The Next Ride: Friday 2 January 2015

17 December 2014


After last year’s experience, the preference of nearly everyone who took part in our poll was for 2nd  rather then 1st.

But check your emails on New Year’s day – after 5 pm just in case.

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.  Since Carats is likel to be a might less busy than on New Year’s Day I’ve made the start time half an hour later than usual.

Meet by the Palace Pier at 10.30 a m – or along the route at e g Maroccos.  Only about 9 miles (there and back) – plus from home to the Pier of course.

The Last Ride: Sunday 14 December 2014 – Hassocks to Bolney

17 December 2014

Six members (John Clinton ride leader, Joyce, Julian, Rob, David and Leon) grouped at Hassocks railway station. After taking the usual group photos we set off at 10.30am in high spirits toward Hurstpierpoint turning north into College Lane and then onto Danworth lane where we encountered some broken ice covering parts of the lane in low areas, unfortunately Julian slipped and fell, injuring his left knee. After a short rest he mounted up and continued riding. The night before temperatures dropped to about -6C in mid-Sussex so we should have expected some slippery lanes.

No further instances occurred and we rode on to cross the A272 at Bolney. The gentle slopes of mid-Sussex blended with the mid-Sussex ridge where Joyce started to dismount and walk some short sections. Just a short run up to the Bolney Stage PH for lunch was a few minutes away for our six cool riders. While parking our bikes Rob produced some white plastic saddle covers for each of us but, here we come into our own with special tomfoolery and the covers were swiftly adorning our heads (see photo).

Lunch at the Bolney Stage

We were greeted, seated and presented with the menu even though the dining areas were quite well occupied.  Our meals  soon arrived and enjoyed with plenty of pleasant conversation and laughs. We all enjoyed our meals and about an hour and a half later we returned to our bikes for the return journey. Lights went on, and off we went, mostly downhill returning on the same route as far as Goddards Green where Leon  offered an alternative via the Burgess Hill Green Crescent that brought us out onto the London road cycle route between Burgess Hill and Hassocks where it started raining.

We split-up at this point because John was to ride back to Brighton, Rob went east to Ditchling where he left his car and four headed back to Hassocks station to complete the circle.

Our thanks to John for planning and leading this ride.



17 December 2014

Dear All

What a great idea of Angela’s to have our Christmas lunch at Stanmer House. On Saturday. Everything went off excellently and (as the late Ronnie Scott used to say) if you enjoyed it half as much as I did – then I enjoyed it twice as much as you did.  Sitting there, I couldn’t help thinking that when three of us started the club back in 2004 we would have been quite surprised (and delighted) that with more than half of our membership not able to make it we still had a dozen or more of us around the table.  Well done, Angela and thanks! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tucking in

Rides for 2015?

Apart from the “Brunch Ride” on 2 January we haven’t any at the moment. I’ve delayed this newsletter for a couple of days in the hope that a last minute volunteer would materialise – but as yet none has, though I’m aware that some people are thinking about it.  So what we need ASAP is a ride for 11 January – and then lots of offers for dates in January, February and March (for a start!)  In the absence of a “real” next ride I’ve put the details of the 2 Jan Brunch Ride under that heading below.

The 2015 AGM

I gave notice of the meeting in the last edition  It will be at 8 pm on Thursday 8 January at 104 Bonchurch Road.   I will be putting our the agenda before the end of the year. I realise that, as ever, there will be some who can’t make it.  But if you have something you would like on the agenda please let me know ASAP.

One decision that will have to be made concerns whether or not to suspend our local membership for 2015.  If you have a view on this I will be happy to circulate a reasonably short argument with the agenda – whether or not you can make the AGM.

Cycle Helmets 

I’ve had an email from a volunteer at a youth centre near Albany, the state capital of New York.  Recently, they’ve been discussing bike safety and the importance of protecting your head and two of the kids, Patricia and Elizabeth, have done some internet searching at home and found a website about helmets and head injuries. They thought we might be interested in having a look at it – as we might.  Most of us do use helmets when cycling but there’s still some controversy around the subject.

Here’s the link

So thanks – and seasonal greetings from all of us – to everyone at the youth centre and special thanks to Elizabeth and Patricia.  Take care when riding your bikes and keep up the good work!


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 172. Christmas 1914

17 December 2014

We’ve been hearing a lot about the First World War because of the centenary of its outbreak and as Christmas approaches the famous “Christmas Truce So, I thought that this time it would be interesting to have an extract from the final edition of the Clarion in 1914. The war caused devastating splits on the Left, Blatchford and the Clarion were ‘pro-war” and in the end the paper lost much of its influence.

The last issue of the paper that year was on 25 December – Christmas Day. Here’s an extract from Tom Groom’s regular “Cyclorama.” You may recall I used a piece from him earlier in the war a while back. He is still commemorated by the award of a trophy named for him at the Easter Meet each year.



The Next Ride: Sunday 14th December – Hassocks to Bolney and back

2 December 2014

c 17 Miles only

From Hassocks Station we will loop around Hurspierpoint College turning north into Danworth Lane crossing the Cuckfield Road and the A2300. We follow Job’s Lane over the A23 along Hickstead Lane until it joins Twineham Lane. Right into Bolney Chapel Road takes us towards the junction with the A272.

The direct route to Bolney crosses the A272 into Foxhole Lane on rising ground. This is the shorter route. The more interesting way is left into Bob Lane before the A272 junction, right into Wineham Lane and then over the A272 into Sponketts Lane looping around to the east before travelling south to Bolney. There are some steepish hill along this route but it is an interesting way to go.

Distance: c 17 miles Hassocks and return. Add c 9 miles to Brighton.

Hills: Mainly flat along country lanes. Some hills on loop to Bolney using Bob Lane and Spongetts Lane arriving Bolney from the north. If you don’t like the sound of the hills a shorter direct route avoiding Bob Lane and using Foxhole Lane to destination is available. Some of the lanes are pretty mucky, so good tyres and mudguards should be used.

Off road: None

Traffic: Quiet roads. Not much traffic at all apart from some junctions with main roads.

Lunch: The cafe in the Bolney Vineyard estate or the Bolney Stage pub. The cafe does light lunches including sandwiches with ham, cheese, salad, soups and bowls of olives. Served with thick chunky bread. Wines of course. More substantial food at the Bolney Stage pub. Take your pick. Possible tea stop at Washbrooks Farm in Hurstpierpoint.

Trains: Catch the 10.14 from Brighton Station or meet at Hassocks Station at 10.23.
From London catch the 09:06 from Victoria arriving at 10:23.

Alternatives are: 10:44 from Brighton arriving 10:53 and 09:32 London Victoria arriving at 10:36.

Return to Brighton 16:41, 17:07 and 17:36 from Hassocks. To Victoria 16:53, 17:14, 17:23 and 17:53.

No engineering work expected. My mobile number is 07814 257495.

Happy cycling!

John Clinton

The Last Ride: Sunday 30 November 2014 Eleven Cyclists on the last day in November Berwick Circular

2 December 2014

Previous reports of Jenny’s crash on ice & memory of attempting to wring & then dry out soaked clothes by the log fire in the pub for this ride, didn’t deter us as forecast temperatures were 10C & no rain. In spite of misty moments on the train there was a fair amount of sunshine & still loads of autumn colour in the trees & hedgerows & even hollyhocks blooming in the station & nearby.

Group shot

Four of us, Anne, Sue, Marilyn & Roger, caught the 10.20 train & waved  to Chris at Lewes station as he jumped in to join us. Mick had  started out an hour earlier from home in sunshine to Berwick by the NCN 2. He wasn’t at Berwick Station when we arrived, but Julian, Ian & Angela were, having driven & Jenny had cycled from Lewes. Rob soon arrived after cycling from his home in Heathfield but we had to wait a few minutes for Mick, who had been scoffing cake & coffee in Alfriston, which he described to make us jealous, having misremembered the train’s arrival time. Ian phoned the pub & told them we were 11 & would arrive at 12pm.

Mick's new hat

The group then split in half as 5 or 6 cycled off to the public toilets at the Arlington Reservoir Nature Reserve. Mick led off the rest of us & cycled right past the toilets etc & on to the first turning. I rounded up the advanced party & admired the trees in the picnic area. With Ian leading & Rob as backstop,we kept a good pace up to the pub to keep ourselves warm & to reach the pub in good time for quicker service, partly as Mick & I had a 90th b’day party of a neighbour to return to at 3pm.

There was a good choice of grub at the pub & a large table  set for us in the conservatory, where we watched the sky turn blue, enough to make a sailor’s shirt & discussed the derivation of “hoist by your own petard”; Jenny pointed out that a petard is not a flag.

Angela told us all about her recent trip to Copenhagen which could be a recce for our next year’s Clarion Summer or Spring Outing. She didn’t do much cycling but had the use of 2 bikes at the Air B&B pad they rented & admired the bike tracks & heirarchy of pedestrians, cyclists then lastly motorists, who knew their place. Soon the roast porks, moussakas, broccoli soups & fishcakes arrived & all proved delicious, copious & good value. Sue & I had to help Mick & Marilyn to clear their plates as the roasts were such big platefulls.

Again we split into 2 parts; a fast four for the early [1.48pm] train, Chris & Jenny soon cycled off to Lewes & Rob to Heathfield, the remaining 3 followed with Ian, apart from Marilyn who tried to catch up with Sue & Roger, Mick & Anne, who were in a hurry to catch the train. Unfortunately, although our train was 3 or 4 minutes late, the automatic barrier came down 4 minutes early & she was stuck on the wrong side of it. Julian informed me that the Berwick Inn proved to be closed so there was no coffee & cake or warm shelter to sit out the hour till the next train. Our kind leader, Ian, stayed with her until the train finally arrived.  The automatic barriers are really frustrating & Sue was truly sorry that Marilyn hadn’t managed to make it in time.

It did happen to some of us on the last ride at Polegate too, but we only had to wait half an hour & that left time to explore the side of Polegate which we rarely see: ie South of the Cuckoo Trail. Perhaps they should have cycled the 2 miles into Alfriston & sampled the teashop Mick had praised for his morning coffee stop.

Thanks to Ian for organising & leading a super ride we all enjoyed & were grateful for the clement weather, lack of hills, but still great views of Downs, parklands, woods & passing horse riders & ponies & fields [2] of PV arrays on the Solar Farm in Langtrye Lane. Roads were peaceful enough for us to chat as we cycled & discussed local left politics & perspectives, with other cyclists outnumbering cars, apart from 1 or 2 mad motorists racing past at 70+mph.

Marilyn's saddle

Jenny seemed to be the only person with a camera & she’s not keen on group shots, so not sure that there will be many Flickr pics but hope so.  Eleven jolly cyclists did at least 12 miles, at average speed of almost 8mph & made the most of the sparse sunshine around in November, thanks to the Clarion Cycling Club.



2 December 2014

Dear All

So, thanks to John, there will be another ride this year on 14 December (details below)

The 2015 AGM

This is to give the formal notice required by our constitution that the 2015 AGM with be at 8pm on Thursday 8 January at 104 Bonchurch Road.

In choosing the date I went for the first date in the New Year following the traditional end of the Christmas festivities that the people who responded to my plea for dates to avoid could make.

As you’ll recall from earlier editions of this newsletter, the reason for calling this meeting so early is so we can decide how much we will need to pay for the 2015 subscription.  It was agreed at the national conference last Easter to increase the national subs by £2. We could keep our own subscription down to £8 rather than £9 (compared with £7 in 2014) by suspending our £1 local subscription for the year. Personally, I don’t feel very bothered about which amount we go for, but to make sure that we get a definite decision I will be moving the suspension of the local sub for one year.  Those who disagree will then be able to state their case, move any necessary amendments and the decision will be made by the usual democratic vote.

Apart from that the AGM will consider the usual items – reports from officers, elections, proposals for activities in 2015 – and I will be sending out an agenda about a week prior to the meeting. Please let me have any items you want discussed ASAP.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 171. Legal Perils of Cycling

2 December 2014

A mere 200 years out in my date last time

From the Clarion 11 July 1896


Next time: From Tom Groom’s Cyclorama, December 1914