|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Dear fellow members and friends
29 June 2009
Toll Bridge Ride – Sunday 5 July (this coming Sunday)
I've now heard from Jenny, Amanda, and Leon (plus Fred saying he can't make it) and everyone seems happy with my suggestion for a 10.30 start. Since receiving the 'starter pack' which contrary to what the organiser told me does have definite start times I've been in touch again and I can confirm that we are still OK for 10.30.
And I've checked that there is car parking which will be signed on the day. Anyone coming by car the thing to do is to take the A27 (Brighton By-Pass) heading west pass the 'spaghetti junction' style exit that takes one down to Shoreham and at the big traffic lights turn left toward Shoreham Airport but carry straight on towards the Toll Bridge itself. Ricardos is a little way down on the left.
Best train is
Rides for the rest of the year will be on Sundays 26 July (Leon,) 9 August (Joyce), 23 August (Roger), 6, 20 September*, 4 October (Roger), 18 October, 1, 15, 29 November, 13 December.
As always I'd welcome offers to organise/lead on any of the dates above that have so far not been 'claimed'. But the one marked * I definitely can't do. Make sure to let me know at least 3 weeks before – and to let me have full details at least 2 weeks before the date of the ride.
As usual you'll find the latest episode of the Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s 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 12 July 2009
On a Clarion ride a few weeks ago, Jeff picked up a leaflet at Shoreham Airport about Shipley Windmill in West Sussex. The leaflet announced that the mill is scheduled to close at the end of July, so we thought we ought to do a ride there before then. This is it.
Superficially similar to the Downs Link ride that we did in July 2007, and sharing common starting and ending sections, this ride deviates from the path in order to take in the windmill (and the Wiston Tea Rooms!). The mill is open to the public, but will not be working as the sails (or sweeps as we call 'em around these parts) are being repaired.
We will have lunch before we get to the mill, at the George and Dragon. This will be an early lunch as it is not far from our starting point, but it is a pub not to be missed!
After lunch, and a further mile of riding, we come to the mill. It was restored as a memorial to Hilaire Belloc, who lived nearby from 1906-53. More recently, it served as the fictional home of the hero of the BBC Television series Jonathan Creek.
The mill has very kindly agreed to open early for us, as we will get there about 1.15 and they do not normally open to the public until 2. They are not charging an entrance fee at present because they want people to see the mill before it closes; however they do accept donations, and it would be nice for us to give something. (Entrance used to be £3 per head.)
Leaving the mill, we continue southwards to Ashington*. The practice ride featured a picturesque bridleway where Leon and I heard the cuckoo, but we decided it was just too … err … 'rustic' for a Clarion ride so we'll take the lane. The first section of bridleway is probably OK, and is of interest because it crosses the River Adur. Interesting, because this is a different branch of the Adur to the one we crossed over at Wineham on 3 May. Apparently rivers do not have to have unique names … but which one is the real Adur???
After refreshing ourselves (and making up for that early lunch) at Wiston, we take Spithandle Lane and then a farm track to a bridge over the River Adur (the main river this time) and after this is a short rather cycle-unfriendly path where we may have to walk, then on into Henfield and re-joining the Downs Link.
The rest is familiar territory for most of us, and I won't go into detail here.
*If anyone feels 26 miles is too long, there will be an option of re-tracing your route back to Christ's Hospital Station, making it only about a 12 mile ride. But make sure you remember the way!
Length: 26 miles (12 miles if taking the short option)
Catch the 10.00 train from Brighton (Hassocks 10.10) and change at Three Bridges (arriving 10:36). Work on the new station lifts at Three Bridges, which seems to have been going on forever, has recommenced recently after a lull, so there is an outside chance they will have them working for us on the 12th!
Depart Three Bridges at 10:50, arriving Christ's Hospital at 11:06. (This train comes from London Victoria, leaving there at 10.02 and Clapham Junction at 10.08, so any Londoners joining us will not need to change.) Or meet us at Christ's Hospital station at 11.10.
Return trains leave Shoreham for Brighton at 7 and 33 minutes past the hour, and for London at 47 minutes past. For any '12-milers' among us, return trains from Christ's Hospital leave at 32 minutes past.
Sunday 14 June 2009
This year's NBR was bigger and better than ever. No definitive figure of attendees yet, but definitely more than last year (which was 400) – I would bet somewhere between 5 – 700. The weather was fantastic as we all assembled on the Level in an atmosphere of fiesta. It does seem that getting one's clothes off in the sun and as a large group makes for conviviality, maybe it's because all pretence is over and everyone is as vulnerable as another, perhaps that's also part of the pleasure of sun bathing on the beach. Anyway enough speculation, the fact is that it was a great experience – colour, music, a sense of freedom and the pleasure of taking part in a common purpose (it occurred to me as I went wobbling along handing out the card about oil and global warming that this may be what historic Clarionettes felt when they went out on their bikes with their leaflets.) As it turned out Leon, Joyce and Fred seemed to be the only ones carrying the Clarion torch (or trumpet) this time, I know the others were out on the 'proper' Clarion ride.
We did about 8 miles sailing past the Pavilion, along the seafront into Hove with crowds of people, clapping, laughing and cheering all the way. When I asked Leon if he wanted to do the report he said that he could find no way of expressing his feelings of 'euphoria while whirling through a kaleidoscope of fantastic colour and movement'. Seems to me he summed it up very well.
We ended at the nudist beach where a fantastic day ended with a wonderful swim in a breathtakingly cold sea and a naked man playing the trumpet (Leon has a great photo but not for the Clarion web site!)....
[Video of the ride passing Jubilee Library here]
The Last Ride - Jenny's Report
Sunday 28 June 2009
[More photos on Flickr]
A small but select band of six met at Burgess Hill Station on a very hot and beautifully sunny morning: Anne, Jeff, Joyce, Leon, and Mick who came by train, and Jenny, your reporter, who came by car (because trains don't stop at her local station, Cooksbridge, at weekends, grrr!). A friendly departing passenger was easily persuaded to take the group photo, and for good measure Leon also took an arty one of us reflected in the convex mirror on the platform.
From the station we followed ride leader Leon through suburban Burgess Hill to Folders Lane, then we braved more traffic to cross over the Ditchling Common roundabout. Passing the northern end of Plumpton village we paused to admire the local landmark known as 'the V' – a clear and massive letter V on the Downs escarpment, formed of trees planted in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee.
We then rode along the charmingly named Honeypot Lane, and passed Pouchlands – now a residential development but in 1873 it was the brand new local Workhouse. The complex was designed by James Peerless, accommodated up to 250 inmates, and replaced several smaller nearby establishments. The buildings have all been carefully preserved and converted for their new incarnation as rather select housing.
Next came the only off-road section of the ride, a track known locally as The Hook. At one time it would have been a pretty smooth ride, but sadly it has been 'improved' by being resurfaced with stony substances more friendly to cars than to bikes. While bumping along we were passed by a shiny four-by-four, which kindly left us a mighty dust cloud in its wake.
However we survived to cross the A275 into Markstakes Lane, where we encountered the first of two long and tiring undulations on our way to the pub, the Royal Oak at Newick. Here we rested and enjoyed very good food, including Jeff's essential cheesy chips, at reasonable prices with cheerful and friendly service – who could ask for more? The conversation turned to naked bike rides and sarongs, and as requested the reporter is unable to remember any details of it.
From Newick we headed towards north Chailey, then crossed the busy main road into quieter lanes lined by gorse bushes noisily exploding their seed pods in the heat. Here some might not have realised it (we were just too far apart for the reporter to get everyone's attention), but we passed yet another interesting new rural housing development. Chailey Heritage, a well-known residential school and therapeutic centre for children and young people with a range of disabilities, originally set up in 1903, has several locations thereabouts, but the one we passed in Warrs Hill Road was among the oldest, known very confusingly as 'New Heritage'. After the school ceased to use that huge site the abandoned buildings fell into horrible decay that was very sad to see. Now all but one or two protected buildings, such as the Grade II listed former chapel, have been demolished and in their place is a large estate of rather uninspiring new houses including, it is understood, some 'affordable housing'. How do they sell it if only some of it is 'affordable' one wonders?
Yet another diverting road name came next as we rode along Butterbox Lane to Scaynes Hill, where the A272 was so busy that most of us used the pelican crossing to provide a safe gap in the traffic, before heading briefly west towards Haywards Heath. We stopped just outside the village to admire and photograph the largest and tallest array of Common Spotted orchids any of us could recall seeing, in the verge right next to the main road and undamaged by council verge trimmers. Very soon we turned south into our third unusually named byway, Slugwash Lane – a reference to cleaning slugs or removing them? Arguments raged.
At Wivelsfield we decided to take the quiet option, and rode the length of Hundred Acre Lane without being troubled by much traffic, only raucous pheasants. Then it was back to Folders Lane and suburbia, and eventually to Burgess Hill Station and a weary trip home. Many thanks to Leon for a very enjoyable ride.
The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
37. Clarion cycling continues to spread as the first Meet approaches
From 'Swiftsure' Cycling Notes, The Clarion, 30 March 1895