Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

7 July 2008

And first a message from our Chair

Clarion Social

Let's have a Clarion Picnic on the beach. I suggest either Saturday 23 August or Sunday 24 August. Let me know if you prefer Saturday or Sunday and we will go with the majority.


And a message from Tessa

This is to invite you to Lorna Road street party next Saturday 12 July  2-6 (no parking available in the street). My new studio at 38 will be open to the public where I will be able to offer you a cup of tea.
If possible bring a small item (anything - it could be unwanted clothing) for the Freecycle stall.
Best wishes


Rides In July

I think we can claim a pretty full programme this month. Not only the 2 rides at the weekend (see reports below) but then – if you can get to London – we have Nick's ride next Sunday (13 July) our regular ride the following Sunday (20 July) and the Toll Bridge ride on 27 July (details below on each).


[Click on the photos to see them bigger on Flickr. This is a bit of an experiment to save much uploading and downloading - if anyone has any problems seeing the images, let me know - Fred]


Possibly because none of the details or contact details appeared in the TakePart programme we had no takers for the 'Leisure Ride' on Saturday. However, Alice, Anne, Jim and Leon all nobly turned up to help me with the expected crowds and we decided to go as far as Carats café and then decide what to do. It was a sunny day – but very very windy (and against us all the way there). So - unsurprisingly – we decided to stop for a snack and a drink at the café and then got involved in all manner of interesting conversations, including some very useful ones about future rides. We spent longer at Carats than it had taken us to get there (even with the wind!) and in the end decided that, with the regular ride coming up next day, we'd leave it at that. Still, I enjoyed it and I hope the other four did too. Thanks again to them.


Planning rides

Here are all the remaining dates for 2008: 3 (Roger), 17, 31 Aug (Leon) 14, 28 Sept, 12 Oct, 2, 16, 30 Nov, 14 Dec.

Roger has taken on 3 August and Leon 31 August. The remaining one I can't do is 14 September. Jim may be able to do it – but don't let that deter anyone else from putting in a bid – (or for other dates).

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club in 1894 - Latest episode at the end of the Circular as usual.



The Next Ride

Sunday 20 July
Chiddingly - only 18/19 miles

I'm not an enthusiast for 'off-road' cycling, but I know other people are and I do try to include the odd stretch of 'track' where appropriate. We've done this ride once before – in February last year – which, as it turned out was not one of my more brilliant ideas (not many of those to choose from, I agree). The stretch of Vert Woods track was very muddy in places – though we got through without serious casualties (I remember trying to cheer us all up by saying 'Coming out with the Clarion is not a ride; it's an adventure!').

Well, unless we have torrential downpours in the next couple of weeks we should be OK this time – If you can't avoid mud in mid-July when can you?

Starting at Berwick station we head across to Mark Cross and Laughton – cross the main road – and make towards Shortgate but then take the track through the woods (Vert Wood etc) to Whitesmith and from there make our way to Chiddingly – for lunch at the Six Bells. We can return via Golden Cross and the 'airfield' road to Ripe and then loop down to Selmeston (possible tea stop) and back to Berwick (another possible tea stop at the Berwick Inn).

Catch 10.20 from Brighton Station or meet at Berwick Station at 10.43. Trains back go at 48 minutes past the hour.

Ian's mobile no.: 07770 743287 (I promise to switch it on once I get to the station).

Sunday 13 July
Nick's London Ride - Putney Bridge to Weybridge

Jim writes:-

Nick has confirmed that the London ride (Putney Bridge to Weybridge) will take place on Sunday 13 July; meet at Putney railway station at 10.30am. (A suitable train from Brighton is the 9.00, change at Clapham Junction). Some blurb below. We have OS maps for the route so ignore the bit about the route.
Return to start by train Weybridge - Putney or Addlestone - Putney.
Nick is contacting the London Clarion people.

Length: 18 miles (one way)
Difficulty: Moderate
Start: South side of Putney Bridge
Finish: Riverside path in Weybridge
Typical duration: 2-3 hours
Route: National Cycle Network 4: Thames Valley Cycle Route
Sustrans map: NN5A (panels 1-2)

Route notes
Shun the fume-laden streets of London in favour of this tranquil riverside route. From the south side of Putney Bridge (half a mile up Putney High Street from Putney train station), this cycle path transports you from the urbanised banks of the Thames to the regal glades of Richmond Park and Hampton Court and on, if you're feeling strong enough, to the historic town of Weybridge in Surrey. Those wanting a more leisurely ride can turn around at Richmond Park (after six miles - try the lovely circular ride around the park there), Kingston upon Thames (at nine miles) or Hampton Court (12 miles). Note that, currently, some of the signage on this ride is temporary, so do take a map and plot the route in advance.


Sunday 27 July 2008
Save The Toll Bridge Sponsored Bike Ride

If you haven't already done so (and unlike me are available that weekend) please sign up for this. You can download a form at And let Jim know when you've signed up (and which ride you're doing) so he can coordinate the meeting up of the Clarion contingent and the reporting of your exploits!

I've just received some forms which – the covering note says - Ed suggested sending some time ago. Oh, dear it's so poignant, isn't it? I'll bring them with me on Sunday just in case anyone needs one still.

Jim ( or 01273-505550)

The Last Ride - Leon's Report

6 July 2008.
Circular: Rye - Appledore - Fairfield - Brookland - Lydd - Camber - Rye

[Click on the photos to see them bigger on Flickr. This is a bit of an experiment to save much uploading and downloading - if anyone has any problems seeing the images, let me know - Fred]

There was almost a full group at Brighton station when I arrived on the 09.38 from Hassocks. Joyce had already purchased two group-save sets and was distributing them at cost £7.35. As it turned out luckily we numbered eight plus our leader who doesn't need to pay; Jim, Alice, Suzanne, Tessa, Joyce, Anne, Mick, Fred and Leon.

The two coach train didn't present as much of a problem with the cycles as I thought it would be. We loaded seven into the luggage storage racks, and two, Tessa's and mine into a doorway. Only one little problem, I needed to swap the bikes from one side to the other when we reached Eastbourne and again at Bexhill.

On arrival at Rye station we all struggled up the steps of the concrete bridge and down again to the south side, only later to find that we could have just walked the length of the platform to the road. Never mind, we will know next time.

Rye 11.50. We found an agreeable chap to take our group photo, who, while taking the shot asked us if we were all in? How could we know.


Moments later we were on our way in overcast and windy conditions.We headed northeast along the side of the river Rother with a strengthening southwesterly pushing us along. Traffic was light but quick but didn't give us much concern. Soon we reached the point where the Royal Military Canal joins the river. The road became a lane and the pace eased, going was good with slight breaks in the cloud to allow small shadows to dwell momentarily below our bikes.

rye, rain and gale in July Days 007

After only what seemed to be several minutes we arrived at edge of Appledore. Just a short distance down the lane we paused to wonder at a little moated church, the Church of St. Thomas Becket at Fairfield. This church is situated in a flood plain with no other building nearby.


Heading now to Brookland with a stiffening wind in our faces we arrived at a beautiful country house with two pigs in an enclosure to one side. We couldn't just ride past, so we stopped a while to say hello. Tessa told me that her family kept pigs and that she was very fond of them. Having met these two lady pigs and touched them I have mixed feelings and will stick to my cats and dog.


Several miles later and many twists and turns through the small lanes we arrived in a light shower of rain at the Woolpack Inn near Brookland for lunch.



Most tables were taken so we settled into an alcove/passageway where some of the group stayed. Alice, Tessa and myself decided we would enjoy a nicer position within the restaurant area. The meals were excellent and cost was acceptable.


On return to the road we were met with a cooler and wetter outlook ahead.


A short diversion was made to visit the Church of St. Augustine's at Brookland. This church has some very interesting features. For example the tower clock mechanism is situated within a glass-fronted cabinet on the floor of a side isle. The side isle roof support pillars are not upright, but are angled to lean outward as they rise. There were no stained glass windows, and farming implements had been stored in the church since the eighteenth century. This is Kent after-all.

Heading now south-east through small lanes toward Lydd. Rushes lined the route and whenever there were bushes or small trees to our right hand side we benefited from a windbreak effect.

The wind strengthened progressively as the huge tower of Lydd church appeared to grow on the horizon. At Lydd we turned fully into a southwesterly gale when we cycled onto the national cycle route 2 toward Camber. Jim pointed out to us that a lake that looked quite well established was not shown on the ordinance survey map; strange?

Soon after joining the cycle route the rain got heavier and was being driven horizontally into our faces by the gale force wind.

The group became fragmented. Mick was out front making an effort to catch the earliest train possible. The next group fragment was Jim, Alice, Suzanne, Joyce and Anne. In the last fragment were Tessa, Fred and Leon. I didn't see Mick again.

Some sightings of wild birds were made on this section as we passed the lakes; Lapwings and Crows mainly. Green power wind turbines were also seen, though not rotating.

Jim was like the good shepherd rounding his flock, a very difficult task. Camber at last. Well when we reached the sea wall where the cycle-way runs along the top, the wind and rain were at their worst. Riding was extremely difficult and several riders preferred to walk than chance being blown away.

On reaching the western end of the beach and the shelter of buildings, riding commenced. Soon to be back off road and onto route 2 again, we cycled in greater comfort along a pleasant track with wild flowers on both sides.


Anne made a break for it to try and catch up to Mick and get the train, she failed by missing a turning in Rye. We, the rest of the group minus Mick spent a pleasant 45 minutes supping tea at a pub near to the station. Myself being told to shut up all of the time by Joyce, I can't imagine why.


The train journey back went in a flash it seemed. I must apologise for being brief and hope that I haven't left anything important out.

Thank you dear Clarion friends and don't forget the Lorna Road street party on Saturday 12 July 2pm-6pm (info via Tessa).


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

c12. 'The O' Groomie O' responds to an enquiry about the Clarion badge and Swiftsure's take on the North Road Club's annual 24 hour race.

You might recall (or see No 7 in 28 April Circular) that someone from Pinnock had asked about the badge and 'Swiftsure' had responded by referring to the advert that had appeared in the Clarion a few weeks earlier. This then appeared on 22 September.

The O'Groomie O writes me:

'May I point out to your Pinnock correspondent that there is a National Clarion Cycling Club Badge. It was designed by Chris J Thompson, 253 Park Road, Hadley, Birmingham and can be had from him for 1s 6d each; post free. Thre is no profit attached to these badges, the idea of the Birmingham Clarion Cycling Club being solely to provide a national badge, and therefore cannot afford to advertise. A national badge is certainly a good idea. It was by one of these badges that we were enabled to chum in with the Potteries Clarionettes on our August tour. When Clarion clubs spread far and wide this badge will be still more useful.'

It seems to me that the best thing cycling Clarionettes can do, as a return for this gratuitous advertisement, is to buy the badges and advertise the Clarion. The Board won't grumble if the circulation is doubled thereby.

The North Road Club 24 hour race … and dangerous tandem riding on public roads.

This first bit is edited from the North Road Club's website – it's still going.

The North Road Cycling Club was founded in 1885 to 'Promote fast and long distance cycling on the Great North and other Roads'.

Most of the founding members were already members of other clubs and the intention was to establish a club primarily for racing and record breaking. However from the very beginning the all male membership enjoyed a very varied and full social life during the non racing season.

From its earliest days the Club, which recruited its members from the comfortably off even wealthy middle classes was in the forefront of the development of cycle sport, particularly road racing.

When the "Authorities" began to look with a lack of favour on bunched racing on the open roads, 'it frightened the horses', it was a member of the NRCC who devised the Time Trial which was the backbone of cycle sport in the UK for more than 50 years.

The Club was responsible for the very first 24 hour race and, war years excepted, continued to promote what became almost a legendary event until the years when road traffic conditions made its continuance untenable.

For more see

And this is what 'Swiftsure' had to say in 1894. The 24 hour race had gone ahead 'despite threatened police interference'. Swiftsure thought this was OK because:

…the competitors seldom travel at a pace of more than 18 miles an hour. The same cannot be said of such performances as that of J. W. Schofield and T Ralph who, on a tandem, rode a mile in 1 minute 41 seconds. Such a performance has no right to be countenanced and cannot benefit the sport or trade one iota.

Next time – End of season report from Birmingham CCC – more light on the origins of the Easter Meet.

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