Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  


Dear fellow members and friends

8 March 2009

All members should have received their membership cards in the post. Anyone who hasn't please let me know; I know I made one mistake in addressing the envelopes so it's possible that that wasn't the only one.

Farmers' market ride –any more takers?

I had precisely two replies to my plea for responses to my suggestion for a Saturday ride on either 9 May or 13 June taking in the Shoreham Farmers' market and the medieval churches. [Leon tells me that the London Naked Bike Ride is on 13 June and the Brighton one on the Sunday and argues for 9 May – but one could also argue for 13 June if many people intend to participate in the NBR the following day.] Anyway, it looks like a non-starter with only 3 of us interested. If there are any more people interested please email and say so – and also tell me which date you would prefer. As ever I'm on Full details in the last circular.

Downs Link Challenge Saturday 16 May

Helen has emailed me suggesting we might be interested in getting up a Clarion team for this event (perhaps instead of our regular ride on the Sunday) It's organised by Shoreham College Parents' Association in order to raise money for the Chestnut Tree House, the only children's hospice in Sussex. There are 5, 10, 20 or 30 mile versions leaving from near Bramber Castle and it costs £8 per entrant. Have a look at the website at

It's worth considering – especially if there's no Old Tollbridge Ride this year. I did a charity ride on the Downs Link some years ago – which was not a happy experience since it's the sort of terrain that suits neither me nor my bike. But I wouldn't want that to put anyone off – particularly those with ATBs. So it would be good – if people like the idea – to have a volunteer to organise it. (Helen?) In the meantime let me (or Helen – she's at - know if you're interested.

Planning rides

2009 rides for the rest of the first half of the year will be on Sundays 5 April ( for people not taking part in the IoW weekend on 4/5 April ), 19 April; 3, 17, 31 May; 14, 28 June. (I definitely can't make this last one – so a volunteer for that Sunday would be especially welcome.)

But all offers gratefully received for any of these dates. 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.

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 22 March 2009
The Centurion Way

We've used the lower reaches of the Way quite a few times but – unless my memory is deceiving me – have only 'done' the whole of it on two occasions in November 2004 and October 2005. Both times we stopped for lunch beyond the end of the Way at the excellent (and splendidly named) The Fox Goes Free at Charlton.* The problem is getting back which involves going up over the scarp face of the Downs. It's not Ditchling Beacon by any means, but it is a long slow climb – and the second time we tried a different route which was no easier and indeed may have been a shade harder. The compensation is that once you get to the top it's a virtual free wheel all the way back to Chichester. This time I thought we'd decide on the day – and go 'over the top' if we feel like it or just return back the way we've come down the Way.


Meet: Meet at Chichester Station at 11.20
Getting there: Catch 10.23 from Brighton station (arrive at 10 for chance of Groupsave)
Distance: About 16/17 miles.
Hills: One big one – if we decide to come back that way
Off road: Mostly on the well-surfaced Way - rather like the Cuckoo Trail.
Catering: lunch at The Fox Goes Free* Please read the note below
Getting home: Trains back (without changes) at 15.53, 16.22 and 16. 53
My mobile: 0789 985 1172

* When working out dates before Christmas I hadn't taken into account that 22
March is what was known in my distant youth as Mothering Sunday (aka Mother's Day). As a consequence pubs and restaurants are going to be very busy at lunchtime – so I've been in negotiations with the Fox. The result is that they are expecting us c 1pm and will save us a table (or two) if I 'phone them the numbers when we meet at Chichester station. But they'd like to know our order in advance – particularly if there are a lot of us.

So here's what we'll do. I'll forward the menus they've sent me (bit pricey but it is a very nice pub and in that part of West Sussex everywhere is likely to be similar. I certainly hope it will be better value for money that some of us experienced at the Half Moon – at least Dick Turpin had enough sense of shame to wear a mask! See Suzanne's report below for more on the pub).

So, I'll forward the menus as soon as I've got this off to everyone. Then on the Wednesday before the ride I'll circulate them again with a reminder and ask you – if you think you're going to come to email me by 2pm on Saturday with your preference. I'll then give the pub our provisional order and adjust the final version to confirm to them when we meet at Chichester. If I know what everyone wants that should be simple - X not come = cancel one lasagne, or whatever. If you know definitely you're not going to be coming, please just delete the messages.


The Last Ride - Suzanne's Report

Sunday 8 March 2009
Hassocks – Wivelsfield – Plumpton – Westmeston – Hassocks

Was it a record?* Seventeen eager cyclists on Hassocks Station platform:  Alan, Alice, Angela, Anne, Fred, Ian, Jeff, Jim, Lawrence, Leon, Luke, Nick, Richard, Steve, Sue, Suzanne and Tessa.  Hassocks Station not being the busiest on the network, no 'external' photographer could be found, so Leon photographed the group – then Fred photographed the group and off we set.

[More photos as ever on Flickr]

08-Mar-2009 0012 Hassocks circular ride via Plumpton.

Clarion ride around Hassocks 1

We explored the mysteries of the byways of Hassocks and then followed a B road to the outskirts of Burgess Hill (a hilly area confusingly known as the Low Weald). A tricky right turn took us though the fringes of the town, a sharp left onto the B2112 took us over part of Ditchling Common Country Park and an area that must have been known as 'Convent Corner' before the ecclesiastical establishments of St Mary's House and St George's Retreat were partially turned into rather exclusive apartments.

Clarion ride around Hassocks 6

But did we notice? Did we care?  No, we were flying along enjoying the sun, the breeze in our helmets and the swish of rubber against tarmac. That was when someone decided to put hills into the equation. Past Wivel's Field (yes, Mr Wifel really did have his field here circa 765) and its eponymous Green. The Hundred Acre Lane brought us to Streat. Hard to pinpoint at which exact point the interspecies moustache competition took place – but in that epic clash of the hirsute upper lip, Leon v. horse, I have on good authority that Leon won 'whiskers down'.

 Clarion ride around Hassocks 7

10-Mar-2009 0003

We splished and sploshed along the delightful bridleway past the southern end of Plumpton Racecourse before turning right onto Plumpton Lane;  the home straight. At the top of the last of those 'undulations' promised by Ian ('undulation noun – gentle rise and fall' Readers' Digest Dictionary!) was the Half Moon public house.  We hitched our trusty steeds to the railings and set off the find reserved table(s) for 17 that Ian had warned them of some two weeks ago and had phoned to confirm not two hours previously.

 Clarion ride around Hassocks 5

They must have misunderstood. They must have thought the message was: 'I am bringing 16 midgets with me and two can easily share one stool and eat off a surface of some 5 square inches.' The one table that had been reserved for us might just have accommodated 12 at a pinch. It was a Harvey's pub, however, so it was not all bad. Beverages were in hand, food was ordered and the wait was waited – 1 hour and 10 minutes in the case of two hapless souls. The good news is that Nick got a good photo of the tomato and chilli soup to add to his collection of soup photographs.

March 8, 2009: Hassocks circular bike ride

The ride back to Hassocks was not to be too long. Pity it had started to rain. And the wind to blow. However, Clarionettes are anything but wimps. We saddled up and set off along the scenic Underhill Lane, through picturesque Westmeston. The run down into Keymer was most welcome. The three generations of L, L and L peeled off toward home in Hassocks, Angela and Ian made their way back to their motor vehicles, Nick wended his solitary way onto the north-bound platform of Hassocks Station as the rest feasted on fudge, ginger and toffees on the southbound one (sorry, Nick, you could only watch).

 Clarion ride around Hassocks 12

A great day out (many thanks, Ian) with neither the tool kit, the puncture repair outfit, nor the First Aid kit needed.


* A second record was Suzanne producing this brilliant report so speedily. Ian

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

29. The Bradford Clarion CC emerging from 'winter's blight'

From Swiftsure's 'Cycling Notes' on 2 February 1895

I have been wondering what had become of the Bradford Clarion C.C., but according to the following, it has only been the winter's blight which has caused them to lie low, and the coming of spring will see them once again seeking pleasure and recreation in their jaunts awheel.

Bradford Clarion C.C


We are pleased to hear that the Manchester C.C C. is already twenty-five strong. We are also glad that "Clincher" has spoken and shown that Brum are not the only Clarion crew still living. Our men wanted me to report some time since, but I manaagd to keep the brake on. Although our subscription was only 6d per year we started the new year with a good balance in hand, and every prospect of soon having at least fifty members on the books.

We have an accident fund; each rider pays one penny each time he turns out with the club so as to send man and machine home in case of a breakdown. This insurance we consider preferable to passing round the hat.

Your notes are read to good effect in Bradford. Many of our friends used to tell us how they tried bicycling, but found it too hard work. Now they own they never understood their "bike" which would account for the extra work. Some of our men when they first turned out with us were driving stiff machines, which were soon found out and remedied by other riders.

This is one of the many reasons why learners should join the "Clarion crew". I have every reason for believing that a lot of "Clarionettes" don't join us because it might affect their bread and butter. We have members who take a keen delight in being with us when they can do so with safety, and with whom the utmost secrecy is necessary. We have also champion boxers, prize swimmers, reporters on Tory papers, a few ladies, and I am a


Next time. Plans for a Rochdale Clarion CC

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