The Next Ride: Sunday 2 October 2011 – Brighton to Goring

21 September 2011

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

Buses will replace trains on the London/Brighton line between Hassocks and Brighton on the 2nd October 2011, so a coastal ride is planned.

Please group at the Palace Pier from 10.30 am for a 10.45 departure.

We will ride to Ferring via the usual coastal cycleways: Shoreham, Lancing, Worthing and finishing at The Henty Arms, Ferring, where we will have lunch.

I have made a provisional booking for lunch at 13.45 for an anticipated turnout of eight riders. If there are more, a quick phone call will be made to adjust the number.

After lunch we will backtrack down Sea Lane to Goring station to catch the train back to Brighton.

I have planned that the journey to Hentys will take three hours and possibly one-and-a-half hours in the pub. The ride from the pub to Goring station is no more than one-and-a-half miles.

Train times back to Brighton: 05, 22, and 52 minutes past each hour.


The Last Ride: Sunday 18 September 2011 – Hassocks to Brighton via Henfield, Wiston, Steyning and Shoreham

21 September 2011

Eleven riders grouped at Hassocks station for the start of a picnic ride. They were Roger our leader for the ride, Suzanne, Anne and Mick, Tessa, Joyce, Sue P, another Sue (a friend of Tessa), Wilma, Angela and Leon.

B&H Clarion Picnic ride 18-09-2011

The day looked changeable with respect to the clouds drifting gently past allowing some bright and warm sunshine to enrich the beautiful Sussex countryside.

We passed through Hurstpierpoint and Albourne on our way to our first stile of the day at Blackstone. Eleven bikes were lifted over onto a small dirt footpath with nettles and overhanging brambles to test our riding skills. There was another stile when we left the path.

B&H Clarion Picnic ride 18-09-2011

Soon after we were racing along towards Henfield where some of the group needed to spend a penny. ‘Leon, you know Henfield, where are the toilets?’ ‘Just up there near the library’, came the answer. But there was a locked door, so there’s no ‘P’ in Henfield on Sundays.

The One Stop shop wasn’t much better at selling picnic food either. Well you can’t win them all, but in Henfield you can’t win at all.

B&H Clarion Picnic ride 18-09-2011

On we went, speeding down to the river Adur and our picnic place. It was a pleasant spot on the west bank of the river overlooking swans slowly swimming upstream. The sun shone on us and we enjoyed friendly conversation and food. Joyce spoke of an idea she has to organise a trip to Bath next spring to ride the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. This was met with enthusiasm.

B&H Clarion Picnic ride 18-09-2011

Picnic over, we then went up to Spithandle Lane and Wiston where we spent the next hour taking tea and cake. A most pleasant visit.

B&H Clarion Picnic ride 18-09-2011

Time to think of moving on. On leaving the tea-rooms, Tessa and the two Sues left the main group to return home early to keep appointments. The remaining eight started our first climb of the day. Up the first stage of the Chanctonbury Ring hill as far as the Long Barn, where we encountered the first of three or four locked iron gates blocking our progress. Each one needed considerable effort lifting eight bikes over. Then onto another footpath with more stiles to lift bikes over. Never mind the day was still good and we hadn’t had any rain, yet.

B&H Clarion Picnic ride 18-09-2011

No sooner had we entered Steyning than the rain started, slowly at first but increasing to a downpour by the time we reached Coombes. The rain was warm and not too unpleasant. But it was all over by the time we arrived at the Old Toll Bridge. But wait, where’s Mick? Mick was wet and decided to get home fast. This left seven riders to reach the Shoreham-by-sea railway station where Anne and Angela were to get the train back to Brighton. Now there were four of us, Joyce, Suzanne, Roger and Leon.

The sun was shining again and the roads were dry-ish. The lock gates were open; the only open gates all day. On the way along the Basin Road Roger and I tried to clock 28mph, but we were getting tired and could only reach 23mph – this was after 25 miles and umpteen stiles and locked gates to drain our energy! Who said it’s because we’re getting old? We will not be old for another twenty years.

B&H Clarion Picnic ride 18-09-2011

The sun was glorious, shining on the seafront buildings of Brighton, while in the east dark clouds hung in the sky like steel-grey blankets waiting to soak some other cyclists. The next to leave the dwindling group were Roger and Suzanne. Thank you Roger for a splendid ride, despite the gates. I was next to leave when we got to West Street with a ride up to the station. Joyce cycled on alone.

Thank you and goodnight.



21 September 2011

Dear fellow members and friends

It’s Jim here again.

Welcome to the Leon Moore show – our stalwart from Hassocks has provided not only the “Last Ride” report but also the “Next Ride” for this circular, and will complete his act by cycling naked on the roof of Brighton Pavilion …

Please note that the details of the 16th October ride are changing, and Roger will provide full details in the next circular.

As always, offers of rides to fill the one remaining vacant slot will be greatly appreciated. (Thanks to Angelika for what promises to be another wonderful London outing on 6 November; and to Sue for whatever she is going to offer us!)

Future rides until the end of 2011

21 September 2011

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

2 October* Goring (Leon)
16 October Details to be confirmed (Roger)
6 November Central London Parks (Angelika)
20 November Details to be confirmed (Sue P)
4 December
18 December Berwick circular (Ian)

*Ian definitely not available

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 92. Swiftsure reaches London and gets lost

21 September 2011

From “Cycling Notes” Clarion 10 August 1895

Swiftsure’s first day on the road had ended at the CTC recommended Union Hotel in Hinckley – where he had witnessed some shocking general election drunkenness.

With a journey of over a hundred miles before me I left Hinckley at nine o’clock on Sunday morning, and some two hours later, when about ten miles from Northampton, I encountered rain, and till I reached London Bridge at eight o’clock at night, the rain continued its steady downpour.

Well might the cabby who passed me on London Bridge sing out “Ay, this ain’t a day for bicycles.” Nor was it, but Sunday is not a day to find convenient trains and it is certain that so long as one keeps going the wet will do little or no harm to one’s limbs. I have certainly been none the worse off for it.

Leaving London Bridge to find a relative at Lewisham, I lost my way and was an hour and a half getting to a place which was only five miles away. Arriving there at last I was quickly made comfortable and soon felt little the worse for the mud-plug.

Next time – Kent and its “slaves”

The Next Ride: Sunday 18 September – Hassocks to Shoreham with a picnic by the river

13 September 2011

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

This is a ride with style. Well, stiles actually; there are three of them, but they shouldn’t be too much trouble with a bit of team work. We start at Hassocks and head west via Blackstone where we will negotiate our first stile to get onto a pleasant track to Henfield. Here we take West End Lane down to Bineham footbridge over the River Adur. Weather permitting we can sit on the river bank for a picnic.

Spithandle Lane is next, famous amongst Clarionettes for its beautiful woodland, its lack of stiles and its idyllic tea garden at Wiston, where we could stop for a cuppa. Onwards to the Chanctonbury Ring Road – don’t worry, we’re not going right up to the Ring, but there is a short climb and we should get a good view of it from below. Mouse Lane then takes us along the southern boundary of Wiston Park, a private estate. The privacy is carefully protected, which means that we will be forced onto a footpath for a short section with two more stiles to negotiate.
Down into Steyning – look out for the footbridge over the lane on the way, presumably another symptom of the desire for privacy. Then onto familiar territory along Coombes Road and into Shoreham. A relaxing train ride or another six miles on the road will get us back to Brighton.

Note: This is not a circular ride. It starts at Hassocks station and ends at Shoreham station (or Brighton Pier for those who want to cycle further).
Meet: Hassocks station (west side) at 10:25 am.
Trains: 10:00 or 10:14 from Brighton, 09:00 from London Victoria
Distance: About 22 miles plus an optional 6 or so more from Shoreham to Brighton if you want.
Hills: A few short ones, but nothing that can’t be walked up
Off road: Mainly on quiet roads and lanes with some tracks.
Catering: Bring a picnic for lunch by the river; we can stop in Henfield for last minutes purchases. If the weather is poor we can abandon the picnic and sit in the Cat and Canary. Tea at Wiston or Shoreham Airport.
Getting home: Trains leave Shoreham at :09 and :52 for Hove and Brighton, and at :48 for Hove, Clapham Junction and Victoria.

My mobile: 0789 985 1172.


The last ride: Sunday 4 September – Three Bridges circular

13 September 2011

[More photos on Flickr]

Angelika, Jim, Rob, Roger, Sue, Suzanne and Tessa met at Three Bridges. We had a staggered arrival, on trains from Brighton, Clapham Junction, Haywards Heath and Hove. A newspaper stand outside the station announced ‘Ex-Mayor in TV Auction’. At lunch Roger confessed he was tempted to add ‘No Bids Received’.

2. At the Start

The Worth Way is my kind of off-road, a smooth disused railway track. Trees protected us from a misty drizzle. At Rowfant Station (boarded up) we admired the quality of bricklaying in the bricked up door of the ticket office – it was seamless with the rest of the building – a touch of Surrealism, Rene Magritte maybe? I thought. The suburbs of Crawley Down followed, we rejoined the Worth Way, passed a 16th Century manor house [Gullege – Jim] with an interesting star-shaped chimney, too far away to really admire. Suzanne wondered if the advent of the railway so close to them had caused the owners of the manor house to protest in a 19th century version of NIMBYism.

7. Red Riding Hood

At East Grinstead station, the track ended and we headed towards our lunch stop in Lingfield on some delicious long downhill swoops. It started to rain properly as we neared The Star and during lunch we looked out on pouring rain. At lunch Jim asked us if we had noticed a road sign in the village saying ‘Free Will Counselling’, prompting Roger to confess what he nearly did at Three Bridges station. Lunch took a while to arrive, but when it did, was served altogether and was appreciated. No politics today, ‘Slimmers World’ and ‘Freecyle’ were among the subjects discussed. Jim took a photo of my empty plate for the report, another touch of Surrealism?

5. Empty Plate

We decided against visiting the church in Lingfield and headed off into Surrey where after Crowhurst we voted to take the off-road path Jim had discovered on his practice ride. It was not my kind of off-road – bumpy and fringed with massive stinging nettles, but Sue handed out dock leaves at the end.

6. Lingfield

After the Bentley half mile we passed through Blindley Heath and Smallfield, mostly on country lanes but with a short section of A22 in between.

Our tea stop was a very jolly café in Horley where a cup of tea cost only £1. We sat outside as the sun and wind had swept away the rain.

13. Warning - Do Not Drive Horse Drawn Carriages on this Footpath

Soon we were at Gatwick, passing through the delightful Riverside Garden Park, landscaped with ponds and semi-tropical plants – another surreal experience – noise from planes, motorway and trains surrounded the tranquillity, as well as the smell of aviation fuel. The route back to 3 Bridges ran through Gatwick’s concrete jungle, deserted office blocks and boarded up industrial units. We passed Gatwick’s original 1930’s terminal, ‘the Beehive’ and small roads all named after famous scientists and engineers. We stopped for Jim to fix a couple of fake ‘Route 21’ signs to posts, not to mislead, but to clarify the route for those who will follow in our footsteps.

19. Fixing the Notice

At Three Bridges station, all except Angelika took the Brighton train, tired out by a wonderful well-planned day.

Thank you again Jim!