Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

26 January 2009

Current state of play. Please check that I've included you if you've sent me a cheque or given me your £6. I've had cash from the following who I will include in the collective cheque I'll be sending next week.

Alice, Anne, Fred, Jeff, Joyce, Mark (via Jim) Mick, Sheila

And I've received cheques from the following:

Adam, Allen, Alun, Amanda Annie, Bob, Brian, Chloe, Colette, Helen (sorry, I left you off by accident last time) Jim, Leon, Richard, Roger, both Sues and Suzanne.

Plus Tim who has said he wants to renew, plus me - By my calculation that makes 27 renewals altogether so far – which leaves 7 current members that I haven't yet heard from. If you are one and you wish to renew please just reply to my email saying that you'll send me a cheque/give me the money later. That way I can include everyone in the same letter to the National Membership Secretary and save both my time and postage.

If you've changed your address since you filled in your application form please let me know so I can make sure you are on the mailing list for Boots and Spurs and national Clarion communications generally.

We also have two new members – Colin and Peter – which brings our current total up to 29. Any more? If you haven't yet joined but would like to, download and prinf off the membership form, fill it in and send it to me – with your cheque or £6, of course, made out to 'The National Clarion Cycling Club'.

It would be handy to be able to send your form and cheque off with the renewals at the end of the month.

My address is: Ian Bullock, 104 Bonchurch Road. Brighton, BN2 3PH.

After the usual ride details and reports you'll find an amusing piece Brian has sent me and – right at the end – the latest instalment of 'The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club in 1894'

Isle of Wight Weekend
Jim has had replies from 2 people saying yes to the 4th/5th April, and nobody saying no. So he's proposing to book it on that weekend. If it's a problem for anyone please contact Jim urgently

Brighton & Hove Cycling Forum Meeting - 13 January – Jim's Report

This was my second meeting and it was twice as big as the first, with 19 people in attendance. It was a crowded table and a crowded agenda. With only a 2-hour meeting every 2 months, it's very difficult to discuss things in detail at these meetings – it is more a case of updates, which means you need to know what's going on (and you need to know the jargon) to make much sense of it. As I said in my last report, I don't actually cycle much in Brighton & Hove, so even where I could work out what was being discussed, I wasn't sure what I thought of it.

Of course I was there to represent Clarion rather than as an individual. Quite what that means is another matter; we can hardly have our own meeting to discuss the agenda and mandate the delegate beforehand, so it is more a case of representing what I think people would want. But even there, I have no idea what the consensus is among our members on most issues. Even on such a basic thing as new cycle paths, it turns out that Roger (who normally attends these meetings) and I have very different views, as mentioned in the circular. I did get a couple of messages from other Clarion members about this before the meeting, and these were very helpful, but of course there are more than four of us in the Clarion! What does everyone else think?

The main 'big issue' we discussed was the extension of National Cycle Network route 2 from the Palace Pier to the Marina. There was criticism of the short notice given for consultation; however the Forum gave the scheme a cautious welcome, with some reservations. There was widespread support for the planned route along Madeira Drive to be supplemented by one on Marine Parade (the top road) which is more widely used by cyclists at present.

Other issues discussed broadly followed the pattern of the last meeting. There was also discussion about the availability of the minutes of the Forum, and it was agreed that they should be in the public domain, with any confidential issues not minuted. So if you want a detailed report it might be better to get it from the horse's mouth. The Forum has a Yahoo group, which anyone can read, at but the 'Files' section (where the minutes are presumably kept) is only accessible to Forum members – so you will have to ask me or Roger if you want them. Having said that they are very comprehensive minutes, which makes it difficult to see the wood for the trees, so I'd recommend reading the summary in the Bricycles newsletter instead. Unfortunately to get that, you have to be a member of Bricycles! But back issues are available on the Bricycles website at Do look at the Yahoo group though; it will give you a feel for what is being discussed, and maybe we can even have our own discussions over long lunches during our rides, and then get Roger to post our thoughts to the group. As I said at the beginning, there is little time for discussion at the meetings, so the Yahoo group is where it should all be happening. (Perhaps we could even have our own on-line discussion group? Fred …?) [it's possible! how about a Facebook group?]


Members will see that I've put the general issue of how we want to be represented on the agenda for the AGM next week.



The Next Ride

Sunday 8 February 2009
A Lewes Circular

This started off as an attempt to find an alternative northward route out of Lewes (i.e. alternative to the path to Hamsey alongside the A275) – if possible, using parts of the old Lewes-Uckfield railway line. However, at the first attempt to try it out, it became clear that the A26 and the River Ouse were going to conspire together to stop us. I also discovered the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve and some interesting historical stuff about Lewes Station, so I decided to concentrate on those instead.

But that would not really make up a proper ride. So I continued to search for a way northwards, and ended up with a rather zigzagging route to Ringmer and then Isfield; this includes the delightful Norlington Lane, one of those lanes that could have been made for Clarion rides. On the way we will go through South Malling; this village was in the Domesday Book, with a tax of 2000 eels, but there is precious little of the old place left. There is a 17th century church (St Michael the Archangel) though, and we will hopefully get a guided tour.

This ride, as originally conceived, included 5 off-road sections, all of which may be too muddy to cross if recent weather conditions hold. So I have devised alternative 'on-road' (or, at least, hard surface) routes for all of these, and hence it is a bit of a 'pick-and-mix' ride, although in practice we will probably choose either all the muddy ones or all the non-muddy ones. If it is too muddy, maybe we can do the ride again in the summer, and include the off-road bits then.

At Isfield we will have lunch at the Laughing Fish (which is next to Isfield Station, part of the old Uckfield line), and then we will have a big decision to make. The off-road shortcut to Barcombe will save us 6 miles (and also includes a one mile section of the old railway); if we don't take it we will have to go all the way up to Piltdown Pond to get round that damn river! We return via Barcombe (where we can have tea at a pub if we want) and Hamsey.

I'm not sure how genuinely new this route is. I can remember going to Piltdown once before, so some of it at least will be familiar. But hopefully some of it will be new. If nothing else, the nature reserve and Norlington Lane, and the lovely views from most of the ride, are worth getting saddle-sore for.

Length: (muddy) 20 miles; (non-muddy) 26 miles.
Hills: A few, but not too bad. And as always with my rides, more downhill than up!
Traffic: We can get all the way from Lewes to Ringmer, and all the way back to Lewes from Hamsey, on the pavement if we want. The rest of it is on quiet lanes and paths; we will simply put two fingers up to the silly old A26 as we sail across it at Little Horsted.
Duration: Approximately 6 hours.

One more statistic I couldn't resist: This ride stretches over no fewer than THREE OS maps (Explorer 122, 123, 135).

Catch the 10.09 (Seaford) train from Brighton or meet at Lewes Station (in the car park by the platform 1 exit) at 10.25. Return trains at 16.18, 16.45, 17.00.


The Last Ride - Joyce's Report

Sunday 25 January 2009
Michelham - Wilmington – Milton Street

The rain was smashing down on the Velux window in my bathroom at 8am, it was dark and overcast and I so very nearly went back to bed ! But, not allowing my mind to think about it, I found myself hauling up the station road, still in the rain, to find ... no-one. Not wanting to believe that I was the only one, I hung on so long that I almost missed the train and as I sat on the train I had the fleeting thought that perhaps Ian would not be there either. But of course there he was. After a very short consultation we decided that the ride must continue and so it did, after the usual photograph taken by a solitary man waiting at the bus stop, who told us how he had cycled all the lanes of Sussex in former times.


So off we rode, still under a strong downpour which did not let up all day, into a rain-soaked countryside where the fields had become lakes and I worried where the sheep had gone. This was a ride where we were going to be at one with the elements! Through Upper Dicker to Michelham Priory, check the gatehouse and note the unusual height of the moat, and the way the Cuckmere was now about 4 rivers (one could see why the flood plain is so important). Fortunately the bridge was still high and dry and there was pleasure to be had riding in a countryside which was like an etching, all colour gone except shades of grey and when we got to him the Long Man seemed more lonely and solitary than ever. After Wilimington we bravely took a 'shortcut' along a path which was extremely steep and so muddy it was like an ice rink, no riding here, we both crawled down hanging on to the bike like dear life. Arriving (early) at the Sussex Ox was welcome indeed – a fire and an opportunity to take off some of our dripping clothes. Great service, good food and we were able to have a leisurely lunch, a chat about any number of things and still leave plenty of time to get back.


Then we found a 'closed' barrier across the road – not difficult to guess it was flooded. But since there was no option but to go miles back, on we went and, when the vast area of flood loomed up, closed eyes and cycled through, after all once you are soaked you can't really get much wetter. From then on it was on the little cycle track to Berwick where it felt as if our familiar Downs, in the constant rain and a lowering grey sky, had transmuted into the northern moors and, with perfect timing, we got to the station with ten minutes to go for my train and for me – straight to the sauna and Ian a hot bath, the perfect end to what was an exhilarating, and - yes believe me – a pleasant ride – Thanks comrade Ian (or captain...)


Brighton Clarion's Brian Hutton says 'Let's cut out all the psycho-babble and have some plain speaking about drugs in sport'

When it comes to drugs in sport, including cycling, I am really up to speed on the issue. Please note that I am Up to speed, not ON speed, but having made that clear let's run the topic up the flagpole and see who salutes it.

First we need to introduce a rolling two-year strategic game-plan to deal with the drug problem, plus creating a database of field service reports to analyse any fault patterns inherent in the system. We should reconfigure the sport on these lines. Now, before you go into cyberspace to surf the super-highway to find a website on the subject just let me say this. We must produce a mission statement and display a hands-on approach at this moment in time. We have to stop rocking the boat otherwise the s**t will hit the fan. When it comes to EPO we cannot afford a hidden agenda and not having anything on the back burner, because if we keep dumbing down or under-performing in the market place then the sponsors will just take their money and run, leaving riders with nothing in their lockers. Was it a corporate in-house decision to allow drug-taking, just to see which way the cookie crumbles? If so then we will need some joined-up thinking if we are to establish a footprint. We need to be proactive, ruling nothing in and nothing out, at least until all the appropriate measures are in place. If we don't then the teams may all be down-sized, which in plain terms means that riders will have to surf the net looking for alternative employment apertures. If we don't establish a level playing field then it may all go pear-shaped, especially if someone moves the goalposts. It would then be hard for the men in suits to put any spin on the situation. Still, we are all on a learning curve and hopefully are all singing from the same hymn-sheet. My own views, as you can see, are crystal clear and quite unambiguous, but what is to be done about dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, apart from calling it Testo for short?

Should all riders go and live on the wild side, grab a golden handshake and take a ride on the gravy train along with all the other Fat Cats? I think it all depends upon the prevailing global socio-economic conditions being favourable, otherwise the Thought Police will intervene. This could lead to the Dow Jones plunging again which would compromise the rider's ability to maximise their economic potential.

So there you have it. I refuse to sit on the fence and these are my uncompromising views. Now I think we should all draw a line in the sand under the whole affair. Just one final word – when riders are on the massage table and the masseur offers them a 2,000-year-old herbal remedy for muscle cramps, grown on the foothills of the Himalayas, (especially if it comes in a blister-pack of 12 multi-coloured tablets) then they should just say 'No' or 'Niet'... Now, any questions?

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

26. An Australian woman's remarkable feat and news of the Liverpool CCC

This first bit is as strange curiosity of the period, I think. It comes from Swiftsure's last 'Cycling Notes' of 1894 in the Clarion on 29 December that year:

H Cummins of the Liverpool Clarion C.C sends me a cutting giving an account of a most remarkable ride by a Mrs Maddocks, who rode a distance of 600 miles from Sydney to Melbourne, and actually on arrival weighed 28 lbs heavier than when she started. Comrade Cummins considers this a great feat, as he knows something of the condition of the roads which would have to be traversed, having lived in Australia.

It only adds another proof to my oft-expressed opinion that cycling for ladies is just as beneficial as it is for men, although I rather doubt whether many of us would actually weigh 28lbs heavier after a 600 mile jaunt. Come, you ladies of slender dimensions, who are anxious to increase your avoirdupois, take to cycling and hey! presto! Health, strength and an increase of weight are yours

In reference to the Liverpool Clarion C.C, H Cummins informs me that there are still numerous Clarionette cyclists in Liverpool holding aloof, and hopes they will come forward and join them, so as to enable them to make preparations for next season. The address of H Cummins, the honorary secretary is 25, Rupert Grove, Rupert Lane, Liverpool.

Next time. We move into 1895 with a meeting to form the Manchester club announced and a message from the Potteries by 'Clincher'.

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