|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Dear fellow members and friends
31 October 2004
First the very good news. Thanks to Fred (Pipes) we have now a splendid website. Have a look for yourself at http://www.brightonandhove-clarion.org.uk/. Suggestions and contributions for addition please.
I've only had two responses – very positive ones – to my plea to be told who, in principle, would like to have some sort of get-together before Christmas. Please let me know. If it's just going to be a very few of us, and we are up to 15 members currently (and 'friends' are invited too) it may be just meeting in a pub some time in December. Suggestions for not too smoky ones please.
Sunday 7 November
From Chichester station we'll take the Centurion Way – which I'm reliably informed is an ex-railway track surfaced much like the Cuckoo Trail to West Dean. Since planning this ride I've learnt that the Way is in fact the work of Mark Strong – who among other more important things is one of our members. So that will make it particularly interesting. After that we have – unavoidably – about a mile and a half of main road to Singleton before turning off onto the little country lanes. We might stop for a pint at the rather topically named The Fox Goes Free described in the Good Beer Guide as 'a fine sixteenth century inn' at Charlton, or a mile further on at the Star and Garter at East Dean. I shall be consulted Bob Harber who would like to join us at lunchtime later in the week We can return to Chichester via the road past Goodwood racecourse – flat season has finished so no race goers cars to contend with – which runs steadily downhill (I've checked it!) for at least a couple of miles. Then we cut across to East Lavant and return via the Centurion Way again.
Catch 10.10 from Brighton station or meet at Chichester station at 10.55. Best bets for return are the 14.53 (15.57 at Brighton) or the 15.21 (16.07 at Brighton). No changes on any of them.
Joyce is quite right about mobile numbers. Mine is 07787528433 (and I'll make sure to switch it on this time!). I intend to be at Chichester station well in advance of the train.
* some people on our mailing list have said that they find even our usual 20 to 25 mile rides a bit long –to start with. And now it gets dark early it is important that we can get back to Brighton station in the light. So during the winter at least some of the rides – like this one – are going to be shorter than most have been until now. On the 10 October run we averaged only 7 mph (lots of stops for photos etc). Assuming the same speed – on this predominantly flat or downhill run – we can be comfortably back in time for the earlier train and still have an hour plus for refreshment stop or stops!
Sunday 21 November
Sunday 24 October
Sunday morning was one of those times when you think 'do I give up'. I got up late to a dreary overcast day. Rushed to get myself to the station, to find most trains were cancelled and the 10am which I hoped to catch was to be diverted to Lewes. And – there was no-one else at the station, although I was confident that Fred would be coming. Time ticked on whilst I decided that I would not go home but was still considering whether to try to get to Three Bridges or do something else. All that proved a bit academic though because Fred arrived more or less at the point the train was ready to leave. I had obviously not been clear enough about 10am train not 10am meeting...
We both agreed that it was unlikely that anyone had actually gone to Three Bridges, given that no-one had contacted me. However if anyone did, you have my most abject apologies. There are lessons to be learned:
1. Those aiming to come should let the leader know beforehand
Anyway, we decided to do the Downs Link which Fred did not know and, as in life, things brightened up ... Over to you Fred
Well, after an unpromising weather forecast (would we get soaked?), I set off to the station for 10am. I'd obviously not read my email properly and arrived to see Joyce waving off the train. It had been diverted anyway and there was some possibility there may be a bus involved in the journey, so Joyce made an executive decision to change the ride. We set off down Queens Road to the seafront and eventually got onto the bumpy cycle lane heading west. Into Hove the going got smoother, and as we carried on towards Shoreham harbour, the sun came out! Oh ye of little faith! At the spot near Hove lagoon where we used to protest about live exports, Joyce took a sudden tumble, skidding on wet leaves, but soon recovered. Just past Carots cafe, we turned right and negotiated the locks and into a pretty village I now know as Southwick. This turned into a council estate, but soon we were by the Toll Bridge and the beginning of the Downs (or Coast) Link, another ex-train line by the River Adur heading north.
This was a narrow dirt track, punctuated by muddy puddles, some deeper than others (must clean my bike today)! After the customary 11-mile stop for bananas and the taking of photos, we followed it past the old cement works, and over a metal bridge. Here we took a brief diversion to visit the tiny Saxon church of St Botolph, with its wall paintings and interesting organ.
Back to the Downs Link, up to Bramber, where we visited the ruins of the castle (the church was closed) and took lunch at Ye Olde Bramber Castle pub: roast vegetables with cous cous followed by fruit crumble and custard, with two sets of cutlery and plates! I also had a pint of Harveys.
Back along the same route to St Botolphs, then along the Coombe road and the first hill of the day, which afforded good views of the cement works and a nice fast descent. Past Lancing College and Shoreham Airport, over the Toll Bridge, and back to the harbour, where we stopped for tea and toast at Carots. Thence along the coastal cycle route to Hove and Brighton, parting company by the Thistle Hotel. It was only my second (long) ride ever and I was surprised that we'd clocked up 26.6 miles – a marathon!