The Next Ride: Sunday 8 September

23 August 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. If you are not a member, and have not ridden with us before, email us (see the “Contact Us” box) for details of the next ride. If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.

The Last Ride: Sunday 18 August – Balcombe to Hassocks

23 August 2013

One life, don't frack it.

Anne and I took the early train with Linda who had already cycled from Lancing to Brighton, on arrival we found that Marilyn was also on the train. We had hoped to make a quick visit to the anti-fracking camp before the ride. An acquaintance, who we met at the station by chance had a map. Unfortunately I was looking at it upside down. With Linda in tow I cycled 2 miles north up a rather steep hill. Meanwhile Anne had followed Marilyn to the tea shop and was directed to the camp, so we at least have some photos and a brief token presence. We all arrived back at the station in time to meet the 11.17 train, along with Corinne and her sister Lyn, Sikka/Sue and Julia. Our leader John meanwhile had cycled up from Brighton. The police kindly obliged for the group photo.

balcombe to Hassocks,Clarion 004

We set off with John in the lead. On the principle of devil take the hindmost, Anne consigned me, on pain of unspecified matrimonial sanctions, to be the sweeper up and thereafter chivvied me whenever my front wheel crept past anyone else’s back wheel.

The ride had a certain improvisational feel to it but as John remarked one lane looked much like another. They were, however, very pretty lanes with fine views, albeit bought at the expense of a few substantial undulations. We passed via Staplefield and part of the NCN 20 and hence past Warninglid.

We arrived at the Bolney Stage, originally a famous stop on the Brighton/London road, for a long lunch break. The food was of a high quality and enjoyed by all. The conversation ranged widely and naturally included the fracking issue and energy policy in general.

balcombe to Hassocks,Clarion 006

After lunch we made our way to Hurstpierpoint, although the route taken did not completely coincide with the maps available. Faced with the choice of an early train home from Hassocks or Washbrook Farm for tea and cake, everyone but John, Anne and myself opted to go straight back. We three enjoyed tea, a slice of tiffin for me. and more leisurely and highly enjoyable conversation at the end of which we decided to forsake the train and rode back to Brighton together down the NCN 20.

balcombe to Hassocks,Clarion 005

Thank you John for a very enjoyable ride and congenial company.



23 August 2013

Dear fellow members

Everyone was sorry the hear about Tessa’s mishap while walking in Yorkshire. We sent her a card from the Summer Social last week. We all wish her the speediest of recoveries. Here’s her reply, addressed to Anne, who sent the card.

Thank you so much for the card I received today from everyone at the Clarion social. It really lifted my spirits!

I had been feeling sorry for myself as I have had to cancel a trip to Istanbul followed by a cycling holiday in Cappadoccio.

Things could have been so much worse – it is not a complicated break, and I am not in pain, so hopefully when 5 weeks are up the cast will go. 

I can’t cycle for 3 months but hope to see you all in November, weather permitting!
All best


* * * *

We’ve now got a 3 week gap between rides. Partly this is to avoid possible time confusions when BST ends (sigh!) on 27 October but I can’t quite remember why we made the date adjustment so early, though I think it may have been a misunderstanding back in January as to which weekend the August bank holiday was going to take place. Anyway, too confusing to start changing things now.

I will be away for nearly all of next month and Roger will be looking after the newsletters in my absence. So from now on if you have something you’d like included, you have a good idea for 2nd November (see below ) you’re sending in a report, or if you’re volunteering to take on a ride please send it to him at (But also copy it to me at to help me catch up when I get back.)

Speaking of volunteers for rides, we’re currently OK for the two September rides but we’ve nothing after that. 6 October? 20 October? Anyone?

And here’s another message recently received – from Alex Southern:

London Clarion calling!


We’re considering a cycle London – Brighton on Saturday 2nd November. If we did, might it be possible to have a social with some of your members on Saturday evening? It would be great to meet up with our nearest sister club.


London Clarion

I’m sure we can think of something. Let’s have some suggestions. I’ve added Alex to the mailng list so he will be able to see what these are and, when appropriate, contribute to the discussion.

* * * *
David has drawn attention to the CTC campaign to support the All-Party Parliamentary Cyclng Group’s call for the funding needed to substantially boost cycle use towards the levels common among our European neighbours. Their recommended aim was to increase cycling from 2% of trips at present, to German levels (10% of trips) by 2025 and to Dutch levels (25% of trips) by 2050.

Here’s the key part of the CTC message – with links:

With a debate on the ‘Get Britain Cycling‘ report due to take place on 2 September, CTC is asking all cyclists to contact their MPs to ask for their support for an even more substantial investment in cycling in the future.

* * * *

Talking of the CTC reminds me of the reminder I put in one of the July newsletter’s about the special arrangments for Clarion members with regard to CTC thrid party insurance. I had a message from Peter Roscoe soon after which I meant to include in an earlier issue but – having gone off for a week to Paris and the Netherlands I forgot until David’s email reminded me. Here’s part of Peter’s message. If you need more info email Peter at

I note in your recent Newsletter reference to your being a member of CTC since you were 14 – current fee £41.
Some of your members are affiliate members through me as ‘CTC Affiliate Memberships Secretary’. One in particular became an affiliate member after being sued for damage she did not think was her fault. The annual fee is £16 and this gives 3rd party cover but not legal aid. However, each week in Cycling Weekly there are Claims Firms of Solicitors advertising their services One drawback is the membership period stretches from 1st October to 30th September. Half fees from 1st May. At present 40 Clarion members are affiliate members.

I was verbally assured by Gordon Seabright that the insurance does cover rider member to rider member.

This last point of Peter’s is worth considering – as it all is of course. I think anyone who doesn’t have third-party insurance is mad – but a surprising number of cyclists – including, as Peter’s mention of 40 shows, most Clarion members, don’t share this view. We tend to think of the times such insurance might be needed as those involving encounters with cars (or pedestrians) but there have been times over the years when we’ve nearly had accidents where one of us has come close to crashing into another. What would happen if one of us did that and wrote off the “victim’s” bike? Not too much of a problem if I was the perpetrator. How would things be if you were? Worth thinking about.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 139. Reports from Liverpool and the Potteries

23 August 2013

Two messages to Swiftsure that appeared in his column on 16 February 1896:

Dear Swiftsure

Room for Liverpool C.C. C. please! Will you kindly announce that a well-attended meeting of this C.C.C. passed a resolution supporting Bakewell as the place for the annual meet, and Easter as the most suitable time. Will those cycling  Clarionettes in this district  who delight to blush unseen signify the same by communicating with the underssigned, when they will hear something to their advantage?

Fraternally yours, WM.BEVAN, HON SEC, 
248, Crown Street, Liverpool. Jan 30, 1896.

Dear Swiftsure

The Potteries Branch of the Clarion C.C will bloom again with the season, and all readers of the Clarion in this district will be specially welcomed. We would like to make the club 100 strong, as suggested by Comrade Sutcliffe in the annual report of the clubs in the “Scout” and which we believe to be quite possible.

W.LAWSON Potteries Clarion C.C. 10, Windsor Street, Hanley, February 1st 1896.

Next time: An invitation from Stockton Clarion and a report from Manchester

The Next Ride: Sunday 18 August – Balcombe to Hassocks c 18 Miles

12 August 2013

The route will be from Balcombe RS towards Handcross, south through 
Staplefield, to Slough Green and west to Wykeham Park with lunch at the 
Bolney Stage. After lunch we’ll head  south passing Hickstead and circling 
Hurstpierpoint to Hassocks.

Possibility of a tea stop at Washbrooks.

 I’ll order good weather for the ride!

Meet at Balcombe station at 11.17.
From Brighton catch 10.00 arriving Balcombe at 10.30 (no changes), or 10.30 or arriving 11.17 (change at Gatwick Airport)
From Victoria catch 10.27 arriving Balcombe 11.17.

Return trains from Hassocks to Brighton at 05, 32 and 36 and to Victoria at 10, 24 and 54 minutes past the hour


Summer social: 10 August on Goring beach

8 August 2013

Goring beach is the perfect place for a Clarion picnic, as it caters for picnickers and non-picnickers alike – the non-picnickers being able to avail themselves of the excellent Sea Lane Café. On this particular day it was also hosting a fascinating display of windsurfers and sailboarders. Or windboarders and sailsurfers … hang on, what exactly do you call those things? Well, someone told me the people we were watching – people on surfboards holding onto a sort of kite thingy – were windsurfers and the alternative method (which was also in evidence) whereby a sail, similar to that on a yacht, is fixed onto the surfboard, is sailboarding. But this was contradicted by someone else later on. Help! Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say … well, Wikipedia says what we saw were kite-surfers, and that the other sort are known as windsurfers OR sailboarders. It includes an impressive history and (as you’d expect for an American invention) an awful lot about patenting and trademarks. But let’s not worry about that when we can look at the superb photographs, assuming that is that anyone took any …

Bench 1

In attendance, having arrived from various quarters, mostly by bicycle, were Clarion regulars, in alphabetical order: Amanda; Angela; Anne; Corinne; Fred; Ian; Jenny; Jim; Joyce; Linda; and two Sues (Bullock and Pringle). We were joined by John Wells-Deamer, who had participated in what must have been the shortest ever Clarion ride, on 4 March 2007 (report at, from Glynde to … errr … nearly-the-top-of-the-hill-at-Glynde, at which point not only had the rain become seriously heavy but a bit fell off Jeff’s bike, and we decided to abandon the ride. John is hoping to try out a longer ride with us in the near future. On the way out of Goring we met another John (Clinton) who is leading the next ride, and I was able to hand him the book in which the ride is listed. Phew!

Bench 2

I was wearing my Clarion T-shirt on which is inscribed our motto “Fellowship is Life” as well as the anti-motto, “Lack of Fellowship is Death”. Sadly, we split up into two groups for most of the time, one lot outside the café and the other group about 30 metres away on a bench. There is no doubt in my mind which of these two groups was displaying Lack of Fellowship, and must therefore pay the ultimate penalty; it was of course the other lot. Later, when it brightened up, the T-shirt came off and I went in the sea, which was quite warm really though quite choppy. Only Sue Pringle accompanied me; others had various excuses.

Jim and Sikka emerge from the waves

Thanks to Angela for heroically taking on the organisation of this event. There was some discussion of next year’s “weekend ride”, which is likely to feature Cornwall and to be somewhat longer than a weekend. I’ll leave it to Angela to enlarge on that, though, at the appropriate time.


The Last Ride: Sunday 4 August – Chiddingly

8 August 2013

The day dawned with promise of fantastic weather – firming up my decision to make this my first ride for some time. It nearly didn’t happen for me, nor for Corinne, Terry and Sika though. I arrived at the station at 10 for the 10.20 train, unthinkingly assuming that would be plenty of time to get a ticket as it usually is. However, the station was absolutely heaving with people and every ticket outlet had a queue of about a mile long. Had all these people stayed over from Pride??? Refusing to panic I espied a ticket machine with “only credit or debit cards” and bee-lined towards that – only to find after waiting some time that neither cash nor cards worked. Dash to the other one outside the concourse – a smaller queue but after queuing I could not make it work – Berwick was too much for the station finder to cope with.

Determined to try anything I made my way to the information desk, only to meet with Sika on the way also rushing. She had managed one ticket but the machine then gave up. Time now had almost run out so with Richard who sensibly had a ticket we dashed to the gates and threw ourselves on the kindness of the guard who eventually let us in with the injunction to “check the inspector”. No time for that because the train was practically on its way so vowing to get a ticket on the train we practically threw ourselves on – hurrah we were on our way …

As it happened we were not able to get tickets on the train and tickets were not checked at Berwick. But as we had resolved, we ensured our journey was paid for by getting return tickets at Berwick station. So all was set to rights. Arriving at Berwick we found the rest of the contingent had also had problems with a diversion which sent them a long way round to reach Berwick. But, finally Angela, Corinne, David, Helen, Ian, Joyce, Julian, Richard, Rob 1 and Rob 2, Sika and Terry were ready to set off.

This was a perfect summer ride, in my view made even better because the riding was smooth and easy. As Ian said he could not take credit for the weather, but it could not have been better cycling weather – warm but not too hot, with a pleasant breeze to ensure we remained comfortable. So we made our way along roads lined by vegetation still green despite the recent hot weather. Arriving at Vert Wood we decided to try it even thought there had been recent rain. The start was fine but we finally had to retreat because the mud was still very much clinging on, not helped by the churning up apparently by 4x4s. On then through Whitesmith lane (so what’s a Whitesmith ? No prize for the answer) …

Lunch at Six Bells was, as always, pleasant and talkative. The talk around my end of the table ranged around the madness of fracking, cycling in France, and tales of dastedly deeds . Food dealt with, the group showed its independence of mind by gradually hiving off. Ian had spent a bit of time listening to the very good band in the pub. Helen had gone off to find some statues and have a picnic. Then Sika, Terry and Corinne decided to depart looking for a pudding not available at the pub.

We all met up again at Berwick where some decided to spend some time at the Berwick Inn having tea, whilst others made a dash for the forthcoming train. Even within the Berwick Inn the dispersion continued – I could not take the hot sun where most were sitting (added to by the smoker at the next table). I was eventually joined by Ian and Rob in another part of the garden in the shade, and when I hurried to get the train expecting all the others to follow I did not see them – so – mystery … Where did you all get to?

A lovely ride – thanks Ian


Corrinne recorded the ride on her iPhone and got the following results. I don’t think we’re going to win any prizes

Distance: 15.4 miles
Elapsed Time: 2:05:06
Avg Speed: 7.4 mph
Max Speed: 17.2 mph
Avg Pace: 8′ 06″ per mile
Min Altitude: 0 ft
Max Altitude: 191 ft


8 August 2013

Dear fellow members

Thanks to those who responded so quickly to my “final call” for 18th August. John had already said he’d take on the ride that day – though I only heard this from Roger after I’d put out the message. Anne and Mick are now going to look after 8 September and with Roger’s (classical) ride on 22 September that takes us up to 6 October. Amanda also volunteered and is thinking about what might be offered later on – possibly a London-based ride. So we’re now looking for rides for October and onwards. All offers gratefully received!

Next Saturday 10 August. 12 noon.
Summer Social

Angela writes “We are going to meet at the cafe on the beach at Goring. It would be lovely to see you all.”

Spotted this in the CTC’s “Cycle Clips” – for those who like more of a challenge

Brighton Breezy, Brighton and Hove CTC’s first randonée, will take place on Sunday 8 September 2013. There will be a choice of 70km and a hillier 100km route, both taking in some of the spectacular Sussex scenery and passing through the historic town of Lewes. Tea and refreshments are provided in the pretty village.

See you on Saturday, I hope


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 138. The Birmingham “Swarry”

8 August 2013

From “Cycling Notes” Clarion, 4 February 1896


Dear Swiftsure – We held our annual swarry on Wednesday last, and a
great success it was. In point of numbers we were few, but – oh! so
 very select. And the amount of “tone” we got into that dance was 
astonishing. It really was. The Cheery One looked in on us, and
seemed satisfied that we were doing well.

But our free “smoker” on Saturday was the thing. We had a splendid
 programme, and passed one of the jolliest nights we have ever given,
Whiffly Puncto was in the chair, and had Clarionette to back him up. 
Whiffly makes a fine chairman.

“It was a very good concert,” said Clarionette to Whiffly. “Yes,” said
 Whiffly, “Very! I remember when I was staying with my friend the 
Duke.” “Rats!” said Clarionette.

Next time Reports from Liverpool and the Potteries