Next Ride: Sunday April 16th 2023: Lewes to Polegate via new cycle track

29 March 2023

This is a cycle track which eventually will go all the way to Eastbourne. We are joining it between Firle and Polegate.

A mainly tarmacked ride with a few hills along Ranscombe Lane to Glynde and hopefully dry track along Robin Post Lane. Returning via the Cuckoo Trail to Polegate Station.

Coffee at Pharmacie Cafe near Lewes and lunch at the Yew Tree, Arlington.

Getting there: 10.05 Eastbourne train. Get return ticket to Polegate.

Starting the ride at Lewes.

Getting back: Trains leave about two an hour

Distance 20 miles

Please let me know if you are able to join the ride so I can book lunch.
Doris Edwards

Sunday March 26th 2023: Berwick Circular via Chalvington, Ripe and Laughton

21 March 2023

Today’s ride may have to be cancelled due to bad weather in the Berwick area (which Brighton is likely to escape the worst of). Some of us will be meeting on Brighton station concourse to make a final decision before buying tickets.


This is a new version of a ride we’ve done before.

We’ll have a look at the impressive remains of Laughton Place, formerly the chief manor of that well-known Sussex family, the Pelhams, originally built in 1400 and remodelled “on a grand scale” by Sir William Pelham. All that has survived is the tower, which stood close to the main hall, “an outlook post and set of secure private rooms combined. By 1600 the family had abandoned Laughton, driven by the damp, to build again on higher ground, and slowly the house decayed.” (text from the Landmark Trust, who now own it and let it out if you can afford it!)

On the way back we’ll go through a bit of the delightful Vert Wood if it isn’t too wet.

Distance: 20 miles.

Terrain: Mostly tarmacked roads, about a mile of good quality “byway”. Very flat.

Lunch: The Yew Tree at Chalvington at about 12:15.

Getting there: Take the 11:05 Eastbourne train from Brighton, arriving at Berwick at 11:32. (Remember to put your clock forward if it doesn’t happen automatically!)

Getting back: Trains leave Berwick at 55 minutes past each hour. Hopefully we’ll get the 17:55.

Clarion ride report Sunday 12 March 2023

21 March 2023

Hassocks to Shoreham via Blackstone and Small Dole

Participants: Jim, Nick, Doris, Angela

Hassocks station is swish and modern but we were firmly instructed not to linger in present times but to go back to when this ride was first envisioned, ‘a long time ago’ our leader informed us. When pressed he admitted to never having been on the original ride but it took assuredly took place in ancient times. Our leader appeared a little shifty as he told us this; when pressed he admitted that it may have occurred in the era of the dinosaurs or possibly in the time of the Neanderthals but he promised a mud hut with sticks to rub together to make a fire should we wish for a tea stop. At this point we all looked up at the clouds and imminent rain and wondered collectively if sticks worked in wet weather. And did said Neanderthals have a recipe for toasted tea cakes? We were too trusting and too polite to mention these doubts to our leader of course.

March 12, 2023: Hassocks to Shoreham

We should not have doubted. Teacakes and tea were to be had in Hurstpierpoint; Doris informed us that the café and its owner had been there for millennia but over the years the tables had decreased in number so we were only just able to squeeze ourselves in. On we cycled until Small Dole where a long and leisurely lunch was had by all; fortunately our earliest ancestors were in possession of chip friers and vegetarian options.

We ambled out to discover pouring rain but worse was to come, much worse. Unfortunately one of our number (and here I shall retain anonymity to preserve all due decorum), one of us had espied Brighton Excelsior Cycling Club speeding off like demons in the distance. Our companion’s eyes widened in wonder and in envy; our beloved Clarion member climbed onto their bike with a gleam of the possessed and showed every intention of disappearing off into the river mists. Fortunately we had a dangerous obstacle course to negotiate with mud, stiles and slinging of bicycles and we took this opportunity to remind our friend of all that they would miss from our beloved Clarion. ‘They don’t allow chips’ we argued and ‘They start at 6 am without coffee’ and what we thought of as the coup de grâce ‘They haven’t even heard of the illustrious leader, Jeremy XXXX, let alone shown him due reverence’.

Alas the fire of fanaticism burned on and as soon as we were free to ride along the river, our fellow traveller sped off without a backward glance or goodbye, chasing the chimeric riders in front of us, themselves a distant blur in the distance; whether our cherished comrade ever caught up with them we do not know but as we approached the footbridge near Shoreham, on the far side of the river, there was a loud cry followed by a splash. It was not possible for us to offer any assistance; we were too far away and beside we had a train to catch and warm dry homes to go to. Our leader vetoed a suggestion of a doffing our cycle helmets to honour our Clarion partner with a minute’s silence, and sensibly suggested we do this out of the rain when we were all snug and cosy back home. This suggestion was unanimously agreed.

March 12, 2023: Hassocks to Shoreham

At Shoreham station we all reassembled, our number complete; I don’t know how this happened and didn’t like to ask. I do think planners of future rides should scrupulously avoid any convergence with Brighton Excelsior in order to forestall the possible loss of our treasured Brighton member.

Many thanks to Jim for organising this ride.

Angela Devas

Strava link

News – 20th March 2023

21 March 2023

Hello all

I’m typing this newsletter on the first day of spring. The realisation that we’ve officially left winter behind should cheer up all cyclists who have endured cold and damp weather during the past few months.

The longer days (British Summer Time starts on Sunday) means we can plan for cycle rides with more daylight and (hopefully) better weather, We have one ride planned for next Sunday (see “Next Ride” tab), but need further suggestions for future rides. More ideas on where to go next would be very welcome. (Jim adds: See the “Rides” tab for oven-ready rides that just need a re-recce. There are many other rides we’ve done before whose details are not yet on that list; if in doubt check previous ride reports and if you like the look of a ride, email me and I may be able to provide the directions if it’s one of mine.).

I hope to set an April date for my Eastbourne to Hastings art gallery ride very soon. Any other ideas for themed cycle rides?

Ride reports

I took part in London Clarion’s 20-mile cycle ride from Bermondsey last Saturday, which took us on a fascinating tour of Camden social housing architecture. Although I’ve extended Dry January to Dry March, I very much enjoyed the Camden Town Brewery social. Cycling across Tower Bridge for the first time was fun too. For photos click here.

The recent Hassocks to Shoreham ride was also enjoyable. See the “Ride Reports” tab for Angela’s ride report, with relevant Strava and Flickr links.

Brighton & Hove Clarion Twitter anniversary

I notice it’s been four years since we started the B&H Clarion Twitter platform in March 2019. We’ve gained 133 followers and posted numerous updates on Clarion rides and campaigning issues during those four years. Although it seems Elon Musk is determined to ruin the company he recently bought, I’ve found Twitter to be a very good way to stay informed with the latest cycling news,

Future events

Friday, 7th April – National Clarion AGM, via Zoom

Sunday, 11th June – Clarion Sunday
Click here for details.

Friday, 14th July – London Clarion’s night ride to Brighton
Click here for details.

That’s probably enough springtime cycle chat for now. Hopefully see some of you on a cycle ride soon.



Next ride: Sunday March 26th

15 March 2023

We are hoping to repeat the Berwick Circular via Laughton on this day. Details will be added when the route has been checked.

Next ride: Hassocks to Shoreham, 12 March 2023

7 March 2023

This ride was last done in October 2017 (click here for ride report). I was not on that ride, but managed to reconstruct it using the notes from the website. However, in the past 5½ years it seems the access to the Downs Link at Stretham Farm has been closed off by a new-looking metal gate; I could not find the “pebbled track” or “damp grassy meadow” mentioned in the notes. Instead we will have to get over a style, which ought to be possible if there are enough of us to lift the bikes over. I think it is still worth doing for the quiet country lanes, particularly through Blackstone. We also pass a place where you can buy alpacas, but I am not sure if they come small enough to fit into a pannier!

Terrain: Very flat, some busy roads, some quiet ones, some bumpy tracks.

Lunch at the Fox, Small Dole.

Distance: 18 miles. Start at Hassocks Station at 10:45.

Getting there: Take the 10:29 London Bridge train from Brighton.


Ride Report: Sunday 26th February 2023: Angmering to Littlehampton

6 March 2023

L-R Angela, Steve, Sikka, Nick, Tessa, Doris.

Jim, Nick, Tessa, Doris, Angela and Sikka emerged from the train and cycled to Angmering village to meet Steve, who was waiting for us on the Green, his second Clarion outing.

Once through the village, we climbed gradually uphill, first along a pleasant and quiet road, then off-road on mostly dry and stony bridleways through conifer woodlands. No hint of the bluebells that will carpet the area in spring, but homely winter brown and above a thick canopy of tall fir trees.

At the top of the hill we joined the Monarch’s Way and enjoyed a splendid and extended downhill run on smooth surfaces, stopping briefly to inspect the red sign marking the spot where the last man was hanged in West Sussex in the 19th century. Thank goodness we no longer condone this institutional murder!

We lost Nick briefly as he dived head first into a bed of snowdrops to get the right angle for a photo, and announced he was comfortable enough there to go to sleep. Daffodils, primroses and celandine growing along the banks of roads were lovely indications of the coming spring.

On the train and over lunch in Arundel at the Edible Sandwich Company’s cafe by the river, there was mention of Seat 61 – a website for the planning of train journeys as various destinations and adventures in Europe were discussed. Holiday homes in France, the potential of travelling in comfort by sleeper etc.

Arriving early for lunch we were seated outside for a while, enveloped in cosy blankets, with menus flying off the tables in the sharp wind, chased by Jim before they had a chance to escape to the river.

Lunch was hot and comforting, followed by cake and hot drinks to sustain us in the cold. We had been lucky to see some sunshine and were surprised as we set off again to cycle through a brief – was it snow? – shower.

Nick and Sikka were experimenting with heat pads that fit inside gloves, advertised as working for up to 11 or 12 hours. These certainly made the experience of riding in the cold a lot more comfortable.

A mostly flat route to Littlehampton followed, arriving in Littlehampton with a wait of 13 minutes for the train. Sikka and Steve chose not to wait but cycled back to Angmering station, taking in views of sea and a wide sky along the way.

Thank you Jim for a lovely winter ride.


Next ride: Angmering to Littlehampton – 26 February 2023

12 February 2023

This is a recently-suggested repeat of a ride that was last done in April 2019. That was bluebell season, but it is a little early for bluebells this time around. Still, there are some lovely woods to cycle or walk through as we gently ascend the Downs on the dip slope side, at a gradient of about 1 in 25 on a fairly hard surface. We then ride westwards to Warningcamp along the Monarch’s Way, then to Arundel and lunch at “Edible Sandwich” by the river (where, hopefully, there won’t be any inedible sandwiches!). We continue southwest, initially through a suburb of Arundel where we encounter the only real hill – one we can walk up – then south to Ford and Climping where we turn eastwards to arrive at Littlehampton station.

Distance: 13 miles.
Start at Angmering station at 10:40.
Getting there: take the 10:00 Southampton train from Brighton. (Get a return to Littlehampton).
Terrain: The path through the woods is initially hard and stony, then tarmacked; there is little chance of serious mud. The short section of A27 that we are obliged to ride has suffered from planning blight for at least 40 years, so there is no cycle lane, but there is a narrow pavement.


News – February 9, 2023

10 February 2023

Hello all

During the month which gave us Dry January, Veganuary and the Big Garden Birdwatch, we managed to organise three Clarion bike rides. An excellent cycling start to 2023!

The most recent ride featured the return of Sean & Jane, after a prolonged absence from Clarionista cycling activities. It was a shame I missed the ride, but it was good to read Jane’s report.

Future rides

It would be good to maintain January’s ride planning momentum, which produced a trio of great rides.

Where would we like to go? I have a route for a south coast art gallery ride I’d like to try out, but we need more daylight for that one. There’s also a Lewes & Kingston ride across the South Downs I’d like to try when the weather is warmer.

More immediately, there are a number of existing rides on the rides list. Any thoughts on which of these rides we would like to try? Are there any routes or areas of particular interest? Let’s share some ride ideas on the Google Group, WhatsApp or Facebook.


I was grateful to Dave for sending me the link to a Guardian article on motonormativity. This is the concept which identifies that many of us have become more accepting of the risks associated with cars on the roads. The normalisation of environmental dangers caused by cars does mean that the meaningful change required to make cycling safer on the roads is less likely to happen.

The motonormativity research certainly feeds into the lively debate we’ve been having on our WhatsApp group about the recent cars v bikes Panorama documentary.

I pretended I knew all about motonormativity in a rambling cars v cyclists piece I submitted to Boots & Spurs recently. More on the motonormativity concept in this Guardian article.

Clarion membership renewal, 2023

There are still a few who have yet to renew their Clarion membership. If you would like to renew your Clarion membership, please send £17 to the bank account below.

BACS payment to: Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club, Co-operative Bank plc.

Sort code. 08-92-99
Account No. 65377325
Reference. Your name

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



Ride report: Burgess Hill to Hassocks, 29 January 2023

29 January 2023

At the Plough. L-R Wendy, Doris, Sean, Tessa, Angela, Jane

Six set out. The weather was nice and mild although a bit overcast.

Sean Tunney, having just paid to have a puncture mended, joined the ride. The start was Burgess Hill and ended Hassocks.

The Plough at Plumpton did a wonderful roast and the pub dog looked jealous.

Chatting on the great shop in Plumpton and the racecourse where big winnings to be had for the lucky.

No hills were encountered. Nick H was missed, and understood to be over the county line in Lindfield. No further information.

An art dimension was anticipated after lunch. Garden sculptures and free veg expected.

Jim used the trip to multi task and clean his clutter by dropping off books at the East Chiltington phone box library.

Sean took the opportunity to slagg off Tory policy of building over the downs.


Jane forwarded this link to a book written by the Plough barman’s father about his experience of being tortured by Pinochet in Chile.

And finally … Seen on the way home:

More photos on Flickr