|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Dear fellow members and friends
9 August 2010
Thanks to Roger for getting out the last newsletter while I was away. Incidentally, it wasn't so much seeing Contador complete his third Tour de France wins that was the point of being in Paris as being there to see Mark Cavendish win the final stage on the Champs Elysees for the second year running; he made it look almost too easy! But enough of me rabbiting on - to business!
As well as the usual features - the future rides grid, the details of the next ride and the report of the last one, and the extracts from the 1890s Clarion I'm including details of Angelika's London ride. It's not until the 19th September but since it's out of the usual run of things I thought some advance details would be welcome. The details will appear again of course nearer the time.
Cycle Forum Report – Kings Esplanade
In Roger's report in the last issue he included the following item:
Well, first of all thanks to Roger for raising the issue. As for Tracy's response, the first thing to say is that it is very heartening to actually get a response; I've raised this issue orally and in writing on at least two previous occasions over recent years without getting even an acknowledgement - so I'm very appreciative of the fact that the issue has at least registered.
The suggesting for a new give way sign is welcome, But the problem remains. If we are concerned to minimise the legal consequences to the local authority in the event of a serious accident (God forbid!) then having stop lines on the cycle path may achieve this. But frequent observation - I use this route at least once or twice a week throughout the year - tells me that I have never seen anyone stop at either of the lines - except on a couple of occasions when an accident has been narrowly avoided by a cyclist making an 'emergency stop' as a vehicle rounded one of the blind corners. Many cyclists in fact continue - contrary to the by-laws - to ride along the promenade after the path behind the King Alfred crosses the road.
One of the main features of good cycle path planning is to avoid having 'halt signs' (or ones saying 'cylists dismount' - though the phrase has a certain archaic charm) To have two halt signs in about 100 metres is - to put it mildly - not a very good idea – particularly since the chances of anyone taking any notice of them is close to zero.
The only acceptable solutions in my view are either to continue the cycle path on the promenade - as it is at both ends of the Esplanade - or to put it on the other side of the road moving the car-parking spaces over to side occupied by the cycle path at the moment.
If you agree with me please let the Council (and Roger) know.
Future Rides … for the rest of 2010
The ones marked with a * are ones I already know I can't make - and there may be one or two more. It is not possible to check train availability more than 12 weeks in advance, so later rides will be provisional for this reason.
Offers to organise/lead rides are, as ever, more than welcome! Especially for 21 November and 6 December (a long way off still, I know!)
Get ready for a British, summer afternoon in the country! This year's social will be a picnic at Devil's Dyke - wonderful views - wonderful food - wonderful company - wonderful!
We'll meet on the grass near (but not too near) the car park from 12 noon. Bring food and drink to share, a waterproof to sit on and games to play (Frisbee? Draughts? Hoola Hoop? Croquet? Backgammon? etc). The pub will be open for those who fancy a pint.
How to get there?
Walk - but it's a long way so you'll have to set out early!
Cycle - meet at the Pier at 11am or at the south east entrance to Hove Recreation Ground (junction of Shirley Drive and Old Shoreham Road) at 11:20am for a leisurely ride up onto the Downs, led by Roger (mobile 0789 985 1172).
Bus - the number 77 open top service takes half an hour from the pier and leaves as follows:
Car - there's a car park behind the pub so you can hide your car out of sight if you want.
See you there - and don't forget the sun cream!
Contact me with any queries beforehand on 01273 321794 and on the day only on 0776 516 0904.
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 August 2010
This is a ride for those who like to be near the sea. It hugs the coast from Eastbourne to Hastings.
We start at Eastbourne station and cycle down to the seafront. There is a traffic free cycle path (NCN 21) to the big new housing development at Sovereign Harbour. Look out for posh boats, and for several Martello towers dotted along this part of the coast. We sneak through a twitten onto the beach and walk a hundred yards onto a private road through a caravan site to re-join route NCN21 into Pevensey Bay.
From there we take a quiet residential road to Normans Bay, passing more caravans, and the Star Inn, where we have lunched in the past. We will now be on NCN 2, which takes us past Cooden Beach and into Bexhill-on-sea.
As we enter the town look out for the large free-standing clock on the left and the famous De La Warr Pavilion on the right. The Pavilion is a fine example of modernist architecture. It was designed by the architects Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff; it opened in December 1935. Admission is free; there are two art galleries, terraces with splendid sea views, a shop, a café, and toilets.
We will stop for a picnic lunch on the beach just past the pavilion. Swimming is a possibility and there is a pub for those who fancy a pint. There are shops and cafes nearby if anyone needs to buy lunch. If the beach here is too crowded we could go a bit further to a quieter section .
After lunch we will follow a track along the beach; it gets pebbly in places so be ready to get off and walk a bit. This brings us to the start of the traffic free cycle route along the seafronts of St Leonards and Hastings. We will pass Warrior Square on our left, not quite up to the standard of Brighton and Hove's best seafront squares but impressive if only for its size; then on the right pay your respects to Hastings's sadly defunct pier.
The cycle path joins the seafront road in the centre of Hastings. Depending on train times we can head straight for the station or go on for half a mile or so to visit the old town, where we can wander along George Street and take our pick of an extensive range of cafés, pubs and other attractions.
Look out for the Georgian church of St Mary in the Castle, now an arts centre with a unique circular auditorium. It and the wonderful crescent of houses that flank it were designed in 1824 by architect Joseph Kay, who modelled the church on the Pantheon in Rome; the whole development was cut into the rock face; a natural spring flows through the church building and was originally used for baptisms.
The Last Ride. Jim's Report
Sunday 8 August 2010
[More and bigger photos on Flickr]
The fun started before the ride began. Having taken the early train to avoid possible congestion at Brighton on the morning after Pride, I had an hour to kill in Chichester; so I cycled into town and had a coffee and a pain au chocolat. In the predestrian precinct, a rather talented busker called Rob Berry was singing and playing the blues on an electric guitar. I couldn't help thinking that this was how all rides should start!
Soon Angela arrived, took her bike (Lily III) out of the car and proceeded to put it together. Ian appeared, resplendent in Clarion red and yellow; and Nick got off the London train, bearing apologies from Amanda who had just taken delivery of two kittens. Then the Brighton train came in, and disgorged three more Clarionistas: Joyce, Roger and Suzanne. It was a nice sunny day, and we set off on a well-pedalled route along the Chichester Canal. We saw ducks, fishermen and even a couple of boats. In the past, this was part of a waterway from Portsmouth to London, used to transport cargo from the port to the capital; Angela later told me that she has a print of Turner's 1828 painting of a collier brig on the canal (the original is in Petworth House) - purchased because she lives in Chichester Drive.
In Hunston, however, where the canal turns westwards, we left it. As we stood on the bridge and looked back towards Chichester, Joyce remarked that the view of the cathedral across the fields was essentially timeless - only the power cables giving any hint of the 21st (or indeed the 20th) century. Ian then led us in a north-easterly direction, a cunning ploy to get us onto a lovely path that runs between several lakes, collectively known by the birding and fishing fraternities as the Gravel Pits, since they came into existence after the flooding of some disused … er, yes, you've guessed it, gravel pits. We saw moorhens and possibly a few other species, although cycling and birdwatching do not really go together and it was all a bit of a blur really.
Continuing southwards through North Mundham, quiet lanes gave way to off-road paths between fields heavy with wheat and corn. This was Route 88, which reminded us of a song … kind of.
The going was easy, as there was hardly an undulation to be seen, and we basked in the peaceful idyllicness (?) of it all. Emerging into Sidlesham Quay at the western end of Pagham Harbour, we stopped for our picnic, augmented in Joyce's case by a cucumber bought from a roadside stall, while Roger handed out madeleines, and I was advised to take one home to help me recall everything for the report. Hmmm … must read all that Proust stuff someday. Lunchtime conversation covered such things as the Cycle Forum, the Tour de France and wasps.
A nearby noticeboard recorded the existence on this site of a tide mill, an eminently sensible 19th-century renewable energy source which consisted of a mill pond that filled at high tide, the water then turning a mill wheel as it flowed back out into the harbour. The mill ceased to function when the harbour was sealed and reclaimed for agriculture in the 1870s; and although the area became 'intertidal' again when the sea flooded through in 1910, by then of course everyone was fixated on burning coal instead, and today it is just a memory.
Similar back-lanes and paths took us westwards to West Itchenor, and as we waited to board the 'Itchy Bosom' (Itchenor to Bosham) ferry, Angela asked me what river we were going to cross. I didn't know, so I looked it up when I got home. It turns out that it is not a river but the Chichester Channel, one of the three arms of Chichester Harbour. Looking at the map, it does not appear to have a substantial river flowing into it and would seem to be a case of sea water invading the land rather than river water flowing out to sea, but Google could not help me discover the precise geographical explanation for this. As we neared the opposite bank, only minutes after setting out, a child at the front of the boat was heard to say, with some disappointment, 'Is that it?' - but a plaque on the Bosham side informs visitors that the ferry, which was discontinued a few years back but later reinstated, cuts out a 13 mile walk around the head of the channel at Fishbourne, so it is worth the £2.50 you pay for one person plus bike. There is no landing stage on the Bosham side, but the ferry has a ramp, and the ferryman (whom Angela described as 'a hunk') picks up the bikes effortlessly and hands them down to their waiting owners.
A little further on, Bosham Quay came into view, and we cycled round to the café on the far side. However, it transpired that the proprietors allocate seating according to the quaint old English principle that strangers must not be expected to share tables, so despite the many vacant seats we were turned away. Attention then shifted to the pub up the road with the curiously Franglais name of The Anchor Bleu, but Joyce did not like the cruel treatment being meted out to the local wasp population, so she and I went back to the café and left the others to drink 'un cup de thé'. On the way to the pub, we marvelled at the high doorsteps, put there to keep flood water out, and at the fact that the tops of the doorways are at normal height, so the doors themseves are actually quite small and must have to be almost wriggled, rather than walked, through.
By careful map-reading, Ian managed to find us a route back to Chichester that avoided the main road; we went via Taylor's Lane, and later passed the Roman Palace, crossing the railway line on what seemed to me to be an intrinsically dangerous foot crossing, made more dangerous by a bottleneck at the exit which led to a queue of bikes stretching back over the tracks. However our cameraman, Nick, refrained from 'doing a Fred' and defying death to get that definitive middle-of-the-railway shot, and so there were still seven of us alive when we got back to the station and dispersed on our respective journeys home, with 24 miles on the clock.
We all thought this was one of the best rides for ages, and thanked Ian for such an enjoyable day's cycling, and fellowship, which - as we all know - is Life.
Clapham Junction - Wandsworth Com - Wimbledon Pk - Wimbledon Com - Richmond Pk - Barnes Com - the Thames - Wandsworth Pk - Clapham J
Starting from Clapham Junction 10.30 am (meeting in the Cl. Junction main hall close to the exit)
Train: 9am from Brighton to Cl. Junction arriving 10.11 am. Return: from Cl. Junction every half an hour 16.08, 16.38 etc.
Meet: 10.30 am in Main Hall close to the exit
Distance: will be assessed by the cyclists who join and have the gadget. I reckon 15 -20 miles
Hills: Only one or two in beautiful Richmond Park where it is a pleasure to get off the bike; walk and look around
Refreshments: Bring a picnic. If no time to prepare anything; Clapham Junction has Sainsbury, Tesco and even Waitrose and a bakery around the corner. The cafes and pubs tend to get very busy on a Sunday except when the weather is not brilliant.
Extra info: The route will only be on smaller roads and in parks except 2 very short bits of main road which will be walked instead of cycled. The first break will be in Wimbledon Common with the view of a windmill. The second in Richmond Park.
I hope you will enjoy making the effort to travel all the way to London. It is an interesting and lovely route. If there is interest we can have a look at a Buddhist Temple and or Cinnazaro Park; both close to Wimbledon Common.
I will try to give everybody a map of this route. Just in case anybody gets lost. Am already very much looking forward to lead my first a bike ride.
My mobile phone no 07864832048.
The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
65. "The Philosophy of the Bicycle" concluded
Sometimes the various people writing in - or to - the Clarion, in the 1890s seem so much on our own wavelength that you half expect them to turn up on one of our next rides. But then there are other things that remind us how much things have changed. I've always found a large part of the fascination of history in the interplay and tension between 'universal' human strengths and frailties on the one hand and the past as 'another country' on the other. Still with the piece from 11 May 1895, I've picked out some extracts which brings home how cycling through London was very different in those days. Whiffly and the author (I think it's the Bounder) have a whole series of misadventures in central London. Here are some of the later ones..
Next time - an editorial response