The Next Ride: Sunday 4 March 2012 – A winter wander through Worthing

21 February 2012

This is the ride that was cancelled in early February because of the threat of snow, so it is short and hopefully sweet.

We will wander west from Worthing central station through quiet residential streets. Those who are interested in such things can admire 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. Here we will take a footpath along Ferring Rife and either have a tootle round Kingston Gorse to see where the 1% lives or stop for coffee at the Bluebird café, or possibly both depending on time and weather.

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 through Shoreham and Hove to Brighton.

Meet: Worthing central station (south side) 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 from Worthing to Brighton.
Hills: None.
Off road: Mainly on quiet, suburban roads and cycle paths with short sections of bridleway and footpath. There is also a short walk along the beach if we include Kingston Gorse.
Catering: Possible morning coffee stop en route. Lunch at the Denton by Worthing Pier.
Getting home: Direct trains to Brighton leave Worthing at 09 minutes past 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 19 February 2012 – Hastings to Eastbourne

21 February 2012

Joyce was first to arrive at Brighton station for the earlier of Jim’s suggested trains to Hastings, quickly followed by Sue, Tessa, Roger and Suzanne who shared a Groupsave.

There was some confusion as to which part of the train went all the way, and Roger and Suzanne had to dismount at Eastbourne as their carriage was not continuing to Hastings.
We all, including Sean, who had joined at Lewes met up at Hastings station to wait for Jim who was the only one to take the later train.

At Hastings Station

A beautiful crisp day with a manageable north-westerly wind greeted us as we reached Hastings seafront. We stopped at Glyne Gap, a river, that by the time it reached the sea, had become a canal, an area host to many seabirds.

Sculptural metal cutouts stood at the edge of the cycletrack, one we recognised as Spike Milligan, maybe he had a link with the area?

Spike Milligan and Friends

Still on a cycle path, we continued past Galley Hill, the site of a Martello tower, on to Bexhill past some lovely seafront houses that had the feel of large comfortable beachhuts with panoramic windows. Sue was impressed enough to note down an estate agent’s number.

How Far To Los Angeles

The 1930’s De La Warr building prompted some idle puns:
‘De La Warr, what is it good for?’ and ‘De La Warr – hol’.

De La Warr - What Is It Good For

We were on the look out for John, who was cycling from Brighton to meet us en route. Vigilant Joyce spotted someone sitting on a bench with a bike and a black skullcap (like John’s) ‘How long have you been here?’ she asked the bemused stranger.

Coming out of Bexhill we lost Roger and Suzanne who had taken the high road while we continued on the cycle track, busy with pedestrians and dogs. We met up again at Cooden Beach where we headed inland and rode a parallel road to Norman’s Bay to our lunch stop, The Star. Two Johns joined us, one to eat and continue the ride with us, the other, a friend of Jim’s just for a drink.


Lunch was a staggered affair, dishes arriving in stages, but much appreciated when they did appear. Conversation was lively as usual, kicked off by the current debate about prayers before council meetings.

Pevensey Castle and Train

The road to Pevensey ran alongside the coast, but below sea level. Then it was Sovereign Harbour, finally Eastbourne where we had time for a cup of tea/ coffee/ hot chocolate and in some cases, cake in a delightful, friendly café.

We all boarded the train, John deciding to join us rather than cycle back to Brighton in a headwind. We separated into different carriages, our group enjoyed the journey home, appreciating the lengthening evenings.

Thank you Jim for a great day out.


[More photos on Flickr]


21 February 2012

Dear fellow members and friends 

I thought it was just an ordinary sort of cold – but it started to be a really awful one on Friday evening and then practically wiped me out for the next three days – leaving me still pretty groggy and all behind with everything but with not enough energy to catch up quickly. So, this newsletter will be on the minimalist side. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible – as the TV used to say when it broke down back in the 1950s.

Thanks to Angela and Jim and Roger and Sikha/Sue for sorting out so many rides – though I haven’t yet got all the details, which means we’ve got everything covered until the beginning of May. But please keep the offers coming!

Couple of reminders. Members will have seen Peter Roscoe’s little piece in Boots and Spurs about the practicalities and the wisdom of getting third-party insurance cover via the CTC. If anyone has doubts about the latter please have a word with Anne. Jenny mentioned in  a recent group email the importance of making sure that you have a pump, spare inner tube and tyre levers. She’s absolutely right of course. There are always people to help on Clarion rides but I can think of instances where the pump connections of others have been incompatible with valves and not everyone needs the same size tubes. So please make sure to take the good advice – and not just on Clarion rides.



Future rides

21 February 2012

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

4 March ‘A winter wander through Worthing‘ (Roger)
18 March tba (Sue P)
1 April (oh, dear!)* tba (Angela)
15 April Polegate –Eridge (Jim)
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: 103 A few snippets

21 February 2012

It was going to be all about cycle parades this time – but for reasons I explained at the beginning of the newsletter I don’t feel up to putting it all together at the moment. But here’s a couple of “Wanted Ads” from 21 September 1895. The first has nothing to do with cycling (as far as we can tell) but I couldn’t resist it. You do hope it all turned out happily don’t you?

LADY Socialist would like to correspond with Gentleman Socialist, rich or poor, aged 30 to 45. Abstainer preferred. Character indispensable

CLARION CYCLISTS are Requested to Attend, wear badge, and compete for the Muster prize at Parade, at 3 30 pm. Stalybridge Lifeboat Saturday, September, 1895

But, just so that cycling parades are not completely neglected here’s another ad. – this time from 7 September

A cycle parade will be held next Saturday, the 14th, in aid of the Salford charities. The Clarion C.C.will perhaps take part in it, if only to show their numbers. Further notice of it, however, will be given in next week’s Clarion.

Next time – Cycle parades (at least one!)

The next ride: 19 February – Hastings to Eastbourne

7 February 2012

St Leonards – Bexhill – Cooden Beach – Normans Bay – Pevensey Bay

Ian tells me there is a half-marathon on in Brighton on this day and some roads will be closed, so do check whether you will be able to get to the station. It finishes at 10 am, but there may be some ongoing congestion.

Much of this ride will be familiar to some of us, although I am not sure that we have done it all in one go. It will mean that, together with previous rides from Rye to Lydd and Hastings, and our frequent forays to Normans Bay, we will have explored the Sussex coast all the way from Brighton to the Kent border. One bit we won’t have done before is the section of NCN2 between St Leonards and Bexhill, which is so new that the information display boards at Galley Hill don’t have any information in them yet!

It’s a simple linear ride along the coast – let’s hope the wind is behind us. We’ll have lunch at a familiar haunt, the Star at Normans Bay. If it’s cold we may also need a morning coffee stop, and we can have that in Bexhill. Afternoon tea may be taken in Eastbourne if desired. The approach to Eastbourne will take us along part of NCN21, so this could be thought of as part 2¾ of the Route 21 Trilogy, although some of us did the Eastbourne–Polegate section during the 2010 Easter Meet.

Length: About 18 miles.

Duration: About 4–5 hours.

Terrain: Mostly cycle paths; some quiet lanes, and a short section of A259 at Pevensey Bay. Mostly flat. At one point we briefly run out of prom and will have to push bikes along the shingle beach.

Getting there: Meet at Hastings Station at 11.30; take the 10.04 or 10.20 train from Brighton. (The 10.04 is an extra train which originates at London Victoria at 8.47, and has been diverted via Brighton. Londoners should bring War and Peace to read on the train. Note that the Charing Cross to Hastings line is also disrupted so There Is No Alternative.)

Getting home: Trains leave Eastbourne for Brighton at 5 and 40 minutes past each hour. The 40 minutes past continues to London Victoria.

Lunch: I have booked a table at the pub for 1.30. They ask for a deposit if there are more than 10 people, so do tell me whether you are coming:


Non-ride report: 5 February 2012 – Worthing to LA*† (or “Snow? What snow?”)

7 February 2012

Roger had very sensibly cancelled his planned ride the previous evening, because of the weather forecast. However I was due to visit my daughter in Worthing anyway, and when she phoned in the morning to say there was no snow there, I sent a message to the Google group to see if anyone wanted to do an impromptu ride. John Clinton responded, and so we met up at the Coast Café on Worthing seafront at 1.15, and after a brief snack we set off along the coast in a westerly direction. So as not to steal Roger’s thunder (and anticipating that his ride will now be re-scheduled to a snow-free day) we decided to simply cycle along the coast as far as Littlehampton – or Ford in my case since there were, conveniently, no trains running from the aforementioned station.

We made a lively pace – John is, as all who know him will appreciate, one of those versatile cyclists who can both dawdle along at Clarion pace and race along with the “professionals”. The 14.8 miles to Ford were covered at a very respectable average speed of 11.4 mph, the quickest ride I’ve ever done; I’m usually one of the “dawdlers”, but I found I could keep up with John, and, on a day when the weather was not exactly tropical, the speed helped to warm us up. Thankfully, in addition to the absence of snow, there seemed to be very little wind.

John very kindly accommodated my few requests for a photo-stop, and the results can be seen on Flickr. On the way we talked of many things, and he explained to me what an Audax is. (I don’t think I will ever see one from the inside!)


We turned inland at Ferring, and passed through East Preston, West Preston (which is where Angmering Station is – the real Angmering having featured in several Clarion rides), and Rustington before regaining the seafront behind the East Beach Café at Littlehampton (I had never seen the back of it before!).

East Beach Cafe

On through “LA”* and then over the bridge to Climping (as it says on the map) or Clymping (as the road sign would have it) and here we parted company at the A259 roundabout, John returning the way he had come (and I hasten to add that he had cycled all the way from Brighton).


On the approach to Ford Station I suddenly saw what had happened to all the snow we were promised. It was on the Downs!

Snow-covered Downs

Many thanks to John for his companionship and patience.


[More photos on Flickr]

* Railway abbreviation for Littlehampton (say it with a Cockney accent).
† Actually Ford, but LA looks better.