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)

The last ride: 2 December 2012 – Haywards Heath Circular (Ouse Trilogy Part III)

6 December 2012

Report on Jim’s Ride to the Source of the Ouse

The 2nd day of December 2012 seemed fated. Anne and my trip to London to celebrate our daughter’s 40th birthday was cancelled at the last minute due to the dreaded lurgy now known as the norovirus. We made haste, phoned Jim, struggled to load the bikes into the car and began to reverse out of the driveway. An awful grinding noise ensued. On investigation we discovered Anne’s helmet trapped underneath the car. Fortunately she was not wearing it at the time.

A delay followed while the helmet was removed, utterly crushed. One of the tyres appeared to be low. Could a puncture have been caused I fretted. A fresh call to Jim and we made our excuses. Jim mentioned, however, that if we were able to come, then Angela was due to join the clarionettes at the Half Moon at Balcombe at 12 and we could meet up there.

A trip to the garage re-assured me that there was no puncture so we set off again and arrived at the Half Moon by 11.50. Half an hour later another call to Jim elicited the information that lunch had been transported to the Victory Inn at Staplefield. From a gastronomic point of view this turned out to be a definite plus.

Jim had suggested we drove to Staplefield but lacking exercise and fresh air we decided to ride. Making our way in the direction of Handcross we turned off down the long and exhilarating descent of Brantridge Lane. As usual the exhilaration got the better of me and I arrived at the Victory Inn just as the party were ordering their drinks. A quarter of an hour later with the fourth phone call of the morning I learned that Anne was at the other pub in Staplefield but was now on her way to join us. Wherever it is one goes after the doghouse I was already in, I was ordered to it.

Jim, Linda and David, we learned over lunch, had had a hilly morning and fine views.

Ouse Valley Viaduct

Angela had indeed joined them at Balcombe and they had all left the Half Moon 5 minutes before our arrival. We all enjoyed the meal, most had soup or a substantial sandwich and I had tapas for one (is that an oxymoron?). David produced a print out of the Ouse, the Adur and all their tributaries. He had also discovered a cycle tour company that will do a 7 day tour of the Ouse for £750 or so. After our pints several of us made a brief exit to explore the source of the ooze. A group photo was taken outside the Victory Inn.

Haywards Heath Circular Group

It was a bright clear day but the warmest part of it was definitely over by the time we set off and with nightfall approaching we made swift progress, the warmth of cycling uphill was almost welcome. We stopped outside the church at Slaugham.

Haywards Heath Circular

but declined Jim’s invitation to explore the off-road fields behind it where we might glimpse this mysterious source. We continued, stopping again opposite a lovely hammer pond where on other side of the road there was a pretty water staircase which some had falsely claimed to be the true source of the Ouse. Our scientist leader assured us that it was not.

We went on to Plummers Plain, stopping only to disconnect Angela’s front brake which was impeding her progress. We turned back towards Cuckfield. For a few seconds some of us stared reverentially down at a rather dirty ditch which Jim assured us was the real source of the Ouse.

Our goal having been achieved and dusk approaching fast we made our way swiftly through the charming, albeit undulating, High Weald until, arriving in Cuckfield, there was a pause and I heard the words llamas and photos. With a groan I made my excuses and pedalled back to Balcombe for the car while everyone else went on to Haywards Heath Station.

It should be noted that David and Linda both cycled from Lancing before the ride and back again afterwards, thereby adding an extra 20 miles to their day not bad on their second Clarion ride.

As always with Jim’s rides this one had been meticulously researched. Thank you, Jim.



5 December 2012

5 December 2012

Dear fellow members and friends

As usual all our fingers are crossed for a mild winter – especially on the days when we’ve got rides scheduled.  But we’d better revive the system we first tried two years ago whereby the ride leader – in the current case, me – can, if the forecast looks really awful, cancel (or postpone to a slot later on) the ride by 5 pm on the Saturday before.   We had to do this in 2010 and last year although we did go ahead with the ride it was quite icy – as Jenny particularly will remember.  And pretty cold – so wrap up warm!

*      *      *      *

Rides for the New Year are looking good – but we need someone to take on 27 January – which I can’t “backstop.”   Any offers?

*      *      *      *

Keith Bingham used to edit Cycling Weekly  (aka ‘the comic’) until fairly recently and is still a regular contributor. He had a big feature in the 22 November edition on the governments “Think!” road safety campaign.  You can guess its general drift from the title “Think Again” The paper was supposed to have a meeting with Stephen Hammond the minister in charge of road safety but in the end he was “too busy”!   So it sent him a series of questions by email which he then answered.  The details are well worth looking at the main point Bingham makes is that though the campaign is a good idea it’s flawed because its “main thrust” is “that cyclists and drivers share equal responsibility when everyone knows that drivers are mostly at fault in collisions with cyclists.  Bingham was not entirely convinced that Hammond was familiar with or understood the Highway Code (in relation to the amount of space drivers should give cyclists) and there are other specific points.  But here’s Bingham’s conclusion.

Think! the government’s new road safety campaign fails to ram home to drivers that it is they who are to blame for most collisions involving cyclists. Furthermore, statistics on “contributory factors” include child cyclists – generally too young to have spatial awareness.

Think! is claimed to give cycle safety a higher profile than previous safety campaigns.  It makes the point that cyclists and drivers are not separate species and that most people cycle and drive. This is all very well. But to say that cyclists and drivers should look out for each other implies equal responsibility when it is the motor vehicle that does most of the maiming and killing simply because of its sheer size, weight and speed –even in the hands of a thinking driver.

The real problem, which is hardly given any thought at all, is that as vehicles have become increasingly faster and responsive – for those speedy trips around town car commercials depict us making – the tempo on the roads has risen, placing cyclists and pedestrians in greater jeopardy.

Too few police on traffic duty means drivers will continue to break speed limits, millions of them will continue to use their mobile phones without a thought for the danger they pose.

And cyclists who jump red lights and ride on pavements will continue to do so. Thinking doesn’t come into it.

If you’ve any comments, send them to me and I’ll put them in the next issue.


* * * *

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

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!


* * * *

Subscription Renewal

It’s that time of year, folks! If you are a Clarion member (and you know who you are) please send a cheque for £7 payable to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club to me at 92a Springfield Road, Brighton BN1 6DE. You can also pay by bank transfer to sort code 08-92-99, account no. 65377325; but please put your name in there somewhere so I know who it’s come from!

If you are not yet a member but would like to join, you can download a membership form and send it to me (full details provided on the form).


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

5 December 2012

124. A “grate nite” in Birmingham

On the eve of the Birmigham Clarion’s 2nd annual feast Swiftsure told readers:

The “function” of the year will take place in Birmingham tomorrow, or in other words the second annual dinner of the Birmingham Clarion C.C will be held at the Olde Royal, at which members of the Clarion board and other invited guests will assist. It will be a “grate nite”.

Then on the 29 November the following appeared:

T’was my after impression of the great Birmingham function last Saturday that it was the deuce of a long way to travel for five hours jollity. But it was well worth it! In fact the whole affair was too grand for words; and by the time the last course was removed, I felt like a bloated capitalist in more senses than one! My further impressions are the Bounder is a “great” speaker and the most original chairman I have seen. But he doesn’t like the office so don’t let any be led into attempting to emulate the Birmingham club, by asking him to be chairman or president at any other function.

The whole affair reflected the highest credit on the officers and members of the Birmingham Clarion Cycling Club.

After which space for the O’Groomie O

Next time: The O’Groomie O’s account