The Next Ride: Sunday 19 October 2014 – Eastbourne to Bexhill

8 October 2014

The next ride will start at Eastbourne Station at 11, the Brighton train departs at 10.20. We will be riding to Bexhill with lunch planned at the De La Warr Pavilion where there are several exhibitions and good food.

We will return via The Loom for tea (and cakes I hope) from Polegate trains leave at 06 and 42 past the hour. The exact route has not yet been decided but will be about 25 miles of fairly flat cycling. Anyone coming by car could probably leave the car at Polegate and get the train or cycle to Eastbourne Station, 5 or 6 miles depending on the route.


The Last Ride: Sunday 5th October – Rye to Battle

8 October 2014

On a really beautiful but rather chilly morning, Jim, David, Julian and I met at Rye Station to begin the 16 mile ride to Battle.  We began on the NC2 and climbed the ridge, skirting the wood known as Brede High Woods. It was very noticeable that the trees still look quite lush and green.


Autumn seems barely here despite it being October, but the weather looks to be changing tomorrow from today’s warm sunshine. On the way we saw many houses which had attached the typical Kent oast house. I have never been in an oast house and would be fascinated to do so, but we did not knock on anyone’s door to ask!


Eventually we came to The King’s Head pub in Udimore where we stopped for lunch. Jim had a very amusing story to tell about how the village got its name, something to do with the site being ‘over the moor’. No, it didn’t make a huge amount of sense to me either but, bless him, Jim does make you laugh.

At lunch, being a small group, we got into some very interesting conversations about all sorts of things and David, who knows a thing or two about pipes, explained to us the workings of the Newhaven Incinerator and how the stuff that eventually goes out to sea is almost as clear as drinking water.  It was all very fascinating.  Julian, who knows a thing or two as well, told us about the work that he used to do and we got into a very interesting conversation about the pros and cons of this TTIP thing (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). It’s amazing what you can learn about on a Clarion ride.


Something unexpected … Spilstead Farm in Stream Lane

After finishing our lunch, we started down a road which Jim told us had the same number as the last four digits of the first telephone number he ever had. Now, that’s astonishing. How has  he managed to remember the last four digits of his first ever telephone number? Sometimes, I forget the last four digits of my current number!


The view from the ridge

The next bit of the ride was very pretty and very undulating, but those hills were worth it, with views over the Kent countryside in the gorgeous afternoon sunlight.  We noticed how quiet the route was, with very little traffic noise, there being no major roads near to the route that Jim had planned, and it was lovely to be able to hear the birdsong without that noise in the background and for Julian to be able to identify what kind of bird was singing.


The Brede Valley path

After a great ride, we came sailing down into Battle where we found the most lovely teashop, and sat outside for tea and scones, right opposite a fantastic view of Battle Abbey.  Unfortunately, it was too late in the day to go for a visit round the Abbey. It was then a short distance to the station for the journey home which, like the rest of the day, proved to be enormously enjoyable, as David has an app on his phone to do with identifying bird song. Julian is really good at this and it was seriously good fun. I hope the other passengers enjoyed the birdsong too?!

Paper lady

A passenger waiting at Rye Station

Many, many thanks to Jim for a memorable ride and a seriously fun day out.



8 October 2014

Dear All

Well, ever optimistic, I had hoped that by the time I got back from holiday all the remaining rides for 2014  would have been claimed  – preferably by people who haven’t yet led  a ride this year.

I have been  checking emails from time to time while on holiday and unless I’ve missed something – by no means impossible – apart from Mick and Anne taking over the 19 October from Roger we still have two November rides and the final one in December without any offers.   What about it?

I need your views

In the last two newsletters I’ve raised issues I’d like everyone’s opinion. We’ve just had one special meeting and I don’t won’t to call another for this. Can we do it referendum style by you just letting me know your view by email sometime before the next newsletter on 20 October?   I’ll let you know the results then.

The first issue I’d like views on is the New Year Brunch Ride to Carats Café.  We usually have done this on 1 January  but this year, because severe weather was forecast but had it on 2nd January.  There is an argument, which I outlined a couple of issues ago in this newsletter, that 2nd (which next year is a Friday) would be better anyway – much less crowded at the café etc.

So the question is –  assuming that the issue is not decided as it was this year by the weather forecast  – which day would be better.  A reply to this email saying either 1 or 2 will be sufficient unless you want to add anything .

The second issue concerns the subs for next year and consequently the date of the AGM.

As I explained last time,  after many years of holding the national subscription fee down it was decided at the conference during the Easter Meet decided that in order to cope with increasing admin costs it needed to be raised to £8 p a.  As I reported in May, our own AGM had instructed our delegates to listen carefully to the arguments for the motion that proposed this with the expectation that the increase would probably need to be supported. Both of which we did.

Some years in the past we have suspended our extra local subscription of £1 a year and I’m minded to propose this at the AGM.  But whether or not this is decided I think we ought to hold the AGM earlier rather than later – fairly early in January – so whatever the decision is Julian – and everyone else – will know whether we need to send £8 or £9 before we start reminding members about subs.

I’d like a decision on this too so that we can do a bit of forward planning bearing in mind that I’m required – quite rightly – to give at least 3 weeks notice of meetings.

For this one the issue is can I call the AGM early in January?  Just a “Yes’ or “No” will be fine

Christmas Social

Angela tells me she’ll soon be able to give us details – so keep on watching this space.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 167.Rides, a distinguished visitor, and trouble with the Watch Committee in Liverpool

8 October 2014

Liverpool CCC report for 27 June 1896

The event since the last report has been the dispatch of the “Clarion Woman’s Van” on June 18th… A good number of members journeyed to Chester, on the occasion, under a burning sun , just in time, in consequence of a late start, to witness the closing ceremony before the Van started on its pilgrimage. The day following (Sunday) Neston was visited, 22 members turning out for the ever popular Cheshire run… Tea was provided at the Chester Hotel, Parkgate.  Parkgate is, I believe, on the sea-coast, though all the evidence you have for that belief is the fact of there being a few miles of mud dotted here and there by fishing boats. Cockles and convalescent homes seem to be the chief industry.

Systematic propaganda seems rather “off” with us just now; perhaps this is because most of us have our noses on the grindstone of the cause six days a week, and like to enjoy the country and fresh air without being disturbed by the consideration of having a duty to perform. Perhaps those of our members who are not so active  the other six days will signify the same. Comrade Liebknecht during his visit to Liverpool informed me that in Germany cycling Socialists are highly organised for the purpose of spreading Socialism in the country districts, and that at election time great use is made of the wheel, a complete system of communication being  established between the various  polling stations by means of which the party obtains information valuable to them more quickly than other parties can command…

One of our members, J Morrissey, of Toxteth, has been fined for asserting the right of free speech in the open air. A rigorous campaign  is being carried on, and if continued will no doubt result in the defeat of the persons in authority, as was the case last year.

At the time of writing the cycle parade in aid of the hospitals has had to be postponed in consequence of the action of the dunder-headed Watch Committee proscribing the route used in previous years, which naturally comprises some of the principal streets… No reason is given for their conduct, which  seems pure cussedness on their part. Feeling is very strong on the side of the Parade Committee, who talk of holding mass meetings in front of St George’s Hall, from where the Socialists have so often held forth. Perhaps something will result that may give pause to the “never ending audacity of these elected persons.”

Our membership continues to increase in a most gratifying fashion. We can also boast of lady members.

W Bevan, Hon.Sec/

Next time: haven’t decided yet (been on holiday!)

The Next Ride: Sunday October 5th 2014: Rye to Battle

22 September 2014

Rye – Udimore – Broad Oak – Brede High Woods – Powdermill Reservoir – Whatlington – Battle

This ride was originally intended as a repeat of my Rye-Hastings ride via the Brede Valley, which we did in July 2012, with the last few rather hilly miles replaced by a smaller number of less hilly ones. However, there are still a good few undulations, as the route cuts across several small valleys. I’ve also done a few extra tweaks to the route.

What we as a cycling club like is quiet, traffic-free, flat lanes. But what we tend to get is either undulating lanes or busy roads on the flat, and the choice is agonising. This time around I have decided to eschew the lovely, leafy, sunlight-dappled but undulating Stubb Lane in favour of a longer stretch of the level B2089, which does not seem to be a very dangerous road, at least not on weekdays. This means that, having set off on NCN2 and climbed to the ridge, we’ll stay on it all the way to Broad Oak,  avoiding Brede and Sedlescombe, and instead skirt the large wood known as Brede High Woods, and catch sight of the huge dam that holds up Powdermill Reservoir. Those who like a bit of danger will be pleased to know that we have to cross the A21, a single-carriageway, two-lane trunk road with no central reservation!

We should reach Battle at around 4pm if the A21 spares us. The Abbey, which was built on part of the battlefield, is open until 5, and it costs £8 to get in, or maybe a little less for concessions (and free to English Heritage members). Is it worth it? I don’t know as I have not been in. The guide book says that much of it, including the monastery, was demolished or damaged over the years, although the gatehouse is certainly impressive. Perhaps if anyone does go in, the others can have a well-deserved tea stop at one of the many cafes nearby.


Start from Rye Station at 12:00. Length: about 16 miles. Duration: about 4 hrs inc lunch.

Terrain: Some NCN2, flat but slightly bumpy. Several quiet lanes and one not-too-busy B road. Oh, and that A21 crossing. There are about six uphill sections – mainly short, and with gradients no worse than 1 in 25.

Lunch will be at the Kings Head at Udimore, as last time, at about 1pm.

Getting there: The 10:20 from Brighton gets to Rye at 11:44, but note that this is two separate trains today (as is the 9:20), with a four minute change at Eastbourne which ought to be a guaranteed connection. I don’t know why they are doing that.

Londoners should leave Charing Cross at 9.25, changing at Hastings.

As is my custom I will take the earlier train (9:20) to avoid overcrowding; I am pleased to say that the late lamented Fat Controller café next to the station has been re-born as the Café des Fleurs and is open on Sundays, so that’s where you’ll find me. (Remember that you can walk to the Ashford end of the platform and then cross at the level crossing if you don’t fancy carrying your bike over the footbridge!)

Getting home: Trains leave Battle for Hastings at 24 and 46 minutes past the hour and London at 7 and 44 minutes past. Trains leave Hastings for Brighton at 3 and 19 minutes past (one of these requiring an additional change at Eastbourne). I’m afraid those going to Brighton will have to get their bikes over the footbridge at Battle, but I am sure we can manage that – fellowship being life, after all.

A return ticket from Brighton to Rye should be valid from Battle, and a return from London to Rye via Battle certainly shouldn’t present any difficulty!


The Last Ride: 21 September 2014 – Dell Quay Mark II

22 September 2014

Dell Quay ride

It was perfect cycling weather: light winds, some sun but not too hot, and no rain. Nine riders assembled at Chichester – Corinne, Julia, Julian, Marilyn, Richard, Roger, Sue, Suzanne and Tessa. After being photographed by a friendly passer-by, we were off.

The Centurion Way provided a relaxed start to the ride; we soon turned off to take the road to West Stoke. It was here that eyes were attracted to the right-hand side of the road: at first glimpse through the trees it looked like a flood. then I thought it was poly-tunnels, but once we got a good view it was clear that it was a field completely carpeted with solar panels.

The countryside around Chichester is some of the most beautiful in Sussex and it was looking its best today. I’ve been on many Clarion rides through it and led quite few, but even so, I’m sure that some of the lanes that Julian led us down were new to me: a fresh pair of eyes gives us a new view of the familiar.

Our first stop was the Crown & Anchor at Dell Quay. We found a large table on the terrace looking out over the channel. Julian had been hoping to spot a few local birds, but the high tide meant they had gone elsewhere.

The food and service at the pub were good; the summer pudding looked particularly impressive. (I’m not saying who ate it!). Conversation at my end of the table focussed on contrarian ideas about diet: some kinds of cholesterol are good for you – though no one was quite sure which kind it was; fruit juice should be avoided in the interest of healthy kidneys; cream in your coffee is far better than milk.

The route back to Chichester took us along the canal tow path. The first section was narrow but fortunately there were few other users and those we met seemed happy to stand and watch us all roll past. The second section was wider but also busier, off and on the water. We stopped at one point to express disapproval of three lads in canoes who seemed to be attacking a duck with their paddles.

And finally to the Canal Trust’s café where tea, coffee and cakes were consumed with enthusiasm before we dashed to the station and squeezed into every nook and cranny on the 15:53 to Brighton.

Thanks a million to Julian for a perfectly planned and expertly led ride!



22 September 2014

Dear All

Ian and Sue are off on their hols so I’m on newsletter duty.

We had a special general meeting of the branch last week to pass the resolutions needed to get our bank account operating again. Many thanks to the seven members who came, who were more than enough to get the job done. The resolutions were adopted unanimously after an appropriate amount of debate.

We need a few volunteers to fill up the blank slots in the rides list (next page). If you’ve got an idea but would like to talk it through before committing, give me a call (01273 321794).



Ian writes …  

Something to think about while I’m away!  Subs

After many years of holding the national subscription fee down it was decided at the conference during the Easter Meet that in order to cope with increasing admin costs it needed to be raised to £8 p a. As I reported in May, our own AGM had instructed our delegates to listen carefully to the arguments for the motion that proposed this with the expectation that the increase would probably need to be supported. Both of which we did

Some years in the past we have suspended our extra local subscription of £1 a year and I’m minded to propose this at the AGM. But whether or not this is decided I think we ought to hold the AGM earlier rather than later – fairly early in January – so whatever the decision is Julian – and everyone else – will know whether we need to send £8 or £9 before we start reminding members about subs.

Have a think and let me know your view in October.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.