The Next Ride: Wednesday 1 January 2014 New Year’s Day – CANCELLED, but…

18 December 2013

Ian writes:

With the Met Office putting out a severe weather warning for the whole region and the Brighton forecast of both heavy rain and high winds with gusts of 50 or 60 mph it would be daft to try and carry on with it – and would anyone feel like turning out anyway?

I’ve been very reluctant to cancel our New Year’s Day “brunch” ride for the first time in the ten years we’ve been going. I’ve been looking forward to a “Carat’s breakfast” and – if the forecast for Thursday (2nd Jan) remains as it is currently – dry and not so windy in the morning – I intend to have one a day later than planned. If you’re free and feel like it do join me, I’ll set of from Palace Pier at 10 am. See you there, perhaps?

The next real ride will be on 12 January.


As always, I’m hoping that this easiest of starts to the year may tempt out some of those we seldom see – or even have yet to see.

Meet by the Palace Pier at 10.00 am – or along the route at eg Maroccos. Only about 9 miles (there and back) – plus from home to the Pier of course


The Last Ride: Sunday 15 December – Berwick Circular: the shortest ride of the year!

18 December 2013

Six riders met at the Berwick railway station: Joyce, Ann, Mick, Ian, Leon and Julian. We were pleased to see Joyce back on her bike following her recent ill-health. Ian had organised a virtually undulation-free ten mile ride, routing north out of Berwick village then north-west along Langtye Lane, turning up through the village of Ripe and along Ripe Lane, past the Deanwood caravan park to the A22.

From there we veered south-west on the straight road past various farms to The Yew Tree Inn just north of Chalvington, this last stretch in the mild rain. We passed many manor-size houses, barns and ponds and a tree sheltering a group of Collared Doves. The Inn kindly allowed us to take our bikes inside the rear covered area. Then, ducking under the low beams and nearly treading on two sleeping dogs, orders were made for soup, fish cakes and various meaty dishes enjoyed at our reserved table. None of us could recall Nelson Mandela’s middle name (Rolihlahla) or all three types of windmill (Smock, Tower and Post) that Leon tested us with.

Ann and Mick then left, putting the two bikes in their car, Mick’s being brand new, replacing the recently stolen one.  The return south to Berwick Station for the remaining four of us, was quick and uneventful, with no-one’s bike sliding from under them as has happened on Clarion rides. While waiting for Joyce and Leon’s train we had an after-lunch cuppa at The Berwick Inn– and for one of us a tasty Banoffee Pie !




18 December 2013

Dear fellow members

Thanks to Anne and Mick for taking on the 26th January ride.

This time’s extract from the Clarion back in the 1890s is a bit different. It’s a song, so perhaps we can sing it (or some of it – or just hum sympathetically) on the way to Carats café on New Year’s Day? I’ve also sent it to Matthew Ball for Boots and Spurs together with an obit for Brian Hutton and a brief section report. The “last call” for the latter caught me on the hop – so I’m afraid I didn’t have time to consult you all.

In the last issue I promised a report from Joyce about moves to create a coalition of groups in favour of sustainable transport. And here it is

Ian reported in the last Newsletter that there have been discussions about the need to react to the often aggressive arguments going on – essentially in the Argus and other media – in an attempt to stop the 20 mile limit programme, which as we know has produced antagonisms between cyclists and motorists , egged on by the Evening Argus.   Given that the “Unchain the Motorist Group” seem to have money for advertisements in the Argus, it is felt necessary to counter this and support sustainable transport in its various forms. To do this a coalition group of organisations supporting sustainable transport has been suggested. The membership would be groups although individuals could be supporters . I believe that the Clarion should become a member of such a coalition and to that effect I will be proposing we do so at the forthcoming AGM.

In the meantime there have been two meetings, + a demonstration and attendance at the Committee meeting to decide on phase 2 of the scheme – and the launch of a petition :- for 20 mph speed limits in Preston Drove, Stanford Avenue and Surrenden Road in Brighton! It’s on the 38 Degrees website. Short link here:

The outcome of the meetings is as follows :

Moving Forward

Suggested strapline

Smarter transport for Brighton & Hove
Better transport for Brighton & Hove

Suggested Aim
A cleaner, safer and more attractive environment for Brighton & Hove

Suggested sign-up statement:
Any community group or social organisation – but not political parties and groupings – wanting to join or any individual wanting to become a support would have to sign up to the following:

  1. Support transport policies which focus on people, especially those policies promoting walking, cycling and public transport
  2. Recognise the value that greater walking, cycling and use of public transport brings to the city’s economy, public health and reduced pollution
  3. Acknowledge that within the city, buses and trains are the most efficient way of moving large numbers of people
  4. Recognise that measures to manage car parking are essential and that the availability and price of car parking can have an impact on the viability of public transport
  5. Advocate greater investment in well-designed infrastructure for walking and cycling and public transport


Continuing the discussion about cycle safety – and road safety generally – in London and in Brighton,  Jim writes

I don’t disagree with anything that’s been said so far about the horrific deaths of cyclists in London, but I do think we need to have some sort of “sensible cycling” campaign. I don’t know Bow, but every day when I am in London I see cyclists behaving extremely dangerously on the Euston road. I can’t help thinking that maybe if they would slow down a bit and stop more often (like we do!) there might not be so many accidents. And these cyclists (they are usually the lycra-clad variety) very rarely stop for pedestrians – even on pedestrian crossings. A couple of weeks ago I waited at a zebra crossing in Woburn Place, where cars had already stopped, while three or four cyclists filed past without stopping – and it’s true that the one in front apologised to me for not stopping, but it was not altogether clear why he couldn’t just stop – these ones were not actually travelling that fast (and even if they had been, they should still be able to stop in a reasonable distance, just like cars).

On Tuesday evening, I walked across a park in Cambridge at twilight, on a path that was a shared pedestrian and cycle route. Many cyclists overtook me but *not one* rang his or her bell to warn me of his/her approach! The return journey later on – in the dark – was actually safer, as I could see their lights shining on the path before they reached me (and *most* of them did actually have lights!) although once again, no bells were rung.

These kinds of behaviour give cyclists a bad name, and probably contribute to all the vitriol.

I remember riding on the blue “cycle superhighway” on a London ride a year or two ago, and how safe it felt. More of those (and possibly a touch of the “Lewes Road” approach to separate cycles from buses) would surely make London safer for cyclists, but would the speed-freaks use them?

That’s my pennyworth anyway.

Well, I’m very much in favour of Jim’s idea of a “sensible cycling campaign” but what do other people think? Let me know for the next edition of this newsletter which will appear early in the New Year.

If you’re coming to the Christmas Social make sure you’ve let Angela know about your menu choices for Cafe Rouge, Brighton Marina, on Saturday 21st December for 12.30pm.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 147. “A CYCLE SONG” from 1896

18 December 2013

This comes from the Clarion 2 May 1896 in a column called  OUR ‘CLARION’ PASTIME MIXTURE. J Johnson must have been a member of either the Bolton Clarion CC or the Clarion Scouts – possibly both. I’ve no idea of the provenance of the long quotation that introduces the song. But in view of the current boom in bike sales and growing numbers of ‘wheelists’ it seems topical again.

You have to admire someone who didn’t flinch at rhyming “roll” and “all,” don’t you!

“The future is with the wheel. It is all-conquering. The season of 1896 has hardly begun, and already  the increase in the number of wheelmen and wheelwomen is most marked. Indeed, from the number of orders placed with bicycle manufacturers, it is estimated that by the end of the year the number of wheelists in this country will be almost doubled.”

Air. “Bonnie Dundee”

Let others sing loudly of pastimes and joys
Endeared to the hearts of men, maidens and boys.
My ditty shall be of the pleasures I feel
When mounted secure on my dearly-loved wheel


Hurrah for the cycle, swift, trusty and strong!
May it daily win lovers and stay with us long;
Good luck let us wish to the courser of steel,
And health and long life to the men of the wheel.

It carries me swiftly and safely along
Away from the town with its noise and its throng;
Away from the stifling and smoke-laden air,
To the life-giving breezes and rural scenes fair.

Hurrah for the cycle &c.

The whole world is mine to wander at will;
For me are the glories of valley and hill’
The larks in the sky and the flowers on the lea
Shed sweetness and beauty for cycle and me

Hurrah for the cycle &c.

When tired of the city, its clamour and strife,
My Pegasus bears me to newness of life;
And nought can relieve the heart of the load
Of worry and cares like a “spin” on the road.

Hurrah for the cycle &c.

Let the rich in their coaches and carriages roll,
My cycle is better by far than them all;
The wheel of Dame Fortune to them may bring wealth
But my flying wheel is  the wheel of good health.

Hurrah for the cycle &c.

J. Johnston , Bolton

Next time: The 2nd Easter Meet

The Next Ride: Sunday 15 December – Berwick Circular c 14 Miles only

4 December 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.

The shortest day for one of our rides this year and probably the shortest ride. Our now traditional  last ride of the year  is a really short and flat one that  maybe will tempt everyone out unless the weather is atrocious – like it was in 2010 when I had to cancel it. [Finally did it in February!]   Before that we had mixed experiences – only two of us on the first, 2004 ride and things have not been without variety since

Last year it was lovely and sunny and, carried away by the winterwonderland of it all I lead the ride straight past the pub for about half a mile!  As Leon’s report put it

“Ian’s story was that they were possibly in a state of enlightenment as they passed the pub, or was it true that they were just daydreaming, or blinded by sun reflection off the road. Who knows.”

Who does, indeed!

It had been bright enough the year before, but that 2011 sunshine was misleading.  As Jenny later reported

“The sky was clear and blue, the sun was beautiful and bright, but the temperature was still deceptively low even at 10.30 in the morning, and ice was lurking on the country lanes. As I discovered when I turned right at the Langtye Lane crossroads on the way to Berwick – the bike slid from under me and I hit the deck. Luckily I was going pretty slowly but it was a shock to the system nonetheless – no lasting harm done though, and most importantly the bike was undamaged apart from a dislodged chain!”

Will we have better luck this year?  Fingers crossed!   But wrap up warm in any case.

We’ll do the usual loop round the Berwick, Ripe, Chalvington area  and stop for lunch at the Yew Tree pub. There’s no point trying to “book” at such a popular pub at this time of year, but we should be there by 12 (or soon after) and if it was too full we could always try the Lamb at Ripe, which would add just a couple of miles to the ride or just wait until we got back to the Berwick Inn.

Distance: c 14  miles.
Hills: If I say there aren’t any  hills, someone is bound to point out that the road went ‘up’ for 30 or 40 metres at some point – but it really is pretty flat
Off road:  None
Traffic:  Quiet roads
CateringYew Tree  for lunch.* Possible tea stop (depending on train times and our own progress) at the Berwick Inn  for tea

*see ride outline

Catch the 10.20 from Brighton station or meet at Berwick station at 10.43 

[There’s only one train an hour –so I can’t suggest an alternative.] Train  back at  14.48   reaching  Brighton at   15.12  or 15.48  (16.12)

(Be at Brighton Station by 9.50 for Groupsave – I assume that’s still going)

My mobile number is 07770743287 



The Last Ride: Sunday 1 December – New lanes and links

4 December 2013

The start at the Loving Hut cafe

Nine riders met at The Level: Fiona, Fred, Jenny, John, Julian, Roger, Sikka Sue, Simon, and Suzanne. After negotiating the Vogue Gyratory we used the new improved cycle path along the A27 to get to our first detour, a quick buzz around always-beautiful Stanmer Park. Then through the underpass to the other side of the main road, and up the many twists and turns of the Meccano-like ramp over the railway at Falmer station. It’s amazing how much engineering and metalwork is required to provide access for wheel-users in a confined space – relative to building stairs that is.

Ramp over the railway line at Falmer

The next detour was a pootle round the perimeter of the Amex ‘Community’ Stadium. What a soul-less, horrible building it is, with its acres of tarmac and wire-netting fences, and so out of place (other opinions are also available). Out and across the traffic lights we found the as-yet unmarked entrance to the lovely new shared-use path that runs alongside the B2123 from Falmer to Woodingdean. At last walkers, cyclists, and horse-riders are spared having to risk their lives in the fast-moving traffic, as what was once a lumpy permissive bridleway along the field edge has been upgraded, widened, and surfaced with fine crushed and rolled limestone that is suitable for all bikes, not just knobbly-tyred ones. Sadly, in some places the surface has already been a bit eroded by rain water but it was chosen to be less intrusive in the landscape than tarmac.

John up the hill

The path is separated from the road by a generous embankment, and there’s a grass strip alongside that hopefully will be preferred by horse-riders. The route provided an unaccustomed experience for the Clarions as the hill rose up and up, but the views from the top are spectacular. Julian reported that he saw a very low-flying buzzard, and Fred saw a kestrel. We passed Bullock Hill, the best-kept secret mentioned earlier. The descent into Woodingdean was long and exhilarating – my computer reported a maximum speed of 37.6 mph, in what could well have been a 30 mph zone, oops.

Lunch at The White Horse, Rottingdean

Lunch at The White Horse in Rottingdean was a slightly disorganised affair, with the food taking its time arriving, but it was worth the wait. Then we said goodbye to John and headed back into town along the pancake-flat and more Clarion-friendly undercliff. Six of us detoured back to The Level again to try the new Velo Café – good coffee, excellent cake, a reasonably priced menu of bike repairs on offer, and a flashing, vibrating gadget to alert customers to collect their order. We liked it. My route home along the seafront was enhanced by a millpond sea and a truly spectacular sunset.

Afternoon coffee at Velo

Thanks Roger for organising this ride and introducing the new circuit – the link between Falmer, the South Downs Way, and the coast has been a long time coming and we enjoyed trying it out.


High tech coffee ready sensor


More photos on Flickr.


4 December 2013

Dear fellow members 

At last a volunteer for 2014!  Thanks John for offering to take on 12 January.  But it would be good to have a reserve standing by since I can’t backstop on that date.  Why?   Best leave it to John to explain.  He writes:

It’s a while since I have ridden with the Clarion  partly due to being away in Italy but also illness.  So, with one reservation I an volunteering for, I know not where at the moment, 12th January.  The reservation concerns my illness.  Whilst in Italy I developed a blood clot on my lung and saw the inside of both Italian and French hospitals.  France won!.  That was in October.  I am recovering quite well and advised to exercise.  That is what I am doing.  Short rides at the moment to loosen the rust.  Longer later I hope.

So that is the reservation.  Put me down with a question mark. 

Which I have done. Let’s hope that, whether or not he feels up to taking on the ride next month that John makes a speedy and complete recovery ASAP.

On the subject of rides two things:

Any volunteers either to “shadow”  John for 12 Jan or for later rides?

2)  It seems the right moment to remind everyone about the arrangements for cancelling rides. Basically, please check your email inbox after 5 pm the day (Sat) before.  If a ride has to be cancelled because of bad weather or any other reason I will send a message out by then.

Another John, John Wells-Deamer has responded to the paragraphs about the recent deaths of London cyclists in the last newsletter..   Here’s what he has to say:

Yes, the spate of accidents in London are horrific, but so are the figures for total deaths on the roads over one year; if people lost their lives on aircraft at the rate they do on roads, nobody would fly, and something radical would be done to cure the problem.

There is a prevailing opinion amongst a large percentage of the population, that cycling is a lower class activity, for enthusiastic nutters, and eccentrics who are just anti-car; oh for a bit of gallic enthusiasm from across the channel!  The figures are bad for cyclists, as bad as the attitudes of drivers that cause the deaths, and the injuries, but in all our arguments I think we have to put them in context of general road usage, otherwise we lose credibility, and weaken our case. We also need to push the relative safety/health benefit equation, as you mentioned in your text.

I couldn’t agree more. But  this is your newsletter so please send  me any comments on this or any other relevant issue.

Our campaigns organiser, Joyce, tells me that moves are afoot to create a ‘coalition” of groups in support of sustainable transport  – including of course cycling.  She is investigating this and hopes to report in the next issue of this newsletter.

If you’re coming to the Christmas Social make sure you have the details in your diary Cafe Rouge, Brighton Marina, on Saturday 21st December for 12.30pm.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 146. (Just for a change) Cycling on footpaths in France and “Mrs Swiftsure’s views on ‘novice scorchers’”

4 December 2013

We will return to the 2nd Easter Meet at Bakewell in 1896 after Christmas.  This time, for a change. here’s a couple of items not about the Clarion cycling clubs from Swiftsure’s “Cycling Notes”  The first is from the 4 April and the second from 18 April 1896.

 The Government  of France has just issued an edict that whenever the main roads are in a state of repair, or where the wretched pavé covers the road cyclists may use the footpaths at a pace and in such a manner as not to be a danger to pedestrians.

I doubt whether such a concession would ever be granted in England…”

 *          *           *

My wife, who is never happy unless she has a spin every day, remarked to me a short time since that there is little pleasure nowadays in riding anywhere near the city, on account of the numerous cyclists who have only just learnt to ride.

What with the mad novice scorcher, who whisks past so close as to ring her bell (more or less), and the other novice upon whom you have to keep a wary eye to guard against a sudden lurch in your direction, there is certainly some truth in her complaint. 

Next time: “A Cycle Song”