The Next Ride: Sunday 12 June 2011 – Barnham Circular

31 May 2011

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.

Sunday 12 June 2011
Barnham Circular via Littlehampton and Arundel

This ride will provide the answer to one of cycling’s great mysteries: how do you get from Myddleton-on-sea to Littlehampton without using the main road? The answer is, walk along the beach. Read on…

We meet at Barnham station and ride to the coast on an excellent cycle track, which takes us over Lydsey Rife and into Flansham. We’ve used this track before, but the good quality surface has been extended over the whole route since our last visit, making it an even nicer ride.

Lovers of lanes can drool over Stanover, Hoe, Flansham, Worms and Ancton, which will get us through Myddleton and onto the beach. Once we hit the serious pebbles, walking for half a mile or so is the only option.

We can re-mount once we reach Climping beach, where we will take a short detour to view the strange collection of ancient (or pastiche?) buildings which make up the Bailiff’s Court Hotel. Then via Bread, Brookpits and Crookthorn Lanes to the bridge over the Arun at Littlehampton.

Here we find a welcome sight, the Arun View Hotel for lunch. There’s a wide menu but don’t indulge too much, there are a couple of hills to come and a possible cake stop by the river at Arundel.

We head north from Littlehampton, using some handy back alleys to avoid the traffic. As we cross the A259 on the Wick roundabout, look out for the Body Shop depot on the left. Then through Lyminster where we make a slightly awkward right turn off the main road onto a track; watch out for traffic!

The track provides a traffic-free route to Poling, a fairly isolated village where smart 20th century houses rub shoulders with an older agricultural heritage. Next we cross the A27 again, watch out for traffic. Blakehurst Lane takes us through some beautiful woodland and then we start a fairly gentle climb. Just when you’re beginning to wish it would end, it does: the road turns sharp left and we roll down through Warningcamp towards the river. Look out for a fine view of Arundel Castle.

A half mile amidst the traffic on the A27 gets us into Arundel itself. Note the catholic Cathedral as we meander through the back streets towards the western exit from the town.

Now for the one serious hill on this ride: it takes us through a housing estate. I recommend walking. Then we are into woodland and open country again as we roll down through Ford to Barnham, adding Ford, Maypole and Lake to the lanes collection as we go.

Numbers: Please let me know by 12 noon on Saturday 11 June if you want lunch at the pub (see below)!
Start: Barnham station at 11:35
Getting there: 10:12 or 10:48 trains from Brighton (leaving Hove at 10:22 or 10:52). There’s also a faster 10:19 from Hove. Barnham has a station car park.
Distance: 22 miles (approx.)
Off road: Some traffic free tracks, most with pretty good surfaces; a walk along the pebbly beach
Hills: Two shortish hills, one gentle, one walkable.
Getting back: Trains to Brighton at :02, :22 (change at Hove) and :32 all calling at Hove.
Catering: Lunch at the Arun View Hotel, Littlehampton ( and possibly tea in Arundel.
My mobile: 0789 985 1172.


The last ride: Sunday 29 May 2011 – Shermanbury

31 May 2011

[More photos on Flickr]

The first “BOOTS” greeting of the day was called out as I approached Ian on Station Approach West, Hassocks railway station at 10.48am. Amanda was waiting at the station entrance, we both greeted her with “welcome, it’s good to see you.” Rob appeared from behind us: BOOTS again. Within a few moments the Brighton to London train pulled in with Suzanne, Roger, and Angelika on-board. Jim had told Ian that he would be on the 11.10am train because he started his journey at Preston Park.  Now we were eight bright and happy Clarionettes eager to get underway, but first the photo, Leon took the photo.

Hassocks station 29 May 2011

The sky was looking a little unsettled and the wind was a fair southwesterly, not warm, but not cold either. We set off up to Stonepound and Hurstpierpoint with the wind in our faces.

At each and every turn we were treated to a slightly different wind strength but nothing to make things too difficult. The roads were slightly more busy than usual but we all powered on at our normal pace. When we reached the A281 Shoreham road, north of Henfield I broke away from the group to back-track down Wheatsheaf Road to Wineham Lane and up to Frylands Lane to rejoin the group as they came out of an off-road section that I chose not to ride due to my thumb injury.

Track between Shermanbury and Frylands lane Wineham.

Heading along Frylands Lane there were black Damselflies performing a fairy-like dance in the breeze, true perfection in motion. Left into Wineham Lane and a moment later we were at the Royal Oak where we were to have lunch. The weather was cool enough to add another layer. We were told that ‘there was a large party that was being attended to and that we would need to wait a while before we could order’ but we did get our drinks in quickly enough. Angelika sorted out the menu and we all paid her our share, this worked well and we were served with good food in quick time. It’s difficult to keep an ear in every conversation so much is missed out here. Jim’s bike problem did get raised and some tools were produced to strip his bike there and then but Jim was not very happy to allow this to happen; I wonder why?  Some photos were taken and a video or two but Angelika couldn’t remember how to play her camera’s videos so we couldn’t see them.

Lunch stop at the Royal Oak, Wineham.

Time to set out on our return journey, Wineham Lane into Bob Lane and this was so pleasant without motor traffic. The sun was now breaking through and the wind was following us home. Albourne and Hurstpierpoint with just tiny hills to climb before reaching Hassocks again. The total distance was recorded as 20 miles.

We all extend our thanks to Ian for planning this ride, thanks Ian.


Ride report: Wednesday 25 May – Mid-week Ride to Goring

31 May 2011

Leon’s Report

Brookadice. Bikes by the sea.

Leon and Mark met at the Palace Pier, Brighton for the start of a picnic ride to Goring by sea. As there were no other members able to ride with us today we set off a few minutes before the official start time. Meeting up with Ian “BOOTS and SPURS” on the cycle track near the west pier; he was returning from brunch at Carat’s cafe. It was so good to see him after such a long time. Afterwards continuing our journey to Goring. The lock gates at Shoreham harbour were closed and we waited about five minutes to cross the locks. Through the back streets of Shoreham to the drawbridge and to a nice little shop to pick up a pastie for my picnic, Mark had a can of coke to supply a caffeine kick. While we were there we met a chap who had cycled down from Hayward’s Heath just because he loves his bike, what better reason? Back in the saddle we soon arrived in Worthing and not much later into the grassy meadows of Goring by sea. We ate our lunch and chatted about all sorts of things. I made a stone heap, only a small one as the stone kept falling down. We met elderly folk who stopped for a while to chat about everything, that was nice. When we were getting ready to leave for home Mark’s bike fell over, tipping his sunglasses into the grass. A few hundred metres along the cycleway Mark missed his sunglasses and returned to find them, the stone heap marked the spot, now that’s forward planning.

Aneap of stones

Our return journey was very pleasant and without incident. We arrived back at the Palace Pier at 3pm. Ride over, let’s look forward to another.  Thank you Mark for making this short trip another mid-week winner. Total distance 32 miles.


And Mark’s report

I met Leon at Brighton pier at about 10.30, ahead of a start time of 10.45.  The first thing I noticed was that Leon had his 1950 Carpenter bike out for the ride, and what a beauty it is!   He got lots of admiring glances as we zipped along our way, and was stopped near Ferring by a passer-by to discuss the bike.  The second thing I noticed was that he had a yellow Clarion top on with his name embroidered on it; turns out he had made this himself… personally. I think a B&H Clarion T-shirt would sell well (maybe we can use the kitty money to get a stock of them?… then replenish as people purchase them… just a thought).  This was my first insight of the day into Leon’s many talents, which include taking pictures from flying kites, canoeing, rebuilding bikes, to name but a few.

Leon informed me that there were only the two of us on the ride, as various regulars were gallivanting across the UK and France, and so without further ado we set off along the seafront.  We had barely gone a mile when we saw Ian coming along in the opposite direction.  It was great to see Ian as we haven’t seen him for a while on Clarion rides and we had a nice chat (although I nearly caused an accident by forgetting I was on the seafront cycle lane and drifting into other bikes’ paths).  He was full of energy as usual, and even chastised us for having left the start point before the official time (I blame Leon myself!), and he was quite right.

We travelled without event to Shoreham, getting turned off our bikes at the lock and in Shoreham due to road works. In Shoreham, over the bridge, Leon purchased his lunch pasty and we chatted to a guy from Haywards Heath who rides every day to Shoreham for a cup of tea…  We crossed the wooden bridge and journeyed towards Worthing, clipping along at a fairly sedate rate.  Leon informed me that his bike, which has a freewheel but only one gear, was in his opinion too lowly geared, and whenever he gets up to 12mph or so, he can’t go any faster as his legs go round too quick otherwise.  Personally I found this feature quite a plus, having already put 15 miles on the odometer pre-ride over Devil’s Dyke as part of my L2P training.  Also I think he actually had the gear right, as you (normally) need a climbing gear.

Mark and Leon's bikes at Goring by Sea, West Sussex..

We lunched on the seafront at Ferring, which I thought at the time was before Goring, but I think may actually be past it.  Leon, for no apparent reason built a stone tower which we both agreed to say didn’t fall down and was larger than it actually was. He took photos of this, and our bikes by the sea for a Flickr page he contributes to. We also had a long conversation with a pleasant older couple who were good fun, but seemed to think disaster lurked round every corner.  At one point the guy said a big storm was coming from Brighton direction, which sounded ominous. Actually the weather was beautiful and sunny.

We got back to Brighton pier at about 3pm, having covered 32 miles at probably an average of 11-12mph.  It was longer than the average Clarion ride, but flat as a pancake, so very easy going.  It was sunny throughout – I now am lobster-coloured having failed to apply any pre-match sunscreen.  It was also thoroughly enjoyable.  Leon and I chatted throughout the ride, riding alongside each other for long parts of the way.  Leon and I are now the only Clarion members to have ridden all the mid-week rides, and they have all been great.

We were both happy with the ride, Leon being proud that his bike had held up very well, and I managed to record my first 50 mile trip of the summer, albeit having to ride round the block twice when I got home to bring up the last mile.

Thank you Leon!



31 May 2011

Dear fellow members and friends 

I’ll still be away the day after the next (Roger’s) ride – or at least on the way home so the next edition of this newsletter may be a day or two later than usual. Thanks to Tessa, I already have the details of her ride so that’s one major ingredient taken care of.

We don’t go in for records much – but we now have one in relation to last week’s midweek ride.  As Mark so aptly, not to say eloquently, puts it “the ride was THAT good that every rider on it wrote it up!!..

We’ve had some pretty good turnouts for some of our rides so far this year; the only downside of which is fitting everyone in the pub/café and – especially – on the train.  That such things were there from the start of Clarion cycling is illustrated by this issue’s extract from 1895.


Future Rides until the end of 2011

31 May 2011

Since no one has asked for 21August I’ve put myself in for the Chichester Harbour  (with Itchenor ferry) ride. Always nice to fit that one in.  Likewise for the final ride of the year – weather permitting, which wasn’t the case last year.  It’s a fairly short, mainly flat ride with lunch at a pub with a decent fire and the possibility of a cuppa (or another pint) in the Berwick Inn while waiting for the train back All of which seems just right for that point in the year . Roger has volunteered for 4 September.

Which leaves – can you believe – only six slots not spoken for between now and the end of the year.  Can we have some offers for the second September date and the first one in October?

It is not possible to check train availability more than 12 weeks in advance so later rides will be provisional for this reason.

12 June Littlehampton circular via Arundel (Roger)
26 June Herstmonceux and Wartling (Tessa)
10 July Palace Pier to Berwick (Ann and Mick)
24 July* Plumpton circular (Jenny)
7 August  TBC (Jim)
21 August  Chichester Harbour -picnic and ferry (Ian)
4 September*  TBC (Roger)
18 September*
4 October*
16 October
6 November
20 November
4 December
18 December  Berwick circular (Ian)

*Ian definitely not available

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 85. Problems of accommodating numbers on club runs

31 May 2011

From 20 July 1895 “Cycling Notes”

Many club runs nowadays also assume such large proportions that it frequently happens to reach numbers that cannot be accommodated in one place.

This happened only lately to the Manchester Clarion C.C. and it certainly gave much dissatisfaction.

There have been many suggestions for remedying this unpleasantness, but up to now I know of none which has the merit of being feasible.

It isn’t likely, for instance, that the proposal to take their own victuals along with them could meet the desires of many.

The proposal, also, for producing a club tent and cooking utensils, and sending them along with victuals in advance to the nearest station, cannot be said to be practical. In the first place, permission would have to be obtained from some landlord before it could be erected; and further, the chance of wet or unfortunate weather would make it next to impossible to successfully cater for the members.

Next time – The exploits of Mrs Walsh and Swiftsure’s thoughts thereon.

Mid-week ride: 25 May 2011 – Brighton to Goring

24 May 2011

Leon writes: Do you fancy a Wednesday ride? I’ve offered and done Tuesday and Thursday both starting at Hassocks. I am offering an east to west and return to Brighton ride for Wednesday 25 May. Starting at the Palace pier at 10.45am and having a picnic on the grass or beach at Goring. The ride is mainly on the coast cycleway, diverting only at Shoreham for a short while. The weather looks set for a fine day with 12mph winds from the southeast.

I hope you can join me.

The next ride: Sunday 29 May 2011 – Shermanbury – only 19 miles

17 May 2011

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.

This is the one intended for last October when I had to make a last-minute change because of the non-availability of trains to and from Hassocks.

We leave Hassocks station and follow the road to Hurstpierpoint, where we turn south once over the A23 and follow the old London road down as far as Shaves Wood where we take the road up to High Cross. The last bit into Shermanbury involves a short stretch of busy main road, then we take the bridleway through Shermanbury, emerge onto a lane near Wineham and make our way to the Royal Oak for lunch.

Then it’s Bobs Lane – but in the opposite direction from the way we typically ride it, Twineham and down to High Cross, then Albourne and retrace our route back to the station.
As Roger wrote recently, it always seems to be sunny when we go to the Royal Oak (fingers crossed) and there are plenty of outside tables – so I’m not going to try “booking” this time.


Meet: Hassocks station at 10.53.
Getting there: Catch the 10.45 from Brighton station. That’s the train I’m working to – there is an earlier one at 10.15 which arrives at 10.23 – but the best plan in case of train problems might be to get the 11.00 (arrives 11.10) having sent a message with others or given me a ring – mobile number below – I will make sure to switch it on!
Distance: 19 miles.
Off road: Just the bridleway at Shermanbury – shouldn’t be a problem.
Hills: Not many and only little ones.
Catering: Lunch at the Royal Oak. But if anyone prefers to bring sandwiches etc it should be possible to picnic nearby. Possibility of tea at the Hassocks station pub (or a diversion to Washbrooks Farm).
Getting back: Trains at 03, 33 and 43 minutes past the hour.

My mobile: 0789 985 1172


The last ride: Sunday 15 May – NCN21 Gatwick to East Croydon

17 May 2011

[Many more photos on Flickr]

Eleven Clarionistas converged from all points (well London, Lewes and Brighton) to the very “unbike” atmosphere of Gatwick airport: Angela, Eogain, Helen, Jim, Joyce, Nick, Rob, Roger, Sean, Sikka, Suzanne. After welcoming our two new recruits, Eogain and Rob, we posed for our usual photo in front of a “No Access” sign, which we ignored because it was actually NOT no access, but in fact the way out … (our first example of independent thinking!).

01 At the Airport

We were very soon in the different world of the Gatwick Country Park, amidst the riot of greenery and the lake covered in water lilies. This was in fact a preview of the whole ride where the richness of nature in an area of which, I for one, knew nothing was a complete revelation. Who could guess that a ride between Gatwick and East Croydon (hardly propitious starting points) could be so beautiful and so richly green and varied?

03 Fixing the Sign

Onwards along the NCN 21, except when the sign was wrong (our second moment of independent thinking …). Jim had picked up a mistake on his recce ride, so instead of going right we carried straight on but not until, in a commendable act of public responsibility, he had put up the new professional-looking sticker he had made. He also undertook to contact the Local Authority to inform them.

02 Modified Sign

We then sailed on through what was to characterise this ride: a varied mix of quiet roads, cycle lanes, good bridleways, stony bumpy routes, nature reserves and woodland, and, whatever Jim said, some hills … On route, and once again not conforming when we eschewed the (correct) NCN21 sign to turn left because, as informed by Jim, part had been surfaced with fragments of tile and glass! But we soon picked it up. As we rode on we passed the new housing estate built on the site of the former Parcels Concentration Depot (a site of nostalgic memories for Jim).

After about 8 miles we came to our second nature reserve “the Moors”. Amazing vistas, large expanses of water and a sensation of being totally remote from any urban area. It was here we saw a cormorant – there was some debate as to whether it was in fact a shag, but I settle confidently for cormorant after checking. It was standing on a pole, totally still, with its wings held out to dry and I hope there is a good photo, it was magic. And all this it seems is formed from an old quarry – uplifting to see how nature can re-establish itself.

05 Cormorant or Shag

After more lovely quiet paths we finally came to Inn on the Pond for what everyone now needed – lunch. I couldn’t help thinking we were rather downmarket compared to the usual Sunday clientele of this establishment, particularly when we were shown to our table and noted the napkins and the wine glasses (no hope for baked potato here!). Our first discussion was about their intention to take orders at the table and not allow us to go and order our own food from the bar. But it ended to the satisfaction of everyone when they undertook to separate the bill so that everyone’s order would be clear and we would not have the dreadful calculations as to who had what, and it did work! And the food, expensive though it was, was very good, although the hour that Jim had foreseen for lunch turned into nearer two hours.

Nevertheless it did prompt the perennial discussion about picnics. I am well known as a picnic fan. Although of course the pub in winter is a welcome sight and I am very happy to follow the general wish. But now that the summer is coming maybe we should think a bit about the option of a picnic, perhaps combining the two when possible. Maybe this is a discussion for the Google forum …

09 The Ascent

After lunch we soon discovered that the break was a prelude to our greatest challenge on the ride. Although we did reach that before our next pleasure: the Spynes Mere Nature Reserve (yes another one), this time an ex sand quarry. Then on through green lanes, bridleways (some very bumpy) to the ascent to the North Downs – up the hill that Jim had said was the “only hill on the ride” Ha! But this one was indeed of a different nature to the ones we had already experienced. Steep, very stony and long! Most of us after a desultory attempt gave up and walked, but Eogain, Rob and Roger heroically stayed on. It was all worth it of course because the view was indeed magnificent.

10 At Caterham Viewpoint

Then the run down to Caterham station where we said goodbye to Nick and Eogain who had commitments to meet. The rest of us pressed on – little realising (well me anyway) the seeming endlessness of Croydon suburbs, and there were hills here too! This was Jim’s van territory in his previous job, so it was very familiar to him, otherwise I don’t think we would ever have found our way out. After ambling through the Croydon suburbs, by now weary, I think I can speak for many if not all the others when I say that in all the years I have passed through East Croydon station I have never seen it with such relief.

11 The View

What a ride – we must have ridden just about every form of surface, seen an enormous variety of environment, it felt like a dozen rides in one; and although it was only 27 miles on my clock it most certainly felt like more to me and I don’t doubt for some others. A full and rich ride – thanks Jim.


Mid-week ride report: Tuesday 11 May – Hassocks to Shoreham

17 May 2011

Mid-weeker no. 2 – Tuesday 11 May

Midweek ride 10 May 2011

A sunny Tuesday morning (11 May) and seven riders left Hassocks station at 10:30am: Jenny, Joyce, Leon (in the lead), Mark, Richard, Rob and Roger. We headed west through Hurstpierpoint and Parsons Green to the Fountain Inn at Ashhurst. After enjoying a relaxed early lunch in the garden, we continued through Steyning and Shoreham for a final wind-assisted high-speed dash along the coast to Brighton, with a stop for tea and cakes at Carat’s Café.

Midweek ride 10 May 2011

It was a 27-mile ride at an average speed of just over 10 mph; several people added miles at either end. There were a few ups and downs but the only serious climb was at Botolphs, with Jenny first over the top. Some of us were training for challenges such as London to Paris (Mark), the Loire Valley (Joyce), and London to Brighton overnight (Jenny). Others just came along for the ride.

And very enjoyable it was – many thanks Leon!