Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

27 March 2010

Here's the 'interim' circular as promised - complete with Anne's report of last Sunday's adventures around Berwick. Last week I asked that people let me know by today if they are likely (likely, not definite) to be coming on next week's ride so that I can give the pub a bit of advance warning. So far - 2.20 on Saturday afternoon - I've had just one response (from Jenny). I'll leave phoning the Kings Head until tomorrow, but please if you are likely to be coming just reply to this email and say so!

From what I've gathered from Bob it looks as though attendance at the Eastbourne Meet will be pretty low - so it may well be just us on the ride - but that won't be a problem will it!

New (ish) Members

Jim tells me that Mark and John have returned to the fold - welcome back both! And we seem to have acquired a junior member - but Jim hasn't identified her/him!

Still time to join us

We have many more people on our three general mailing lists who have not yet joined us, and while we wouldn't dream of pressurising anyone into doing so new recruits are always very welcome. If you would like to join, follow the instructions at the bottom of the home page

Future Rides … for the rest of 2010

Sundays 18 April; 2 (Jim), 16, 30 May; 13, 27 June; 11, 25 July (Leon?), 8, 22 August; 5, 19 September; 3*, 17, October; 7, 21* November; 5*, 19 December.

Offers to organise/lead rides are more than welcome. The 3 autumn ones marked with a * are ones I already know I can't make - and there are likely to be a few others.

* * * *

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s latest episode, as usual, at the end of the circular. As with last time's advice on bike control, the details of bike maintenance may have changed but the principle is still a good one.


The Next Ride

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

Easter Sunday
2010 Easter Meet 'Leisure Ride' (aren't all ours!)

I've no idea as yet how many people coming to the Easter Meet will want to take part - though I hope we will tempt a few out at least

I've scheduled the ride to start from the conference hotel - the Cumberland - at c 11.15 which will give me time to meet those of you coming from Brighton at Eastbourne station and guide you to the hotel. After that we'll head along the seafront for a little while and then find our way onto the southern section of the Cuckoo Trail.

This will take us to Polegate where the main section of the Trail begins.

We'll leave the Trail just north of Hailsham and stop for lunch at the King's Head at Lower Horsebridge. After lunch, a mile or so on, we'll pass through of Hellingly and strike east for just a couple of miles and then take the small country roads southwards across the Pevensey Levels to Rickney.

At Pevensey itself we'll stop to have a look at Pevensey Castle/Anderida.

From Pevensey it is just a few more miles back to Eastbourne and the hotel and then the station for those returning to Brighton.

Being Easter Sunday I've already alerted the Kings Head and promised to phone them with approximate numbers the week before. So if you're likely to be joining us please send me - Ian Bullock - an email to or give me a ring on (01273 682133) by 27 March. The pub has a restaurant that does 'carvery' meals on Sundays - so if anyone wants to indulge in one of these - rather than the 'lighter' fare - ploughman's, soup, chilli con carne etc - available in the bar - please make a special point of letting me know so I can reserve a table.

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station – or meet at Eastbourne station at 10.58 – or the Cumberland Hotel at 11.15

Trains back include 15.55 (one change) and 16.34 (straight through arriving 17.12).

The Last Ride - Anne's Report

Sunday 21 March 2010
Berwick Circular; Laughton's Lovely Lanes & Tower of Silence - apart from the rooks!

[More photos on Flickr]

It was raining earlier Sunday morning, in spite of forecasts to contrary, so changing into, then out of, rain trousers, made me 5 minutes late for the groupsave gathering @ 10am. I almost joined the first group of cyclists I saw, before realising it wasn't the Clarion. Extracting myself from them, I saw Richard, Fred, Joyce, Sue and Terry in our familiar spot, having already bought their groupsave, so I joined the small queue in the ticket office for my senior ticket. In rushed Suzanne just in time for me to buy hers too. So off we seven set for the Eastbourne train. There were four carriages and a helpful guard, so we were able to stack our bikes and the bikes of the other group, who were also going to Berwick. They were BLAGSS, Brighton Lesbian and Gay Sports Society and one of them kindly agreed to take our assembled photograph at Berwick, once Angela and Jenny had arrived from opposite sides of the station, having come by car. Jim had got on at Lewes, though by then, the train was filling up with bikes and he was directed to the rear of the train by the guard.

The start

It was thus quite a prompt start from the station, as we often have to search for a suitable passer-by to do our group photo and there aren't many passers-by at Berwick Station. BLAGSS were still assembling as we headed north from the station, passing the Arlington Reservoir on our right, with its sign for drinks and ices, which I'd never noticed before. After half an hour of Langtrye Lane, Darp Lane, and Mill Lane, we reached Church Lane and stopped at All Saints Church. Jim wanted to go in and pay for the History booklet he'd picked up on his research for the ride and it seemed like the service might just be ending. It was and we were all invited in for coffee and enjoyed the hospitality of the vicar and congregation, among whom were the owners of The Roebuck Inn where we were booked for lunch.

Coffee break

The nave is the oldest part of the church and dates from 13c, ie Early English style. Both outside walls of the nave have examples of the local 'winkelstone', Sussex marble; limestone formed from fossilised freshwater snail shells. Sir John Pelham was given the King's buckle for capturing Jean the King of France and this badge of honour can be seen in many churches in the area showing the influence and power of the Pelham family. The Pelham family built, or rebuilt so many church towers that they became known as Pelham towers. Laughton Church now contains a ring of six bells and we asked the bell ringers how long it took to learn how to do it. I think about six months was the answer. Sue asked me to point out that a refreshing coffee stop was much appreciated.

All Saints' Church

Cow Lane, Common Lane and Shortgate Lane were all ideal for cyclists, with hardly a car at all, but several beautiful horses, piebald and skewbald and a few friendly cyclists going in the opposite direction. There were plenty of horses and ponies in the fields too, clumps of snowdrops and the occasional celandine brightening the verges. Jim said that when he planned the ride 3 weeks ago some of the fields were completely flooded, but the waters had now receded.

Laughton Tower

We then took a farm track leading to the moated Laughton Place. We parked the bikes and explored the tower, which is all that remains of the grand Renaissance house. By 1600 the Pelham family had abandoned the house because of the damp and subsequent remodelling in 1753 into a Gothick farmhouse were pulled down by a new owner in 1927, leaving only the tower. This is where Jim, Sally and their friends had stayed last autumn, since it is now owned by the Landmark Trust. The area was once a major brick producer with 4 brickworks nearby and the splendid tower showed them off a treat. It seemed that no-one was in residence so we wandered around and listened and watched the numerous rooks in the surrounding trees. There were about 20 nests in the stands of trees; some with 3 nests and some with much more and there was a real cacophony of crowing.

The Roebuck Inn

We retraced our route back to The Roebuck Inn, which we'd passed earlier, but Jim had not allowed us to approach. On the way we saw a dead badger on the grass verge and Jenny estimated that it had been there a week or two. The garden of the inn seemed warm but not warm enough and so we sat by the front window and contemplated the inviting blackboard menu. Five of us had the punchnep soup, stuffed full of root veggies, accompanied by superb bread, or in Sue's case... roast potatoes, in Joyce's; tasty salad and mine; goat's cheese and roasted peppers on italian bread, Jim had Rye-caught cod, Richard - ham and eggs and Terry had roast; all excellent value. Joyce, Jim and I were delighted to see another couple arrive at the pub, who were old friends from Brighton Labour Party; Jane Thomas and Shaun. They had since moved out into the country nr Lewes and joined us at our table. We're hoping that they may join us on Clarion rides in future, but great to bump into them today.


After lunch and pudding, in Sue's case, we set off again. The sun was out and Jim consulted us as to whether to take the Vert Wood option. Jenny counselled against it as the weather has been so wet, but the spirit of adventure seized Joyce and we fell under her spell. It was, indeed, wet, puddly and watery, but we managed to cycle most of it, apart from an uphill stretch. Jim rechecked his maps on his way home and emailed me that, strictly speaking we were not in Vert Woods, but Brickhurst Wood and Laughton Common Wood, the former being mainly coniferous and the latter deciduous - main thing was, no-one fell off or got mired in mud and all enjoyed the sylvan beauty, birdsong and tranquillity, even if it was a bit oozy.

Vert Woods

Back to the asphalt and more lanes until we reached Ripe. After the Lamb Inn we went in to the grounds of Eckington Manor and admired the goose sculpture with the 3 children, with us trying to puzzle out what it depicted, myth or nursery tale. Jim soon realised that we were now running a bit late and catching the train would be tight. He said we had 9 minutes to do about a mile. However, it was a bit uphill and we remembered an earlier conversation concerning level crossing times and how long the barriers stay down here compared to say, Switzerland, from which I'd returned yesterday. As Sue approached the level crossing, orange lights flashed, sirens sounded and the gates came down, a full 5 minutes before our train was due, on the opposite side of the barrier, with the next one an hour's wait away. Luckily the signalman was in his box by the crossing and saw us all waiting - desperate to cross, as the Eastbourne bound train pulled into the station. He shouted down to us that he would open the barriers after the train had left and before ours arrived so that we could cross and catch the Brighton train; if we were quick! We had several minutes to do this, but dashed across, impeding a couple in a sports car, but our need for haste was more pressing than theirs. We were all relieved to catch the train, apart from Jenny and Angela, who returned to their cars, not living near stations.


It was a great day out and a lot of fun, for which we thank Jim's careful preparation, good guidance,fair weather and good company.


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

57. More on accidents and how to avoid them

Continuing Swiftsure's advice on safe cycling from his "Cycling Notes" of 4 May 1895

Cyclists cannot be too frequently reminded of the necessity for occasionally looking to their handle-bars and saddle-pins. They have a peculiar habit of proving they are not properly tightened at the most awkward moments.

It was on the return journey from Ashbourne that the editor of "The Scout" came what might have been an ugly smash through his saddle twisting.

We were coming down hill at the time, at a pace somewhere about eighteen miles an hour, when it happened. Luckily neither Mr Ranstead nor his machine were any the worse for the fall.

Again, it was only the other Saturday that a nasty accident occurred on the club run of the Manchester Clarion C. C., through the rider's handle bars turing loose. The rider was our comrade Reckie. Those who were at the Ashbourne "Smoker" will possibly remember "Auld Reekie" as the "Bounder" called him, itherwise "Sandy MacSprint" the writer of that smart cycling column, in that still more smart little local halfpenny weekly yclept The Dawn.

The occasion arose through Reckie and Mr Sutcliffe's two sons, mounted on a tandem, going ahead for a dust-up. Whilst going at top speed Reckie attempted to turn out the way of a loose patch of stones, when his handlebars turned in his hands, the result was a cruel crash, and Reckie arose with every button torn from his coat and much skin from his hands and face. However, although much shaken, he was able to ride home, his machine being very little damaged.

The moral of these two accidents is therefore pointed by what I said at the beginning of this par. Don't forget to often test with your spanner the nuts of your handlebars and saddle pin clips.

Next time. Manchester CCC's Knutsford ride and Swiftsure on cyclists and pedestrians (Very topical again!)

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