Following the recent easing of many Covid pandemic restrictions, it felt slightly strange to be joining the first Clarion ride of 2021. Jim had adapted Sikka & Tessa’s Egrets Way circular route with a similar cycling experience, which excluded pub stops & train travel.
The Clarionistas who gathered at Brighton’s Palace Pier for the circular ride along the Undercliff & Egrets Way were Angela D, Jim, Sally, Sikka, Doris, Graham, Chris, Dave & Nick.
Jim suggested that the nine cyclists could be represented by the report writer in a Lord of the Rings narrative style. As I’ve not read the book, or seen the films, I didn’t really know what Jim was talking about. There will be no further Lord of the Rings references in this ride report, although I hope to find time to mention Ben & Jerry’s new peace pop ice cream.
It was overcast for most of the day. Apart from a couple of brief showers, none of the forecast stormy weather materialised. This was a relief to all of us.
We set off along Madeira Drive, next to the impressive, but unfinished, new cycle lane. It would be good to return to Brighton’s latest Covid cycle lane when it’s finished.
There was a vague plan to stop for a coffee in Rottingdean. It was unfortunate that the seafront cafe was only offering a takeaway service, so we decided to continue with the ride. It was a good opportunity to stop & marvel at the majestic butterfly mural on Rottingdean’s public loo though.
Our first coffee stop of the day was at Yemeni Coffee in Peacehaven. All of us were impressed with the nine cups of coffee served. They offered us a completed loyalty card for our next visit, which was a very nice gesture. Although grateful, I don’t think we accepted the Yemeni Coffee freebie. I look forward to returning soon though.
It was great to leave the decidedly noisy South Coast Road in Peacehaven and head along the much quieter Egrets Way towards the proposed picnic stop, outside the church in Southease. Some of us also had a look at the nearby Southease youth hostel to investigate lunchtime cafe options for future rides.
The Southease church picnic stop was so calming and relaxing, I found myself nodding off on the grass after lunch. I’d like to suggest optional siestas on future Clarion rides and may pack an inflatable pillow for a future post-lunch snooze.
Sikka & Doris left us after lunch. They had a cycle route via Newhaven they wanted to investigate. The remaining seven cycled back to the Undercliff via Telscombe.
The afternoon tea stop was the busy Molly’s cafe on the Undercliff route. Graham & Chris had cycled ahead & were quite possibly already in Brighton by the time we reached the cafe. I was tempted with Ben & Jerry’s new cookie dough peace pop ice cream, but decided against it when finding out it wasn’t vegan.
An excellent day of cycling with plenty of coffee, tea & ice cream opportunities. Thanks to Jim for adapting Sikka & Tessa’s original route for our first post-lockdown ride. Let’s hope Covid doesn’t stop us from meeting again soon.
Early August 2020. Ten Clarionistas assembled at the pier: Angela D, Doris, Joyce, Jim, Richard S, Sally, Sean B, and Wendy T, together with our joint leaders, Sikka and Tessa. Because of restrictions on numbers travelling together we were divided into two groups. Sikka took Group 1 (Doris, Richard, Sean and Wendy) while Tessa led the rest.
Group 2 left first, but confusingly arrived last at the picnic spot on the Egrets Way. We had a change of Angelas at Saltdean, with Angela C replacing Angela D who disappeared in the general direction of Newhaven. Angela C departed after lunch, along with Group 1. After a suitable delay the reduced Group 2 followed their speedier comrades to Telscombe and Saltdean, with wonderful views of the Downs and surrounding countryside; then back along the Undercliff to Brighton after a welcome tea stop at Rottingdean.
Thanks to Sikka and Tessa for a wonderful ride, the first for so long; let’s not wait too long for the next one!
Richard and Jim.
No ride reports at the moment — but we’ll be back.
Ian Bullock, Secretary of the Brighton and Hove Clarion, writes in his February Update:
“I’ve been chairing monthly National Committee meetings via Zoom for what is starting to seem like ever. It’s now planned to have a National Conference on Zoom too.
We and other sections can of course propose anything we like but it seems likely that the main business of the conference will be to consider the rule changes concerning the structure and functioning of the national committee that the committee will be proposing. There will, of course, be elections (or re-elections) of officers. I’m hoping to be able to stand down as chair so if anyone would like to propose themselves for the post do let me know! email@example.com Tel: 01273 682133”
The Brighton and Hove Clarion hope to run an AGM via Zoom in the near future. We are seeking a new Secretary and a new Treasurer. If you are interested in either of these posts, Ian Bullock (details above) will be pleased to explain what’s involved.
Regular rides currently suspended … but watch this space.
Doris,Jim, Joyce, Richard, Sally, Sikka and Tessa gathered outside the Level cafe. As we were more than six, Richard led Doris, Sikka and Tessa off first, the remaining group stayed to wait for Nick to join them.
The first part of the ride was daunting: uphill with much traffic and many turnings. We journeyed east through Queen’s Park area up to the Racecourse ,battling cold strong winds. I started to enjoy the ride when we sped downhill along Tenantry Down Road fringed completely on either side by allotments, full of autumn produce.
Bear Road was a bit hairy but we soon turned into Bevendean Road. We travelled through Bevendean streets, finding large communal grassy areas in front of houses with some roads where whole streets faced woodland and wild spaces rather than other houses.
We arrived at Stanmer Park where we hunkered down in the wind to eat our picnic lunches beside the cafe. About to leave, we spotted Jim and Nick and as a group of 6 headed uphill to Stanmer Woods. At the top we cycled south through the woods to join the horrendous junction Ditchling Road/ Coldean Lane.
Negotiating busy roundabouts we came to a gap in the hedge and onto Ladies’ Mile Nature Reseve. Beautiful relief! Wonderful views on our downhill grassy descent into Patcham where we continued till we reached Mill Road . Uphill again until a discreet turning that took us to Green Ridge where we headed west along a delightful grassy path to Dyke Road.
At this point I left the group to head home.
Thank you to Jim for this voyage of discovery. Over lockdown I have cycled and walked all over Brighton, but have never discovered Bevendean.
Thank you also to Richard for leading us and to Sikka for helping, due to her encyclopaedic knowledge of the area
International Women’s Day 2020 found Joyce, Angela, Sally, Doris, John, Jim & Nick at Brighton station waiting for a train to Lewes for the day’s bike ride to Berwick. The 20 mile linear route included plenty of daffodils and only a little rain.
Jim had devised a route which avoided any steep hills when leaving Lewes. After looking at some impressive graffiti, reminding us of the potential imminent extinction of the Blue Spix Macaw, we cycled through the town centre and turned left to follow the river Ouse past Harvey’s Brewery. It was then a short cycle ride to the morning’s coffee stop at the Ringmer Cafe.
While the other Clarionistas drank coffee, I attempted some emergency bike maintenance and removed a rubbing brake block. The coffee break was also an opportunity to take in the first daffodil moment of the day.
The route from the coffee stop to lunch at the King’s Head was perfect for cycling. We all agreed with Joyce that we enjoyed the long, straight, car-free B-road, which took us most of the way to our lunchtime meal of crisps & chips (the Mediterranean vegetable tart looked good too). Jim provided us with a copy of XR’s latest Hourglass paper to read while we waited for the chips to be served.
Interesting signage has featured on quite a few Clarion rides. There were three particularly intriguing signs on Sunday’s ride, which were worth reading and photographing.
The punctuation on the ‘Very Slow. Cats!!!’ warning sign to motorists had been amended to give the impression there were some very slow cats wandering through the village. We also passed a sign which marked the graves of two soldiers who had died in a dual ‘circa 1800’. The third sign of note was the ‘Warning – Dogs Running Free’ attached next to a ‘Keep Out’ sign on a barbed wire gate outside the High Cross estate of violent thug Nicholas Van Hoogstraten.
Most of the day’s rain had coincided with a 20 minute cycle ride to the pub lunch stop. The afternoon weather was dry and cool and it didn’t take too long to reach Berwick station, following some useful amendments to Jim’s route from Angela. We were slightly annoyed to have just missed the return train to Brighton, but it’s good to know that the Berwick Inn always seems open for people like us who have just missed trains.
An excellent day of interesting signage, daffodils, chips & cycling. Thanks to Jim & Angela for pointing us in the right direction.
As yet we have no details of the ‘Next Ride’ which I understand (from an email from Jim) will be a ‘mystery’ one ‘facilitated by Angela D”. In the nature of things you can’t have details of a mystery ride without defeating the whole object, but participants will need to know when to meet at Brighton station or wherever the starting point is. I’ll let you have these vital bits of info as soon as Angela has had a chance to work out where she intends to take the ride and the when and where of the starting point.
Section Report for Boots and Spurs.
We had a really excellent report in the much delayed last issue and Joyce has volunteered to do a new one for the next Boots and Spurs which I feel sure will be equally interesting and reflect our activities in the latter part of last year really vividly.
Centurion Way Extension
You’ve probably seen Jim’s message about this on via the google group. Of course we used the southern bit of the Way as a means of getting out of Chichester on our Dell Quay rides which became a favourite with Julian. But early on we also had a ride that started on the Way and broke for lunch at the excellently- named The Fox Goes Free at Charlton. We didn’t do this one more than once or twice because of having to use a rather dangerous bit of the A286 for the last bit of the outward journey. But it may now soon be possible to think about reviving something like this.
Our AGM Wed 25 March 2020
“The Back of Beyond” (Lewes to Berwick)
Ringmer – Palehouse Common – East Hoathly –
Whitesmith – Vert Wood – Ripe
It’s nearly three years since we did this ride; if it was left to me we would do it at least once a year, as it features some wonderful cycle-friendly lanes. The “nickname” comes from an exclamation by a Clarionista (confusingly, NOT Nick) on a previous version of the ride.
If you’ve never seen Charles I’s death warrant, now might be a good time to join us for lunch at the King’s Head in East Hoathly, where, on our last visit, a photo taken after lunch appeared to show Tessa stealing Chris’s right arm, but apparently it was just a trick of the light.
Hopefully there will be many stops to admire the Sussex countryside. Readings from T S Eliot are optional (even in Hollow Lane).
Vert Wood is, as before, an option if not too muddy.
Start at Lewes Station (car park) at 09:40.
Trains: Get the 09:17 Seaford train from Brighton to Lewes.
Length: 25 miles.
Duration: 6 hours including lunch and cat herding.
Getting back: Trains leave Berwick hourly for Brighton at 55 minutes past the hour. The Berwick Inn does a very nice apple crumble and ice cream. Sun sets at 5.53 pm.
Terrain: Flat, with some gentle undulations. There is a very short section of the B2192, but otherwise quiet lanes and a reasonably hard track through Vert Wood.
This is a linear ride; anyone arriving by car can park at Lewes Station and get the train back there from Berwick; or park at Berwick and get the train to Lewes. Get a return ticket to Berwick.