The Next Ride: 1 January 2013 – to Carat’s Café at Shoreham Harbour

27 December 2012

The Next Ride

The next real ride will be on 13 January but there will, as usual be



Carat’s is a popular venue on New Year’s Day and it’s not possible to book…   We’ve been lucky in the past – partly because we’ve managed to get there before the rush And once  (2007) we even sat outside – not bad for January. Like last year we’ll start 10 15 to give us a better chance.  Prompt start please.

As always, I’m hoping that this easiest of starts to the year may tempt out some of those we seldom see – or even have yet to see.

Meet by the Palace Pier at 10.15am – or along the route at eg Maroccos.  Only about 9 miles (there and back) – plus from home to the Pier.

Clarion Christmas Social – 22 December 2012

27 December 2012

Roger and Suzanne outside the world's smallest restaurant

The Saturday before Christmas and the weather did us proud, with twenty four hours of continuous rain from a grey, grey sky, pushed around by twenty mph winds. But the nineteen clarionists who ventured out for a festive, lunchtime get-together were not discouraged. They were Angela, Suzanne, John, Jo, Jenny, Nick, Chloe, Sue (Bullock), Ian, Joyce, Chris, Sue (from Lewes), Mick, David, Anne, Fred, Helen, Linda and Roger.

Happy lunchers

Well done to Nick who arrived by bike – and to anyone else who did the same but less conspicuously. Well done also, to the rest, who didn’t.

Nick and Jenny tuck in to tapas

The venue was the Whitecliffs Café at Saltdean. We had a set menu of mixed tapas, which arrived in true, chaotic, tapas style and was received with mixed reviews. The conversation was also mixed, chaotic and done to a turn.

Ian and Joyce managed to win the cryptic, cycling related quiz – sample question: Wartime US general eavesdropping – answer Bradley Wiggins. Mick, who confessed to creating the questions, presented the winners each with a jar of home-made lemon curd.

The other table

Once the meal was over, a sub-group wended its way back to Mick and Anne’s house to admire the views, drink tea, eat mince pies and contemplate a game of BN1. Your correspondent left at this point, so subsequent developments must remain hidden in the mist that was by now enshrouding the house.

Many thanks to Anne and Mick for organising everything and for their generous hospitality.

(Santa’s) Boots!


Reminder – Clarion Christmas Social 2012: Saturday 22nd Dec at Whitecliffs Cafe at Saltdean on the sea-front; 1pm-3.30pm

19 December 2012

Come for tapas & maybe more Xmas delights. Those that wish to can follow that with Xmas pud & custard or mince pies at ours – 31 Bristol Gate, just up the lane from the Marina, so on most people’s way home. I’ve just bought Fred & Jim’s friend, Paul’s, new Brighton game “BN1” so we can have fun with that too.

If the weather is fine & sun shines we could explore further at Saltdean with a walk along the secret Undercliff Walk at Peacehaven & if impossibly horrid, maybe some people can still make it to ours in East Brighton, at least.

Quite a few people have already told me they can come but the cafe would like numbers so that they can set a long table for us, so please let me know by email.
For more info on the cafe see their website, or visit; there’s parking, buses, or seaside ride or walk along the Undercliff Walk to just before the tunnel to Saltdean, then halfway up the cliff!



The Last Ride: Sunday 16th December 2012 – Berwick Circular 14 miles

19 December 2012

Those who attended were: Ian (our ride leader), Joyce, Ann, Linda, David, Mick, Nick and myself Leon.

Well now, as you all know, this was our last ride of 2012. The route was our traditional loop around Ripe and the Chalvington area with lunch at the Yew Tree.

It has been a habit of mine to wait until I’ve seen the weather on the ride day before making up my mind if to venture out or not. The sun this morning was breaking through the clouds that gave us heavy downpours last night. So my mind was made up, a quick breakfast and bike check followed. A text to Joyce so that the group would know that I was on my way by car with my Brompton.

Then the complications started; a ticket was obtained for me at Brighton, thinking that I was arriving at that station (what wonderful and thoughtful people we have in our midst). Chance had it that Nick turned up after the realization that I was going direct to Berwick and the ticket wasn’t wasted.

The next part in this was my journey time to Berwick. Slower than expected due to surface water on the lanes between Hassocks and Berwick. The only drained areas were Lewes town.

I arrived about twenty-five minutes late. The group was waiting for me in the station car-park, what a sight, bright yellow clad cyclists some with smiles, others looking a little cold. Thank you all, you are so kind.

Starting out at Berwick Station

As a penance for keeping everyone waiting, I was selected in my absence to write this report. As it turns out that this will be my last report it’s not such a penance after all.

We all finally set off toward Ripe at about 11.15am. Bright wet roads and heading north with no sun reflection to dazzle us. This section has some very narrow country lanes, beautiful even when strewn wish gravel wash and large puddles.

The group had split into two, dare I say fast and slow ? Well, yes, but when the tail-enders arrived at the Golden Cross, our most northerly point on the ride; the lead group were there waiting for us. This always refreshes in my mind, your club motto, Fellowship is Life.

Now turning south the sun is reflecting from the wet black road and causing the use of sunglasses to be more a hindrance than of use. The tail enders Ann, Joyce and myself made our way, as we do fairly slowly toward the lunch stop at the Yew Tree.

On arrival we were greeted with an absence of cyclists. Where was the lead group? Had we encountered a time warp and passed them so slowly that we didn’t notice them? Joyce and Ann went into the pub to make enquiries, was there another Yew Tree pub in the area? Yes there is, but it’s on the other side of Berwick station. We just stood for a moment wondering what to do when suddenly the lead group arrived.

Ian’s story was that they were possibly in a state of enlightenment as they passed the pub, or was it true that they were just daydreaming, or blinded by sun reflection off the road. Who knows.

Bill & his dog, Ben.

The first question when entering the pub is: where should we sit, inside or outside? Most decided to sit inside although it wasn’t cold outside. Ann had spotted a ’Flower-pot man’ en route about one mile back up the road and decided after ordering her lunch to backtrack to take a photo of it; Linda went also.

Pub garden extraordinaire!

The food was delivered to the table quite a while before their return, but they seemed quite happy that they’d been back to take the photos.The food was good as can be seen in the photos. The conversation was stimulating as usual and we all enjoyed being there together.

Linda & Nick at the wishing well

It was decided that on or way back to the station at Berwick that we had time to visit the Arlington reservoir to compare haw it looked now against the memory of last spring when the water level was about twenty feet lower. Then on again the short distance to the coffee stop opposite the station while waiting for the next train.

Joycw takes some deep breaths

I had to pick a seat that had been previously broken and when I touched it the top of the back came away in my hand, not quite a red face but keeping a low profile for a while.

December 16, 2012: Berwick circular

Lots of chat and laughter about previous rides and this one followed. I’m confident in saying that we all had a splendid day and many thanks to Ian for leading it once again.



19 December 2012

18 December 2012
Dear fellow members and friends

Unless I’ve missed a message – apologies if I have – we still have no one to organise the 27 January ride – which I can’t “backstop.” Any offers – please?

* * * *
Some people – well, Roger anyway – were puzzled by the absence of a ride report in the last issue [of the email newsletter] and wondered whether Jim had had to cancel the ride. The explanation is simply that the ride did take place as announced but no one on it felt able to take on doing a report. We’ve had reports since our early days nearly a decade ago; I’m 999.9% certain that it was Joyce who originally suggested it – and it’s been a very worthwhile feature of these newsletters since then – at least I think so. It would be a great pity to discontinue them. Reports don’t have to be long or detailed – a couple of sentences will do. Which is not to say that the best ones we’ve had have not been much more ambitious. They certainly have. So while no one should feel compelled to ever provide a report it would be really nice if we could all aim to provide one just occasionally.

* * * *
Last time I included an extract from Keith Bingham’s piece in Cycling Weekly commenting on the government’s “Think!” road safety campaign. And I ended by saying “If you’ve any comments, send them to me and I’ll put them in the next issue” Well, I only received one – from Jim. And here it is.

I think it is extremely irresponsible for him to say that “cyclists who jump red lights and ride on pavements will continue to do so”. One might equally say that motorists who drive too near cyclists or park on cycle lanes will continue to do so. I am not querying the statistics he quotes, which may well be right, but that doesn’t mean we should not all look out for one another. I see far too many cyclists thoughtlessly jumping red lights and it makes me cringe and feel embarrassed to be a cyclist. Today when one did this, a third cyclist who had stopped alongside me called out “I hope you get knocked over” … that might be an extreme reaction but then it does make us law-abiding cyclists feel extremely angry. In fact when I am the object of a near-miss as a pedestrian, which happens far too often, I am strongly tempted to take direct action and push the cyclist over myself!

* * * *

Last week’s “comic” had a feature very critical of the BBC programme The War on Britain’s Roads – anyone see it? I didn’t but according to Cycling Weekly it was very misleading and unhelpful. Two quotes from the article:

From Martin Gibbs, British Cycling policy and campaigns director:

We’re just people: sometimes people on bikes, other times people in cars, often both in the same day We all bear a responsibility for the culture on the roads.

From Edmund King, president of the AA:

We need to talk to each other in a civilised manner, and I don’t think a programme like this really helps. It’s not a war out there.”

* * * *

See you at the Christmas Social, I hope – and in any case have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year. The next issue will be not later than 3 January and will included reports of both the Christmas Social and the New Year’s Day “brunch” ride to Carats Café.

Fred spotted this on the BBC website – You’ll have seen it already if you’re in the google group:

Sunday 16 December 2012
For this week’s Sunday Lunch, Hardeep Singh Kohli visits a beautiful valley in Lancashire to meet the volunteers who run Clarion House. With its red flag waving and a sign outside saying ‘Socialism Our Hope’, Clarion House is the last Independent Labour Party socialist tea room in the country. Visited several times by Keir Hardie, the tea room was set up at the end of the 19th century to encourage mill workers into the countryside every Sunday. Over pint mugs of tea, visitors were encouraged to make friends, discuss the issues of the day and spread the message of socialism. And as Hardeep finds out, today Clarion House still attracts lots of cyclists and walkers every Sunday in search of a pint of tea and a chat even though the social message is diminished.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 125. The O Groomie O’s account of the “grate nite” in Birmingham

19 December 2012

From The Clarion, 23 November 1895

Birmingham Clarion C.C,

Once more the premier club raises its noble head with a look of fire, and a heart full swelled, and once more the braggart upstart C.C.Cs “have paled their ineffectual fires”.

The Second Annual Perifery Swelling function was the occasion. The Sandy McSprint, Swiftsure, and the Man Sufcliffe gazed on the scene and were subdued. They felt how idle had been their miserable boast of superiority of numbers. They felt they were in the presence of quality. The other clubs, Derby, Uttoxeter, Kidderminster, Wolverhampton and Coventry were also properly impressed.

The whole of the Board, with the exception of Nunquam, Mont Blanc, Dangle, Whiffley Puncto, and Candid Friend, was there. The feast was a most gorgeous one, and the company, inspired by the presence of the Bounder, did it justice.

But the “smoker”, ah, that was great. Nero Smith of the Leamington tripe shop caused a gentle beam to spread. Whilst Reekie, Adeler, Liebman and others kept the joy full sweet.

We had a magnificent time, and we all went home too full for words. The other clubs are going to follow once more in the wake of the “Premier” and hol did their dinners likewise. May they all be as successful


Next time: Manchester festivities

The Next Ride: Sunday 16 December – Berwick Circular – c 14 miles only

6 December 2012

Our traditional last ride of the year – a really short and flat one that maybe will tempt everyone out unless the weather is atrocious – Fingers crossed!

We’ll do the usual loop round the Berwick, Ripe, Chalvington area and stop for lunch at the Yew Tree pub. This will be not only the last ride of 2012 but also the one on the shortest day we’ll have been out on.

Since it’s so difficult to predict numbers and weather (there were only 2 of us one year!) I’m not going to make any arrangement with the Yew Tree. We should be there early – around midday – and in the unlikely event of not being able to have lunch there we’d have a choice of either going on the end and getting something at the Berwick Inn or adding a couple of miles (about half that to get there) and going back to The Lamb at Ripe.

Distance: c 14 miles.

Hills: it really is pretty flat – just a few “rises” in the road

Off road: none

Traffic: quiet roads

Catering: Yew Tree for lunch. Possible tea stop (depending on train times and our own progress) at the Berwick Inn for tea

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station or meet at Berwick station at 10.43 [There’s only one train an hour – so I can’t suggest an alternative.] Train back at 14.48 (reaching Brighton at 15.12) or 15.48 (16.12)