The Next Ride: Sunday October 7th: Hove to Shoreham via Devil’s Dyke

30 September 2012

Meet at Tessa’s house – 38 Lorna Road, Hove. (5 minutes ride from Hove station and 10-15 minutes cycle from Brighton station). Free parking in Lorna Road and surrounding streets – those in the ‘O’ zone (no pun intended?) on Sundays.

Tessa is providing coffee for anyone prepared to arrive for 10am! And then we will start out at 10.30 making our way to Route 82 which takes us along the new cycle track on the Old Shoreham Road. The 82 then takes us legitimately through Hove Recreation Grounds and Hove Park linking the two via Hove Park Road. After the parks there is a short sharp hill to the main road and briefly along this  past Blatchington School. Bypassing the windmill, we join the old railway track to Devil’s Dyke. So a long slow haul up to the Dyke.

Then the good news. A long downhill run alongside the Dyke itself,  stopping at Saddlescombe for a pause and/or a drink at the Hikers’ Rest. Then up a short hill and down to turn left  through Poynings and Fulking, following a softly undulating road at the foot of the Downs. On through Upper Beeding to Bramber for lunch at The Castle Hotel.

Back along the Downs Link  to Shoreham, (or deserting the Link and detouring along Coombe Lane past St Botolphs if the ground is soggy). Possibility of tea at the airport if desired. Option of cycling back to Brighton or taking the train from Shoreham.

Distance: approx. 7 miles to coffee; 7 miles to lunch and 7 miles to Shoreham station with the option of a further 7 miles cycling back to Brighton. Total:  About 21 miles, or if cycling back to Brighton 28.   All distances approximate as my cycle computer does not work properly.

It would be helpful in booking lunch to have an idea of numbers so if you could leave a message on Sue’s phone if you are coming that would be great:   01273 697412.   Thanks.

Trains back from Shoreham 15.09, 15.39, 16.09, 16.39, 16.52, 17.09, 17.39  etc…

SueP/Sikka and Tessa

PS:   Fred – will we see you on your new electric bike??


30 September 2012

Dear fellow members and friends

No last ride or report because of the weather. Not that it’s any consolation but it was a pretty similar tale of heavy rain and strong winds where we were in France on Sunday. Anne writes:

Weather forecasts were all dire – 20 mph headwind & heavy rain, & Mick did email on Saturday evening saying that we would turn up at the allotted time but warning that the ride would be testing and, though it could be shortened, it would still be wet. On the morning itself, heavy rain – Nick & Amanda had both emailed to say they had thought of coming, but now were not & so Mick phoned The Ark [appropriate name!] to say there were unlikely to be 12 of us, if any at all! Mick got to pier at 10.20 & we waited till 10.45 but, wisely, no one else turned up, so we took a photo to show the wind, rain, time, & general awfulness for autumn’s first day.

Better luck next time! Let’s hope for better weather for future rides.

Still a couple of dates available for this year. Any offers?


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 119. A response to Manchester from Birmingham’s “O’Groomie O”

30 September 2012

On 2 November 1895 came the inevitable response to the challenge of “Secretary Reekie” of Manchester CCC in Swiftsure’s “Cycling Notes” of that week.

By the way Secretary Reekie’s communication in last week’s Clarion called forth the following from the “O’Groomie O”


Dear Swiftsure, – Ah! and so the Sandy MacSprint thinks the waltz is “a slow, soft, dreamy dance” does he? He ought to have seen it as performed by the Poet and Inseck, at Coventry. It was not too slow.

We had taken two prizes at Coventry, making six in all, and we let ourselves out at the fancy dress dance held afterwards. And the waltz is “a slow, dreamy, dance” is it?

At 4 a.m. we discovered the Poet trying to inflate his tyre with the valve out. At 7 a.m. The Club climbed into Birmingham – a weary, wan-eyed, miserable lot of dejected perishers. The dreamy waltz!

We have taken six prizez. Six! Sandy. No we didn’t turn out over a hundred strong. Numbers are against us. But the quality!

However, let that pass. Is your man Sutcliffe prepared to accept our President’s challenge? (Clarion, October 12th)

Our dinner is to be held on Saturday, November 16th. We will turn out and pace our man in easy relays. Do you the same, and when you get to Brum see if our dances are of such stuff that dreams are made of.

And, Sandy, don’t you do any more of that doggerel of yours, or we’ll set our Poet on you.
The “O’Groomie O”

Next time: A (final?) word on cycling parades and Manchester’s 100 mile run in ten hours

The Next Ride: Brighton to Berwick – 23 September 2012

11 September 2012

We plan to do the NCN2 Palace Pier to Berwick that Mick led last year, but to do it differently.

Starting at 10.30 we’ll cycle along the Undercliff  Walk to Saltdean. Taking the tunnel under the A259, we can yodel or practice chants for the next big demo – could be Oct 20th, or sooner. Back on the sea side of the road via the crossing there are some soaring undulations, then an alteration from last year, when Mick said you went by the cliff path. We will stick to the official NCN2 route & cross back to the Downs side, following the quiet roads above Peacehaven & enjoying the views.

When the NCN leads back to the A259, we cross at the pelican crossing. Mick will lead the clifftop  adventure, with exciting views of sea & cliffs.  For those subject to vertigo, or of a nervous disposition, I can lead us on the official NCN route. There is an alpaca on this path/track/road[!}but  I don’t always see it, though locals have told me it comes to a call. Road is rough & stony but we can easily walk & push.

We can descend into Newhaven via their super new Tideway school.  Clifftop party will descend via the country park and we’ll all meet up for lunch at The Ark pub by the harbour, which specialises in local fish dishes but has a varied, tasty menu. We’ve booked for 12.30 & hope to leave by 1.30pm.

We’ll soon be in the Tidemills Country Park & on the peaceful off-road track, among the birds & wild flowers. We doubt that there will be time for a swim at Seaford, not if we want tea at Littlington Tea Gardens, anyway, but those so minded, can bring kit & hope.

We’ll take our favourite detour from NCN2 after Seaford & enjoy the peace of the Cuckmere Haven [foot]path, instead of joining the hurtling cars on the A259. Unfortunately, we do have to join the road for a few minutes, before we turn left at Friston Forest & head Up[only a bit] to Littlington Tea Garden & some refreshing tea & flowers.[or cakes].

Left a bit towards Alfriston, but no entry for us as we’ve tried all/some teashops there & they are too small. So we head to Berwick station, passing by Drusillas, crossing the A27 at the bike crossing & then on dedicated track next to the country road.  Trains are at 16.48,17.48 & even 15.48. Any Londoners can change at Lewes for direct train.


Meet at the Palace Pier at 10:30 am
Hills: Yes, there are a few, but prevailing W[esp. SW], helps & no need to dismount, though there are some rough patches between Peacehaven & Newhaven, unbefitting to a national cycle network, but picturesque.
Length: 23miles.
If weather is unkind we can return via Seaford station.



11 September 2012

Dear fellow members and friends

Look out for the free “Summer of Cycling” event on Hove Lawns on 16 Sept, 12-5. Includes free bike doctor, test your cycling skills, hay bale slalom, bike art workshops etc.

Details at (No Clarion ride that day).

Jim has found an interesting piece by Michael Herbert about the history of the Clarion movement and its involvement in left wing issues. If you want to read it, click on the About tab above.

We’ve had the following invitation from Sue Priest of Lewes Stop the Cuts: “LSTC is organizing its fourth official ride (weather permitting) on Saturday 15th September, meeting Lewes station for the 10:53 train to Polegate or at Polegate at 11:05. This will be an easy 20 miles across Pevensey levels and on bits of the Cuckoo Trail with lunch and tea stops. It was nice to see two of your members on the last outing and we look forward to meeting more of you.”

And finally – any offers to lead the ride on 4 November, which is creeping up fast?


The Last Ride: Angmering Cicular with a Beach Picnic

11 September 2012

On what is very likely the last glorious day of summer 14 Clarionettes assembled from various parts:-

Angela – Angelika (our London regular) – Anne – Jim – Joyce – Kate (welcome to a new rider) – Leon – Marilyn (Another new rider to welcome) [well, new-ish, anyway – Jim] – Rob – Roger (our Leader)  – Sikka – Suzanne  –  and TJ and Joan (another two Londoners).


This turned out not to be the fastest ride we have done, but with Roger’s patient shepherding it was full of delights.  The first part if not from the “sublime to the ridiculous” was, once past Angmering, from the horror of the A27 with cars seeming to be going at 80 miles p.h. to the haven of  lovely wooded lanes and on up a very acceptable hill to the great view of the castle.

Arundel Castle

The ride was not without its small crises – first was Joyce who had joined the ride determinedly (or foolhardily) braving a damaged back muscle, but who was shortly racked with pain. To the rescue came Rob with his magical pills – (no advertisement here but they were legal ….)  And they worked a miracle which enabled her (me) to stay in the group of back riders.

Bicycle Repair Man in action

Then Joan’s rear gear change gave up which forced her to ride in one gear – but, good rider that she is, she managed, and, as Jim said, we went “Climping up to Limping”, foregoing the  option of tea at Arundel so that we could get to Climping beach quicker;  drawn by the promise of a picnic on the beach and – for some of us – a likely last swim in the sea this year.


It was indeed perfect weather for a picnic and swim which was enlivened by Leon’s  new toy, an “underwater camera” which allowed us to take fun photos in the water. 

clarion photo at climping 9-9-12 (19)

clarion photo at climping 9-9-12 (6)

We left the beach just as the perfect weather gave way to a blustery wind to accompany us on our way back to Angmering via Littlehampton.  Last delight was the little cafe on the station at Angmering which had just the tea/coffee we needed.

Thank you Roger for a lovely meticulously organised ride


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

11 September 2012

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

From the Clarion, 19 October 1895. “Cycling Notes”  again

There may be a wide difference of opinion as to the utility of such parades, especially when got up in aid of an institution that most people believe ought to come under the service of the State.

But since things are as at present I think the Clarion C.C deserves every praise for responding so heartily to the appeal for a muster of a hundred.

Our cause is served by such a turn-out, and although many I know disagree with the business, they will admit that it shows with how generous a spirit Socialists regard such matters, and how ready we are to lend a helping hand even when we may not approve of the object.

Just a word of warning to some members of Clarion Cycling Clube, particularly Manchester.

I don’t like it being said that the Clarion C.Cs are formed for the express purpose of advertising the Clarion. And their repeated shouts of “Clarion” when on a run or at cycling parades is giving rise to may nasty remarks.; and charges of rowdyism are made against us.

Now, a little thought will show firstly that the Clarion doesn’t gain by being advertised in this manner; and secondly our cause is not served but damaged by it.

A blink is as good as a nod to a discerning gee-gee.

Next time.  A response to Manchester from Birmingham’s “O’Groomie O”