The Next Ride: Sunday 10 February 2013: Hassocks – Fulking – Newtimber (only 15/16 miles)

29 January 2013

From Hassocks, we head through Hurstpierpoint and across the A23 to Albourne with the old 1930s former Kings Head pub in front of us. We make our way to down to High Cross, down Blackstone Lane and the lanes south of the A281 past Bramlands. Then south again down the appropriately named Clappers Lane, arriving in Fulking.

The Shepherd and Dog – the popular pub at the bottom of Devils Dyke – or the Royal Oak at Poynings – for lunch.

Heading towards Brighton for a while and then down the lane to Newtimber. We can have a look at the Newtimber Place, a moated 16th/17th century house. Then along ‘Equestrian Route’ for a couple of hundred yards until it joins the cycle route beside the A23 and links up (near the ‘Llama Trekking’!) with the road back to Hurstpierpoint with the possibility of a tea stop.

Catch 10 15 from Brighton station or meet at 10 24 at Hassocks station. Trains for return at 1505, 1536, 1554.

Anne and Mick

The Last Ride: 27 January 2013: Polegate to Normans Bay and Back. A Ride in Pictures

29 January 2013
. . .

L-R Linda, Angela, Suzanne, Richard, Joyce, John. Not pictured: Roger and myself.


John had inherited the ride from Ian, and at times had trouble interpreting the instructions. Here we see him asking for directions to Hankham, supported by Roger. At this point the man appears to be offering them a lift. In the interests of balance, his wife gave completely contradictory directions – but we found it anyway.


The Levels were at their best – flat (as ever), wet (but not too wet) and not too windy (yet).

This is one of the (very swollen at the moment) watercourses that do their best to drain the Levels. As the acclaimed Clarion River Expert, I was chastised for not knowing its name. Further research suggested that this was Pevensey Haven.


My friend John Mewett is a “Clarion fellow-traveller” who occasionally joins us for lunch when we are hear his home in St Leonards. One day we hope to get him out on his bike. He told me that Normans Bay was so named in order to attract tourists, and that the Normans actually landed at Bulverhythe, near St Leonards.


I love the tall grass that lines the lanes. It also keeps the wind down (a bit)


After lunch, Joyce was astonished by the bill and is seen here trying to remove a gold tooth in order to make up the shortfall in the kitty.


The real kitty, however, was under the table, hoping for a piece of John’s fish to find its way onto the floor.


A warning to Pevensey drivers: Don’t mess with the Clarion! (This is addressed in particular to the young woman in the sports car who nearly drove Angela off the road in Rickney Lane)


However, one sees few cars on these lanes, and in fact probably more horses than cars. They and their riders are more polite than most drivers. Here is one of them.


St Marys at Westham was the first church the Normans built, in 1080. It is right next to …


… Pevensey Castle. Thanks John (and Ian) for a lovely ride!



29 January 2013

Dear fellow members and friends

Sikka and Tessa to the rescue!   They’re going to do the 24 Feb ride   Anyone want to take on 10 or 24 March?

Final Reminder for members

If you still haven’t yet renewed your membership please send a cheque for £7 payable to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club to Jim Grozier at 92a Springfield Road, Brighton BN1 6DE.

Jim stresses that if you pay by bank transfer to sort code 08-92-99, account no. 65377325; please email him with the date so he knows who it’s from.  He has two renewals he can’t identify.  So if you have already paid this way please let him know-

*     *     *     *     *

People have been up to all sorts of things in the last fortnight; Jenny is now settled in Hove and Mick  (we assume it’s him!)  has had an excellent letter in the Argus.  If you missed it it’s on

Meanwhile eagle-eyed Jim spotted that in a photo used in the Observer to illustrate a piece about the CTC at least two of the late C19 or early C20 Harrogate cyclists were carrying copies of the Clarion. He’s now put the photo on the blog. (See “About/The Clarion Movement”) [I cannot tell a lie … it was actually eagle-eyed Sally who spotted it – Jim]

Message from Jim about the Norfolk Weekend

Just checked the National Rail Enquiries website re the Norfolk weekend. All trains are running, so:

(1)  We will be able to get a train form Sheringham to the Broads to do one of our rides (the other does not involve trains)

(2)  Anyone wanting to go home on the Sunday (as opposed to Monday) or arrive on the Saturday (as opposed to Friday) will be able to do so by train.

More info on Norfolk after the 24 February ride.

Driving Test cycle awareness

Leon suggests that “As cyclists we should push hard to bring about change in the driving test for car drivers.” Here’s the link,187NH,259829,45P74,1

More on this in a recent Bricycles Update   Becky writes

Whilst the driving theory test has some optional cycling awareness questions, not everyone is tested with these and the practical driving test does not have any particular focus on cyclists. If drivers are not trained to be aware of cyclists and how to drive around them they will retain the lack of awareness after they pass their test. British Cycling supports the motoring organisations which are calling for harder tests and the inclusion of cycle awareness in the test. British Cycling’s manifesto says: changes to the driving test to make cycle awareness a core part of driver training and
testing with emphasis on how much space to give cyclists and how to safely overtake cyclists. We need to make this happen and stop people being needlessly killed on the roads

Get Britain Cycling

And the CTC reports on a development at national level

The first session of the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ inquiry was held in Parliament on Wednesday this week; CTC gave evidence alongside other organisations. The discussion became one of the most talked about topics on Twitter – follow what is said in future sessions using #getbritaincycling. The second session, on safety will be held on Wednesday 30 January, with CTC’s evidence to focus on ‘Safety in Numbers’ and the means to get there. CTC also raised these issues, together with AA President Edmund King and representatives of other organisations, earlier this

*      *      *      *

Last issue issues

Roger points out that as well as himself, Nick and Fred there were also Suzanne, Linda, Tessa, Angela. Richard and – on his first Clarion outing – Julian on the “Academic Corridor” ride a fortnight ago.

I was interested in the bit in the ride report about passing the Level where “some of us recalled this had been the location for many Brighton political marches and demos over the years” Such things may go back a lot longer than most people think.

Nick’s comment reminded me of a couple of things I read back in the early 70s (so the detail may be a bit imprecise” There’s a 1969 University of Sussex thesis on “Chartism in Brighton” by Thomas Kemnitz, who if memory serves me right was an American research student.  In the early C19 it was customary to have a huge Guy Fawkes bonfire on the Level. On one occasion in the mid 1830s – I think 1835 or 1836 – there was an attack on the top local official, the Head Borough, I think he was called, by proto-Chartist local radicals who were frustrated with his opposition to interpreting the complicated local franchise – Brighton had become a parliamentary constituency as a result of the 1832 Reform Act – in a way that denied most local men the vote, They tried to push him into the already blazing bonfire, and though he was rescued by his underlings, he spent the rest of the evening besieged in the pub that’s now called the Countess of Brunswick.

Brighton was a surprisingly radical place even before this or the arrival of a real industrial working class with the advent of the railway works in the 1840s.  A decade earlier when Sussex was one of the centres of the “Swing Riots” – what the Hammonds called “The Last Labourers’ Revolt” when threshing machines were smashed and ricks burned during the winter of 1830/31, many in authority couldn’t believe that the normally docile farm labourers could have revolted of their own accord.  Some actually believed there really was a “Captain Swing” who (like Ned Ludd in the East Midlands a decade or so previously) was sending letters threatening farmers that if they didn’t get rid of the machines that put men out of work in the winter he would come round and cut out their “black hearts” According to Eric Hobsbawm and George Rudé in Captain Swing those blamed for stirring up the trouble were radicals from Brighton and Horsham (Horsham!]


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

29 January 2013

128. Swiftsure’s brief report on the Manchester festivities

From Clarion 21 December 1895

I suppose Secretary Reekie will give a full, true, and particular account in next month’s Scout of the great dinner and concert of the Manchester and District Clarion C.C., at the Mosley Hotel, last Saturday.  In the meantime, I can refer readers to this week’s Cyclers’ News for an account of the function. And at the same time I may say that the local representatives of the Cyclers’ News, the brothers H and J Williams contributed in no small degree to the success of the evening by their fine singing and reciting.As for our other entertainers -particularly J. Pitt-Hardacre – well, all I need say is they were tip-top, and further enlargement I’ll leave to Reekie

Next time   A Second Easter Meet?

The Next Ride: Sunday 27 January 2013 – Pevensey Levels/Normans Bay

16 January 2013

c 18 miles

A tiny bit of the Cuckoo trail and then via Rickney to outskirts of Pevensey and across another bit of the Levels to the Star Inn – once notorious for smuggling. Back via the Saxon Shore fort at Pevensey through Hankham and Glynleigh joining the Cuckoo Trail at Summer Hill with possible tea stop at the Old Loom craft centre.

Catch 10.20 from Brighton Station or meet at Polegate Station at 10.49. Return trains at 15.06 and 15.42

NB I will probably ride to Polegate and meet you at the station.


The Last Ride: Sunday 13 January 2013 “Stanmer and Falmer” or “Skulking in the Academic Corridor”

16 January 2013

Roger’s excellent ride took us from Brighton along the Lewes Road cycle route to Stanmer Park and Falmer, for a tour of the latest developments on the University of Brighton and Sussex campuses and a view of the new stadium for Brighton and Hove Albion. The previous day’s heavy rain did not bode well for Sunday’s ride, but luckily the weather was dry for the entire day.

The (intermediate) start

Brighton’s Loving Hut Cafe on the Level was the start of the ride for myself and Fred, where we met the Clarion contingent who had just cycled from the Palace Pier. As we cycled past the Level, some of us recalled this had been the location for many Brighton political marches and demos over the years. The Radio 1 Roadshow also parked at the Level for one of its last forgettable radio broadcasts in the mid-1990s. Currently fenced-off and flooded, following heavy rain, the Level didn’t look particularly inviting as it awaited its 2013 restoration development.

Gate houses

The smooth, tarmac cycle path to Falmer is an ideal route for any cycling students attempting to reach early morning lectures at the universities of Sussex and Brighton. We made good progress and had reached Stanmer in less than 30 minutes. It’s a pity the smooth cycling surface we encountered on the gentle ascent from the Level didn’t continue on the road which lead into Stanmer Park. A dangerous ledge at the side of the road, requiring tarmac, caused Roger to fall off his bike and cut his lip. The bleeding stopped fairly quickly and Roger was ready to lead the ride again relatively quickly. However, we were all aware the accident could have been much worse if Roger had been cycling faster. Photos were taken of the offending ledge, with the intention of alerting cyclists of the possible danger associated with the entrance to Stanmer Park.

The dangerous ledge

We observed some of the damaged caused to Stanmer Park during the October 2012 Shakedown Festival. One of Roger’s potential lunchtime discussion topics concerned the council renting out Stanmer Park for large pop concerts, following the damage caused to the grass during the Shakedown Festival. I must confess I rather enjoyed the Essential day festivals held in Stanmer Park during the mid-1990s. October does seem to be far too late in the year for one of these events to take place, though. Perhaps the council needs to work on stricter guidelines for numbers in the park and the responsibilities of promoters to clear up any post-festival mess if similar events are to take place in the future.

Grass damage from Splashdown festival

We stopped to look at an over-priced Stanmer Park gated housing development and cycled past a group of dog walkers before reaching the University of Sussex campus. I wasn’t familiar with the new Northfield student residential accommodation, or the intriguing umbrella cycle storage units before Sunday’s ride. Roger wondered what Basil Spence would have made of the new buildings if he were still alive today. The new buildings seemed to make a large campus even larger and you could see why cycling appears to be a popular form of transport on the campus.

Suzanne tries out the umbrella cycle racks

Roger decided to leave out the ‘country track across the downs’ option and we headed straight to the Swan Inn instead (a very wise move!). I had my usual pint of lime and soda and bought a plate of chips with side salad. I looked rather enviously at those who had opted for the pea and mint soup option, as this looked rather more appetizing than the dish I had picked.

The Swan, Falmer.

The temperature seemed to have dropped significantly after lunch. In an attempt to keep warm, we cycled briskly round the Falmer Pond on our way to the Brighton University campus. We had to pass Brighton & Hove Albion’s impressive new stadium before reaching the University of Brighton campus and stopped for a couple of photos outside the new permanent home for Brighton’s football club. The Falmer Academy building was particularly striking sight when we reached the University of Brighton campus. It was then downhill all the way back to Brighton along the Lewes Road cycle path.

The AmEx stadium and Brighton Uni campus

Thanks to Roger for devising a route which re-acquainted me with an area I thought I knew quite well, but had changed significantly since my last visit more than 10 years ago. A perfect winter’s day cycle ride.


[More photos on Flickr]

News, a new CTC venture and a visit to Clarion House

16 January 2013

Dear fellow members and friends 

Offers of rides seem to have dried up for the moment – although I know two or three people are thinking about it. As you’ll see below, the next one’s not ‘spoken for’ are 24 Feb and 10 March. Any bids?

*      *      *      *

My New Year’s Resolution plea seems to have met the fate of many NYRs themselves. Jim tells me that so far only about a third of members have renewed. Please don’t delay any longer; it makes extra work for Jim and – though this isn’t likely to be very crucial – will decrease our voting power at the national AGM at Scarborough at Easter

Send a cheque for £7 payable to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club to Jim 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]

Anyone who has not yet joined – but would like to, and help keep both B&H, and the national Clarion going – please go to the “About” page – you’ll all the necessary details and a link for the membership form.

*      *      *      *

A New CTC venture
As some of you will already know the CTC – which one doesn’t usually associate with racing as distinct from touring is, next Saturday, 19 January, (I quote) “launching Team CTC, a UK-based elite women’s cycling team. The team, which will be unveiled at The London Bike Show, will take on a number of big races in 2013.” The other sponsors are green energy uk, Butterworth Spengler, Madison and Merlin Cycles. Good for them. The CTC message also reminds us that

“CTC has supported female cyclists since our earliest days when we took up the case of Lady Harberton, who was banned for wearing ‘rational dress’ after she cycled to an inn for lunch in 1899”

And, as followers of my regular feature on the early days of the Clarion at the end of these newsletters will recall, the Clarion – both the paper and the clubs themselves – were vocal supporters of women cyclists and “rational dress” some years before the Harberton incident.

*      *      *      *

One survival from earlier Clarion days is the “Clarion House” café at Roughlee. I’ve been there twice, once in 2004 on the bike, and once more recently when the Easter Meet was in Ramsbottom with Sue and Fred the easy way – in the car. Here’s Paul Salveson’s* account of a visit a week or two back. It’s from his regular newsletter “The Weekly Salvo”

Clarion Calls
Sunday saw a merry band of Colne Valley folk bravely heading across the last frontier – into Lancashire. The purpose was purely comradely, viz., to pay homage to Nelson ILP’s Clarion House, which – as all good Salvo readers will know – celebrated its centenary last year and was featured on Radio 4. Seven of us endured the mild January temperatures (three rang in sick) to walk from Barley up Pendle, though we decided against reaching the summit as the notorious Pendle Mist came down. We continued on to Clarion House where we enjoyed industrial-sized mugs of tea whilst Keir Hardie gazed down benignly on us. A banner proclaimed ‘Socialism – Our Hope’ and another calling on ‘Workers of the World Unite’ hung from the walls. There were a good number of walkers and cyclists soaking up the atmosphere including a CTC member from Blackburn who showed us a photo of him on a ‘drasine’ (cycle on rails) on Norwegian Railways in 1957.  The café opens every Sunday throughout the year and is set amidst superb countryside. It is walkable (well, a long walk) from Nelson station and during the summer there’s a bus service. Of course the correct way to arrive is by bike, as many visitors do.

The “industrial-sized mugs of tea” Paul refers to must be the ones used for the celebrated pints of tea. Just what’s needed after a long walk or ride. Paul sent me some photos of the Clarion House showing some of the banners. Being (very) technologically challenged I don’t know how to incorporate them into this newsletter but I’m asking Fred to put them either on the blog version or Flickr.

[*Paul, who’s on our newsletter mailing list, so I better be careful about accuracy, is among many other things the author of the highly recommended (not just by me) Socialism with a Northern Accent. Radical traditions for modern times which came out last year. It focuses on the early milieu of the ILP and the Clarion – and what we can usefully take from this today. A lot in his view – and mine. On the book’s jacket Paul is described as “a professional railwayman and visiting professor at the University of Huddersfield” and we are told that “He originated and developed the community rail concept “ He’s also – or was when the book was published – vice-chair of the Colne Valley Labour Party and more recently has become a local councillor.]