The Next Ride: Sunday 6 September 2015

24 August 2015

Three Bridges to Burgess Hill

Three Bridges – Tilgate forest – Pease Pottage – Slaugham common – Warninglid (for lunch) – Wineham – Twineham – Goddards Green – Burgess Hill (for tea and return train).

A linear ride of 23 miles.

We meet at the front of Three Bridges station at 10.50am for a 10.55 start. West toward Crawley to join a cycleway through Furness Green and Tilgate golf course. Crossing the M23 via a bridge and entering Tilgate forest to reach Parish lane and Pease Pottage.

Still heading west we cross the A23 via a bridge and continuing west to Grouse road. Now heading south where we encounter a quite challenging hill to Slaugham Common and Warninglid.

Lunch is at the Half Moon Public House at Warninglid, where, if the weather is fine we can enjoy our lunch in a rather nice garden at the rear of the pub.

Please check the pub website menu and if necessary, order your meal in advance to avoid disappointment.

After lunch we continue south on quiet lanes to cross the A272 and head toward Wineham to turn left at Bob lane. Now heading east to Hickstead where we cross the A23 via another bridge and entering a small paved track leading onto Job’s lane. After half a mile we cross the A2300 at Goddards Green and the Jane Murray Way that circles the southern part of Burgess Hill. Now entering the lightly built-up rural market town of Burgess Hill where we can stop for tea on Church Walk before finishing the ride at the station.

Trains to Three Bridges: 

Depart Brighton 10.14; Arrive Three Bridges 10.41

Depart London Victoria 10.02; Arrive Three Bridges  10.48

Terrain:  Paved cycleways, grass pathways, sandy tracks and forest paths. Country lanes with some undulating sections. One challenging hill of about 1 in 8 for 100 metres gradually levelling out to about 1 in 20 for a further 200 metres. Roads: Almost all quiet country lanes and rural town roads in Burgess Hill.

Return train times to:

Brighton: 15.33 – 16.29 – 16.33 – 17.01

Victoria:    15.13 – 15.27 – 16.06 each hr.



The Last Ride. Sikka‘s Report

24 August 2015


Sunday 23rd August 2015

Catsfield – East of Normans Bay

Jim, Julian, Anne, Tessa, Sikka and Rob braved the weather forecast and started off from Cooden Beach station in light rain. Angela was to meet us at lunch but was unexpectedly delayed and couldn’t make it after all.

Julian surprised us all by turning up in a bright yellow hi-vi cycling jacket – but assured us it was large enough to accommodate his traditional tweed jacket underneath!

Pear Tree Lane was a small, winding road with trees on either side, which led on to Potman’s Lane. Here we entered the carpark in High Woods and had a look at the noticeboard telling us that it was one of the few traditionally coppiced woodlands left in the area, offering guided walks and tended by a team of volunteers. (There was also a sign saying NO CYCLING!)


At High Woods: L-R Rob, Julian, Sikka, Tessa, Jim

We had time here for a general changing and adjusting of wet clothing, with Anne finding she was soaked through as her cycling jacket was a long way off waterproof. Although doubting whether she should continue in this state she did carry on for a while, but the weather soon got the better of her and she decided to turn back as she was keen not to catch a chill. We were all sorry to see her go. [See Anne’s addendum below – Ed]

We had various stops to look at items of interest such as the Ninfield Transforming Station from which a series of electricity pylons radiated in all directions. (This was Jim’s contribution to any ‘Techies’ on the ride.) There were roads like tunnels, with large trees soaring over the route, creating a twilight world occasionally brightened by the headlights of passing cars.


Watermill Lane

Then there was the brick works with giant stacks of newly minted bricks rising skyward like narrow houses.


And of course, the 4-horned black and white ram, happily grazing in the company of his two peaceful ewes. Why did one set of horns turn backwards?!


Four Horned Ram (believed to be a Manx Loaghtan)

There were two churches on the way into Catsfield, and we stopped to admire the very elegant but rather newer one that presented itself in our path. However, the older, well advertised church of St Lawrence’s was passed by until after lunch as we were all wet and keen to take shelter in the pub. The White Hart turned out to be spacious and warm, and the food was good and reasonably priced.

Over lunch the conversation ranged as usual over various topics, including a story about Robert Blatchford who apparently initiated the Clarion newspaper which influenced the creation of the Clarion Cycling Club. As a soldier, he was wont to tell stories in the dormitory, and every now and then he would call out ‘boots’ to check if anyone was still awake. As long as he heard someone call out ‘spurs’ he would continue talking. I am so pleased to know there is a rationale for the use of this seemingly bizarre word!

After lunch out came the sun and we cycled up to examine St Lawrence’s. Julian was disappointed to find the architecture inconsistent, with Norman windows and arches modernised into pointed arches. The site dated back to Saxon times and some of the church building was from 1100.

It was here we managed to lose yet another of our number as Rob stopped to check his bike and then cycled on past the church – although Jim blew his whistle and tried to catch him up, we did not see him again. So we hope he had a good ride back to Heathfield.

After the damp of the morning it was delightful to be out in the sunshine again. We had a lovely ride along winding, slightly undulating lanes, and though Tessa had noted before lunch that there appeared to be more than one ‘hill’, after a good meal in the pub Tessa stormed up the next ‘undulation’ passing us all! Jim assured us that when he researched the route, it had been quite flat!

We had time to spare before our train back, so to satisfy Julian’s yen to see the sea, we sat in great comfort in the Cooden Beach Hotel, consuming chocolate cake and tea.

Thank you Jim for a very enjoyable day.


Anne adds:

Hi Jim & Sue & other Clarionettes. Finally got home about 5pm as headed back to the Highwoods & found out that I was not soaked through, & thought I would miss the 1.27pm train [or 37] so decided to cycle on to Bexhill, where it looked lighter sky anyway. Rain had stopped by time I reached the De La Warr & could have eaten outside. Had good lunch & saw the 3 exhibitions, preferring the one on the top floor.


De La Warr exhibit

Bought some cards & a Wire magazine, as our Bobby had an article in it & review of his newest group – Far Pavilions. Came out to bluish sky, mounted bike, which wobbled, then realised I had a puncture! Decided to push it to Bexhill Station. Got straight on Victoria train & off at Lewes. Had hour wait there as Seaford train was cancelled.. Arriving at Brighton I carrried the bike down to Baker Street bikes. By now it was 4.25pm but disappointed to see that they closed at 4pm! Leaned bike against bike stand intending to try & phone Mick to rescue me, when I noticed the young New Zealander about to leave the shop. I knocked on the door & they let me & the bike in, much to my relief. Have to pick it up tomorrow & struggled home with the heavy panier & wet clothing. Can’t find the bag of goodies from De La Warr, so am hoping that I left it in the bike shop, but it could be anywhere!

Thanks for all your efforts Jim. Hope it cleared up for you all too. Mick said it cleared up in Brighton by 1pm. Lovely to see everyone & glad I didn’t burden you all with a puncture.





24 August 2015

Dear All

We are still looking for ride offers for 20 September – and after. [NB Slot provisionally filled subject to recce – Ed.] I shall be away (“What, again?” I hear you ask) for the next three weeks so if you have a suggestion for a ride on that date (or, indeed, any other) please send it to Roger who will be getting out the next newsletter. Likewise if you get to do the report on the 6 September ride or have any other news or views to impart.

By all means send to me too – so I can keep up with what’s going on – but the crucial thing is to remember to send offers and reports to Roger from now on.

The Erewash Valley Trail

In the last issue I was bemoaning the fact that I had had to miss Julian’s Dell Quay ride. A large part of the attraction of that route has always been for me the sections along the Chichester Canal. One thing we are short of in this area is canal paths to ride along

But last week I was able to go some way to make up for missing out earlier. My brother-in-law, with whom Sue and I were staying for a few days, actually lives on a road that is a duly-signposted link between two bits of the Erewash Valley Trail – one of several car-free (or almost) cycle routes featured in the excellent Nottingham Cycle Map.

The Trail is an elongated loop following the Erewash River – a minor tributary of the Trent – and. especially, the parallel Erewash Canal. Altogether it is c 30 miles long. I’d explored the bit down to Trentlock where rivers Trent, Soar and the various canals join up several times in the past, but this time I did the part of the Trail, going up the canal to its northern end and then returning via a route that includes part of the defunct and overgrown Nottingham Canal – now an important nature reserve. Just over 20 miles in all. I can thoroughly recommends this to anyone who finds themselves in the area with access to a bike. I particularly enjoyed the first stretch up the surprisingly rural canal. I was greeted when I joined the Trail at Sandiacre by about 30 ducks and ducklings who seemed to be earnestly debating something loudly and furiously (Labour leadership election, perhaps?) Later I passed the Gallows Inn, where a Trail information board told me there had been an actual gallows as recently as 1870. “Not the most auspicious welcome to Ilkeston,” the notice commented. After that, a few miles further on, I watched a family of swans – a parent at either end and two large but still “ugly duckling” type cygnets between them – making their way in stately fashion, perfectly line-astern along the waterway.


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

24 August 2015

Last time I included an early report from the Clarion, in April 1898 about the Easter Meet in Chester. I meant to say, but forgot, that Blatchford himself wrote it. Here’s the beginning. Just to remind you – Dangle was Blatchford’s friend and co-conspirator in starting the paper.


The Next Ride

13 August 2015

Sunday 23rd August 2015: Catsfield (2nd attempt)

Let’s hope the weather is a bit nicer this time around …

We’ll set off from Cooden Beach station, and after skirting the Bexhill suburbs of Cooden and Little Common, we reach the delightful Peartree Lane, which very soon delivers us to High Woods. This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest; it has some nice hard paths, which unfortunately don’t get us anywhere, but hopefully we will agree to spend a little time here.

We cross the A269 at Lunsford’s Cross, and then Potman’s Lane brings the only seriously steep hill, which is about 1 in 15 but is soon over.

Lunch will be at the White Hart at Catsfield, a pleasant little pub which seems to have a pretty extensive menu and does not appear to be too pricey. They also have Harvey’s.

Catsfield has two churches; one is architecturally pretty stunning, and the other is very old. The latter, St Laurence’s, may tempt us in. It goes back to the 12th century.

On the way back we go through Henley’s Down, and then there is a possible off-road detour which is a little bumpy but at least gets us away from traffic. We can discuss whether to take it or not on the day; if this proves to be a “cat-herding” exercise, we can split up and then reconvene in Sidley.

Sidley is on the outskirts of Bexhill, so at this point we turn west and regain Peartree Lane and our outward route.

We return to Cooden Beach station after a total of only 14 miles; if any of us want to go further, it will be possible to cycle back to Pevensey and Westham station, 6 miles further on (but not to Norman’s Bay, as trains don’t stop there on Sundays).


Start at Cooden Beach station at 11:30. There are bike-friendly ramps to road level.

Distance: 14 or 20 miles

Terrain: Mostly quiet roads, some off-road possible. Some undulations.

Getting there: There are no direct trains from Brighton to Cooden on Sundays. You have a choice of getting the good old 2-coach Ashford train from Brighton at 10:12 (which used to be the 10:20) and changing at Eastbourne (where there is no change of level) or getting the 10:17 Seaford train and changing at Lewes, which, as explained last time, involves a ramp and a lift. Anyone from London should get the 9:47 from Victoria direct to Cooden.

Getting back: Trains leave Cooden Beach at 37 minutes past the hour, and Pevensey & Westham at 43 minutes past. Again there is a choice: changing at Eastbourne (but with a long wait) or a renegotiation of the ramp and lift at Lewes in only four minutes. Shortest journey time to Brighton is about an hour; to London, an hour and 50 minutes.


The Last Ride: Corinne‘s Report

13 August 2015

Dell Quay – Sunday 9 August 2015


On a lovely hot sunny day, with a slight cool wind, fifteen people met at the south side of Chichester railway station at 11.15 am: Julian, Corinne, Prudence, Sikka Sue, Anne, Terry, Leon, Joyce, Richard, Tessa, Roger, Suzanne, Kate, David, and new member Jeanne, coping with complicated gears on her first major outing on her new bike. After the group photo, we went 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 began a northward ride on the Centurion Way, which soon becomes the New Lipchis Way.


On the Centurion Way

After two miles we saw a small group of metal ‘Roman Soldiers’, and turned left to join a minor road passing the Huntersrace Farm fields of solar panels, and after about three miles took the West Stoke Road, which has a gentle rise until the middle of the village. We then turned south into Lye Lane, which has quite a fast and narrow downward incline until the B2178, and carried on down round the north and east of Fishbourne, then passed under the A27.

We took the Salterns Way bridlepath past Apuldram, where we appreciated this new cycle track which runs parallel to the road, as there was a long tailback of cars which we were glad to be able to bypass. We noted that there was more traffic than usual, and some impatient drivers. A buzzard was seen soaring near Fishbourne and a perching kestrel near Apuldram.

We arrived at the Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay for lunch at 12.55 pm, and were joined there by Mick, who had set off early and cycled all the way from Brighton, getting into shape for the London to Brighton ride. David left us at this point to join relatives and stayed with them for the afternoon. We all sat at the outside tables, enjoying the view over the Chichester Channel with its moored boats and active bird life, and also the food, which arrived at intervals.

First to arrive were two plates of prawn and salmon salad, which were announced as ‘prawn salads’ and placed at the end of table 67 and then ignored by all for some time, after which we asked the waiter to remove them as they were clearly not meant for us. Meantime other meals were brought, and consumed, and cleared away, while Jeanne and Julian still sat patiently waiting for their ‘salmon salads’. After everyone except Julian and Jeanne had finished eating, we found out that what the waiters described as ‘prawn salad’, and Julian and Jeanne described as ‘salmon salad’, were one and the same thing, so finally two salads (whether the original two or fresh ones we did not find out) were presented to Julian and Jeanne, who could finally eat their lunch.


We set off after lunch at 1.40 pm, continuing on the Salterns Way south and crossing over the Chichester Salterns Marina lock gates to reach the Chichester Old Ship Canal. At the northern end of the Marina Entrance road we took the minor road to join the B2145 into Hunston where we crossed over the canal on the Poyntz Bridge onto a wider well-surfaced track. We stopped to take photos from this bridge of the distant view of Chichester Cathedral apparently surrounded by green fields and trees with no sign of any urbanisation, and canoeists on the canal. Soon we paused to observe a young heron sitting on the track in front of us, until it flew away.

That view: only the power lines and brightly coloured clothes give the game away!

The ride ended at the Canal Basin with refreshments at the Canal Trust tearoom. Most of us took the 16.15 fast Victoria train as far as Hove, where Sue, Jeanne and Corinne changed trains and continued on to Brighton. Thanks to Julian for a great ride.




13 August 2015

Dear All

We are now looking for ride offers for 20 September and after. And don’t forget to let me have anything of interest for the newsletter.

2015 so far – a self-indulgent moan

So for for me its been a very frustrating year – bikewise. It’s been OK – indeed better than OK – in other respects. My ILP book has been accepted for publication and I’m making good progress on my next project about the British Left and the outbreak of war in 1914. And we’ve had some great train trips to Brussels, Paris, Lyon and La Rochelle.

But bikewise it’s been more than a little frustrating. Soon after the beginning of the year I came reluctantly to the conclusion that my cataract problem was getting so bad that as well as not driving I should abstain from coming out on rides lest not being able to see properly put anyone else in danger. I continued to ride –very cautiously – by myself, but I had a resurgence of my familiar back and leg problems that meant at one stage – which fortunately didn’t last very long – I was having real trouble walking.

Meanwhile, there began to things going wrong with my bike. The inner chainring broke and the whole thing had to be replaced. Getting a new one compatible with my 35 year-old machine took quite a while. The cataract op on one of my eyes left me able to see more clearly than ever before and after it was safe to get back on the bike I turned up for Leon and Joyce’s circumnavigation of the conurbation: but only got as far as Preston Park before the bottom bracket jammed completely and I had to drop out! It has taken forever to get this fixed. The problem is that though when Ken Bird built it in 1980 my bike was near “state-of-the-art” now it’s extremely difficult to find the right bits to replace anything that goes wrong.

I had been looking forward to joining Julian’s Dell Quay ride last Sunday – always one of my favourites, and hoped I’d get the bike back in time to test it out and then join the ride. In the end I was able to pick it up last Saturday – the day before the ride. I rode it just as far as the King Alfred to test the new bottom bracket – which seemed absolutely fine, but I’d already decided it was unlikely that I’d feel up to going out with Julian et al on Sunday; I know from experience that when I haven’t ridden for several weeks I need to take time getting back into it. But in any case it turned out to be not on – within about 30 yards of home one of the cranks came lose and when I stopped to look at it it came off in my hand!   It should be easy to fix this time – just a matter of getting a nut that fits properly – but it does feel like fate has conspired against me yet again!

I am hoping to come out on a ride or two before very much longer – though I definitely can’t make Jim’s revived one that is next on our agenda.   I shall just have to cross fingers and hope.

Preston Park Cycle Track

The Preston Park track, built in 1877, is the oldest one in Britain. You may recall we had a picnic there (and for some a ride round the track) a few years ago. At the beginning of the year it was deemed not to be sufficiently compliant with the necessary safety standards by British Cycling and the local authority is looking at making the necessary changes. In the meantime there is a campaign to make sure the track is saved. Here’s the latest from the campaign organiser, Robert Rivett

There is going to be a Save Preston Park Cycle Track Bike Ride on Saturday 5th September!

It is crucial that this is a success so that the “powers that be” feel the ever growing need to get something done for Preston Park Track. THE RIDE will just be a device to raise media attention again for saving the track. But it could back fire if people don’t show their support so it really needs a big push from everybody to get their fellow cycling friends along for this ride.

I think getting all clubs to support this event is a great thing to do anyway as a way of celebrating cycling and bringing us all together in a social environment, creating a true community of cyclists without the barriers of what club you are in or what type of cyclist you are.

The ride is going to be from Brighton Pier to the Track along London Road. So we will need marshals.

We need to get as many cyclists as we can down for this ride.

Can we have a meeting soon to discuss this campaign ride?

I think we are looking at the track potentially being closed to racing for at least a year if not much longer so there is time to plan what sort of use the track can have once it has been revived.

I feel that it is important that all clubs in the area get involved and see the importance of the track as a potential hub for cycling in our area. An event page on Facebook has been created and it would be great if this was well supported by the different clubs in the area. Share the link below as much as you can.

Hope to hear from you all soon let’s have a meeting soon as I might have some more positive news.

Yours in Sport

Rupert Rivett

Tel No 01273 695107; Mobile 07771928201;Twitter

Click for: Facebook Page; Facebook Group; Facebook Event

So, if you are able to (I’m not – will be away) why not support the bike ride on 5 September?


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

13 August 2015

The fourth Easter Meet in 1898 was held in Chester. On 9 April the Clarion had a preliminary report which included some extracts from the local newspapers – one of which I have included below: