The Next Ride: Sunday 3rd June 2012 – Hayling Island revisited

21 May 2012

We’ve done it before so let’s do it again, but differently.

For those who havant seen Hayling Island, it’s an island near Havant. Well, only just an island: we reach it over a road bridge which is about a third of a mile long. Then we will take the route of the “Billy Railway”. Between 1865 and 1963 this popular train linked the south end of the island with Havant station. You can still see the railway bridge supports as we cross the road bridge:

The track provides fine views across Langstone Harbour to Portsmouth and the Spinnaker Tower. The south coast of the island is rather less attractive. Most of it is a boring suburb (in my opinion – apologies if you’ve got an auntie who lives there and loves it). The coast itself is a boring beach enlivened by an amusement park (boring) and a little train which we may see in action, but needn’t be too disappointed about if we don’t.

The return journey takes us through some pleasant island villages and countryside, with a stop at the Maypole Inn for lunch. Those wanting tea as well can add about three miles at the end of the ride for a visit to the charming Flintstone Tearoom at Emsworth, and then catch the return train from there (a return ticket to Havant will be valid).

Meet: Havant station (south side forecourt) at 11:15.
Getting there: 09:48 (direct) or 10:13 (3-minute change at Hove) trains from Brighton. 09:52 or 10:19 trains from Hove. I may catch the train at Hove. There is a car park on the north side of Havant station: £2 on Sundays. You can push your bike over a step-free footbridge to get to the south side.
Distance: About 15 miles or 18 if we return via Emsworth.
Hills: None worth mentioning.
Off road: Good cycle paths.
Catering: Lunch at the Maypole Inn in the centre of the island – tel. 02392 463670. ( Tea at the Flintstone Tearoom in Emsworth (or straight back to Havant for the train).
Getting home: There are three or more trains per hour from Havant to Brighton, including xx:00 (change at Hove) and xx:27 (direct). All these trains call at Emsworth about three minutes later.
My mobile: 0789 985 1172.


The Last Ride: 20 May 2012, Lewes to Haywards Heath

21 May 2012

1. At the Start

Five riders assembled at Lewes, Jim, Joyce, Roger and, on their first Clarion ride, Fiona and Simon. This was the second ride in Jim’s Ouse trilogy. We followed the course of the river from Lewes to Lindfield, stopping to commune with the fast-flowing waters at each of several bridges along the way.

9a. The Ouse at Freshfield Bridge

In his write-up for the ride Jim promised undulations, and undulations there were. Ideally to get from one bridge to another one would follow a nicely surfaced track along the river bank. But this stretch of the Ouse doesn’t have facilities of that sort. So you have to climb a hill and roll down again to the next bridge, which we did, climbing a little more slowly each time.

2. Uphill

4. View from Chalk Pits

The countryside was beautiful. We passed through a variety of villages, such as the original village of Barcombe, which was apparently ravaged by plague and then replaced by the nearby Barcombe Cross.

The village of Fletching was particularly popular, partly because the locals had decked the main street with red Union flags to welcome us (presumably), and because there was a pub there, The Rose and Crown, which Jim had booked for lunch. The food was served promptly and eaten eagerly. The conversation focused on the Green Party and its performance running Brighton and Hove. In the interest of fair play both pluses and minuses were awarded, but the minuses seemed to end up in the majority.

5a. Horse gin and barn at Barcombe

Refreshed we set off in search of more bridges. We arrived at Haywards Heath with just enough time for a quick peep at the Cycle Hub, a secure bike storage facility in the station car park, before we jumped onto a Brighton train.

12. Haywards Heath Cycle Hub

Many thanks to Jim for an interesting and enjoyable day’s cycling. Roll on the concluding ride of the trilogy!


{More photos on Flickr]

News and cycling on footpaths

21 May 2012

Dear fellow members and friends 

This newsletter is out especially early – thanks to Roger’s swift reporting.

Joyce, in her new role as Campaigns Organiser, has written to Robin Reed of the council’s Transport Initiatives with our collective response to the Lewes Road consultation, taking into account all the points people have raised with her. The proposals are welcomed but she emphasises the dangers caused by parking in cycle lanes where enforcement will be critical. She suggests that the Level to Gyratory section should be included within 20 mph limit and argues the need for an advance cycle box at traffic lights entering Gyratory from the south. Other points are the need for monitoring of the impact of Sainsbury’s entrance/exit on the cycle path and of time delays on phased traffic lights. She reports that some members have questioned whether cycle lane might not be better away from Sainsbury’s, as proposed some years ago. The option for separate cycle and bus lanes is supported. To see the full submission click here.

The consultation ends on 25 May so there is still time (just) for anyone who has not already done so to take part in the on-line consultation, supporting Joyce’s submission and adding any other points you think are important. To see details of the plans and make your response go to www.brighton/

After reading Anthony Young’s article about cycling on pavements in the last Bricycles newsletter, Roger contacted him via Becky Reynolds to ask his view on cycling on public footpaths. Here’s what he had to say. The last paragraph in particular is worth pondering.

Cycling on countryside public footpaths isn’t illegal in the sense of being a criminal act in which the police might get involved and you might be fined. However a cyclist or horse rider who uses a country path over which there is a right of way only for pedestrians is committing a trespass. As such, it may be described as unlawful, but it is a civil issue between the miscreant and the landowner.

There are rarely any practical consequences though. Landowners don’t necessarily care, and even if they do, their only redress is to take civil action against the trespasser for the cost of any damage caused. So they need the name and address and they must prove that their property was damaged and that it was this trespasser who damaged it. That would be very hard to do, so it is rarely attempted.

However cycling on footpaths does have adverse consequences, in heightening ill feeling towards cyclists. The great majority of complaints are from walkers, although it is really none of their business. They generally complain to the council, although it is none of the council’s business either (unless it owns the land). The solution would be to reclassify suitable footpaths as bridleways. But in practice the prospects for agreement to rights of way enhancements, funding for cycle paths etc. are significantly diminished by the ill feeling caused.

Changing tack, I think many will be surprised at the views on the Pavilion in this week’s extract from the 1895 Clarion. It reminds us how much perceptions and tastes can change over a century or so.

Any offers for rides from 29 July onwards?


Future rides

21 May 2012

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

3 June Hayling Island revisited (Roger)
Saturday 16 June Chichester–Dell Quay (Ian)
1 July TBC (Jim)
15 July* Bexhill to Polegate (Roger)
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: 110 “The First of the Mohawk-Cans”: A London to Brighton ride (continued)

21 May 2012

We continue the account of the “tour” on a Mohawk tandem undertaken by Dangle (aka Alex Thompson, the deputy/joint editor of the paper) and the writer of the account J.D.S. It is from the Clarion, 21 September 1895. Last time we left them arriving at the Hotel de Gloucester (whatever happened to that?). Now read on!

After tea (fancy tea, Bounder) we sampled the Promenade and Pier.

[Then next morning] We went down to the post office before breakfast for our letters, and found there a French cyclist getting a money order cashed. He couldn’t speak a word of English, and both he and the P.O seemed grateful for the assistance Dangle was able to render as interpreter.

* * * *
The most striking building in Brighton is the Pavilion. It was built by George IV for one of his lady-loves. Our fingers itched to throw stones at its hundreds of ugly pinnacles. The building is certainly the ugliest in England.

* * * *
After consulting maps and guide books innumerable, we decided to return to London via Tonbridge Wells and to get clear of Brighton villadom we took the noon train to Lewes. At the station we chatted to an unusually well-informed, intellectual, intelligent, superior ticket-collecting porter. He knew the road between Lewes and Tonbridge; it was a very level road, not a hill until we reached Crowborough, whereas the sixteen miles to Crowborough Beacon is one almost continuous ascent, and the Beacon is 800ft. above the sea level. That superior porter had Dangle’s constant blessing, and if I could have caught hold of him I would have hurled him from the top of the Beacon right into Tonbridge Wells.

Next time: “The First of the Mohawk-Cans” concluded

Lewes Road Consultation

18 May 2012

Joyce Edmond-Smith
Campaigns Officer

10 May 2012

Mr. Robin Reed
Brighton & Hove City Council
Transport Initiatives,
Kings House

Lewes Road Consultation

Dear Robin Reed
Thank you for the very helpful explanation of the proposals for the Lewes Road and the Vogue Gyratory. As we agreed, I am writing to you direct on behalf of the Brighton and Hove Clarion Cycling Club. The following comments relate to the sections.

Section 1 – The Level to the Vogue Gyratory :
We welcome the loading restrictions on Lewes Road and the use of CCTV cameras for improved enforcement, as well as the removal of the traffic lights near Aberdeen Road and unnecessary street furniture. We agree that this will improve the situation for cyclists. However: – We note that enforcement must be thorough; presently parking in the cycle lanes makes them actually dangerous to cyclists who have to swerve out. Access on to the cycle lane from Franklin Road, Hartington Road etc. is made difficult by the density of traffic. We suggest that this be looked at. We also feel that this section of the A270 would benefit from inclusion in the 20-mile limit proposed for the city.

We welcome the phased traffic lights from Upper Lewes Road. However, as I pointed out there remains a concern with the traffic lights on Lewes Road leading on to the Gyratory. These are situated on an ascent which means, after stopping, cyclists have to draw away on the ascent, competing with cars wanting to get away quickly. Advance cycle boxes have proved very useful in parts of the city and it would seem that, because of the ascent at the traffic lights, one would be of great advantage here. I hope therefore that this can be considered.

Section 2 – The Vogue Gyratory (Sainsbury’s)
We note the proposals for new 2m wide cycle lane on the north bound carriageway. We welcome a dedicated cycle lane, although some members have questioned siting it alongside the Sainsbury’s store rather than through the middle as was proposed initially some years ago, which could obviate the problems below.

Whilst noting your explanation of the difficulties of altering the Sainsbury site, we are concerned with the access and egress of cars from Sainsbury’s thus crossing the cycle lane. We would therefore ask that every effort is made to ensure that cars exit slowly and have sight lines to ensure they can see cyclists advancing. Signs to the effect “Beware Cyclists” should also be prominent. We would also suggest that this aspect is monitored regularly.

We welcome the cycle priority and phased car traffic lights enabling cyclists to continue safely onto the Lewes Road cycle lane. We would urge that due attention is given to the timing of these lights so that cyclists are not held up unduly whilst cars are allowed through.

Section 3 – Vogue Gyratory to Coldean Lane
We welcome the improvements at Saunders Park junction and the proposals to remove parking bays between the Vogue Gyratory and Natal Road.

With regard to the option for either shared cyclists and bus lane or separate bus/cycle lane, we would support the option for separate bus cycle lanes as in Option 2 Q. 2 . Together with the reduction of the speed limit we would see one lane for cars as a useful way to encourage modal shift.

Section 4 – Coldean Lane to A27 Bypass (Falmer)
The further cycle network improvements referred to in the consultation document have not been accessible on the website. These comments refer therefore only to the proposals in the consultation document. In general it would seem that the changes will improve safety.

We welcome the widening of the shared path from Coldean Lane. It would also be useful if it were made clearer that this is a shared path.

An unusual Clarion badge

18 May 2012

From Michael Walker.

unusual clarion badge