The Next Ride: Sunday 6 October – Hassocks to Brighton

25 September 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining.  If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.

There’s nothing classical, geometric or innovative about this ride. We simply catch a train to Hassocks (cheap and quick!) and ride back into Brighton.

We’ll set off eastwards and make the short climb up to Underhill Lane, then back westwards through Clayton – note the church of St John the Baptist on the left, famous for the medieval frescoes covering most of its walls. The Sunday service will probably be in full swing at the time we pass so a visit may have to wait until another time.

As we head for Hurstpierpoint along New Way Lane look out for a glimpse of Danny House on the left, an impressive, grade I listed Elizabethan mansion. During World War One it was the home for six months of prime minister, Lloyd George together with his wife and his mistress – those were the days! Now it’s a posh retirement home.

College Lane will take us north to ogle the local public school on its 140 acre campus. Crossing the motorway-style A23 (by bridge of course) we will detour through Newtimber, possibly stopping to view the church.

After that there is no getting away from the A23. So we’ll grit our teeth and use the excellent but noisy cycle path that runs alongside it into the City. The ride will end at the Rotunda café in Preston Park. If you live nearby but are not coming on the ride, perhaps you could join us there for afternoon tea: very approximate arrival time: 3:30pm.

Meet: At Hassocks Station (west side) at 10:21
Getting there: Catch the 09:44 or the 10:12 from Brighton. There’s a station car park.
Distance: Approx 20 miles
Hills: A few
Terrain: Road and cycle track.
Catering: Lunch venue to be confirmed. Tea at the Rotunda Café, Preston Park.
Getting home: Brighton and Preston Park Stations are both a short ride away from the café. I’ll ride home via Brighton station if anyone needs a guide.

My mobile 0789 985 1172.


The Last Ride: 22 September 2013 – Chichester Circular Ride

25 September 2013

It was a somewhat cloudy but warm morning as our little band of four, Roger, Suzanne, Linda and me, set off from Chichester station in a south easterly direction to begin our 20 mile circular ride. I often have difficulty remembering many details of rides that I have done before, but I did remember the lovely track that goes alongside the lake as you leave the city. Autumn is not yet really apparent in the trees but the abundance of blackberries along the track definitely indicates the beginning of the change to the new season.

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 (3) by Linda

As we cycled out of the city towards North Mundham, the large fields of corn had not yet all been harvested and it always amazes me how the corn grows out of the side of the plant and never looks particularly edible. In fact, to be honest I’m not over keen on corn and Suzanne, who told me she loves it with blobs of butter, also told me that the French certainly do not eat it because the vegetable is fed to animals! I did not know that.

Somewhere along the route between North and South Mundham we stopped to look at a rather lovely and large house that had a beautiful Monkey Puzzle Tree in its garden. But there were, disappointingly, no monkeys doing puzzles in it. So why are they called that, then?

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 (5) by Linda

From there we cycled along the canal, where there were even more blackberries, through Runcton (I think, if my memory is correct) and out onto a road back towards the city to get to the pub for lunch. We had to negotiate a seriously challenging roundabout at North Gate, for we were indeed at the northerly point in our circular ride, and got to the Bell Inn, having done about ten miles.

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 (4) by Linda

Being a warm day we sat out in the garden and if Fred had been around to take pictures of our food, he would perhaps have found the composition of his pictures rather uninteresting as Roger, Suzanne and me all had the same thing! Linda, being vegetarian, made a different choice and said that her bread crumbed brie with salad was very nice.

The second part of our ride took us through a very pretty place called Lavant and out onto the Centurion Way, which we have cycled many a time and if my memory serves me ok, as we left the Centurion Way, we emerged onto a road by a housing estate where, through the trees we had the most wonderful view of the cathedral and its spire. This prompted Linda to tell us a story about a church that she visited abroad (and I’m sorry Linda, but can’t remember which country you said it was in) where you could pay to stay in its tower for up to three months with your food brought to you but not come out! Imagine that and having to pay for the experience too!

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 by Linda

After this little stop to view the cathedral we cycled on through Apuldrum (what a lovely name) and Stockbridge before rejoining the canal path back to the city where we stopped for tea at the little cafe where the canal itself comes to an abrupt end. A nice pot of tea and a piece of cake for £1.70 (how come in Brighton it can be more than double that?) with more swapping of stories about what we had been up to over the last few weeks, and then we set off for the short ride back to the station and home.

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 (2) by Linda

Thank you, Roger, for organising this very pleasant and gentle ride and I hope my memory of the ride is not too out of ‘synch’ with my fellow riders. I had a lovely day out and the rest of you were missed and we hope to see you all soon, hope you are all well and are enjoying this lovely September.

Angela xxx


25 September 2013

Dear fellow members 

There were only four of us on the ride last Sunday – see Angela’s report. The next one is something I’ve put something together at rather short notice – it ends at the Rotunda café in Preston Park so perhaps some of our non-cycling members and friends could join us there.

Finding volunteers to lead rides is not easy. Many thanks to the few regulars who put in a lot of effort to keep the fortnightly schedule going. More help is needed.

It may seem a bit daunting if you’ve not done it before, but if you’ve got an idea for a ride and want some help planning it, get in touch with one of the regulars who I’m sure will be pleased to help. You can contact me on 01273 321794 or


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 141 The Easter Meet – suggestions from Manchester – and a rare error by Swiftsure

25 September 2013

From Swiftsure’s “Cycling Notes” Clarion, 11-14 March 1896

With respect to the approaching Easter meet of the Clarion Clubs at Bakewell the following advertisment is appearing in the local papers:

Bakewell – Clarion Cycling Clubs visit Bakewell at Easter. Persons having lodgings to let, send address and terms to ‘Clarion,’ 56, Derbyshire Lane, Stretford.

The National Committee tell me they have only received suggestions for the business meeting from the Manchester Club and ask me to print these in my column. I have pleasure in doing so. They are as follows;-

The Manchester and District Clarion Cycling Club request the National Committee to place the following proposals on the agenda for discussion at the meet of the Clarion C.Cs at Bakewell

1. That the present National Clarion Club shall be superseded by a Federation of Clarion Clubs.
2. That the present conference proceed to the election of a secretary and committee to carry out the work of the above federation.
3. That each club pay an affiliation fee of 1d per member per annum, to the maintenane of the Federation Committee.
4. That the committee shall draw up a code of rules to be submitted to the various clubs for approval.
5. They shall issue also, as soon as possible, a guide book and directory for the use of members on tour, who may require accommodation.
6.The committee shall arrange for national sports and time trials, and the giving of prizes for the latter.
7. Also get together a loan collection of photographic slides for the use of those clubs who may be having a social – the object being to give us an insight into each other’s doings.


I received a communication from the Wolverhampton Clarion C,C. a short time back, which has unfortunately been misplaced. I trust the ommission will be excused, and hope to hear from the secetary shortly.

Next time:  How to get to Bakewell

The Next Ride: Sunday 22 September

10 September 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: Littlehampton Circular, N,W,S &E.

10 September 2013

Extra Brownie points to Linda for arriving at Littlehampton on two wheels. Commiserations to Angela who arrived on four wheels but who was unable to join the ride as she was suffering from tennis elbow. Anne, Mike, Julilan, Roger and Suzanne all opted for letting the train take the strain.


The BBC Weather site had forecast two drops of rain for 11 am and thankfully that is all we saw as we wended (wand?) our way N.-W. through Yapton on to Walberton to have a brief look at the pretty little pond nestling between Barnham Lane and Eastergate Lane. Eastergate Lane then took us W. to Westergate (obvious, really) and on through to Oving (the Saxon village of Uuinges – the territory of Üfe’s people) to a very happy rendez-vous with Angela and welcome lunch at the Gribble (a marine bug that will eat any of your submerged wood if you’re not careful) Inn.


Real rain had fallen during our enjoyable lunch, but the lowering skies had us putting on various layers of waterproof clothing – wisely as it later transpired. From Oving we made a dramatic turn to the S. and managed to avoid busy roads by crossing the perilous A259 and arriving at the intriguing (but unfortunately closed) church of Merston (the marsh farmstead) where Julian tried to take a photo with his new camera, but five soggy cyclists got into the picture by mistake. Now it was time to turn E. Anne and Mick had found a lovely solution to the tricky problem of negotiating the top of Pagham Harbour for our return to Bognor: three bridleways through vast open fields giving magnificent views of the turbulent skies. In what seemed like next to no time we were in Bognor (“bugger” – I quote a king) … which seemed to have battened down the hatches for autumn. We bowled along with, at last the wind behind us. When we arrive at the shared cycle/pedestrian route along the prom there was no danger of getting within about 100 yards of the very sparse sprinkling of pedestrians. This gave us time to admire the sea of colours ranging from the lightest Connmara marble green to the darkest Welsh slate grey. The sky a swirl of blue, white and ominous black.


Linda had a date (with her husband, one hastens to mention) so cycled off alone while the remainging, infamous five were lured into the Lobster Pot café and did not emerge until copious tea and cakes (no ginger beer) had been consumed. It had rained heavily during this scrumptious feast – and it forgot to stop when we came out. After a couple of pusillanimous stops to shelter from the downpour, the decsion was made to spurn the NCR2 and to make a dash along the A259. Not a pleasant experience. Cars were travelling well above the 60mph limit. Julian got soaked by puddle spray. The magnificent rainbow arching over the road was little compensation. Angela’s suggestion at lunch that all car drivers should be made to ride a bike for a week as part of their training seemed very apposite at that moment.

This “short cut” had saved us a couple of miles. Is it not time that a safe cycle route be built parallel (preferable not alongside) the A259? Why do those using their own energy have to go the long way round to protect themselves from those polluting the atmosphere and making noise with their internal combustion engines?

Rather than continue to put our lives at risk, we opted for a trip down to Climping Beach and back N.-E. into Littlehampton (see “Haneton” in the Doomesday Book). Our train pulled in almost as we arrived at the station. The 49 minutes of the return journey sped past in lively chat and “I’ll show you my GPS if you will show me your iPad” conversation.

Many thanks to Anne and Mick for keeping the rain off for far longer than we expected and for organising such a fascinating ride which reached some parts which Clarion ( a cycling club in which Fellowship if Life) had not reached before – always a great achievement.



10 September 2013

Dear fellow members 

Ian is away, so I’m the one who’s pestering you yet again for ride offers. We’re down to just one in the list – mine on the 22nd – so it’s getting a bit too close for comfort. If you want a suggestion for a route or to talk over one you’re already thinking of, do get in touch.


( 01273 321794).

Angela Looks Forward to Spring

10 September 2013

Back in August, I mooted the idea about a long weekend away cycling along the Camel Trail in Cornwall.  Having looked into it in more detail it looks a bit too costly.

Another option for a weekend away in late Spring is to plan something a little nearer to home. I have done a little research into cycling in Kent, using Canterbury as our base where there is a Youth Hostel.

There are a number of rides which look very beautiful and not too difficult;  I wonder if you could give some thought to the following plan.

1.  To go early in June so that those Clarion members involved in the Brighton Festival in May could have the choice to join in.

2.  To stay either at the Canterbury Youth Hostel where prices range from between £18 – £24 per night or at a B&B – prices in Canterbury range from £135 – £165 for 3 nights for 1 person, or £207 – £244 for 3 nights for two people.

A choice of two of the following three rides.


NR1 The Crab and Winkle Way which is a 7.5 mile ride from Canterbury to Whitstable.  The ride could be extended from Whitstable to Herne Bay for another 5 miles.  We could either return by bike making a round trip of 25 miles or return to Canterbury by train from Herne Bay.  The train journey takes 58 mins and costs £8.90 or £5.75 with a Senior Rail Card.

The website giving details of this ride is:

Click on ‘cycle rides’ and then go to the ride ‘Herne Bay to Canterbury via Whitstable’. We, of course, would be starting the ride in Canterbury and not Herne Bay.


RCR 16 Canterbury Circular via Bishopsbourne. This ride is 18 miles and winds its way through the lovely Kent countryside.

The website giving details of this ride is:

Click on ‘cycle rides’ and scroll down to the named ride.


The Viking Coastal Trail NCN15: This ride would start from Margate. The train from Canterbury to Margate takes 30 mins and costs £5.10 or £3.35 with a Senior Railcard.  From Margate we would ride 8 miles to Reculver and then another 7 miles to Swalecliffe, making a total of approx 15 miles.  The more hardy riders may choose to cycle back to Canterbury whilst those of us who prefer more gentle rides could once again take the train back to Canterbury. The journey time from Swalecliffe is 50 mins, costing £8.10 or £5.35 with a Senior Railcard.

The website giving details of the ride from Margate to Reculver is:  Click on ‘National Cycle Route’, then on ‘browse routes’, and finally on ‘The North Thanet Cycle Route’.

The website giving details of the route from Reculver to Swalecliffe is ‘The Oyster Bay Trail’ at and put in a search for ‘The Oyster Bay Trail’.

Finally, the return fare from Brighton to Canterbury if booked well in advance is £23.20 or £15.30 with a Senior Railcard.

Anyway, folks, sorry for the length of this but I thought you might appreciate a bit of ‘skin on the bone’ for the proposal. Let me know what you think and hope to see you all soon. Jim has kindly said that he would do the recce with me if it was decided that we wanted to go to Kent.



The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 140. An invitation from Stockton Clarion and a report from Manchester

10 September 2013

From Swiftsure’s “Cycling Notes” Clarion, 7 March 1896

The Secretary of the Stockton Clarion C.C  J.Baker, 6,Garbutt Street, informs me that a meeting of his club will be held in the Labour Club, Norton Road, on March 17th at 7 30 p.m., to which all local Clarion cyclists are cordially invited.


Last Saturday evening saw the Manchester and District Clarion C.C engaged in their first dance, Dear Swiftsure – which was held in the Tuer Street Schools, Oxford Road. All present voted it a big success, though for my part I prefer to reduce my avoir dupoids by cycling. As one of the M.Cs I found it much harder work than walltzing round on a bicycke.

The openning run of the club will take place tomorrow (Saturday) to Fred Vickers’ Coffee Tavern, Sale, where a social will afterwards be held. Members and friends are particularly requested to join in the run or afterwards at the social.

Next time: The Easter Meet – suggestions from Manchester – and a rare error by Swiftsure