The Next Ride: Sunday 3 November – A Shoreham Celebration

24 October 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.

Please email me if you are planning to go so I can advise the lunch stop.

This is a circular (Brighton-Brighton) ride I did with a friend earlier in the year, and I “re-cycled” it to satisfy a dual need: (1) to celebrate the opening of the new Adur Ferry Bridge across Shoreham harbour; (2) to enable us to take comrades from the London Clarion, who will be visiting Brighton on the previous day, around some of our familiar haunts.

Unfortunately it looks like the Londoners will not be staying overnight; but nevertheless we can still do the ride, can’t we? It’s also not 100% clear whether the bridge will be open – but we can still do the ride, can’t we? (Well, with a slight diversion to avoid getting wet…)

We proceed westwards from the Palace Pier towards our coffee stop at Carat’s Café. Some of you will know that I’m not over-keen on the Basin Road route, but needs must on this occasion; I am sure the A259 is even less fun.

After coffee we’ll go across the lock gates (hoping that they too will be in place … but they usually are!) and proceed via back streets to Shoreham town centre. If the bridge is open we’ll christen it and, once across, we’ll head for the Old Shoreham Fort – not sure if this has featured in a Clarion ride before but it is worth a (re-)visit.

Then back along the river and the Shoreham Houseboats which, again, are worth visiting every so often and are a “must-see” for those who have not yet had the pleasure.

If the bridge is not open, we’ll do the houseboats and fort in reverse order. Then – bridge or no bridge – we arrive at one of our favourite teatime haunts, Shoreham Airport, but this time as a lunch stop – not sure if we’ve done that before? Lunches there are very nice, and incredibly cheap considering how posh the place is! Afterwards we will hopefully have time to visit the little museum there. After lunch we can go and see how our old friend the Shoreham Toll Bridge is getting on. Those preferring a shorter ride (14 miles) can then return by train from Shoreham station (trains at 3 and 34 minutes past).

For those wanting the full works (20 miles) there is a route back to Brighton, which on the original ride took in Foredown Tower – but the tower is not open on Sundays, so I may alter the route slightly. We can still go via Portslade Village, which is quite a surprise if you’ve never been there – a real old village centre and not the faceless suburb you might expect. The original route ended at Preston Park, where we might want to have tea.

Practicalities: Assemble at the Palace Pier at 10:00 am.

Terrain: All hard surfaces; cycle path along the seafront and then roads.

Duration: about 4 hours for the short version, 6 for the longer version (including all stops)

My email address: Jim.

The Last Ride: Sunday 20 October 2013 – Shermanbury

24 October 2013

This was my first ride for some time so, keen to get back on the saddle, I was lured by the promise of it being “as flat as possible”. I was therefore determined not to be put off by the forecast which promised heavy winds and frequent showers, and decided to do the traditional Clarion thing: – turn up to the station and then see. At Brighton station I found no-one to confer with but I then thought people had taken their cars to Hassocks. Arriving at Hassocks (with no sign of rain) I found Ian and, emerging from the other end of the train, Nick who had caught the train at the last minute.

So we were three. Everyone else must have been busy and perhaps the weather forecast had put them off. But sometimes one does win and as it turned out the weather was near perfect – warm with the sun showing frequently and no gusty head wind, for the whole day (well up to the last mile or so into Hassocks anyway).

So after our photo at the station off we set through Hurstpierpoint, and, foregoing the London Road, made our way through quiet lanes to Shermanbury.

October 20, 2013: Hassocks circular via the Shermanbury bridleway

It was noticeable how green the vegetation still is – but now dotted here and then with the wonderful bright yellow, orange, and bronze of autumn foliage. (See Nick’s great photos.) It was indeed fairly flat with just a few small hills but with lots of lovely long downs.

October 20, 2013: Hassocks circular via the Shermanbury bridleway

After the bit of main road we hit the long bridleway through Shermanbury, which Nick said he remembered from his first ride with Clarion. This turned out to be a bit slower than expected (for me anyway) because it was very muddy with very deep looking “puddles” which I preferred to skirt round rather than sail through as the other two did. But it was nevertheless a pleasant interlude with beautiful straight trees lining it leading us to Winehan and the Royal Oak. The food was very good indeed – I had tagliatelle with wild mushrooms, Ian – pie (can’t remember what might have been in it but it looked very good )… And Nick a soup that he insisted on painstakingly photographing.

October 20, 2013: Hassocks circular via the Shermanbury bridleway

Happily (for me anyway) the route back was much shorter – Bob Lane (is it the lane belonging to Bob?– but no “apostrophe” – does it mean Mr. Bob Lane, and who was Bob anyway. (?) Then to Twineham … Wineham and Twineham which we had sailed through called out for a bit of doggerel but sadly none of us were up to it.

By the time we got to hailing distance of Hurstpierpoint the rain had started – gently at first but we reached the bus shelter just in time to beat the downpour. We spent a happy half hour, dissecting the strange little house, opposite, whilst Nick was “checking in” with his mysterious game of which I understand zilch.

October 20, 2013: Hassocks circular via the Shermanbury bridleway

Then on to Hassocks where Ian left us for his car and Nick persuaded me to see the local pet shop. Well worth it, a great place with a tame fox and endless beautiful cats in every corner and I was able to get some food for my cats. As we left the shop the rain came down again – but once again shelter was there – just across the road a Costa. Don’t think I have ever been in a Costa before but needs must so Nick had a coffee in a cup as big as a washing up bowl and I had tea and complained about the vast size of the cup they gave me. I ended up with an espresso cup. Why is we have to have tea in great shallow coffee cups now? By the time one has taken two gulps the tea is cold and I hate cold tea – The response was “this is a coffee shop”. Well no it isn’t they sell tea! The tea cup has its shape for a very good reason and I shall continue my campaign to insist I do not want my tea in a cardboard cup, nor an overlarge coffee cup. (And by the way the tea shops in Hassocks were closed even if we had braved the downpour to get there). But we were sheltered and had a warm drink and cake before getting the train. A great ride – thanks Ian


News: population growth, fracking and CTC items

24 October 2013

Dear fellow members

Well my heartfelt plea for volunteers was answered – but not by the new first time ride leaders I was hoping might materialise. Along with everyone else I’m grateful to Roger and Anne and Mick. But as I said last time we can’t go on forever relying on the “usual suspects.”

As you’ll see below we now have a full programme for the rest of this year, so I have worked out a provisional schedule for rides during the first three months of 2014. It would be great to see at least a few less familiar names besides some of the rides then. The first one that needs covering is on 12 January and I definitely can’t “backstop” that one. No rush, then, but can we have a volunteer (or volunteers)?

If you’re in the google group you will already know about the following – but a reminder is always good.


‘Population growth- the elephant in the room’
Date:  Friday 25th October
Time: 8:00pm (doors from 7:45pm)
Speaker: Joyce Edmond-Smith – Environmentalist
Venue: Calvary Evangelical Church, 72 Viaduct Road, Brighton

David writes:

For anyone interested in learning some facts about fracking, and not having to rely on the hype, there is a conference on fracking to be held at SOAS on 6 November organized by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management:

And you may have missed the following if you’re not on the Bricyles mailing list.

Media madness

It is useful if you write to the newspapers and use other forums/media to
put the case for good transport policy. State the benefits of 20 mph limits 
and the Lewes Road cycle lanes. This helps to counter the effect of negative
 adverts placed in the local press which stated there was no evidence for the 
benefits of 20 mph speed limits, and encouraged the misunderstanding about a
”blanket ban”. We support the council’s complaint to the Advertising 
Standards Authority.

Finally, three interesting items from the CTC

The Freight on Rail campaign has joined forces with the local authority Technical Advisors’ Group in calling for Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to restrict lorry access to designated routes in urban areas. CTC believes lorry use should be restricted on the busiest routes at the busiest times and has also called for improved lorry design and better driver training

A trial date of 5 December 2013 has been set in the case of CTC member Alex Paxton, who is challenging the Fixed Penalty Notice he received after stopping in front of a cycle box in Fulham. He is contesting the fine as he was unable to stop in the box because it was blocked illegally by a motorist. The Cyclists’ Defence Fund, a charity set up by CTC, has raised nearly £2,500 through donations to fund Alex’s defence. The Crown Prosecution Service has until 6 November to respond to his barrister’s claim that a prosecution is not in the public interest.

Police in Hertfordshire recently escorted a cyclist off the M1 after he was spotted on the hard shoulder in pouring rain riding towards London. They then tweeted a picture of the rider with the hashtag #dontbeadummy. Some would say poor facilities for cyclists led to the rider’s error in the first place.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 143. Liverpool Clarion’s plans

24 October 2013

The following was included in the Clarion 21 March 1896 Cycling Notes

Dear Swiftsure

I have pleasure in sending you our fixture list for season ’96. You will observe that we have the date for the Manchester camp wrong, which is the fault of the Manchester Club sending us the wrong date.

I am glad to say that most of the old members of the clob have “’gain weighed in” and new ones are joining also.

We open proceedings on the 21st inst. with a tea and a social at Hunt’s Cross; this is not a guzzling “do” (down, Manchester!), but music and song will be greatly in evidence. Clarionettes are invited; for train times see advt. Column.

In the last issue of the Clarion I notice among the proposals for agenda from the Manchester Club was one dealing with a loan collection of photographic slides. But I would fancy that one collection would be insufficient to meet the demand. Would it not be possible for a number of our clubs to possess a collection of their own, and to plan a system of exchange between one another? Is there not enough photographers amongst us to make the thing possible? Perhaps those interested will give their opinion,

I am giving my views upon the matter at length in next month’s Scout, if the editor published them.


W BEVAN   Hon Sec

Next time: Newcastle Clarion

The Next Ride: Sunday 20 October – Shermanbury

9 October 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.

We first did a ride incorporating the Shermanbury Place bridleway back in 2005 and we’ve done it a couple of times more recently, but not for a  while.. I’ve kept it  as “flat” as possible, made the afternoon session a bit shorter than the pre-lunch one.

We leave Hassocks station and follow the road to Hurstpierpoint where we turn south once over the A23 and follow the old London road down as far as Shaves Wood  where we take the road up to High Cross. The last bit into Shermanbury involves a short stretch of busy main road, then we take the bridleway through Shermanbury, emerge onto a lane near Wineham and make our way to the Royal Oak for lunch.

Then it’s Bobs Lane, Twineham and down to High Cross, then Albourne and retrace our route back to the station.


Meet:      at Hassocks station at 10 54

Getting there:     Catch 10 45 from Brighton station (earlier train at 10 15 – arrives 10 24).   Anyone coming from London should catch the 9 32 which arrives at 10 52.

Distance: 19 miles

Off road   Just the bridleway at Shermanbury – shouldn’t be a problem.

Hills:  not many and only little ones

Catering:  lunch at the Royal Oak with possibility of tea at the Hassocks station pub (or a diversion to Washbrooks Farm)

Getting back:  trains to at 08, 37 and 52  minutes past the hour to Brighton and 14, 24 and 54 to London.

My mobile:          0789 985 1172


The Last Ride: Sunday 6 October 2013: Hassocks to Brighton in the Late Summer (?) Sun

9 October 2013

Well, it certainly seemed like summer; for much of the ride my coat was securely stowed in the pannier …

There was drama and near-tragedy as Angela and I waited at Preston Park station: a woman appeared to be trying to jump in front of a train, and two men were trying to restrain her. All appeared to have been drinking. The railway authorities were alerted and the fast train came through very slowly, tooting its horn. Then the police took her away. We could not begin to imagine what was going through her mind or what dreadful circumstances had precipitated this crisis. A sobering experience to begin the day.

At Hassocks we were joined by Roger, Suzanne and Richard, and had plenty of time to admire the new station building which had replaced the modular concrete construction put up in the early 70s (and which in turn had apparently replaced a magnificent Victorian edifice) as we waited for the later train.

Hassocks Station

Hassocks Station

It arrived, delivering forth Linda; then Rob turned up in his car, having planned to board the later train at Preston Park only to find that it did not stop there. Sean telephoned to say he was on his way from Plumpton but not to wait; we did wait, but eventually set off, having given him the location of the pub. We met up with Sean and Jane in Underhill Lane, at the junction with Lodge Lane. Just before we reached that junction, we noticed that some very anti-social person had flytipped a whole load of old furniture in the lane.

Fly tipping

Why did they do that, when they clearly had a vehicle with which they could have taken it to the tip? Someone said it’s because they would have had to pay at the tip; but this is not the case at either of the Brighton & Hove tips, so maybe others ought to follow suit.

From this, the eastern extremity of the ride, the nine of us proceeded westwards through Clayton, pausing to admire the castellated northern portal of Clayton railway tunnel. I have often wondered why a later, brick-built addition had been allowed to spoil this façade; I am told it is a cottage which is sometimes open to the public. A cottage for whom though? The tunnel-keeper? Who would want to live there, with rumbling noises every 5 minutes?

Clayton Tunnel - North Portal

On up New Way Lane, carefully stewarded as ever by our leader, Roger, who gave a short presentation about Danny, the stately home now converted into luxury retirement flats. Apparently if you go to live there you are expected to take your own dining table! Sean, ever the source of fascinating nuggets of information, asked us what we thought Paul Dacre’s father had done during the war. The answer was that he was so patriotic and dedicated to the defence of his country (unlike the “Britain-hating” Ralph Miliband apparently) that he took a job as … a theatre critic!



Past Hurstpierpoint College, up Danworth Lane and Pomper Lane (which seemed new territory to me, though apparently not to the Clarion), over the A23 (suppressing the urge to yell obscentities at the cars) and so to the pub, the Duke of York at Sayers Common.

Shady Lane

Danworth Lane

The food was delicious, and the conversation as usual was rich and varied. Angela raised the topic of a Christmas social, with some sort of consensus emerging around a meal preceded by table tennis. But if you have any other ideas I’m sure she’d like to hear from you.

Lots of people had come out to enjoy the sun. We saw mud-splattered runners, and horses were much in evidence – some with carriages attached, including one small two-wheeled device apparently known as a jog-cart. At one point a long-necked sheep was also spotted.

Horse and Cart

The Jog-Cart

Rob photographed an ingenious tricycle with baby carriage attached, much discussed at lunchtime; Roger had also seen it but thought it was a rubbish bin, possibly the vehicle of choice for a professional but environmentally-conscientious flytipper?


After lunch we took the old A23 (now a B-road but you’d never believe it) to Newtimber, where the old London Road – here a quiet, grassy cul-de-sac – becomes the Equestrian Route to Newtimber Place, which we briefly visited before continuing to Pyecombe, the last bit of the journey being on the scary A281.

Group at Newtimbers

At Newtimber Place: L-R Richard, Suzanne, Rob, Linda, Sean, Roger, Jane, Angela

From here it was the safe, but noisy, NCN20 alongside the A23 all the way back to Preston Park. We passed the south portal of the tunnel, where they had forgotten to build castellations, and thanks to Roger’s impeccable timing, reached the park 10 minutes before the projected time of 3.30. At the Rotunda Café we found Fred waiting for us, and also Colin, who just happened to be taking his weekly spin round the park and joined us for a coffee. Linda by now had departed for home; poor Rob had to get the train back to Hassocks to retrieve his car, and Sean and Jane had somehow to get to Plumpton without the benefit of a train (since the line was closed for the day).


At the Rotunda: L-R Rob, Richard, Colin, Jim, Roger, Suzanne, Fred, Sean, Jane

After the ride, Rob sent me his GPS log:


Thanks to Roger for demonstrating that there is still unpedalled territory out there to explore, and thanks also for arranging such nice weather.



9 October 2013

Dear fellow members

I have to confess that I was just a tad disappointed on returning from holiday (great time, thank you!) that Roger – who had nobly coped with this newsletter and the associated arrangements during my absence – had not been inundated with offers to lead the remainng rides of  2013 (and perhaps some in 2014)  Sadly, not even one!.

We have had some first time ride organisers this year – which is great – but we are in growing need for more – or for people other than Jim and Roger who currently take on way more than their fair share – to become fairly regular (but not every month!) ride leaders.  What we must avoid is a situation where some of us (me probably) get too old and infirm to do rides and others run out of ideas or get fed up  with doing so much and the Club starts to fade away.  Something like that probably happened to our predecesor Brighton section back in the 1950s.If you want some ideas have a trawl through the newsletters for previous years on the blog.  If you need help let me (or Jim, who always volunteers for this) know what you are thinking about and we’ll be happy to assist.

Fortunately I can  act as a back stop for the next ride  and I’ve also put myself down for the “traditional” final ride of the year on 15 December.  But I can’t do either of the remaining rides for the year – so we really do need a couple of volunteers – at least.

If you’re not a CTC member you won’t have seen this interesting item:

How are the drivers in your area? If you suspect they’re worse – or better – than average, new CTC research might confirm or otherwise your suspicions. A map of Great Britain reveals where the motorists with most penalty points on their licences live. From Castlemilk, Glasgow with 19.4% caught driving illegally to Freshwater on the Isle of Wight with only 3.3%, the statistics may be explained by different levels of roads policing. Over 9,000 people have signed CTC’s Road Justice petition calling for greater resources for traffic enforcement – if you haven’t, add your voice now.


Not of course that there aren’t some dangerous, inconsiderate and even lunatic cyclists about too.  But this I think  takes the proverbial biscuit for insane cycling behaviour (From the same CTC source)  Makes the blood run cold!

What on Earth was this rider thinking as she had the narrowest of near-misses at a level crossing in Cambridgeshire? After ignoring the warning lights and the barrier, she just managed to screech to a halt inches from a train travelling at 70mph. Whatever urgent appointment she had was obviously forgotten as she then mopped her brow – and rode off in the opposite direction


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

9 October 2013

142  Getting to the Bakewell Meet.

On 21 March 1896, as the second Easter Meet approached Swiftsure included the following advice on how to get to Bakewell in his  “Cycling Notes”:

The wretched weather of late will have disappointed many who were hoping to get into something like riding form before Easter. And I am afraid the approaching meet of Clarion cyclists at Bakewell will severely try many who purpose cycling there.  However, the railways can always be utilised if athe distance is too great, and I have hopes that in point of numbers and enthusiasm the meet will exceed that Ashbourne last year. For the benefit of the various Clarion C.Cs Mr Sutcliffe , of the National Committee, has drawn out the following particulars of the routes to Bakewell from the several towns along with other information which should prove highly useful; and I should advise all interested to copy or cut them out  for reference when necessary

Next week Mr Sutcliffe will give further particulars of the arrangements for the meet.


From Birmingham  – Litchfield 16 miles, Burton 12,  Derby 11, Belper, 6, Matlock 9, Bakewell, 9 total 62 miles
From Bradford – Huddersfield 10 miles, Fenay Bridge 2, Shipley 4, Penistone 5,  Worley 3, Wadsley Bridge 4, Sheffield 3, Totley 6, Owler Bar,3, Baslow 5, Edensor 2, Bakewell 2,: total 49 miles

Similar details were then given for Hyde, Leeds, Liverpool, Stoke, Manchester, (choice of 4 routes some easier)  Too long to include it all but here are a few key quotes . None of the routes look like ones Fred would enjoy – and he wouldn’t be alone.  Good advice about brakes – all bikes were fixed wheel in those days; hence reference to back-pedalling.

”From the above all clubs can easily find their way into the best road”

”All the roads leading from the North leading to Bakewell are very hilly”

”Bakewell is only 450 feet above the sea whilst two miles outside at Buxton the road reaches a level of 1,400 feet, and this is the highest point on any of the sketch routes here indicated.”

Hills around Sheffield

 “will be good climbing even for Yorkshiremen”

The piece ends

“Brakes on machines are a necessity for all but the most expert back pedallers  and all should try to ride only in daylight”

Next time   Liverpool Clarion’s plans