Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

5 October 2009

Thanks to Roger for keeping things going while I was on holiday.

You may have already had the message about the on-line 20 mph speed limit petition for Brighton – e.g. from Bricycles. Roger will be sending it out to our mailing list in the next few days. I hope everyone who hasn't already done so will sign up – there is a pretty compelling case as I think most people will agree.

Future Rides

The rides for the rest of the year will be on Sundays 1, 15, 29 November, 13 December.

As always I'd welcome offers to organise/lead on any of the dates above that have so far not been 'claimed'. I've been having quite a lot of leg and back problems lately so while I should be OK for the rest of this year's rides I'd particular welcome some more volunteers. And as I've been saying in the last few circulars I definitely can't make 15 November so a volunteer for that one is now vital. 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 latest episode of the Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s 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 18 October
The 'lower' Cuckoo Trail, Eastbourne Sovereign Harbour, Normans Bay… and Back

It was October 2006 when we tried something like this before… and that time we got a bit confused by unhelpful signs in Eastbourne. But since, among other considerations (like avoiding hills!) the 2010 Clarion Meet is going to be held there next Easter it seems time we had another go.

We'll set off down the most southerly part of the Cuckoo Trail – the part we don't normally use - try to follow Cycle Route 21 into Eastbourne and around Sovereign Harbour then along the coast road to Pevensey Bay and on to Normans Bay where we'll cross the railway line and repair The Star for lunch.

We'll return via Pevensey Castle, Stone Cross, Hankham and Rickney with the usual stop at the Old Loom tea rooms if time permits.

This is among the flattest in our repertoire! And only about 18 miles, give or take.

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton or meet at Polegate station at 10.49. Trains back leave at 42 minutes past the hour (and 2 minutes past).

The Last Ride - Anne's Report

Sunday 4 October
Barnham to Chichester and back; Cathedrals, Maseratis and Gribbles

[Many more photos on Flickr]

Seven set out from Brighton station on a 4 and a last minute 3 groupsave, Anne having raced up to Joyce who had just reached the counter at the ticket office; our leader Roger, Suzanne, Fred and Tessa, having arrived in good time for the 10.16. All able to put bikes in the designated area on Southern train, although one bike and cyclist were already there. Minor panic at Hove when a wheelchair was boarded into the carriage and we thought we'd have to be displaced. All was happily reorganised as the occupant was able to walk a bit and we 7 moved along a bit so their group could be seated together and near the wheelchair, bikes safe by themselves, next to the toilet, as is their wont.

The start

Nice surprise to see Angela and David at Barnham station with a hot cup of coffee each from station buffet. Station guard took an excellent photo of all 9 of us on the platform. No Ian, as he had emailed Roger that he had a knee problem; or kneemailed him, as Suzanne punned it. Bus replacement service onwards from Barnham, due to suicide on the line, was perversely called Salisbury buses. We thought they must have got the cathedrals in a twist and Fred went to investigate. Apparently they don't usually get suicides on a Sunday and had to find bus replacement wherever they could. The guard on the homebound train described to Joyce and me the horror and trauma for the drivers and staff when such a suicide happens and how they seem to be occurring more often this year with great disruption to train services.

On the road again

We set off along the roads of Barnham, but soon turned off onto a bridleway, through hedgerows and along field edges. We crossed a familiar-looking plank-bridge, which had featured, backwards, on a previous trip. Fun to follow a furrowed footpath on a bike; quite a test of skill and fortunately, no falls. The land was very dry and hedges bright with hips and a second crop of blackberries. Fred and I refeshed our palates with the juicy blackberries and soon the cry went up 'Are we nearly there' and 'where is lunch?' There was a way to go yet, but the spire of Chichester Cathedral could be glimpsed from time to time on the western horizon, with the Halnaker windmill atop the Downs to the north of us. We passed the tempting-looking 'Gribble Inn' and Fred asked 'What's a Gribble?'- a challenge to google later.

Dolphin and Anchor

We reached Chichester by an unfamiliar route and met the only traffic jam of the journey, easily wending our bikes into the pedestrianised zones.Our lunch-time date with The Dolphin and Anchor was in prime position opposite the cathedral. It is a fine Georgian building itself, with golden dolphin and anchor on top of its several storeys; plenty of bike parking and plenty of dishes on the menu. The roast dinner special was most popular as great value, but the vegetarian options were very tasty and interesting, even if my chickpea, sweet potato and spinach curry was lacking much of the latter greenery. Food having arrived promptly Roger gave us half an hour to explore the cathedral and surrounds.


We were welcomed into the cathedral by a red- robed lady who handed out leaflets and information, warmly enquiring about our Clarion Cycling Club. 2009 marks the centenary of Walter Hussey, dean from 1955-77, who commissioned many of the 'jewels' of modern art within: the Chagall stained-glass window, Piper's high-altar tapestry and a painting by Graham Sutherland. In September they celebrated Holst in Chichester with concerts, lecture and fine sculpture. Another Friend of the cathedral proudly pointed out to me the Holst memorials.There was an exhibition on Anne Frank, the holocaust and racism today, with a thoughtful interactive questionaire. I raced back to the bike racks as the clock struck two.

Cycle roundabout

We now headed north towards Goodwood, making use of another new [to me] cycle track with a fine bird scupture, which Fred captured and we missed spotting at the time. As we passed along the walls of the Goodwood estate and neared the posh hotel Roger revealed that it was Maserati Day at Goodwood. Not many of them were whizzing around us, but Fred and Suzanne managed to overtake one [photo] and hold it up as they caught up with the rest of us, up a country lane.


Clarion, Barnham 004

I noted that both the Maseratis we then saw had italian numberplates , so they'd come a long way for their breakfast. Although we'd all eaten a large lunch, by now we were needing more tea and after the sylvan delights of Linwood Lane, which included birdsong, Mick thought of a woodpecker, among many others, crunch and scrunch of tyres over beechnuts, acorns and chestnuts, peaceful green leaves of overhanging avenues with just a hint of autumnal hues and bright hips, old man's beard and berries of the season.

Clarion, Barnham 008

Roger had chosen well in Aldingbourne Country Park, for our tea;- fine array of cakes , pies, teas and pleasant seats amid the garden centre's flowers and wooden furniture. Again we had half an hour to explore. There was a woodland walk, a shop with squashes, cards, wooden toys etc and outside an intriguing wooden house, but whose intended home it was we tried to guess. The label eventually revealed it to be for an owl, with copious space below it for owl droppings. A ten minute walk away led me to the free range piggery with dozens of squealing piglets - all white[ish] with black spots. Think they must have been Gloucester Old Spots. A very muddy old boar was said to be particularly grumpy and a sign warned 'Beware, Pigs can bite' there was an electric fence around them all, but it looked a bit low and they all looked a bit lively!

Clarion, Barnham 010

We strung out a bit as we left as we had plenty of time to catch our 5.06 train home from Barnham, but disaster struck David's bike. The chain locked, and not having our top bike engineers, Leon or Jim with us, we weren't able to help much. As Angela and David had come by car to Barnham and didn't need to catch a train they said they's manage between them and urged us on, as it was only a mile or so.

We rushed onto the platform as a fast Brighton train arrived, but it was only a 3 carriage Great Western and Roger had discounted it anyway as not being likely to take 7 cyclists. The next one arrived within 5 minutes and involved a change at Littlehampton, which went smoothly and we all arrived home by 6pm after a fine day in grand surroundings and company.

A gribble is a small, woodlouse type marine creature which could be a bio-fuel wonder.

So now you know, as Ian says. Thanks, Roger, for a jolly, interesting excursion and to Suzanne for patiently shepherding us safely there and back again.


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

44. The Ashbourne Meet (at last!)

As you would expect the first Clarion CC meet got considerable coverage in The Clarion, coverage not confined to Swiftsure's column. On the 20 April 1895 Alex Thompson (aka 'Dangle') devoted his 'By the Way' feature to it, It began on the front page and ran over onto p 2.

Had Keir Hardie been wise and gone with us to Ashbourne he would have found cause, when enumerating Socialism's favourable symptoms at Newcastle on Tuesday, to include another and a most cheering sign of the time.

No healthier or brighter force exists in all the movement than the ardent legion of young and lusty Scouts and Cyclists with whom we so pleasantly forgathered in the restful vale of the Dove. Their fervour, their intelligence, their readiness and resourceful of with (sic), their broad sympathy, and, above all, their kindly good humour, brought some of us who had presumed to think our services needful to the good direction of their energies, to the not uncomfortable conclusion that we were not wanted at all – except perhaps – as their disciples

* * * *

These men will serve. They formed the National Clarion Cycling Club at Ashbourne which is destined to make history. As the cavalry of the Scouting Army they will at least spread the literature of Socialism into remote and sequestered villages and hamlets where our cause might else have remained unknown; but if they can also hold meetings such as that which kindled Ashbourne on Sunday night, they might well establish Socialist organisations which, despite Tom Mann's electric energy, might else remain shrouded.

They won't have a Sexton, a Groom, a Snell, and a Riley at every meeting, but - they will serve. Wherever they go, they will at least reflect credit on Socialism, and cause Distrustful Respectabity to reconsider itself.

More from Thompson next time

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