The Next Ride: Sunday 4 December – Hassocks to Wineham and Back

22 November 2011

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

With the uncertainties of the weather and it getting dark so early, I always stick to really short rides at this time of year. But, as you’ll see, there is a possibility of extending this one a bit if conditions are right and participants want to.

Leave station, crossing road with care and take the usual route towards Hurstpierpoint but turn off along the Hurst Wickham road as far as Hurstpierpoint College. Then we’ll follow the lanes round till we reach the (often busy) A2300 just before the junction with the A23. Once across the bridge we make for Twineham then along Bob Lane till it joins Wineham Lane near our lunch stop the Royal Oak.

Then we return via Wineham Lane and the B2116 via High Cross Albourne, and Hurstpierpoint back to Hassocks station.

That would be a (“mere”) 13 to 14 miles.

The optional extra would be – after leaving the pub – we would take Blackstone Lane through the village and down to the A281 then the loop round Bramlands etc before rejoining the A281 and following that back to Hurstpierpoint turning right back to Hassocks at the traffic island. That would make it 18-19 miles.

Catch the 10.44 from Brighton station or meet at Hassocks station at 10.52 (If you have to get the later (11 am) train ring me and we’ll wait for you). There are a variety of trains for returning – at 14, 38, and 44 minutes past the hour.

My mobile number is 07770743287.


The Last Ride: Sunday 20 November – Glynde to Berwick via Chiddingly and Arlington Reservoir

22 November 2011

[Lots more photos on Flickr]

Some of the group of ten met at Brighton station for the start of Sue’s ride on what turned out to be a beautiful sunny morning in Brighton. Other places such as Hassocks were shrouded in thick mist. Sue, Anne Joyce, Corrine, Mick, Richard and Leon all managed to board the train to Glynde with our bicycles, easily, as there were two coaches with cycle spaces. Even so we were still informed by a guard that if a disabled passenger wanted the space, we would have to make other arrangements, that’s fine we said and off we went to Glynde.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

We were soon aware that we had left the Brighton sunshine behind us. The fields and hills were wet with dew and mainly hidden by thick mist. Arriving at Glynde we met-up with Angela, Helen and Rob who were waiting in the car park. Rob was busy helping Helen with her bike. Both were so involved with their work that they couldn’t stop for the group photo.

Photos by Rob Russell

A few moments later we were all on our way. The first stage was up a short incline over the railway track heading south toward Middle Farm. Only to find we were going up again past rows of flint faced terraced houses that were probably part of the Glynde estate.

Having only covered about two miles we arrived at Middle Farm, where we stopped for a cup of tea and cakes.

Back in the saddle, but this time only for a photo shoot because there were some rather special bike stands at Middle Farm. Anne and Leon just couldn’t resist the inner child when we mounted the Penny-Farthing frames for a photo.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

Heading now into small lanes to join the old coach road behind Firle. The hills were still shrouded in mist, but it was thinning fast. The coach road is a loose surfaced track that is quite pleasant to ride. There are splendid views on either side when visibility is good. Some photos were taken to catch the misty mood of moment when Bo Peep hilltop peeped through the mist.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

Oh I almost forgot; there were some more ups along this road as shown in a photo of Anne disappearing into the mist and Joyce struggling up the next hill. In the distance, can just be seen, the leaders waiting at the top.

The Six Bells at Chiddingly seemed such a long way ahead. Mile after mile of more ups, there were the odd down-hill stretches but they seemed to be fewer than the ups.

Clarion -Glynde to Berwick 014

Along the lanes that were lined with beautiful golden leaved oak trees we suddenly spotted some outcrops of fungi. These some of us stopped to investigate. They were later identified as Lactarius Piperatus (Peppery Milk Cap) that are frequently found growing in groups on the ground in deciduous woodland. The cap size is 10-16 cm diameter. The season, August to November. They are only edible when cooked. (best fried).

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

The sun was now shining on us albeit rather cool and watery when we finally arrived at the Six Bells. Not to the sounds of a jazz band. We were greeted by the thunderous roar of motorcycles that were parked and just being revved to see who could make the most noise. My pleasure, as I have finally matured, is the quiet purr of bicycle tyres on tarmac. I’m glad I’m no longer a youth.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

The lunch was good food enjoyed in the pub garden in warming sunshine at first, but soon becoming cool again be 2.30pm. During the morning Joyce moved among the riders with adept stealth to obtain signatures on a birthday card for Richard. The plot was to obtain (without being noticed) a piece of cake, as it turned out, to be a piece of bread pudding. Joyce had planned this well ahead so she had brought with her a small red candle and a lighter. After waiting for the meals to be finished, Joyce crept behind the group to deliver the cake with candle and the signed card to the unsuspecting Richard. There was a look of shock and surprise on his face, followed by a broad smile when Joyce lit the candle and we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him. This act of sindere friendship among the group was warming and wonderful.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

The return journey to Berwick was even more leisurely than usual. We had time to spare, so we decided to stop a while at the Arlington Reservoir, local nature reserve.

B&H Clarion ride 20-11-2011

There was much talk and dismay of the low water level, my guess is that it was more than 20 feet below the high mark. Non-the-less this is a beautiful place to be, and well worth another visit with possible cycle tour all around it. The last section was a pleasant quiet ride to Berwick station for our train back to Brighton.

Thank you Sue, from me and all the group for making the effort and giving us such a wonderful day out.


Corinne adds:
Here is the info about the cycle ride on Sunday. Go to this link: to see the route.
(Recorded using MotionX-GPS on my iPhone.)

News and Christmas social

22 November 2011

Dear fellow members and friends 

The New Year gets closer all the time with no rides yet apart from our little New Years Day excursion – Any offers for 8 Jan. (or beyond)?

And please let Jenny know about the Christmas Social; I was the only one who’d replied last time I heard from her

Tessa’s Christmas Open House with a wide range of work from other artists as well, of course, as her own ceramics will be open at weekends from 11 to 6 on 27/8 November, 4/5 and 11/12 December.

Congratulations to Fred who has just been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Surrey. (My spies are everywhere!)

If you’re a member of the section/club you should have received an email from me earlier about the date of the 2012 AGM.  If you haven’t please let me know straight away; I try to keep the membership mailing list up-to-date but people can get left off accidentally for several reasons – including that they forget to let me know about changes in their email address.

I’ve missed a lot of rides this year for a variety of reasons.  Some of them have been connected with my book Romancing the Revolution. The Myth of Soviet Democracy and the British Left which – after several delays – is I’m pleased to say now published. If anyone is interested you can find out more from or let me know and I’ll email you a copy of the “sales sheet”.


Clarion Christmas social:  Lunch or afternoon tea at Hove Museum & Art Gallery – Reminder. Do please let her know you’re coming – see end of the message.

Saturday 10 December, 1.30–4.30 pm (but do come along earlier!)

The museum is at 19 New Church Road, Hove BN3 4 AB. Entry is free. The permanent collections are based around ‘Toys, cinema, local history and fine art’ and the special exhibition (also free) on 10 December will be ‘Robot Invasion’ – a vast range of robots and space toys from the collection of Sussex artist and illustrator Chris McEwan. Sounds fun!

On Saturdays the museum is open from 10 am to 4.30 pm. Our booking in the tea room is at 1.30 pm, but I hope people will want to turn up earlier and have a wander about first. Buses to the museum are numbers 1, 1A, 6, 6A, or 49 from Brighton North Street or Churchill Square stops, and Hove station is a short bike ride or a 20-minute walk away.

The tea room offers a range of afternoon teas, from cream tea (£4.50), or cream tea with sandwiches (£7.95), to a sumptuous-sounding three-tier cake stand loaded with cakes and sandwiches at £10 a head. The light lunches include rarebits, omelettes, jacket potatoes and fillings, lamb casserole or veggie options, etc, and should cost no more than about £9.

For more information about the museum go to the website at and select ‘Museums’. Then from the side bar on the left choose Hove Museum & Art Gallery.

The tea room will need some idea of numbers nearer the time, so please contact me as soon as possible this month via the Google group or text me on 07527 119 736 to let me know if you are planning to come.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!


Future rides until the end of 2011 and the first three months of 2012

22 November 2011

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

4 December Wineham (Ian)
18 December Berwick circular (Ian)
1 January 2012 New Year’s Day ride to Carat’s Cafe (Ian)
8 January 2012
22 January 2012
5 February
19 February
4 March
18 March

*Ian definitely not available

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 96. Plans for a Clarion summer camp – Manchester CCC issues its invitations

22 November 2011

In the 1890s with no cinema, radio or TV I suppose many Clarion readers would buy the paper on Friday and then spend much of their free time reading it over the following week. Even so, there was so much in each issue that you would be hard pressed (unless a speed reader) to get through the whole edition. Swiftsure’s “Cycling Notes” were themselves quite extensive – which is why it’s taking a long time to move through 1895 in extracts short enough to include in this newsletter.

We’re still in 17 August 1895 and – following the bit about the “sumptuary laws” in Chicago (see 95 in last issue) Swiftsure turned to events much nearer at home

The following, which I have received from the Secretary of the Manchester Clarion C.C. will be read with interest by numerous members of the Clarion Cycling Clubs throughout the country.

“Let not Bradford Bounders kid themselves on their Kapabilities as Kampers and as for the premier club (Birmingham) let the Rory O’Groomie O and his Kolleagues hide their heads or get their hair cut. We of Manchester are going into camp, on a large scale, in a small field. Our camp will be pitched on August 24th, and stumps drawn September 8th, thus including three weekends. We shall be happy to see members of the Clarion C.Cs from surrounding towns and if that Bradford bugle-blower with his 70 lb crock is capable of crossing the Pennine Range and journeying hither (a man with the strength and will necessary to push 70lbs of scrap iron should be able to accomplish anything) let him cross and we will kill the fatted calf in his honour if the journey does not kill him before his arrival. As for ye Brummagem toffs, an’ ye have a man or men able to ride the distance between your grimy kraal and here, send them. Our ambulance van shall meet them, and bring them into camp. With regard to Liverpool CC, it is rumoured that no such organisation exists. Now, yes Dicky Sams, let us see you at our camp, and by your presence prove the rumour false.

My committee instructed me to invite The Bounder (original) to honour us with his presence; but – er – but – well, you see it is to be a temperance camp, and I should have to lure him into it on false pretences and when he fond out the (to him) awful truth, me fears the tents and purity of the water brook would suffer. Howsumnever, should he come a special fatigue party shall be told off to carry potshurds from the nearest contraption (one mile away) to the camp.

More Next Time – details of the proposed camp

The Next Ride: Sunday 20 November – Glynde to Chiddingly and return via Berwick

8 November 2011

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

From Glynde station we will make our way to Middle Farm, via small roads, a cycle lane and Middle Farm car park, for coffee at the café there.

I am assuming the ground will be dry enough to then cycle up a small lane to join the old coach road behind Firle – off road but a very reasonable surface. Then north down the road from Bo Peep Farm. (This used to be an old coaching inn.)

If the weather has been particularly wet we could possibly miss out the old coach road. But this would shorten the ride considerably and it is the most interesting stretch of the day, with the Downs rising to our right and fields sloping away from us into the distance on our left.

We cross over the A27 and ride along the path for a few metres before turning north to cycle through Selmeston, then on quiet roads we bypass Ripe to join the A2124 for a kilometre before turning off north towards the A22.* This busy road we avoid, crossing it and curving round to Chiddingly and the Six Bells pub.

The pub serves food until 3.30 pm. A traditional jazz band called ‘Assorted Nuts’ is expected to start playing at about 1.20 pm.

After lunch, a short spin down to Berwick station. This is a flattish ride, with a short and well-surfaced off-road stretch. Approximately 20 miles.

*There is a pleasant bridleway through the woods avoiding the A2124 but it is likely to be very muddy so I would only recommend this to the seriously adventurous with mountain bikes!

Train from Brighton Station at 10.20 am. Trains are only once an hour so let’s hope we can all get on! Trains back from Berwick are at 48 minutes past the hour arriving in Brighton at 12 minutes past.

If anyone fancies coming from London there is a train at 9.02 from Victoria, arriving Brighton 10.03 in time to catch the 10.20 train to Glynde.

I will have to book a table at the pub so please let me know if you will be joining us.
Telephone: 01273 697412 or 07787 402 229.


The Last Ride: Sunday 6 November – London Parks Ride

8 November 2011

[Plenty more photos on Flickr]

This was not just a bike ride it was also a whistle-stop tour of many of London’s major tourist attractions. Angelika had left the length of the ride as a “challenge for riders with the gadget”, and when I showed her the final tally of 13½ miles she seemed a little disappointed. Ah, but a quality ride like this one does not need quantity as well!

November 6, 2011: Clarion London parks tour

We did have quantity in one respect – 11 of us gathered at Clapham Junction station for the start of the ride. As well as our resident Londoners Angelika (our leader) and Nick, and our temporary Londoners “Grandad” Roger and “Granny” Suzanne, Sussex was also well represented by Jenny, Rob, Joyce, Leon, Angela and myself; and we welcomed Ninka to her first Clarion ride. Battersea Park was soon reached, and brought back memories of childhood visits for some, although I gather the funfair is no longer there. Emerging from the park we met up with our twelfth rider, Richard, who had caught the train to London and hired a Boris Bike for the day. The sight of Battersea Power Station from Chelsea Bridge triggered a spontaneous Clarion Pop Quiz – on what Pink Floyd album did the power station figure? (Nick had the answer – Animals – and far more supplementary info than you would ever want to know.) And why was the previous album called Atom Heart Mother? Answers on a postcard please … While we waited for Richard to catch up, Joyce told us about her visit to Occupy London at St Paul’s, and the very positive atmosphere she encountered there.

November 6, 2011: Clarion London parks tour

But where was Richard? He was still on the south bank, and it looked like he was having trouble with the bike. Should we call Boris? But no, it turned out that he was helping Roger with a very unusual problem. Roger’s pannier strap had managed to wind itself around the gear cogs on his rear wheel and, after much fruitless tugging, Leon had to cut it off with his knife. We then fished it out with pliers.

3. Cycling Superhighway

We agreed that the association of the name “Boris” with London’s bike hire scheme was just a cheap electioneering trick by an over-privileged, overgrown public schoolboy, and should be resisted; nevertheless we couldn’t help feeling some gratitude to the mayor for the Cycling Superhighways. These are very wide, smooth, bright-blue cycle lanes, and they feel very safe. CS8 took us all the way along the north bank of the river to Westminster, where we admired the Abbey and surrounding buildings; then to our second park, St James’s, past Horse Guards and down a car-free Mall to Buckingham Palace; then Green Park, and into Hyde Park, following the Serpentine where we saw some cormorants (or were they … ?).

9. Cormorants

Over the Serpentine and into Kensington Gardens, past the Palace of the same name and down some narrow lanes to Holland Park. The café here was our lunch stop; some of us sat stoically outside but later regretted this, for there was a chill in the London air. After lunch there was plenty to see – a giant chess set, peacocks, and the Japanese garden with enormous koi carp, not to mention Holland House itself (we didn’t go in) with its intriguing mixture of architectural styles.

16. Elfin Oak

The return journey started off by going back along the same route, with a detour to see the Elfin Oak Tree and all the little elves and creatures. At Hyde Park Corner, however, we made straight for Victoria Station, saying farewell en route to Richard who had to “dock off” – which at first I thought was a term of abuse, before it was explained to me that it is what you do when you return a Boris Bike to its dock.

7. Angela and Roger in Green Park

Angelika has London Bridge in her sights now; apparently the Thames Path is very cycle-friendly on that side of town. So if you were unfortunate enough to miss this marvellous ride, make sure you get the next one in your diary in good time. Thanks to Angelika for a lovely day out.