Wivelsfield to Shoreham, via Stan’s Bike
Shack (or the Partridge pub in Partridge Green)
The ride on Sunday February 23rd will start at Wivelsfield station. We will have a
choice of lunch stops (Stan’s Bike Shack or the Partridge pub in Partridge Green).
I’ll be heading to Stan’s Bike Shack to sample their coffee for the first time, but
others may wish to have a break in the Partridge pub instead.
We’ll all meet up after lunch to cycle along the Downs Link to Shoreham train
station. Those with more energy may also want to cycle from Shoreham to
Train from Brighton to Wivelsfield is 10.08.
Ride concept by Nick. Fine-tuning by Jim.
Wivelsfield to Shoreham, via Stan’s Bike
The Last Ride –Sally’s Report
Berwick Circular 18 miles
Angela D., and Nick, co-leaders. Followed by Jim, Sikka, Richard Carroll, Sally.
It was a mild greyish February morning lightened by gleams of sunshine through the misty fields and on the scarp edge of the downs. There was a lot of water lying in the pastures after heavy overnight rain, filling the ditches to several inches up the hedgerows, and pouring into the drains. We pedalled along happily at an unfashionably slow pace, pausing to admire, at Angela’s instruction, manor houses and cottages—mostly 18th century, Ripe church (formerly known as Eckington, given by Henry VIII to Thomas Cromwell after the expropriation of the monasteries), and a lovely timber-frame and brick house in the village that looked Jacobean, with carved wooden people on the doorposts (see picture).
On the return from a detour to Laughton Tower, down a lane pitted with spectacular rashes of pot-holes, circular like the ones made by meteorites on the surface of the moon, I got a puncture. Luckily it was not too far to walk to the Roebuck Inn for lunch.
The cognoscenti had advised in advance that this was a cog-themed establishment, in honour of “steam punk,” whatever that may be. The décor was largely characterised by interlocking wheels of assorted sizes with teeth on them. Apt for a cyclists’ pub. It could have been named “The Derailleur Inn.” After lunch, Jim helped me to fix the puncture and I vowed in future to bring a spare inner tube, and a selection of adapters suitable for different valves, since the pub offered a foot pump which, however, was incompatible with my tyre.
We set off back, rather later than intended because of the delay caused by the pneumatic mishap. Richard raced ahead to catch the train. Nick just missed it. The rest brought up the rear, and the 5 of us had time for a pot of tea, and in Jim’s case an apple crumble with ice-cream, at the Berwick Inn. We were home at Brighton soon after 5.30.
The ride planning meeting last Tuesday seems to have been very productive but I
will wait until I get a definite offer for 8 March before confirming anything. As
usual will let you know when I do.
If you’d like to take on 8 March please let me know and I’ll include it in the next
newsletter. Likewise if anyone wants to take on 22 March.
One of the items from Nick’s report (see his google group message) of the
When are people free for the proposed Norfolk trip? It was suggested that
September might be the best time for this, although the previous Clarion
Norfolk visit was in April (7 years ago). Would 5 or 6 people be able to
commit to the Norfolk trip.
Since then I have received the following message from Jim.
I would like to get a date fixed, and accommodation booked (at least for me
and Sally). A few from the Google group have expressed interest, but I’m
aware that not everyone is in the Google group.
So, please let Jim know ASAP at email@example.com
Boots and Spurs
Suzanne’s report – complete with photo – did us proud in the last (much delayed)
issue of Boots and Spurs and I was very pleased that Angela (D)’s piece on
‘fellowship’ (which I sent in without telling her!) was also included.
The deadline for the next issue is the end of March. Anyone feel like doing a
brief report on our more recent activities? Do let me know.
I think the best time for our AGM will be one of the days during the final fortnight
of March which will give people the best chance of having proposals included in
the agenda and in the case of office-holders having their reports circulated – even
if they go out after the agenda in some cases.
I’ve had zero response from my request in the last newsletter that those intending
to attend the meeting let me know specific dates or days of the week that are not
good for them, but let’s try again.
I’ve checked again with Anne and Mick who are hosting the meeting and also with
our chair, Roger, as a result of which I’ve been able to reduce the choices to the
following 6 dates in March Mon 16, Wed 18. Fri 20, Tues 24, Wed 25, and Fri
If you can’t make any one of these dates (or more than one!) please let me
know not later than next weekend – Sunday 16 February. I’ll be sending out
the agenda etc as soon as possible after that. Any reports that arrive
subsequently will of course also be circulated.
Sorry the notice is so short but I have to attend a national committee
meeting in Nottingham the following weekend and I’m pretty busy at the
moment checking proofs during the rest of the week.
Angela (D) suggested using Doodle – which I attempted to do but without success
in the end, It was a good suggestion – just a bit too complicated for my tiny brain!
But since there are only 6 choices now it shouldn’t be too difficult for everyone
just to say ‘I can’t make………’
Finding a date that suits everyone is always a problem and I realise things may
come up before whatever date we agree that will make it difficult or impossible for
someone to attend. So, I can’t guarantee that the date will be good for everyone
but as usual I will do my best!
If anyone has a proposal to put to the AGM it would be good if it could be included
in the agenda so everyone can think about it – and perhaps discuss it before the
meeting. Again, let me know by next Sunday if there’s anything you’d like
included. I’ll be happy to circulate any other proposals that arrive after that
Sorry that Jim had to cancel the 9
th February ride – but it was clearly the right
decision in the light of the weather forecast
However, we have still got Sally’s account of the 2 Feb ride and you can see a
version brilliantly illustrated with photos on via the google group.
Berwick Circular Sunday 2 February
Berwick to Berwick
A perfect winter’s ride – level a lot of the way and a wonderful pub stop for lunch –The Roebuck.
We meander through some beautiful Sussex countryside, including the pretty village of Ripe and its beautiful manor house, Eckington Manor and visit Laughton Tower with its own miniature moat, gloating over the surrounding landscape.
Depart Brighton station at 10.05 for Berwick, arrive 10.32
There are no coffee stops en route but the Berwick Inn is open from early for coffee and breakfast; I suggest we bring a thermos and have a hot drink while admiring the tower.
Lunch at The Roebuck and return
Trains once an hour at 55 minutes past; if we are early the Berwick Inn provides tea
Angela and Nick
Sunday February 9th: Gatwick Circular Ride via Outwood
Gatwick – Horley – Burstow – Outwood – South Nutfield –
Redhill Aerodrome – Horley – Gatwick
Amazingly, this ride doesn’t seem to have been done for over 9 years, although we did cover part of the route in a Redhill ride in 2016 (which is also due for a repeat, but we can’t do that until water levels subside a bit on Nutfield Marsh!)
The ride goes through some rarely-visited territory to the east of Horley which may be a little soft underwheel, but there are alternatives if it gets too bad. Assuming it doesn’t, we will pass the site of Thunderfield Castle, “one of a very small number of complex moated sites in the South East” according to Historic England.
Lunch will again be at the Bell at Outwood, at 1pm. Last time I described it as “not an ideal Clarion pub – a bit too snooty for me” but Tessa’s ride report from 2016 seemed to give it the thumbs up, and the prices today look pretty much what we would expect.
On the way back to Gatwick we will have a tea stop at the café at Redhill Aerodrome. In 2010 I mused about “why on earth a group of eco-warriors like us should want to sit and watch planes taking off and landing” – but these are small planes, and the air ambulance is based here. When (in the hopefully not-too-distant future) Gatwick Airport is a museum, Redhill will still be going strong, rescuing people and training future rescue pilots, and the private planes based here will be used mainly for ferrying the pigs around …..
The return leg features a long stretch of NCN21, including a wooded cycle path and a quiet concrete road.
There are no obvious “fast loops” for this ride, and in any case there doesn’t seem to have been much demand for them recently. However, directions will be supplied for anyone wishing to avoid dithering and spend more time in the pub.
Length: 20 miles.
Start time: 11:00, Gatwick Airport station. Meet outside the exit ticket barrier on the bridge if not going by train from Brighton.
Hills: One serious hill we can walk up; a few undulations.
Traffic: Mainly quiet lanes and bridleways/tracks.
Surfaces: The bridleways and tracks have hard surfaces, so if it is wet the worst problem will be water rather than mud; however we can take detours along roads if we have to.
Duration: about 5½ hours.
Getting there: Catch the 10:27 train from Brighton. Anyone desperate to lop off a couple of miles can change at Gatwick for a train to Horley (hopefully from the adjacent platform), where we can rendezvous, as the route goes past Horley station.
Return trains from Gatwick at 10, 28, 40, 58 minutes past the hour.
Burns Night Edition
As you will have seen from her google group message Angela has had to change the date of her ride from tomorrow to next Sunday 2 February. Details of the ride are below again as are those for Jim’s ride on 9 February
There wouldn’t be enough time to get a newsletter out between these two rides so I’m sending it to you today. Nick has now taken 23 Feb.
March rides, anyone?
Opening attachments (or not)
With the last newsletter (13 January) I asked ‘ if you can’t open one of the versions attached please let me know and I’ll send it as a (longish) email’ One recipient did reply saying the attachments couldn’t be opened so – for the time being at least – I’m going to revert to the 2019 practice of pasting the newsletter into the email as a – less elegant but still readable – alternative to the attached version.
I’ve checked with Anne ands Mick and they are happy -at least at the moment – to host our AGM any day in March except Tuesday 31st;
Finding a date that suits everyone is always a problem.
So please let me know if there are any dates in March that are not OK for you and/or days of the week when you have a regular commitment that might prevent you attending the meeting.
Can’t guarantee that the date will be good for everyone but as usual I will do my best!
I’ve started writing my report on last year which will eventually be circulated with the agenda. Other officers are invited to do likewise, of course. Please let me have them ASAP.
If anyone has a proposal to put to the AGM it would be good if it could be included in the agenda so everyone can think about it – and perhaps discuss it before the meeting.
Dave on safety and pavement cycling
In response to the last newsletter I had two emails from Dave Churchill raising, I think, some important points. It’s at the end of this newsletter.
If like us you’re having haggis this evening, and you’re familiar with the poem, do bear in mind what happened to Tam O’Shanter’s horse and take the poet’s advice to go easy on ‘Inspiring bold John Barleycorn’!
Dave Churchill’s Comments
Reading Nick’s Ride Report only convinces me that one has to ride defensively on the roads following Cycling UK, Sustrans and British Cycling’s Leadership Training stance especially riding two abreast to make traffic wait instead of passing at inopportune moments and cutting in. Putting on my H & S professional hat in eliminating or substantially reducing a hazard and risk is called for which is why I ride off road on bridleways etc preferring to fall off and get muddy and bruised rather than killed or seriously injured by a vehicle.
Most of my friends are of the same mind finding it difficult to understand why anyone would want to ride on any road for leisure!
I am also a Member of the Institute of the Motor Industry who uses a car when essential such as for business so I appreciate the problems facing both side, good and bad drivers and good and bad cyclists.
Unfortunately there are many car drivers that have not cycled for years so don’t appreciate the problems and I regularly encounter cyclists riding down one way streets and riding on the pavements and these problems do not help mutual understanding.
The attached guidance (below) seems to imply that police have to decide if there is a real risk to a cyclist when one is seen riding on the pavement for example at a very busy junction as well as risks to any pedestrians at the time.
Speaking to police officers they have said that that a cyclist cannot just say they are nervous of the traffic and decide to ride willy nilly on the pavement instead of pushing their bike as this would set a precedent and open floodgates to cyclists on pavements.
There are some pavements at certain times could cope safely with cyclists but Western Road Brighton on a Saturday afternoon couldn’t!
Unfortunately from my reading of some posts on Bricycles FB page there is an assumption that as saviours of the planet cyclists should be given carte blanche to ride where they like and ignore pedestrians.
The guidance on pavement cycling referred to by Dave
Cyclists should not be fined for mounting the pavement to escape dangerous sections of road, a transport minister has told police amid claims officers are ignoring official advice.
Robert Goodwill urged police not to penalise cyclists for moving off the road at congested junctions after complaints £50 fines are being handed out too readily.
He said enforcing laws which prohibit cycling on the pavement is a matter for police, but added that discretion should be exercised “where a cyclist is using the pavement alongside a dangerous section of road out of fear of the traffic”.
Mr Goodwill reiterated guidance from 1999, when fixed penalties for cycling on pavements were first introduced, which states that the goal is not to penalise “responsible cyclists”.
In a private letter to a cycling safety group who raised the issue, he also advised campaigners to take it up with Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), to ensure the advice is followed.
The guidance, which was first issued by Home Office Paul Boateng 15 years ago, states: “The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users.”
“Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”
Campaigners have been concerned at the increase in fines being handed to cyclists since the launch of Operation Safeway, the major road safety drive launched in the wake of six cyclists’ deaths in a two-week period last year.
Almost a third of penalty notices issued under the operation, which has seen hundreds of police staged at major junctions across the capital, have been handed to cyclists despite the fact they make up a small minority of road users.
Donnachadh McCarthy, spokesman for Stop Killing Cyclists, claimed police officers stationed at London Bridge told him they had been advised to ignore any guidance and issue fines every time cyclists were spotted on the pavement.
In one unconfirmed case, he said, a cyclist had reported being fined for riding a “Boris bike” a matter of feet from its docking station to the kerb.
He said: “Fining vulnerable cyclists for cycling responsibly on the pavement at extremely dangerous junctions like Vauxhall Cross is a bedroom tax on two wheels as there is no safe alternative for them to cycle on.”
Mr Goodwill wrote to the group after they raised their concerns with ministers, telling them “I agree that the police should be using discretion in enforcing this law”, and advised them to write to Sir Hugh Orde.
He later said in a statement: “Pedestrians should expect to be able to use the pavement without fear of being in a collision with a cyclist and we are determined to discourage dangerous behaviour, which is why last year we increased the fixed penalty for this offence to £50.
“Enforcement is a matter for the Police but we endorse their approach of showing discretion in instances where a cyclist is using the pavement alongside a dangerous section of road out of fear of the traffic, but is being mindful to not put pedestrians at risk.”
National Policing Lead for Cycling Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom said: “We welcome the re-issued guidance from the Minister for Cycling in respect of cycling on the pavement and have re-circulated this to all local forces.
“The issue of cycling on the pavement, as in other areas of law enforcement, varies according to local circumstances. The ministerial guidance supports the importance of police discretion in taking a reasonable and proportionate approach, with safety being a guiding principle.”
This ride has still to be checked out, Full details will be posted via the google group on or after 20 January.
Trains – catch the 10 05 from Brighton to Berwick
Return is every hour at 55 minutes past the hour from Berwick station
Angela and Nick
The Last Ride –Nick’s Report
Hassocks to Lewes
‘We have the right of way here too, you idiot!’, I yelled as the car accelerated
away from us. Sikka joined me in admonishing the unpleasant 4×4 driver,
who had stopped briefly to tell us why he thought roads were for car drivers
only. The unhinged motorist may not have heard our disapproving shouts
as he sped away, but yelling at this narrow-minded fool was certainly
therapeutic for us.
We were relieved to find that the example of car driver road rage was an isolated incident in an otherwise blissful 18-mile cycle ride from Hassocks station for lunch in Lewes, on a mild day in January. As well as ride leaders Tessa & Sikka, it was Angela D, Angela C, Joyce, John, Doris, David & Nick who comprised the Clarionista nine for Sunday’s ride.
It was a short cycle ride of only a few miles to the coffee stop at the Plough Inn, which opened at noon. We arrived a few minutes before midday, so had time to sample the vegan biscuits Tessa & Sikka had generously brought along to share with us.
Although I had visited the Plough Inn before, I’m not sure I had ever ventured inside. The pub decor consisted of a spitfire & biplane hanging from the ceiling, motorbike illustrations, a bus stop sign and pop music ephemera from the 1970s (Bob Marley, The Clash & Marc Bolan). I was particularly interested in the Marc Bolan ‘Say it loud’ promotional poster for the NME (circa 1970?) displayed on the wall.
As we drank our coffee, the room was warmed up by a blazing coal fire next to the table we were sitting at. The pub jukebox treated us to a UB40 track (So Here I Am), followed by St Etienne’s version of Neil Young’s ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart.’ I thought the coffee we were drinking was a little weak, so appreciated Frankie Valentine’s lively syncopated electro Latin grooves (identified by Shazam as the track ‘Spanish Dance’) to help us get in the mood for the ride to Lewes for lunch.
Tessa was right to warn us of the badly cracked concrete path which formed part of the route to Lewes. Recent heavy rain had left the path waterlogged in places and was potentially treacherous for cyclists. We all concluded that walking our bikes along the disintegrating path was the best approach, even if we had to cope with wet feet when walking through the occasionally deep puddles of water.
The route to Lewes was fairly straightforward (via Cooksbridge & part of the A275). Although Tessa & Sikka said they had cycled it many times, it was all new to me. I think I counted only one or two steepish hills we had to cycle up, which is quite rare in East Sussex.
Crossing the River Ouse towards Lewes, it didn’t take long for the familiar Harvey’s Brewery building to appear. Our lunch stop (and ride end) was across the road from the brewery in the John Harvey Tavern. I had visited this pub for the first time earlier in the week and sampled what I thought was an alcohol free beer for Dry January. Their ‘low alcohol’ beers do actually contain some alcohol, so I opted for a pint of lime & soda this time.
I had a bag of chilli peanuts to accompany my pint of lime & soda for my Dry January/Veganuary lunchtime experience. Most of the other Clarion cyclists had a more substantial meal though. Joyce’s vegetable curry option looked particularly appealing.
The CND t-shirt I was wearing prompted Joyce to recall the anti nuclear demo she went to outside Faslane nuclear submarine base in Scotland a few years ago. Other topics discussed over lunch included the inevitability of Scottish independence, HS2 and how we all hoped to be flying around with jet packs very soon.
Thanks to Tessa & Sikka for an efficiently organised cycle ride with plenty of memorable moments. None of us got lost either, which must be a Clarion first!