The Next Ride: 9 September 2012: Angmering circular with a beach picnic

28 August 2012

Why Angmering? Because on 9 September that’s where trains will be turning into buses. But of course a circular ride can start anywhere.

So much for philosophy, what about the ride? We will set off north from Angmering station through Angmering village and up to the thundering monster which is the A27; we will need to do a mile or so on this abomination, but separated from the traffic.

Then we turn into peaceful wooded lanes, only to discover that other cyclists’ favourite: hills. Well, let’s call it a climb, rewarded at the top with a fine view of Arundel Castle and a downhill run into Arundel town.

Decision time. We could stop for a coffee by the river, or not: it might be a good idea since our picnic lunch will not be until 14 miles into the ride. There is also a handy Co-op shop where picnic supplies can be purchased if needed.

Our second, and final, hill will confront us as we leave Arundel; it’s steep and short. Then another downhill run to Ford where we could stop briefly to view the small and charming church of St Andrew. At this point we will also be very close to the point where our old friend the Chichester Canal used to enter the river Arun. Few signs of it remain except the name of the building next to the church, “Lock Cottage”.

One more burst of pedalling will take us past Ford Open Prison, through Climping, and down to the beach where we will stop for lunch and a swim for those so inclined.

The final stage of the ride takes us over the footbridge into Littlehampton, where we can stop to read the heritage sign recording how, for many years, this was the main western route into the town. We head east along the seafront; look out for the oddly shaped East Beach Café. Then through Rustington, East Preston and back to Angmering station.

Meet: Angmering station (north side) at 10:26.
Getting there: Catch the 9:50 from Brighton (9:54 from Hove). There is a car park on the north side of the line; £1 per day on Sundays.
Distance: About 20 miles.
Hills: A climb from the A27 to the high point on Blakehurst Lane and a short sharp hill on Torton Hill Road as we leave Arundel.
Off road: All on surfaced roads, except a mile or two on unsurfaced tracks.
Catering: Possible stop at Arundel for coffee and/or to buy picnic supplies. Lunch on the beach near Climping.
Getting home: Trains to Brighton leave Angmering at XX:48 (direct) and XX:22 (change at Hove).

My mobile: 0789 985 1172.


Clarion on the rocks at Rottingdean: The summer social (26 August)

28 August 2012

Suzanne & Roger made a prescient choice 2 months ago when they opted for the Sunday of August Bank Holiday weekend, as the Saturday was foul & wet all day. Monday was set to be cloudy, but their/our day was sunny & warm, though the sea was bit too rough for any but hardy Mick to risk a swim. Five Clarionettes gathered at Palace Pier at the allotted 11.30 am ETD.

The start at the Palace Pier

Mick & I were too busy cooking & packing food to make it then, & attempted to catch up from our eastern eyrie up near the County Hospital. Racing along beneath the cliffs I arrived at Rottingdean to see Clarion arrayed amongst the rocks just as Ian & Sue were clambering onto the beach with their chairs & foods. Mick was already in the surfy sea. Amanda had come all the way from London on her Brompton (with some help from train) & Leon all the way from Hassocks. Good to see Helen, who had suffered a fire at her home & was living in the nearby hotel. Angela came from the east with two friends from Spain, & Fred, Jim, Sue, Roger & Suzanne came from the west, via the white cliffs of the Undercliff Walk where cycling is finally permitted, after years of prohibition.


How I long for the Hove seafront prom being opened up for cyclists too, instead of cycling being confined to the far too narrow track (NCN 2 too!) along by the smelly exhaust-fumed main road, (over)-used by speedy commuters, speedy roller skaters (one going backwards downhill, last week), skateboarders, scooters, mobility scooters, toddlers tottering into playgrounds & wandering pedestrians.

Picnic on the rocks

My spinach & feta filo borek had survived the bike ride coddled in its cool-bag & Mick’s blackberry crumble had survived its bumpy trip in his backpack, though its tea-towel wrap had turned a vivid purple. Sue had made a delicious quinoa salad & Suzanne some super date slices & scrumptious home-made biscuits. There were strawberries & grapes, beetroot & walnut Russian salad, falafels, blue corn chips & more to share.

Mick has a swim

There were very dark grey clouds to the north of Brighton, but it was still sunny over the seaside. A few hearty bathers were in the sea, jumping over the white waves rather than swimming, though we were near the lifeguards. Mick warned that rocks under the surf were treacherous. Amanda had forgotten her cossie, Jim had had a cold, I’d had two or three recent rain soakings followed by feverish flushes, & Sue/Sikka was procrastinating, so with all our swimmers having qualms, no more dips were taken, apart from paddles to wash out the crockery after the feast.

Dismount at Ovingdean

We missed the joy of Joyces: J. Edmond-Smith in Paris with family & J. Moore unwell at home in Hassocks. Maybe Joyce E-S would have led us in to brave the waves & Joyce M regaled us with her creative cooking. Other missing members were invoked when Sue/Sikka recalled last Saturday’s “Lewes Against the Cuts Bike Ride” where she had bumped into Sean, who was on the ride, whereas Sue seemed to have side-stepped it, hoping to catch up at the coffee stop & to be included in the numbers. It took me six hours to recall why I wasn’t on the protest ride to which Clarion had been invited, but we were way up north in the Midlands for a family wedding.

Ian, Suzanne and Roger

Rottingdean beach is plastered with signs saying “Keep off the Rocks” but they offered shelter from the Wild West wind, noticeable as soon as you stood up. The village does hold other attractions, like Rudyard Kipling’s house & garden & The Grange, Art Gallery & Museum with its tea-room & pretty village pond, but long journeys home prevented any further explorations for Amanda & Leon, while the rest of us locals decided to wend our way home stopping for tea at the Ovingdean Beach Café, having faced the full force of 20-mph headwinds drying out our throats.

Brompton picnic

Thanks to Suzanne & Roger for organising a fine venue & fine day on yet another inclement Bank Holiday weekend. Best wishes to those unable to come due to ill health & cheers to those who joined our cheery band of Clarionettes among the rocks of Rottingdean.



28 August 2012

Dear fellow members and friends

Ian is enjoying a well-earned summer break, so I’m looking after this and the next circular.

Look out for the free “Summer of Cycling” event on Hove Lawns on 16 Sept, 12.00 to 5.00. It includes free bike doctor, test your cycling skills, hay bale slalom, bike art workshops etc. Details at It’s a Sunday but there’s no Clarion ride that day.

There are still three dates to fill for rides before Chr****as. Any offers?



The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 117. Manchester Cycle Parade. A message from “Secretary Reekie”

28 August 2012

From Swiftsure’s “Cycling Notes” Clarion, 18 October 1895

Secretary Reekie sends me the following communication:-

Dear Swiftsure – Prithee spare me a little space wherein to reply to the false insinuation made by the “O Groomie, A.E.L.C.U” in the October Scout that Manchester C.C. are no good at parades. Twice only have we joined in parades, the first time in Salford, when without the aid of fancy costumes we managed to secure two prizes. On Saturday last we made an effort, and came out 104 strong to assist in the Manchester Lifeboat Parade, and romped home easy winners of the first prize for largest muster. As we marched along the route we were greeted with cries of “Clarion” and “Boots”, and our bosums swelled with pride to such an extent that several burst their blouses. When formed up in front of the grand stand [sic] at Fallowfield, we looked like a regiment of Japanese soldiers, in our broad-brimmed conical hats, with red tufts on top.

Brum may waltz in every time (the waltz is a slow, dreamy dance) but Manchester come in with a rollicking, galloping polka at the parade business:

Let Brummagem boast of their tin-pot shows, but i’faith we’ll make ’em rue it;
If there’s anybody or anything to be done, we are the boys to do it;
A little bit “extra” we are acknowledged to be at organising camps.
While at any parade the cake always goes to the Manchester Clarion Scamps.

We have to thank Brum, however, for suggesting the costumes, and the MacAtkinson for loan of specimen.

Next time: Swiftsure’s comments on the Manchester Cycle Parade in support of Lifeboat funds


16 August 2012

Dear fellow members and friends

As people who’ve been in the Club for a while will know,  (probably) our oldest member is Brian Hutton  who was a member of the old Brighton section of the Club in the later 1940s.  Brian is also the long time cycling correspondent of the Argus.  He can’t cycle or use the internet nowadays for medical reasons so rather than send him all our newsletters mainly about rides he wouldn’t be able to participate in  I  wait until one of our socials is due or there’s something else in the newsletter I know will interest him and then mail him details together with episodes of my extracts from the 1890s Clarion that have appeared since I last contacted him

Brian and Mary, his wife, have often attended our “socials” in the past.  This time, however, I received a letter from him explaining that they can’t make it on the 26th because they will be celebrating Brian’s 80th birthday with the family.

I shall be sending him a card with greetings from us all nearer the time.  Not just any old card but one of Fred’s famous views kindly donated by the artist himself. (the one showing  Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters)

How things change!  Last issue I was moaning about all the ride slots we had got to fill;  now I see that we have just 4 unspoken for between now and the end of the year!  The first one is 7 October.  Any offers?

Observant readers will notice that there is – very unusually – no details of “The Next Ride”  in this issue.  That’s because we decided to use the date that would have been the next ride for the summer social instead.  (details again below).  There will be a newsletter after the social – with a report of that event and details of Roger’s   9 September ride.

You can make it a little ride on 26th by joining Suzanne and Roger at the Palace pier .  And in case anyone is feeling the need for a “proper” ride before than I’m repeating the details of the Lewes Stop the Cuts ride on 18th August below.


Clarion Summer Social

The Clarion Summer Social will be on Sunday 26th August on Rottingdean Beach. Bring your picnic and bathing togs: low tide approx 12.30 rock pools to play in – high tide 18.30 so 3.30 good time to swim. Rain shelter, pubs, toilet, coffee immediately adjacent. Pitch and Putt within 6 minutes stroll.

Cycling: meet at Palace Pier at 11.30am (lead by Roger + Suzanne).

Bus: 12, 12A and 12X, and 13X, 14B  every 10-15 minutes from Brighton Station  to White Horse” stop in Rottingdean. and walk down to beach – bathing beach immediately opposite.

Car: Might be tricky if busy: Pay and display outside Tesco at main crossroads £2.50 for 3 hours and over; White Horse pub car park £3.00 up to 3 hours, but £6.00 over 3 hours, quite a lot of free parking further away.

Meet on bathing beach.


Lewes Stop the Cuts ride Saturday 18 August

Lewes Stop the Cuts is an organisation which campaigns against all the cuts.  We believe that the “austerity” programme is politically motivated as a drive towards privatisation and shrinking the public sector and that the money could be clawed back in other ways, for example by forcing rich companies to pay their fair share of taxation and by stopping banker bonuses..

We are a broad church and not affiliated to a political party.  We have campaigned on Benefits Cuts, the Health Service and numerous other issues and have organised some direct actions as well as running a stall most Saturdays which gives out leaflets etc and advertises upcoming events and demos.  We started to run bike rides as we realised there were a number of keen cyclists in our group and we support cycling as a healthy sustainable means of alternative transport.

Our third official ride starts at 11am on Saturday 18th August from outside the Pells pool.  It is fine 27 mile route under the downs to Shoreham, calling at a café at Hurstpierpoint and pub with garden at Fulking and finishing with a run down the downslink path to Shoreham for a train back.  All welcome..  People who are getting back into cycling particularly welcome.  We will travel at the pace of the slowest. The ride is undulating in parts but there are no serious hills You can find details of the ride here

To get a very rough idea of how much 27 miles is divide it by four to get the equivalent in walking miles.  If that still seems too much then take the 11.20 train from Lewes to Plumpton.  If we get to Plumpton before the train we will wait at the station.  If we are not there when you get off  then do not panic.  We are still on our way. This will take about 5 miles off of the ride.  Phone 01273483869  before the day if you want to take this option. Also phone this number if you would like to be met at Lewes station at 10.45 to be guided to the Pells

Sue Priest and Chris Smith

The Last Ride. 12 August 2012: Cuckoo Trail and Pevensey Levels

16 August 2012

August 12, 2012: Cuckoo Trail and Pevensey Levels

A large turnout (13 cyclists) for Sunday’s excellent ride along the Cuckoo Trail and Pevensey Levels. Warm and sunny weather throughout the entire day helped make the outing particularly enjoyable, during a ride which coincided with the last day of the London 2012 Olympics. Railway staff at Clapham Junction seemed to have forgotten to enforce the ban on cycles on trains during the Olympics, thus enabling a trouble-
free journey to the start at Polegate station for the London cycling contingent.

The fine weather seemed to contribute to a faster pace than many previous Clarion rides. There were no punctures or mechanical problems and the cracking pace along the Cuckoo Trail’s smooth tarmac surface continued until the lunchtime stop at the Brewer’s Arms in Vines Cross. The warm weather meant sitting outside was the preferred option for the majority of the group during lunch.

August 12, 2012: Cuckoo Trail and Pevensey Levels

The final of the Olympic marathon taking place on the TV inside the pub did make a compelling alternative lunchtime for some, though. Rather like coverage of Tour de France cyclists, TV cameras managed to convey the incredible speed the runners tackled the gruelling 26-mile course through London’s streets.After watching Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich win the Olympic marathon in just over 2 hours, I joined the other Clarion cyclists outside for lunch. I opted for a bowl of chips with a pint of lime and soda. Looking around the table, I could see the pub had a variety of wholesome dishes available for those with larger appetites (the veggie pie dish looked particularly good). After watching the final few minutes of Cuba winning the Olympic Flyweight boxing final, we were ready to complete the next stage of our own Olympic style cycle ride along Pevensey Levels.

Hurst Haven

Although not entirely flat, one of the joys of Sunday’s ride was the lack of any significantly difficult hills for the post-lunch leg of the ride. As the name suggests, Pevensey Levels consisted of particularly flat terrain. We seemed to make good progress as we cycled along this part of the route, without encountering more than one or two cars. A particularly noteworthy moment was the sight of two swans and several cygnets seemingly lapping up floating lichen in a stream. We were all transfixed by this sight for several minutes and managed to take many photographs,
which will no doubt be appearing on the Clarion flickr site soon.

August 12, 2012: Cuckoo Trail and Pevensey Levels

It didn’t seem too long before we were back on the Cuckoo Trail for the return to Polegate station. We had made good progress, so had time for an afternoon tea stop at the Old Loom. After indulging in the Old Loom’s wide selection of drinks and cakes (nettle & fennel tea was my cycling drink of choice), we cycled back to Polegate station along the Cuckoo Trail. There were some train delay station announcements, but all of the Brighton contingent managed to load their bikes when the train finally arrived (a nearby air display meant the service was busier than usual). I was asked by a guard if I was aware that bike restrictions were in operation during the Olympics on the train journey back to Clapham Junction. Luckily, the guard didn’t seem to be in the mood to throw cyclists off the train for breaking less than clear Olympic travel
rules for cycles which hadn’t been enforced earlier in the morning on the outward journey.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s

16 August 2012

116 Final Preparations for the Manchester Parade and a ride that might have suited Jenny or Bob (only!) – had they been around then

As the Manchester  cycle parade approached Swiftsure passed on the following message

The Secretary of the Manchester C.C.C informs me that his club-notes were just too late for this issue of the Scout; and he, therefore, requests me to ask for a big muster tomorrow, Saturday, at the Cannon Street Dining Rooms, 58 Cannon Stree, Corporation Street, Manchester. Meet at 4 o’clock . Dresses – fancy Pierrot – will be there for a large number.

It is hoped that at least a hundred will turn out, and create a slight sensation among the spectators

Don’t forget to bring your badges, old and new The count for club muster will be by badges

An illuminated acknowledgement will be presented to every cyclist or collector in costume by the Lifeboat Demonstration Commitee.

The Manchester C.C.C are promoting a 100 mile club run in 10 hours on Sunday, October 20th,weather permitting. The destination will be Whitchurch The idea of such a run is to develop good staying-powers, without the incentive of racing. A small token or special badge will be given to all who do the distance in the said time.

And on 5 October 1895 this appeared in the Clarion

Sunday next we meet at the coffee tavern, Sale, for the 100 miles tour , at 7 30 a.m. The course has not yet been definitely decided upon, but our destination will probably be Whitchurch’ Buck up, you ambitious humper-pushers. I am joining on a 76 geared crock to pace some portion of the way.

Yours fraternally, S.McSprinter

Next Time:   The Manchester Cycle Parade