Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  




Dear fellow members and friends

8 February 2010

Easter Meet

You'll all have received the (long delayed) Boots and Spurs with early details of the Easter Meet at Eastbourne which Bob and Colette are organising.

Sheila's Reports

As I said in my report to the AGM, I think it would be nice to run again some of the reports Sheila did on our early rides. The first one - dating from November 2004 - describes a 'brunch ride' to Carat's Café before this became established as what we do on New Years' Day. You'll find it below after the report of the last ride. Check out the archive on the web for the illustrated version!


To new members including TJ and Joan who are transferring to us – at the national membership secretary's suggestion; London Clarion is a bit in abeyance at the moment - and, especially, Jenny who is already working on planning a ride!

Any more wish to join us? See 'Subs' below for how to do it,

Thanks to Roger

Roger has volunteered to lead both of the March rides. Apart from a couple that I have done, plus the next one, and one each by Suzanne and Joyce this means that he will have led all the rides in what I'll call the winter season (end of Summer Time till Summer Time 2010.) Thanks again, Roger for keeping us going!

Planning and Leading Rides

Members will have already seen the following in the AGM minutes - but it's worth repeating to a wider audience.

While it was good to initiate entirely new rides - though increasingly difficult - it was perfectly acceptable for volunteers to suggest reviving rides already led in the past by someone else. Planning and leading rides could be separate operations and it was often useful to have more than one person involved in this. Such partnerships would be very welcome.

Longer, Faster Rides?

It occurs to me that we have at least half a dozen members who we know cycle regularly but who we rarely see on our fortnightly "potterers'" rides - and there may be more people of like interests on our "general" mailing lists. If fall into this category and you'd like to get in touch with other Clarionettes with a view to perhaps organising something - which might grow into an alternative series of rides if there's enough interest - please let me know and I'll put you in touch with each other so you can take it from there.

Anyone interested in racing should of course contact Bob at

Dieppe Weekend - Joyce's message

This is the last call for anyone who may not have noticed the information about the B&H Clarion trip to Dieppe in April. We will be getting the boat Friday morning for some, and perhaps for others the evening boat (re work etc.). We will be staying at l'Etap. Saturday would be market in the morning, then a bike ride , along the new "Avenue Verte". Sunday au choix, to be decided - perhaps a ride along the coast or there is a wonderful sea-water pool in Dieppe which deserves a visit. Leaving on the early afternoon or early evening boat on Sunday. If anyone who has not let me know is interested please email me urgently or call me: 01273 680705.

Future Rides

Sundays 7 (Roger), 21 March (Roger); 4 April (Easter Sunday – This will be combined with a 'leisure ride' for people coming to the Eastbourne Meet who are not involved in the racing events. I've already planned this one.); 18 April, 2, 16, 30 May; 13, 27 June; 11, 25 July (Leon?).

If we continue this schedule for the rest of the year it will mean there will mean there'll be one on 21 October when the clocks change - something that often catches people out and which we've always tried to avoid. So my proposal is that we skip that week and restart 7 November which will mean that our last ride of the year - unless the date is 'bagged' for a Christmas social - will be on 19 December. If you disagree please let me know before the next circular in a fortnight's time. As usual, I shall interpret silence as assent!


I understand from Jim that nearly everyone has now renewed their membership. But if there is anyone who hasn't please send £7 to Jim Grozier, 92a Springfield Road, Brighton BN1 6DE. Make your cheque (or P O) out to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club.

Any more new members, follow the instructions at the bottom of the home page

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The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s latest episode 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 21 February 2010
Cuckoo Trail – straight up and down (with lunch diversion)

There are two reasons why I've put this one in now. One is that this is essentially the same as the very first ride we did back in 2004 when three of us - Sheila, Joyce and me - set off in the rain and got soaked. But as I said in my report at the time, having survived World War II we were not going to let a spot of rain deter us. We'd intended to stop for lunch at the Golden Martlet just off the Trail - more or less replaced by the Cuckoo's Rest but found it was no more. We couldn't see anywhere nearby when we got to Heathfield - we've had the same trouble there since - and ended up taking shelter on the way back in a pub in Horam if I remember rightly.
The second reason is that I want to try out lunch at the Kings Head which I'm planning to use again for the Easter Meet 'leisure ride' (aka one of our regular ones). I've been there and talked to the people but not sampled the food!
This will be a ride where most of it is done before lunch – there'll only be about 5/6 miles to get back to Polegate afterwards - with the possibility of a tea stop at the Old Loom as well.

I'm aiming to stop for lunch between 1 and 1.30, so - with a start before 11 - we should have no trouble of reaching the 'top' of the Trail at Heathfield before turning for home - but if we find we're running late, or feeling too fagged out or hungry or if the weather turns nasty we can always cut it shorter and start back sooner. Truly, a flexible ride.

Catch the from Brighton Station at 10.20 (arrive c.10am for Groupsave) or meet at Polegate station at 10.49. Best trains back look like 15.42 or 16.02.
My mobile: 0789 985 1172.


The Last Ride - Joyce's Report

Sunday 7 February
Hassocks to Bolney and back

[More photos on Flickr]

A group of us met at Brighton station. There was an immediate problem when one of us (Joyce = me) had to rush back home, just as the train was leaving, to check on something (too boring to relate but it concerned an open door) . She promised as she fled "to try to catch up". . .

The start

But this is the Clarion Club and fellowship is life, so there they all were waiting at Hassocks station, and by this time we had become a crowd of 13. The role of honour being: Angelika, Anne, Fred, Helen, Ian, Jenny, Joyce, Leon, Richard, Roger, Sue, Suzanne, Tessa. Happily there had been so much greeting, catching up, photographing, that the wait had not been too long.

Joyce turns up late

So off we set following leader Ian under a grey sky, but quite pleasant weather, not too cold and no wind. And as promised it was a tranquil ride, mostly undulating rather than hilly (except for one or two ) with only a short spurt on a main road. Happily spread out for what looked like about a mile (but obviously was not ...), we sped along , noticing funny bird noises which no one could identify and taking in the small signs of seasonal change and commiserating with Jenny who managed to put half her leg in a massive puddle.

Leaving the pub

And before you knew it we had arrived at the 8 Bells to a hospitable reception, everyone rushing around getting a table organised for us all. If there were the superstitious who had doubts at having 13 around a table, they were calmed by Helen deciding (nothing to do with the numbers) that she wished to eat her meal outside, although she joined us later. After Jenny had put her shoe and socks on the radiator (not near our table! ) ... we settled down to eat.

Group shot

The food was truly excellent and very good value - as Richard said "the best lunch we had so far", we were ready to congratulate the chef, but he/she never appeared. What with admiring the wonderful scooter (belonging to the landlord which he apparently takes to shows ...); with guessing at the origin of the name "8 Bells", - all our nautical suggestions turned out to be nonsense – it is simply because the local church has 8 bells! and Angelika getting sign-ups for the London to Brighton ride, time went quickly and we were ready to test our full stomachs with the ride back . After a slightly more testing ride back we arrived at Hassocks station in good time, and since you can never keep a good appetite down some took the opportunity to get a good cup of tea/coffee at the local pub.

Landlord's prize-winning Lambretta

A lovely ride thanks to Ian and special thanks to all from me for waiting.


Sheila's Reports 1)

Sunday 21 November 2004
'Brunch Ride' to Carat's Café, Shoreham

The intention of yesterday's (21th November) cycle was to have a very easy, short ride along the seafront, to encourage people who had not used their bikes for years, to get out. We even started at a fairly civilised hour of 10.30. In fact, it was wet and overcast and only four intrepid cyclists turned up. The first thing we did was have our photo taken. The most remarkable thing about us was the variety of headgear. We knew that winter had officially arrived as Fred swapped his panama hat for a trilby. Joyce wore her winter beany hat. Ian continued to wear his Clarion cap and I wore a cycle helmet (circa 1980). We cycled along the track on the front, which is now Sustrans route 2. The Shoreham port road is always impressive, with seaplants growing on one side of the road and vast heaps of useful stuff on the other. There was no traffic and we were cycling peacefully along when we came upon Pudsey and some children doing a 10mile walk for Children in Need. After a chat we finally arrived at Carat's Cafe for the traditional fryup. We were rather wet but dried out rapidly.

We were tucking in happily when along came Chris with his six year old son Finn.  He had also brought some Lego pieces. After a second cup of tea we ambled back to Brighton. It was a pity that more people did not get out for the cycle. Cycling in gentle rain has a charm of its own.  Sheila

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

As you may have gathered by now, the (unsigned) piece on 'The Evolution of the Cycle' on 20 April 1895 was very long - even by Clarion standards. I notice that in my hurry to get the last episode out I indulged in some typos - the end of it should read 'fourteen miles of collar work.'

53. The intrepid heroes of the Clarion staff finally arrive at the Ashourne Meet and are greated with "Boots!"

First we got oiled and blown up at Timberlake's Repository.

"A great gent like you," says Timberlake, when he saw my non-perisher tyres, "should have a better machine than this one."

" A great gent like me," I reply, " Why, what sort of gent am I?" and Timberlake looked three ways for daylight and also scraped himself. "Well, " he said, at last, with a critical air, "you look like a gent who could do with his portion."

"You've guessed it at once," said Whiffly and so we bestrid our wayward steeds, an afer a brief halt at the "Buck in the Park" went in for records.

We got there, and, under the circumstances, we claim this as the greatest of cycling records. Cycling papers please copy.

Halfway is a village called Brailsford, with a contription. Ha! Ha! I need say no more.

It was a mile or two after this that Whifflly riding down a long steep hill with that sublime confidence which marketh the new beginner, lost control of his machine. Talk about Gilpin's ride, it was nothing compared to Whiffly's. He disappeared in a cloud of dust, out of which on the right-hand side a man and bicycle presentely turned double somersaults on the grass bank. Talk about De Quincey's "Vision of Sudden Death". In those cases where you are suddenly face to face with grim death, it is wonderful how coolly you philosophise.

"If Whiffly had fifty necks, " I said to myself as he careered past, " he'll break every one of 'em this time."

Instead of which, he was, beyond a few bruises, practically uninjured. It is unsafe to make predictions concerning him, he is such an unreliable person,

When I say practically uninjured I mean that the new knickerbockers were rent in twain. But we borrowed some string from a village blacksmith and tied 'em up behind a hedge. After which we smoked pipes on the grassy verge, and rode into Ashbourne , where we were welcomed by a knot of young fellows on the bridge with a cry of "Boots" to which we gave the Clarion countersign "Spurs – and plenty of 'em."

Next time - The Ashbourne 'smoker' and Sheol.

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