Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

4 May 2009

Several people have now told me they've signed up for the Toll Bridge Ride on 5 July –mostly for the 16/20 mile version. But some are having problems getting entry forms (difficult to believe, I know!). If the email doesn't get the result within a few days I'd not hesitate to ring one of the organisers. Emails are and And/or phone 01273 885994 or 01273 462233. We need to sign up by early next month – otherwise it costs more.

Onward and upward! Or When is an undulation a hill?

Fred is fond of a gentle leg-pull about my habit of referring to 'undulations' in ride descriptions and I've been taken to task from time to time for allegedly misleading people by minimising the hilliness of this or that route.

The problem is, of course, that it's so relative. I recall overhearing a spectator at the end of the 1990 (or maybe 1991) Wincanton Classic when it was held in Brighton asking Robert Miller what he thought of the 'big hill' – meaning Ditchling Beacon which had been part of the race circuit and climbed at least twice during it. Miller looked puzzled and asked 'What big hill?'

Well, Miller had won the King of the Mountains and come 4th overall in the 1984 Tour de France. Compared to – say – the 37 kms of the Galibier or 21 kms of Mont Ventoux , the Beacon - about a kilometre - would seem like just a rise in the road to him.

But to me it's a very big hill – and I suspect even Bob would agree with that. My rule of thumb for whether it's a 'hill' or not when the road starts to go up is whether I have to change down to my small chainwheel to get up it. Like most experienced cyclists I always ride in the lowest gear I find comfortable and don't change gears that often. I didn't go down to my 'granny gear' at all on the last two rides – yesterday's and Upper Beeding – in fact I didn't change gear at all yesterday. But I would still count that bit between Botolphs and Coombes as a 'little hill'. A 'big hill' would be like the one we should have gone up after leaving The Fox Goes Free a few weeks back. Anything in between I might call 'biggish' or 'quite big' Hope that gives a reasonable idea. There are some little hills, a biggish one and one short but steep one in the next ride – two if one counts the slope up from Southerham but that's a lot easier than the one at Barcombe on the way back.

Planning rides

2009 rides for the rest of the the year will be on Sundays 31 May; 14 (Roger), 28 June ( Leon), 12, 26 (Leon) July, 9, 23 August, 6, 20 September*, 4 (Roger), 18 October, 1, 15, 29 November, 13 December

As always I'd welcome offers to organise/lead on any of the dates above. But the one marked * is the one I definitely can't do Make sure to let me know at least 3 weeks before – and to let he have full details at least 2 weeks before the date of the ride.

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 17 May 2009

Joyce's suggestion during the Centurion Way ride that we should occasionally revert to our early practice of taking sandwiches etc and having a picnic during the summer months seemed popular. So here's one such ride and I have another planned for next time. And Roger has one in mind for later in the summer. Not quite the ride I had in mind originally – but we can't get beyond Lewes on 17th trainwise.

Picnic on the Banks of the Ouse at Barcombe

Leaving Lewes station we'll find our way to Cliffe High Street and the road with the Snowdrop near the end – which used to be the main road before the tunnel was built (bikes not allowed in the tunnel – not that anyone would want to ride one there). Carefully crossing the road we make towards the A27 for a few dozen yards and then turn off through Southerham and up the short hill onto the cycling path beside the main road. We get off that a bit further on and ride up Ranscombe Lane – which is certainly 'undulating' as well as very pleasant with 2 or 3 small hills to cross. Arriving in Glynde we have that quite long hill past Glynde Place – but that's all the hills for quite some time.

We'll take the route behind Glyndebourne (missing the hill that goes past the front) and eventually reach Ringmer via the splendidly named Potato Lane. Joining the main Lewes/Uckfield road we've an unavoidable spell of busy main road – about half a mile - before we turn off towards Barcombe Mills where we can take a mile of the old railway track and come out near the Anchor Inn where we can picnic by the river in the field opposite.

The return ride will be only about half the distance of the ride out and will take us through Barcombe Cross – steep little hill up to the village – and then on towards Hamsay and Offham – uphill drag to the latter. Then we can take – walking the first very steep bit – the downhill track through the woods into the Landport area of Lewes and then back from there by the usual route to the station


Meet: Meet at Lewes Station at 11.01
Getting there: Catch 10.50 from Brighton station (arrive by 10.30 for chance of Groupsave)
Distance: about 18 miles
Hills: No really big hills but this ride is a bit hillier than most especially early on [See description above for more details]
Off road: A stretch of cycle path beside the main road going out and a mile or so on the old railway track at Barcombe. Some tracks and paths back to Lewes from Offham
Catering: Bring whatever you'd like for a picnic. We'll be picnicking opposite the Anchor Inn if anyone prefers to have lunch there (or forgets their sandwiches!) Possibility of a tea stop at the Royal Oak where we've been well catered for several times in the past on the way back.
Getting home: Trains back at 15.48 and 16.48

My mobile: 0789 985 1172

The Last Ride - Jim's Report

Sunday 3 May 2009
Hurstpierpoint – Hickstead – Twineham – Wineham – Blackstone

[More photos on Flickr]

We had had several 'apologies for absence' for this ride, so I was wondering how many would make it. And sure enough, the group of Clarionettes that assembled at Hassocks Station did seem rather meagre, until one realised that that was only in comparison to recent bumper turnouts of 16 or 17. In fact there were nine of us – Ian, Jeff, Jenny, Jim, Joyce, Leon, Richard, Roger and Suzanne – a very respectable number.


Ian's plan had been to take the usual route – the B2116 – to Hurstpierpoint, but Leon stepped in with his local knowledge and showed us the back way, via Semley Road – the way we went on 8 March (not 22 February as it says on the website) but then turning left into Friars Oak Road, across the A273 and onto the golf course. Was this a Clarion first – riding on a golf course? Some of us were rather worried about the prospect of getting cuffed with a No. 12 iron (or whatever it is that golfers use) or simply being accidentally knocked out by a stray ball moving at nearly the speed of light – but off Leon went, across the grass, then through a narrow passageway, and all nine of us made it through alive. We emerged into College Lane, back onto the original route, and Ian took over the lead. We saw a stunning carpet of wild garlic, and fields of brilliant yellow oilseed rape, under a canopy where blue sky seemed to fight a constant battle with the clouds, and coats came off and went back on again as the temperature demanded.


Round Hurstpierpoint College, then into Pomper Lane and Pookbourne Lane, two more names to be added to the Interesting Road Names gallery. These were both lovely, quiet, flat, Clarionesque lanes; nevertheless, Leon managed to fall off at the start of Pookbourne, and, trying in vain to steady himself on my bike, eventually brought me down too. No broken bones though, and we continued to the bridge over the A23 intersection at Hickstead, which had been the scene of a much more serious accident in 2008 when Marie Vasco was knocked off her bike and killed by a car whose driver was too busy negotiating the slip road to notice her.


Leaving that horror behind, we took Hickstead Lane to Twineham Green and then Bob's Lane; and so to our lunch venue, the Royal Oak.

Lunch at the Royal Oak

Disaster! No cheesy chips! So Jeff broke with tradition and had a ploughman's, along with most of the rest of us; two had soup, and Leon had brought a picnic. The lunchtime conversation was fascinating – first Joyce gave us a first-hand account of her G20 protest experience, when a line of aggressively-clad police had advanced on a group of non-violent demonstrators, pushed a musician hard in the chest and knocked both him and Joyce over in a completely unprovoked attack. Then the conversation developed into a political argument in which the crisis of capitalism and various remedies for it were passionately discussed. When I protested that it was going to be hard to get it all down in the report, Roger quoted a poem about the trials and tribulations of the minute-taker:

'When the great ones repair to their dinner,
The secretary sits getting thinner and thinner,
Trying his best to recall and record
What the great ones will think that they ought to have thought'.


After lunch, we continued southwards through Wineham, and over the River Adur, here a much diminished cousin to the great estuary at Shoreham, and some of us wondered exactly where it rises, since none of the tributaries that feed it to the east of the bridge are named on the map. On to Blackstone, with its fake well; then to Woodmancote, crossing the A281 and taking Bramlands Lane, where we saw what some of us thought were emus and others thought were ostriches – my birdwatching friend has now confirmed that they were ostriches. Then Holmbush Lane, and finally the A281 claimed us for a short death-defying dash to what is shown on my map as Poynings Crossways (but nowhere near Poynings) and the slightly less dangerous B2117.


A tea stop at Washbrooks Farm was suggested, but Joyce needed to get home, so Leon gallantly went with her, reporting back by phone when she was safely despatched to Hassocks Station. The remaining seven of us joined the chickens, turkeys, ducks and other wildlife for a cup of tea or coffee and (in my case) a slice of lime drizzle cake, and Ian and Roger continued the political discussion (I distinctly heard the names 'Marx' and 'Engels', so it was not exactly idle chit-chat!), before summoning up the energy for the final leg, back to Hassocks. Here we found we had just missed a train, so the five of us (the Washbrooks Seven minus Ian and Jenny who had brought cars) spent 45 minutes chatting pleasantly about all manner of things including the silliness of some of our school friends' names.

This was my last ride for a while, as I have my toe operation coming up – so I hope everyone enjoys the next few outings, and I will be back as soon as I am able to cycle again. Thanks to Ian for a lovely meander around rural Sussex on a beautiful Spring day.


We all hope to see Jim back on the bike asap. If I get the info I will include bulletins in future editions. All the best with the operation, Jim!

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

33. The first Easter Meet gets nearer as Clarion C.Cs continue to get organised

More from Swiftsure in The Clarion 9 March 1895

H Burghall, Labour Hall, Rochdale, informs me that they have started the Clarion C. C. with twelve members, and asks will other C.C.C. secs send him particulars of the proposed meet at Ashbourne.

Peddlar, Bradford, thinks it is time "Brum" unfolded their plans with regard ot the Ashbourne meet. There isn't much time between now and Easter. Perhaps "The O'Groomie O" will please note.

I also have also communications from Hyde, Blackburn, and Hunslet, to say Clarion C.Cs are being formed in these places. At Hunslet a meeting will be held this evening (Friday) at the Central Labour Club to which all who are interested in the formation of such a club are invited.


Below will be found the dates and places where the Clarion C.Cs in Liverpool, Hyde, the Potteries, Bradford and Rochdale may meet the C.C.C Manchester and district. Perhaps they can arrange their rides accordingly – if its not too late? Marple, April 7, Winnick, June 22, Hebden Bridge, June 30, Greenfield, July 14, Motram, August 11, Whaley Bridge, August 17, Crewe, September 29.

The C.C.C Manchester and district have their first run next Saturday to Carrington, meet at Trafford Bar, 2 45. Let us hope it will be fine and dry and a good muster.

Next time. The first ride of the Manchester CCC and the coming first Easter Meet

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