The Next Ride: Sunday 22 September

10 September 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. If you are not a member, and have not ridden with us before, email us (see the “Contact Us” box) for details of the next ride. If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.


The Last Ride: Littlehampton Circular, N,W,S &E.

10 September 2013

Extra Brownie points to Linda for arriving at Littlehampton on two wheels. Commiserations to Angela who arrived on four wheels but who was unable to join the ride as she was suffering from tennis elbow. Anne, Mike, Julilan, Roger and Suzanne all opted for letting the train take the strain.

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The BBC Weather site had forecast two drops of rain for 11 am and thankfully that is all we saw as we wended (wand?) our way N.-W. through Yapton on to Walberton to have a brief look at the pretty little pond nestling between Barnham Lane and Eastergate Lane. Eastergate Lane then took us W. to Westergate (obvious, really) and on through to Oving (the Saxon village of Uuinges – the territory of Üfe’s people) to a very happy rendez-vous with Angela and welcome lunch at the Gribble (a marine bug that will eat any of your submerged wood if you’re not careful) Inn.

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Real rain had fallen during our enjoyable lunch, but the lowering skies had us putting on various layers of waterproof clothing – wisely as it later transpired. From Oving we made a dramatic turn to the S. and managed to avoid busy roads by crossing the perilous A259 and arriving at the intriguing (but unfortunately closed) church of Merston (the marsh farmstead) where Julian tried to take a photo with his new camera, but five soggy cyclists got into the picture by mistake. Now it was time to turn E. Anne and Mick had found a lovely solution to the tricky problem of negotiating the top of Pagham Harbour for our return to Bognor: three bridleways through vast open fields giving magnificent views of the turbulent skies. In what seemed like next to no time we were in Bognor (“bugger” – I quote a king) … which seemed to have battened down the hatches for autumn. We bowled along with, at last the wind behind us. When we arrive at the shared cycle/pedestrian route along the prom there was no danger of getting within about 100 yards of the very sparse sprinkling of pedestrians. This gave us time to admire the sea of colours ranging from the lightest Connmara marble green to the darkest Welsh slate grey. The sky a swirl of blue, white and ominous black.

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Linda had a date (with her husband, one hastens to mention) so cycled off alone while the remainging, infamous five were lured into the Lobster Pot café and did not emerge until copious tea and cakes (no ginger beer) had been consumed. It had rained heavily during this scrumptious feast – and it forgot to stop when we came out. After a couple of pusillanimous stops to shelter from the downpour, the decsion was made to spurn the NCR2 and to make a dash along the A259. Not a pleasant experience. Cars were travelling well above the 60mph limit. Julian got soaked by puddle spray. The magnificent rainbow arching over the road was little compensation. Angela’s suggestion at lunch that all car drivers should be made to ride a bike for a week as part of their training seemed very apposite at that moment.

This “short cut” had saved us a couple of miles. Is it not time that a safe cycle route be built parallel (preferable not alongside) the A259? Why do those using their own energy have to go the long way round to protect themselves from those polluting the atmosphere and making noise with their internal combustion engines?

Rather than continue to put our lives at risk, we opted for a trip down to Climping Beach and back N.-E. into Littlehampton (see “Haneton” in the Doomesday Book). Our train pulled in almost as we arrived at the station. The 49 minutes of the return journey sped past in lively chat and “I’ll show you my GPS if you will show me your iPad” conversation.

Many thanks to Anne and Mick for keeping the rain off for far longer than we expected and for organising such a fascinating ride which reached some parts which Clarion ( a cycling club in which Fellowship if Life) had not reached before – always a great achievement.

Suzanne


The Next Ride: Sunday 8 September

23 August 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. If you are not a member, and have not ridden with us before, email us (see the “Contact Us” box) for details of the next ride. If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.


The Last Ride: Angmering Cicular with a Beach Picnic

11 September 2012

On what is very likely the last glorious day of summer 14 Clarionettes assembled from various parts:-

Angela – Angelika (our London regular) – Anne – Jim – Joyce – Kate (welcome to a new rider) – Leon – Marilyn (Another new rider to welcome) [well, new-ish, anyway – Jim] – Rob – Roger (our Leader)  – Sikka – Suzanne  –  and TJ and Joan (another two Londoners).

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This turned out not to be the fastest ride we have done, but with Roger’s patient shepherding it was full of delights.  The first part if not from the “sublime to the ridiculous” was, once past Angmering, from the horror of the A27 with cars seeming to be going at 80 miles p.h. to the haven of  lovely wooded lanes and on up a very acceptable hill to the great view of the castle.

Arundel Castle

The ride was not without its small crises – first was Joyce who had joined the ride determinedly (or foolhardily) braving a damaged back muscle, but who was shortly racked with pain. To the rescue came Rob with his magical pills – (no advertisement here but they were legal ….)  And they worked a miracle which enabled her (me) to stay in the group of back riders.

Bicycle Repair Man in action

Then Joan’s rear gear change gave up which forced her to ride in one gear – but, good rider that she is, she managed, and, as Jim said, we went “Climping up to Limping”, foregoing the  option of tea at Arundel so that we could get to Climping beach quicker;  drawn by the promise of a picnic on the beach and – for some of us – a likely last swim in the sea this year.

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It was indeed perfect weather for a picnic and swim which was enlivened by Leon’s  new toy, an “underwater camera” which allowed us to take fun photos in the water. 

clarion photo at climping 9-9-12 (19)

clarion photo at climping 9-9-12 (6)

We left the beach just as the perfect weather gave way to a blustery wind to accompany us on our way back to Angmering via Littlehampton.  Last delight was the little cafe on the station at Angmering which had just the tea/coffee we needed.

Thank you Roger for a lovely meticulously organised ride

Joyce 


The Next Ride: 9 September 2012: Angmering circular with a beach picnic

28 August 2012

Why Angmering? Because on 9 September that’s where trains will be turning into buses. But of course a circular ride can start anywhere.

So much for philosophy, what about the ride? We will set off north from Angmering station through Angmering village and up to the thundering monster which is the A27; we will need to do a mile or so on this abomination, but separated from the traffic.

Then we turn into peaceful wooded lanes, only to discover that other cyclists’ favourite: hills. Well, let’s call it a climb, rewarded at the top with a fine view of Arundel Castle and a downhill run into Arundel town.

Decision time. We could stop for a coffee by the river, or not: it might be a good idea since our picnic lunch will not be until 14 miles into the ride. There is also a handy Co-op shop where picnic supplies can be purchased if needed.

Our second, and final, hill will confront us as we leave Arundel; it’s steep and short. Then another downhill run to Ford where we could stop briefly to view the small and charming church of St Andrew. At this point we will also be very close to the point where our old friend the Chichester Canal used to enter the river Arun. Few signs of it remain except the name of the building next to the church, “Lock Cottage”.

One more burst of pedalling will take us past Ford Open Prison, through Climping, and down to the beach where we will stop for lunch and a swim for those so inclined.

The final stage of the ride takes us over the footbridge into Littlehampton, where we can stop to read the heritage sign recording how, for many years, this was the main western route into the town. We head east along the seafront; look out for the oddly shaped East Beach Café. Then through Rustington, East Preston and back to Angmering station.

Practicalities
Meet: Angmering station (north side) at 10:26.
Getting there: Catch the 9:50 from Brighton (9:54 from Hove). There is a car park on the north side of the line; £1 per day on Sundays.
Distance: About 20 miles.
Hills: A climb from the A27 to the high point on Blakehurst Lane and a short sharp hill on Torton Hill Road as we leave Arundel.
Off road: All on surfaced roads, except a mile or two on unsurfaced tracks.
Catering: Possible stop at Arundel for coffee and/or to buy picnic supplies. Lunch on the beach near Climping.
Getting home: Trains to Brighton leave Angmering at XX:48 (direct) and XX:22 (change at Hove).

My mobile: 0789 985 1172.

Roger


Non-ride report: 5 February 2012 – Worthing to LA*† (or “Snow? What snow?”)

7 February 2012

Roger had very sensibly cancelled his planned ride the previous evening, because of the weather forecast. However I was due to visit my daughter in Worthing anyway, and when she phoned in the morning to say there was no snow there, I sent a message to the Google group to see if anyone wanted to do an impromptu ride. John Clinton responded, and so we met up at the Coast Café on Worthing seafront at 1.15, and after a brief snack we set off along the coast in a westerly direction. So as not to steal Roger’s thunder (and anticipating that his ride will now be re-scheduled to a snow-free day) we decided to simply cycle along the coast as far as Littlehampton – or Ford in my case since there were, conveniently, no trains running from the aforementioned station.

We made a lively pace – John is, as all who know him will appreciate, one of those versatile cyclists who can both dawdle along at Clarion pace and race along with the “professionals”. The 14.8 miles to Ford were covered at a very respectable average speed of 11.4 mph, the quickest ride I’ve ever done; I’m usually one of the “dawdlers”, but I found I could keep up with John, and, on a day when the weather was not exactly tropical, the speed helped to warm us up. Thankfully, in addition to the absence of snow, there seemed to be very little wind.

John very kindly accommodated my few requests for a photo-stop, and the results can be seen on Flickr. On the way we talked of many things, and he explained to me what an Audax is. (I don’t think I will ever see one from the inside!)

Ferring

We turned inland at Ferring, and passed through East Preston, West Preston (which is where Angmering Station is – the real Angmering having featured in several Clarion rides), and Rustington before regaining the seafront behind the East Beach Café at Littlehampton (I had never seen the back of it before!).

East Beach Cafe

On through “LA”* and then over the bridge to Climping (as it says on the map) or Clymping (as the road sign would have it) and here we parted company at the A259 roundabout, John returning the way he had come (and I hasten to add that he had cycled all the way from Brighton).

Littlehampton

On the approach to Ford Station I suddenly saw what had happened to all the snow we were promised. It was on the Downs!

Snow-covered Downs

Many thanks to John for his companionship and patience.

Jim

[More photos on Flickr]

* Railway abbreviation for Littlehampton (say it with a Cockney accent).
† Actually Ford, but LA looks better.


The Last Ride: Sunday 12 June 2011 – Barnham Circular via Littlehampton and Arundel

15 June 2011

[More photos on Flickr]

When I read the words “Climping beach” in Roger’s very comprehensive ride description, I immediately packed my swimming trunks and towel. Although there was no scheduled stop here – and Roger later pointed out that we could not make any unscheduled ones because of the need to get to the pub on time – I thought that, the Clarion being the Clarion, well, there might be a spontaneous democratic uprising in favour of going in for a dip. There wasn’t, but the towel later proved extremely useful, as you will find out.

1. Crossing the A27

A light rain was falling when we (Anne, Joyce, Mick, Richard, Roger, Suzanne and myself) assembled at Barnham station – and, having checked the weather forecast, we were all dressed appropriately, Joyce resplendent in her dazzling “yellows”, and Anne equally resplendent in her “purples”. One disadvantage of this was the fact that the only working camera – Mick’s phone – was underneath three layers of clothing. My own camera having flat batteries, the first half of the ride was something of a photographic desert – though this was the only sense in which it resembled a desert at all.

3. A misty view of Arundel Castle

Roger had done some extensive and very impressive research (including liberal use of Google Earth) for this ride, which was full of contrasts and surprises – and water, unfortunately. Thankfully, some of the water had bridges over it – including Lidsey Rife, which is apparently an area of floodplain that has been designated a “Biodiversity Opportunity Area”, although the map shows it as a waterway. The track which took us across the Rife was a particularly pleasant one, which had apparently been recently upgraded from a footpath. It eventually transformed itself into Hoe Lane, and propelled us onward through Flansham and Middleton (or Myddleton) to the coast and the promised walk on the beach. Sally had told me we would probably see terns here, and indeed, we did see birds that fitted her description; they seemed to hang motionless in the air, but I did not see them dive as I gather they are supposed to. Perhaps they were young ones that had not learnt that part yet.

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We took a brief detour to look at the Baliffscourt Hotel. This is a collection of interesting mediaeval-looking buildings just off Climping Street, but Roger had not been able to find any historical background on the internet. And no pictures either – sorry!* Then it was on across the fields to Brookpits Lane and Littlehampton, and, more to the point, the welcoming dryness of the Arun View Hotel where we had superb food and service. After the usual lunchtime conversations ranging from the recent cycling tour of the Loire Valley by Joyce, Anne, Mick, John and Jo  to next year’s Clarion weekend ride (Bath & Bristol, anyone?) Suzanne proposed a motion that we stay in the pub until it stopped raining – but clearly it wasn’t going to, and in fact when we came out of the pub it was a lot heavier than when we went in. This was serious stuff now – wind and rain conspiring together to lash and sting your face, and “waterproof” garments showing their limitations to the full. After Lyminster, a very nice lane took us to Poling, and next came a traditional Extreme Sport beloved of Clarionettes, known as “crossing the A27″. We all made it – this time – and proceeded to Warningcamp and Arundel. I had by now bought new batteries for my camera, and so was able to catch a misty view of Arundel Castle.

Once in Arundel, it turned out that Roger had, very impressively, lined up not only a “first choice tea stop” but also a “second choice tea stop” – both, alas, closed. So we had tea, coffee and cakes at Partners Café. By now we were seriously wet, and this was where the aforementioned towel finally came into its own. Always know where your towel is, said Douglas Adams – preferably, in our case, in your pannier, and inside something waterproof!

4. The Tea Stop

After the “one serious hill” that Roger had warned us about, we had a sort of Man From Uncle moment. In that 60s TV series, the characters would go into what appeared to be an innocuous shop and out the back door into a modern spy centre. (Or something like that – it was a long time ago!) Here, we slipped through a hedge in a modern housing estate and emerged, straight into the 1950s – a funny little lane with an old-fashioned signpost. This was Tortington Lane, which led us into Ford Road, over the railway, and eventually into Maypole Lane, at the end of which a second Extreme Sport was awaiting us – a popular pastime known as “Crossing the Railway”. (Without the benefit of bridges, subways, level crossings and all that paraphernalia, that is). When Joyce, the last over, emerged into Lake Lane she assured us there had been no trains in sight, whereupon a green blur rushed past at about 120mph. Phew! A narrow escape, that one.

Shortly after this, Mick discovered he had a puncture. As he and Anne had come by car, the rest of us pressed on for the final mile, Anne to fetch their car and rescue Mick, the other five for Barnham station and a final round with the towel. 23 miles, 100 gallons of rain, 7 happy wet cyclists and only one puncture. Thanks Roger! Let’s do this one again soon and hope fine weather will make a wonderful ride into a superb one.

Jim.

* There is a photo of ” Bailiffscourt, by Amyas Phillips, 1935″ on p 62 of the Sussex volume of The Buildings of England. Ian Nairn gives it an unusually long write-up which begins “What on earth can a topographer committed to a C20 style of architecture, yet committed also to recording the memorable without fear or favour say about Bailiffscourt? It was originally the house of the bailiff of the abbey of Séez in Normandy and from this the CHAPEL remains; a late 13 century building… All the rest dates from 1935, built by Lord Moyne and his architect Amyas Phillips, and it poses a moral problem which is not at all simple”. But he goes on to say that it’s ” a lovely house”. In the general intro to West Sussex he calls it “the astonishing mirage of Bailiffscourt, immaculately C15 in its honey-coloured stoned , surrounded by genuinely transplanted buildings. Dornford Yates, if you like; but done with panache and sensitivity”.

Ian


The Next Ride: Sunday 12 June 2011 – Barnham Circular

31 May 2011

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.

Sunday 12 June 2011
Barnham Circular via Littlehampton and Arundel

This ride will provide the answer to one of cycling’s great mysteries: how do you get from Myddleton-on-sea to Littlehampton without using the main road? The answer is, walk along the beach. Read on…

We meet at Barnham station and ride to the coast on an excellent cycle track, which takes us over Lydsey Rife and into Flansham. We’ve used this track before, but the good quality surface has been extended over the whole route since our last visit, making it an even nicer ride.

Lovers of lanes can drool over Stanover, Hoe, Flansham, Worms and Ancton, which will get us through Myddleton and onto the beach. Once we hit the serious pebbles, walking for half a mile or so is the only option.

We can re-mount once we reach Climping beach, where we will take a short detour to view the strange collection of ancient (or pastiche?) buildings which make up the Bailiff’s Court Hotel. Then via Bread, Brookpits and Crookthorn Lanes to the bridge over the Arun at Littlehampton.

Here we find a welcome sight, the Arun View Hotel for lunch. There’s a wide menu but don’t indulge too much, there are a couple of hills to come and a possible cake stop by the river at Arundel.

We head north from Littlehampton, using some handy back alleys to avoid the traffic. As we cross the A259 on the Wick roundabout, look out for the Body Shop depot on the left. Then through Lyminster where we make a slightly awkward right turn off the main road onto a track; watch out for traffic!

The track provides a traffic-free route to Poling, a fairly isolated village where smart 20th century houses rub shoulders with an older agricultural heritage. Next we cross the A27 again, watch out for traffic. Blakehurst Lane takes us through some beautiful woodland and then we start a fairly gentle climb. Just when you’re beginning to wish it would end, it does: the road turns sharp left and we roll down through Warningcamp towards the river. Look out for a fine view of Arundel Castle.

A half mile amidst the traffic on the A27 gets us into Arundel itself. Note the catholic Cathedral as we meander through the back streets towards the western exit from the town.

Now for the one serious hill on this ride: it takes us through a housing estate. I recommend walking. Then we are into woodland and open country again as we roll down through Ford to Barnham, adding Ford, Maypole and Lake to the lanes collection as we go.

Practicalities
Numbers: Please let me know by 12 noon on Saturday 11 June if you want lunch at the pub (see below)!
Start: Barnham station at 11:35
Getting there: 10:12 or 10:48 trains from Brighton (leaving Hove at 10:22 or 10:52). There’s also a faster 10:19 from Hove. Barnham has a station car park.
Distance: 22 miles (approx.)
Off road: Some traffic free tracks, most with pretty good surfaces; a walk along the pebbly beach
Hills: Two shortish hills, one gentle, one walkable.
Getting back: Trains to Brighton at :02, :22 (change at Hove) and :32 all calling at Hove.
Catering: Lunch at the Arun View Hotel, Littlehampton (www.thearunview.co.uk) and possibly tea in Arundel.
My mobile: 0789 985 1172.

Roger


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