25 March 2013

Dear fellow members and friends

The very first edition of this newsletter went out on 19th April 2004.  It contained a brief report – by me – of our first ride which I had described in advance as “a gentle canter down the Cuckoo Trail”  But it didn’t turn out quite that way- the weather was a bit like – well, now.  Here’s the start of my report:

Three of us managed the ‘inaugural ride’ in the end – Joyce, our newest member (we’re now up to 7 with about as many more prospective joiners) Sheila Schaffer who some of you at least also know.  The weather was awful – cold, wet and windy and the Golden Martlet pub where we’d reckoned on having a break was covered in scaffolding and closed – but having survived World War II we were not going to let a spot of rain deter us. In spite of the weather we had an enjoyable day – and, thanks largely to Joyce thoughtfully bringing a flask of hot soup, we survived.

Sadly, though Sheila took part in many more Clarion rides, some of which she wrote the reports for, she died at the end of 2009. Of course, cycling with us was only one of her activities which covered a vast range and included her long period as a Brighton councillor (and her year as mayor) and participation in many many campaigns for social justice right to the end of her life.

Joyce has sent me details of a memorial lecture that the Brighton & Hove United Nations Association is holding  in honour of Sheila.  It will be by author and journalist Victoria Brittain on “Invisible Victims of War on Terror” with, we are promised, “ a disturbing exposé on how incarceration under cover of the War on Terror affects women and children in the UK”  It’s at  Brighthelm Church & Community Centre  on Friday 10 May  7- 9 30 . It’s free with refreshments provided.  Get there if you can.

Joyce adds:

Most of you will remember Sheila , As well as being one of the founder members of Brighton & Hove Clarion and many other things, Sheila was Chair of Brighon & Hove United Nations Association for some 10 years after she left the Council.  B&H UNA are presenting a memorial lecture in her memory -, the speaker Victoria Brittain is very good – Please come….

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Norfolk Weekend –  Message  from Jim

Sorry about the continued lack of information about the Norfolk trip. I have had to postpone my recce because of the bad weather. However, rest assured that you will be given the time and place for the start of the first ride well before the weekend.

Please let me know ( if you are planning to come, if you haven’t already. So far I have the following names: Fred, David, Angela, Helen, Joyce, Amanda and myself. We will be joined by two “guests” from Cambridge Clarion and Suffolk CTC, and possibly others.

In the meantime we need to think about how we will get there. The train journey from London Liverpool Street to Sheringham on the Friday takes 3 hours 13 minutes, leaving at 10.30 and hourly thereafter, and arriving at Sheringham at 13.43 and hourly thereafter, with an 18 minute change at Norwich. Bikes have to be booked on the London-Norwich trains and put in the spacious luggage van; but between Norwich and Sheringham the trains are very short and cannot be booked.

Thus if you are planning to travel out on the train on the Friday, please email me with your preferred travel time and I will try to sort out a rota to avoid overcrowding and/or long waits at Norwich. Also let me know your planned return time on the Monday, when trains leave Sheringham at 46 minutes past the hour and there is a similar wait at Norwich. However please note that you will be responsible for actually booking your train – and, of course, your accommodation”

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Fred has long kept a jaundiced eye on the more insane of the anti-cyclist correspondence on the letters page of the Argus.  I’m not sure whether this report is reassuring (“It’s not just Brighton!”) or deeply depression, but this is what appeared in the “comic” recently under the headline “Yorkshire councillor slams cyclists”

Cyclists in Embsay, North Yorkshire, have the enviable ability to reach speeds of 50mph, if local councillor Andrew Quinn is to be believed [Fred could probably do it with his power-assisted machine. IB] He also warned the Craven District Council last week that cyclists  through the village, which will host part of the Tour de France route in 2014, were “a law unto themselves” and that “wing mirrors have gone missing” from parked cars, while local policeman Chief Superintendant Higgins likened local cyclists to speeding motorcyclists.

Local cyclists themselves have pointed out on the website of the Craven Herald, which first reported the story, that cycling through the village at such speeds is virtually impossible and that collisions between cars and cyclists usually follow dangerous overtaking manoeuvres by the former, and usually  result in a trip to hospital for the latter  (Cycling Weekly, 14 March)

Quite so. And you do wonder what the people who campaigned so hard to get the first stages of the 2014 Tour to Yorkshire think of the likes of Messrs. Quinn and Higgins. Apart from anything else its going to bring literally millions of pounds into the local economy.  It’s been reported that nearly all the hotels and B&Bs were booked to capacity with nearly all the 100 rooms at one hotel in Harrogate booked for 5 July  2014  within hours of the announcement and the aptly named Cavendish Guesthouse sold out within a fortnight.

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Any offers for rides from 26 May onwards?




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