Next ride: Sunday July 10th 2022

21 June 2022

Julian’s Chichester Circular

Chichester – Centurion Way – West Stoke – Fishbourne –
Salterns Marina – Chichester

17 miles

Julian recently recalled a Chichester circular ride that he had led on several occasions and remembered fondly. His description of the ride allowed me to find my way around the route, even though I have no memory of actually participating in the ride. It is certainly a ride that should be repeated at intervals. It is pretty flat, and much of it is off-road, on good surfaces; the signage on the Salterns Way I would describe as “challenging” … but I think we will be able to get round all right.

The only change I am making is to the lunch venue. As Julian said in his original ride description, the Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay – where we have lunched on many occasions – was already “expensive” even at that time (2015) and is now pretty well out of reach for most of us. I am instead proposing an early lunch at Wellies Tea Rooms, which we have visited before, and where I had a lovely salad on the recce ride. This will be an early lunch at around 12:30 – so no morning coffee stop – but a tea stop is possible at the marina café.

The path alongside the canal may also be a bit “challenging” and is a footpath, which means we must give way to other users and/or walk. A road route is possible for hydrophobes. It widens out eventually and becomes a shared-use path. The famous view of the cathedral from Poyntz Bridge has been augmented by a print of Turner’s painting of it – something that was new to me.

Start at Chichester station, 11:30.
Getting there by rail: Catch the 10:30 Portsmouth Harbour train from Brighton. (Get straight on the train – don’t wait on the concourse).

Please let me know if you plan to come.

Jim.

Coming up soon: 24 July, Lancing ride with London Clarion

Later on: Leon’s Rusper ride; Lewes-Berwick with added Farley’s


Newsletter – 18 June 2022

18 June 2022

Hello all

Although I’m typing this Clarion newsletter on the warmest day of the year, it felt decidedly cool during this year’s Clarion Sunday event in Pendle, only a few days ago. The main purpose of this email update is to report back on the 2022 Clarion House ride and social, but I have included a few other snippets of information as well.

Ride report: Blackburn to Clarion House for ‘Clarion Sunday’ (12th June, 2022)

It was a lightning visit to Blackburn, lasting just over 24 hours, to take part in this year’s Clarion Sunday.

As with last year’s event, the train journey from London to Blackburn was amazingly efficient. I met London Clarion’s Alan, Alex and John at Euston station. The journey took to Blackburn took us less than three hours, but seemed to go faster (possibly due to the bottles of ale Alex had brought to share with us).

I spent two nights in Blackburn’s Premier Inn for last year’s Clarion Sunday, but this year had been offered a bed, bike and food with Charles and Margaret Jepson. Charles also very kindly had arranged to drive us to his house for an evening meal. Margaret had cooked to accomadate those with a vegan diet, which was quite possible just myself.

It was Alex and myself who had opted to cycle the 16 miles to Clarion House on the Sunday morning, which we started as soon as we had finished breafast, shortly after 8am. Although Charles had adjusted the saddle of his drop handlebar carbonfibre racing bike, I must say it took me a while to master how to use it without wobbling all over the place. It took me ages to feel comfortable using the pedal toeclips and I don’t think I quite worked out how to change the gears. Despite those difficulties, I was grateful to Charles for lending me his bike for the cycle ride. The weather was definitely cooler than last year’s Clarion House ride in September, but was rather pleasnt when the sun came out.

The route to Clarion House took us through some familiar terrain (see Strava link below). I don’t think either Alex or myself have quite mastered how to cycle up the steep Lancashire hills without getting off our bikes. The freewheeling decent to our Clarion House destination made a pleasnt change to the steep hills we had either cycled or walked up previously.

https://www.strava.com/activities/7295448668

The Clarion Sunday gathering was possibly even more successful than last year’s event. It was great to watch cyclists from different Clarion clubs arrive (Blackpool, Bury… Brighton etc). Although I’m not sure of the actual number of attendees, I overheard someone say about two hundred people had turned up. That sounds like an accurate figure to me.

I somehow missed the socialist choir part of the gathering last year, so it was a pleasure to hear songs of solidarity sung with conviction outside Clarion House. There was a particularly rousing version of The Internationale at the end, which Margaret told me wasn’t the Billy Bragg version. I rather like Billy Bragg’s rendition of The Internationale, performed with piano accompaimment, but apparently Billy had amended some of the lyrics in his version.

A few of us were interviewed for a podcast recording with a presenter from the Ribble FM breakfast show. She was particularly interested in our thoughts on socialism and cycling. Although we were interviewed separately (in the Clarion House potting shed), it seemed like we were all asked similar questions about the relevance of Clarion socialism today. Perhaps we could bring along a selection of favourite cycle-themed records for inclusion in the Ribble FM breakfast show next time?

We ended the day in the nearby pub. The cool weather had become rather chilly, so we headed inside to sample the local ale.

Thanks to the hospitality from Margaret and Charles, which contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable 24 hours in Lancashire.
June 12, 2022: Clarion Sunday @ Clarion House, Pendle

Clarion merchandise

Alex says he would be happy to host a Brighton & Hove Clarion cycling jersey in London Clarion’s online shop. This seems like a great idea to me. There would be no costs involved because the jerseys are made ‘on demand’. We would only need a rough design of what we wanted the jersey to look like. Apart from ‘Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club’, what else would we like to see on the jersey? Some Walter Crane artwork? A bike logo? Stick of rock? Clenched fist?

Amanda suggested, perhaps not entirely seriously, a while ago that we should produce some Clarion ‘Fellowship Is Life’ tea towels. This does seem like a very good idea, the more I think about it. Anyone else keen on owning a Clarion tea towel to dry their dishes?

National Conference motions

National Clarion’s conference was due to take place tomorrow (Saturday 18th June), but has been cancelled due to an ‘administrative error’. The conference (again taking place on Zoom) has been rescheduled for Saturday 17th September. We have been asked to submit motions by 17th July for the September conference. I’d like to submit a motion recommending ‘one person, one vote’ to replace the antiquated bloc vote system, which enabled last year’s controversial change to the constitution. Any other suggestions for national conference motions?

Future rides

We don’t have any future rides planned at the moment. As ever, all ideas for cycle rides are welcome.

London Clarion are cycling to Lancing on the 24th July. Perhaps it would be good to organnise a bike ride on that day to meet up with them? I’m pencilling in a ride on 24th July. Some details here; More definite details to follow soon.

June 18th, 2022: TUC ‘We demand better’ march & rally

I’m heading to the TUC’s ‘We demand better’ day of action in London tomorrow (Saturday). If you’re going too, see you on the streets…

https://www.tuc.org.uk/DemandBetter

Boots!

Nick


The Last Ride: 22 May 2022

30 May 2022

May 22, 2022: Three Bridges circular

At Brambletye Manor

On the ride: Doris, Nick,Jim, Angela and Wendy

Sun was shining as we left Three Bridges station having got off a Thameslink overcrowded train due to Victoria station being closed again.

This was an epic ride with everything you would want on a day’s cycling adventure. Up hill and down dale, Jim pointing out Jacobean mansions and almshouses. Nick taking picture of Flora and fauna (I had not seen wild garlic before); Italian restaurant with bargain lunch, winery with expensive wine. Reservoirs with twitchers. Boulders with climbers. Wonderful vistas at the top of hills. And sun all the way. Perfect!

May 22, 2022: Three Bridges circular

Stone Farm Rocks

We set off on NCN21 Worth Way country Park, cycling down bridle paths with overhanging lush greenery, still damp from the rain on Friday, but no puddles, just enough to have that fresh summer smell. Passing the old Rowfant station, headed on to Crawley Down. Stopped for lunch in the centre of East Grinstead at an Italian. (Angela left us there to return home) The next leg was most interesting with various levels of cycling and places of interest to enjoy. Stopped at Tulleys for tea. Then home by 6pm. A really wonderful ride, thank you Jim for sharing your knowledge, can’t wait to do it again.

Wendy

May 22, 2022: Three Bridges circular

Plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe at Sackville College almshouse, East Grinstead, with a patient. Nice to see a statue depicting healing rather than warfare.

Click here for more photos.


The Next Ride: Sunday 22nd May

17 May 2022

Three Bridges Circular via Weir Wood Reservoir
Worth – East Grinstead – Weir Wood Reservoir – Turners Hill

The revised route for this ride removes the absurdity of going down a whopping great hill just to go up the other side, in order to have lunch at a somewhat mediocre pub. Instead I am proposing that we have lunch in East Grinstead town centre, so that those wanting a shorter, hill-free route can ride along the Worth Way from Three Bridges, have lunch, and
ride back again (about 16 miles).

There’s a byelaw in East Grinstead that prohibits the consumption of anything except burgers in pubs, so I suggest we have lunch at a café or restaurant. There is a small Italian café in the high street which I have sampled and found to be OK, reasonably priced though a bit of a limited menu. I am not sure I can book a table but will try if enough people contact me. Other venues are available to suit diverse tastes.

Those of us wanting a longer ride will then say goodbye to the others and ride along the lovely Forest Way, as far as the ruin of 17 th century Brambletye Manor, then along a bridleway and quiet roads to the bird hide by the reservoir in Legsheath Lane. The return route will be the same as before, along the bridleway past Stone Farm Rocks and across this lovely quiet section of the Medway valley, where, if we are lucky, we’ll hear the Bluebell train’s whistle echoing through the trees. Then, after some regrettably busier roads, we’ll reach the long downhill swoop from Turners Hill, stopping off at Tulley’s Farm on the way back for tea, then back to Three Bridges.

Length: 24 miles. Some undulations on quiet roads. About half of the ride is off-road, on hard surfaces.

Start from Three Bridges station at 10:30 am. Take the 09:59 Bedford train from Brighton.


The Last Ride: 8th May

17 May 2022

Shoreham circular (via Knepp Wildland)

May 8, 2022: Shoreham Circular (via Knepp Wildland)

Although Dave had suggested the cycle ride to the Knepp rewilding project, he wasn’t sure if he would be able to attend. I wasn’t entirely sure of the route, so it was a relief that Dave was waiting for us as we emerged from Shoreham station. Sikka, Tessa, Doris, Jim and Nick joined Dave for this cycling expedition.

We were all hopeful we would be able to see some of Knepp’s nesting storks we had read about. The ‘No Mow May’ campaign had highlighted the benefits of rewilding, so it was particularly appropriate that we were heading out on a cycle ride to what is possibly the UK’s most impressive rewilding project.

After following the Downs Link from Shoreham, the route to Knepp was reasonably straightforward (see Strava link). As the grim Ukraine conflict continues to grind on, it was good to see a display of Ukraine solidarity on our route.

May 8, 2022: Shoreham Circular (via Knepp Wildland)

We made good progress and arrived in Knepp just after noon. A chalk board inside a gift shop listed the interesting wildlife sightings of the day. Although I was fixated on stork spotting in the limited time we had there, it was good to know that there were also opportunities to see white tailed eagles, nightingales, reed warblers and cuckoos. A longer bird spotting trip might be required next time.

A helpful member of the Knepp team directed us to the spot where one of the storks was nesting. We were lucky enough to meet a birdwatcher who encouraged us to watch the nesting stork with the telescope he had set up. We were a few days too early to see any hatched storklets, but it was fascinating to watch the stork perched high up on the tree in front of us. Dave’s stork photos on Facebook are very impressive, but I also tried to capture the moment with a few photos (see Flickr photo pool).

After our Knepp stork spotting episode, we cycled to the nearby Tates Old Barn Garden Centre. I couldn’t be bothered to join the queue for food, so ate a roll I had brought with me instead. We were all amazed that the largest stag garden ornament retailed for more than £3,000. Although it was an undeniably impressive looking stag, I think I would stick with garden gnomes if I had a garden.

May 8, 2022: Shoreham Circular (via Knepp Wildland)

After lunch, a return route was devised which didn’t repeat the cycle ride from Shoreham (see Strava link). Although the Knepp ride idea was Dave’s, it was good to have input from everyone on the preferred route home. Thanks to all cyclists (and storks) who made this such an enjoyable day.

Nick

Anyone for asparagus


The Last Ride 24th April 2022

2 May 2022

Three Bridges to Haywards Heath

Led by Jim Grozier accompanied by Doris, Angela D and Sikka

This was a perfect day for a cycle ride, sunny with a light breeze. From Three Bridges Station we paused at the plaque in Haslett Road acknowledging Caroline Haslett, the first Director of the Electrical Association for Women in 1924.

Haslett Plaque

We then took the NCN20 Tilgate Drive cycle track through Tilgate Forest, cycling along woodland tracks with blue sky and puffy white clouds showing above the light Spring canopy over a surface that alternated between gravel and, mostly hard, sand.

It was only when we emerged onto tarmac that we came across the sought after sea of bluebells and yet later on, carpets of late wood anenomes.

Bluebells

We crossed over the motorway (M23) onto quiet, undulating roads with colourful views across valley and hill as the trees thinned. Green velvet-hatted oaks lined roads and from every ridge appeared open landscapes of verdant green and gold.

From Peas Pottage we were rewarded with a long freewheel ride down Grouse Road then past Hammer Pond where the dam was created in service of the local iron works, thus its name!

Hammer Pond

We paused to photograph bluebells and were treated to the sight of bright green leafy chandeliers seemingly hanging in the air among the pillared trunks of beech.

Stopping at Staplefield for lunch at the Jolly Tanners we passed a cricket match on the village green. After a substantial repast we cycled a few miles to Cuckfield Golf Centre for coffee and a seat on the terrace with a splendid view and a sight of the Balcombe viaduct.

View from Cuckfield Golf Centre

Time to return home through Blunts Wood and Paige’s Meadow nature reserve to Haywards Heath station and thence by train to Brighton.

Thank you Jim for a delightful ride.

Sikka


The Next Ride: Sunday 8th May 2022

2 May 2022

Shoreham to Knepp Wildland (26 miles for the round trip)

Catch the 9.30am train from Brighton to Shoreham (9.46 arrival in Shoreham)

https://knepp.co.uk/home

Downs Link to Bramber/Either A283 or through Steyning to B2135 towards Partridge Green/Left at Ashurst west towards Tates Old Barn Garden Centre ( lunch?)/ CROSS A24/Dial Post and Knepp Car Park and walk routes.


The Last Ride 10th April 2022

18 April 2022

Berwick to Bexhill

Preface: I bought a book on Surrealism the day before this ride. Some might think it has influenced the following account; on the other hand it might all be true. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Pevensey Levels

We travelled the lanes of East Sussex in a long line, all of us following Nick, even though none of us could see him. Time got a bit stretched. We went through the lovely Abbot’s Wood, but the Abbot was out; luckily he had left us some bluebells. There were no cuckoos on the Cuckoo Trail, but plenty of horses and dogs. Time got stretched a bit more. Chilley Farm was a possible place to warm up, but instead we went to the Star. We all had wonderful lunches, except for Nick, because he wasn’t there.

Turnstones

On to … Bexhill! There were turnstones on the beach, turning stones, then a tea and marzipan stop at the far end of the beach. Wendy left early, sensibly, before things could start getting seriously weird – which they did, on the way home. The train was going to London Bridge, except that it wasn’t. We got off at Eastbourne and wandered around for a bit and looked at some sewing machines.

Singer

Then back to the station, the train on platform 1 was going to Brighton, but it wasn’t, that was platform 2 we needed, but that one was going to Bexhill. No, it was OK, it really was going to Brighton but so were six other bikes, all crammed into the same carriage, then a man in an electric wheelchair got on, accompanied by his dog Bentley. Luckily the guard was in good humour, but she did order two of the serious bikers (that’s not us btw) to move down the train, which they did, one carrying his bike. Tessa and Doris got off at Brighton and Sikka at Falmer; Jim and Sally didn’t get off at London Road because it didn’t stop there, but that was OK because we weren’t on the train anyway. And nor was Nick – but where was he?

Thanks to Doris and Sikka for a lovely, invigorating ride. And, of course, to Nick.

Jim.

*The three sisters never made it to Moscow.


The Next Ride Sunday 24th April

18 April 2022

Three Bridges to Haywards Heath via Pease Pottage

This was supposed to be a repeat of a Three Bridges to Wivelsfield ride we did in 2019; but the authorities had other ideas. As Stairbridge Lane is closed for road works until the end of May, we will not venture south of the B2115 but instead re-trace, in reverse, part of the Haywards Heath circular ride we did last December (NOT the muddy bit!), via Cuckfield and then Blunts Wood and Paiges Meadow Nature Reserve.

I am hoping that Tilgate Forest will be awash with bluebells, but even if it isn’t, this should hopefully be an enjoyable ride. Grouse Road is three miles of quiet, mostly gently downhill farms and woodland, with just a few disgustingly opulent mansions thrown in. Hammerpond Road, and its associated hammer pond … well, being a pond, it’s in a valley, and valleys can have steep sides (but we can walk up). We will briefly visit Slaugham before arriving at the lunch venue, the Jolly Tanners at Staplefield.

The original route of the ride then takes us southwards and over the infant River Ouse, then into tiny Mallion’s Lane, which might be made for cycling on, although it does have its ups and downs. We then aim for Cuckfield along a B road that is busier than we’d like, though the traffic did not deter the woodpecker I heard here on the practice ride; there is also the possibility of a tea stop at Cuckfield Golf Centre. We finish off with another visit to the nature reserve before tackling the slightly-less-fashionable suburbs of Haywards Heath.

Length: 18.5 miles

Undulations: a few.

Start at: Three Bridges station, subway, by the cafes, at 10:30.

Train from Brighton: 10:02 London Bridge train. Get a return to Three Bridges.

Jim.


The Next Ride Sunday 10th April

4 April 2022

BERWICK to BEXHILL – 10th April, returning by train

Meet at Brighton Station to purchase a day return ticket to Bexhill. We’ll catch the 10.05 train and alight at Berwick. We’ll follow the Sustrans NCR 2 round the back of Arlington reservoir, cycle through Abbotts wood and across the Pevensey Levels. Abbotts Wood is off-Road with a relatively good surface but the possibility of a little mud if the weather has been wet. Then on through Coulsden to arrive on the promenade in Bexhill.

We can stop at Chillie Farm for coffee. Lunch stop at the Star Inn at Normans Bay. Please let Sikka know if you wish me to book lunch for you inside the pub. Tel 07787402229.

We will continue as far as Bexhill where you might wish to visit the De La Ware Pavilion. Or not. Plenty of cafes along the sea front.

Trains back from Bexhill station, direct at 0.10 mins past the hour, 0.30 trains change at Eastbourne.

We hope to see you.

Sikka and Doris