Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

30 November 2009

Christmas Revels

You will have already had the message from Suzanne, I sent on to you on Saturday. She tells me that there has been quite a good initial response – but she would like to hear from others – members or friends – who would like to join us. Here's Suzanne's update.

Christmas Lunch and Quiz: Sunday 20 December 2009
Meet at the Open House Pub, Springfield Road, Brighton
(immediately next to the London Road Station)
Noon: Upstairs in function room for cycling quiz
1.15pm  Lunch latest info.   Roasts about £8.00, Deserts about £4.50
Supplement for use of function room £2.00 (payable to Suzanne)
Order food from the bar, but meals will be brought upstairs
Confirm if you possibly can so we can give the pub a rough idea of numbers
e-mail:   phone (01273) 321794

Photos from Rides and other Clarion activities
Fred asks me to remind everyone either to put photos on the Flickr 
so he canpick them up from there or otherwise send them to him direct at


Responding the Mick's attempt to clarify 'defamation' and 'libel' in the last issue, Simon – who has clearly been overdosing on Sorry I Haven't a Clue - writes:

May I offer this further clarification on the differences between defamation and libel? Those of us who may not have benefitted from the breadth of an old-fashioned grammar school education may not realise that defamation is an injury to a person's character or reputation such that a right thinking person would think less of the injured person as a result of the injurious act. A libel provides details such as the size and washing instructions for an item of clothing.

Volunteers Still Needed

Early days, no doubt, but so far I've had no volunteers to organise rides during the first 3 months of the new year. All offers gratefully received but since I can't make either of the March dates, volunteers are definitely needed for those.

Future Rides

Friday 1 January: New Year's Day Brunch Ride to Carats Café. Then Sundays 10, 24 January; 7, 21 February and 7, 21 March. I can't make either of the March dates.


Tessa and Friends will have her ceramics and other artwork and gifts available at 38 Lorne Road, Hove for the next two weekends - 5/6 and 12/13 December. Meanwhile Fred's prints will be at the Dragonfly House on the corner of Gerrard Street, Brighton (hope that's right!) on 5th and 6th December only.

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s latest episode is as usual, at the end of the 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 13 December

This will be our 'shortest day' - the good news is that right from the start of the New Year it will be getting dark just a little later.

Berwick Circular c 14 Miles only

Our now traditional last ride of the year a really short and flat one that maybe will tempt everyone out unless the weather is atrocious. We'll do the usual loop round the Berwick, Ripe, Chalvington area and stop for lunch at the Yew Tree pub.

Distance: c 14 miles.
Hills: If I say there aren't any hills, someone is bound to point out that the road went 'up' for 10 or 20 metres at some point – but it really is pretty flat
Off road: None
Traffic: Quiet roads
Catering: Yew Tree for lunch. Possible tea stop (depending on train times and our own progress) at the Berwick Inn for tea (or by adding a couple of miles we could revisit the Selmeston tea-room

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station or meet at Berwick station at 10.43. Train back at 14.48 reaching Brighton at 3.12 or 15.48 (16.12)

(Be at Brighton Station by 9.50 for Groupsave)

Ian's mobile number is 07770743287

The Last Ride - Suzanne's Report

Sunday 29 November
Three Bridges to East Grinstead 1855 – 1967 R.I.P.

[More photos on Flickr]

Well, not exactly R.I.P., as seven intrepid Clarion cyclists, namely Alice, Anne, Joyce, Ian, Richard, Roger and Suzanne met at Three Bridges station to ensure that travellers continued to ply the route. Despite an inauspicious weather forecast, we set off beneath a changeable sky, first stop, the delightful(ly warm) Worth Church for a swift look at this mainly Saxon building (c 1050), and then over the less than delightful Elizabethan motorway (c 1974).

clarion worth way wet november09 002

Thanks to West Sussex County Council et al., the Worth Way (opened 1979) has a good surface, so good that the rain water runs off it into lateral gullies which were hopping and gurgling merrily as they flowed past us. The Worth Way was opened after much of the railway land had been sold off, and so, frequently deviates from the straight railway track bed, but by keeping a keen eye on Joyce, our leader, we made sure that we did not shoot off along farm tracks or side lanes that had no business detracting us from our intended route.

clarion worth way wet november09 003

Although the modern parade of shops has obliterated Grange Road Station at Crawley Down, The Victorian Royal Oak public house (c 1850) had most clearly not disappeared and beckoned us to lunch which was copious - but do plough-persons really have prawn cocktail for lunch?

clarion worth way wet november09 017

Our luck had run out after lunch as the rain was falling. Saddles were wiped dry and, undaunted, we carried on along the Worth Way, stopping only to snap the fine Wealden House called Gullege (c 1560s) along with a spectacular rainbow as the sun came out.

clarion worth way wet november09 009

East Grinstead was a short ride away, at which point it was unanimously decided to do a 180 degree turn and pedal back down the Worth Way as more rain threatened and the Worth Way 'sans lights' did not seem a good idea. The rain more or less stopped. The wind was more or less behind us, the cycle route went more or less downhill, Alice was more or less covered in mud (thanks to a dodgy-fitting mud guard) and Roger was more or less praying that he did not have a puncture as he had left his wheel unlocking tool at home. Back to Three Bridges Station (Edwardian) where the one and only contretemps of the whole day occurred when Anne, Roger and Suzanne managed to get up the stairs to the platform for the 3.24 whereas Alice, Joyce and Richard were beaten back by alighting travellers and had to wait for the next train.

Many thanks to Joyce (and her co-conspirator Anne) for sussing out the route last week, thus encouraging us all to spend a convivial day together on Sunday.


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

48. Blatchford prepares for the Meet - Wednesday 3 April

I'm now back-tracking slightly to the week preceding the first Clarion Meet at Ashbourne and to the 'Clarion Post Bag' of Clarion, 13 April 1895, conducted as usual by the paper's main founder and editor, Robert Blatchford.

Today it's very unusual to find an adult who can't ride a bike – true, some manage to fall off rather a lot as some of our ride reports demonstrate – but it's rare for anyone of mature years to actually need to try to learn to ride. Things were very different in the 1890s. The 'safety' bicycle - ancestor of our bikes today - was only invented in the previous decade. Prior to that there were 'ordinary' bicycles (aka penny farthings) tackling which required a rare mixture of athleticism and lunacy. Robert Blatlchford was born in 1851 so at the time we're concerned with he would have been 43 or 44. 'Winnie', by the way, is his daughter Winifred. From the place names the action - if that's the right word - seems to have taken place on the Isle of Wight where the family seem to have been taking a holiday.

By the way, I had almost forgotten, I am also a member of the new editorial branch of the Clarion Cycling Clubs, and shall be expected to give notice of runs.

Wednesday April 3rd, went out on the sands to practise mounting the "bike". Took Winnie to hold his tail while I got across him.

Found it very easy to get across him - and off on the other side. Discharged Winnie after a few attempts for neglect of duty, she having failed to stop the creature from bucking.

Resolved to conquer the stubborn steed. Wrestled with him like a Laocoon,* until the beady drops ran down my nose and the Saxon tongue failed to come to time. Efforts crowned with some success. Discovered more original ways of falling in heaps than were ever seen by a Cornish wrestler.

Picked up myself and went to lunch. After lunch had another life-and-death struggle , and succeeded in mounting and getting a start. Began at once to discover some singular phenomena of the cycle nature. The first of them was an obstinate refusal to turn any way but upside down, when the thing had shot itself to the end of my patch of sand; the second was the startling facility for spinning round and round like a firework, when I desired to impress the early servant maid with a straight run.

Discovered also that the machine has a remarkable and most powerful attraction for all kinds of obstacles which the rider wishes to avoid. This peculiarity caused me to plunge into pools of salt water, to ride over my own children's sand castles, and to make desparate, but futile efforts to climb up breakwater posts

Perhaps some experienced Clarion cyclist will kindly explain these phenomena. And perhaps the friend who so kindly presented me with the bicycle will explain his remissness in neglecting to enclose a man to hold me on!

* for them as don't know or has forgotten, Laocoon was the Trojan priest who warned against taking the 'horse' left by the Greeks into the city and was attacked and killed by a sea serpent - or in other versions several snakes.

Next time – More from Blatchford - Thursday to Monday

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