Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

5 August 2008

Lots of reports again - Joyce's on the Toll Bridge ride, Suzanne's on the one on Sunday and Roger's on the latest Cycle Forum meeting – please respond to his request for feedback and suggestions. More from Peter Roscoe and The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club in 1894 - Latest episode at the end of the Circular as usual. And, first, a message from Joyce re; the Picnic on 24 August.

Clarion social

This summer's social will be a picnic on the beach. After soundings it looks like Sunday 24 August is the best date - so put in in your diary. It will be at the banjo groyne - which is just at the point where Duke's Mound goes up.

Aim to be there from about 11.30 - 12 (especially if you want a swim before eating). We will eat about 1 pm. Bring food to share, friends, relatives, guitars or whatever - but especially yourself. If the weather is bad we will repair to the cafe under the lift... any questions - ideas etc, to Joyce please.

Planning rides

Here are all the remaining dates for 2008: 31 Aug (Leon), 14 (Jim), 28 Sept, 12 Oct, 2, 16, 30 Nov, 14 Dec.



Points from the Cycle Forum Meeting on 22 July 2008

Roger reports back.

There was discussion about how the Cycle Forum should relate to the City Sustainability Partnership, which is being established under the auspices of the Local Strategic Partnership. Clearly transport is relevant to sustainability, but should the Forum seek direct representation, or press for a transport sub-group to be established on which it would have a place? Gripping stuff!

A safety audit is to be carried out of the new cycle lanes in Grand Avenue (and northward) in Hove. Once that is complete the Forum will call for better publicity of its existence.

The Council has finalised plans for changes to North Street, Brighton, designed to improve pedestrian safety. It has rejected the Forum's plea for a two-way street in Ship Street and decided to create a one-way, southbound route. This option was not included in the original proposals, which went to public consultation and were subjected to a safety audit. It is not clear yet whether a cycle contra flow will be allowed, but either way the Forum is unhappy with the outcome and would have preferred a two-way route for all traffic.

A final decision has also been made against a cycle path at the North Street Quadrant to provide a link for cyclists between North Street and Queens Road; this would have re-instated the route that disappeared when the short road to the west of the Clock Tower was closed. I must confess that I had been a lone voice in the Forum speaking against this idea: I felt that it would cause conflict with pedestrians and create two difficult right turns for southbound cyclists. The Forum will now press (rightly in my opinion) for a right turn at the traffic lights for southbound cyclists from Queens Road towards Churchill Square.

At its next meeting the Forum will try to identify three (say) strategic aims that should be adopted for improving cycling facilities throughout the city. Examples mentioned were no more one-way streets and filling in gaps in the cycle network. The main point is that the aims should be general principles rather than related to specific locations. I am thinking of suggesting more cycle training for youngsters, to develop road sense. If you have any suggestions you would like me to put forward, let me know.


The Next Ride

Sunday 17 August
Chichester Harbour
c 22 miles

Summer wouldn't be summer without the traditional ride around Chichester Harbour (featuring a short trip on Jeff's favourite ferry at Itchenor ) So, on the same weekend as last year I've put it in the programme.

When we had lunch at the reopened Crab and Lobster at Sidlesham Quay last year the food was very good but it was expensive and very slow coming. I'm all for 'gastro-pubs' generally, but it's not I think what you want on a cycle ride. We'll decide for definite on the day, of course, but I think we might try The Bell Inn at Birdham which we used in 2006. We'll take the usual route – with the extra bit near the beginning I put in last year – and hope that there are no locked gates to negotiate this time! There will be time towards the end of the ride for the usual cuppa (and cakes for the addicts) at Bosham.

Catch 10.17 from Brighton station or meet at Chichester station at 11.19. There are a variety of trains for returning – eg 16.14 (change at Hove), 16.22 and 16.53.

27 July 2008
The Tollbridge Ride
- Joyce's Report

[More photos on Flickr]

This was our now traditional ride to support the renovation of the Tollbridge – and the good news is that 'we did it'" (well maybe not quite us alone .... ) :- the bridge is scheduled to re-open in October.


On a glorious summer morning Fred, Jim, Joyce and Jeff met at Brighton station – smug in the knowledge that we were going to have an easier ride than usual , after successfully persuading the organisers that 28 miles on top of getting to Coombes Farm was a bit much (didn't leave us enough time to delight in Wiston's without always being the last back ) - so this ride was going to be 16 miles. At Shoreham we were joined by Alice (who had heroically ridden from Brighton) and Leon; Amanda joining us at Coombes Farm. There the aficiados admired the drawbridge mechanism of the Shoreham footbridge.

Since the Tollbridge is still closed, our leader Jim took us on a very pleasant mystery tour across the footbridge, along the houseboats, through a meadow and wood until we miraculously emerged at Shoreham airport. From there it was the familiar ride up to Coombes Farm. Unfortunately too late to meet up with Allen Turner and his son who, way beyond our league, were doing the really long ride 38 miles!. Apparently we just missed their start but heard that they had successfully completed route 5 in good time (back before us!!!). Congratulations to both. (and see below for Allen's account.)

Jeff's New Trainers

After much fussing with safety pins and numbers (an excuse for at least one to take his shirt off yet again!) , and admiring Jeff's new shoes (where does he find them?), we were soon off with appropriate safety advice from Les Robinson. Off up the familiar hill on Coombes Road – and this time we did not take the easier route to Steyning via the Downslink , so braved the hill. Out through Steyning and then on pleasant roads with a lots of wonderful names to delight us 'Wapping thorn Farm', Maudlin Paddock, Beggar's Bush, and into the long and delightful Spithandle Lane. This offered a complete range of landscapes – meadow, bush, lovely shaded woods and – best of all, led us direct to Wiston's, a veritable Oasis on this now very hot day. We even got there so early we were able to spend lots of time and not feel guilty.


Apart from food, there was convivial company, Jeff's London rail map from the eighteen hundreds to pore over, a friendly robin and an Indian Runner Duck, which try as he might Fred could not catch up. Finally Jeff produced his Betty Boop on a Harly Davidson motorbike vest, which immediately had Leon, shirt off, trying it on ... After stocking up with fresh peas, beans etc. We reluctantly said good bye to Wiston's – but not before admiring a magnificent Chevrolet wedding car.


On the way back we stopped to admire the work being done on the bridge and to Coombes Farm for tea bread, tea and our medals. Then a long laze on the grass where the good name of Clarion was tested when Leon got told off for scrumping the local cherryplums – but it was all resolved in the spirit of fellowship when it was seen to be down to a misunderstanding.


The ride back to Shoreham station was uneventful other than for some melodious (and some otherwise) singing. There the group divided between those returning by train and Alice, Leon and Joyce deciding to ride back to Brighton (probably feeling a bit guilty after all that lolling about). At Hove Alice was the first to reach home ground, Leon and Joyce continued for an ice-cream and then Joyce left – and then there was one – who I am reliably told went for a swim before getting the train from Preston Park.


A lovely day and so good to know the Tollbridge is to live again.


And Allen adds:

Yes, we were there, but left early, about 9.40. Both of us had other engagements later in the day. It's curious that the check-in ladies didn't remember, because one of them commented on the Clarion cap I was wearing!

Oh well. What it is to be forgettable!! Anyway we completed route 5 in good time. The home made cake at the end was very welcome. (I thought there were fewer riders than last year?) It was odd not riding to the Tollbridge, but I passed it on my way back to Lancing after the ride. They seem to be making excellent progress, but hopefully they will still need more money and there will be a ride next year!


The Last Ride - Suzanne's Report

Sunday 3 August
Chichester and the five W's

[More photos on Flickr]

'Fellowship is Life'… and also a cheap train ticket. Fred, Joyce, Roger and Suzanne met at Brighton station and hey-presto: 4 travellers = 1 saving on the group fare.


A slow journey to Chichester flew by with Fred's account of his train + bus expedition to Hythe [actually Folkestone - Fred] the previous day and a discussion about Tesco taking over the London Road and other topical matters (Joyce being ably supported by the young solicitor sitting next to her who had evidently been 'ear-wigging' throughout most of the journey).

Prejudices ran riot as we decided that the teenage girls dressed in luminous pink outside Chichester station might not be the most reliable of photographers. Fortunately a young mum came to our rescue and the traditional family portrait was successfully captured. We were off, wending out way west over the railway line and then to the first optional tour of the trip to Ratham Mill. No rats involved. Ratham being the modern version of the Anglo-Saxon 'settlement of Rōta', a settlement described in documents as far back as 1279.


Then on to the first of our W's: into the parish of West Ashling, past the corrugated iron church in Woodmancote and on to a superb lunch at The Stag's Head in Westbourne. It was a little daunting to see that the pub had not only reserved a table for the four of us – but to see that the table was laid with a white cloth (paper, I'm glad to say), elegant wine glasses and real linen serviettes (napkins for the 'posh' amongst you).


Fred went for the mullet, Joyce for the curried cauliflower soup, Roger a filled baguette and Suzanne for the potato and chorizo salad – yes, it was a huge and varied menu, the quality of the food was excellent and we got a warm welcome. Indeed, waterproofs and windcheaters were deemed no longer necessary when we came out of the pub to feel that the air was quite mild and the rain no longer threatened.


Being an honest man, Roger had promised hills, and hills we got when we set off again, continuing westward, skirting the very northernmost tip of Emsworth and then north through Hollybank Wood, over the Emsworth Common Road and continuing along the ups and downs of Southleigh Forest. We left the forest at Stansted Sawmill. Half a mile further brought us to a grand lodge at the entrance-drive to Stansted House and a distant view of the full beauty of the front façade of the Edwardian house itself. Alas, the 1690's house was destroyed by fire in 1900 and rebuilt in faithful 17th Century style by the then owner.

More interestingly, perhaps, was the part of the Monarch's Way which lies opposite the lodge house. Here, so a carved inscription on the wall of the lodge told us, an avenue was planted on the last day of the reign of George III, Saturday, 29 January 1820. It is this Avenue which forms part of the Monarch's Way from Worcester to Shoreham – the zigzag route taken by Charles II as he fled from the Parliamentary forces.


With the history lesson over we turned east again, plunging down a steep wooded road into the valley that was to take us through Funtington – at which point, Fred got extremely excited when he saw the promised land: well, not so much the promised land as the promised afternoon tea advertised on a home-made sign

West Stoke Village Hall.
Cream teas. Sundays.
3 – 5pm

What the notice did not say, was that the good villagers of West Stoke believed in advertising far and wide and that there were at least three hills and three miles before we got to West Stoke.


After a rapid glance into West Stoke church it was decided that, rather than patronise the village hall, it was time to enjoy the glorious downhill ride all the way into Chichester. Easy-peesy into Chichester brought us to the canal café where tea was much appreciated, as was Joyce's packet of Jaffa Cakes which disappeared at 'tired and hungry cyclist' speed. The fast train back to Hove deposited Fred and Joyce just in time to join the packed train for Brighton and left Roger and Suzanne to brave the new, over-engineered cycle route down The Drive and Grand Avenue in the first real rain of the day.

A long hard day, but … 'Fellowship is Life' they all said as they dropped exhausted into bed that night.


Clarion History

If you are following the 'Origins' series will have realised that in the very early years racing played no part in the activities of Clarion Cycling Clubs. The second contribution from Peter Roscoe, the National Treasurer (below) gives his account of how racing became part of Clarion activities. Peter has relied completely on his own memory - and recognises that he may well have got some things a little wrong. So if anyone can put him right about anything he'll be eager to hear from them (and I will of course report it too)

Dennis Pye's book Fellowship is Life records that Clarion racing clubs were established in 1932 with the appendage Clarion C&AC to the section's name. These C&ACs affiliated to the RTTC which was established just before World War II. See Clarion C&AC centres in RTTC rule on membership of clubs.
The formation of the centres led to the setting up of the National Clarion Cycling and Athletic Association - a federal as opposed to the National Clarion which as we know is a club. There was an affiliation fee to the NCC&AA based on membership - it may have been 3p or 6p.
In the 1950's then I was a member of Bury Section for clubruns (i.e. the National Clarion) and also Manchester Clarion C&AC for racing. Fenland Clarion C&AC, Midlands Clarion C&AC and Bolton Clarion C&AC were also Clarion racing clubs. The latter was unusual as far as I can remember all its members except one Bury member comprised the Centre. I think the explanation must go back to the National Committee being worried that if they did not grant Bolton Section permission to form their own C&AC (racing club) then Bolton would become another defector - there were sections defecting from the National Clarion.
In 1956 Bury members decided they wanted their own C&AC. This caused much upset in the section as it was seen that we would become two separate entities (as indeed technically we would) so it was decided that the club would pay an affiliation fee to the NC&AA that would cover all members of the section regardless of the fact that most were not racing members. There was a great uncertainty in the section whether or not the National Committee would allow us to become a C&AC. How times have changed - Nottingham, Crewe and Heanor have taken unilateral action making it possible for their members not to be part of a local section of the National Clarion.
So there it was and I can recall in the early 1960's as Racing Secretary of Bury Clarion attending the NCC&AA. Maybe I also attended the National Clarion conference - can't recall.
In the early 1960's a livewire racing secretary of the National Clarion (Ted Chappell) realised that falling membership meant that the NCC&AA was not sustainable and moves were made for the National Clarion to take over the responsibilities of the NCC&AA.


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

14 Reports from Bradford.

Last time we had the 'end of season' report from Birmingham from the Clarion of 22 September 1894. The same issue had also a report from Bradford

Just returned from a glorious run to Harrogate, Starbeck and Knaresborough, twelve machines going, including a tandem which is to carry a lady with us next week. Returned to Starbeck, and organised a meeting for the handful of Socialists there, who are having an uphill fight. Next Sunday 's run is to Wyke and at their request, to rouse them up there. J H

The previous week, see last circular, Tom Groom had revived the idea of a spring meet (or 'meat' as he spelled it at the end of his report) for all Clarion cyclists – the origin of today's Easter Meet and asked 'Bradford' for its support. As we shall see, he didn't ask in vain – and 'Pedlar' seems to have been far too nice to correct the O'Groomie O's spelling. From the Clarion, 29 September 1894 -

Bradford Clarion C.c. reports, September 23 1894:-

Nineteen machines went to Wyle to-day. We turned the village out with the bugle. Delivered lots of Clarion leaflets. Stayed to meeting addressed by Comrade Hay of Halifax and others. Next week's run is to Barnsley. Hope to do some good work there and on the road. If the Clarion circulation is not trebled it isn't the fault of the Bradford C.C.. for it is their main aim to advertise it, seeing they get inspiration from it. We all heartily endorse 'Brum's' remarks about good fellowship for 'Cycling Socialist' is the new name for true comradeship. We shall be pleased to fall in at the meat. Bell tents are very cheap to hire, and why should not some hundred Clarion cyclists spend a few days together if some suitable centre could be spotted out. We shluld hope to bring a little crowd with us from this end. With our president (Ben Tillett) riding at her head we should be bound to arrive. Oh, let it be soon


We'll have to get a bugle! I see Fred as our first choice for bugler – but no doubt everyone else will want a blow too.

Ben Tillett (1860-43) had become well-known a few years earlier as one of the leaders of the London Dock Strike of 1889. His union later merged with others to form the T&G and Tillett later became a Labour MP

Next time – 'Lady Cyclists' and reports from Liverpool and Bradford (again)

^ top