The Next Ride

14 March 2019

Sunday 24 March 2019:

Brighton Pier, Peacehaven, Cowley Club Beer Festival Vegan Extravaganza

 We will make our way along the coast on the Undercliff and up on the cliff tops, via the Prime Meridian monument, staying right on the coast through Peacehaven as far as The Road Shack Cafe.  If the weather is glorious, we might be tempted to juggle our bikes and coffees down to the beach.

We will return to the Pier, then take the cycle paths to the Cowley Club, 12 London Road.

We should be there around 1pm, should anyone wish to meet us there for a vegan roast dinner and to assist in the beer, cider and kombucha sampling (Fred).

Distance: Approx 15 miles

Meet: Brighton Pier

Start: 10am




The Last Ride – Angela’s Report

14 March 2019

Sunday 10 March 2019: Three Bridges Circular via Weir Wood Reservoir

Ride leader – Jim Grozier; Present – Angela D, Tessa, Sally, Wilma

The high winds were so blustery on Sunday that one poor clarionista managed to get herself lost… on Brighton Station. However, she (sadly, it was the report writer who achieved this feat) was successfully scooped up by the other riders and deposited on a train to Three Bridges. The experience being a little overwhelming it was decided to stop at Three Bridges itself and have a coffee break – well the latter word is a misnomer as we weren’t breaking in the middle, we hadn’t even started. The others had coffee and buns – I suppose the politically correct word nowadays is Viennese pastries – but the writer had a crepe with scrambled eggs, although that term ‘crepe’ will be redundant by March 29th.


We all disembarked successfully and set out on the Worth trail, but the wind had other ideas and our way was soon impeded by a fallen tree. We all tip-toed round daintily and gallantly helped each other and our bicycles get to the other side.

This procedure unfortunately had to redone on several occasions, but we were helped by having some nice views of a pond and later of Gullege which apparently features in Pevsner and there was some discussion of whether Pevsner could be viewed online (he can’t) and talk of architecture and previous rides when people were knowledgeable enough to quote Pevsner in their reports.

Lunch was very welcome at Dunnings Mill where several of us had a vegetarian Wellington with lots of gravy and trimmings and I think we were all too windswept for any controversy.


IMG_1052aWe visited Weir Wood reservoir where some clarionistas, sensibly equipped with binoculars, were able to see the birdlife.

Then we managed to totter along a steep bridleway with some interesting big stones called Stone Farm Rocks but our eyes were a too glued to the stony and/or muddy path to take much in.


The high Weald is, unfortunately, rather high, and it was some rather weary legs who pushed bicycles up and up and then it seemed like up again. Where were the downhills? They seemed to have absented themselves. We stopped at Tulleys farm and their rather strangely named Escape Room offered us tea in plastic cups in front of a wondrously warm woodburning stove but night was coming on and after sending out several different scouting expeditions to find the toilets, we set off again.


We returned to the Worth trail for the last part of the ride, and this time round, at the fallen tree obstructions, all decorum and bicycle etiquette was abandoned in favour of slinging our bicycles over in one fell swoop. There was a train perfectly timed for our departure and fatigued but happy riders returned to Brighton.

Thanks to Jim for organising the ride.

Angela Devas


14 March 2019

13 March 2019

Dear All

Jim has taken the 12 May slot, so we are now well supplied with rides up to 26 May. I’ve now added the June dates to ‘Future Rides’


As I said in the last newsletter I’ll be sending out the (corrected) agenda paper for the AGM in both modes by the end of this week. If you are planning to attend the meeting please print it off together with whatever you think you’ll need of the other agenda papers that I sent out earlier. I don’t have access to copying facilities so I won’t be able to supply spare copies at the AGM


Message from Jim (as in googlegroup)

Membership cards have been sent out by the national Clarion club system. If you are a member but have not received yours, this may be because you have moved house in recent years and we have an out-of-date address for you.

If you have changed your address since joining the Clarion Club, please log into the Membership Mojo, using the login details that will gave been sent to you, and update it. If you can’t remember how to log in, please email me giving me your current postal address.





The Next Ride: Sunday 10 March 2019 – Three Bridges Circular

27 February 2019

via Worth Church and Weir Wood Reservoir

Worth – East Grinstead – Weir Wood Reservoir – Kingscote – Turners Hill

This is a repeat of a ride we did in October 2015. We’ll ride along the Worth Way to East Grinstead, and make our way to, our lunch stop at the Old Dunnings Mill, the lovely Harveys pub and former watermill where we ate last time. We then proceed southwards to the reservoir, and spend a little time in or around the bird hide there. The reservoir was created in 1952 by damming the river Medway, which flows through this valley.

After leaving the reservoir we take a bridleway past Stone Farm Rocks, a striking series of sandstone crags which belongs to the British Mountaineering Council, and which, last time, were covered in ladybirds – a spectacle we were told only occurs once a year, so we’re presumably unlikely to see it in March. Later we cross the juvenile Medway, pass the Kingscote Estate Vineyard, and go under the Bluebell Line. We’ll then use a Permissive Bridleway to avoid a hill, passing some wonderful views and emerging into Vowels Lane near the top. After Turners Hill (which is not much of a hill) we will experience the downhill variety, rejoining the Worth Way and returning to Three Bridges Station.

The original ride included 30 minute stops at Worth Church in the morning and Tulleys Farm Tea Rooms in the afternoon, as well as 30 minutes at the reservoir. We can decide on the church on the day, but the other two stops are mandatory.

Anyone wanting to avoid the ups and downs can retrace the outward journey from the pub, and this also makes the ride about 3 miles shorter.

Terrain: Much of this ride is on quiet lanes through lovely woodlands, and the off-road sections are on good surfaces, though they may be bumpy in places. There is a short section of the B2028.

Length: 21 miles or less (see above)

Duration: about 6½ hours, depending on stops.

Undulations: some. Valleys have sides, unfortunately.

Start at: Three Bridges Station at 10:45

Getting there: London Bridge train from Brighton at 10:08, arriving Three Bridges at 10:42.

Getting home: Trains to Brighton at 21, 33, 54 mins past the hour.


The Last Ride: Sunday 24 February 2019 – Berwick Circular

27 February 2019

A wonderful Spring-like morning presented the perfect day for a Clarion ride – but was the fact that it was combining with the Marathon day going to mean problems ? No – although the station was full of barriers and indeed people, it did not that stop 11 Clarionistas finding spaces on the Berwick train . They were :- Angela D – Chris – David – Graham (our leader ) – John – Joyce – Marilyn – Nick – Prudence – Sikka – Wendy.

24 Feb Berwick circular

Once at Berwick we assembled for the traditional photos – thanks to a kind driver and David – (hope the photos are available. See Flickr). Then off for what turned out to be a wonderful ride. By that time the weather had settled into strong sunlight with an underlying breeze , which although slightly nippy , did not spoil the pleasure of a strong sun, cloudless sky, views of green meadows, and trees etched across that sky . All this whilst riding roads which seemed remarkably quiet . True they were “undulating” (seriously in some cases ) . But the long downhills made up for that . I noted with interest that there were amongst us four electric bike users. True that certainly made the long uphills more pleasant for me but those who relied on their muscles and trusty bikes managed wonderfully .

February 24, 2019: Berwick circular

Arriving at the proposed stop for coffee it was agreed that our pleasures in the experience (and the odd little chat) , had made us potentially for lunch so it was unanimously agreed that it would be comfort stop rather than coffee one .

So off for the next section. This started with the Cuckoo Trail to Horam . I love the Cuckoo Trail – have very good memories going right back to the early days of B &H Clarion , (in fact the very first ride ) so it was a pleasure for me and as it looked like for everyone . Then onwards to Lions Green and south to Chiddingly for lunch at the Six Bells . An amazing place – unimaginably busy but able to provide food for 11 people within about 30 minutes.

February 24, 2019: Berwick circular

I can’t go through the everyone’s menu – except to say that Nick said he was very pleased with the chips (of which he is a connoisseur) . I had the last vegan nut roast which very good indeed and so generous that I could not finish completely – I remember comments on salmon – and hopes for the Spotted Dick which was awaited .

February 24, 2019: Berwick circular

The next stage was the route to Berwick Station . John and I left before the others because we had need to be in Brighton and could not risk missing the train. However, although we made good speed (and really made up the exercise for the day), we nevertheless got the train with the rest and we all travelled back to Brighton together.

24 Feb Berwick circular

So here’s to say thanks to Graham for a very well worked-out ride – which I found was plotted through Rides with GPS which gives plots of hills , Bridleways can be checked– and he uses google street views to check junctions road conditions etc. Then download to GPS and much more . All that is completely beyond me…. Just maps and reckies for me – and I know Graham also uses them – but this time for Graham it produced a great ride .

Joyce Edmond-Smith

More photos on Flickr


27 February 2019

Dear All

Thanks to Graham, Jim and Wendy we are nicely set up for rides in March and April. But time flies as we all know. So it’s not too early to think about rides in May and June! I’ve added the dates for May in the Future Rides grid though for the moment you’ll need to check on train availability.


I ‘phoned Julian yesterday afternoon. Things are still very frustrating for him – especially for someone normally so active. He says he’s less mobile than ever, has been in hospital for several days and has an MRI scan scheduled for today. We just have to hope that it helps to identify the problem and that they can do something more to help him. He tells me that Tessa and Sikka plan to visit him next week – which I’m sure he will appreciate. I know we all hope for some better news then.


I’ll be sending out agenda paper for the AGM (25 March) at the beginning of next month in both modes as I explained earlier this month. Do let me know if there is anything you’d like on the agenda.

BHT- Greater Brighton Challenge 19 May

There’s been some discussion of this in the google-group. Does anyone want to take up Roger’s role from last year and do a piece for the next newsletter? (Should be 12 March if all goes to plan)

Hilda Fox (1924-2019) and the Clarion

Unless, like me, you take Cycling Weekly you won’t have seen the obit to Hilda which say she was ‘a formidable racing cyclist and still holds many Clarion records’. It goes on to say that she learned to ride a bike at the age of 14 after she had saved enough working (presumably part-time) in a mill to buy one. Then she met members of Stockport Clarion CC when she worked at Fairy’s Engineering during World War II, joined them at the age of 16 and began to race in 10 mile time trials as well as being the only woman rider on the club’s weekly rides. She attended the annual dinner of her local Dukinfield cycling club just a week before she died.

The obituary reminded me of an even more formidable woman cyclist. It says that Hilda won a bronze medal ‘in the 1958 100mile Ladies National Championships behind Beryl Burton and Millie Robinson.’ I think I may have mentioned Beryl Burton in these newsletters before. When I was growing up she was a legendary figure in cycling circles though never given the wider recognition she deserved. I think this is the best bit from her Wikipedia entry

In 1967, she set a new 12-hour time trial record of 277.25 miles – a mark that surpassed the men’s record of the time by 0.73 miles and was not superseded by a man until 1969.] While setting the record she caught and passed Mike McNamara who was on his way to setting the men’s record at 276.52 miles and winning that year’s men’s British Best All-Rounder. She is reputed to have given him a liquorice allsort as she passed him. Apparently, McNamara ate the sweet.

According to the foreword to her memoirs, a Frenchman wrote: “If Beryl Burton had been French, Joan of Arc would have to take second place.’

Clarion History

As I mentioned last time for today’s episode I’m recycling a piece I wrote some years ago about the Clarion and cycling connections -and exploits – of the composer Gustav Holst. Following this I may have to suspend the series for a bit though I do intend to take it on till the early months of World War I eventually.

My problem is that I’m very busy ‘history-wise’ for the next few weeks. Among several other things I’ve agreed to give a talk in London to the Socialist History Society about my ILP book on 16 March and I need to spend some time putting this together.



27 February 2019

In his history of the Clarion CC, Fellowship is Life (pp 49-50) the late Denis Pye mentions that the young Gustav Holst – the composer best remembered for The Planets – was involved with the Clarion. He was also a formidable cyclist – though whether he ever actually rode with the Clarion CC we don’t (or at least I don’t) know.

Below are some information and extracts from his biographers – Holst’s daughter, Imogen Holst’s Gustav Holst. A Biography 2nd ed 1969and Michael Short’s Gustav Holst. The Man and His Music OUP 1990

Before he moved to London, Holst lived in Cheltenham:

…he would sometimes walk or cycle the 97 miles from London to Cheltenham with his trombone slung on his back. Occasionally he would take the opportunity of practising the instrument while resting during the journey, to the astonishment of the farmers on whose land he sat. [Short p 22]

Holst was asthmatic and Short speculates that he got interested in cycling via articles in the Cheltenham music magazine The Minim, which also ‘carried pieces on socialism.’ (p 29)

In London he joined the Hammersmith Socialist Society – whose leading figure and ‘guru’ was William Morris – and formed the Hammersmith Socialist Choir where he met Isobel his future wife.

He was also occasionally to be seen perched on a cart playing a harmonium, while being dragged round the streets of Hammersmith by a group of enthusiastic distributors of socialist propaganda.’ (Short p 30)

He included his own song ‘Two Brown Eyes’ in a ‘Grand Evening Concert’ by the Hammersmith Socialist Choir concert in Feb 1898. The 2nd movement of his ‘Cotswold Symphony’ (July 1900) was an elegy to the memory of William Morris. In 1908 , according to Imogen Holst, ( p 32) he was ill and ordered by his doctor to take a holiday in a warm climate. So he went cycling in the Algerian desert!

And according to Short (p 84) in the following summer of 1909 he cycled to Steyning to stay with friends and – riding with no headgear – fainted with heat exhaustion. He was persuaded to take the train back. Doesn’t it seem amazing that he could survive the heat of the Sahara – only to be floored by the weather in West Sussex?


Series to be resumed…