Future Rides

30 January 2012

Jim writes: If anyone would like to lead a ride but is stuck for ideas, do have a look at the rides listed on my website at http://www.hep.ucl.ac.uk/~jgrozier/cycling.html. They are all rides we have done in the past, and some have been repeated quite recently, but there are others that have not been done for a while. If you want to lead one of these, you will find full
directions on the site but you will need to do a practice ride just to make sure they are still up to date, pubs still open, etc etc. I just don’t have the time at the moment to do any more practice rides other than those I’m committed to. [The link has also been added to the Links section in the right-hand column]

AGM 2012

23 January 2012

Clarion Cycling Club Brighton and Hove Section AGM 2012

Monday 30 January 2012 at 8 pm at 39 Regency Square, Brighton


1. Apologies for absence

2. Minutes of 2011 AGM

3. Any matters arising not covered by other agenda items.

4. Webmaster’s Report for 2011 (Fred)

5. Treasurer’s report – Financial statement for 2011 (Jim)

6. Secretary’s Annual Report 2011 (Ian)

7. Any other officers’ reports.

8. Amendment to Constitution. Motion from Secretary – Substitute “Campaigns Organiser” for “Cycle Forum representative “. [I hope we can discuss not only whether we want a Campaigns Organiser, but also what might be involved in such a the role. It might also make sense, if the meeting agrees, to have the election for this role at this point in the agenda rather than in the normal sequence.]

9. Election of Officers
– Chair
Vice Chair
Social Secretary
Racing Secretary
Campaigns Organiser

10. Annual Conference Business (see forwarded documents from Ian Clarke)
Nominations (see especially Ian C’s note re: national treasurer) and claims
Provisional Motions from national committee
Any motions or amendments from our section

11. Proposals for activities in 2012 – including social events

12. A.O.B

Ian Bullock, Secretary.

The Next Ride: Sunday 5 February 2012 – A winter wander through Worthing

23 January 2012

[Cancelled due to predicted snow]

We will wander west from Worthing central station through quiet residential streets. Those who are interested in such things can watch the progressive changes in domestic architecture, which reveal the development of the town over the last 100 years or so. But the time line seems to reverse as we leave Worthing proper, and then it loses all rhyme and reason.

We finally reach the end of the suburban sprawl at Ferring where we will cruise down Sea Lane to the beach. Or, depending on time and inclination, we could take a footpath along Ferring Rife for coffee at the Bluebird café.

The ride back to central Worthing will be along the seafront, including the now legal cycle path on the promenade from West Worthing to the pier. Lunch will be at the Denton by the pier. Then a short ride through the town centre to the station for those whose choice is the train home. Keenies can carry on cycling along the coast to Shoreham, Hove and Brighton.

Meet: Worthing central station at 10:15am.
Getting there: 9:50 train from Brighton (9:54 from Hove). Worthing station car park is in Southcourt Road, on the north side of the line, and the fee on Sunday is £1.
Distance: About 15 miles plus an optional 12 or so more from Worthing to Brighton if you want (but lights may be needed).
Hills: None.
Off road: Mainly on quiet, suburban roads with a short length of bridleway (if not muddy) and possibly three-quarters of a mile of footpath.
Catering: Possible morning coffee stop en route. Lunch at the Denton by Worthing Pier.
Getting home: Direct trains to Brighton leave Worthing on the hour; an alternative is the 41 minutes past the hour, which involves a change at Hove.
My mobile: 0789 985 1172.


The Last Ride: Sunday 22 January 2012 – The valley of the Ouse (Part One)

23 January 2012

At the crack of dawn Anne, Joan, Mick, Roger, Sean, Suzanne, Tessa and TJ all clambered off a Southern Rail train at Seaford and were met by our leader for the day, Jim, as well as Rob who had valiantly brought his Moulton “pick-a-back” on his motor vehicle. To everyone’s disappointment Rob found that a tyre had split and so had to miss the morning part of the ride, suppliers of Moulton tyres being limited to two within the UK and therefore not easily accessible from Seaford on a Sunday morning.

1.At Seaford Station

The first part of our exhilarating ride took us all of 200 yards to Seaford’s magnificently restored … public conveniences with their bike-shaped bike stands outside. Then, our backs to the playful wind, we sailed through the town to the far east “cliff” end where we wheeled round, gritted our teeth and rode into the teeth of the wind (yes, a mouthful of gnashers!). Mercifully, after a whole 500 yards (Brighton and Hove Clarion does not deal in metres – let’s hope there is never an Easter Meet where it is decided that they are the legal measurements for the organisation) Jim suggested that we pay our £1.50 (£1.00 for senior citizens) to visit the Seaford Museum in the Martello Tower. UNMISSABLE. We were given a warm greeting by the lady on the cash desk and even a brief introductory talk and then down into the bowels of the tower to roam amongst the fascinating exhibits – all collected and curated by volunteers. The more adventurous braved the winds and explored the roof of the tower.

2.Sean gazes out to sea

There was just one minor problem with the visit. Jim had terrible trouble tearing us all away from the fascinating nooks and crannies, videos and paintings, artefacts and relics. But our visit to the museum solved at least one important mystery for us: there was a map which very clearly showed how, until about the sixteenth century, the River Ouse (feature of the day) flowed into Newhaven, veered east behind a shingle bank and debouched (word of the day) just under Seaford Head cliffs.

Emerging from the wonderful museum, teeth were once more gritted and we battled our way personfully along Seaford prom, having a quick look at the Buckle, a modern house with an old-looking tower but, the whole having been built in 1963, it is only the historical plaque on the gate that is really of any interest.

3.The Buckle

What did catch the imagination of all of us was our visit to the site of the Tide Mills half way between Seaford and Newhaven, built on the very shingle bank that had eventually blocked off the River Ouse. Now, on a bleak (this is January, after all), wind-swept stretch of shingle, we used the interesting notices dotted around to imagine the bustling life of the corn mills (1761 – c.1900), of Bishopstone Beach halt (1864–1942), of the station-master’s house, of Chailey Heritage Marine Hospital and nurses’ home (1924–1940) and, last but not least, the thousands of Canadian soldiers briefly billeted there before the disastrous failed raid on Dieppe on 19 August 1942.

5.Tide Mills

With all these ghosts around us, we set off back into the modern world of present-day Newhaven with its shed-like supermarkets, fast-food outlets and DIY emporia, but once over the swing bridge it was back into the quainter, if very modern, harbour development. By which time we were more than glad to see the Hope Inn at the end of the harbour road. Welcoming as ever, they had reserved the lovely upstairs conservatory (view of the Ouse “oblige”) for us and a tasty meal was soon on its way – even for Rob who had managed to get there by car.

8.He who would go to sea for amusement would go to hell for pleasure

A yatter-yatter-yatter hour later we said goodbye to Rob for the last time of the day and faced north, through the rather sad (but cycle-friendly) remains of the Newhaven town and out on the open road to follow the Ouse. First stop was Piddinghoe and – a first for many of us – a short detour behind the church to see the fast-runnning Ouse at close quarters.

11.By the river

Southease was the next village to benefit from a Clarion visit; those interested in engineering went off to admire the newly refurbished 1880 swing bridge; those too knackered to get that far visited the tiny but ancient church, most of which dates back to 966.

Iford brought us to another church, which looked a bit more modern. Wrong. Most of the present-day church had already been built by 1100. Inside there was a wealth of fascinating wall painting, stained glass and other church furniture that had us reaching for the guidebook.

And yet our history lessons were not quite over. A quiet little back road (past the Lewes Football Club and a Southern Water depot to be precise) brought us to Lewes Priory. OK, we had all seen it from the train. Did any of those of us who had not been there before have the slightest idea how extensive the remains are? They’re still huge – despite the “historically sensitive” Victorians having driven their railway right through the centre of the (admittedly already) ancient ruins of the massive Cluniac church.

18.Lewes Priory

Mick, Sean, Joan and TJ all made a dash for the 4.14. The remaining five had the pleasure of being “introduced” by Tessa to the Sussex Guild Shop and Gallery in Southover Grange gardens. It made me for one sorry that I was not ready to start my Christmas shopping.

A day of “must go back and look at that again”s. Many thanks to Jim for his guidance on a relatively short but extremely sweet day out.


Jim adds:
NB In answer to your question of about 10 hours ago, the website says the main river *and tributaries* are over 140 miles long in total, but it does not give a length for just the main river, not one I could see immediately anyway.

Incidentally in my extreme tiredness caused by lack of sleep (did it show?) I forgot my ”piece de resistance” – last weekend I discovered that the name Ouse is a “back formation” (I expect you know about those things) – in other words it has been given to the river from the name of a town it flows through, namely Lewes, as in “Aqua de Lewes” => “Aqua de l’Ouse” – and that before that it had a different name entirely. This sort of thing is apparently quite common, especially for river names – Arun is also a back formation (from Arundel, naturally), though Adur seems to be the “proper” name of that river. Source: Brewers’ Dictionary of Names.

[More photos on Flickr]


23 January 2012

Dear fellow members and friends

You’ll see from the list of dates for future rides that I’ve now put up the grid for the whole year. I’ve taken Jim’s advice and resumed the fortnightly schedule after the Bath–Bristol weekend. This sequence avoids the end of BST (28 October) and gives us a final ride on 16 December – similar to last year. Any offers for rides from March onwards? Could do with some, especially for March itself.

I’m now up to No. 101 in my cycling-related extracts from the early years of the Clarion. I think this week’s is particularly fascinating – and of course it is good to see that the Clarion CC and “Swiftsure” were on the right side of the issue. His assumption that married women would be able to exercise more independence than single ones is interesting, I think.

I’ve been kept very busy getting out the AGM papers – which all members should have now received; let me know if you haven’t – so, I’m going to leave it at that this time



Future rides

23 January 2012

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

Sunday  To (Led by)
5 February ‘A winter wander through Worthing’ (Roger)
19 February Hastings to Eastbourne (Jim)
4 March
18 March
1 April (oh, dear!)* 
15 April
20–22 April Bath–Bristol weekend
6 May
20 May
3 June
17 June
1 July
15 July*
29 July 
12 August
26 August
9 September*
21 September*
7 October
21 October
4 November
18 November
 2 December
16 December

*Ian not available as “back-stop”

The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 101 – Swiftsure on “rational dress”

23 January 2012

From “Cycling Notes”, Clarion, 7 September 1895

I see that C.H. Larrette considers the Rational dress has made little headway this year, because he met a lady who was one of the pioneers of the dress, but has now taken to her skirts again.

He may be right, he may be wrong. Undoubtedly, when we come to consider the large number of ladies who have become cyclists this year, the number who wear Rational dress is infinitely small and it may give one the opinion that it is not favoured by them. But I venture to assert that if a vote could be taken which they would sooner ride in skirt or knickers, a large majority would be in favour of knickers. What is it then that prevents them from appearing in the dress? Much can, no doubt, be ascribed to English prudery, for few women are free agents in such a matter unless they are married. The old-fashioned notion on these subjects are difficult to eradicate from parents and the unmarried woman who is yet under their influence and wished to adopt the dress would find it almost impossible to do so.

Further, when the Rational dress is adopted, it requires nerves almost of steel and a brave heart to venture out alone or only in the company of other ladies. Few would believe how insulting and coarse the British public could be unless they had ridden through a populated district with a lady dressed in Rationals. And the poorer the district the more incensed the people appear. In fact, in some districts it is dangerous for a woman to cycle alone, even when riding in the conventional skirt.

Time, and the opening of most clubs to members of both sexes – like our Clarion Clubs – is the only thing we can wait for; but no cyclist can reasonably deny that the Rational dress is sensible and right, and that the effect will gradually but surely revolutionise the world’s ideas of what is proper for a woman to wear.

Next time: A not entirely unfamiliar story about punctures and a last report from the Clarion camp.

Next ride: Sunday 22 January 2012 – Seaford to Lewes

10 January 2012

During 2012 I will be leading a series of rides collectively entitled “The Search for the Ouse” which will follow the course of the river (or try to!) all the way from its original mouth at Seaford to its source somewhere beyond Slaugham. This is the first leg – a short ride for a winter’s day. There will be at least two more rides – probably one from Lewes to Haywards Heath and a Haywards Heath circular. There is comprehensive information about the river at www.sussex-ouse.org.uk. I will bring with me some historical notes, mainly drawn from River Valley Odyssey by V.M.Taylor.

The following notes have been updated following the second practice ride.

Starting from Splash Point, near Seaford Head, where the river allegedly reached the sea before it was diverted (though it will be necessary to make good use of our imagination here – much can change in 400 years!) we will work our way westwards along the seafront, possibly popping into Seaford Museum if there is a demand – it is housed in the old Martello Tower and contains all sorts of ancient domestic appliances – that’s my kind of museum! Entrance is only £1.50.

If there is anyone else who has not seen the Tide Mills village, they should come on this ride. I had not seen it before the practice ride, and what is left of it (it was demolished during WW2 after the inhabitants had been evicted) has recently been restored by volunteers, and there are some historical photos of how it used to look on the many noticeboards.

Then to Newhaven. I had hoped to make a detour to the old ferry terminal to look at the plaque about the diversion of the Ouse in the 16th century, but it is no longer used and the plaque seems to have gone. As we won’t be going there, I would like to share my photo of an amusing poster I found outside the terminal.

Strange Notice

We will have lunch at the Hope Inn, which featured on the last Newhaven ride, Then a succession of villages along the Ouse between Newhaven and Lewes: Piddinghoe, Southease, Rodmell and Iford (including options involving the swing bridge at Southease and the Monks House at Rodmell) before our triumphant entry into Lewes. We can also have a quick look round the ruins of Lewes Priory on the way if we want.

Ride length: about 14½ -17 miles. (Slightly longer than in the circular as I have added the route to the pub and back, and also some options)
Duration: about 5 – 5½ hours.
Terrain: mostly flat, some gentle inclines. Some concrete paths – at times we will have to walk where there is shingle on the path. The Newhaven-Lewes road is not an A or B but is a little busier than we would norrmally like – but quieter than the A26!

Getting there: Catch the 10.09 from Brighton to Seaford or meet at Seaford station at 10.45. Londoners can change onto this train at Lewes.

(if you need to contact me before the ride please email j.r.grozier@btinternet.com)

The Last Ride: Sunday 8 January 2012 – Hassocks to Lewes via coffee

10 January 2012

Twelve cyclists met at Hassocks and set off eastwards under grey skies on dry roads. They were Angela, Anne, Corinne, Leon, Mick, Richard, Rob, Roger, Sean, Sue (our leader), Suzanne, and Tessa. “No Joyce today?” someone queried – apparently not.

B&H Clarion ride 08-01-2012

The skies stayed grey (mostly) and the roads stayed dry thanks to Sue’s policy of avoiding possibly muddy off-road options. As we approached Plumpton we stopped at The Plough to view the war memorial in memory of wartime fighter pilots. This prompted some sombre reflections on sacrifice and bravery.

B&H Clarion ride 08-01-2012

Sean lives in Plumpton so he suggested that we stop at his house for mid-morning refreshment. We arrived to find a blazing wood fire and Jane waiting with everything ready in the kitchen to serve mugs of tea and coffee with chocolate biscuits. Jane then jumped on her bike and we were thirteen.

B&H Clarion ride 08-01-2012

The nearest we got to any off-road conditions was the concrete farm road which took us out of Plumpton. Halfway along we came into a stable yard. We stopped for a brief chat with the ladies cleaning out the stables who reminded us to be aware of horse riders on the narrow lanes – a quiet word of greeting as you come up behind does a lot to calm a horse and prevent any nasty surprises.

On to Cooksbridge, up to Offham and then down into Lewes on one of those wonderful descents which requires little or no pedalling, little or no braking and has little or no traffic (apart from one slightly troublesome Jaguar).

B&H Clarion ride 08-01-2012

The ride ended at The John Harvey Tavern where we found a table for twelve set for us in an upstairs room. A thirteenth chair was quickly found, and a fourteenth, just in case. Leon then set off to find someone to fill it, returning in next to no time with … Joyce. She had missed us by minutes at Hassocks and then made her way to Lewes station. When asked by your correspondent for an official explanation of these strange manoeuvres she declined to comment.

B&H Clarion ride 08-01-2012

We were all soon tucking into a varied range of hot meals and the conversations buzzed around the table. Most then set off for the station and an easy train ride back to Brighton. Mick, encouraged no doubt by his curry and the late afternoon sun, opted for the A27 cycle path.

B&H Clarion ride 08-01-2012

Many thanks to Sue for a well-planned and skilfully managed ride, and to Jane and Sean for their generous hospitality!


[More photos on Flickr]

Clarion Associate Member badge

10 January 2012

Clarion associate member badge

Michael Walker, who sends me interesting items for the “history page” of our blog from time to time, has sent in this photo of a Clarion Associate badge.