The Next Ride: Sunday 2 November 2014 – Shoreham Circular

23 October 2014

via Portslade – Devil’s Dyke – Poynings – Bramber

This is a repeat of an earlier ride held in the summer that we will start a little earlier so that we can still get home well before dark after the clocks have gone back. We will start at Shoreham Station and take the inland route eastward through Southwick to Portslade, Benfield Valley and Hangleton to the start of the Dyke Railway Trail – RCN 82.

We follow this gentle climb to the top of Devil’s Dyke, where we might stop to look along the South Downs and spot some hang-gliders, buzzards or distant views of Sussex. From here on it is a fast run downhill back to Saddlescombe Farm where we can stop for a pleasant break at The Hiker’s Rest before making the final leisurely ride to the Royal Oak for our lunch stop.

After this break, we head west along the foot of the Downs through Fulking and Edburton and pass Tottington Manor Farm before joining the A2037 from Henfield to continue to Upper Beeding and Bramber. The last leg follows the River Adur southwards along a section of the Downs Link before joining Coombes Lane and back to Shoreham Station. If you are feeling fit and need a longer ride, you could cycle into Shoreham from Brighton and back (allow an extra 45 minutes each way).

Start at 10:00, Shoreham-by-Sea Station.
Take 09:40 train from Brighton, or get off at Portslade for a coffee and meet us at this station at about 10.30.
Length: Only 20 miles (16 if starting at Portslade)
Duration: About 6 hours including lunch and coffee break.
Return from Shoreham at 14 and 48 mins past the hour to Brighton.
Terrain: Quiet roads and smooth off-road to RCN 82, apart from two short lengths of B roads through Portslade; hard surface, gentle climb to the Dyke and steep downhill run to Poynings; one short climb on Edburton Road; half mile of busy road on A2037; moderate undulation on Coombes Lane.
Mobile: 0783-7263722


The Last Ride: Sunday 19th October – 8 [mostly] Brighton Bikers Breeze into Bexhill- 6 Battle Boldly Back!

23 October 2014

BBC weather had forecast heavy rain & 20mph [W] winds for the ride on Saturday night, hence, slept badly & awoke to rain & pass from Mick to be released from the ride, even though I’d already bought the rail tickets. However, rain stopped, we changed out of wet gear & set out, armed still with paniers full of dry clothes [just in case]. Glad to see Joyce & Leon were buying tickets at the station, David was already on the platform & Nick joined us on the train with a coffee & a couple of minutes to spare. Interesting train talk of gut flora & tropical worm diseases. Soon arrived at Eastbourne station to be joined by Chris & Sue from Lewes Against the Cuts, whom we hadn’t seen since our Xmas Party 2 years ago. Nick takes the group photo & we set out for the sea-front.

October 19, 2014: Eastbourne to Bexhill

Our leader claimed the prom which looks like it should be a bike track, but pedestrians soon “explained” that it was not, so some of us went back to the traffic on the road & some of us blithely continued, until we all met up again at the official start to the NCN21 along the prom beside the seaside, beside by the sea… & very pleasant it was too.

Had to then head North through newish housing estates with Caribbean connections {names] to roadside route to Pevensey. NCN21 signage petered out but we continued through caravan parks & private road, crossing unmanned level crossing carefully & sailed successfully into Bexhill, with the benefit of the 20mph West wind.
David & I sat in the sunshine on the balcony at the de la Warr Pavilion, while 6 took a table in the restaurant. As I repositioned myself & my spiced chai out of the strong wind, a pigeon took advantage of my turned back & swiped my bread off the soup plate & onto the floor – perils of outside eating

October 19, 2014: Eastbourne to Bexhill

Mushroom & watercress soup was excellent though & waiter soon brought me replacement bread. Everyone was well pleased with their fare & we now had half an hour to view the exhibitions. Upstairs is/was sonic installation on Blackbird Song – called Blackbird Quadralogue & downstairs was Magnum Selections from their vast archives, by various curators – called One Archive, 3 Views. A splendid collection of books was available to browse too & videos of both the Magnum Curation & of the Blackbird Quadraphonic sound installation by Ron Geesin [orchestrator of Pink Floyd’s 1970 album-among many other things].

October 19, 2014: Eastbourne to Bexhill

I’m now looking anxious at the prospect of the 20mph headwind we have to tackle for the return 13 miles. Joyce & Leon had decided to take the train back as Joyce has been ill & Leon only had his little wheels [folding bike]. The 20mph wind seemed to make a 10mph difference in our cycling speed, but conditions not too testing & managed to keep together fairly well & support each other in Clarion style. We spread out a bit once reaching the long Rickney Lane especially as Nick & I were lured into photography by the cuddly bullocks, horizontal swaying grasses & vast views on the flatlands of the Pevensey Levels.


As the train from Bexhill passed us I waved a purple arm to Joyce & Leon & was reminded of the Harold Mockford painting in Eastbourne’s Towner Gallery.

We now stuck to the NCN 2 which was pretty well signed to the Cuckoo Trail, which we eventually reached, for a much needed refreshment stop at The Loom.  From their huge array of teas I chose liquorice-good choice-Mick & David went for the special offer of free tea with the toffee cake, no-one took the super coffee cake, Sue had a tasty flapjack & I had a prized chocolate-coated pecan concoction. Discussing the capitalist economic crisis made us almost late for the train, necessitating a dash for the station before the level crossing gates closed, though just enough time to snap autumn berries & Sustrans signs.


There was a bit of a crush at Polegate station, with at least 9 bikes to load onto the train, but, fortunately, due to works on the line, Ashford line’s 2 coaches had been replaced by a 4 carriage service from Eastbourne & we were all accommodated with plenty of room remaining & plenty more conversations enjoyed with fellow passengers on cycling & CCC & with Lewes comrades on Green vs Labour for General Election 2015.

Thanks to Mick for leading us through the lovely routes, first planned by Roger, who was unable to do the job on that day. The homeward leg was somewhat challenging for some of us but the faster three did allow the following three some refreshing photography pauses & we did manage to do the miles & the tea stop & still catch the 4.42 train – 25 miles, no rain & no punctures, but plenty of fellowship & fun. [food & culture too!]



23 October 2014

Dear All

Well, it looked like the ‘next ride’ just wasn’t going to happen – but David saved the day. For which many thanks.

Jim and Alex are looking at possibilities for a  joint ride with London Clarion early in the New Year.

The Christmas Social 

Angela writes:
I have booked Stanmer House in Stanmer Park for the Xmas Social on Saturday 13th December at 12.30pm to eat for 1pm.  It would be really helpful if people could let me know asap if they are able to come, as Stanmer House need me in the next couple of weeks to secure the booking by putting a deposit for the meal of £10 per person, which I am happy to do. The menu for the 13th is not yet available on their website so I apologise for the fact that people will need to decide whether or not they are coming without being able to see what food is available until nearer the date booked. However, the lady that I spoke to said that the menu would include the full Xmas dinner and vegetarian options. The current Stanmer House website will give people an idea of the prices and the sort of food that is served. If you need to contact me about any of this, please feel free to phone me on 07866 439444.

But don’t let’s have a neverendum!

In the last newsletter I asked for views on two issues   So far I have heard from Sikka, Mick Adam, Jenny, Leon, Fred, and Jim with the following results   (NB to anticipate charges of innumeracy I must make it clear that not everyone gave a view on both issues).

1. New Year Brunch Ride to Carats Café.  

Have it on 1 January    1        2nd January    5

2. Timing of AGM 

I obviously didn’t explain this clearly enough. I wasn’t asking for a view on whether the local subs should suspended for 2014 leaving the overall 2015 rate at the new £8, nor as one respondent suggested doubling it so that we all pay £10   I would never suggest deciding an issue like that by email.  One needs to hear the arguments on both side and have an opportunity of debating them.

What I was asking was what people thought about having the AGM earlier rather than later in the New Year.  One of the very few powers I have as secretary – and I don’t want any more, thank you very much – is calling meetings – most years just the AGM.

I want to call the 2015 early in January to get a definite decision on the local subscription so that Julian knows whether to ask people to send £8 or £9 (or indeed £10!)  It will, I think, make his task a lot easier if this is decided earlier rather than later – which is my sole motive in making this suggestion.

So, I could just go ahead and pick an early January date and call the meeting, but I am bearing in mind that at this year’s AGM there was a definite feeling – indeed a resolution – in favour of having future AGM’s as late as possible and I don’t want to go against this without both explanation and consent.  Which is why I’m asking for your agreement.  So far I have 3 in favour of my proposal for an earlier AGM.

Seven responses out of forty-odd is not a very good steer on either issue, so I’m extending this consultation for a fortnight until the next newsletter.  So please, if you haven’t already done so, let me know your view on both issues.  

But I shall assume that a “no reply” means “I’ll leave it to you and the others” and go ahead accordingly.

“History section”

As you will know unless you’ve joined us only recently, since early in 2008 I have been ending these newsletters with extracts from the Clarion in the mid-1890s which have enabled us to follow the beginnings and early evolution of the Clarion cycling clubs, locally and nationally. I have done this to date by copying from microfilm, which is quite time-consuming.

But at last I’ve discovered a way in which I can cut-and paste the orginal material.  I’ve checked that this seems to work OK by sending myself a “dummy” version of this newsletter with a “pasted” extract.   If this casues any problem please let me know and I’ll return to my fortnightly copy-typing sessions.

So far we’ve followed developments on a more or less week-by-week basis but from now on I am going to be a little bit more selective and move on just a bi .t more quickly.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 168

23 October 2014

I intended to add a note to the extract from the Liverpool CCC report in the last edition – but forgot. The “Comrade Liebknecht” who was mentioned as having visited and told of the popularity of cycling in Germany would, almost certainly, have been Wilhelm Liebknecht (1826-1900) one of the founders, together with August Bebel, of the SPD – the German Social-Democratic Party. Just possibly it could have been his son Karl (1891-1919) who was murdered by paramilitary thugs after the First World War, together with Rosa Luxemburg. But according to his Wikipedia entry he didn’t join the SPD until 1900 so Wilhelm is the best bet for this 1896 report.

From the Bolton CCC report from 27 June 1896



I haven’t quite perfected my copying technique. As you will deduce it was the finest Irish round tower at the Seven Churches and Kelley’s Ford on the third day.

Next time – Blatchford’s (not entirely serious) advice for “cautious riders.”

The Next Ride: Sunday 19 October 2014 – Eastbourne to Bexhill

8 October 2014

The next ride will start at Eastbourne Station at 11, the Brighton train departs at 10.20. We will be riding to Bexhill with lunch planned at the De La Warr Pavilion where there are several exhibitions and good food.

We will return via The Loom for tea (and cakes I hope) from Polegate trains leave at 06 and 42 past the hour. The exact route has not yet been decided but will be about 25 miles of fairly flat cycling. Anyone coming by car could probably leave the car at Polegate and get the train or cycle to Eastbourne Station, 5 or 6 miles depending on the route.


The Last Ride: Sunday 5th October – Rye to Battle

8 October 2014

On a really beautiful but rather chilly morning, Jim, David, Julian and I met at Rye Station to begin the 16 mile ride to Battle.  We began on the NC2 and climbed the ridge, skirting the wood known as Brede High Woods. It was very noticeable that the trees still look quite lush and green.


Autumn seems barely here despite it being October, but the weather looks to be changing tomorrow from today’s warm sunshine. On the way we saw many houses which had attached the typical Kent oast house. I have never been in an oast house and would be fascinated to do so, but we did not knock on anyone’s door to ask!


Eventually we came to The King’s Head pub in Udimore where we stopped for lunch. Jim had a very amusing story to tell about how the village got its name, something to do with the site being ‘over the moor’. No, it didn’t make a huge amount of sense to me either but, bless him, Jim does make you laugh.

At lunch, being a small group, we got into some very interesting conversations about all sorts of things and David, who knows a thing or two about pipes, explained to us the workings of the Newhaven Incinerator and how the stuff that eventually goes out to sea is almost as clear as drinking water.  It was all very fascinating.  Julian, who knows a thing or two as well, told us about the work that he used to do and we got into a very interesting conversation about the pros and cons of this TTIP thing (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). It’s amazing what you can learn about on a Clarion ride.


Something unexpected … Spilstead Farm in Stream Lane

After finishing our lunch, we started down a road which Jim told us had the same number as the last four digits of the first telephone number he ever had. Now, that’s astonishing. How has  he managed to remember the last four digits of his first ever telephone number? Sometimes, I forget the last four digits of my current number!


The view from the ridge

The next bit of the ride was very pretty and very undulating, but those hills were worth it, with views over the Kent countryside in the gorgeous afternoon sunlight.  We noticed how quiet the route was, with very little traffic noise, there being no major roads near to the route that Jim had planned, and it was lovely to be able to hear the birdsong without that noise in the background and for Julian to be able to identify what kind of bird was singing.


The Brede Valley path

After a great ride, we came sailing down into Battle where we found the most lovely teashop, and sat outside for tea and scones, right opposite a fantastic view of Battle Abbey.  Unfortunately, it was too late in the day to go for a visit round the Abbey. It was then a short distance to the station for the journey home which, like the rest of the day, proved to be enormously enjoyable, as David has an app on his phone to do with identifying bird song. Julian is really good at this and it was seriously good fun. I hope the other passengers enjoyed the birdsong too?!

Paper lady

A passenger waiting at Rye Station

Many, many thanks to Jim for a memorable ride and a seriously fun day out.



8 October 2014

Dear All

Well, ever optimistic, I had hoped that by the time I got back from holiday all the remaining rides for 2014  would have been claimed  – preferably by people who haven’t yet led  a ride this year.

I have been  checking emails from time to time while on holiday and unless I’ve missed something – by no means impossible – apart from Mick and Anne taking over the 19 October from Roger we still have two November rides and the final one in December without any offers.   What about it?

I need your views

In the last two newsletters I’ve raised issues I’d like everyone’s opinion. We’ve just had one special meeting and I don’t won’t to call another for this. Can we do it referendum style by you just letting me know your view by email sometime before the next newsletter on 20 October?   I’ll let you know the results then.

The first issue I’d like views on is the New Year Brunch Ride to Carats Café.  We usually have done this on 1 January  but this year, because severe weather was forecast but had it on 2nd January.  There is an argument, which I outlined a couple of issues ago in this newsletter, that 2nd (which next year is a Friday) would be better anyway – much less crowded at the café etc.

So the question is –  assuming that the issue is not decided as it was this year by the weather forecast  – which day would be better.  A reply to this email saying either 1 or 2 will be sufficient unless you want to add anything .

The second issue concerns the subs for next year and consequently the date of the AGM.

As I explained last time,  after many years of holding the national subscription fee down it was decided at the conference during the Easter Meet decided 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.

I’d like a decision on this too so that we can do a bit of forward planning bearing in mind that I’m required – quite rightly – to give at least 3 weeks notice of meetings.

For this one the issue is can I call the AGM early in January?  Just a “Yes’ or “No” will be fine

Christmas Social

Angela tells me she’ll soon be able to give us details – so keep on watching this space.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 167.Rides, a distinguished visitor, and trouble with the Watch Committee in Liverpool

8 October 2014

Liverpool CCC report for 27 June 1896

The event since the last report has been the dispatch of the “Clarion Woman’s Van” on June 18th… A good number of members journeyed to Chester, on the occasion, under a burning sun , just in time, in consequence of a late start, to witness the closing ceremony before the Van started on its pilgrimage. The day following (Sunday) Neston was visited, 22 members turning out for the ever popular Cheshire run… Tea was provided at the Chester Hotel, Parkgate.  Parkgate is, I believe, on the sea-coast, though all the evidence you have for that belief is the fact of there being a few miles of mud dotted here and there by fishing boats. Cockles and convalescent homes seem to be the chief industry.

Systematic propaganda seems rather “off” with us just now; perhaps this is because most of us have our noses on the grindstone of the cause six days a week, and like to enjoy the country and fresh air without being disturbed by the consideration of having a duty to perform. Perhaps those of our members who are not so active  the other six days will signify the same. Comrade Liebknecht during his visit to Liverpool informed me that in Germany cycling Socialists are highly organised for the purpose of spreading Socialism in the country districts, and that at election time great use is made of the wheel, a complete system of communication being  established between the various  polling stations by means of which the party obtains information valuable to them more quickly than other parties can command…

One of our members, J Morrissey, of Toxteth, has been fined for asserting the right of free speech in the open air. A rigorous campaign  is being carried on, and if continued will no doubt result in the defeat of the persons in authority, as was the case last year.

At the time of writing the cycle parade in aid of the hospitals has had to be postponed in consequence of the action of the dunder-headed Watch Committee proscribing the route used in previous years, which naturally comprises some of the principal streets… No reason is given for their conduct, which  seems pure cussedness on their part. Feeling is very strong on the side of the Parade Committee, who talk of holding mass meetings in front of St George’s Hall, from where the Socialists have so often held forth. Perhaps something will result that may give pause to the “never ending audacity of these elected persons.”

Our membership continues to increase in a most gratifying fashion. We can also boast of lady members.

W Bevan, Hon.Sec/

Next time: haven’t decided yet (been on holiday!)