The Next Ride: Sunday 23 July 2017 – Lewes to Berwick

11 July 2017

Ringmer – Palehouse Common – East Hoathly – Whitesmith – Vert Wood – Ripe

We did this ride only just over a year ago, but it was quite popular, so I have suggested revisiting it to fill a gap in our schedule. It features some of my favourite cycling territory, namely the lanes to the north-east of Ringmer – Norlington Lane, Green Lane, Harveys Lane, Bradford’s Lane – and the lanes around Ripe: Mill Lane, Mark Cross Lane, Langtye Lane. Nice and flat, narrow and quiet, give or take the odd horse.

We start from Lewes Station. As last time, my brief history of Lewes Station is available if anyone wants it. If not too muddy, we can also go via the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve at the start of the ride.

Once again we will sample the delights of Palehouse Common and Hollow Lane, and the latter may once again inspire a reading of T S Eliot. Our lunch stop, the King’s Head in the delightful little Sussex village of East Hoathly is just over half way through and we should arrive there at about 1pm.

Once more, a semi-traverse of Vert Wood if not too muddy, then into that lovely flat, open countryside to the north of the Downs (Laughton Levels?) and so to Berwick Station.


Start at Lewes Station at 09:40.

Trains: Get the 09:17 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 40 minutes past the hour.

Terrain: Flat – we never go above the 75m contour, and any “climbs” we might encounter are gentle ones. 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.


The Last Ride: Sunday 9 July 2017 Woods Mill – Bramber – Shoreham

11 July 2017

Our group of six cyclists at Hassocks station. Start of ride 9th July 2017

Present on the ride were leader Leon, Joyce, Wendy David Sikka and Richard. A well prepared and clearly experienced Leon led us for about an hour and a half from Hassocks station over gently undulating roads in brilliant sunshine via pretty Sussex villages like Albourne and Hurstpierpoint to our lunch stop at Woods Mill Nature Reserve.

Paintings on building at Woodsmill.

A leisurely picnic in the shade of ancient oaks was followed by a short stroll to the nearby mill lake, sadly now lacking water movement and covered in algae but still a lovely tranquil spot with damsel flies in profusion. It was time to follow the butterflies, including slightly elusive but gorgeous Red Admirals, so some of lost ourselves in that blissful and innocent activity for a while.

Refreshed, we set off again towards Bramber. Sikka and David left us for a while to investigate a possible future ride (watch the Clarion site). Cars, and sweating young men hunched over the handlebars, shot past in both directions from time to time. The author wishes them no ill but fancies we enjoyed our ride somewhat more.

Woods Mill Clarion ride Sunday 9th July

Outside Bramber Castle entrance we regrouped and availed ourselves of David’s knowledge of a newer and alternative route to the Adur on a pristine cycleway, flanked by fields in which the grass grew tall. Soon the wide river came into view, which we crossed, and passing through the ancient Salts parishes of yesteryear found ourselves on the eastern bank on the old railway track. Back then through the northern suburbs of Shoreham, where David took his leave, and beneath the railway bridge at Southwick to Shoreham Lock.

Brighton &Hove Clarion at Woodsmill Henfield.

Glancing idly down at the collection of Sunday boaters waiting for the lock gates – all amateur maritime life is to be observed there – the party unanimously decided that a swim was irresistible. The water temperature was perfect for cooling off after twenty miles or so of midsummer cycling and a certain stoniness of beach did not discourage us. The author learned that Lycra cycling shorts and tiny pebbles are unfortunately inseparable, and that this does not increase saddle comfort. No matter. Suitably cooled we headed off to take tea in a suburban garden in Hove. Apple and blackberry cake, muesli bars and fresh strawberries were thoughtfully provided by Wendy and Sikka.

Paintings on building at Woodsmill.

The author hopes that our predecessors of 1893 are looking down on us benevolently and feeling that our summer idylls are not so impossibly different from theirs. Thanks again to Leon, without whom…


EXTRA! a video from Leon: coming soon!


11 July 2017

Dear All

The frustrations of getting ever older are very upsetting – until you think about the only available alternative. On holiday last month I developed a very painful left knee and other aches and pains in the legs which had me stumbling round a number of French towns. (But Sue took pity on me and drove us round the extensive gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte in an electric buggy – highly recommended.) Soon after I got home the knee and general leg pains began to go away – hurrah! Then, getting out of a taxi last a week or so ago I managed to get a horrible spasm in the back followed by a nasty painful ache which though now diminishing is still causing me problems.

The reason to burden you with my tale of woe is that since I had to cancel my ride (unnecessarily as it turned out – but you have to act on the best weather forecasts available) I have earmarked 20 August as a possible date on which to try to do it again. It’s still possible that this might happen – but since Julian has also volunteered his Chichester ride for that date I’ve put him down for it provisionally. Either way we’re OK for rides until the start of September (volunteers please!) and I hope that I will at least get out on a ride – and preferably lead one – before the end of the year.

Recent mailings have been followed by a number of ‘undelivered’ messages – presumably because the email addresses in question are no longer operative. If you do change yours please let me know so I can modify the mailing list and you can continue to receive newsletters.

I am forwarding to you separately news of next year’s Easter Meet. This is much earlier than usual so congratulations to the organisers is definitely in order.

At the Chester Meet earlier in the year there was considerable discussion about the future of the Easter Meet and especially whether it should be moved from Easter (where it’s been for the last 122 years – so the likelihood of change there seems a bit remote).

With both in mind I have chosen for my extract from the 1890s in this issue a piece that illustrates that controversy about the Meet has been more or less endemic from the start. True, in this instance it’s where rather than when that is puzzling Jim (of the Bradford Clarion – definitely not OUR Jim!) but it does make my point in a general way.


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

11 July 2017

From 24 December 1898 edition of The Clarion. Don’t know exactly what the CVU was.

STOP PRESS: TJ solves the mystery. CVU is the Clarion Vocal Union. If they did do a performance at Malham Cove, that would have been tremendous.

The Next Ride: Sunday 9 July 2017 – Sussex Wildlife Trust, Henfield

3 July 2017

As we will be only twelve days from the summer solstice, and daylight is at its peak, I am offering a twenty-five mile ride with a picnic at a nature reserve.

We meet at the west side carpark (platform 1 side) of Hassocks railway station at 10.25am. 

We will proceed westward to Hurstpierpoint and Woods Mill (Sussex Wildlife Trust, Henfield) to enjoy the facilities and have our (bring your own) picnic.

After being suitably refreshed we continue through Small-Dole and Upper-Beeding to join the Downslink cycleway to Shoreham where we can stop at Carats Cafe for tea before reaching the Hove Lawns where the ride finishes.

Terrain:  This area is the weald of Mid-Sussex and has gentle undulations throughout.

If you require a slightly longer ride, (approximately ten miles) you can cycle from Brighton on the NCN 2 cycleway up to Muddleswood BN6 9BP Map ref: 50.9192903  -0.1956641 to join the group en-route, or Hassocks if you don’t mind backtracking for three miles. Please let me know in advance if you will be riding from Brighton so we can arrange a rendezvous/timing.

If you are driving to the start, be prepared to return to Hassocks by train or other means to collect your vehicle.

Trains from Brighton – 10.14 am arriving at Hassocks at 10.23am.

As Southern trains are still pushing for removing guards from trains, it is possible that some disruptions may be possible, please check before setting out.

My cell phone:  07484803638


The Last Ride: Sunday 25th June 2017 – A Crime Ride: Angmering to Littlehampton

3 July 2017

Met Sikka, our leader for today, at Brighton Station. Tessa jointly planned the ride with Sikka but unfortunately was unable to join us. No-one else appeared so we boarded the 10am train to Angmering, and were soon joined by Angela D and Prudence at Hove. We compared clothing choices ranging from shorts and sandals to ¾ length trousers and regular jeans, discussing the pros and cons should the weather be warm, windy, chilly or wet. The weather turned out to be all of those things, but fortunately no rain. Mick and Anne were also on the train and there was further discussion about the proposed lunch stop. Sikka called ahead to make a booking at The Harbour Lights at Littlehampton for the 6 of us. Always nice to know lunch is taken care of before striking out.

We set off along quiet roads through Angmering Village, but were soon met with the challenge of crossing the busy A27. Four of us bravely forged through the impatient traffic at the roundabout, but Ann and I cautiously opted for the safety of the footbridge.

The route took us through country lanes, with golden crops ripening either side, then on to a bridleway through Angmering Park Estate with its wonderful tall forests of conifers, including Sycamore and Beech trees (identified by Sikka and Mick). It was a gentle but persistent climb, with a mixture of loose, stony terrain and some firmer surface. We had a brief stop by a log pile where a dog walker kindly snapped a photo of us all. Sikka exhibited excellent leadership skills by offering each of us a perfectly ripe, juicy cherry, and made promises of tarmac ahead.

We joined the Monarchs Way and commenced a gentle downhill ride to a bridleway crossroads behind which is marked the site of the gallows where the last hanging in the area took place.

We continued on through more scenic country lanes, and Anne noticed Arundel Castle through the trees to our right, which proved difficult to photograph due to fewer gaps in the shrubbery.

A nice scenic ride through Arundel, going over the bridge and alongside the river, gave way to a straight but fairly busy stretch of road past Ford Open Prison and on to Littlehampton, crossing the river by the Old Swing/New Retracting bridge.

The Harbour Lights was just beyond the new Youth Hostel, right on the quayside, with views across the harbour and various sailing craft passing close by. Lunchtime conversations covered cladding on high rise buildings, Theresa May’s impact on immigration policy, and a joke from Prudence:

Q “What do you call a person cycling fast around London wearing Lycra”
A “A cyclepath” (pronounced to rhyme with psychopath)

The final stretch back to Angmering Station took us along the riverside to the promenade with clusters of coloured beach huts and views of kite-surfers jumping the waves. There was an unplanned parting of the ways where Anne, Angela and I took a slight detour, but Angela and her trusty map secured us an alternative route back to the station. The gates were down so we watched our intended train leave the station without us, but luckily another one rescued us a few minutes later.

Thanks to Sikka and Tessa for planning this lovely scenic ride, and to Sikka for ably leading us on the day.

Sikka mentioned that this ride is fabulous at Bluebell time.



3 July 2017

Dear All

Before you settle down in front of the telly to watch the start of the 2017 Tour de France, please give a moment’s thought to the next few stages of Clarion’s ongoing tour.

We have an interesting looking ride scheduled for 9 July, led by Leon. After that, nothing! Any offers pleae, to Ian who is now back in the country (