The Next Ride: Sunday 9 February 2014 Hassocks – Plumpton – Hassocks only c 13 miles

26 January 2014

From Hassocks station via Keymer, Ditchling, and Plumpton Green to the Half Moon at Plumpton for lunch www.halfmoonplumpton.com. Then return via Westmeston and Keymer.

Gentle undulations only!

Distance to lunch venue: 8.5 miles
Distance back to Hassocks: 4.5 miles

Catch the 10.44 from Brighton station or meet at 10.53 at Hassocks (upside platform/car park)
Trains back to Brighton: 06 – 37 – 53 minutes past each hour.
My mobile: 07713429822

Leon

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.


News and How we got started

26 January 2014

Dear fellow members

Well, thanks to Leon coming forward to volunteer there will be a February ride this year. But will there be a second one on 23rd? Only if someone else comes through with a proposal in the next week or so

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The sole advantage – from my own selfish point of view – of Anne and Mick having to cancel Sunday’s ride because of the appalling weather that was forecast is that it enables me to get this newsletter out today and leaves me a bit more time to get the AGM agenda papers ready to mail out tomorrow or early next week. If there is still anyone who wants anything on the agenda, or to make a report, that hasn’t already sent it me please do so today.

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Subscriptions
I was  hoping everyone had sent in their subs by now. But I see from Jim’s treasurer’s report that around half the membership haven’t yet done so. This is not at all encouraging to all those who put in time keeping the club going in different ways – by leading rides, managing the blog and everything else that has to be done. There is just one week to do it while we still have a treasurer. So, last chance to send a cheque for £7 payable to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club to Jim Grozier at 92a Springfield Road, Brighton BN1 6DE this week. [You can also pay by bank transfer to sort code – details in the newsletter]

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How we got started
Last time I said that I would include an account of how the B&H Clarion got started ten years ago. My diary entry for 18 April 2004 records our first Sunday ride. “Met Joyce and Sheila at Polegate. We did the Cuckoo Trail up as far as Heathfield, found the Golden Martlets closed, had a drink and a warm at the Railway Tavern in Hailsham and a cup of tea at the craft centre near the end of the trail. Weather atrocious. I was really cold. But we got some more rides planned.”

Joyce suggested that it would be a good idea to have reports of our rides – something that has been a feature of our newsletters ever since. I did the report for that first ride, commenting on the appalling weather but adding, “having survived World War II we were not going to let a spot of rain deter us. In spite of the weather we had an enjoyable day – and thanks largely to Joyce thoughtfully bringing a flask of hot soup we survived.” By the time this went out we had 7 members.

Our first “social,” or at least non-riding activity that year was to venture one evening into the wilds (by car rather than bike) to the King’s Arms at Fernhurst, near Haslemere for a rare visit that far south of the Mikron Theatre group (who usually toured on the canals). They were presenting Pedal Power, an excellent piece about the early days of the Clarion cycling clubs. Afterwards, or it may have been during the interval, I recall a very “knowledgeable” woman – not I hasten to say anyone to do with the production – confidently informing me that there was no Clarion cycling club in Brighton. I told her that I was in fact its secretary but, as too often is the case with such folk, she preferred to believe what she “knew” in spite of the evidence talking to her! Clearly she had all the qualifications needed for inclusion in our coalition government.

But how did it come about that we formed a cycling club and why the Clarion? Let’s take the last bit first. I’m afraid since I was the instigator it becomes a bit autobiographical – but stay with me if you can. I had known about the Clarion cycling clubs since the mid 1970s but – only in the context of the decades before 1914. As part of my research on democracy and the Labour movement I had looked at all the editions of the Clarion up to the start of the First World War. I wasn’t researching anything directly to do with cycling but as a cyclist I was interested when I came across accounts of how the cycling clubs got started.

Fast forward a few years. We find me in the members’ kitchen at Bourne youth hostel in the Fens just before Easter. I’m on my way to Nottingham to stay with my parents-in-law. Sue and Chloe have gone there already by train, but I have taken a few days to do a mini-tour of East Anglia and have cycled from Kings Lynn that day. In the kitchen are two old blokes (i.e. men about 10 or 20 years younger than I am now) and to my surprise – since I thought the Clarion CC had died out decades before – one of them is wearing a Clarion badge – the silver trumpet kind. Without really thinking I say “Boots!” (I’d read about this in those papers from the 1890s) “Spurs!” he replies, “but how do you know about that?”

That’s how I discovered that the Clarion CC was still going – they were on the way to the Easter Meet somewhere on the East Coast that year. It was pre-internet days, but I managed to find the address of the national secretary (may have got it from those blokes I met) and joined up as an “individual” member which I remained for a few years and then lapsed.

Fast forward to early 2004. I’ve retired after suffering badly enough from stress to be ordered by my GP to take a month off at the end of the previous year. I hadn’t intended to retire then but soon decided that if I carried on it would only make me ill again. So I finished at the end of the summer in 2003 and deliberately took things very easily as instructed. I’d been so busy for the last decade and a half that I’d almost given up cycling but now I had more time I wanted to get going – gently – again. Back in the ’70s and ’80s I’d done rides with the local CTC but now I didn’t feel up to taking on 50 to 70 mile rides. But at the same time I didn’t want to just be a solitary cyclist.  Apart from anything else cycling with others was more likely to keep me at it!

I discovered that the national Clarion was still going and that you only needed 3 people to start a section. I recruited Joyce and Ed Fury – and Sheila joined us very shortly afterwards. I drafted a constitution for the section and sent it to Ed and Joyce on the 20th of February, wrote to the national secretary – Charles Jepson in those days – on 29th and we affiliated. The rest – as they say – is history. It’s just sad that neither Ed nor Sheila are with us any longer. Nor, of course, is Brian, who joined us during that first year and remained our link with the old 1940s/50s Brighton Clarion until his death last year.

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London Clarion
Some of us met Alex Southern and some of the other members of the London Clarion at the beginning of November after they had cycled to Brighton. We agreed that it would be good to have a common destination for rides now and then and meet up at lunchtime.  Alex suggests that we might do this on 23 March with East Grinstead as our ride destination.  He suggests we might try the Old Dunnings Mill for lunch – but is open to other suggestions. I think this is a good idea but we’ll need to work out a starting point and a route. Any suggestions for that or for alternative meeting places?

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Response to Jenny and John
Our good friend Peter Roscoe, secretary of Bury Clarion, was very concerned about the recent reports and discussions in this newsletter about safety and accidents – notably John’s worrying experience a month or so ago. He has sent the following to the secretaries of all the Clarion sections. The attached Peter refers to contains the pieces Jenny and John contributed to the 3rd January newsletter.

I have long thought that we as a National Club should be involved someway in the issue of Road Safety.

The attached which was included in Brighton Section’s weekly newsletter, that Ian Bullock produces, reminded me of this.

At first I thought maybe it should go on our National Website but it is lengthy and I would venture that the percentage of members looking at our website is low. Then we are inundated with information these days. Even so I thought I would give you the opportunity to read it and do with it what you will.

We are affiliated to CTC and they run the Cyclists Defence Fund so we are probably contributing indirectly I have made personal contributions to this Fund and will do so in the future. Maybe there should be something in Boots and Spurs about individual members contributing. Maybe we should contribute something directly from National Clarion Funds or should this be a matter for the individual. The same applies to the national campaigning organisation RoadPeace. I am a member of this organisation – ‘putting my money where my mouth is’ so to speak

There will be some members who know much more about the issues than I do. It just might be beneficial if we had their view. Maybe they will be critical of the Cyclists Defence fund – seems ok to me.

Dieppe: Anyone interested?
John sent me this recently

Had you thought of entering the annual Dieppe raid?  It’s from 28th to 30th June and offers a selection of rides from 30 km upwards.  It’s organised by the Dieppe CC and attracts club riders and families. Details on the website www.dieppetour.com. By all accounts good rides, hospitality and fun.

Contact John at johnjo.clinton@yahoo.co.uk if you want to discuss this further.

Ian


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 150. The 2nd Easter Meet at Bakewell

26 January 2014

 From Swiftsure’s “Cycling Notes” Clarion 11 April 1896

The famous meet at Bakewell is now a matter of history, and other pens than mine wil probably give a full, true and partidular account there or elsewhere.

Owing to circumstances beyond my control, I was only present a short time; but the sensation of the gathering of over 800 cyclists from all parts of the kingdom created in a small town, or, village, like Bakewell, can perhaps be better imagined than described.

I question whether anything like it has ever occurred before in this country, and it speaks volumes for the power of cycling, as well as for the enthusiasam of Clarion readers, that such a thing is possible, and it is almost certain tht next Easter – with our preseent rate of progress that the meet will have to be held in a much larger town.

Next time: The Bakewell Meet – Montagu Blatchford reports


The Next Ride: Sunday 26 January 2014 – Burgess Hill to Wivelsfield

14 January 2014

We’ve been trying to recreate the ride Ian led 7 years ago on 19th Jan 2007 when the sun shone & we enjoyed the lovely lanes of the Sussex Weald. After a 25 mile trip from Hassocks on Thursday we’ve shortened it to  20 miles from Burgess Hill, returning from Wivelsfield station & lunching at The Witch Inn, Lindfield, where we had super meal today. We’d like to catch the 9.54 train to Burgess Hill as Witch Inn has party of 28 at 1pm & we need to arrive before them – though buy return to Wivelsfield. Following Ian’s advice that most of the ride should be before lunch, it took us 2 hours today to reach there & an hour or so back along Slugwash Lane afterwards. Need to depart promptly from Burgess Hill station even so & start the lanes that lead to Borde Hill Estate via Cuckfield. Lanes are undulating but paved & mainly traffic-free & a few bits of main roads to cross or to ride.

Catch the 9.54 train from Brighton station or meet at Burgess Hill station at 10.10 

Return trains from Wivelsfield 05, and  35mins past the hour.

Terrain – no off-road but short undulations on good lanes.

Lunch – The Witch Inn, Lindfield.

Mick’s mobile   07803730401 

Anne and Mick

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 last ride: Sunday 12 January 2014 – Hassocks to Shoreham

14 January 2014

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Despite a cold overcast day a magnificent 12 assembled at Hassocks Station. There was our leader John, Joyce, Leon, Roger, Suzanne, Linda, Richard, Angela, Jenny, Anne, Mick and a welcome return of Rob. We set off through Hurstpierpoint and Albourne to Partridge Green where the Green Man provided lunch. Most of us enjoyed our meal though our pockets let out a small ouch.

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As usual the conversation was varied and interesting ranging at my end of the table from language learning to the 38 Degree meeting to Clarionette plans for upcoming exciting holidays with Linda off to Morocco, where for one day she has to forsake the bike in favour of a camel to cross the desert. Meanwhile  Anne and Mick looked forward to cycling in Cuba with Fred and Amanda and even her rarely sighted husband Rob.

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After lunch Rob left to cycle back to Lewes while Joyce and Leon got off to a quick start allegedly to curtail their ride at Henfield. As it happened Joyce was able to keep going all the way to Shoreham. The rest of us set off at a good pace, trying to keep the cold and a bit of drizzle at bay. It has to be said that the car drivers seemed bigger faster and more aggressive than ever.

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We arrived back at the airport but tea and cakes were declined as it was apparent that by the time they were consumed it would be dark. So all made their way to Shoreham Station save Jenny, John and Mick who decided to cycle back to Brighton.
Thanks John, for leading the ride. Thanks also to our very own lanterne rouge, Suzanne.

Mick


News and AGM

14 January 2014

Dear fellow members

I exaggerated last time when I said I was starting to get a “feeling of desperation” because no one has come forward to take on either of the February rides. My subsequent plea also failed to produce any takers. But it won’t be the end of the world – or even of the B&H Clarion – if we don’t have a ride in February, though offers are still very welcome of course. In the normal way, I’d try and “backstop” but I can’t this time so, if no one is able to take on either of the rides there just won’t be any this February.

February is in fact a significant month for us this year because it was in February 2004 that the (21st century) B&H Clarion began. I’ll be telling the story in the next newsletter. In those days I led nearly all of the rides. Then a few other ride leaders emerged and we made a conscious decision to try to get even more people to take this on – which has had some success, I’m pleased to say. I led 4 rides (5 if you count New Year’s Day) last year, which I think is a reasonable proportion and one that I’m happy with given that I’m much busier and have more Sunday commitments than back in 2004.

It’s not a healthy position for any organisation to rely too much on a few individuals. All too often what tends to happen is that they gradually become conscious of taking on a disproportionate burden, start to feel exploited and to resent this. Then if nothing is done they pack it in altogether. That’s always one danger. Another is that illness, injury (or worse) can strike any of us down at any time. I’m very lucky; I shall be 73 at the end of this month but I’m still OK for the fairly short and easy rides we tend to go in for, though I have noticed that I’m finding it harder to cope with extremes of temperature – both very hot and very cold. But several people who have led rides in the past have suffered injuries or illnesses in the last couple of years. So we need to be fishing in a bigger pool.

It seems odd that, as Mick’s report below shows, we can get 12 people out for a ride on a not very inviting day in January but can’t find a couple of people to take on the rides in February. I’m not suggesting that the “pool” should be limited to those 12. But 12 is about 25% of our total membership and probably nearer a third of those who come out on rides from time to time.

Subscriptions
Jim writes:

I think nearly half the members have renewed now, but quite a few seem to have done bank transfers without telling me, so I don’t know who they are. I have ordered a bank statement so that I can find out, but if you send out another reminder can you reiterate that they must tell me they have done it, and when! Also hope Luke and Julia (our most recent joiners) do not think they have to renew – I forget the date after which renewal is not needed for the following year, but they definitely qualify.

So, please, if you have renewed by bank transfers please do as Jim asks and if you haven’t please now get down to sending cheque for £7 payable to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club to Jim Grozier at 92a Springfield Road, Brighton BN1 6DE this week. [You can also pay by bank transfer to sort code 08-92-99, account no. 65377325; but please put your name in there]

2014 AGM
It will be on Tuesday 4 February at 8 pm at 104 Bonchurch Road. If you have nominations, motions, or items for discussion that you’d like included – with or without supporting papers – on the agenda please let me have them not later than Saturday 25 January. I will be sending out the agenda shortly after. It’s good practice to make sure that everything of substance that will be dealt with is included quite explicity on the agenda. We don’t want issues being raised at the last minute without giving people a chance to think about them, so please make sure that this doesn’t happen by letting me know in time to include your concerns on the agenda.

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Last time we heard from John about his letter to the Chief Constable following that nasty encounter with the car driver who “didn’t see him” He has sent me this update, which also went to Bricycles.

Insp. Carl Napp was the one who replied to my letter to the chief constable.  He seems to be the one in charge of road traffic accidents.  Surprisingly he did not have details of my case although there is an allocated incident number. He drives, he cycles and rides a motorbike and is therefore equipped to talk about incidents involving cyclists. He was courteous, understanding and took a long time explaining, (two long telephone calls), procedure in such cases. That is the flavour of the man. My overall impression however was that he was speaking from within the confines of an institution, and whilst taking things seriously did not pick up on the need to change the system. Where do we go from here? Well, it seems, in this incident, as I was injured (albeit not badly) the case will be looked at again.   
 


I advocated driver awareness training as a way of improving driver behaviour but it seems this is dependent upon prosecution.  That’s a hurdle not easily overcome in so called, “low level accidents”. Breath tests are automatic, not sure in my case as I was inside an ambulance. This may be revealed in looking further into the incident.  It certainly did not taken place in Hampshire following that incident.

Checks on insurance, MOT and Road Fund Licence are undertaken.  A check on mobile phone use often does not take place. It is difficult to establish “exact time” although in serious cases this is likely to occur.



I suggested  not only driver awareness training but also a campaign alongside which would emphasis “near misses” as behaviour not to be tolerated. His response was to highlight the safety campaigns which do take place periodically. I can’t say I am aware of these, are you?



I wait to see the outcome of the further investigation, but I’m not holding my breath. So it seems the status quo will probably not be challenged.

My last question was about strict liability. He did not wish to establish his personal position but felt that the structure of English law (accusatorial) would not permit such a move. Years away, if ever, was his opinion. He is however, mindful of injured, or perhaps killed, foreign cyclists who could not understand the English way of doing things. The door is open for further discussion if thought desirable.



PS
 I don’t know what other people are doing but I would be willing to work with or take up these issues within the CTC framework Justice campaign.



John

We all know that cycling can be dangerous in the age of the internal combustion engine as John’s recent experience amply demonstrates, but even before that really got going it could still be a pretty hazardous pursuit if you lived in a hilly area as today’s extracts from the 1896 Clarion at the end of this newsletter show. Just remember – “no fool-hardy riding!”

Ian


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 149. Getting to the Bakewell Meet from the North

14 January 2014

J D S’s report concluded. “A further word as to the hilly country” and another from Mr Bagshaw.

JDS reported on what was planned for the Bakewell Meet on 28 March 1896 – ending with this “further word.”

A further word as to the hilly country. No novice should attempt to ride into Bakewell from the north. The Yorkshire contingent from the Huddersfield side will need to exercise special care between Huddersfield and Penistone. Leeds must look out for the really dangerous hill at Chapeltown, five miles on the Barnsley side of Sheffield. Manchester must not ride via Chapel-en-le-Frith and Sparrow Pit. The four miles between Wardlow and Ashford is extremely dangerous. The best way is though Whaley Bridge and Buxton. Just before entering Buxton care is necessary, as there is always a lot of traffic at the foot of the hill. Then again, after passing Taddington Church, keep well hold of the machine and look out for the nasty corner where more than twenty serious accidents happened last season.

Let there be no coasting and no fool-hardy riding, or accidents are sure to happen. A rider cannot be said to have proper control of his machine if his feet are off the pedals.

J D S

Then the following week, 4 April, the following appeared.

THE MEET AT BAKEWELL – IMPORTANT TO THE YORKSHIE CLUBS
Mr Bagshaw, of Sheffield, writes me as follows: “Will you please inform all Yorkshipe Clarion cyclists who propose attending the Bakewell meet by way of Barnsley and Sheffield  that there is a much safer and better way than via Chapeltown hill, viz. On reaching  Birdwell (between Barnsley and Chapeltown) go through Wortley Park to the village of Wortley, and you are then on the Penistone and Sheffield main road. A little care is necessary on reaching Wadsley Bridge. Riders wills find this a good, easy road.”

And J.D. S returned to the Cycling Notes column with the followng

BAKEWELL
”Bakewell as seen from the Midland railway line is one of the most beautiful villages in Derbyshire. It had a “quaint Roman bridge” while “The church and the puddings are the pride of the place. Clarionettes should not leave without sampling both.”

Next time: The 2nd Easter Meet at Bakewell