The Next Ride: Sunday 4 August – Chiddingly, only 16/17 miles

24 July 2013

I’m not an enthusiast for ‘off-road’ cycling, but I know other people are and I do try to include the odd stretch of ‘track’ where appropriate. We’ve done this ride a couple of times but not recently. Once, one February – the stretch of Vert Woods track was very muddy in places – though we got through without serious casualties (I remember trying to cheer us all up by saying ‘Coming out with the Clarion is not a ride; it’s an adventure!’

Well, unless we have torrential downpours in the next couple of weeks we should be OK this time – if you can’t avoid mud in early August when can you?

Starting at Berwick station we head across to Mark Cross and Laughton – cross the main road – and make towards Shortgate but then take the track through the woods (Vert Wood etc) to Whitesmith and from there make our way to Chiddingly – for lunch at – or near – the Six Bells. This is a pub popular with bikers which often has a jazz trio on Sunday lunctimes. There’s plenty of room outside, so I’m not going to try to book us in. Anyone who prefers it can bring a picnic and consume it nearby.

We return via Golden Cross and the Chalveston. In the past we sometimes looped down to the tearoom at Selmeston which, sadly, has been closed now for some time. So it will be back to Berwick and a possible tea stop at the Berwick Inn.

It’s not pancake flat – but not very hilly either.

Catch 10.20 from Brighton Station or meet at Berwick Station at 10.43. [Unfortunately there’s only one train an hour so there’s no point in me suggesting catching a different one]
Trains back go at 48 minutes past the hour.
My mobile number is 07770743287. It will be switched on – once I’ve got to the station!


The Last Ride: 21 July 2013 NCN2 – Palace Pier to Seaford

24 July 2013

Having volunteered a couple of months ago to do the ride on July 21st, when we knew we’d be around, we returned from holiday at the end of June to find an invitation to a 70th birthday party at lunch time that day. So, rather than let anyone down, we compromised by offering a half day ride with various options for the “missing” afternoon.


Thus, 7 of us set off from the Palace Pier at 10.20am, 3 more joined us at Rottingdean, that 3 left us at Newhaven to cycle back to Rottingdean for Smugglers songs on the terraces there & Mick & I scooted off post-haste to catch the 12.57 from Seaford to Brighton leaving 5 on the NCN2 seafront path to swim, picnic, cycle or train home.

DSC01264 - Copy

21st July is/was the centenary of the Walk for Women & our pier was the start for an epic re-enactment too. They were asked to try to wear bonnets & purple sashes as the suffragettes had done & a dozen or so of them had already assembled. The Brighton & Hove Labour banner was there as was Baroness Joyce Gould & Pavilion Green MP Caroline Lucas, who were to give speeches, plus local LP activists & Fabian secretary & walker, Maire McQueeney.
We started fairly promptly as Mick had his train times in mind. There was a rather unhelpful headwind & clear blue sky as we rode along the Brighton seafront track then the Underliff Walk, dismounting when told to do so by the signs at the Ovingdean Cafe. The path was clear of stones & we were happy that no-one got punctures. Nor was the path crowded at that relativlely early time on a Sunday am.

At Rottingdean Terraces in half an hour, we met Angela, Helen & Steve, the latter having driven down from the Midlands starting at 6am. Nothing much happening on the Terraces with their Smugglers Day yet, just a few stalls, so we didn’t explore them.
By the time we arrived at Saltdean, however, Steve realised that he’d left his backpack back at the terraces, with all his money etc, so dived back to retrieve, hopefully, while the rest of us filled water bottles or climbed up from the seafront to the clifftop at Saltdean. Just as David Jezeph had been at Chichester station, a few rides back, Steve was lucky & the back pack was retrieved. Same could not be said for me on our previous ride when I lost my bike pannier & its contents at Woods Mill Nature Reserve, never to be found, & sadly missed.


Pausing at the top of the hill by Telscombe Tye, Mick asked for volunteers to write the report but, as none were forthcoming, I said I’d do it, thinking it would be easy since I knew the ride & the ropes. However, that overlooked some struggles with Flickr on my imperfect photos. Hope others on the ride may have better pics.


We’d decided to take the Hoddern Farm Route as easier & therefore quicker & those who wished to see the more exciting Clifftop [foot] path could return by that way without our leadership. Having lifted all the bikes over the gate just after the farm, 2 vehicles came along & would have saved us the bother if they’d been earlier, or we’d been later.
I tried to take some pics of the views from the Hoddern Farm Road as I cycled but they weren’t much good except for this one of the Ouse.


The 21st was the Annual Lewes to Newhaven Raft Race, starting from Lewes at 11.30, but there was no sign of any of them yet. On our way home on the train a man from Newhaven lamented that the raft race had declined over the years & only about 7 rafts in it last year. From the train we saw a bridge full of expectant spectators & our co-passenger said it used to be fun water bombing the rafters as they passed below the bridges.


At Newhaven, Angela, Helen & Steve decided to say goodbye & return to Rottingdean for the sea shanties on the terraces.
We cycled through the nature reserve & I regretted not having the time to visit an Open Garden in the National Garden Scheme at Bishopstone. Had read that it was a national award winner & would have dearly loved to explore, but, no time to lose, as we saw the 12.27 Seaford train heading off to Lewes, knowing that we only had 30 minutes before the next one left & a few more miles to cycle.
The final entrance into Seaford has been much improved & now you can cycle all along the pavement on the right hand side of the road without having to tangle with the traffic on the road at all, as previously, jumping about from track to road & back to track again.

We left Rob, Julia, Corinne, Polly & Sue at 12.40 & hope they had a good afternoon. We raced to the station & spent a very warm, muggy afternoon at the party, having a much needed sea swim around 6pm.


24 July 2013

Dear fellow members

Ian is away (how dare he!!?). So I’m in the editor’s chair for this issue, which is very comfortable since Ian has already put most of the information together. Anne has done a great report of the ride on the 21st July, with pictures – look out for her stunning view of the river. Who said B&H Clarion doesn’t do hills?

We still don’t have leaders for rides on 18 August or 8 September. They are now looming very close. So if you’ve been meaning to do one, now’s the time to commit.

Anyone in range of London, or inspired to go there on 3 August (as a warm up for Ian’s Chiddingly ride on the 4th) may be interested in the following message from Jane about the Prudential Ride London FreeCycle

There are lots of events, but most enjoyable is the Freecycle event on 3rd August, as central London roads will be closed to cars and will become a ‘cycle only’ route taking in some of London’s key landmarks. It’s free to register and join in!

One last thing. Ian announced recently that these “Clarion Latest” circulars would in future only be sent to paid up members of Clarion. This is the first issue which is being circulated to this smaller mailing list. If you have any contacts who were on the longer list, you can of course still forward it to them if you wish.



The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 137. More Manchester jollifications

24 July 2013

From “Cycling Notes” Clarion, 4 February 1896

The Manchester Club spent an enjoyable evening last Saturday, when a 
supper and concert (including a lantern lecture by Comrade Holt of
 Salford, assisted by various other interlocutors, &c- very much and
 cetera) was held at the club’s town quarters, the Central Restaurant. 
Bradford sent a contingent of about eight Clarionettes, who appeared 
to enjoy the fun immensely.

Next time: The Birmingham “Swarry”


9 July 2013

Dear fellow members and friends

As some of you will be well aware I’ve been having real difficulties getting recent issues of this newsletter out. We’ve now so many people on the mailing list that it has to be sent out in two or more batches and there’ve been several occasions when my email has just refused to send out one or both of them.

When this has happened I’ve got round the problem temporally by sending the newsletter out initially using the membership list – and then following this up by using retyped sections of the general mailing list. This is why some people have received the same newsletter twice.

Now we have a regularly updated blog with all the information available I propose to confine the mailing of the newsletter to the members’ list starting with the next issue. Everyone else will still be able to keep up with what we are doing via this website. And, of course, we’ll continue to welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. But if you are not already a member but want to continue to receive these newsletters regularly you’ll need to join (Click here then follow the instructions lower down the page.)

One very important advantage of membership (if you are not, like me, also a CTC member) is that as part of the national club you can get CTC third party insurance at a very reasonable rate. I joined the CTC  in 1954 at the age of 13 and have never had to use the insurance cover, thank goodness.  But that’s the point of any kind of insurance, isn’t it? You hope you never need it – but it’s there if you do.

Incidentally, CTC adult membership is now £41 p.a. The Clarion can’t offer all the services that the CTC does – but our £7 which covers both national and local membership is a bargain by any standard.

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Sorry, again, about the mix-up about train availabilty and August ride dates in the last issue.  I’ve now definitely moved my ride to 4 August – to allow more time for volunteers to come forward for 18 August onwards.  It’s starting to get a bit urgent.  If you are short if an idea – I can suggest some possibilities, as can Jim.

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Jim has a CD of cycling tips from Cyclenation. Linda has it at the moment but will pass it on to anyone else interested.

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I wonder whether anyone can help Rob? (see below)   If you can please contact him direct on

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A couple of issues ago I included a message from Bunty Tait who was  hoping to get in touch with Alan Limbrey.  I said it was a “long shot” – and was delighted to get the following message from Bunty: ” Your long shot worked. Alan has been in touch and I ‘m flooded with memories of riding at Preston Park, Portsmouth, Southampton (all dangerous tracks at speed) but also Herne Hill, Coventry, Paris and Copenhagen.  Good Old Days.   Many thanks for you help.  Bunty.”

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In case you haven’t already seen Angela’s message our summer social will be a  picnic on Goring beach on Saturday 10 August.  Further details in next newsletter.


Message from Joyce – Fracking at Balcombe 

Some of you may already know that Fracking has come to East Sussex in the guise of Cuadrilla Ltd who are planning to be fracking in Balcombe. The local community is active in opposing it as SEER – Sussex Extreme Energy Resistance. You can visit their Facebook page and We are talking here not about one well; it is suggested it could mean 32 wells within the parish of Balcombe and over 100 within 5 miles of the village. The whole licence area is very large and could accommodate 1,200 wells – there are also proposals for the Weald . The community of Balcombe are doing great work but they are a small community, and fracking, if allowed to go ahead, will affect all of us who know and love the countryside of Sussex where we cycle so often and care about our environment.  Under pressure the Environment Agency has launched a consultation process geared to the Balcombe application, so we can do something. The deadline is 16 JULY  so please act quickly.

You need to email the Agency :-  

You will know what you want to say. But some thoughts might help :-

What is the EA doing to ensure that residents and other interested members of the public are fully informed of activities on the site?

Will members of the public have a chance to review the method statement sent by Cuadrilla and raise any questions before a permit is issued?

500m3 of water will be trucked in for the exploratory drill – where is this water coming from? How much water will have to be trucked out? When will it be trucked out? Where will it be going?

What is being done to safeguard bats, dormice, newts and water voles? An ecological survey was not conducted by WSCC – why not?

What is the EA doing to protect groundwater, the aquifer and Ardingly reservoir? Have the water authorities been consulted? The site is in a drinking water protected area – what does that mean? How will the surface and groundwater be protected?

There is a small seasonal stream close to the access road within Lower Meadham Woods which takes water off the access track. How can it be assured  that water going into this stream is clean and free of contamination? This poses a possible water contamination risk to tributaries to the river Ouse. South East Water recently have proposed to top up Ardingly Reservoir from the river Ouse, What are the risks regarding this stream which currently has water in it?


Rob Doe writes

This is a slightly long story and an unlikely request. My eldest son Pat is training to equal the record of his Grandfather (Ernie Whittington formerly of the Clarion) who in 1938  clocked up 194.25 miles in  a 12 hour Brighton Mitre race (called the Hardrider I believe).

Pat thinks its only fair he does it on an equivalent bike.  But he doesn’t know what that bike was.  Only that it had a three speed Sturmey Archer in all probability as the quadrant can be seen on the crossbar (Ernie is the one at the back):

9 July 2013 photo

Pat explains his quest here.

Can you throw any further light on what this bike might have been or know anyone who might?  I’m afraid the picture doesn’t seem to give much to go on.

Ernie was a shopworker at Corbins the wallpaper shop in London Road and his widowed mother was very poor so we don’t think he would have had huge amounts of disposable income to spend on bikes.

We need four of these bikes or the equivalent as Pat has roped me and his two brothers into a Brighton to Cheam ride as part of his training.  Ernie rode to Cheam every week in 1939 to undergo his wartime emergency training as a precision engineer.  He was a highly skilled toolmaker for the rest of his life.

As an aside, I’m interested in what they are wearing.  Are these 1930s cycling clothes?  The trousers look very modern.

All the best. Forgive my impertinence in troubling you with this.


The Next Ride: 21 July 2013: NCN2 – Palace Pier to Seaford

9 July 2013

Now that summer has finally arrived we propose a seaside route along the NCN2 to Seaford whence we hope the Westerly breeze wafts us for a picnic on the beach & a swim. On our previous foray on NCN2 we rushed off to Berwick station leaving or losing some at Seaford, so we shall reverse this by losing your leaders, as we have to catch a lunchtime train home from Seaford to attend a 70th birthday party.  You can take a train home from Seaford too, or return via Berwick, Newhaven  or cycle all the way home. If you forget the sarnies or prefer a pint there is the White Lion Pub & various cafes.

We’d like to start at 10.15 from the Palace Pier.  Having just checked to make sure there are no big events starting along the seafront then I see that Rottingdean has a Summer Smugglers Event on the stage on the seafront starting at 11am so we should arrive  amid the crowds, stalls & colourful display just about right to mingle. Enough time to recover before the short incline up to Telscombe Cliff & then onwards either via the Hoddern Farm Route or the exciting clifftop experience of the Newhaven entry. From Newhaven we have the very pleasant Ouse Valley Nature Reserve & Tidemills Trail:

In spring and summer the air is alive with the song of skylarks. More than a hundred types of bird have been recorded and the managers hope that the nationally threatened lapwing will return to breed on the specially managed areas.” 

Cycle Seahaven site promises that the final entry into Seaford has been improved too.


Start = Palace Pier at 10.15 a.m

Length = 15 miles approx.   30 if you cycle both ways.

Hills = Undulation  around  Saltdean but if the wind is prevailing Westerly you won’t even notice it, esp as the bus lane next to the NCN2 prevents car fumes reaching cyclists.

Terrain = Almost all good surface – unless we choose the clifftop experience which   is a footpath & may entail a bit of pushing, but worth it for the views.

Lunch = Picnic on beach or White Lion Hotel [pub] if unlucky with weather.

Trains = from Seaford at 27 & 57 mins past the hour to Brighton, taking 30-40mins.


The Last Ride – Angelika’s Report

9 July 2013

Sunday  7th July 2013   Redhill Circular

(Nutfield Marsh – Caterham Viewpoint – Woldingham – Godstone – Redhill)

A very personal bike ride

Instead of having a personal trainer Linda and Angelika had Jim as their personal cycle tour guide. For Linda it was a journey down memory lane, having grown up in Bletchingley.

The three set off from Redhill train station in glorious hot sunshine. They cycled through Spynes Mere Nature Reserve. Spynes is a very old word for “fattening pasture”. That was the time of fattening the cows before WBB Mineral changed it into a sand quarry. Well, now it is a fully restored wildlife area with three lakes.

Linda walking on water

Heron at the Moors Nature reserve

The reward for pushing the bikes uphill to the Caterham Viewpoint was the magnificent view of the countryside while hearing the muffled sound of the M25 far below. It is a place popular with people having a picnic and lazing around. Well, not for the Cycle Trio. Off they went flying downhill passing only one house.

Along shaded paths and through cool woods they headed towards Woldingham Girls School and its grounds. There was the first surprise for Linda. She recognised the care takers house and remembered a friend living there whose parents had rented the house when she was a child.

Woldingham School

Not this house though! This is the main school building.

From there the way to the Cafe in Knights Nursery in Woldingham was a flat smooth ride through a valley with pastures, cows and trees further up. A picture of English idyllic landscape sizzling in the heat of the day.

Lunch at the garden centre

A pleasant lunch and rest. The recharged batteries were needed for another ascent to Woldingham Village and then down to Godstone …………. not steep ………… but eternal.

Godstone’s old church and surrounding architecture give an other-wordly feel.  One would not be surprised if a door opens and Hansel and Gretel step out. Or Rapunzel would open a window to let her hair down.

St Marys Chapel, Churchtown, Godstone

Not far is the village green with its Sunday cricket and onlookers. Another idyllic English scene.

The intention was to have tea in the local “The Green Room” where Linda used to work in the restaurant 30 years ago. Unfortunately they were just closing and the trio opted for a cool drink at the pub across the road.

On they cycled through Bletchingley. Jim made sure to take a photo of Linda at the street corner leading to the house where she grew up.

Linda discovers her roots

Once again they cycled through the Nature Reserve and stopped to enjoy the view at one of the lakes. Three bathers could be seen in the distance. One was just wading to a little island. Once he stepped onto the island it was a bit of a surprise to see him hiding from his friends view behind a bush squatting down showing us his bare bottom. Not something he had anticipated………..

Nearly home

Then back to Redhill station. Jim and Linda back to Brighton and Angelika to London.

Arty bike rack at Redhill

Linda spotted this arty bike rack at Redhill station.

Thanks Jim for such a beautiful varied bike ride with such magnificent views


Angelika waiting for the London train

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

9 July 2013

136 More on the 2nd Easter Meet

From “Cycling Notes”  Clarion,  4 February 1896

About the Easter Meet of Clarion Clubs, the Derby and Chesterfield Clubs write expressing their approval of Bakewell  as the meeting place. Derby also intimate that they would prefer it to be at Whitsuntide,because for one reason their “honourable secretary”, G H Grundy, has to undergo three days penal servitude at the Nottingham I.L.P Conference at Easter.

However, further discussion of the question will  now be unnecesaray in view of the following  communication I have received:-

The National committee have practically decided that the annual cyclists meet shall be at Bakewell during the Easter holidays  Further particulars will be given in the March “Scout”  and Bakewell readers are requested to consult this week’s “Notes to Clarionettes”

“Notes to Clarionettes”  was another regular feature of the paper  Heading the column on the week in question is a long note beginning with the statement quoted from Swiftsure’s “Cycling Notes”  that the majority of clubs were in favour of Bakewell and Easter. The first part is clearly addressed to a much wider audience than Bakewell Clarionettes.

As to the agenda for a business meeting at Bakewell, the National Committee will not prepare one on their own responsibility.  If the various clubs have any business of sufficient importance to bring forward,and will give due notice of it, the committee will make the necessary arrangementss, otherwise they think the purpose sought may be gained by personal intercourse and interchange of ideas. Clarionettes in Bakewell and district should write to J.D. Sutcliffe (Derbyshire Lane, Stretford, Manchester) at once, as their assistance will be invaluable”

Then it repeats the bit about details in the Scout.


Next time:  More Manchester jollifications