Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

23 March 2009

I'm always delighted to hear from people who have memories of earlier Clarion days – particularly of our predecessor section which lasted some way into the 1950s.

Recently I've had an email from Helen Mogford. Someone told her about our website and particularly about the appearance of her Dad, Gordon Cree, who I remember as Brighton Trades Council treasurer in the late 1960s. Gordon is listed as 'Captain' - along with Wally Newman as Secretary of the Brighton Club and Chairman of the Southern Counties Union of the Clarion Cycling Club - in two of the documents that Michael Walker sent us - The old Brighton section as it appeared in the 1937 Clarion Handbook and Brighton Clarion Cycling and Athletic Club.

Helen asks 'Does anyone know anything about the Clarion Youth hostel in Kent - which I (as a young socialist) went to on a regular basis - I wonder whether there was a connection between this and the Cycling Club?' Does anyone?

Naturally, I've asked Helen to tells us what she can about her visits to the Kent YH and about her father's Clarion activities.

Planning rides

2009 rides for the rest of the first half of the year will be on Sundays 19 April; 3, 17, 31 May; 14*, 28 June ( I definitely can't do this last one; someone please volunteer for it). * see below

We've had record (or near record) turnouts on the last two rides, but we've still only 4 people – including me – who have organised and led rides during the last couple of years. Surely everyone has one ride (not necessarily a totally new one) they could offer? It's not that difficult. If you'd like a brief 'tutorial' on how to do it send me an email.

All offers gratefully received for any of the dates above. 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.

Farmers' market ride –last call before I abandon the idea

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 (I hope we'll be able to repeat that ride later this year). A month ago I suggested we might do a Saturday ride to ride to the monthly Farmers' Market at Shoreham – held on the second Saturday of each month- and combine it with a look at the two architecturally interesting Shoreham churches.

In that time I've only had two replies – but both were positive, so I'm making one last effort to see whether there's any more interest. If I hear nothing I'll drop this idea – for this year anyway.

If you are interested there are two possibilities in the next few months:

1) Saturday 9 May an 'extra' ride between two 'Clarion ride Sundays' the previous and following weeks.

2) * Saturday 13 June a substitute for our normal Sunday ride. The following day is the Naked Bike Ride which I know a few of our 'regulars' are interested in taking part in.

If you're interested in either (or both) possibilities just reply to this email just saying 1 or 2 (or 'both') and we'll see whether there are enough takers for either. What could be simpler

Below are the details again.

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/bring sandwiches and picnic in the churchyard) 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. I'll supply brief guides photocopied from Ken and Joyce Whiteman's Ancient Churches of Sussex.

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

[I've had no response at all to Helen's Downs Link Challenge idea. [Let me know if you have, Helen.]

Cycle Forum Meeting - Joyce's report

I  attended the Forum as a substitute for Roger. 

Under Matters Arising it was confirmed that the rumble strips at Anne street are being removed. However it was reported that it was not the developer's work but that it was being done at the cost of the Council. The point was made that there needs to be clearer communication and consultation with cycle interests right at the start of developments to avoid such experiences. It was reported that there is a continuing audit on the New England Quarter to check on the commitments made by the developers.

Cobbles 3
There was concern that the Woodingdean - Falmer route seems to have been stopped with no adequate explanation as to why. Councillor Tony Junio would be asked to investigate and clarify.
There was a discussion on Ship Street and North Street Quadrant. It was felt that the Council had ignored the clear public view on NSQ and Ian Davey was asked to clarify what the conditions are for the public (ie the Forum) to ask for scrutiny on the decision.
Under AOB a call was put out for any unwanted bikes. A member also felt that the Forum should move towards promotion of cycling rather than concerns with the council.
On item 4 of the agenda Abby gave a cycling towns update - the city is one of a number of councils to have Civitas towns - there will be a report to a future meeting by 'Debbie'.
Madeira Drive is to go ahead - there was some discussion as to the budget and the Forum was pleased that there will also be a feasibility study on Marine Parade.
Under item 6 the Forum agreed that a constitution would be useful and Adam is to progress this.

Joyce Edmond-Smith

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 5 April 2009
Chiddingly – this time without a festival

With some folk off on the Isle of Wight, I thought a fairly gentle one for those left behind might be the order of the day. We've done this ride – more or less – at least a couple of times in the past. The last time was in July last year when it was just me and Fred who turned up. We've not had any luck with avoiding mud pools in the track through Vert Woods. In 2007 I attempted to get everyone to see that bright side by asserting 'Coming out with the Clarion is not a ride; it's an adventure!'. Last year announcing the ride I optimistically asked 'if you can't avoid mud in mid-July when can you?' Well, we couldn't and there's a photo on the website to prove it. So this year I thought discretion better be the better part of valour.

Meeting at Berwick Station we'll head out to Mark Cross and Laughton, do a mile or so on the fairly busy B road and then go up alongside the Woods to Whitesmith, cross the A22 and make our way round to Chiddingly for a jazz-accompanied lunch at the Six Bells. We'll return via Muddles Green and past Farley Farm – recently in the news with revelations about MI5 keeping a close eye on the allegedly 'dangerous' Lee Miller and Roland Penrose and their guests – Golden Cross and Ripe with – if time permits the possibility of tea either at Selmeston or the Berwick Inn.


Meet: Meet at Berwick Station at 10.43
Getting there: Catch 10.20 from Brighton station (arrive at 10 for chance of Groupsave)
Distance: About 16/17 miles.
Hills: mostly fairly flat with some undulations
Off road: none - unless we decide on the day to risk Vert Woods! Mostly quiet country roads.
Catering: lunch at The Six Bells. Possibilities for tea
Getting home: . Trains back at 15.48 and 16.48.

My mobile: 0789 985 1172

The Last Ride - Jim's Report

[More photos on Flickr]

Sunday 22 March 2009
Centurion Way, Charlton and Goodwood

The turnout for this ride would have equalled the record 17 set at the previous ride, if only Fred hadn't overslept. However, the group did not attain its full strength until some way into the ride, owing to an unfortunate railway incident.

Waiting to (re)start

Alice, Colin, Jim, Joyce, Leon, Richard, Roger, Suzanne and Tessa arrived at Chichester Station to find Angela, Anne, Ian, Mick, Sue and Terry waiting for them. But where was Angelika? A phone call established that she had been travelling down in the train from London when the guard advised her that she was in the wrong half of a dividing train. An attempt to rectify this at Three Bridges found her stranded on the platform with her bike, and the door closing before she could re-join it in the correct place. Of course, Fellowship is Life, so we didn't mind waiting the 30 minutes or so until her new ETA. Well, in fact, most of us set off at a slow dawdle up the Centurion Way, in anticipation of being caught up with en route, and this occurred by the Roman amphitheatre, where the advance party had stopped to rest amid the massed ranks of the iron 'centurions'; Angelika and her minders arriving triumphantly on the scene and the long-overdue group photographs at last able to be taken.

Where Are We

It was a busy day for bikes, the sun having brought out many less hardy cyclists than the Clarion Club, but the traffic gradually thinned out towards the north end of the Way. Here, the path turns a right angle and heads for the A286, while the old railway line recedes, frustratingly, into the distance on the wrong side of a barbed wire fence. Quite why this is I have never been able to fathom; a mile further on (thankfully, a mile of cycle path rather than actual A road) we passed over the railway route, which, at that point, looks fairly well-used, though not by the public; and for a further mile, it follows the eastward curve of the A286 before swinging to the north. Had Sustrans managed to reclaim this last two miles, our journey, which now involved a mile and a half of busy A-road with no cycle path, would have been much more pleasant. Mind you, as someone pointed out later, it would have been even better if the railway had remained open; as we passed the field-sized car park of the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum (opened in 1970, 35 years after this part of the line was closed) one couldn't help wishing that the kind of visionary genius that created the Museum had been around in 1935.

Thankfully we were able to transfer to a quiet lane for the last mile or so from Singleton to Charlton, a charming old village, and so to our lunchtime rendezvous, the Fox Goes Free, where the walls were adorned with pictures, including one of a Dr Who episode being filmed in the pub in 1975.

Richard and Ian at the Fox

After lunch, we knew that a long climb awaited us, and Ian advised anyone who wanted a head start to get going. Then, when the rest of us set off, it turned out that we, at least, were going the wrong way – but what about the advance party? Had they gone the same way? A lady out walking her dog said she had seen about 10 cyclists, so where were the other 6? Well, there could have been 16, she admitted; and sure enough, when we rounded the next bend, there they were.

The little lane that we were on, Chalk Road, was just a happy accident – it was a lovely, quiet, leafy lane, and it wasn't even supposed to be on our route! There's serendipity for you! During our extended 'resting period' here, we debated an idea of Joyce's about reviving the practice of having picnic lunches instead of going to pubs, and hopefully we will be able to try out this option in the summer.

Chalk Road Meeting

Goodwood racecourse, and then a whacking great downhill section, followed, during which I clocked up 31.2 mph, equalling my record on the East Grinstead ride last September (is this getting a bit too much like the national Clarion?). We went past the aerodrome and wended our way back into Chichester; a plan to have tea at the canal basin was thwarted by the minor detail that the café was closed.

Goodwood Grandstand

Having said goodbye to the motorists, and to a small group who decided to take a later train and have tea somewhere else, the 'rump' caught the 16.53 train and discussed picnics again, and also the Naked Bike Ride (of course). Colin, whose first Clarion ride this was, was now suffering somewhat from 16 miles in the saddle, and opted to get a taxi home and retrieve his bike from the station later. This had been a baptism by fire for him, as he has not done much on-road riding, and he passed with flying colours, including negotiating his first roundabout.

Thanks to our redoubtable backstop, Suzanne, for looking after Colin, and our redoubtable leader, Ian, for organising the ride.


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

30. Stirrings at Rochdale, a Manchester reminder, more social activities in Birmingham, and a reminder about the first Easter Meet

In The Clarion, 9 February 1895 – Swiftsure's 'Cycling Notes' had a subheading

Another Clarion Cycling Club

J.T. Tetlow, of Rochdale informs me that a meeting will be held in the Rochdale I.L.P. Labour Hall, on Monday, at eight, to which all "Clarionettes" interested in the formation of the proposed club are invited. Already some fifteen or twenty are expected to join. Suggestions are also invited from other Clarion Cycling Club secretaries, as to the manner in which they dispose of their members' subscriptions, and any other information which may assist in bringing the clubs into line with each other..


Just a few words reminding Manchester cycling "Clarionettes" of the meeting next Sunday, the 10th inst., at the Labour Church Institute at 3 p m, for the purpose of passing the rules of the new cycling club.

And the following week – 16 February this appeared.

Birmingham Clarion C.C.

The O'Groomie O sends me a pleasant letter, which I haven't space to give in full. They are having 'une grande function' as their presidency would remark, on 21st inst, in the ballroom, Wrexham Road, Handsworth. Nearly 200 Clarion badges have already been sold and they wish to emphasise the fact that they do not make them for a profit, which some people imagine. The O'Groomie O makes a suggestion that meeting points should be arranged between several clubs, not forgetting the proposed meet at Ashbourne at Easter

Next time. Manchester CCC organises a '25' and Clarion CCs continue to spread

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