The Next Ride: Sunday 10 March. Only 18 miles with hardly any hills. Hassocks – Woods Mill – Fulking –Newtimber

27 February 2013

Having been cursed with atrocious weather every time we’ve attempted a Clarion trip recently, we are trying again on March 10th, by when we hope conditions will be Spring like. Catching the 10.15am FCC from Btn  & reaching Hassocks at 10.24, we hope to make a prompt start for Woods Mill Nature Reserve, where we stop for refreshment in their picnic area. Woods Mill does not provide any refreshment itself, so we shall have to bring our own, but they do offer all manner of Springtime nature; – water shrew, snipe, green sandpipers, little egrets, barn owls, toads, wrens bistorts, carp, great crested newts water rails [?] Last Monday we saw butterflies & heard glorious bird-song. There is a short little paved walk we can do or merely rest in the relative tranquillity & green shade.

We have to backtrack a mile or so after this to reach Blackstone Lane but Woods Mill is worth the trip [I think], being the HQ of Sussex Wildlife Trusts. Saw lovely little miniature pony in Blackstone Lane & even Mick let me stop & photograph it. Unfortunately I didn’t have any food for it, in spite of it begging fetchingly, so will try to remember an apple this time. After the long lane we come to Fulking & are near the Shepherd & Dog but, since it is Mothers Day they won’t have room for us till 2.30pm so we will progress a little further to The Royal Oak which will take us at 2pm in their new upstairs dining room. They are recommended in the Les Routiers Guide & do super food. Soup is a bit dear at £6 but it is worth it, as a real treat & there are sharing plates & loads of interesting & delicious food on offer. Please let us know if you want to come on the ride as Mothers Day is one of the busiest of the year & the pub needs to know ASAP.  694484.

Next highlight is Newtimber Place where we can have a peep at the house & grounds. It has an Open Garden on April 10th, but there is a Clarion Ride to Chichester then, so you won’t be able to go then. After the house we cross into a wood which was filled with snowdrops when we went & hope it still is. If we need any more refreshment after that we can stop at Washbrook Farm for tea & cake, chickens, geese & golden grouse.

Trains back at 16.06, 16.15, 16.34 & 16.45, which seems very good for Hassocks on a Sunday. I’ll put my photos of the snowdrop wood & Woods Mill on Flickr site. Click here for the Royal Oak site.

Meet at 10 00 for 10 15 at Brighton station or at 10 24 at Hassocks station.  Trains for return at 16 06,  16 15, 16 34, 16 45.


The Last Ride – Angela’s Report: Sunday 24 February: Hassocks to Lewes

27 February 2013

On a very cold day, Clarion riders bravely set off from Hassocks.

Tessa and Jim ‘demonstrating’ the meaning of the road sign!

At the Plough Inn near Plumpton we stopped to look at the memorial to the Polish airmen who were killed in WW2.

A coffee stop at the Fountain Inn, Plumpton Green, to warm up.

Between Plumpton and Cooksbridge, this track was rather crackly!

Two girls with their horses all dressed up for the cold weather.

Ann and Mick enjoying lunch at the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes where our ride ended.

Thanks to Sue and Tessa for organising a lovely ride. The winter landscape was beautiful and we had a fun time.


27 February 2013

Dear fellow members and friends

I was horrified to learn that Jenny was hit by a car on her way to the ride on Sunday. I’ve been in touch and she tells me  she’s “pretty  OK” though her injuries sound bad enough to me..  Everyone will join me in sending our best wishes for the swiftest of recoveries.  She is going to pursue compensation for possible damage to her bike through the CTC legal department.;

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We need – within the next week or so – someone to take on the ride for 24 March – which I’m not able to cover.  Offers please!

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This week’s newsletter focuses first on matters of general interest discussed at the AGM.  Sometimes people are a little reluctant to take on a ride report.  It’s been said on several occasions before, but well worth repeating, that there is no “standard” requirements for reports – whatever seems right to the rapporteur (se) is fine.  Some people, notably Anne, Jim and Suzanne, have made some very impressive, long and detailed reports – and such are always welcomed.  But, equally, just a few lines saying, perhaps, just who was on the ride, and briefly where you went and what the weather was like is absolutely fine.  Or, why not follow Jim’s example and do a report based on photos?  It’s entirely up to the ride report writer.  Fred has done a step-by-step guide for anyone who is really stuck about how to do it. If you’d like one get in touch with Fred at [They liked him so much they named him twice!] But the essential thing is to be like Frank Sinatra and do it your way.

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Roger and Jim have also put together a two part guide to putting photos on (and viewing/downloading from) Flickr  – which I’m attaching with the newsletter.

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Fred writes “Clarionettes may be interested in this blog about Combe Haven Valley.”

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Message from Jim. “I’m sorry there has not been any more news of the Norfolk ride yet, but just remind everyone that it will be from 19-22 April (with rides on Sat 20 and Sun 21) and based in Sheringham, and that people intending to go should book their own accommodation? I’m hoping to do one recce at least in the next 2 weeks so should be able to send something out in the next circular.”

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Several people in B&H Clarion knew Peter Avis, who died before Christmas and others may have read some of the obits that have appeared in the press. And lots of us visit Dieppe from time to time – sometimes with bikes!  Those of us who had expressed interest at Peter’s funeral were invited by the Dieppe town council to attend the inauguration of the “Place Peter Avis” on Saturday 16 February. Joyce took the Newhaven ferry the day before.  Unfortunately, Sue and I couldn’t make the ferry because of my teaching commitment on Friday mornings so we had to go the long way round via the Channel Tunnel

What is now the Place Peter Avis lies at the back of the St Remy church off the Rue de 19 août 1942. Part of it is used for outside chairs and tables of Peter’s favourite Brazza café. Sue and I went to the place to have a preliminary look at it about an hour before the ceremony was due to start. The new plaque was covered by a small tricolour and the bench that Siobhan, Peter’s daughter, had initiated was just beneath it. It has a little plaque reading “In Memory of Peter Avis” A large poster in the nearby MJC building gave details of the inauguration of the place together with a large photo of Peter

There were between 100 and 150 people present when proceeding began soon after 11 a.m. There were a number of us from Brighton and “Giddings of the Times,” as Peter always referred to him, was accompanied by some of Peter’s old Observer colleagues.  Sebastien Jumel, the maire, made a speech stressing Peter’s work for and attachment to the town and was followed by Brighton mayor Bill Randall who made a shorter speech – also in French. There were two more speeches – both in English – by another of the Dieppe councillors and by Siobhan.  Apart from tributes to Peter much emphasis was placed on keeping the Brighton-Dieppe links going and building on them.

The plaque – which reads “Peter Avis, 1929- 2012. Journaliste anglais. Citoyen d’honneur de la Ville de Dieppe” was then unveiled to applause and we repaired to the MJC for an aperitif.

Sue took some photos – which I’ll be happy to send to anyone interested.

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“Pothole Epidemic” shouted the headline of the front page of the Argus and the details were pretty shocking.  But they fade into relative insignificance besides the account of Graham Tooley in last weeks “comic” (Cycling Weekly) Graham maintains that he’s never seen roads so badly maintained in 40 years of cycling. “Cycling through West Sussex I hit a pothole sending me falling to the ground, suffering with serious cuts and bruises.”  His 12 year old Colnago bike was damaged beyond repair and will cost him £1,800 to replace – but so far, at least, he has been refused compensation by the Highways Agency.


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Cycles of Radical Will  –   Anne reports

We were sorry to miss John’s ride out on The Levels in early January & enjoyed the photo-strip report from Jim with all the highlights & humour. The next day when it wasn’t raining we struck out that way ourselves from Polegate to Bexhill on the NCN2 to see the new exhibition by Shaun Gladwell at the De La Warr Pavilion.

It’s called Cycles of Radical Will & features some cycling; a beautiful film of a BMX cycle ballet performed outside the de la Warr. On the roof there is an installation of BMX bike ramps sited so that the cyclists have to co-operate & interact to perform their stunts. These can be booked in advance if you want to try your hand at it! On the top floor also there are 3 video screens with 2 long & 1 short film on skateboarding & it’s sub-cultures, here, in US & Shaun’s homeland-Australia. On the ground floor in the main room there are 2 large screens showing a female beat boxer on 1 & a male body popper dancer on the other-both thrilling to watch & admire among the urban grime & graffiti or club scene.

We had a gourmet lunch there, starting on the balcony overlooking the sea but Mick soon retiring to the comfortable couch & warm interior. I had the most wonderful soup ever of cauliflower & cumin, followed by a vegan chocolate cake which we both shared & agreed on its goodness, & redbush tea for £9,which for the quality was good value. Mick had their spiffing sandwich lunch deal which was praised too.

The exhibition is on every day of the week till June 23rd & would make a good Clarion excursion. It hadn’t opened when Clarion last went out that way & our postponed Hassocks circular for March 10th, is probably bit too soon after last Levels, but, especially as the exhibits are said to change, we, or anyone else may be interested in a ride out that way before June 23rd.


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Confronting War Ten Years On”- Jim reports

Sally and I attended the “Confronting War Ten Years On” conference in London on February 9th.  Joyce and Leon were also there, in a different part of the packed hall.

The attendance had been variously estimated as 650, 800, 1000 … (official police estimate was therefore about 3). There was a galaxy of speakers, including Tony Benn (now looking quite old and frail but still able to deliver a speech and get a standing ovation) and various leading lights of Stop The War and CND – Andrew Murray, Lindsey German, Kate Hudson etc among many others. Some of the most impressive speakers were from overseas: Derrick O’Keefe of the Canadian Peace Alliance, Phyllis Bennis from the US anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice, and Manuel Hassassian, the ambassador of the Palestinian Territories, who brought with him a delegation of Palestinian firemen. Two old stalwarts – Jeremy Corbyn and, especially, Tariq Ali showed they are still very much out there fighting for peace and justice.

Maybe there were too many speeches though. We were reminded several times that it was not just a celebration of the biggest ever demo – which took place in London and across the world on 15th February 2003 – but sometimes it did feel like that. A series of parallel sessions (I chose the one on Islamophobia) allowed issues to be explored in greater depth, including some participation from the floor, but maybe we could have done more of that, given that this was a chance to plan future strategy and decide what sort of movement we want the Stop the War Coalition to be.

For details of future events, keep an eye on the website at There is an anti-drone protest in Leicester (where a drone control centre is apparently to be built) on 27 April.


Joyce adds: Thanks for a good clear report Jim – just to add – Leon attended the parallel session on Drones because B&H UNA has a resolution to UNA conference which he will be presenting and because drone airstrike technology is the frightening face of the future and needs controlling, through some kind of international legislation. Joyce attended the Israel Palestinian parallel session and was both uplifted (by speakers like Phyllis Bennis and Manuel Hassassian) and dismayed by the seeming endlessness of this tragedy and the lack of international action.


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

27 February 2013

130: Cycling in the Clarion in context and a New Year toast.

Now we’ve reached 130 in our series of extracts from the Clarion and nearly reached the beginning of 1896 in the paper, it seems like a good time to remind everyone a little about the paper as a whole to give a better idea of how cycling and Swiftsure’s cycle notes in particular fitted in with the paper as a whole.

The Clarion, frequently described as the most successful socialist paper in Britain, had been started at the end of 1891 by Robert Blatchford – already a well-known journalist – and a group of friends and colleagues. It came out weekly and was pretty closely packed with a wide variety of material of many kinds – probably enough to last many readers for the whole week. The basic stance of the paper was that while we should be campaigning as hard as possible for radical change, it was equally important in the meantime to involve ourselves in mutually supportive activities that helped to make life now more pleasant – or at least more bearable. Hence the cycling clubs and many other activities centred on the theatre, choirs, field clubs (don’t know exactly what they got up to) glee clubs – and basically anything that enough readers enjoyed and lent itself to promoting the fellowship which William Morris had insisted was “life” – a slogan the Clarion CCC were to adopt. Hence also the stress on helping with good causes and promoting “Cinderalla Clubs” that went in for taking deprived children on trips to the seaside and similar treats.

There were always lots of one-off articles on current issues, of course, but also a number of regular – though not always weekly – features. If we take the edition of 21 December 1895 as our example we find among the “regulars” NOTES FROM THE FRONT which comprised local political reports that had been sent in. This particular issue included news of a Brighton branch of the ILP chaired by Councillor Will Evans – a well-known figure on the left in Brighton for many years. I have a poster from May 1917 advertising a meeting celebrating the Russian Revolution (the February/March one) at which he is one of the supporting speakers. The main ones were Robert Williams and Sylvia Pankhurst.


I hope that helps to contextualise these cycling related extracts a bit. Anyone with access to Sussex University library can read the Clarion (1891-1914) on microfilm for themselves.

At the end of 1895, in the 28 December issue, appeared, in the “Cycling Notes” something I wish I’d come across in time to put it in one of our own Christmas or New Year issues

Let this be our Christmas and New Year toast and greeting “May the coming season bring us greater joy than the past, and may all those who know not the pleasure of cycling live to acquire, like us, the means to do so. Health and luck to all.”

Next time More ideas for a 2nd Easter Meet

The Next Ride: Sunday 24 February – Hassocks to Lewes

11 February 2013

This is a longer morning ride stopping for a coffee break before continuing to a late lunch in Lewes, after which we will catch a train home (those who wish to do more cycling may wish to ride back to Brighton of course). Distance is approximately 16 miles. Gently undulating with long flat sections. (A repeat of the ride on 8th January 2012).

From Hassocks station we cycle East through Ditchling, turning left down Spatham Lane. Right at the junction a mile or so along then keep to this road following the signposts to Plumpton. Turn into the village as we turn right past The Plough Inn where there is a monument to airmen from one of the wars. Turning down through Plumpton Green to stop at The Fountain Inn for coffee (assuming we are not too early, as they open at 12 noon). The purpose of this stop is to break up the morning with a little rest and refreshment rather than doing the whole ride in one go.

Then, hopefully feeling well rested and raring to go, we turn left onto a concrete pathway. Although only a short stretch the surface is badly cracked so it could almost count as off road. When Tessa and I cycled through here on our practice ride, the weather had been very wet and there was quite a bit of water, but this is unusual. We then turn right and next left and follow quiet roads as far as Cooksbridge. There, to minimize our experience of the main road we turn left onto the A275 for 100 yards and after the railway crossing turn right, cycling along small roads in the direction of Barcombe. Bypassing Barcombe village and Hamsey we rejoin the A275. Here we have the option of cycling on the pavement for safety as far as the next junction. There, left and downhill with views across the valley. Turning down a twitten to join the footpath across the railway and around Pells Pool. Past Harvey’s brewery and up Cliffe High Street to eat at the John Harvey Tavern behind Bill’s.

(This pub serves food until 4.30 pm, giving us plenty of time for a longer morning ride. Please let Sue know on 07787402229 or 01273 697412 if you are coming and want to be included in numbers for lunch as she will book a table in advance.)

Trains: Brighton station 11.03 to Hassocks (arriving 11.13). This is a Southern train. There is an earlier First Capital Connect train at 10.45 if anyone wants to spread the numbers over 2 trains. (The trains do not stop at Preston Park station.) Buy a return ticket to Hassocks as this is honoured returning from Lewes as the fare is no greater from there.

From London Victoria there is a direct train to Hassocks at 9.32 arriving 10.44 available as a single at £5 if bought in advance (i.e. at least the day before). This is a Southern service train.

Returning from Lewes, trains on the hour and 22 and 44 minutes past from 15.00 until the 16.44 train.

SueP and Tessa


11 February 2013

Dear fellow members and friends

Pity about tomorrow’s ride [10 February] – but I’m sure Anne and Mick were right to postpone it till 10 March.

You’ll see below that I have now given dates for our rides for the rest of the year. I’ve followed Jim’s suggestion which leaves a 3-week break following the Norfolk weekend and avoids both the dates of the London-Brighton Bike Ride and the end of British Summer Time.

Offers of rides are as ever warmly welcomed – and indeed earnestly solicited!

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It’s always nice to hear from our friend – and former national treasurer of the Clarion CC – Peter Roscoe. Below is a message I received recently. Please, if you don’t already have 3rd party cover, read it carefully. If you need more info contact Peter at I’ve attached the form he refers to. Of course you need to be a Clarion member to take advantage of this scheme; so if you’re not one already this is another excellent reason to join. Peter writes:

Third Party insurance
Many decades ago all Clarion riders were insured for 3rd party risks through the CIS. It has not proved possible to find an insurer to look after our needs other than the CTC.
I make the point it is very unlikely that anyone will be in need of third party cover but ‘if it can happen it will happen’. I know of only one case in one of our sections recently and that was for a few hundred pounds only. The CTC affiliated membership scheme provides for £10m cover for an annual fee of £16.00 with an anniversary date of 1st October. Anyone joining after 1 April pays £8.00. It is very unlikely that a Clarion Cyclist will be involved in an incident costing £mill but better to have insurance for a lifetime and not need it than need once in a lifetime and not have it.
Just think about it with the increase in the number of people new to cycling it could well be a rider to rider incident. I venture that it could happen to anyone. I have checked with the CTC and they have confirmed that the cover does provide for rider to rider insurance. I do not know if BC have changed but at on time their insurance did not cover for rider to rider insurance. Only recently has Cycling Time Trials addressed the problem – I do not know the outcome but previously there would have been no cover for the victim of a negligent rider when two competitors in time trial.
Last year 40 Clarion members took advantage of the facility. Many of these have taken out full membership of CTC or BCF so this year there is a reduction to 30. Taking out full membership of the National Cycling organisations mean you also get legal aid when you are a victim of negligence. However, Cycling Weekly has adverts from solicitors each week offering their services related to being the victim of negligence when out cycling.
I would be pleased if you bring the matter of 3rd party insurance to the attention of your members and attach a form to be used for an application for membership. If you are not section secretary would you please forward this email on to them with a copy to me so that I will know who to address in future on matters of 3rd party insurance.
In Clarion Fellowship

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You may have read about (“Sage of Sussex”) Adam Trimingham’s opposition to the Hastings-Bexhill link road in the Argus. He’s not alone. Bricycles’s Becky Reynolds writes:

Do not fund the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road petition

Please sign the petition:

Please forward to friends and colleagues. This road is a disaster for the 
peaceful valley in East Sussex known as Combe Haven, near Bexhill. 30,000 
vehicles per day will be routed through this previously tranquil area and 
wildlife habitat.

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Get Britain Cycling – latest
There’s an interesting piece by Laura Laker in the current edition of the “comic” about the most recent evidence given to the parliamentary enquiry. The London Cycling campaign and the Times among others are calling for the introduction of strict liability – which means that in the case of an accident the burden of proof would fall on driver of the larger vehicle. A solicitor from Burden Kemp which specialises in cyclist injury claims says “The real benefit of strict liability would be in shifting society away from its current motor-centric attitudes by making it clear that motorists are responsible for the safety of cyclists.” There is much support for stricter penalties for dangerous driving. The CTC cited, in support of this, the French experience where in 2001 that country had one of the worst safety records in Europe and then introduced a “zero tolerance” regime for speeding. By 2007 road deaths had dropped by 43% and a survey of drivers in 2004 suggested that 45% had changed their behaviour in the light of the stricter penalties. Several witnesses pointed out that police enforcement is the key. As AA president, Edmund King puts it “If you don’t have police out there catching bad drivers, it is very unlikely that we will stop these things happening.” [Cycling Weekly, 7 February 2013]


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 129 A Second Easter Meet?

11 February 2013

Within a few years the Clarion Easter Meet had become the established event it still is. But at the end of 1895 and the beginning of 1896 that still lay ahead. There had been the very successful meet at Ashbourne – but should that be a precedent for another? And if so, where should it be held?

As so often it was Tom Groom who took the initiative. In the 21 December 1895 edition of the Clarion Swiftsure introduced a letter from him in the “Cycling Notes” regular feature.

I commend the following from the O’Groomie O to the earnest attention of the Clarion Cycling Clubs. I am willing to find what space I can for the discussion of the subject mentioned, and hope to receive suggestions at an early date

Let us have some life thrown into our cycling clubs. There is plenty of scope!

Dear Swiftsure  – When Manchester has sufficiently recovered from the shameful guzzling, and when the other clubs have got over the highly-coloured and whitewashed account of the feed which the MacReekie is sure to send in; when I say, this is so, perhaps it will be as well for the clubs to discuss the next annual meeting.

The Scout doesn’t come out often enough to discuss the matter in it, so I think it would be a good thing if you will allow your column to be used for this purpose. There is none too much time, so let the clubs look at it.

Birmingham’s words of wisdom will be found in the October Scout. We suggest that 1) the meeting should be held at Easter 2) the meeting should be a delegate one with proportional representation, 3) the meeting-place should be as central as possible, 4) the agenda should be published in the previous Scout and no other business taken, Our reasons for these suggestions will be found in the October Scout.

Will other comrades please get to this matter,


Next time: Cycling in the Clarion in context and a New Year toast.