The Next Ride : Saturday 2 January 2015 Our Traditional Brunch Ride

17 December 2015


After the experience of the last two years the preference of nearly everyone seems to have the ride on 2nd rather than than the  1st. The poll I conducted last year was decisive and I can’t imagine that preferences have changed in 12 months 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 likely to be a might less busy than on New Year’s Day I’ve made the start time half an hour later than in the old days.

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.

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


The Last Ride: Sunday 13 December 2015 Hassocks Circular – Twineham and Wineham

17 December 2015

Well, we were just a little band of four today as Ian, Julian, Delia and I left Hassocks station on a warmer than usual December morning.  We followed a familiar route out towards Hurstpierpoint where hymns could be heard as we cycled past the church at the crossroads in the village. The congregation was certainly ‘giving it their all’ for us to be able to hear them from the roadway.  Then, on through Albourne towards Twineham through some very pretty lanes where Julian identified the birdsong of a green woodpecker, robins and possibly a song thrush, who were also ‘in good voice’.

At this time of year the winter landscape allows views through the trees that, of course, with trees covered in their summer leaves, you do not see in other seasons.  Between Twineham and Wineham, (what a lovely rhyming couple), we had a view of something unexpected, a massive electricity sub-station which crackled its energy supply along the wires between the concrete supports. Not the prettiest of sights, but at least it is out of view for that part of the year when the trees are in leaf.  Other views through the trees were more pleasing to the eye – the wintry, grey outlines of the Downs and a patchwork of pasture and arable fields.

Always along these routes are some very pretty houses and cottages and also some very large properties which I often find make me wonder what people do for a living to own such large places.  Well, Ian came out with a theory that made us all laugh. He reckoned that many were owned by retired drug dealers who, having evaded the law, wanted a quiet life in the country in their old age!

At Twineham we stopped for lunch at the Royal Oak which, according to the landlord, dates back to the 16th Century and has been a pub for over 200 years. The historic building prompted a conversation about the dangers of travelling by horse drawn coaches back in the day of highwaymen.  Ian, Delia and I have been watching the recent programmes on the tele about smugglers, pirates and highwaymen and the dastardly deeds they got up to. Worth a look on the iplayer if you haven’t managed to see them.

After lunch, (three delicious plates of ploughman’s and one bowl of spiced carrot soup), we began the journey back through Woodmancote towards Albourne and Hurstpierpoint, and we decided not to stop for tea as the light was beginning to fade and Delia was concerned that I do not have any lights on my bike.  So, we got back to Hassocks mid-afternoon in order to make our way home after a very pleasant winter ride and even more pleasant conversation.  Thanks to Ian for organising and leading the ride and may he and all other ‘Clarionistas’  have a very lovely Xmas and I look forward to a New Year of many more rides.



17 December 2015

Not So Bleak Midwinter Edition

Dear All

Volunteers Needed!

So far I’ve had  no offers to lead rides from 10 January onwards.  As I said last time, If you are stuck for inspiration have a look at the detailed  rides on Jim’s website  Or look through previous rides on the blog/previous website. As long as we aren’t doing the same ride every fortnight there’s nothing wrong in repeating those we have already done. And if you crave orgininality you could always plan to do the ride in the opposite direction from last time! Please don’t rely on the “usual suspects” coming forward; sooner or later they are going to get fed up if they are left carrying too much of the burden.  We were in a similar position this time last year – but offers soon came forward – so I live in hope!

Yesterday’s Christmas Lunch

Twelve of us invaded the Café Rouge at the Marina: Angela, Anne, Fred, Jenny, Jim, Joyce, Julian,  Leon, Mick, Roger, Sue and me.  Angela had asked us to meet from 12 30 onwards ready to eat at 1 p m.  As the hour approached concerns began to be expressed about the non-arrival of Jim. Roger tried to phone him without success.  Wild theories were exchanged; he’d gone to the other Café Rouge by mistake; he’d been abducted by aliens. But on the stroke of 1 o’clock – or more or less – he appeared.

Xmas lunch 2015

Meanwhile Anne had distributed some snazzy glittery brooches featuring little Christmas trees among other seasonal emblems.  The jokes in the crackers were of the usual high quality (!) but everyone seemed to enjoy the food and we were well looked after.  As usual when you’re enjoying yourself time speeded up.  Mick had to leave early to return to work.  Roger thanked Angela for organising the party on behalf of us all and all too soon it was over and we were off on our separate ways.

The 2016 AGM

Just to remind you, we altered our constitution at this year’s AGM to allow for the AGM to be held a lot later than has been the case up to now – anytime for 1 January to 31 March.  There are advantages to holding it a little later – among other things it will make it easier for us to take a collective position on at least some of the things that may be proposed at the national AGM at the Easter Meet.  So I’m proposing to call it for a date early in March, (Easter is early next year)

When it does take place one thing we will have to decide is whether to reinstate (or increase) our £1 p a local sub  At this year’s  AGM, in order to make life a bit easier when it comes to collecting the subs – so that we know right at the start of the year how much we need to pay – we adopted the system of  deciding it a year in advance.  So, if you think we need a local sub (or you don’t) please come along prepared to make the appropriate proposal.

Sue and I are quite happy to host the AGM but if anyone else would like to take it on this time – needs to be someone fairly central – do let me know.

New Year Ride

As I wrote last year after the second time we had re-scheduled our traditional little “Brunch” ride to Carats café to 2 January “we couldn’t have had a sunnier day for our New Year ride this morning.”  Let’s hope we are lucky with the weather again but if it looks like being better to revert to New Year’s Day – or go for 3 January – I will make sure to let you know in good  time  – so do check your emails.

Meanwhile, this is the last newsletter for 2015 so the usual hearty season’s greetings to everyone.  All the best for 2016!


2016 Subscription –  our Treasurer/Membership Secretary writes:

The subscription is unchanged at £8, all of which will be passed on to the National Clarion Cycling Club as in 2015.

Prompt payment would appreciated.  Membership ceases if payment is not received.

Please complete the form attached with the newsletter and return it to me at the address on the form. 

If you prefer to pay by BACS, details of which are shown on the form, please use your surname as reference.  If you want to save a stamp and not send me the form, then email me at: to confirm your payment via BACS.  Payment by PayPal is not possible


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: What ho!

17 December 2015

From “Cycle Trifle” The Clarion, 6 August 1898. An early example of the competitive side to the CCC’s activities.


The Next Ride: Sunday 13 December –  Twineham and Wineham

2 December 2015

Since our usual end-of-the-year ride – the short circular based on Berwick – is not possible because of lack of train availability, I’ve been thinking about an alternative – short and easy – substitute and this is what I’ve come up with.

We meet at Hassocks station and make for Hurstpierpoint, Albourne and High Cross, taking the Twineham road as far as Twineham Green, then along Bob Lane to Wineham and (an early) lunch at the Royal Oak – always a favourite stop. Back at High Cross on our return leg, we’ll take the road down to Shaves Wood then the B road back to Hurstpierpoint with a possible tea stop at Washbrooks Farm before returning to Hassocks.

Quietish roads, no-off road, no big hills, a few minor “undulations,” only  about 16/17 miles

 Catch the 10.14 from Brighton station or meet at Hassocks station at 10.23.

Best trains from London would be the 9.36 from Victoria – arrives at 10.37 – or the 8.56 – arrives 10.41 from London Bridge.  It always takes a while for us to get going but if you’re planning to take either of these routes please let me know so we can be sure not to start without you. 

My mobile number is 07770743287 and it will be switched on (!) as soon as I get to the station.

Do check your emails at 5 pm the day before – if the weather looks like being grim I will cancel/postpone.


The Last Ride: Sunday 29 November 2015 – Warblington circular

2 December 2015

via Stoughton and Compton for lunch and Rowlands Castle.

Jim took the 9.30 train alone from Brighton and was joined at Hove by Julian, and they arrived at Warblington Station, far beyond Chichester, at 10.44 to be met by Tracy, John and two Pauls of the Gosport Clarion Club for a joint ride. The weather forecast was overcast with gusts of strong winds, luckily these being behind us almost as far as lunch at the Coach and Horses Inn in Compton.

Warblington proved to be to the north of Hayling Island at the south-eastern edge of Havant. We soon got onto the Emsworth Common Road through Southleigh Forest and gently uphill with the wind helping speed us on.  Then Paul’s narrow rear wheel got a puncture which involved dismounting the wheel, removing the smooth tyre and replacing the inner tube which was pumped up to 120 lbs/sq inch pressure.


Paul and Paul at the pit stop

Off we went again still gently uphill and once through Aldsworth, having taken a photo of the ruins of Racton Tower, a haunted folly, on the hillcrest to our left, we passed Lordington House and into Stoughton village, crossed here by the Monarch’s Way, and the location of St Mary’s Saxon-style church dating from 1050.

This was followed by a lovely ride through the young trees of Wildhams Woods to East Marden, where we stopped to see the unusual thatched well just south of the church.

East Marden

At East Marden: L-R Paul, John, Tracy, Jim, Julian

Wildlife viewed near here included a buzzard just above our heads on the edge of a wood and out in an open field a stag with a group of does.  A little earlier Julian had seen a merlin fly across the road ahead, having just heard it calling.


Wildhams Wood

But by now thoughts of lunch were beginning to surface and so we made a rapid descent into Compton Village.  The pints of beer were a welcome reward and the home-made fish pies and avocado-topped meat pies were excellent.

Reluctantly we got onto our saddles again going briefly north on the B2146 before turning onto the long and narrow road down to Idsworth.  Here four of us dismounted and walked on a grassy path in a field to the isolated St Hubert’s small 1053 church updated in Norman style with preserved 14th C wall paintings.


St Hubert’s

Only a mile or so on, passing under the railway line for the third time, we stopped at the Tea on the Green restaurant, where John departed.  Five of us had various very sweet goodies (including rocky road delight) accompanied by tall glasses of very hot chocolate.  By now as we left it was 3.30 pm and we switched on our white head and red tail lights, while it even hinted at rain. Although we passed Nightingale Bottom none were to be heard! The downhill Woodberry Lane was pleasant and we rejoined Emsworth Common Road to go on through Havant housing estates arriving at Warblington Station (no warbling heard) at 4 pm where the Gosportians bade us goodbye. Julian was grateful to them for waiting without complaint for his slower uphill ascents and putting right his locked gear chain near the end. Then Jim and Julian at the sunset had to wait 35 minutes frustratingly watching fast trains speed by without stopping.

Many thanks for Jim for reaching out to our Clarion neighbours and for constructing this series of splendid sections along lovely valleys and over undulations with many turns linked together to create the circular ride.




2 December 2015

Dear All

Since I’ve received no messages pointing out mistakes in my arithmetic or other errors I’ve gone with the early 2016 dates I gave in the last issue. So, offers to lead rides from 10 January onwards are very welcome.  If you are stuck for inspiration have a look at the detailed  rides on Jim’s website  Or look through previous rides on the blog/previous website.

Christmas festivities – final reminder

You’ll have seen Angela’s latest message.  If you are comng to the lunch on 16 December and haven’t already done so please let the restaurant know about your choices. Check out what’s on offer on the Café Rouge (Brighton Marina). Go to “Menus” then “Festive Menus” and choose from the “Christmas Party” menu.  Email your choices to  making sure that it is made clear that the order is for the table under the name, ‘Clarion Cycling Club‘.

At a time when the news seems uniformly bad – except where it’s absolutely hideously awful – the smallest promise of better things lightens the heart a little  Good, therefore, to see in  the 19 November edition of Cycling Weekly the headline “Racing to Return to Preston Park.”  It goes on to say that by next April the oldest cycle track in the UK – dating from 1877 – should have its necessary fencing and track repairs completed.  The surface, the article says, will need to be replaced in about 8 years. You don’t have to be a track-racing enthusiast to be a little cheered by this.

2016 Subs: Julian writes:-

Subscriptions for 2016:  the renewal forms have not yet been received from the NCCC and we hope to have them to attach to the next newsletter.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: “The Club Stewpot”

2 December 2015

A couple of items from Tom Groom’s “The Club Stewpot” Clarion, 28 August 1897.


Merrie England was Blatchford’s best-selling advocacy of socialism originally published in 1894. Labour Leader was Keir Hardie’s weekly which came out on Thursdays while the Clarion was published on Fridays. Early in the C20 it became the official organ of the ILP.