The Next Ride: Sunday October 5th 2014: Rye to Battle

22 September 2014

Rye – Udimore – Broad Oak – Brede High Woods – Powdermill Reservoir – Whatlington – Battle

This ride was originally intended as a repeat of my Rye-Hastings ride via the Brede Valley, which we did in July 2012, with the last few rather hilly miles replaced by a smaller number of less hilly ones. However, there are still a good few undulations, as the route cuts across several small valleys. I’ve also done a few extra tweaks to the route.

What we as a cycling club like is quiet, traffic-free, flat lanes. But what we tend to get is either undulating lanes or busy roads on the flat, and the choice is agonising. This time around I have decided to eschew the lovely, leafy, sunlight-dappled but undulating Stubb Lane in favour of a longer stretch of the level B2089, which does not seem to be a very dangerous road, at least not on weekdays. This means that, having set off on NCN2 and climbed to the ridge, we’ll stay on it all the way to Broad Oak,  avoiding Brede and Sedlescombe, and instead skirt the large wood known as Brede High Woods, and catch sight of the huge dam that holds up Powdermill Reservoir. Those who like a bit of danger will be pleased to know that we have to cross the A21, a single-carriageway, two-lane trunk road with no central reservation!

We should reach Battle at around 4pm if the A21 spares us. The Abbey, which was built on part of the battlefield, is open until 5, and it costs £8 to get in, or maybe a little less for concessions (and free to English Heritage members). Is it worth it? I don’t know as I have not been in. The guide book says that much of it, including the monastery, was demolished or damaged over the years, although the gatehouse is certainly impressive. Perhaps if anyone does go in, the others can have a well-deserved tea stop at one of the many cafes nearby.


Start from Rye Station at 12:00. Length: about 16 miles. Duration: about 4 hrs inc lunch.

Terrain: Some NCN2, flat but slightly bumpy. Several quiet lanes and one not-too-busy B road. Oh, and that A21 crossing. There are about six uphill sections – mainly short, and with gradients no worse than 1 in 25.

Lunch will be at the Kings Head at Udimore, as last time, at about 1pm.

Getting there: The 10:20 from Brighton gets to Rye at 11:44, but note that this is two separate trains today (as is the 9:20), with a four minute change at Eastbourne which ought to be a guaranteed connection. I don’t know why they are doing that.

Londoners should leave Charing Cross at 9.25, changing at Hastings.

As is my custom I will take the earlier train (9:20) to avoid overcrowding; I am pleased to say that the late lamented Fat Controller café next to the station has been re-born as the Café des Fleurs and is open on Sundays, so that’s where you’ll find me. (Remember that you can walk to the Ashford end of the platform and then cross at the level crossing if you don’t fancy carrying your bike over the footbridge!)

Getting home: Trains leave Battle for Hastings at 24 and 46 minutes past the hour and London at 7 and 44 minutes past. Trains leave Hastings for Brighton at 3 and 19 minutes past (one of these requiring an additional change at Eastbourne). I’m afraid those going to Brighton will have to get their bikes over the footbridge at Battle, but I am sure we can manage that – fellowship being life, after all.

A return ticket from Brighton to Rye should be valid from Battle, and a return from London to Rye via Battle certainly shouldn’t present any difficulty!


The Last Ride: 21 September 2014 – Dell Quay Mark II

22 September 2014

Dell Quay ride

It was perfect cycling weather: light winds, some sun but not too hot, and no rain. Nine riders assembled at Chichester – Corinne, Julia, Julian, Marilyn, Richard, Roger, Sue, Suzanne and Tessa. After being photographed by a friendly passer-by, we were off.

The Centurion Way provided a relaxed start to the ride; we soon turned off to take the road to West Stoke. It was here that eyes were attracted to the right-hand side of the road: at first glimpse through the trees it looked like a flood. then I thought it was poly-tunnels, but once we got a good view it was clear that it was a field completely carpeted with solar panels.

The countryside around Chichester is some of the most beautiful in Sussex and it was looking its best today. I’ve been on many Clarion rides through it and led quite few, but even so, I’m sure that some of the lanes that Julian led us down were new to me: a fresh pair of eyes gives us a new view of the familiar.

Our first stop was the Crown & Anchor at Dell Quay. We found a large table on the terrace looking out over the channel. Julian had been hoping to spot a few local birds, but the high tide meant they had gone elsewhere.

The food and service at the pub were good; the summer pudding looked particularly impressive. (I’m not saying who ate it!). Conversation at my end of the table focussed on contrarian ideas about diet: some kinds of cholesterol are good for you – though no one was quite sure which kind it was; fruit juice should be avoided in the interest of healthy kidneys; cream in your coffee is far better than milk.

The route back to Chichester took us along the canal tow path. The first section was narrow but fortunately there were few other users and those we met seemed happy to stand and watch us all roll past. The second section was wider but also busier, off and on the water. We stopped at one point to express disapproval of three lads in canoes who seemed to be attacking a duck with their paddles.

And finally to the Canal Trust’s café where tea, coffee and cakes were consumed with enthusiasm before we dashed to the station and squeezed into every nook and cranny on the 15:53 to Brighton.

Thanks a million to Julian for a perfectly planned and expertly led ride!



22 September 2014

Dear All

Ian and Sue are off on their hols so I’m on newsletter duty.

We had a special general meeting of the branch last week to pass the resolutions needed to get our bank account operating again. Many thanks to the seven members who came, who were more than enough to get the job done. The resolutions were adopted unanimously after an appropriate amount of debate.

We need a few volunteers to fill up the blank slots in the rides list (next page). If you’ve got an idea but would like to talk it through before committing, give me a call (01273 321794).



Ian writes …  

Something to think about while I’m away!  Subs

After many years of holding the national subscription fee down it was decided at the conference during the Easter Meet that in order to cope with increasing admin costs it needed to be raised to £8 p a. As I reported in May, our own AGM had instructed our delegates to listen carefully to the arguments for the motion that proposed this with the expectation that the increase would probably need to be supported. Both of which we did

Some years in the past we have suspended our extra local subscription of £1 a year and I’m minded to propose this at the AGM. But whether or not this is decided I think we ought to hold the AGM earlier rather than later – fairly early in January – so whatever the decision is Julian – and everyone else – will know whether we need to send £8 or £9 before we start reminding members about subs.

Have a think and let me know your view in October.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 166. More advice from Swiftsure – and (another) impatient secretary

22 September 2014

From “Cycling Notes! 27 June 1896

…one of the first principles in road riding should be that no unknown roads are traversed without first ascertaining something respecting their gradients and character. And, further, should an unknown road be taken, your brake should be examined and tested now and again, and the pace made easy all the way; and at the approach of any descent where the bottom can’t be seen, dismount, and walk until you are sure of your ground

I could relate numerous instance that have occurred both to myself and others where accidents almost surely would have happened but for these and similar precautions.

* * * *
“J B” Rawtenstall asks me for the best means of filling up the peeled rubber of his outer cover. Let him cleanse the holes of dirt with benzolene; and if solutionized rubber cannot be obtained to fill the holes, then cotton-wool mixed with ordinary solution will probably serve your purpose. At all events the latter will hold and make the surface of the cover even until your put on your non-slipping strip.

And in the same issue I spotted this from the regular “Meetings, Lectures &c” list

LONDON (S.W) Sunday June 28, Balham Corner, Clapham Common, 9 30. N B it is advisable to turn up before 11 o’clock otherwise the secretary’s patience (small) may be exhausted. W H Crisp, 15 Broad Hinton Road.

Next time: Rides, a distinguished visitor, and trouble with the Watch Committee in Liverpool

The Next Ride: Sunday 21 September 2014 – Dell Quay Mark II

10 September 2014

Chichester – Centurion Way – West Stoke – Fishbourne – Dell Quay (for lunch) – Salterns Marina – Chichester Ship Canal Basin (for tea)

We meet at the south side of Chichester railway station at 11.15am and then go round over the railway level crossing to the north side to start riding on the cycle track from the car park.  After a mile we begin a northward ride on the Centurion Way and in about three miles we take the West Stoke Road which has a gentle rise until the middle of the village.  We turn south down Lye Lane and on down until we go round the north and east of Fishbourne then passing under the A27.  We take the Apuldram road and soon reach the Crown and Anchor Public House at Dell Quay.

After lunch we take the Salterns Way track south and cross over the Salterns Marina lock gates to reach the Chichester Ship Canal.  At the end of the Marine Entrance road we ride along the towpath on the east side of the canal until we cross over the Poyntz canal footbridge, from where there is a distant view of Chichester Cathedral apparently surrounded by green fields and trees and no sign of any urbanisation.  The ride ends at the Canal Basin where there is a fine tea facility.


Trains:  Brighton 10.00 and Hove 10.04 arriving at 10.56.  Victoria 9.17 arriving at 11.02.

Meet on the south side of Chichester railway station at 11.15

Terrain:  a gentle gradient up to West Stoke, then downhill to the north of Fishbourne, and thereafter mainly flat.

Roads:  a mixture of cycle tracks, footpaths along the canal side, and quiet country roads.

There are four busy roads to cross:  B2178 SE of Ashling, A259 in Fishbourne, A286 at Cutfield Bridge and B2201 at Crosbie Bridge.  However, we do not have to cycle along them.

Lunch:  at the Crown and Anchor, Dell Quay.

Distance:  16 miles – see O/S Explorer Map 120 “Chichester” (1:25000)

Tea: by the Chichester Ship Canal Basin, just south of the railway station.

Return trains times to:

Hove: 16.15, 16.29S, 16.53S, 17.15
Brighton: 16.15C, 16.29S, 16.53S, 17.15C
Victoria: 16.15N, 16.29SC, 16.53SC, 17.15N

C: change at Hove, with only 4 stops before Hove
S: stops at all stations
N: no changes: only 4 stops before Hove, also stops at Clapham Junction

My mobile number is:  0789 635 3563


The Last Ride : Sunday 7th September 2014 – Brighton to Seaford and a day full of Brownie Points  

10 September 2014

Go East”, decreed Anne, so East we went … and it was loverly.

September 7, 2014: Brighton to Seaford

Anne, Annie, Corinne, David, Jim, John, Julian, Nick, Roger and Suzanne met at the Palace Pier on a hazy early autumn morning, just right for Clarion.  Once the technology had been discussed (David’s new micro-video camera, Julian’s zoom capacities) and a bog-standard group photo taken, it was off along Madeira Drive (apologies to the cyclist on the “Doitforcharity” cycle ride who thought/hoped that our gaggle of momentarily stationary Clarion cyclists was the Finishing line) and thus onto the (… cliché alert …) sunny uplands of the cliff tops as far as Rottingdean where a vertiginous drop brought us down onto the Undercliff Path, Saltdean and Angela who was waiting to join us.


Then we were eleven.

Once we had conquered the daunting rise to Telscombe Cliff, Anne led us on a complicated but fascinating tour (aka “almost NCRN2”) of Peacehaven and finally onto what seemed like the top of the world above Piddinghoe. First set of Brownie Points to Anne for knowing the code to open the gate across the private road so we did not have to lift the bikes over.

Following a quick whizz down through Piddinghoe (Jim getting giddy by insisting on reading the inscription wound round their Millennium “pole”)


and round the back of Newhaven and once again we were in open cycling country, on our way to Seaford where all made a concerted attack on our sandwiches, scones etc sitting by (…cliché alert …) a sparkling sea. Our lunchtime was enlivened by the sight of (a) a lifeboat rescue practice and (b) Anne taking an energetic dip. Fortunately (a) did not attempt to rescue (b).

September 7, 2014: Brighton to Seaford

Jim opted to leave us at Seaford, thus missing the highlight of the ride – a first for many of us, and a loved, familiar spot for others – described rather boringly as “The South Hill Barn”. The area is, in fact, a charming nature reserve on the top of Seaford Head. Unfortunately Angela did not feel like making the last climb of the day up to the reserve, but Brownie Points to David for going down the mighty hill to check that she was OK, and then ( … mixed metaphor alert …), to burnish his halo even brighter, he looked after the bikes while the rest of the group went to see the (…cliché alert …) stunning view of the Cuckmere Valley and the Seven Sisters.


Sun drenched and tired we all met up with Angela again at the bottom of the steep hill, only to realise that Roger had left his helmet at the top. Not sensible! So it was then his turn to do an extra climb back up. Fortunately two kind people had put the helmet on top of a post where it was eventually found. Brownie points for them.

The ride back to Seaford Station was gloriously downhill. There was a very keen desire on the part of many to stop for tea. However, as a train was standing in the station ready to go,the unanimous decision was that an early cup of tea at home would do instead. In addition to our nine bikes (Brownie Points to Angela’s son, Jack, for going to Seaford to collect her in the car) there must have been another nine non-Clarion bikes spread over the four carriages. Brownie points to Southern for accommodating all of us with a smile.

Many thanks to Anne for an excellent, new, ride.



10 September 2014

Next Newsletter

I’m going to be away until early next month and Roger will be sending out the next newsletter.  So if you are doing the report on the next ride or have anything else you’d like included in the newsletter please send it to Roger at

19 October

Jim is liaising with Alex about the possibility of a ride based on Haywards Heath with London Clarion.  If you have any ideas about this please contact Jim at   It looks as though there may be problems with the trains.

Jim adds:

Dear all

“It looks as though there may be problems with the trains” in Ian’s latest circular is a bit of an understatement. On 19 October there will be no trains between Brighton and Three Bridges, so the proposed Haywards Heath ride with the London Clarion is pretty well doomed. I have written to Alex of London Clarion to explain this but have not had a reply. The most sensible option would appear to be to move my Rye-Battle ride to the 19th (as eastward trains are fine that day) but that will mean we’ll be short of a ride on the 5th (when again, the London line will be closed). Does anyone have a suitable ride that could fit in on that day? Or, if not the 5th, we can keep my ride on that day but we’ll need an alternative on the 19th. Westward trains will be running as far as Barnham.


Extraordinary General Meeting

Just to remind you that the brief meeting about the Co-op bank account will take place at 11 a m this Thursday (11 September) at 39 Regency Square. No other business will be considered. Please come along if you can.

Something to think about during my absence – our New Year ride

It may seem a bit early to start thinking about 2015 but time flies when you’re enjoying yourself!  Since we started the club back in 2004 we’ve always had a “Brunch ride to Carats Café” on New Year’s Day. Except this year. If you recall the weather forecast for 1 January was so awful I postponed the ride until 2nd.

It struck me then – and still does – that 2nd Jan might be a better date to have it anyway. There are two possible advantages to doing this. Carats is always crowded at lunchtime on New Year’s Day and has been getting increasingly busy then in recent years. Having it on 2nd January also makes it possible for those who have other engagements on New Year’s Day – or are still having problems recovering from 31 December revels – to join us. On the other hand those still pursuing gainful employment may not be able to make a ride on 2nd.

My feeling at the moment is to go for 2nd (but revert to 1 Jan if the weather forecast seems to suggest it would be significantly better) but I’d like to hear what other people think. No rush – have a ponder and let me know in October


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 166. Back to June 1896 Club reports from Darlington and Wigan

10 September 2014


We have had a very satisfactory two months’ runs, and we distributed and sold large quantities of Clarions and other literature bearing on Socialism, and I hope when a little of the enthusiasm for wanting to ride long distances and break records, or their necks (I don’t know which it is they are trying for) wears off, we will get into a more systematic method of propaganda, and stir up the villages round about us. We had the Yellow Van of the Land Nationalisation Society here on June 13th and 14th when they gave some good addresses in the Market Place, our members attending in good force. When the “Woman’s Van” comes to our neighbourhood, if it ever reaches here, we intend mustering in full force and assisting our comrades in their noble work anywhere within cycling distance, weather being anywhere favourable.”

J Newton Carter, Hon.Sec.


The Wigan CCC have since the last report visited Charnock Richard, Morecombe and Leyland, leaving at each place leaflets &c. We have also made a point of enjoying the beautiful country that is to be found in these places; this may have been a particularly favourable one all sunshine. As a consequence the country has been exceptionally beautiful – hawthorn, lilac and chestnut, all being dressed in their best, and giving forth a perfume that made the hearts of us townsfolk glad.

The country bowling-greens also came in for a share of our attention, our members giving their minds to this old-fashioned game in a right hearty manner. It is a noble summer sport, and would suit the Bounder down to the ground. It is impossible to pocket the balls and there is no fear of losing them. I don’t know whether there is an increase in Clarion rides this season ; but I am pleased to say we meet them more frequently on the road than we did last season, and there is always a pleasant exchange of greetings.”

Jas. Cavey, 37 Kendall Street, Wigan.

Next time: More advice from “Swiftsure” and a brief London Clarion announcement