Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

24 January 2011

As you'll see from Suzanne's report of Jenny's ride yesterday (below) it seems that anyone leaving a car in a station car park on a Sunday (assuming the new charge is not confined to Lewes) is going to have to pay £1. Previously it was free on Sundays. I don't think this is something to complain about (won't do us any good if we do, I suspect). The reason I'm mentioning it is to alert everyone that if you're coming to a ride by car and planning to leave it in a station car park, you need to make sure you have the right coin(s) for the machine.

Disappointing news about the Cycle Forum (see Roger's report below, after the 'Next Ride'). Let's hope it can be revived - in a more effective form perhaps. And thanks to Roger for his persistent efforts in this direction.

One new activity that everyone at the AGM last week thought was an excellent idea has been proposed by John. Here it is in his own words.

Bike-Fixing Sessions
I used to run a bike business in Ireland for many years, selling bikes, fixing bikes, fitting components and taking people on tours. What I had in mind were tasks like fixing punctures, adjusting brakes and gears, correct position on the bike, assembling a get-you-home tool kit. This can be done in the open with people working on their own machines and learning from their own experience, probably at a convenient spot on the Hove promenade. We would need a warm day. A couple of two-hour sessions would cover most things. If interest develops in other things further sessions could be organised. No special tools or equipment would be needed.

A 'warm day' seems a long way off at the moment. But the first thing we need to do is to get a rough idea of how many people would like to attend the sessions that John might organise. If you would, please let him know. His email
Members - present and future

Jim tells me that most people have already paid their subs for this year. So just a reminder for those who haven't yet got round to it.

To renew your membership for 2011 - send £7 (£6 national subscription plus our £1 fee) to Jim Grozier, 92a Springfield Road, Brighton BN1 6DE. Make your cheque (or PO) out to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club. Jim will then be able to send a single cheque for £6 x the number of renewing members to the national membership secretary at the end of January.

And for those many people on the mailing list who have not yet joined us, here's what to do:

Go to the bottom of the homepage and print out a membership form.
Fill it in and sign it, and send it to Jim with your sub.

Future Rides … 2011 until the end of July

Not too soon to be thinking about possible rides for the summer. Suggestions?

It is not possible to check train availability more than 12 weeks in advance so later rides will be provisional for this reason.

Sunday To/Led by
6 February Berwick circular (Ian)
20 February Telscombe & Southease from Pier (Roger)
6 March* Gatwick circular (Anne/Mick)
20 March Bluebell ride (Jim)
3 April Berwick-Glynde via Blackboys (Jim)
15-17 April New Forest weekend (Jim)
1 May Possible Hastings ride (Jim)
15 May  
29 May  
12 June  
26 June  
10 July  
24 July*  

*Ian definitely not available


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 6 February
Berwick circular, c 14 miles only

This is what should have been the last ride of 2010 - which had to be cancelled because of ice and snow. It's a really short and flat one that maybe will tempt everyone out unless the weather is atrocious. We'll do the usual loop round the Berwick, Ripe, Chalvington area and stop for lunch at the Yew Tree pub.

Distance: c 14 miles.
Hills: If I say there aren't any hills, someone is bound to point out that the road went 'up' for 10 or 20 metres at some point - but it really is pretty flat.
Off road: None.
Traffic: Quiet roads.
Catering: Yew Tree for lunch. Possible tea stop (depending on train times and our own progress) at the Berwick Inn.

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station (platform 8) or meet at Berwick station at 10.43. Trains back at 14.35, reaching Brighton at 15.06, or 15.35 (16.06). There is an in-between possibility at 14.53, which involves two changes - on to Polegate and then back again changing at Lewes. Don't think I'd fancy that one if I was using the train.

(Be at Brighton Station by 10.05 for Groupsave.) Ian's mobile number is 07770 743287

Anyone fancying a longer ride from Lewes (meeting the rest of us en route or at the pub) please contact Jenny to discuss the possibilities on 01273 400896.


New Forest Weekend – Jim reports

I have just checked the national rail enquiries website.
Unfortunately there are no trains running between Angmering and Barnham on the weekend of the 16th and 17th April, but we can get to Brockenhurst by train via Clapham Junction - the journey takes 2 hours 40 minutes, 35 minutes longer than the direct route but most of that is waiting time at Clapham, and we won't need to change again at Southampton. And we can probably use the new lifts!!! Also it will be very straightforward for our London contingent. The alternative for Brightoners, of course, would be to take the direct route and cycle from Angmering to Barnham.
If we start on the Friday as we did for the Dieppe trip, we can get to Brockenhurst OK by the direct route, so the Clapham problem will only arise on Sunday. I'm not sure if going and returning by different routes causes problems with return tickets.
A third alternative would be to stay Sunday night as well - so travelling on Friday and Monday when the trains are OK - but possibly a bit too long for some?
Note that I have not made any enquiries yet about accommodation. I have tried several times to ring the youth hostel at Burley, but got no answer. I expect you have to be there to talk to them, and I will do that when I do the practice. I see on the OS map that there is a hotel right next door to the hostel, but of course I don't know what it's like.
I am still inclined to stick to that date, especially after an impassioned plea from Joyce, but would like to hear from people regarding
(1) Whether you are intending to take part in this ride.
(2) Whether you would prefer a Sat-Sun ride, staying at the hostel/hotel only one night, or the Fri-Sun option with two nights away, or even the 3-night idea. If opting for a Friday start, please indicate whether you are available to start in the morning or only after work.
(3) Whether you would prefer a youth hostel or something more expensive (if there is anything available).
(4) What Brighton people think about getting to the forest on the Saturday - would you prefer the Clapham route or the direct one with the cycling bit?
Answers to me at please.

The End of the Road for the Cycle Forum - Roger reports

Not many people have been attending recent meetings of the Cycle Forum, and Council officials have failed to bring important new developments to it for comment. No one has been willing to take over as chair following Tony Green's resignation at the last AGM. So it was no great surprise to find apologies flooding in for the meeting planned for last week.

Councillor Ian Davey finally took the initiative; he suggested cancelling the meeting and discontinuing the Forum, at least for the time being.

It's a pity: the Forum has done some useful things and potentially has an important role to play. On the other hand, the lack of commitment on all sides meant that this outcome was pretty inevitable.

We agreed at the Clarion AGM that we should still elect a Forum rep. to have a watching brief in case there are any initiatives to get it started again. I won the election! Watch this space?


The Last Ride - Suzanne's Report

Sunday 23 January 2011
Lewes - Barcombe - Lewes

'For whom the tolls?'

[You can find our Flickr group, containg more photos here]

Jenny described her ride as short but sweet and that is precisely what it was. Lewes Station car park made an excellent meeting point for both train and car-borne members, despite the shock of a new £1.00 fee being expected on a Sunday for actually parking a car there. Jenny set off in a north-westerly direction happily followed by Tessa, Ian, Richard, Angela, Roger, Suzanne, Fred, Janet and Sue. From the quaint delights of Cliffe High Street we quickly found that Tesco's car park made a quick and easy escape from the bustle of the town centre. Suzanne and Fred vied for 'Straggler of the Week' by preferring Shanks's pony to get them up the hill at Mayhew Way - so much better than these new fangled bi-cycle machines. In no time at all we were strung out in Indian file, along the pavement along Malling Down … and where the pavement narrowed we skimmed past our first toll house.

The start at Lewes station.

It was lovely to get off the busy A26 to amble along Wellingham Lane and left into Barcombe Mill Road. Jenny made sure we had plenty of time to admire the fish ladders at Barcombe Mills and then on to the toll bridge. Four wheels and one horse would have cost a whole 1/6d, so our 20 wheels would have cost us the whacking sum of 7/6d, but as we were not in the company of an equine we managed to cycle over for free.


A quick whiz past the late lamented station (1858 - 1969) -> café (1969 – 1980?) -> restaurant (?) and the even lamenteder pub still nostalgically remembered in its heyday as the Anglers Rest (the pub formerly known as … wait for it … the Railway Inn) was followed by a slow struggle up the hill to Barcombe Cross. This brought us to the delights of the Royal Oak and its brand new publicans. After the traditional Clarion 'moving of the tables' (not an attempt to get in touch with the supernatural, merely a natural desire to sit all together) we settled down to wait for our selected meals when our Carshalton contingent TJ and Joan joined us. Chat ranged from that nice man Mr Portillo, to plans for future rides, to the vagaries of the English language (according the Americans, the Canadians and the Australians).

Joan and TJ

After a long, leisurely lunch it was off again through the quiet lanes. It was overcast. It was cold. The wind tended to whip. But how lovely to be able to see through the newly trimmed, winter-bare hedges over to the swell of the Downs ridge to the south and across rolling countryside in almost every other direction. Brown and grey were the predominating colours, but what a huge variety of browns and greys they were. (End of purple passage - Stella Gibbons, eat your heart out.)

And whither did Jenny lead us? Very kindly, it was to her own home, where those who could stay were plied with tea, biscuits and probably sympathy for those with overstrained muscles. A welcome end to a welcome bit of exercise with friends.

A big thanks to Jenny for organising the ride and 'going the extra mile' by providing afternoon tea.


Tessa adds: When we arrived at Jenny's house in Cooksbridge, our numbers diminished. Roger, Suzanne and Janet had work commitments to get back to. The rest of us fitted nicely into Jenny's dining room to drink large mugs of tea and eat biscuits. We formed a circle of chairs and conversation bounced back and forth, ranging from anecdotes of Berwick Church frescoes to stuffed badgers.

As the light began to fade, we set off on the busy A275 with our new leader Sue. We forked left to Lewes where Ian left us to ride fast to the station to drive back in daylight. Rather than follow the streets, Sue led us through a series of tiny lanes and snickets, past the Pells pools, over a steep bridge ('Another hill!' said Fred) through the park alongside the Ouse. At the station, Angela, TJ and Joan left us and our groupsave of 4 did not have long to wait for the Brighton train. We all decided we had cycled the perfect distance that day.

Thank you Jenny!


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

76: Adverts for The Scout

The Scout has been mentioned quite a lot in recent extracts. There was some considerable overlap between the Scouts and the Cycling Clubs. Of course this was all taking place more than a decade before Baden Powell started the Boy Scouts - so the word wouldn't have had the same connotations/resonances as it would to day. I've never seen copies of The Scout (and probably never will) but I thought it would be interesting to look at a couple of the early adverts for it as they appeared in the Clarion.

An advert for The Scout No 2 (1d) promised:


Words and Music of

"The Song of the Clarion Scout" By J Leavey and F Pugh

The Ashbourne Conference

Reports from Scouts, Cinderella Clubs and Clarion Cycling Clubs. The new number of THE SCOUT is greatly extended and full of interesting features. No Socialist or Reformer can afford to miss it.

Another ad which appeared in the Clarion on 1 June 1895 promised:

Special articles. R Riley (Red Van), F H Green, J C Richards

Words and Music of

"Since first I Saw Your Face"

"Where the Bee Sucks."

Read Nunquam, article on "The Two Nations" and Dangle's "Whole Art of Cycling"

As people who have been following this series from early on will remember, Nunquam = Robert Blatchford, the editor - he had used "Nunquam" as a journalist before founding the Clarion Dangle, Mont Blong and The Bounder were the Clarion nicknames of Alex Thompson, the deputy editor, Montague Blatchford (Robert's brother, who was mainly concerned with the theatrical and musical activities and reporting of the paper) and Edward Fay, the roving reporter of the paper. I think the name "Red Van" refers to the touring caravan of the English Land Restoration League..

Next time - back to "Swiftsure's" Cycling Notes.

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