Next ride: Sunday October 16th

12 August 2022

Palace Pier to Seaford via Peacehaven

Departing from the Pier at 10:30 am.
Possible coffee stop on the undercliff; lunch in Newhaven or Seaford (venue to be chosen on the day).

From Brighton to Seaford is about 15 miles. Return by train is possible.


News

12 August 2022

I don’t know for sure, but I think last Sunday might have been the first time we have attempted a Clarion ride during the annual Brighton Pride weekend.

Saturday’s Pride parade along London Road, the first since the pandemic, was really wonderful to watch. I had forgotten how many people the Brighton Pride event attracted and how impressive the parade could be .

Among the many parade participants, there were excellent contributions from Amnesty International, the anti-fascist English Disco Lovers and a particularly subversive Earth First banner (‘No Pride In a Police State’). Labour, Greens & Lib Dems were all there, but the Tories were absent. As Fred pointed out on the Clarion WhatsApp discussion forum. cyclists were also absent from the parade. Perhaps Brighton Clarion should have a presence on next year’s Pride parade?

As 300,000 were expected to travel to Brighton for the Pride weekend, some of us were a little concerned that train travel on the Sunday morning might be problematic. I was passing through Brighton station just after midnight on Saturday and was amazed to see the station concourse packed with hundreds of Christina Aguilera fans, who surely had missed their last trains home.

The hundreds of Pride revellers had managed to sort out their travel arrangements by the time the Clarion riders arrived at Brighton station for Sunday’s 10.30am train to Chichester. What a glorious ride it was too. I particularly liked the Chichester Canal route at the end, which led us back to Chichester station. Thanks to Sikka for pointing out the canal wildlife. The youthful coots and cormorants were particularly impressive.

Nick

Jim adds: We also discussed the need for someone to volunteer to “flag up” any future problematic dates when there are local events (such as Pride) that might need to be avoided. Readers may find this hard to believe, but I was unaware of the approaching Pride festival until about a week before, when it was too late to change the ride. Any volunteers for that?


Clarion Ride Report: Chichester Circular 7/8/22

11 August 2022

A cancelled Littlehampton train and a delay due to ‘animals on the track’ between Brighton and Hove meant a very crowded journey to Chichester.

We only all met up disembarking onto the platform.
Jim, our leader, Sally, Sikka, Nick, Marilyn, Doris, Angela and Tessa.

August 7, 2022: Chichester circular

We headed off on the SCCR through the grounds of Chichester College onto Centurion Way, a delightful tree-lined path in dappled sunlight with glimpses of yellow fields beyond.

Throughout the ride I was struck by the colour contrasts – green trees and a scorched landscape. We stopped at the Centurions to analyse their makeup. Were they metal floats? Bomb casings? Missiles? Jim pointed out bits of railway track that formed their faces. Some ears were missing. Souvenirs?

August 7, 2022: Chichester circular

A short stretch of busy road took us to the West Stoke turnoff and shortly to our lunch stop Wellies Tea Rooms. We sat outside on two tables in a converted farmyard framed by an elegant Georgian farmhouse and glass-fronted stables, now housing small businesses.

Delicious food and animated conversation at our table ranging from our least favourite food experiences to what to watch next on Netflix. Nick took close-up photos of the bubbles rising in his lime and soda. I suggested a video. Apparently slow videos have their own Youtube channel?

August 7, 2022: Chichester circular

Continuing towards West Stoke, we stopped to admire llamas, turned left onto Lye lane, one of the beautiful leafy quiet roads on this ride, then crossed onto Mouthey Lane which was of course photographed and pondered over as to who might have inspired it?

We continued through Fishbourne, over then under the A27 and then onto Apuldram Lane, passing a large field used as an aerodrome during the war to attack the Germans in Northern France.

We turned onto Salterns Way, a small off-road track running alongside golden fields. Crops had been gathered and straw was in bales, or waiting to be baled.

August 7, 2022: Chichester circular

Our tea stop was Chichester Marina where we divided into tea drinkers in the shade of an umbrella and ice cream eaters in the sun.

Nick and Sikka left us to catch an earlier train and the remaining 6 tackled the bumpy first half of the canal footpath where there were several bramble scratches sustained. The footpath became a shared path with an even surface as we neared Chichester.

August 7, 2022: Chichester circular

Another cancelled train meant a long wait at Chichester Station but at least it wasn’t crowded for our return.

This was Julian’s ride from a few years ago, so thank you to him for planning it and to Jim for leading it on this perfect summer’s day.

Tessa

Jim adds:It was good to also see Terry, who was drivng home but met us at Wellies for lunch and intrigued us with tales of his bamboo bike.

August 7, 2022: Chichester circular

Strava link
Flickr link


Next ride: Julian’s Chichester circular: Sunday August 7th

3 August 2022

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 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.


News: 29th July 2022

29 July 2022

Hello all

There was some glorious weather to accompany last Sunday’s ride with London Clarion.

Although Lancing Chapel isn’t a place I had considered as a cycling destination before, the building is undeniably impressive. I was particularly interested in the stained glass window dedicated to anti-apartheid campaigner Trevor Huddleston, which had been opened by Desmond Tutu in 2007. I didn’t know that Trevor Huddleston had once been a pupil at Lancing College. It’s good to see this sort of private school institution doesn’t always mould individuals to prop up the Establishment in later life.

Last Sunday’s ride was very warm, so the person wearing the black Clarion cycling jersey, which he had unzipped to his waist, seemed appropriately attired to me. After reading her ride report (below), Angela seems to have a different view on sartorial elegance when out cycling though.

I’ve included a Strava link to last Sunday’s ride and a Flickr link with a few photos.

That’s all for now. Hopefully see some of you for a cycle ride soon.

Boots!

Nick


Clarion ride report Sunday 24th July 2022

28 July 2022

Dave C, Nick, Jim, Sally, Alan-from-London, Angela D
Shoreham toll bridge to Lancing
Written by Angela Devas

July 24, 2022: Shoreham via Lancing to Brighton
First rest stop

Unfortunately your writer is still suffering from shock which is why this report has been delayed. What was witnessed on this ride has forced me into the arms of the Moral Rearmament Society, and indeed led me to the shrine of the late Mrs Mary Whitehouse. Gentle readers, please be warned; those of a nervous disposition might wish to stop now.

As I disembarked from the train at Shoreham, other joyful Clarionistas, also on the train but in another compartment, gathered round. One member (unnamed for obvious reasons, and because of a lively fear of libel laws) was adorned in the Clarion tenue but . . .(and here I may have to have a little lie-down)…this was open to the waist. Mercifully we were spared chest hairs and a gold medallion, but even so, you will all agree, that even with the strongest sunglasses, this was not a sight to behold.

Our indefatigable leader Dave C met us at the toll bridge in Shoreham and was soon leading us up a particularly precipitous path, charging ahead (literally – he had the advantage of a powerful electric bicycle) and looking back from time to time at the dismal progress of other Clarionistas. I do not think our leader saw the need for quite so many multiple stopping opportunities en route, where such excuses as butterfly watching, sneezing, catching up on some particularly useful piece of local news, falling off, falling on, steering problems and turning round to admire the view and then falling off again, were liberally proclaimed as valid reasons for a long and welcome pause.

July 24, 2022: Shoreham via Lancing to Brighton
The teddy house. Shaun the Sheep doesn’t look very happy!

There were some pleasant downhills; my enjoyment of these was marred by a thoughtless and inaccurate description of me ‘hurtling’; in fact, of course it was a daring and gracious descent at speed.

We all gathered at the first escape opportunity thoughtfully outlined by our leader. I think this was meant to be an example of excellent ride planning, rather than an excuse for an early departure from the tortuous off-road expedition that we had found ourselves on.

July 24, 2022: Shoreham via Lancing to Brighton
Speckled Wood butterfly

To recover from all these adversities, we found ourselves in the beautiful Coombes church where even the chattiest Clarionista (some have wrongly accused me of this excess) were silenced by the peace and beauty. We then decamped to St Botolph’s not for a further dose of religious revival but for tea and cake in the graveyard.

July 24, 2022: Shoreham via Lancing to Brighton
At Botolphs

We then propelled ourselves in a homeward direction, having been left apparently leaderless by Dave’s unspecified mission in Steyning, our original destination. Alan-from-London continued to look bemused by the curious goings-on of Brighton and Hove Clarion and he was understandably anxious to re-join his London group, rumoured to be meeting in Lancing chapel. However, your writer was unable to make this foray, too exhausted by her earlier shocked discoveries of Clarion depravity.

July 24, 2022: Shoreham via Lancing to Brighton
A tribute to anti-apartheid campaigner Trevor Huddleston at the chapel

Many thanks to Dave C for leading this ride and to all the other Clarionistas for being such good company.

July 24, 2022: Shoreham via Lancing to Brighton
The chapel ceiling

Strava link (ride route)
Flickr link (photos)


The Next Ride: Sunday July 24th

21 June 2022

Shoreham to Steyning via Lancing College and nature reserve

This ride has been planned by Dave to coincide with the London Clarion’s trip to Lancing College. We will hopefully see them at some point, although as their ride is very long, it’s difficult to pinpoint when or where!

The route starts at the old toll bridge and then ascends behind the college on a bridleway to the Bostal road and down to Steyning. Dave says: “I have shown two easterly escape routes down to Coombes Road using South Downs Way and bridleway to Coombes Farm. I have shown no route back from Steyning as this could be open to discussion and my brief was to lead the route along the bridleway!”

Click here for a map of the route. The main route is shown in green and the “escape routes” in orange and blue.

Start at: East end of the Shoreham toll bridge at 10:30am.
Getting there: 10:00 train from Brighton to Shoreham (Southampton train) and proceed to the toll bridge. Dave is riding from Brighton to Shoreham, but for those taking the train, there is bound to be someone who knows the way to the toll bridge.
Distance: the ride to Steyning as shown is about 6.5 miles. The return would presumably be about the same again.
Terrain: mainly bridleways with a bit of quiet road.
Lunch: No arrangements have been made – either bring it with you or find a pub in Steyning.

STOP PRESS: Just in case anyone wants to see the route in terms of “what3words waypoints”, the start, finish and intermediate points on this ride will be:

exotic.materials.ignoring
moons.incurring.masterpiece
emeralds.soup.cackling
sweep.dated.ranges
ending.tummy.wants
shipyards.directs.recorder
debating.weeks.spouse

I certainly hope we will be “ending tummy wants” at some stage! Not sure about the shipyards though.

Jim.


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.