The Next Ride: Sunday 24 February 2019 – Berwick Circular

11 February 2019

This ride divides into three sections:
6 miles to Hailsham and a coffee and snack at Bebbles Langos.
Mostly flat.
10 miles to Chiddingly and lunch at the Six Bells

We will follow the cuckoo trail to Horam the highest point on our route, then head west to Lions Green and then south to Chiddingly and lunch at the Six Bells at 1:15.

A final 6 miles back to Berwick Station.

After lunch we go the short distance to Muddles green where we will head south via Golden Cross and Chalvington and back to Berwick station.

Length: 22 miles all on Road or Cuckoo Trail, some gentle undulations max gradient 3.2%
Duration: 6 hours including stops
Pace: We will need to maintain a good pace on this ride to keep to timing.
Meet: at Brighton station to catch the 10:05 train to Berwick (Buy a return ticket to Berwick)
Start: We will start the ride at 10:35 at Berwick station for anyone arriving by car.
Return: from Berwick at 15:55

To help me book lunch please email me at if you are coming



The Last Ride: Sunday 10 February – Clarion Relay Run to Worthing

11 February 2019

Pouring with rain at 9.30am & so  we decide not to go,but it stopped at 9.45 so we set out. Headwind so strong that I had to pedal down Duke’s Mound & decide that I’ll only make it to Palace Pier meeting point & then enjoy the tailwind home.

However – at pier I see almost 8 people in yellow vests & rain gear all ready for the off. There’s Joyce & John Clinton, whom we’d not seen for a while, David – our leader, already cycled from Shoreham & hardly wet at all, though he said storms were expected at Shoreham at 11am & dark clouds surrounded us. Chris, Mick, Sikka, All ready to face the 20+mph headwinds & gusts. Chris was asked to take a photo for another group or pier pleasure-seekers but general view was that our Clarion Group Pic could wait till Marocco’s Cafe where we would be joined by Hovians.


Graham joined at Peace Statue & Tessa & Pru at the italian ice-cream cafe & we all had chat & photo op & ploughed on to next stage along the prom [as much as permitted] to Lagoon, where I again thought I could manage one more leg, though Harbour Way prospect was daunting in such strong winds. It seemed a long way to Carat’s Cafe but then I said, like Goethe at the San Gothard Pass “Thus far, but no further”. Mick ,who had a cold agreed to join me & the Clarion Convoy proceeded, hoping to lunch at southern end of Worthing Pier.

Joyce did suggest that I could ride to Worthing & take train back, but I was longing for the tailwind to carry me homeward bound. Mick & I had a little stop to watch the surfers ride the waves. There were at least 30 & two who had finished told me it was good out there. Saw a few crashes, but plenty more surfers arriving for the thrills. Windmills on horizon were enjoying the spin too!

Rain, sun & rainbows back in Brighton, but mostly wind!  Hope the rest of the bunch had fun & good fortune. I had a nap & Mick had the England – France rugby. Thanks to David for  a jolly ride [or-half a ride] or even less in our case.


Clarion Ride Palace pier to Worthing pier … a continuation.

Mick and Anne left us at Carats car park. We continued battling the headwind to Shoreham where David suggested a welcome coffee stop. On an earlier ride Prudence had discovered an upstairs ‘sitting room’ in Toast on the Coast cafe and recommended it. It was indeed delightful and though the coffee may not have been as good as the cafe next door chosen by Joyce and John, we enjoyed the convivial setting which we had to ourselves.

We reassembled, and all apart from Joyce and John decided to continue to Worthing. There was no sign of the predicted rain and the sky was lighting up with shreds of sunlight. We persevered into the headwind thinking how easy our return journey would be.

Worthing Pier 10th February

Arriving at Worthing pier David gave us the choice of two lunch stops, one either end of the pier. We chose the end of the pier because both sea and sky looked so magnificent and we would have those views. The building is Art Deco, warm and inviting with a discreet piano player for entertainment. Unfortunately the menu was sparse, most of us choosing baked potatoes with fillings. We were disappointed and all wished we had chosen Graham’s tomato and pepper soup. Conversation at both coffee and lunch stops centred on holidays of one sort or another- yachting, cycling, Center parcs and the Dieppe raid. Gardening was another subject, compost and the sex lives of worms – of which we knew little?

Clarion ride 10 February 2019

The sun was out when we set off home. As we approached Shoreham, grey skies appeared with a magnificent rainbow, then a smattering of rain. Apart for a few gusts the wind was with us. We gathered for a photo of the group on Shoreham Beach before leaving David at home and continuing eastwards fast to beat the rain.

Thank you David for trusting the weather and leading us on an invigorating ride.



11 February 2019

Dear All

Very brave riders yesterday, battling against that wind! See the reports below.

Thanks to a very successful ride planning meeting we now have rides planned for the whole of March and April – as you will be able to see from ‘Future Rides’ (below). So now may be the time to start thinking about May and June! In fact it seems from the most recent message I’ve had from him that Jim is already doing so.

Ride Guidelines
Attached together with this newsletter, and elsewhere on this blog, are some guidelines for B&H Clarion rides. Back in 2014 our Chair, Roger, put together very useful guidelines for ride leaders. Recently Jim has suggested that with so many new people taking part in rides it might be useful to extend the guide to give people an idea of what to expect on our rides as well as giving advice for those leading them. So Roger and Jim have revised the guide and added a preliminary section for all participants so that it’s not just for prospective leaders. See

Thanks to those who contacted me about the dates. As a result we were able to rule out the Tuesday and the Thursday and Anne and Mick decided on Monday 25 March. Please make a note of the date in your diary or on your calender. I’ll be sending out the papers for the AGM fairly soon. Please let me know if you have any motions or anything else you’d like on the agenda. I will of course include the New Forest weekend under ‘Proposals for activities in 2019.’ I’ve started writing my secretary’s report. Reports from other officers will be most welcome.

Finally an extract from CyclingUK’s Cycleclips that is worth knowing about.

There’s a theme of bike security this week so if you’re worried about your wheels this might be a good way to deter thieves. While a strong, quality lock is the first step in the prevention of theft, you can also register your bike online for free. So, if the worst does happen the police have the best chance of returning your bike to you. BikeRegister is the UK’s national cycle database, used by all UK police forces and the leading initiative aiming to reduce cycle theft, identify stolen bikes and assist in owner recovery. Cycling UK members can get a 15% discount on all their products.


19 The ‘Clarion Scheme’ or NIGFTLU (Final Part)

11 February 2019

The last two episodes sketched in the essential background in terms both of the Clarion stance on democracy and the developments in the trade unions – essentially from ‘New Unionism’ to ‘Employers’ Counter-offensive’ with the latter culminating in the Engineering Lockout of 1897 to 1898 which threatened to smash the most well-established of all British trade unions– the Amalgamated Society of Engineer or ASE – and very nearly did. It should now be possible to make sense of the ‘Clarion scheme’, why it seemed to gain a significant foothold and why, ultimately, like, for example, the Clarion referendum, it failed.

There were several schemes for allying unions into a mutually supportive federation. Most were named after their originators – Eyre’s scheme- which the Clarion‘s by now well-established rival Keir Hardie’s Labour Leader tended to favour – or Horrock’s scheme. What became known as the ‘Clarion Scheme’ was the brainchild of P J King.

Little is known about King. At the time of the New Unionism around 1890 he had been the leader of the Lancashire Chemical and Copper Workers’ Union centred on St Helens and Widnes. King’s first Clarion article promoting his scheme appeared on 6 February 1896. For the next nearly four years his federation scheme – soon known as the ‘Clarion Scheme’ was featured in the paper most weeks. Four of the Clarion Pamphlet series – Nos 17, 24, 28, and 33 were also published in its support – the first under Blatchford’s name as well as King’s. The association with the paper was to be a mixed blessing for King’s proposal. It did get it nationwide publicity but it also mobilised anti-Clarion elements.

The scheme was very Clarionesque in its ethos. In June 1898, just a month before it was launched as the National and International General Federation of Trades and Labour Unions [definitely just NIGFTLU from now on!] King wrote: ‘The Trade Unions of this country must no longer be manipulated and controlled by a bureaucracy. The initiative and referendum will do much to check abuses of irresponsible persons.’ He went on to attack ‘well-paid and well-groomed officials’ – hardly likely to go down well in the trade union ‘establishment.’

There were to be only two NIGFTLU full-time officials – president and secretary. They would be assisted by an elected lay Executive. The decisions of its annual delegate meeting – to be called the Federal Labour Parliament – were to be ‘submitted to the general body for confirmation. ‘ Referendums were also to be used to decide whether or not to aid member organisations in disputes with employers. These direct democracy provisions were the most novel feature of NIGFTLU together with its ‘four nation’ structure which guaranteed at least one Executive member from each of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Not only entire unions but individual branches could join NIGFTLU.

After a very shaky start during which uncertainty prevailed over where – Manchester? Carlisle? London? and when, May? June? July? – the initial meeting of NIGFTLU was to take place it was launched in July 1898 with, reportedly, a Federal Labour Parliament meeting attended by 200 delegates representing 750,000 trade unionists. King was elected as secretary.

Meanwhile, the 1897 TUC, under the pressure of the disastrous lockout of the ASE, set up a committee which put together what became known as the ‘official scheme’. This was to become the main rival of King’s Clarion scheme. It was meant to debated at the 1898 TUC in Bristol. But the night before the issue was to be dealt with the Colston Hall burnt down and the TUC leadership postponed discussion until a Special Congress in January 1899. My friend Logie Barrow, who is the world expert on NIGFTLU, thinks that the members of the Parliamentary Committee in the photo that appeared soon after this look surprisingly relieved.

When the Special Congress met it was announced that only the ‘official scheme’ would be discussed. An amendment designed to allow discussion of other schemes – notably the Clarion one – was defeated. The meeting went on to set up the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) which still exists today. There were now two rival federations.

The GFTU got off to a slow start – but it lasted. NIGFTLU didn’t. King’s lack of tactical sense in seeking union support and his rather erratic organising ability had much to do with this. Being seen as part of the Keir Hardie v Robert Blatchford or Labour Leader v Clarion vendetta didn’t help at least not in some union circles. The Clarion also retreated into the role of an entertaining newspaper that was getting a bit fed up with the scheme associated with it. Rather like the case of the Clarion referendum one gets the impression of poor tactics not always thought through and boredom with the issue which was easy to dismiss as dilettantism. Blatchford continued to maintain – in October 1901 – that King had not been given the chance he should have had by the powers that be in the trade union movement. ‘I do not believe that the scheme or the man had fair play.’

NIGFTLU still enjoyed some support but it gradually faded away in the early years of the twentieth century. I am not aware of any reference to it after about 1905. So the best laid schemes of the Clarion once more came to nought – there was not to be an ultra-democratic trade union organisation flourishing in Britain. That said, there must be plenty of people who are members of trade unions – even active ones – who have never heard of the GFTU – the TUC’s ‘official scheme’ and NIGFTLU’s rival – though, as I have already said, it is still very much in existence.

Next Time.
I think we’ve had enough of the ‘heavy’ political stuff for the moment so I’m going to use a piece on the composer Gustav Holst and his association with the Clarion and his cycling adventures. It’s long enough since I first circulated it.


The Next Ride: Sunday 10 February 2019

31 January 2019

Brighton Pier to Worthing Pier and Return

Trying to predict the vagaries of meteorological conditions for a weekend sometime next month that are guided by chaos theory is always fraught, So I have proposed another short, easy ride between the two piers, a distance of only 12 miles each way. The advantage is the opportunity for several stops along the route if we have to duck inside for cover.

I was thinking of adding a short, cultural extension to visit the “other” Sistene Chapel in Goring but it is closed for viewing until April, so perhaps I can make it the subject of a ride later in the Spring.

We can either take lunch at the Pavilion Café on the landward end of Worthing Pier, or try the Southern Pavilion Café, which would require locking up our bikes and strolling the length of the pier. St. Paul’s would make a good lunch stop, but it reverts to a church on Sundays, so it might offer a good mid-week pop-up ride. I am still exploring possible pubs in town offering suitable clarionista meals and beers. If I find one, I would need an indication of numbers (see Google Group messages).

We should have time for a coffee stop on East Street in Shoreham and on the return leg. Unfortunately The Coast at Splash Point is being completely refurbished again and won’t be ready until mid-February.

Assemble at Brighton Pier at 10am for a 10.15am departure.


The Last Ride –Nick’s Report

31 January 2019

Sunday 27th January – Hassocks to Shoreham

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

The intrepid trio gathered on Brighton station for Sunday’s ride included Nick, Prudence and ride leader Graham. Although the Clarionistas can be a hardy band of cyclists, the blustery and rainy January weather on Saturday night may well have deterred some from attending Graham’s Hassocks to Shoreham Sunday ride.

Bright sunshine created good light for a few group photos outside Hassocks station, as we prepared ourselves for the first leg of Graham’s ride. Morning coffee in Washbrook Farm was our first stop and a relatively short cycle ride away.

By the time we arrived at Washbrook Farm, foreboding rain clouds had replaced the blue skies we had experienced earlier in the morning. I had read there was a 33% chance of rain on the BBC’s weather forecast,  so the dark clouds weren’t entirely unexpected.

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

Although we had only cycled a couple of miles, it was quite hard to move away from the warm wood fire we had been sitting in front of to resume our ride. Instead of cycling against the wind to the Partridge pub in Partridge Green for lunch, we agreed with Graham that we should change the lunchtime destination to the Fox in Small Dole.

We were an abstemious bunch for our lunchtime meal. Both Prudence & myself opted for lime & soda, which I combined with a packet of salt & vinegar crisps. Graham seemed to be enjoying his leek & potato soup and half of ale. Although the crisps I ate were perfectly fine, maybe I’ll sample the soup next time.

The ride after lunch was particularly enjoyable. We cycled through Bramber to join the South Downs Way and Downs link. I’ve never invested in a pair of waterproof trousers, so felt slightly left out as Graham and Prudence took the opportunity to change into their waterproof trousers under a bridge during a sudden rain shower. The rain stopped as soon as 2/3 of the group had changed into their over-trousers and I decided I could probably continue taking part in rides without adding trouser waterproofs to my cycling baggage.

The waterproof trousers break was the last I saw of the rest of the group for a while. I became distracted when photographing dark clouds over the River Adur. By the time I had finished photographing clouds and a South Downs Way sign, my Clarion comrades were nowhere to be seen.

I knew the direction to Shoreham, so continued along the River Adur in an attempt to catch up with the rest of the group. The abandoned London double decker buses and Underground sign left outside the dilapidated former Shoreham cement works seemed worthy of a few brief photographs.

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

I had photographed the Underground sign and an abandoned fire engine when someone drove up in a 4×4 to tell me I was trespassing on private property. I never did find out why the London buses had been left in the former Shoreham cement works, but it would be great to return to take a few more photos of the London bus graveyard very soon.

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

I caught up with Graham a few minutes later. He told me that he and Prudence had been waiting in the cold for me for about 10 minutes. I had to apologise for my photographic diversions and hoped he appreciated why I found a London Underground sign in the Shoreham cement works so intriguing.

Prudence had gone on ahead to seek out a suitable end-of-ride coffee stop. Ginger & Dobbs was a fine place to end the ride. As well as drinking coffee, Graham and myself agreed to sit still while Prudence drew our hands for an art course she was doing. Perhaps there’s a future for the two of us as male models?

As ever, thanks to Graham for organising a terrific cycle ride. I must try and take fewer photographs and peddle faster next time.

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

News: 29 January 2019

31 January 2019

Dear All

I had two responses to my appeal for volunteers for the 10 February. Jim got in first but, frustratingly, his planned ride proved not to be practical. He hopes to offer it again a bit later in the year. The situation was then saved by David – details of whose ride you will find below in the usual place.

Graham has taken on 24 February which completes our calendar for the next month. We are now looking for offers for the March rides on 10 and 24.

Easter Meet and National conference

I’ve still had no suggestions for motions or nominations to date. They have to be notified to Ian Clarke the national secretary by 19 February. So, if I get any I will circulate them ASAP to see if anyone objects or opposes and if necessary quickly call a meeting to make a decision.


As you already know Anne and Mick have offered to host our own AGM in March again. They have suggested the following possible dates:

Monday 25, Tuesday 26, Wednesday 27 or Thursday 28 .

We’ll follow the usual procedure we have used in the past If you’d like to come to the AGM but can’t make one (or more!) of these dates please let me know in the next two weeks – before the newsletter following the 10 Feb ride. Just tell me which day or days you can’t make. If that leaves more than one date as a possible I’ll leave it to Anne and Mick to make the final decision. With a bit of luck, we’ll end up with a date that suits everyone.

National Clarion Subs.

(in case there’s anyone who still hasn’t rejoined for 2019)

Important   If you’re paying by bank transfer please let Jim know at so that he knows who has paid this way’

Normally, Clarion subs for the year include two elements, the national fee and a local one.  We have suspended our local sub for the last few years and did so for 2019 at the last AGM.   So the total we need to pay is £12.  This covers not only national membership but also third-party insurance without which no-one should risk going out on a bike.  At £1 a month this is a real bargain.

In recent years this has been done via a PayPal account. We have been having problems with this account.  We have also realised that PayPal charges us fees.  For these reasons, we have decided this year to collect subscriptions using the old fashioned method, using our equally old fashioned Co-op bank account.

Jim has kindly volunteered to act as treasurer while Julian is recovering, so if you would like to join or renew your membership please do one of the following:

Send or give to Jim a cheque payable to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club or make an online bank transfer to our Co-op bank account. Contact Ian or Jim for details.

In due course, Jim will pass on the subscriptions received to the National Clarion and you will receive a membership card, as usual.