|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Dear fellow members and friends
2 April 2008
I'm away at the moment, so this comes to you via Jim.
The 'Brighton & Hove North' chapter (aka our London friends Nick and Amanda) are planning a ride taking in Putney, Richmond Park and Weybridge – watch this space (or the website) for more details.
Roger has bagged the 11th of May; details of the next ride (13 April) follow. Here are the remaining dates:
27 April; 25 May ; 8, 22 June; 6, 20 July, 3, 17, 31 Aug; 14, 28 Sept; 12 Oct; 2, 16, 30 Nov, 14 Dec.
If you want to lead a ride on one of these dates: -
The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club in 1894
Latest episode at the end of the Circular.
The Next Ride
Sunday 13 April 2008
The Levels, as the name suggests are pretty flat. Wartling and Hooe are on the north-eastern edge where the road tends to 'go up' a bit. There's a small hill up to Wartling and a slightly bigger one at the end of the otherwise delightful Horse Bridge Lane as we go into Hooe.
The Last Ride – Anne's Report
B.S.T. and seafront cycling for softies, 30.3.08. No oil and no rain!
After some hectic weather on previous rides, Jim thought a shorter, nearer, flatter ride might bring out a few more Clarion members, so proposed a trip along the seafront to Saltdean, for the first day of British Summer Time of 2008. When the ride was first mooted the weather forecasts were extremely bad, with fierce winds and copious rain, but reality proved milder and sunnier.
The start at the Palace Pier
9 of us met at the Palace Pier and waited for Nick who was coming down from London on the train. However, trains were not going to Brighton station, which was substituting buses, so Nick had to go to Hove and cycle back. Leon got on the train at Hassocks and cannily off it at Peston Park station, thus arriving earlier than Anne and Mick, who only live a short downhill trip from pier. Turned out that Nick and Leon were on the same train but didn't realise it, due to poor provision made on our trains for cycles. Leon had to pop on where cycles were not permitted, but escaped any censure by hopping off at Preston Park. All happy to chat and greet while we awaited Nick; catching up on Fred and Nick and Joyce at CND's Aldermaston's 50th anniversary the previous weekend, plus previous ride. Fred's flickr photos were subsequently viewed and enjoyed by me. Leon presented Jeff with a new saddle of unusual 'hammock'" shape, to compensate for the vandalism reported in the last ride. It elicited some ribald comments from some Clarionettes and Fred took photo [it was Jim].
Jeff's new saddle - Jim's photo
A burly pier security guard took the group photo, though he rejected Fred's suggested position and had us all turn around so that he could get pier prominently in background, even if it meant that our faces would be dark from camera pointing towards sun - no point in arguing with a big press-ganged photographer (and photo turned out fine). Fortunately for us Madiera Drive along the sea-front was closed to traffic for an event, so we were able to cycle along the road without the danger of cars searching for or emerging from parking spaces.
Past the Marina
Previous weekend (freezing Easter) had seen mad driver doing U-turn and almost bumping into tandem; shouts/screams of alarm from tandem riders, who wobbled but no apology from errant driver. Mick must have been hungry as he raced ahead to Rottingdean and didn't even pause at the Ovingdean café which is his favourite. Eventually all 10 of us arrived at Rottingdean and sadly, Sue had to say goodbye as she had relations to meet.
New wall and protection form falling rocks
The remains of the Daddy Long Legs railway
Mysterious door in the cliffs - Jim's photo
Not much sign of Jim's promised timber structures in his preview of the ride, as the diggers had been busy, clearing the piles of timber we first encountered on our January 20th ride from Worthing to Littlehampton, after a stormy shipwreck off Selsey Bill. There was a pile and a digger but nothing to play with or sit on.
The rocks were being enjoyed and clambered by children and adults alike, though there was a (miserable) sign forbidding any such fun. Further along the beach was an intriguing wire and steel structure. Was it sculpture? No, though intricate and beautiful it was functional too and the headphoned owner beneath it explained that it was short-wave radio and he was listening to mainly Russian speakers and some US too. Not sure if it counts as cold war summitry or spying but Jim, Leon and Jeff understood the technicalties.
Anne goes to investigate ham radio
Also spotted a bather just back from the sea, though he wasn't too enthusiastic about the pleasures of sea bathing so soon in the year. I was quite warm by then and might have been persuaded had he been, though, fortunately, he wasn't. We passed the café and proceeded to the Eastern edge of the prom, where some, gingerly and individually, mounted the seawall, clinging onto a convenient post, to crane round the corner and view the most easterly pile of shipwrecked timber from The Ice Prince, picturesquely sited beneath the cliffs of Saltdean. They will prove a difficult challenge to remove.
The end of the undercliff
Leon as Neptune - view back towards Brighton
Jim's cyclometer read 4.9 miles at this point so Leon cycled round a bit to reach the 5 mile mark and returned looking like Triton or a siren, luring seamen to their peril. Fred has plenty of photos of us all wanting a turn at wearing a most unusual wig. I carried it around with me back to lunch for those whose hunger had led them straight to the café, but, on closer examination, it was a bit oily and I abandoned it.
Lunch al fresco
Lunch al fresco
The return journey
Food at the café was good; my fresh orange, raspberry and mango smoothie was delicious and we were able to eat outside in sunshine. By the end of the meal, sun forsook us and we became a bit chilly. Mick and I beat a hasty retreat westward home, to visit aged parent, but the goodbyes elicited some eagerness for trip around tip of Marina, to complete the day.
We arrived home in 25 minutes as path was not too busy, having had a jolly excursion, thanks to Jim for organising and for Jeff, Suzanne, Roger, Nick, Fred, Sue and Leon for company and chat. We look forward to hearing news of National Clarion Conference and Bob Harber's report.. [Report not received at time of sending – again, watch this space! – Jim]
The Return Leg – Jim's Postscript
We did indeed return, under Roger's leadership, via the Marina, which was not as tricky as I'd imagined, although I still don't like the place. From the east wall we were able to watch the surfers, one of whom turned out to be the son of a friend, and we also saw a paraglider approaching from the Rottingdean direction and executing a very neat 180° turn just short of the Marina (so clearly he didn't like the place either!)
Paraglider over the cliffs - Jim's photo
Taxi Driver of the Year competition
Returning to Madeira Drive, the Taxi Driver of the Year (Brighton Section) competition was in full swing, and we marvelled at the dexterity of the drivers weaving in and out of traffic cones, although I was surprised that the compulsory manoevres did not include that well-known party trick of taxi drivers, the U-turn. We also felt that in order for it to be a realistic trial, they should have been required to do the test whilst talking non-stop to a drunk throwing up in the back!
[Again, even more and bigger photos on Flickr. ]
The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club in 1894
You may recall that near the end of May 1894, Leonard Hall had suggested 'why not have a great 'Clarion' picnic for all and sundry some August weekend, in some happy English valley, to which should come the faithful from the four corners of the world, on wheels, on legs, in trains,' On 16 June readers heard once more from the Birmingham Clarion Cycling Club. 'Mr C. J. Thompson, hon. sec.' wrote as follows (and Blatchford replied):-
Meanwhile, also in Birmingham, the CCC or some of them, were already engaged in a parallel and overlapping exercise in launching the 'Clarion Scouts' (bear in mind this is more than a decade before Baden Powell so the word 'scout' would have probably suggested Kit Carson, Buffalo Bill, or such like acting as an army 'scout' in the Wild West or in other exciting and challenging environment.] The man who was to become synonymous with Clarion cycling over the next decades appeared also in this context. On 7 July 'Notes from the Front reported the inaugural meeting, with 50 present, of the 'Nunquam Scouts' – 'The orders from the commanding officer were read out by Tom Groom.'
Then at the end of July (28 July) 'Bewicke' wrote to the paper as follows:-
Splendid stuff, eh? Next time – The Clarion CC continues to spread and 'Swiftsure' has words to say about 'Cyclo-Phobia' – demonstrating beyond dispute that it didn't, as is widely believed, originate in the Argus a few years back.