|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
Reports from Autumn 2008
Sunday 16 November
There we were on Brighton Station needing to buy TWO group save tickets for eight of us: Tessa, Suzanne, Roger, Mick, Leon, Joyce and Anne plus Roger's guest riders Bob and Andrea. Sue and welcome new rider Peter made eleven. The platform-based guard looked at the huge group… we looked at her - the Mohican haircut was a bit challenging and the Germanic accent asking 'Are you all going to try and get on the train?' initially sounded rather daunting – but in the event she was jokey and cheerful and helpful. Of course we all managed to tuck ourselves into the various nooks and crannies of the train and during the journey had an enjoyable crash course on our star signs from Joyce's book.
Polegate was soon reached and Ian was there to welcome us. The photo was taken, the loo was visited and then off up the Cuckoo Trail, where the bike was knackered – yes, our leader had a major mechanical failure and had to abandon sheep, leaving his shepherding duties (and, fortunately, the map) to the tender mercies of Leon, Suzanne et al. But you lose one and you gain two. Alan (of the Hinton variety) and partner Debs joined us soon after. The cycle track to Horam was its usual delightful, leaf strewn autumn self. Sue had to leave us to go back to Brighton – thus causing horrendous problems to anyone trying to lead, as by then none of us could remember how many of us there should have been.
Off down Vine Cross Lane. Or at least some of us went down Vine Cross Lane, but an incompetent Suzanne failed to do her duties correctly and abandoned some of the group who did not see the going of the first bunch (don't tell Ian) but eventually we arrived at the Brewers Arms. Oh look, there's a lot of cyclists here already. Not just any cyclists, but no less than the Brighton wing of the CTC. Fraternal greetings were exchanged and then all the Clarionettes squeezed into to a lovely little room (not much bigger than an inglenook) to be plied with huge quantities of home made rolls and 'lashings of' butter before all the excellent meals turned up accompanied for some with even more rolls and butter. (Sorry Fred, Roger only got round to taking the photos of the food AFTER it had almost all been eaten.)
We finally prised ourselves away from the warmth and snuggery to set off in orderly formation from the pub car park, only for one patron to remind us that we had left a map and for another of the group to have left his/her (no names, no pack drill) rucksack. Down several exhilaratingly long hills, turning right into Hammer Lane, through Cowbeech, up Cowbeech Hill and right at Stunt's Green – all except Hinton junior who got overexcited and tried to go whizzing off to Hurstmonceux until retrieved by Leon, Peter and Bob. Through Ginger's Green and an elegant waft down Cricketing Lane brought us to the wet and reedy Pevensey Levels. Unfortunately at this point the water on the marshes was joined by the water coming from the sky, but nothing daunted, we turned right at Rickney Farm and made our gentle way back to the Cuckoo Trail.
Despite some concern about the fading light it was decided that The Loom Tea Rooms beckoned. Much tea and cake was consumed on said premises. Necessary fortification for the shortest of short rides back to Polegate Station in the fading light, and the very brief wait for the Brighton train.
Many thanks to Ian for a very well planned ride and to everyone who helped with shepherding.
2 November 2008
[More photos on Flickr]
It was 10:30 am on the first Sunday of November, so the veteran cars were starting to trickle onto Madeira Drive in Brighton, as nine Clarion riders assembled in the sun in front of the Palace Pier. They were Angela, Ian, Jim, Joyce, Leon, Roger, Sue, Suzanne and Terry. Tessa joined us at Hove seafront, where a coffee drinker at Marrocco's café kindly volunteered to take the group photo.
Then we were off westward along the seafront and the harbour road. At the next café (Carats) near to the Shoreham locks we split briefly into two groups, one opting for refreshments and the other taking a detour down to the harbour entrance, which also marks the end of the Monarch's Way, and hence the point from which Charles II escaped to France after his defeat by Cromwell at the battle of Worcester in 1651.
On across the newly configured locks, through Southwick and into Shoreham itself, where we walked over the footbridge to Shoreham Beach, stopping on the way to enjoy the sun and watch the sailing dinghies making the most of what little wind there was.
We circumnavigated Shoreham Beach (if that's the right word), with short stops to admire the recently established lookout station (run by the National Coastwatch Institution), and to photograph the Gaudiesque seat on Beach Road. We then crossed Widewater Lagoon and made our way into Shoreham Airport for a welcome break at the Fly-In Bar and Restaurant in the 1936 art-deco terminal building. The food was promptly served and tasted very good, except perhaps Jim's after he had dropped a full salt cellar into it.
Then came the celebratory bit of the ride. From the airport we returned to Shoreham via the 'old' toll bridge, now re-constructed and officially opened just a few days earlier by the Duke of York. Congratulations to the many enthusiasts who helped to make it happen, including quite a few Clarion members!
As is often the way with rides along this bit of the coast, members left the group at various stages on the return journey, but all were agreed that it was a splendid day out. Many thanks to Ian for planning the ride, and for leading the way in spite of suffering from an early winter cold.
[Again, even more and bigger photos on Flickr. ]