The Next Ride

30 July 2015

Sunday 9 August 2015: Dell Quay

Chichester – Centurion Way – West Stoke – Fishbourne – Dell Quay (for lunch) – Salterns Marina – Chichester Ship Canal Basin (for tea)

We meet at the south side of Chichester railway station at 11.15 am and then go round over the railway level crossing to the north side to start riding on the cycle track from the car park. After a mile we begin a northward ride on the Centurion Way and in about three miles we take the West Stoke Road which has a gentle rise until the middle of the village. We turn south into Lye Lane and on down until we go round the north and east of Fishbourne and pass under the A27. We take the Salterns Way bridlepath past Apuldram and soon reach the Crown and Anchor Public House at Dell Quay – probably before 1.30.

After lunch we continue on the Salterns Way south and cross over the Chichester Salterns Marina lock gates to reach the Chichester Old Ship Canal. At the northern end of the Marina Entrance road we ride along the towpath* on the east side of the canal until we cross over the Poyntz canal footbridge onto a wider well-surfaced track. From this bridge there is a distant view of Chichester Cathedral apparently surrounded by green fields and trees and no sign of any urbanisation. The ride ends at the Canal Basin where there is a fine Canal Trust tearoom.

* The alternative to reach the Poyntz canal footbridge is to take the minor road east to the B2145 T-junction then north through Hunston – also more suitable for bikes with road tyres – and if there many of us. We can re-group at the entrance to the footbridge.

Trains to Chichester: Brighton 10.00 and Hove 10.04 arriving at 10.56.
London Victoria 9.17 arriving at 11.00

Meet on the south side of Chichester railway station at 11.15.

Terrain: a gentle gradient up to West Stoke, then downhill to the north of Fishbourne, and thereafter mainly flat. 17 miles – see O/S Explorer Map 120 “Chichester” (1:25000). Roads: a mixture of cycle tracks, footpaths along the canal side, and quiet country roads. There are four busy roads to cross: B2178 SE of Ashling, A259 in Fishbourne, A286 at Cutfield Bridge and B2201 at Crosbie Bridge. However, we do not have to cycle along them.

Lunch: at the Crown and Anchor, Dell Quay, with a quite expensive menu. The Boat House Café prices at the Salterns Marina are probably lower. Tea: by the Chichester Ship Canal Basin, just south of the railway station.

Return train times to:
Hove 16.15H; 16.27SN; 16.53SN; 17.15H
Brighton 16.15C; 16.27SN; 16.53SN; 17.15C
Victoria 16.15V (arr.17.56); 17.15V (arr. 18.56)

H: three stops before Hove
SN: stops at all stations before Brighton
C: change at Hove, with three stops before Hove
V: no changes: with five stops before London Victoria, incl. Clapham Junction

My mobile number is: 0789 635 3563

Julian


Ride Reports

30 July 2015

The Last Ridelet: 26 July 2015:
Cooden Beach to Hastings … or “Rain and Pirates”

NCN2

Very sensibly, everyone had decided to give today’s ride a miss because of the rain, which started a few minutes after I sent out the email saying it was still on. I went to Cooden Beach station, but there were no other Clarionettes on the train, or waiting at the station for the ride to Catsfield. So I decided to ride the 7 miles to Hastings instead. 

Sleeping maggots

The “Marsh Maggots” were rested today to make way for longer trains

On the way I had learnt that the changes to the trains today were not for engineering works, but to enable longer trains to run to Hastings for Pirate Day. I did not know what this was, and decided to find out. On the way I visited my friend John Mewett at St Leonards; John is a sort of fellow-traveller of the Clarion, having come out to have lunch with us at Normans Bay a couple of times but not actually ridden with us yet. The rain and strong wind had deterred most cyclists, but clearly not the kite-surfers, who were out in force.

Kitesurfers

There was also the tail end of Bexhill Carnival, which had been on all week. Intriguingly, this included a very public presence by that reputedly secretive organisation, the Freemasons. Actually, by now the rain had slackened considerably, although it never stopped completely.

Freemasons

Hastings was awash with pirates, many of them superbly kitted out with bandannas, pirate hats, feathers, swords, old-fashioned pistols, and even a peg-leg. Apparently the idea is to break the record for the number of pirates gathered together in one place; for several years there has been competition between Hastings and Penzance for this honour. The local tourist website announced that the event would be attended by pirates from Europe and even the USA.

Pirate2Pirate1 Lunch was at the General Havelock pub – appropriately, served by a pirate – and washed down with a pint of TEA (that’s Traditional English Ale, brewed by the Hogs Back Brewery Co). Then to the station and back home for a hot bath and a dry-out.

Jim.

Popeye

Popeye was there too!

 * * * * *

Anne’s Report on Swiss Holiday Trip to UCI & Velo Rte 1-Andermatt/Brig

Switzerland is excellently served with National & Regional Cycle Routes-all connecting up with super trains & eager to carry you & your bike, should you peg out on the ascents, or, in my case, the descents [which usually contain a surprising, unwelcome amount of ascents, though even the descents can have their drawbacks as can be bumpy[hence tiring for the elderly lady cyclist.] We’ve now done most of Route 1-The Rhone Route-Andermatt to Geneva, which hosts the UCI HQ, beside the banks of the eponymous river at Aigle. http://www.uci.ch/wcc/about/the-world-cycling-centre/  The World Cycling Union [which title I prefer] welcomes anyone to their canteen & I always like to drop in there for lunch, both for the value, location & chance to mingle with the young trainees of international cycling teams. This year when we went we noticed & admired their collection of ancient bicycles; https://www.flickr.com/photos/28316202@N03/19215527160/in/pool-532678@N24

We ate a tasty lunch in the sunshine & watched some cycling in the velodrome. Looked in their kit shop, in rainbow colours, but did not buy, alas.

Having cycled previously all along the banks of the Rhone from Lake Geneva to Brig,[train connections to Italy via Dommodossola, Andermatt, Zermatt, Zurich & just about anywhere! [in stages], this time we had decided to drive to Brig, abandon car for 5 days in suitable free lay-by[found after tedious & frustrating search through pedestrian zones of Brig] let train take strain up to Andermatt. I’d remembered that the train ride of 2 hours or so, meandered through pretty mountain villages, but after an hour or so, I also recalled how giddy I’d felt when emerging at Andermatt & was glad to take a Stugeron  & calm my stomach nerves. Train guard helped me move my bike from the clattery bike carriage to front of the train & install in handicapped bay, as train split & I had to descend to Groschinen for the tunnel service to Airolo while Mick & Oliver climbed up the Saint Gotthard Pass. Alighting at Groschinen, with bike & all our luggage[Mick insists it was mostly mine] I found no-one to tell me where the platform for the train I had booked to Airolo. Then it was announced over the loudspeaker.  Panic now ensued as I asked various innocent [but ignorant] travellers where to go with all my stuff. Someone suggested a platform which can only be reached by flights of steep stairs. I have to ask passing strong-looking German to help me please. He bravely struggles with my bike down & up the stairs to the far-away platform. The  train pulls in, I rush on with all the gear & sink into the thankfully air-conditioned luxury seats of the Zurich to Chiasso train, for a short ride to await Mick.

It took him about an extra hour to reach me but I was able to buy, write & post, 6 postcards during that time & eat some of my previously packed lunch. I was extremely glad to see Mick had survived the heat, height & cobbles of the Gotthard climb. No time to lose though, as we still had 40 miles to do before reaching the booked hotel at Bellinzolla.

The next day we made it on to Lugano, arriving in time for lunch on the Lido & swims in the deep lake, but I was already feeling weak & feeble. Stayed in the same Ibis Basic we’d used 3 years ago – both surprised it was so long ago. Did some shopping in the Manor store & ate great value meal there, but felt very ill during the night. We’d almost cancelled the whole trip anyway as the warnings of the “canicule” were dire. Turned out it was the hottest July for 100 years in Switzerland. It was still 39C in the shade on our balcony back in the mountains when we returned. Felt awful when morning finally arrived & no strength at all to carry on cycling. Mick gallantly said we could go home if I wanted.

We decided,therefore, to return early due to the extreme heat & cancel booking at hotel in Como. Peeved that Booking.com took all the dosh for the 2 nights, when they’d said I could cancel 24 hours before, but, it’s only money & was dying of heatstroke in the night, faint & unable to cycle in the canicule any further South, so proceeded to station for train back to Andermatt to complete the trip 2 days early, by cycling down Route 1 from just below Andermatt back to Brig, where Mick was a bit concerned that the car may not still be awaiting us. Had lengthy, tortuous wait in hot sun for train, but once on it, in the air-con & comfortable carriages, began to heal.

Our bikes had been placed in the luggage van so that we could enjoy the comfort of luxury carriages. Once we arrived back beneath Andermatt we saw another woman’s bike was lifted down with ours & she was able to direct us to the start of the run down. It was by the Rhone which was a small stream at this point. We passed [at speed] a hotel called La Source de la Rhone, but only managed to stop at the next hotel down, sporting Trip Advisor & Gault Millaut credentials! Looking good! We took seats on the terrace with the lady cyclist from the train, who had a holiday home near-by & had a good old chat with her, as we enjoyed our pea soups with prawns & smoked salmon;- very civilised.

She had told us that it would take about 4 hours to descend & that there were only a few places where she had had to alight & push. The route did involve 20 kms of rough track,  up & through woods, mountain villages & camping sites, while the road went smoothly & directly down, but we were traffic free, apart from a very few hardy cyclists & had the shade, birdsong, river, amazing views{I think I saw a distant Mont Blanc, though Mick doubts it]  & meandered like the river & almost as fast as Mick doesn’t dilly-dally, as we know. Good thing he had the camera & not me. We decided it was better for me to retake the train at Fleisch, along with the luggage, so that he could fly faster & do the somewhat scary gorge near the end where pushing was obligatory. As it turned out, there was a new suspension bridge opened only a month ago, which we had noticed on train ride up & it crossed a gorge taking me back to the road & rail side of mountains for train.  It was a dramatic 300 metre swing! No cycling, no horses, no swinging, no running & a very deep gorge with rushing water if you dared to look down. A strong, orange-clad guard stood at the other end, presumabley to enforce the rules, or to rescue the faint-hearted or the faint [which would certainly have included me in the morning, but, after the Stugeron, the comfortable train ride & the gourmet lunch, with Mick’s support], was able to cross. He left me at a small hamlet by the train track, where the train to Brig had just left, with us the wrong side of the level crossing. An hour to wait for the next train, so decided to  risk cycling on main road with all the paniers & backpack. Daunted at first by the steady stream of traffic, I waited for a break, then sped downhill with no more cars till Speiss. Only took 10 minutes but then had to climb up to find the station & ticket office. I already had the 18SF bike pass for the day & station master wasn’t comprehensible to me, so went to find some shade from the unrelenting, heat-wave. Believing that I had a 20 minute wait now for the train. But no, train pulls in from Brig & station master rushed to find me , shouting “Brig”. I couldn’t believe the train was going to Brig as it was heading back up the mountain. However, he insisted & put my bike & all the heavy paniers up into the high guard’s van, so thought I’d better get on the train too.  Luxury carriages again for the descent, passing many interesting villages, with cablecar stations & my companions in the carriage told me they were well worth the visit. Fare was a very reasonable £7 for such a beautiful half hour ride. The Swiss couple I’d been chatting to, helped me retrieve the bike & paniers from the high luggage van & I went to the station cafe to buy some much needed ice-cool drink & soon was met by Mick, who’d cycled down to Brig, then up to the parked car, while I had been on the train. Somehow he’d missed the Route 1 sign & the gorge & had descended on the road, but we were well pleased to have met up safely & unscathed, though extremely dry & bit hungry.

Both were bit disappointed to have missed Como after having planned the ride so eagerly, but hope to try & reach the promised land, maybe by an easier route in the autumn. Didn’t see much of Bellinzona either , as too exhausted when we reached it  then had to set out early before the sun made cycling gruelling. Hotel Internationale was recommended by the Veloland website & was a treat, even if we missed the 3 UNESCO rated castles, as it looked just like the hotel in Grand Budapest Hotel & was very conveniently situated for me; right by the station & the glorious Swiss trains.

 


News

30 July 2015

Dear All

Ian is in Paris helping Chris Froome celebrate his second Tour de France win, so it falls to me to send out the latest “Clarion Latest”. Drunk with the power this bestows, I’ve decided to present Jim with a gold star for leading the ride last Sunday from Cooden Beach and writing a report (see below). Everyone else stayed at home to watch the rain fall!

Boots!

Roger

* * * * *

Don Lock

The murder of Don Lock in an apparent “road rage” incident has shocked everyone. Bob, who knew him well, has a provided the appreciation below:

Long-time Worthing Excelsior Cycling Club member Don Lock was murdered on Thursday 16 July. He died on his way home after supporting the Club evening Time Trial at Washington. Don had been a member of the Club for around half a century. Adrian Palmer, club secretary, described his death as an “irreplaceable loss”: “Don was a kind, gentle and fair man and a good friend. He was a key member of Worthing Excelsior Cycling Club, in fact he was the backbone of the club for many, many years. He was well-respected throughout the cycling fraternity and had served the club well in many different roles. Don was an enthusiastic member and, although he no longer raced, would always support the club in its many ventures and would offer support, guidance and encouragement to all.”

Bob knew Don through supporting roles at races, mid-week rides with 40+ (Forty Plus) CC and other cafe meetings. It was always a pleasure to exchange chat and learn from his experiences of a lifetimes competitive and recreational cycling. At a Brighton Excelsior race HQ less than two days after the tragic event there was an air of shock and a period of silence was held in Don’s memory. Whilst the race was being held, Bob was interviewed by Radio Sussex and gave tribute to Don’s high standing amongst the cycling community.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s

30 July 2015

More from the Clarion 5 May 1897. Tom Groom’s “Stewpot” Notice that as well as the Easter Meet “regional” ones – in this case the “Southern clubs” are starting to appear.

Clarion_History_150728


The Next Ride: Sunday 26th July 2015 Catsfield – East of Normans Bay

14 July 2015

My rides tend to be motivated by the desire to Boldly Go Where No Clarionette Has Gone Before (or at least, where I haven’t gone before). It has bugged me for some time that Normans Bay is a regular haunt of ours but we never seem to go beyond it – until now …

We’ll set off from Cooden Beach station, and after skirting the Bexhill suburbs of Cooden and Little Common, we reach the delightful Peartree Lane, which very soon delivers us to High Woods. This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest; it has some nice hard paths, which unfortunately don’t get us anywhere, but hopefully we will agree to spend a little time here.

We cross the A269 at Lunsford’s Cross, and then Potman’s Lane brings the only seriously steep hill, which is about 1 in 15 but is soon over.

Lunch will be at the White Hart at Catsfield, a pleasant little pub which seems to have a pretty extensive menu and does not appear to be too pricey. They also have Harvey’s.

Catsfield has two churches; one is architecturally pretty stunning, and the other is very old. The latter, St Laurence’s, may tempt us in. It goes back to the 12th century.

On the way back we go through Henley’s Down, and then there is a possible off-road detour which is a little bumpy but at least gets us away from traffic. We can discuss whether to take it or not on the day; if this proves to be a “cat-herding” exercise, we can split up and then reconvene in Sidley.

Sidley is on the outskirts of Bexhill, so at this point we turn west and regain Peartree Lane and our outward route.

We return to Cooden Beach station after a total of only 14 miles; if any of us want to go further, it will be possible to cycle back to Pevensey and Westham station, 6 miles further on (but not to Norman’s Bay, as trains don’t stop there on Sundays).

Practicalities:

Start at Cooden Beach station at 11:30. There are bike-friendly ramps to road level.
Distance: 14 or 20 miles

Terrain: Mostly quiet roads, some off-road possible. Some undulations.

Getting there: There are no direct trains from Brighton today – it is necessary to change en route – and the best place to do this is Eastbourne, where there is no change of platform. Take the 10:23 Hastings train; the connection arrives at Cooden Beach at 11:29 (having left London Victoria at 9:47)

Getting back: Trains leave Cooden Beach at 37 minutes past the hour, and Pevensey & Westham at 43 minutes past. Journey time to Brighton is about an hour; to London, an hour and 50 minutes.

Jim


The Last Ride: Sunday 12 July 2015 – “Urban to Rural Peregrination”

14 July 2015

Led by Leon

Leon

Our leader, complete with flashing helmet!

The ride started at the Velo Cafe on The Level with Dave, Ian, Joyce, Julian, Kate, Leon, Lucas, Rob (H) and Sikka-Sue passing on the south side of St. Bartholomew’s picking up the NCN20 and continuing north along the side of Preston Road.  But at Preston Park, Ian’s bike gave trouble, that neither he nor Rob could fix and so he returned home.  Along the London Road, by the mini-Sainsbury’s, Jim joined.

Orchids

More orchids

Leon stopped us to admire the orchids by the side of the road

At the Mill Road roundabout on the London Road, we turned left briefly up Mill Road and right passing under the A27 into Waterhall Road and onto the track on the west side of the very noisy A23 right up to the Pyecombe filling station. It had begun to rain appropriately at Waterhall, but then held off until after a short stretch west on the A281 over the roundabout and south down through Poynings past the church. The headwind and rain continued on the undulating road through Fulking and Edburton (and the steepest hill), along a short stretch of the A2037 which was then crossed onto a snaking bridleway going through one normal gate, quickly followed by a gate so narrow that bikes had to be lifted vertically to clear the handlebars and get through.

The Awkward Gate

The Awkward Gate – the vertical post had seemingly been inserted just to make life hard for cyclists!

Soon we came to Smugglers Lane, heading NW before turning south through Upper Beeding to The Rising Sun Inn for lunch.

Smugglers Lane

At the end of Smugglers Lane: L-R Leon, Lucas, Kate, Joyce, Sikka, Julian. Rob and Dave were elsewhere. Photo by Jim.

The Sunday menu only extended to two meat and one nut roasts, but luckily the vegetarians could chose the nut roast. Their helpings were enormous and four of us made up a complete plate donated to Jim who had got to the bar just after the nut roasts had run out.

(L-R) Rob Joyce Sue

At the Rising Sun: L-R Rob, Joyce, Sue

Bob Harber at the Rising Sun Upper Beeding 12-7-15

Bob Harber popped into the pub to say hello over a pint.

After the leisurely lunch we set off on the minor road west through Bramber, with light rain for a short while, and then south onto the Downs Link, where just north of Botolph’s Church, Joyce, Leon and Lucas chose to go on the Coombes Road, while Dave, Jim, Julian, Kate, Rob and Sikka continued on the Downs Link on the east side of the River Adur, and we all joined up again by the renovated wooden Old Shoreham Bridge, that replaced the former Toll Bridge.  Dave could remember paying sixpence to cross this bridge when it was on the main road before the A27 bridge was constructed to its north, which in turn has affected the river flow here, he explained.

At the Shoreham Station Kate and Jim took the train, and the rest of us joined the NCN2 towards the harbour, while at Southwick Park Dave left for home. At the start of the Monarch’s Way Lucas continued on, and in Carat’s Cafe Joyce, Julian, Leon, Rob and Sikka indulged in coffees and cakes. The tail wind along the final stretch towards Hove was strong enough to speed us with little effort on the pedals. At Grand Avenue Julian turned north arriving home at 4.30 pm having covered 26.5 miles in all, while the others headed on towards the Brighton Pier.

Julian


News and Dieppe Raid reports

14 July 2015

Dear All

Julian’s report mentions my inauspicious return to coming out on Sunday ride now one of my cataracts is fixed. I only got as far as Preston Park and my transmission just seemed to seize up completely. Could have been worse – might have happened out in the sticks. Turned out to be the bottom bracket.  I’ve been having bottom bracket problems with my bike – now 35 years old – recently,  but it seemed to be fixed OK and I did two 20 mile rides last week which I thought confirmed that.  I believed there might be a slight possibility of the whole thing coming loose – but never the exact opposite which is what seems to have happened.  Always expect the unexpected!

 I will be away for the next newsletter. Roger will be sending it out. So, please send anything you want included to both of us at i.bullock@ntlworld.com and hinton@clara.net.

Good to have four interesting pieces sent to me for this edition – so I’ll just shut up and get out of the way!

Weekend Ride

We did not have our usual weekend ride this year – nobody came forward to organise one.

However, I have had an idea, motivated by my recent experience on the Two Tunnels cycle route near Bath, which I waxed lyrical about on the Google Group.

I’d be prepared to lead a one-day ride involving this route on a normal Clarion Sunday, which would probably mean 23 August or 6 September, as I am on holiday on the 20th Sept and October may be a bit late for it. Participants would have to arrange their own accommodation, and would of course be free to stay in Bath for the whole weekend or longer if they wanted; we could even do an impromptu Saturday ride if there was a demand for it, but the minimum commitment would be the Sunday.

Now, clearly I will need to know that there will be enough “takers” before organising any more (which really will consist of just finishing off the southern end of the ride, the bit I didn’t do last month) – I mean, hanging about at Polegate Station to see if anyone turns up is one thing, but going all the way to Bath and hanging around there is quite another. So please let me know by email to j.r.grozier@btinternet.com if you would like to do this.  Thanks

Jim.

Over the Gotthard Pass

For some months we had been discussing and preparing for another mini cycling tour to Italy from Switzerland. Maps had been pored over, hotel prices and reviews compared. We had even taken Italian lessons. Perfetto! We decided to follow the last 3 stages of the National Route 3, the North South route from Andermatt to Chiasso and then ride a few kms from Chiasso to Como over the border into Italy.

DSC00622

When the day came the only cloud in the sky was the sky which was cloudless with a pitiless sun and hot air pouring up from the south and allowing temperatures well into the mid thirties.

We drove to Brig and abandoned the car in a layby before cycling to the station to take the train to Andermatt. On the platform was another cyclist, Oliver, an academic in molecular biology who was also planning the climb up the Gotthard Pass and he and I agreed to team up. At Andermatt he and I got off while Anne carried on with the panniers to Goschenen and then further to Airolo.

DSC00623

We set off past the huge hotel built by an Egyptian which the locals disapproved of for some reason and soon we were making our way up the 660 metre climb. The gradient was not brutal but steep enough with that strong headwind and we were both happy to cycle at the same pace with stops for drink and breath. There was plenty of Clarionesque conversation and travellers’ tales of hitch-hiking, cycling, Brighton, Wiesbaden, the Swiss, Bauhaus architecture (his grandfather had been a famous architect of that school) etc. It turned out that after 12 years at Berne Uni this was his last day in Switzerland and he was going back to Berlin. Accordingly he had decided to follow in the tracks of Goethe who famously went to the top of the pass, sketched the mountains, looked down on Italy and decided to return to Germany. Most of the ride was up a good main road without too much traffic but the last 3 kms we took the old cobbled road. The cobbles meant that momentum was lost on every turn of the wheel but there was virtually no traffic at all.

DSC00626

We struggled to the top, enjoyed the view, had our pictures taken and went our separate ways. Teaming up with Oliver had turned what might have been a struggle into pleasure to be fondly remembered. Fellowship truly is life. The views on the way down of the hairpins was impressive but much of my descent was still on cobbles and just as tough as the ascent. It is a wonder I still have any teeth left. I was pleased to meet up again with Anne at Airolo station. It was 2.30 pm and there was still 40 miles to go. The ride was generally downhill but the headwind meant one still had to pedal hard and it was hot, very hot. It was a lovely ride through spectacular scenery and pretty villages, many old wooden chalets and churches. By the time we reached Biasca, Anne had had enough and she took the train and the bags. I arrived at our hotel in Bellinzona opposite the station at 7.15 after much “Dov’e la statione?” We had an early night. The next day we set off to Lugano. We had climbed Monte Ceneri before, it is not much fun. You ride by the side of a busy main road on a marked out area often ignored by the lorries, so we took  2 “Ceneri bici” tickets which gives a special price for cyclists to get from Giubasco to Rivera-Bironico without riding up Monte Ceneri, as recommended by the Veloland website. This stage of the route takes you by the side of the Ticino River through woods largely off road but often right next to a noisy motorway and frequently through industrial areas. By lunchtime we were in Lugano and spent much of the next few hours at the lido for lunch, swimming and reading, and enjoying the magnificent views of Lake Lugano.

DSC00635

That night the room at the hotel was unbearably hot, neither of us slept. Anne was faint with a touch of sunstroke and the prospect of 36 degree heat in Como for the next 2 days was not what we had envisaged. We decided to cancel and head back to the mountains. We took the train back to Goschenen and from there on to Oberwald to cycle the first stage of National Route 1 – the Rhone route – from the source of the Rhone down to Brig. Anne will continue the story in the next issue.

Mick

Dieppe Raid (1) Joyce and Leon report

The Dieppe Raid June 25-29 is an annual cycling event held since 1972, organised by the Cyclo-Club Dieppois with assistance from the municipality. Following several previous organisers, riders from the UK end are organised by Caroline and Glenn Street.

Our fondness for Dieppe and cycling led us to sign up and take a few days extra to participate with other French and UK cyclists as well as enjoy Dieppe. We arrived Thursday and on Friday rode down the Avenue Verte to St. Vaast-d’Equiqueville – a sweet little village where we had a lovely meal in a splendid cafe opposite the Town Hall. 35 miles easy flat riding on a lovely day (perhaps one for the B&H Clarion one day?).

Joyce at Relais de l'Avenue Verte

Saturday brought the welcoming reception from the Mayor’s office, here we learned that there were 400+ riders, about 200 French and 200 UK of all ages, the oldest 92, the youngest 11. The rides were from 30 – 200 kilometres. We opted for 30 which took us again down the Avenue Verte for a short way in the company of the 92 year old rider and his two daughters. We then diverted on to Martin Eglise (this time a much easier pleasant route than our first try in March which went through the forest … very hilly!).

Joyce at Rue Henri IV Martin Eglise-2

Back to check in and the prizes for the clubs with the most riders, the oldest and youngest riders, and much else. (Didn’t win anything on the tombola though.) We looked out for Bob Harber, but no luck although we did see other Clarion comrades.

Leon at old Station l'Avenue Verte

Then to the dinner at the Windsor Hotel where it was great to find ourselves at the Clarion table and there at last found Bob who – of course – had done the 200 km (a deep bow).

The evening was one of good food, (even if the veggies had to wait till last!), laughs and talk. We  were with our London friends Alan Kiddle, Alex Southern, Mick O’Rouke, Martin Perfect and Charles Jepson (National Clarion 1895), Stuart Walsh (Yorkshire Coast Clarion). It was a great experience – maybe more B&H Clarion members will try next year.

Leaulne river, Martin Eglise-2

The rest of our time we fitted in a trip to Paris, the wonderful swimming pool and (on the hottest day of the year!) attempted to find a route to another old railway cycle route near St. Aubin sur Scie, (also called the “Avenue Verte …”) which we thought might be a possible alternative to the familiar Avenue Verte for Clarion riders?). But the area is not called the “Three Valleys” for nothing and we although we found the route we could not avoid very steep hills to get to that valley and it really was a very hot day!

Yet again, we were once again struck by the contrast between the courtesy of French drivers and the behaviour of so many UK drivers….

Leon & Joyce

 Dieppe Raid (2) Bob’s report

This was my first “Dieppe Raid” this century! Originally planning a tandem trip with my riding partner, Paul, but a family illness made that not possible.

So, solo it was. Riding from home at Upper Beeding to the ferry on Friday morning, I very nearly didn’t even leave these shores, as a lady in a Mini pulled out of a Peacehaven side street and knocked me off. Much cursing, shocked lady, bike inspection, exchange of details and off again. Caught it! France here we come!

On the boat I met up with London Clarion, accompanied by Voldemort (as Charles Jepson was referred to by national Chair Dave Bisset). They were eating and drinking steadily, establishing their pattern for the weekend ahead.

As tourist info mentioned a second ‘Avenue Verte’, after dropping bag at the Windsor, (yes, I was slumming it) I went exploring. The ‘Avenue de Lin’ has replaced the old railway West of Dieppe, running from Petit Appeville to Fontaine-Le-Dun. For the evening I accepted London Clarion’s invite to dinner, although I remained several drinks behind them. Day’s ride: 105km.

London Clarion’s lunch destination on Saturday was to be Le Treport. I met them via a loop which included a road closure due to dodgems at a village fair, the Somme estuary, and eye-watering cobbles in St Valery-sur-Somme. Met the Londons on their extended lunch hour(s). Strong headwind back meant I missed the ‘welcome’ speeches. Day’s ride: 137km.

Sunday was the organised rides, at varying distances. Starting at 6am, I rode the 200km, following the orange route arrows in the company of a gent from the Norwood Paragon. With 3 good food stops, we returned at 4 pm. Prize-giving and speeches followed, with the Windsor Hotel dinner, in the company of Joyce, Leon and the Londons, as the sun set on a long day. Day’s ride: 200km

With the Monday return boat not until early evening, there was ample time for a spin round the 100km route. As all patisseries were open on this weekday, progress was slower than anticipated. Hence almost last on to the boat. Ride home was completely free of errant commuting drivers. Phew! Day’s ride 139km.

A great weekend, with rides, and other interests, for all – not just cyclists. I had forgotten just how refreshing and absorbing this nearest bit of ‘abroad’ can be. At 581 km, it also provided some good prep for the big August randonee, Paris-Brest-Paris.

Bob


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