Clarion Bank Holiday Picnic

26 August 2011

Date: Monday 29 August 2011 from 12 noon
Place: Brooklands Park, Worthing (meet by boating-lake kiosk)

[Map here]

Getting there: Option 1 Bike: meet Suzanne at the Palace Pier at 10.30 am for a leisurely ride
Option 2 Train: to East Worthing Station or Lancing Station and walk to park
Option 3 Car: plenty of car parking spaces at park
Meeting time: Noon
Bring: Food and drink to share
Something to sit on
Kids and friends

Attractions: Clarion fun and games (free)
Miniature railway
Rowing boats
Sea bathing 200 yards away (bit seaweedy but free)
Café and toilets
Children’s play area

Queries: Beforehand: Contact Suzanne 01273 321794
On the day: Roger’s mobile: 0789 985 1172

Suzanne


The Next Ride: Sunday 4 September 2011 – Three Bridges circular

24 August 2011

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

Three Bridges – East Grinstead – Lingfield – Crowhurst – Blindley Heath – Smallfield – Horley – Gatwick – Three Bridges

(Please contact me if you are thinking of coming: j.r.grozier@btinternet.com).

The last time we did this ride, in September 2008, Leon reported that it was ‘without doubt the most enjoyable that I have been on’. Everyone else, me included, thought it was a disaster – ankle-deep mud, a herd of scary-looking bullocks, and the leader (that’s me) losing his way! However, that was just Blindley Heath; the rest of it was OK. So I’ve changed the route slightly so we don’t actually go across the heath but round it, and it also has a different ending incorporating the four miles of NCN21 between Gatwick and Three Bridges, which I don’t think we’ve done before, plugging the gap in my ‘Route 21 Trilogy’, of which it therefore becomes Part 2½.

I hope no one has grown tired of the WORTH WAY yet. I certainly haven’t – it’s so flat, quiet, and dapply when the sun is out. If you are, just shut your eyes for the first 8 miles!

LUNCH will once again be at the Star at Lingfield. The menu is slightly more restricted than last time, and pricier, but they do have soup and other ‘starters’ that are affordable, and they have a big garden, though sadly now bereft of small furry animals. I will probably book a table, so let me know if you are coming.

PICNICS. On a couple of rides recently some of us have sat in a pub garden hiding picnic food on our laps. I do not think we should be so coy about this. Owing to the English tradition of not sharing tables with strangers, non-paying customers do not actually take up space that could be occupied by paying customers; so the pub are not losing out as long as some of us buy food (and I definitely will, as I am hopeless at picnics). So bring food if you want to!

After lunch we may have another look at the fourteenth-century St Peter & Paul’s Church at Lingfield, though probably without a guided tour this time around; then there is Crowhurst (Surrey) and the BENTLEY MILE, a straight tree-lined avenue (actually only half a mile long) which originally led to Ardenrun, the country estate of ‘Babe’ Wolf Barnato, a famous and extremely rich 1920s socialite who was also a works Bentley driver and winner of many sportscar and Le Mans races. Ardenrun was razed to the ground overnight by fire, following a ‘magnificent party’.

The Red Barn is a possible alternative lunch venue, but probably even pricier (it’s probably where all the toffs go after they have raced their Bentleys), so I am inclined to stick to the Star.

After skirting round Blindley Heath we make for Smallfield, then pick up Route 21 near Horley and follow it, through the now-familiar RIVERSIDE GARDEN PARK, to Gatwick (with a possible tea stop in Horley en route). Then comes the new bit. OK it’s not all up to the standard of the garden park, but some of it is interesting – including the BEEHIVE, the airport’s original 1936 terminal building, now used as offices. It is in the centre of a new industrial/office complex known as CITY PLACE, which I found quite eerily quiet on the practice ride and will no doubt be more so on a Sunday.

Finally to Three Bridges via a maze of on-pavement and off-road cycle paths, and there will, I am afraid, be further ceremonial erections of Clarion NCN21 signs to replace the ones Sustrans didn’t quite get round to installing. (Thanks to which my journey from Gatwick to Three Bridges on the practice was 8 miles long instead of 4!) We can also amuse ourselves by counting the number of roads in that area that are named after famous scientists and engineers, of which there seem to be many.

Length: 27 miles (23 miles if returning from Gatwick).
Duration: about 6 hours including lunch and tea stops.
Terrain: Mostly country lanes; three off-road sections of which one (Worth Way) is Sustrans standard and the other two can be avoided if wet.

Meet at Three Bridges Station (by the bike racks) at 10:50 am. Suitable trains are: 10:00 or 10:15 from Brighton; 9:51 from Hove; 9:22 from Lewes; 10:02 from London Victoria; 10:14 from London Bridge.

Jim (mobile 07742 963239)


The Last Ride: Sunday 21 August – Chichester Harbour with Picnic

24 August 2011

[More photos on Flickr]

Ian was unfortunately unable to lead the ride after all, having suffered ‘bike problems’ at the last minute (see below). So Roger kindly took on the lead and managed to guide us round the delightful route that Ian had designed, only once consulting the map and being heard to say, ‘I think I know the way’!

DSCF2006

On the train were Roger, Suzanne, Rob, Wilma and Joyce. Leon drove to join us with his recently acquired pale-blue Brompton folding bike, and Terry and Sue awaited the others at the café by the canal. So altogether we were eight.

The weather kept fine, alternating cloud and sun, and generally very warm. We cycled along the first section of the Chichester canal, along a main road and then on a track between the lakes and through North Mundham. We followed Sustrans Route 88 which I enjoyed very much as it involved extending an old familiar trail, making further paths available to cyclists. So exciting to explore new byways.

"I think I know the way"

We reached Pagham harbour in record time (by 12.30) and as no one was hungry enough to stop for lunch we decided to continue to West Itchenor. There was a bit of a moment when waiting for Roger to do a recce, getting so involved in discussion about the riots and the appropriateness (or otherwise) of punishments handed out, that only Terry noticed Roger return and signal us onwards. So there was a general dispersal, with Leon and Joyce reluctant to leave the spot until sure that they weren’t leaving Roger behind. All sorted by a phone call (modern technology definitely has its moments) and eventually reunited.

So we arrived at West Itchenor rather hungry and found benches and a small concrete platform to sit and have our picnic overlooking the harbour. Sailing boats and launches as well as canoes were busy moving up and down and across the narrow waterway as we followed the progress of the tiny ferry. Rob had been pumping up his tyre regularly all morning. Now while we all ate lunch, Rob mended his puncture having found shards of flint wedged into his tyre.

Leaving Itchenor over the water.

Getting on the ferry was a slow process as it was extremely busy. So we had to await its second return when the boatman managed to carry and store 7 bicycles and Leon’s folded Brompton on his tiny vessel. Roger’s bike had to be held on for the brief journey over to the ‘far shore’ (about 300 yards actually). Wilma had not been here before and appeared astonished at the lack of pontoon or jetty as the boat crunched up the pebbles to unload us via a ‘gang plank’. Very wobbly experience for most of us and almost disastrous for Leon who unbalanced as he stood on the plank and, unwilling to let go of folding bike in one hand, or bag in the other, jumped off into the water, saving these precious items but soaking his socks and shoes. Nothing daunted.

Sue and Terry on the Legionary Trail.

On the way along the road to Bosham, Leon and Terry sought a place to have a swim but found the beaches all mud and grass. No way of reaching clear water without returning covered in mud! So we all ended up in the café at Bosham for a very welcome cup of tea and snack.

Post 202 on Emperor Way, Chichester.

Roger managed to steer us up to the main road and off onto a safer cycle track which took us all safely back to Chichester. Thank you Ian and Roger for a very enjoyable day out.

Sue

‘Things Fall Apart’

It’s Saturday evening, between six and seven. I’ve been frantically busy for weeks and haven’t been on a Clarion ride for ages. But now I’m back (more or less) to normal and looking forward to leading the way on one of my favourite rides – the Chichester harbour one with the celebrated ferry.

On and off all day I’ve been making preparations. I’ve checked the bike, and pump, spare tube, tool kit (including steel tyre levers as John rightly recommends), puncture outfit, and made sure the tyres are properly inflated, reminded myself of the route details with the OS Explorer map, made my sandwiches and bought a box of mixed olives from our local Turkish shop on Lewes Road to hand round during the picnic.

Suddenly. And terrifyingly as well as perplexingly there’s an explosive bang – sounds for all the world like a gunshot. Sue almost jumps out of her skin – I think I’ve already left mine behind. What can it be? Turns out it’s my back tyre. Never known anything like that happen before. Unbelievable. Tyre was blown up hard, of course, but no more than usual.

Well, initial shock over, I start to think, ‘If it was going to happen, good job it happened now rather than on the ride. I’d have been stranded,’ Sue says, ‘Might have been even worse if it had exploded while you were driving to Chichester with the bike in the back – could have caused an accident.’ Too true.

OK. Not the end of the world. Back wheel punctures always a bit more of a bind than front wheel ones where the wheel can be got out and back in a second or two – but straightforward. So I set about it.

I’ve seen inner tubes with tiny holes and larger punctures but never one where about five or six inches of the tube has just been ripped apart. Wow! No wonder it made such a noise. Some defect in the inner tube. I put in a new tube – then calamity. Something wrong with the wheel itself – can’t get it back in – struggle with it, with Sue’s help after a bit, for nearly an hour but no go. No bike shops open at 7 pm on Saturday evening. Obviously can’t do the ride tomorrow. But what to do?

Will send out an emergency circular saying what has happened and drive to Chichester in the morning so that I can explain to anyone who does turn up there and if they want to continue give a quick tutorial on the route. That’s plan B.

Plan A is to find someone else to lead it now. Know Jim’s otherwise engaged from the email he’s sent me. Roger to the rescue! What a relief! Eternal gratitude.

Ian


Tolpuddle Festival 2011

24 August 2011

I volunteered to help again this year. This works out to quite a good deal if you consider for 3 hours work a day you get food vouchers worth £7 a day, plus free camping/ parking and a good quality ‘Crew’ t-shirt to show off to your friends!

There was a record crowd and the camping field was full to capacity. The weather was generally fine, and the rain did not dampen spirits. There is always a great atmosphere of comradeship which recharges your batteries. This is certainly very welcome given the current fight back against the cuts!

The Clarion contingency from Bolton did not turn up this year Ian, so I was unable to pass on your greetings to Charles Jepson.

I got allocated car park duty, and managed to miss the Banner parade, but went to quite a few events: Peter Hain talking about his new book on Nelson Mandela and the speeches by union representatives on Sunday.

Tony Benn got a standing ovation when he took to the stage. He said, ‘We don’t want to be controlled by a handful of people who have all the wealth. This year will be recorded as a year when people realised they need each other if they are going to make a difference.’

All in all a good and inspiring weekend that I would recommend to all Clarion members.

Allen


Bike fixing – a report

24 August 2011

John's Bicycle maintenance session #2

The turnout for the second bike fixing session was as disappointing as the first – only John, Tessa and myself, plus a brief cameo appearance from Joyce and Leon (who had attended the first session) who popped by on their way to a ride.

This was a pity because John had prepared very thoroughly, giving us handouts on how to identify wheel and tyre sizes, and bringing along a collection of inner tubes with holes in them, for us to practise puncture repairs. He showed us how to release and re-connect brakes, and how to adjust them, how to remove wheels and get tyres off, and finally how to repair a puncture. He was very methodical and patient, insisting that we (that is, mainly Tessa, as I was OK with puncture repairs and had come along mainly for advice on my gears) try out each stage of the process until we could do it.

I think this kind of ‘skill-sharing’ is a wonderful idea, particularly at times when the state of the economy may rule out going to the repair shop, and is to be encouraged. I even wondered whether it could be extended to such things as electrics and plumbing, where I could offer some guidance myself. I hope John can be persuaded to run another session, but understandably he would need to be sure that a sufficient number of people would turn up.

Jim

[More photos on Flickr]


News and Bank Holiday Picnic

24 August 2011

Dear fellow members and friends 

I shall be away for the next few weeks and Jim will be putting out the next couple of newsletters. So if you have anything you’d like included please send it to him at  j.r.grozier@btinternet.com

There have been some changes in the ride schedule (see below) and we still have no volunteer(s) to lead a ride on 2 October. I’ve indicated for a long time that I’m not available then and Jim will be away, and Roger can’t do it either so unless someone else can take it on there will be no ride at all.

Less urgently, more volunteers are needed for November/December rides.

This ‘bumper’ edition includes Jim on Bike Fixing and Allen on the Tolpuddle Festival.

Clarion Bank Holiday Picnic – message from Suzanne

Suzanne’s original had an arrow which pointed to the location of Brooklands Park. For some reason I haven’t been able to copy it. So, just to be clear, the place to head for is marked with a little shield just below Western Road and just above the first A259 sign from the left.

[Map here]

Date: Monday 29 August 2011 from 12 noon
Place: Brooklands Park, Worthing (meet by boating-lake kiosk)
Getting there: Option 1 Bike: meet Suzanne at the Palace Pier at 10.30 am for a leisurely ride
Option 2 Train: to East Worthing Station or Lancing Station and walk to park
Option 3 Car: plenty of car parking spaces at park
Meeting time: Noon
Bring: Food and drink to share
Something to sit on
Kids and friends

Attractions: Clarion fun and games (free)
Miniature railway
Rowing boats
Sea bathing 200 yards away (bit seaweedy but free)
Café and toilets
Children’s play area

Queries: Beforehand: Contact Suzanne 01273 321794
On the day: Roger’s mobile: 0789 985 1172


Future rides until the end of 2011

24 August 2011

Still looking for an offer to lead the 2 October ride.

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

4 September* Three Bridges circular (Jim)
18 September* Hassocks to Shoreham, with a picnic by the river (Roger)
4 October*
16 October  Hayling Island (Roger)
6 November
20 November
4 December
18 December Berwick circular (Ian)

*Ian definitely not available