitting or lying down.

Buying a bike

I won't quote all this verbatim, but in answer to the enquiry below Swiftsure recommended both Steve Muir 'who makes the Clarion cycle', and Allen Woodman in Haworth but added that 'There are at least a dozen first class makers. But there is one machine – and one only – for which I have always had a prediction, and that is the Rudge – a machine it would be folly to talk about puffing, it is too well-known for that'.

He recommended buying a bike weighing between 30 and 35 lbs and one not 'geared above 60 inches'. £12 was enough to pay for a bike suitable for an ordinary rider.

The Clarion CC continues to spread.

From 'Swiftsure' in the same issue - 15 September 1894:

A correspondent from Oldham, who signs himself 'T.E.M.' writes to me that he intends to swell the army of Clarion cyclists, and having no cycling friends, he asks me for a little information about what make he should purchase.

[The advice above – in considerably more detail then followed.]

Look out Brum, here's Bradford on the warpath. A Clarion cycling club has been formed there, and started with 25 members

One of them, who signs himself 'J.H.' sends me an interesting account of their first run. He also says 'Will Labour clubs within 20 miles of Bradford write to the secretary, Clarion Cycling Club, East Ward Labour Club, Bradford and they will try to give assistance' I will be pleased to give prominence to their intended runs which, I may add, are to be kept up through the winter.

Next time. 'The O' Groomie O' responds to the Pinnock enquiry about the Clarion badge (see No 7 in 28 April Circular) and Swiftsure's take on the North Road Club's annual 24 hour race.

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