Ride report: Burgess Hill to Hassocks, 29 January 2023

29 January 2023

At the Plough. L-R Wendy, Doris, Sean, Tessa, Angela, Jane

Six set out. The weather was nice and mild although a bit overcast.

Sean Tunney, having just paid to have a puncture mended, joined the ride. The start was Burgess Hill and ended Hassocks.

The Plough at Plumpton did a wonderful roast and the pub dog looked jealous.

Chatting on the great shop in Plumpton and the racecourse where big winnings to be had for the lucky.

No hills were encountered. Nick H was missed, and understood to be over the county line in Lindfield. No further information.

An art dimension was anticipated after lunch. Garden sculptures and free veg expected.

Jim used the trip to multi task and clean his clutter by dropping off books at the East Chiltington phone box library.

Sean took the opportunity to slagg off Tory policy of building over the downs.


Jane forwarded this link to a book written by the Plough barman’s father about his experience of being tortured by Pinochet in Chile.

And finally … Seen on the way home:

More photos on Flickr

Next ride: Burgess Hill to Hassocks, Sunday 29 January 2023

20 January 2023

In this ride – an amended version of the ride we did almost exactly a year ago on 6 February 2022 – we witness the chaotic geography of Sussex, with Plumptons and Chiltingtons popping up all over the place, seemingly at random. We leave Burgess Hill by means of a quiet residential road and then a very nice bridleway. After crossing the railway we reach Hope Farm, and then, avoiding Ditchling Common (too muddy at this time of year) we ride eastwards to the Plough, between Chailey and Plumpton Green, for lunch. After lunch we continue to East Chiltington, passing the dustbin sculpture (as seen in Boots & Spurs), but stay on Novington Lane this time to avoid more mud, and eventually reach the B2116 at the place marked on the map as Plumpton. Returning westwards we can continue to Ditchling for a tea stop, or take Underhill Lane and have our tea in Hassocks.

Length: 11.5 miles. Mostly flat, no serious hills. Except at Hope Farm where there may be some mud, surfaces are good.

Take the 11:09 London Bridge train from Brighton to Burgess Hill. There are four trains an hour from Hassocks to Brighton.

News: 19 January 2023

20 January 2023

Here is a reminder of our social media links. I would particularly recommend the Google Group for cycling-related discussions.

Clarion Google Group: The Clarion Google Group remains the most popular way to communicate with other members of B&H Clarion. Please follow the link if you would like to join in discussions on future rides and other cycling-related issues. [If you aren’t familiar with Google Groups and how they can be used, click the “Google Group” tab – Webmaster].

Clarion WhatsApp group: The Clarion WhatsApp group has been popular with a relatively small group. It probably works best when sharing more urgent news.

Brighton & Hove Clarion on Twitter: If Twitter’s your thing, we’re still on the social media site currently being ruined by Elon Musk.

Brighton & Hove Clarion on Facebook: We have two Facebook groups! The public group is the best one to look at, or there is one just for Clarion members.

Brighton & Hove Clarion on Instagram: If you’re on Instagram, we’re there too.


Ride report: Brighton to Lewes, via the Egrets Way (January 15, 2023)

20 January 2023

The occasionally muddy second Clarion ride of the year was rather enjoyable last Sunday.

There’s no regrets
No tears goodbye
I don’t want you back
We’d only cry again
Say goodbye again

It was Jim who mentioned No Regrets, the 1975 hit by the Walker Brothers, as we approached the Egrets Way during our ride from Brighton to Lewes. Although we didn’t see any egrets during the ride, I had no regrets about droning on about the work of Scott Walker and the double white vinyl version of Boy Child I bought during last year’s Record Store Day.

Scott Walker once sang It’s Raining Today. Luckily this was one of his songs which wasn’t appropriate for Sunday’s ride, which featured bright sunshine during most of the day. The weather was quite blustery and Doris decided not to join us after the group photo at the start. Sunday’s Clarionista Five were: Tessa, Wendy, Jim, Dave & Nick.

It was familiar Clarion cycling terrain along the undercliff path towards Rottingdean. The fall of rocks on the path reminded us why the undercliff path is sometimes closed. It was just as well that we were wearing cycling helmets, I suppose.

The Egrets Way route wasn’t as muddy as we had anticipated and it was a straightforward cycle ride to the YHA Courtyard Cafe at Southease. Dave had noticed my back wheel was buckled and very kindly applied some emergency spoke adjustment procedures, with a spoke adjuster he always carries in his saddle bag. I was grateful for Dave’s impromptu cycle maintenance, which greatly improved my buckled wheel.

Although the YHA cafe was surprisingly busy, they had enough supplies of coffee, tea and chips for all the visiting cyclists and ramblers. The cycling puns used during the lunch break caused varying degrees of hilarity. We also talked about cycle maintenance, chips and coffee (probably).

It was the stretch along the River Ouse after lunch which was particularly muddy. We found it easier to cycle along the raised path overlooking the Ouse, rather than attempting to walk through the waterlogged grassy stretch below.

Our mud-splattered bikes were cleansed slightly by the brief shower in Rodmell. It was then a couple of miles of cycling to Lewes station. It was only Dave who decided to cycle home. The rest of us took the train back to Brighton and were back by 3pm.

This was a perfect winter’s ride, which wasn’t too long and ensured we weren’t forced to cycle in the dark. Thanks to Jim for organising.

For a Strava link click here. Rather annoyingly, Strava stopped tracking the route before we reached Lewes.

For photos from the ride click here.

Next ride: Sunday January 15th: Egrets Way

10 January 2023

This is the Egrets Way ride we have done before, modified into a linear ride from the Palace Pier to Lewes Station (trains are scheduled to run!) Lunch at Southease youth hostel, then along the new bit of the Egrets Way (if it exists yet) or else by road and bridleway, to Lewes.

Length: Roughly 13 miles.

Start at Palace Pier at 10:00.

New Year update

2 January 2023

From the Secretary:
We were fortunate to experience some glorious weather for our new year cycle ride to Carats cafe last week. It was great to reacquaint myself with the cafe’s starlings, who now join diners inside the cafe. A pity the Carats cafe staff seem less tolerant of these wonderful birds though! Those of us sitting outside in the January sunshine were treated to pleasant starling birdsong. I wasn’t told off for feeding the birds this time, so maybe the Carats staff are finally learning to live with their avian friends.

I was impressed with Anne’s electric Brompton bike, which sadly didn’t make it to the cafe stop. The e-bike’s battery needed charging and Anne had to return home before joining us for the Carats starling event.
Perhaps we should have more than one Carats gathering each year? Any thoughts on doing something similar at Easter?

I’ve included a few photos from the ride here. The Strava link details the coastal route to Carats.

Boots & Spurs, Autumn 2022

It was good to have Ian and Sue join us for our first ride of the year, Ian has a meticulously researched article on the cultural socialism of the early Clarion movement in the current issue of Boots & Spurs. Ian’s website is an excellent socialist history resource.

Jim has written a good Boots & Spurs piece on intriguing sculptures and artwork we have discovered on recent rides, There are also excellent accounts of the 2022 Clarion Sunday gathering at Clarion House from Saddleworth and London Clarion.


From the Webmaster:
A happy new year to all Clarion people, and well done for a record turnout on the Carat’s ride (11 people by my reckoning – Ian, Sue, Fred, Doris, Tessa, Dave, Wendy S, Nick, Mick, Ann and me).

Here is a vague summary of discussions, necessarily fragmented by the size of Carat’s tables, but mainly involving Dave, Doris, Tessa and me – with previous email input from Wendy T, Sally and Sikka.

We hope to do a ride from the Pier to Lewes via the Egret’s Way on 15 January, weather permitting, with return on the train if there is one, otherwise it might turn into a circular.

Beyond that – Angmering to Littlehampton seems popular and I will try that one out soon. Also the Chattri ride but probably better when it’s less wet and muddy. And possibly Hassocks to Shoreham too. For these darker days, a repeat of the little Burgess Hill to Hassocks ride we did last year (only 11 miles) might suit. I also hope to put some veggie-meat-substitute on Dave’s suggestion of a ride to Warnham Nature Reserve – one for the longer days, perhaps. And I am sure the Rusper proposal will eventually work out (third time lucky), again in warmer times. And there will be wood anemones! Finally, for filling in any remaining gaps in the programme, my vote is for a return to Outwood Lane and Redhill Aerodrome, which I hope would be popular.

Nick has suggested riding the East Sussex Coastal Cultural Trail – click here for a suggested route.

I’ll also mention a completely wacky idea I had, which was to do an Ouse-themed ride which would, in some respect yet to be defined, have links with Olivia Laing’s fascinating book “To The River”, with its backdrop of local history and Virginia Woolf. Watch this space!


Next ride: Monday 2nd January, 2023

23 December 2022

Meet at 10.30 outside Brighton Palace Pier for our annual cycle ride to Carat’s cafe (flat, off-road/quiet roads; a round trip of 9 miles). It’s worth mentioning that our coffee stop destination could be revised on the day, if there’s interest in trying a different location in the Shoreham area.

Let’s use the occasion to start planning our 2023 rides! Have a look at the rides list, and say which one(s) you’d like to do. Or suggest one of your own!

News – 21.12.22

23 December 2022

Hello all

Ian has asked me to convey season’s greetings and best wishes for the New Year to all, which must mean the year that was 2022 is speeding to a close.

After today’s winter solstice, the days will start to get longer again. I’m not that keen on cycling in the dark, so the longer days are something we can all look forward to.

2022 cycling summary

There have been some memorable cycle rides this year, which I’ve listed below with Instagram links.

We joined a large group of off-road cyclists for an impromptu ride through the woods during our Hurstpierpoint ride in January.

There was the first sighting of snowdrops during our early February Burgess Hill to Hassocks ride.

We were on the road again in March for our Haywards Heath to Burgess Hill ride.

In April we rode from Berwick to Bexhill, ending with tea on the beach, before a mad train ride back home.

Later that month we were back at Haywards Heath, having ridden from Three Bridges via the lovely Grouse Road, with refreshment stops in Staplefield and Cuckfield.

April’s Irish history ride with London Clarion took some of us to Pentonville Prison (for a photo opp).

We cycled to Knepp rewilding estate in early May and found time to photograph a nesting stork.

I was cycling in London again for their south London tree ride in mid-May.

We cycled along the Worth Way during our Three Bridges circular ride in late May.

I did some cycling in the Lancashire hills, during a June visit to Clarion House on Clarion Sunday. I was interviewed by the local radio station about the Clarion’s historic links with socialism and enjoyed listening to the socialist choir outside Clarion House.

July’s ride with London Clarion took us to the impressive tribute to anti-apartheid campaigner Trevor Huddleston in Lancing Chapel.

There was a particularly picturesque cycle route along Chichester Canal during July’s Chichester circular ride.

We cycled along the undercliff to Seaford in October.

London Clarion’s Halloween ride was very enjoyable in October.

This year’s 5th November Bike Train to the Lewes bonfire was rather damp, but enjoyable nevertheless.

Finally, in mid-November we cycled along the coast from Angmering to Worthing, through the estates of the super-rich and also a kite festival.

Membership renewal

You should all have received a membership renewal reminder by email. The membership fee is £17 this year, which includes a £5 voluntary local membership fee to B&H Clarion. This will help pay for things like updating the website and publicising the club. Most of the membership fee (£12) goes to National Clarion.

BACS payment to: Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club, Co-operative Bank plc.

Sort code. 08-92-99
Account No. 65377325
Reference. Your name

Best wishes for the festive break and hopefully see some of you on a cycle ride soon.




16 November 2022

Panorama debate
The BBC Panorama film – Road Rage: Cars v Bikes – initiated a lively discussion on our Clarion WhatsApp group recently. I thought cycling Panorama journo Richard Bilton did a good job in highlighting the dangers faced by cyclists who share the road with motorists during the 30-minute film.

Some who watched Panorama’s road rage film thought the cycling safety issue was sensationalised by including the views of anti-cycling propagandist Rod Liddle. I felt it was useful to cover the anti-cycling bigotry, which has been adopted by a significant minority of motorists, to show how a hostile and dangerous environment has been created for many cyclists on the road.

The Panorama documentary remains available to view on the iPlayer, if you want to make up your own mind.

Walter Crane’s radical calendar
With 2023 approaching, it was good to receive Radical Tea Towel’s calendar for the new year in the post this week. I was particularly delighted that their entire calendar for 2023 is devoted to the work of socialist artist Walter Crane. It was Crane who designed the striking ‘Fellowship is Life’, ‘Lack of Fellowship is Death’ & ‘Socialism the Hope of the World’ logo for the Clarion Cycling Club in 1912.

Although Crane’s Clarion artwork from 1912 isn’t included in Radical Tea Towel’s 2023 calendar, there are twelve images of radicalism and optimism which resonate in these troubled times. We could certainly do with more of Crane’s utopian vision of a socialist society today.


Ride reports

13 November 2022

Angmering to … err … Worthing? 13th November 2022

Apologies for Absence: Some Clarionettes will go to great lengths to avoid a ride. Front runner at the start was Angela D with her claim to be at the top of the i360 (where, as far as I know, she languishes yet) but she was pipped at the post by Dave’s account of his recent altercation with a False Black Widow spider. As for Nick, well, he had gone for the mysterious touch, and announced that he just wasn’t going to be there – something that Nick is well-practised at (see previous ride reports).

Cast in order of appearance: Doris, Wendy and I fought back football fans at Brighton station to board the Portsmouth train, and arrived at Angmering station about 50 minutes later. BR excuse of the day was that there was a slow train ahead of ours, but if there was, goodness knows where it had come from! We met Steve at the station and sped off southwards.

No Entry: The people of East Preston practised an extreme form of Brexit, whereby they left, not just the EU, but the UK as well; they closed off their roads with gates, and put up increasingly threatening signs to keep out intruders. I fully expected to see a machine gun post around every corner. Luckily, we emerged unscathed; perhaps the guards were on their tea break. And I dread to think how the England Coastal Path project is going to cope with Ferring.

Kites: People who are very old, like me, may remember the song “Kites” by Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, which apparently reached No. 8 in the charts in 1967, and included a spoken interlude in Mandarin. Well, the kite flyers of Ferring were out in force on the seafront – a pretty sight if you like that sort of thing, but unfortunately the popularity of the festival meant the café here was a non-starter for us, and we pressed on (if you pardon the pun).

The Breaking of the Fellowship: Sadly, our trendsetting electric-biking leaders decided to follow the trend already set by Nick, Dave and Angela and were suddenly Not There either. This was on the approach to Worthing. Steve and I cycled back and forth along the seafront looking for them but they were nowhere to be seen, so we sat on a bench and ate our snacks, then Steve returned to Angmering and I caught the train home.

Thanks to Wendy for suggesting the ride. Sorry we got split up!


This sign on Preston Road got me thinking … something wasn’t right? But I guess they are doing their best …

And two reports from our roving reporter, Nick:

Halloween with London Clarion
London Clarion organised a suitably spooky Halloween ride around London on Sunday October 30th. We split up into groups of five or six to navigate the 20-mile route, while answering quiz questions at landmarks along the way. There were some impressive Halloween costumes on display, which made me think I should make more of an effort with face paint and masks next time. The hugely enjoyable route can be found on this Strava link.

Lewes Bonfire with Bike Train
Bike Train’s ride from Brighton to the Lewes Bonfire on 5th November is always one of my cycling highlights of the year. We had some assistance from the police when occupying one of the lanes on the A27 as we approached Lewes. There’s a terrific sense of empowerment when you ride together as a large group and are given priority over motorists. This year’s rainy weather reduced the number of cyclists, but there must have been about 100 participants. There were plenty of fireworks and Liz Truss effigies to keep us entertained when we arrived in Lewes. Strava link here.