Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

7 April 2009

STOP PRESS! There is going to be a Toll Bridge ride on 5 July – which is in between two of our regular Sundays. Details next time – or I will do a 'special' about it if I have time before leaving for the Easter Meet.


We have no fewer than 4 members in Upper Beeding – the destination of our next ride (see below). If some – or better still all - could meet us at the pub that would be really great.

I've received membership cards for our latest recruits, Angela and Angelika. [I'll carry them around in my wallet until I next see you A & A – please remind me!] By my calculation that brings our section's total up to 40. In the current issue of Boots & Spurs the most interesting contribution – apart from Jim's excellent 'Year in the Life. Part II ' – was Donald Lever's breakdown of the national membership which showed that while 18 sections are smaller than us only 5 are – on the basis of last year's figures – larger. And if Calder, with 45 members qualifies, in Donald's words, as a 'large section' we have got to be close to that category. But of course quality is more important than quantity, isn't it? Which is not to say I won't welcome further membership applications (see home page of the website for details).

Talking of Jim, he writes:

After the last ride, I sent an enquiry to West Sussex Council about possible extensions to the Centurion Way. I have just had a reply from them, and have posted it on the Flickr group. To encourage people to look at that forum. The group can be reached at
I've had another email from Helen Mogford after I reported her comments and enquiries about her Dad – Gordon Cree – and the Clarion hostel in Kent. She can't remember much detail – just her parents showing her photos of Clarion rides and 'reminiscing about Amberley and Arundel etc' Apart from that it was

…long chats into the night about putting the world to rights!  Camp fires and songs / lifelong friendships begun / and dropped! / Do you remember????  / it never seemed to rain!  etc. etc.

As for the Clarion Youth Hostel in Kent –

… in the early sixties we used to go on a Friday evening in my Dad's Bedford Camper van after school / work and stay 'til Sunday night.  Again, lots of late night discussion / songs etc. - it was a beautiful old house and we made a campfire in the huge garden when it didn't rain... if it did we gathered around a really huge old fashioned fireplace in one of the large sitting rooms - wrapped in sleeping bags...  But I've lost touch with all of them - and the problem is I can't even remember the name of the village - or the house (!!!)

Can anyone help to nudge her memory? She's promised to look out for old photos next time she ventures into the loft.

Thanks to our wonderful website – for which we must continue to thank Fred profusely - we do hear from people like Helen who it's very unlikely we would otherwise. Another example is the recent email exchange I've had with Tony Brookes. An earlier edition of this Circular featured the reminiscences of Ken Wells (now on our 'History page' under 'The old Brighton section') Ken mentioned that he left the Brighton Clarion which he joined in 1948 the following year to join the Prestonville Nomads racing club – a youthful indiscretion which no doubt we can forgive!

I've now received the following from Tony Brookes

Hallo, you may be interested in my recollections of the Prestonville Nomads.

I was a member in the early 50s having been tempted to join by a very attractive female member (I was about 16 at the time) and can remember club meetings somewhere at the top end of Preston Park. I remember clearly the club race nights at the track at Preston park and getting up at ungodly hours to compete in 25mile Time Trials (T/Ts)

Track racing was my main interest and I bought my best track iron from Ernie Johnstone who was one of 2 brothers. Alan Limbrey was the star of the club and a very proficient T/trialist. 'Wazza' Wells was the club captain, I believe. I still have mementoes from the track championships I won and medals from the NCU (National Cyclists' Union. I B) for grass track racing. I took my bike to Malaya and competed locally in club events there representing the RAF and organised cycle races for our station sports days.

On return to the UK I joined the Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers and a trio of us used to go round the South of England competing in Police Sports events which usually included some grass track events. My high spot was representing the South of England at the UK Roller racing Championships at the Albert Hall but fell off my roller whilst leading!

I did meet some members of Brighton Mitre CC on a cross channel ferry to France who told me that the club had disbanded through lack of membership. I still have a Whitcombe Road bike but alas it hangs in my garage but still has Dunlop road racing tyres and a Philidyne dynamo.

The name Wells rang a bell, so I emailed Ken, who replied. Sure enough he was Wazza – well, the one Tony remembers at least. Ken writes:

The nickname Wazza was a carry on from my Brother who had that nickname, I was known as Wazza's brother for a time when he went away on active service in the war, then the addition dropped off. I have now idea where the name originated. My brother died last year His email name was Wazir.

Tony, meanwhile asks 'Any news of Alan Limrey or the Johnson brothers?' and says 'I went to the Fawcett School in York Place from 1950-54 if that rings any
bells with other correspondents' If it does, I'm sure Tony would be delighted to hear from you. He's on

For more 'history' see The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s episode 31 at the end of this Circular.

Planning rides

2009 rides for the rest of the year will be on Sundays 3, 17, 31 May; 14, 28 June (Leon), 12, 26* July, 9, 23 August, 6, 29 September*, 4 *, 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 ones marked * are ones I definitely can't do. Make sure to let me know at least 3 weeks before – and to let me have full details at least 2 weeks before the date of the ride.

Only one response to Farmers' market ride idea - making only four (including me!) altogether. So that's an idea that is definitely dropped – at least for the time being. But please don't let that discourage anyone from making other suggestions on how we might follow Fred's AGM suggestion about linking rides to particular events.

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 19 April 2009
Upper Beeding

We last did this one on 29 April 2007. We missed out the 'traditional' Upper Beeding ride last spring because the Toll Bridge was closed for renovation. I'd hoped to fit it in later in the year but that turned out not to be possible

We'll follow the usual route to just before the Old Toll Bridge then the Coastal Link/Downs Link track to Bramber and on to The Bridge at Upper Beeding for lunch in the garden by the river if it's  warm enough. For the return, as usual, we'll cross onto the Coombes Road near Botolphs and then go to Shoreham Airport for tea. And then back over the Toll Bridge and through suburban back streets to Brighton (or Hove).

Architecture notes
After the seafront and Shoreham Harbour we'll be passing near a number of medieval churches – including the two Romanesque-Gothic Transitional ones in Shoreham: St Mary de Haura and St Nicholas. Near the latter where we'll join the Coastal Link along the track of the old railway line, there's a very good view across the river of Lancing College Chapel, described by Ian Nairn in The Buildings of England of expressing perfectly 'that elusive dream of the Gothic Revival'.  At Bramber there's the ruins of the castle and what's left of St Mary's 15th century house and on the way back more survivals from the Middle Ages in the parish churches at Botolphs and (my favourite) the tiny 11th century one at Coombes before we get at least a distant glimpse of the terminal at Shoreham Airport which was used in at least one episode of Poirot to impersonate a Croyden airport and has appeared in similar disguise on a number of occasions.


Meet: Meet 10.30 by Palace Pier. If you live at the Hove end I suggest joining us near the King Alfred – outside Marocco's café on the seafront where the cycle track goes round the houses
Distance: about 25 miles (Pier to Pier). Adjust according to where you live. We will be passing Shoreham station on the way back so anyone needing to could get the train for the final bit saving 6 or 7 miles.
Hills: nearly as flat as the proverbial pancake except for a couple of small hills (we dodge the bigger one) on the Coombes road on the way back.
Off road: Seafront cycle path to (and from) the vicinity of Hove Lagoon, Link from Shoreham to Bramber and back as far as Botolphs.
Refreshments: lunch at The Bridge. Tea stop at Shoreham Airport.

My mobile: 0789 985 1172

4 & 5 April 2009
Isle of Wight Weekend

Alice and Nick's reports

[Many more photos - and videos! - on Flickr]

Participants: Fred, Angela, Angelika, Amanda, Nick, Jeff, Annie, Jim, Tessa, Joyce, Catherine and Alice

Day 1 Saturday 4 April

After a week of wonderful sunny weather, five of us, Joyce, Fred, Jim, Jeff and Alice arrived at Brighton station to catch the 09:03 train to Portsmouth Harbour. The weather was grey and overcast with rain in the air. After a brief discussion on the advantages of one or two panniers and quickly learning how to balance the bikes with the extra weight, we boarded the train. At Hove station, Tessa joined us and at Portslade, Annie. We spent the journey viewing a selection of old and new maps excitedly looking at our intended route on the Isle over the next two days. Soon we were at Portsmouth harbour where Angelika, Angela, Nick, Amanda and Catherine [Catherine popped up in Ryde, having taken the hovercraft! - Fred] were waiting to join the party. The clouds cleared and sun sparkled on the harbour water.

After refuelling with refreshments and concerns over a possible lack of gears on Angela's bike, we boarded the Seacat singing 'I've got a ticket to Ryde'. Effortlessly we glided over the busy water to Ryde pier head passing many yachts and an American fleet aircraft carrier.

Partial group photo

After many group photographs, we cycled along the pier and through Ryde up a steep route to magnificent harbour views across to Portsmouth and the Spinnaker tower. Soon we were off road following the footpath to Quarr and Binstead; progress was slow with stopping for many photo opportunities of thatched cottages etc and walking quietly through woods hoping to catch a sight of red squirrels. Either we were too noisy or passing through at the wrong time but no squirrels were seen. Another distraction was the sighting of a Red Kite, but it glided too quickly for photos to be taken.

Joyce reads her poem

After passing many white wood anemones we stopped to read a poem about a Bee written on a large stone on the ground before the gate on the footpath leading to Quarr Abbey. Once through the gate we stopped to listen to poems read by Joyce, Jim and Fred who then posted them into a box provided attached to the gate. Cycling on down the hill we came to a stop at the original Quarr Abbey where the current owner who was sitting in the garden drinking tea and reading the paper informed us that it dated back to 1132 and part rebuilt in 1586. Two minutes later we were stopping again to admire a small pony with an obviously itchy bottom being rubbed against a gate while Nick shared his apple with another pony.

On our bikes again we headed off towards Fishbourne ferry terminal where we had to leave the footpath and join a busy road. After negotiating traffic lights, busses and other assorted vehicles once again we joined a quiet bridleway past the woodlands burial ground and then stopped to admire and discuss the Fernhill Ice House. This was a deep tunnel in the ground locked by a gate that stored the ice for up to a 100 days or even longer in times past.

Ice well

From the Ice House we carried on to Newport for a late lunch at the Bargeman's Rest pub. Food was gratefully eaten as most of us had worked up a hearty appetite from tackling many, many more than expected undulations since leaving Ryde.
Lunch over, a photo opportunity presented itself across from the pub of a duck and her little ones on the water of the estuary / river. [Catherine then headed back to Ryde and Portsmouth - Fred.]

April 5, 2009: Clarion bike ride, Isle of Wight

Leaving Newport we headed out to Parkhurst Forest passing the prison on the way. A decision was made to take a diversion through the forest but this was short lived as Angela's back brakes locked onto her wheel halting any further progress. A rider caught up with the rest of the group who returned to assist in freeing the brake locks. The brake cable could not be slotted back in but Angela bravely offered to ride on despite this. Due to this problem we headed back onto the roads again to Wellow and Thorley. By now legs and bottoms were getting extremely tired and sore and the cries to Jim how much further became more frequent. At last we came to the final stretch with a promise of no more hills as we turned onto a bridle path leading past Yarmouth and through a wonderful wet lands area that provided more excellent photo stops of the birds and swans. On reaching Freshwater Bay village we stopped off at the village pound where many thought we had reached the end of our first day. Alas this was not the case and heading into Totland Bay Jim had planned for us one more killer hill that needed to be negotiated before reaching the youth hostel.

Little egret

It was now six thirty and after leaving our bikes in the shed provided, we booked into the hostel and eagerly looked forward to hot showers, making beds and a drink. We had opted to eat at the hostel and eagerly looked forward to our three course evening meal, even though a lot of us could not recall what we had ordered and thought completely different things were on the original menu. Unfortunately the ale was off and red wine was opted for instead. Some negotiation took place over the final desert choices but we were most disappointed at the absence of Minghella ice cream. It was either the large meal or tiredness but it took some time to calculate the final group bill.

Meal complete we retired to the quiet games/ lounge upstairs to chat about book clubs, swapping ideas of books to read and the joys of living in Shaftsbury Rd/ St? Others read papers and magazines after which most of us opted for an early night.
Thanks Jim for organising a wonderful first day.


Day 2 Sunday 5 April 2009
Although the second day of the Clarion Isle of Wight tour involved less cycling than Saturday, most of us found a few aches returning as we followed the route back to Ryde. Like the previous day, the warm and sunny weather was perfect for cycling.
Fortified with an excellent Totland Bay Youth Hostel buffet breakfast, we gathered on the lawn for an invigorating Qigong and Tai Chi session with Joyce. The combination of a exercise and food was a great start to day two of our IOW tour.

Qi Gong

We had plenty of time to complete the return route to Ryde (via a different, more southerly route) without rushing things because we left the youth hostel shortly after 9am. However, it was only 20 minutes of cycling before we made our first sightseeing stop of the day. It was certainly worth stopping at Freshwater Bay to look at the view and pose for a few group photographs.  Jeff missed the Clarion Freshwater Bay group photo, though, because he was busy looking through book bargains in the local Lifeboat Association's secondhand book stall. Even though he picked up some great Edgar Allan Poe and Dylan Thomas rarities, we did wonder how Jeff was going to carry his plastic bag of books on the handlebars of his bike.  Luckily, Angelika was able to help Jeff fix the bag of books to his bike rack with some elastic straps.

April 6, 2009: Clarion bike ride, Isle of Wight

Once the book transportation problems had been sorted out, we set off along a B road (B3399/3401). Jim pointed out that he had chosen this route because it would allow swift progress and only a few hills. We did indeed seem to cover a greater distance in a shorter space of time than the previous day and arrived at the potential coffee stop of Colbourne Mill at 11am. Jim said that during his practice ride it hadn't been possible to go for a coffee in the mill without parting with a fairly expensive entrance fee. We were all grateful to Angelika and Tessa for negotiating a group entry which didn't require an entrance fee. Apart from the mill, the main attraction seemed to be the many peacocks wandering the grounds. One particular exhibitionist peacock was very keen to show off its tail feathers, creating a colourful and impressive sight.

April 6, 2009: Clarion bike ride, Isle of Wight

Our route after the Colbourne Mill eventually took us back to some of the familiar sites in Newport we had seen the previous day. After glimpsing Carisbrooke Castle in the distance, we had a few problems finding the cycle path detailed on the OS map and had to cycle along the pavement instead. We did find the disused railway line which was to lead us to the lunch stop of the Woodman Arms. After a hurried lunch, the group then split into two factions. The train faction (Jim, Fred, Joyce, Angela, Amanda and Nick) cycled to the nearby Isle of Wight steam railway to catch the 2.30pm train to Smallbrook Junction. Those of us who took the train option knew that we would be missing out on further cycling opportunities that day, but the train journey was fascinating.  We then arrived at Smallbrook Junction and caught one of the customised London Underground to Ryde pier. We met up with the cycling faction on the ferry and shared a rather foggy crossing back to Portsmouth harbour.


Thanks very much to Jim for planning and organising such a great weekend.


Meanwhile, back in Sussex: Leon's report

Sunday 5 April 2009
Berwick / Chiddingly circular

The day started with bright clear skies and the promise that it wouldn't rain. One small problem faced me that morning; the usual 'train replacement bus service' that affects the line into Brighton from London during the winter / spring.

Berwick station

Out came my folding bike again, this bike is accepted on these busses, so off I set an hour early just in case the 09.38 was going to be full, after all it is intended to take all the passengers from an eight coach train. I arrived on Brighton station in good time to catch the 09.20 to Berwick.

I arrived with a whole hour to kill in Berwick, now this can be quite a problem as there is only a short section of cycle track south of the station and I didn't feel like doing a quick circuit of the local villages before the main ride. Ian arrived at about 10.40 and the Brighton train at 10.45 or so. Onto the platform stepped Annette and Kevin, very welcome sights indeed, as Ian said if it had been just the two of us we would both have got very fed up pretty quickly.

After all the welcomes Ian procured a willing young woman to take our mug shots, she was so enthusiastic that she took at least three photos.

Off we set in a bright and happy mood to enjoy all that lay ahead. The lanes were easy going. We saw only Very light traffic the whole day. Birds twittering love songs to each other and roadside wild flowers of blue, yellow and white greeted us all along the way.

We rode quickly and close packed without incidents such as punctures or chains falling off. Even I didn't fall off. We arrived at the Six Bells at Chiddingly at 11.45 - too early to get a well-earned pint. We sat in the garden and chatted in the sunshine until noon, and then made a dash to join a queue at the bar. The ale was good and the food well served and of good value. During our lunch break, bikers (motorcyclists) began to arrive in large numbers and occupy most of the carpark at the front of the Pub. They look as you would expect, leather jackets and long hair, but well behaved.

Six Bells

On our way out of the car park I noticed a sign on the pub end wall. It read 'Pratts served here'. Now if I had seen that when we arrived it would have made me feel that I was expected.

Only one mile out of Chiddingly we stopped at a large house displaying a plaque 'Lee Miller lived here'. Ian knew all about the history of this house and occupants. I could not recall all that he told us as it was quite complex but it involved a glamorous woman who became a model, a famous photographer, wartime photo journalism and Hitler.

The ride back to Berwick was leisurely but none the less much faster than our usual pace. With a half-hour to wait for the 14.48 train, we sipped tea at the Berwick Inn opposite the station to pass the time.

Thank you Ian for another delightful outing and thanks also to Annette and Kevin for the pleasure of their company.

Once again 'Fellowship in cycling'.


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

31. Manchester CCC organises a '25' and Clarion CCs continue to spread

From Swiftsure's 'Cycling Notes in The Clarion, 22 February 1895 –

It may be of interest to other Clarion C.Cs that the C.C.C Manchester and District will hold a five and twenty five mile members handicap on the path* on some date to be fixed later on. There has also been a mention made of promoting a big sports meeting, but I am afraid that cannot be this season.

It requires an enormous amount of work and energy to run a successful "sports" and although sufficient support would probably be forthcoming, it is perhaps as well if the question be postponed till another year.

I hope to give next week a few dates and places where the C.C.C Manchester and District propose meeting other "Clarion" clubs. Birmingham, Hanley, Bradford, Rochdale, Burnley, Hyde etc, can perhaps then fix their runs accordingly


Clarion C.C for Hyde.

Clarionettes are invited to a meeting to be held this evening (Friday) at 8 p.m. for the purpose of forming a cycling club

* ie cycle track – probably similar to the one in Preston Park. Not on the footpath!

Next time. Manchester Cycle Show and a cycling club for MPs – with Clarion comments.

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