Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

28 July 2009

A message from Fred. Please note what he says carefully if you're sending photos.

I update the website voluntarily and it takes me approx half a day a fortnight. I like to do everything in one go, usually on receipt of the circular. It makes my job a lot smoother if people upload their photos to Flickr promptly too and in some kind of logical order so I know which photos relate to particular rides (I don't always go on them so may be guessing from the write-up), as I can then simply put a link into the report to the Flickr page and don't have to mess about with resizing and uploading photos myself. As I archive all the pages manually, any later corrections or extra photos involve updating at least 3 pages. Looking back I should have set up the website as a blog (a self-archiving reverse chronology diary type thing), but it's far too big a site to convert now!


And a message from Suzanne

Summer picnic - Preston Park Velodrome
Meet on grass spectator-seating area of Velodrome. Bring food and drink to share. Toilets, cover and café nearby. Grassy area for fun and games. The track itself will probably be available so bring your bike if you want to have a go.
Time:  From 12 noon – aim to eat about 1pm.
To help finalise the date, please let me know which date(s) you can come:
Saturday 29 August
Sunday 30 August
Bank Holiday Monday 31 August
Reply to
Note: The Velodrome is at the north end of Preston Park in Brighton. The area is not in the permit-parking zone. The nearest parking points are:

  • at the north end of Preston Park Avenue
  • at the south end of Harrington Villas or Bavant Road
  • in the part of Preston Drove which runs along the northern boundary of the Velodrome.


As usual at this time of year I've just got back from seeing the final stage of the Tour in Paris. Nice to be there when Mark Cavendish broke the record for the number of sprint stages won in a single edition. Below you'll find Mick's account of he and Anne assisting (in the French sense) on part of Stage 15 the first alpine stage on Sunday 19 July when it went from Pontarlier in France to Vervier in the Swiss alps.

The latest episode of the Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s the Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s is at the end of this circular.


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 9 August
Ford – Climping – Arundel – Offham

This is a very leisurely ride (well it would be with me in front ...) which continues the exploration of West Sussex – Starting from Ford we head for Climping, past the Ford Airfield and the Open Prison. For those who don't know it's a lovely beach so bring your cossies for a possible quick dip. Then to Arundel via Yapton, Barnham and Walberton. All on flat B roads (but not too busy on the trial ride and no hills). Lunch at the Holly Tree just after Walberton. Then we head for Binstead via a longish bridleway, beautiful forest and mostly very good condition, ( but does depend on the weather), through a short footpath at the end of which there is the A 27 roundabout to navigate for Arundel - through Arundel and past the castle and we head for Offham where there is a great view of the castle and the river for the photographers amongst us, also the option for tea, but for the cake addicts a better bet is to retrace our steps a little to the tea shop at Swanbourne Lake, where we can also commune with the ducks. We then head back to Ford Station.

Length: About 17 miles, but option for detour to Wepham & Burnam (7 miles)
Traffic: Some B roads but acceptable + long bridleway & short footpath
Duration: About 5 ½ hours depending on swim and lunch time
Hills: Mostly flat and easy riding on smooth roads (even if B) (except the bridleway)

Catch the 10.11 from Brighton ( arrive at 9.45 for group ticket) – Arrive Ford 11.01. Return trains from Ford 6 minutes past the hour.



City Cycling Forum meeting on 14 July 2009 - Roger's Report

This was the AGM of the Forum and was rather a downbeat meeting. Here are the main points:

Clock Tower: a right turn has been agreed for cyclists from Queens Road towards Churchill Square. There is still confusion over whether a right turn will be allowed from North Street into Queens Road. Reinstatement of the North Street Quadrant cycle route is now recognised as a lost cause (except perhaps by Becky Reynolds).

Undercliff Walk: there have been comments in the press recently that this should remain a 'walk' only. However, Chris Boocock of Sustrans is involved in an initiative which he hopes will persuade the Council to allow cycling.

Air Quality: lots of concern that this is getting worse. The Council has identified areas requiring 'air quality management' but no one knew what 'management' involves. Sam Rouse, one of the Council's air monitoring team, will be invited to the next meeting.

White Bike Memorials: the Devils Dyke Road memorial for the death of cyclist, James Hatcher has been removed by the police because of concerns about safety! There seems to be no consistency in how long roadside memorials stay in place.

Woodingdean – Falmer Route: a 'grass track' is now open and may be cycleable.

Frustration claims a casualty: Chris Boocock of Sustrans announced that he would no longer be attending Forum meetings because of his frustration at the lack of progress.

Councillor Tony Janio tried unsuccessfully to change Chris's mind, saying that while the Council necessarily moves slowly, the forum has had successes. He encouraged members to email him directly if there were issues they wanted the Council to take up.

Others also show symptoms: Chris was not alone in being frustrated. The poor attendance of Council officers at Forum meetings and the lack of a minute taker were amongst the concerns expressed.

Jobs: Adam Pride of Bricycles stood down as chair and Tony Green of CTC took on the job. I volunteered to write the minutes of the next meeting.


A day on Le Tour - Mick reports from Switzerland

[More photos on Flickr]

After an amazing thunderstorm 30 hours before with thunder and lightning rolling round and round our horseshoe of mountains it was a relief to wake to grey but improving skies. At 10.45 we left to meet up with the rest of our small party, Jean-Marie (ski instructor extraordinaire), Dr John, Dr Cathy, and our one Dalmatian, Totty, who ate grass along the way.


Before arriving at the Col des Mosses we had our own etape. We needed to climb from 1120 metres to nearly 1720 metres, a bit more than our usual Clarion undulations. We wound our way up through alpine meadows of orchids and other wild flowers munched by cows, sheep, goats and a solitary donkey. A fox strolled disdainfully across the road in front of a toiling Dr John. We stopped from time to time to look back to the Sex Rouge and the Dome of Les Diablerets itself and to the right to the twin pillars of Leysin.


It soon became apparent that the climb would be a big challenge for Cathy who had recently recovered from cancer. Anne nobly kept her company on the long climb up to Oudiou, an onomatopoeic name clearly intended to be yodelled. After slipping, sliding and wobbling over the rough path at the top we swept down into Les Mosses just in time for the 'caravane', managing to snag a polkadot cap, a bottle of water and a cloth for cleaning our glasses and then happily paying for a bag of Tour goodies.


We soaked up the atmosphere with a sandwich and an excellent rhubarb tart for me and an apricot tart for Anne. Then we made our way to a spot just below the Col where we could see the procession of vehicles on their way up and finally the riders themselves. The 8 escapers came first led by the Swiss favourite, Cancellara, to popular approval and 4 minutes later the peloton driven on by the Astana team of a grim-faced Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador.


They passed all too quickly even as they climbed up to the Col. After they went by we walked back up to the village of Les Mosses to watch the rest of the stage on the big screen. What a dramatic stage it was! We enjoyed the helicopter view of some of our favourite places on the way, Aigle Castle, the International Cycling entre, St Maurice , Martigny. As these places passed so the escapers were being reeled in by the peloton. On the climb up to Verbier they were finally caught.

There is nothing like watching a big sporting event in the company of a crowd which understands the nuances of what they are watching. As Contador made his dramatic move, history was being made, the king is dead, long live the king. Lance could not respond and our fellow TV watchers knew it and reacted to it. In no time at all Contador was 30 seconds ahead and the distance was increasing. The 2 Luxembourgers Andy and Frank Schleck made their own moves and our very own Bradley Wiggins was still hanging in there. A more heroic day for him on a stage when there was no expectation that he could survive than any day of his Olympic glories. As the day ended he was in third place overall. Incroyable!

We left to make our way back over the mountain by an easier path, but this journey too was to become our own contre la montre. As we descended in the warm sun I realised I had less than 15 minutes to reach the shop and much needed supplies of fruit, fruit juice, chocolate and vitally bier panache. The shop was reached with 3 minutes to spare!


Sunday 26 July 2009
Disguises - or Three Bridges to Hassocks
(disguised as Three Bridges to Burgess Hill)
- Suzanne's Report

[More photos on Flickr]

Leader Leon met the train–borne Clarion-ettes on Three Bridges Station disguised as a Polynesian folk-hero in his very fetching sarong. After the photo of Angela, Alice, David, Fred, Jim, Joyce, Leon, Richard, Roger, Sue, Suzanne and Terry had been taken by a very obliging railwayman, we set off south through the mysteries of Three Bridges and southern Crawley, over the rickety bridge (disguised as a footbridge over the roaring M23) and into Tilgate Forest.

Start of ride at  Three Bridges 26-July-2009

The Merry Men and Wo-Men then turned right and westward onto the prettily named Parish Lane (aka NCN20). Feelings were mixed about the enormous (mobile phone?) mast cunningly disguised as a pine tree – was this a good way to ensure an attractive environment or a dismal case of modern technology encroaching on beautiful countryside?

mobile phone mast disguised as a tree

Another kilometre brought us back to the roar of the new A23 as we turned south again onto old A23, now heavily disguised as the B2114. Ah! How the mighty are fallen. A nice flat run brought us into Handcross where we swung across said A23 to take Coos Lane down (literally) to Furnace Pond, home of the Slaugham Angling Club (if you really want to know, Slaugham is the modern – if you consider 1324 modern – spelling of the Saxon slāh hamm or 'sloe meadow'). Legs were a little tired by the time we had hauled ourselves up to Warninglid (no lids needed warning – the name of this settlement, as we all know, comes from Weardelinga hlip – the slope on which Weardelin's people lived). The Half Moon pub looked tempting, but of one common accord, the Clarionettes said: 'Nay! We will not be deterred from our great leader's plan to feast at the sign of the Royal Oak.'

Slaugham Lake

So off we went downhill (and uphill and downhill) along the 'undulating' Spronkett's Lane (don't worry – the origin of the name is not in Judith Glover's excellent book Sussex Place Names, so I won't bore you with it) past Inyes Cottages – which turned out to be No 1 Nyes Cottages – before gratefully turning in to the Royal Oak. Lunches were ordered, furniture was moved, cutlery was hunted down and we all settled down to our second favourite sport (after cycling, of course) of having the most absurd conversations imaginable – some of which even bordered on the scatological. The ploughman's lunch (heavily disguised as a huge portion of smoked salmon in one case – it's amazing what you can catch with a plough) was copious, the soup delicious and the ginger cheesecake (no names – no pack drill) caloriferous. However, our luncheon was of the most elegant, for our table was embellished with a beautiful bunch of red roses. These were returned to the 'charity' table after lunch, but Sue decided to purchase some pretty, long-stemmed white flowers which made a fetching addition to her rucksack as they bobbed along behind her.


Average speeds were somewhat lower as we started to wend out way back to Hassocks along Bobs Lane (I'll get Jobs Lane in a bit later – read on), and had to share the road with horseboxes in Hickstead Lane. Richard was beginning to be a little concerned about his back wheel rubbing. By the time we had reached The Sportsman at the end of Jobs Lane there was serious concern as a wobble was clearly visible in the wheel. While some of the group were finding out about the 'ram raid' on the pub in March, others were making a closer inspection of Richard's bike. This revealed that the wobble was caused by a broken spoke. Fortunately the bike was still rideable with care and the whole group was able to get back to Burgess Hill with ease. Leon, Angela and David opted to continue by bike to Hassocks, but the rest of the contingent more than happily caught the 16.01 from Burgess Hill as the rain started to pitter-patter on the station canopy.

Many thanks to Leon for arranging a lovely trip over much new territory.


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

39. 'Unattached cyclists' and accommodation at the first Easter Meet

More from Swiftsure's column of 6 April 1895

I am asked by several whether unattached* Clarion cyclists are invited to the Ashbourne "meet" at Easter. I may say there isn't a doubt that all will be welcome who care to come, whether cyclists or not. "The more the merrier," say I.

I order that the Manchester section and others from the neighbouring towns of Oldham, Hyde, Bury, Rochdale, Bolton etc may journey together, will those who intend going on Good Friday, Saturday or Sunday please send a post-card to R. Dawson, 687, Rochdale Road, Manchester saying on which day they wish to go? They will then be informed of the time and place of meeting in Manchester.

I understand there will be no lack of accommodation in Ashbourne. If any other clubs which to send me short particulars of their intentions re. this meet I hope they will do so at once.


Re. Ashbourne meet, we find we can guarantee accommodation for about eighty cyclists. Will you kindly mention this fact in the Clarion, and also that preference will be given to those who apply first? We shall, of course, be only too pleased to assist those not included in the above, but cannot promise accommodation for more than that number.

Yours fraternally,

F G Browne,
Secretary, Clarion CC, 52 Villa Road, Handsworth, Birmingham.

*This is the first time I've come across 'unattached cyclists' meaning ones who didn't yet belong to a Clarion CC. ... But 'unattached socialists' were an important part of the Clarion's constituency – or so it was thought. It referred to those not members of the Social-Democratic Federation (SDF) or the Independent Labour Party (ILP). Forgive me quoting myself – easier than composing it all again.

The Clarion began to advocate the merger of the SDF and ILP … in the summer of 1894.

Blatchford encourage reader to join both organisations, as he himself had done, so as to work for unity. But many remained resolutely 'unattached'. The two parties rivalry was frequently cited as an explanation for the reluctance of the 'unattached' to commit themselves to either. Most would be willing, it was urged, to join a united socialist grouping.

Logie Barrow and Ian Bullock, Democratic Ideas and the British Labour Movement, 1880-1914. 1996, p 83

Next time. The Bounder and Dangle discuss Ashbourne.

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