The Next Ride: Sunday 7 February 2016  – Emsworth to Fishbourne

25 January 2016

Westbourne – Woodmancote – Southbourne – Hambrook –  Funtington – West Ashling – Bosham

This ride zigzags along between the inlet channels and the foothills of the Downs, taking in the above 7 villages en route. Starting just to the east of our recent Warblington ride, we travel alongside the river Ems to the delightful old village of Westbourne (definitely not twinned with Eastbourne!), crossing back and forth over and under the A27, and arriving eventually at Funtington, where we may stop for coffee if required. Then we follow the Bosham Stream down Watery Lane (which is very watery at this time of year!) to West Ashling, whose pond is home to many waterfowl.

Lunch will be at the Anchor Bleu pub in Bosham, overlooking Bosham Channel, where we hope to see lots of interesting birds. The waters here lap against the very walls (and cover the road) at high tide. They should not be lapping against our wheels, however, by the time we leave the pub for a short spin down the flood-prone road to Bosham Hoe, as the tide will be on its way out. Then it’s back up to Fishbourne, hopefully in time for anyone who wants to visit the Roman Palace – definitely recommended for anyone who likes 2000 year old mosaic floors. (It’s open until 4pm; the sun sets at 5). There is also a nice cafe there, which you can patronise without buying a ticket.

We can travel home from Fishbourne station, or ride the 2 miles to Chichester for a more frequent service. The latter option will allow us to sample the delights of a wonderful new bridge that has replaced the rather hazardous foot crossing of the railway between Fishbourne and Chichester. It has a slope that is so gentle you can cycle up it! Nice to know that local authorities are catering for cyclists, even in these hard times.

Distance: 17 miles (19 to Chichester)

Duration: about 4½ hours to Roman Palace, including lunch and coffee stops

Terrain: Mainly quiet lanes, a quiet B road, and a short section of A259 in the cycle lane.

Undulations: Read my lips – THERE AREN’T ANY!

Start at: Emsworth Station, westbound exit, at 10:15

Getting there: Catch the 09:00 Southampton train from Brighton

Getting home: Trains from Fishbourne are hourly at 50 mins past the hour. Trains from Chichester towards Brighton leave at 15, 23 and 53 minutes past the hour.

Jim and Julian.

The Last Ride: Sunday 24 January 2016 – Berwick to Eastbourne

25 January 2016

Clarion Towner Gallery 24 January

Mick and Sikka took the train from Brighton to Berwick and arrived to find Jenny already there as she had cycled from Lewes to get in a few extra miles.  The morning air was damp and mild with no expectation of rain.   As there were just the three of us and only 17 miles to Eastbourne, we decided to cancel the lunch booking and go straight there, the route being almost entirely flat.

We circled round Arlington Reservoir on wet roads, occasionally encountering large puddles and one minor flood where Mick, our leader, ventured across first, finding a shallow route for us through the middle.  Bravo Mick!

The Downs were shrouded in mist, lending a mysterious, almost secretive atmosphere to our journey. We cycled round Abbott’s Wood on quiet roads and joined the Cuckoo Trail at Hailsham. We could have stopped at the tea rooms for coffee but decided to push on, keeping to the Sustrans route from Polegate to Eastbourne Seafront. We had to join the seafront road soon after that as the promenade is limited to pedestrians.

Arriving at the Towner Gallery, we made a beeline for the café and enjoyed a snack lunch before visiting the two free exhibitions. These included some modern art and sub-titled films as well as pictures on loan from a gallery in Aberdeen. Many paintings were by Sussex artists, among them Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell of Charleston fame.

To complete the delights of the day we repaired once more to the café for tea and cake, leaving just in time for the 3.26 train back to Brighton.

This was a perfect day for cycling and we had a thoroughly enjoyable and varied outing. Thank you Mick (and Anne for participating in the recce).



25 January 2016

Burns Night edition

Dear All

Well, thanks to Jim we are now OK for next month so I’m now hoping to hear – preferably from someone (or ones) who haven’t led a ride for a while – some ideas for at least the one of the March rides.  Having said that, Jim has raised an important point about 6 March.

I was a bit worried about the pub anyway – being Mother’s Day they were talking about being very busy and possibly wanting advance orders, which is a road I really wouldn’t want to go down! (Personally I think it would be better to arrange the timetable to avoid Mother’s Day than the start of BST on the 27th!)

No reason why we can’t change the schedule – or just leave out 6 March.  I’m leaving it as is on the “Future Rides” list for the moment. But let me know what you think about Jim’s suggestion and the alternatives.

I’ve had no suggestions for motions for nominations for the national AGM but some support – and no objections – to my proposal to nominate Bob again for Standing Orders Secretary.  We certainly need one!   So I’ve sent this off to Ian Clarke.

Both Jim and Fred offered suggestions and help with my problem in copying extracts from the C19 Clarion – for which many thanks.  But my immensely talented daughter, Chloe, managed to solve the problem – which had had me tearing hair out for hours – and “normal service” is now resumed.

“You’re safer on your bike!” said my friend at the Lawns café after Sue – in a bid to keep me from going completely stir-crazy – drove me down to the Hove seafront and I hobbled over sweeping irritating passers-by aside with my trusty crutch.  The ankle is coming along fine – but frustratingly it’s still going to be a long time before I can get back on the bike.

There may still be some subs outstanding, so I’m including Julian’s reminder and form.


2016 Subs.  Julian 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

25 January 2016

From Clarion, 31 December 1898.

Note the time of year re the reference to mistletoe!  Not too sure which Clarion House this was.  Brocklehurst was a well-known ILPer.  [Sorry about incomplete last sentence – have to stop somewhere!]


The Next Ride: Sunday 24 January 2016 – The Towner Gallery at Eastbourne

12 January 2016

Being inspired by Fred’s gallery visits & perturbed by the winter weather, I hope to combine a short ride with a bonus 4 exhibition gallery visit to The Towner Gallery at Eastbourne, which, on the 24th appears to have its maximum exhibitions on simultaneously. The Ravilious Room closes on the 26th & on 23rd a new touring exhibition opens; Art From Elsewhere;

So I propose that we take the 10.12 from Brighton & alight at Berwick, if the weather is at all clement, but buy a return to ticket to Eastbourne. From Berwick we follow the NCN2 to Abbots Wood & head North to Hailsham, turning right by Michelham Priory, then hook up with the Cuckoo Trail at Hailsham heading south to Polegate, possibly having lunch at the Tea-rooms en route. We then follow the NCN2 again eastward until the furthest fringe of suburban Eastbourne & take the NCN21 through nature trails to the coast, along the sea-front to The Towner Gallery, where there is a tearoom on the top floor with fine views from the balcony, should we wish to look back & contemplate our journey through the woods & Downs of East Sussex.

If weather is nasty we can shorten to alighting at Polegate, for a quick downhill to the gallery.

Distance = 17 miles from Berwick; approx 7 miles from Polegate.

Terrain    = Mainly NCN routes on roads or paths.

Trains     = 10.12 from Brighton. Return trains every half hour.14.59, 15.26, 15.59, 16.26 taking 40mins.



12 January 2016

Dear All

It looked as though there would be no ride on 24th January.   I decided not to send out another last minute appeal – I don’t like harrassing people especially when I’m not able to take on my share.  But Anne and Mick came to the rescue yet again.  Undeterred by what Jenny euphemistically describes as “pretty awful weather” last Sunday (see report below)  they have now agreed to lead the next ride too. What can I say?  Except “Thanks!”

Offers for future rides

Anyone for 21 February?

Clarion extracts 

Still can’t work out how to copy from pdfs with my supposedly improved and upgraded system.  Don’t feel like returning to laboriously copying out extracts on “The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s.”  Any advice, Fred?   So – for the moment I’ve decided to re-run some of the early ones from the beginning of the series. After all lots of people have joined us since February 2008– and others may have forgotten!


Thanks (again) to everyone who has sent me messages about my pre-Christmas accident. It’s frustrating not being able to ride the bike at all and I shall have to be particularly careful about starting again since the problem is with my left ankle – the one I put to the ground every time I stop.  But so far things are going well. Somewhat to the consultant’s disappointment – he told me how much he enjoys doing the operation – my broken ankle is mending naturally (if quite slowly) and wanted need to be “pinned”.

Still some subs outstanding, I’m told.  Please make Julian’s life a little easier!


2016 Subs.  Julian 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 Last Ride: Sunday 10 January 2016  – Newhaven Circular

12 January 2016

In spite of a gloomy weather forecast, seven riders gathered at the Pier: Jenny, Joyce, Julian, Leon, our leader Mick, new member Sean who has just moved to Brighton from London, and Tessa who is training for her cycling holiday in Burma. Just as we set off towards the marina the rain began to do its worst, but at least it was at our backs in the strong, cold, south-westerly wind. Anne joined us at the marina as we thought better of the undercliff, given that the sea was so rough and the tide at its highest, and headed up along the cycle path by the coast road. When we eventually joined the undercliff path at Rottingdean the sea was pounding spectacularly over the sea wall, full of sand and stones, although we managed to avoid the worst of it by hugging the cliffs to Saltdean.

The pretty awful weather soon persuaded Joyce, Leon, and Tessa to leave us, but the rest of us soldiered on, blown along by the wind, and as we meandered through the bungalowed backstreets of Peacehaven the rain stopped and some blue sky appeared. Mick had planned the ride to try out the new part of NCN2, which runs beside the coast road out of Peacehaven before crossing it to a new section linking to the road downhill into Newhaven. The new link turns from the main road straight up a sharp climb that caught some of us out in the wrong gear, but we’ll know next time.

Riding along by Newhaven harbour Mick and I were amazed and a bit alarmed by the height of the tide, which was lapping right up almost to the top of the harbour walls. The people in the houses there must have been very anxious. By the time we reached The Ark, our lunch destination, my feet were soaking wet and cold, so I decided to save the price of a meal and head straight for the station. All the way back the train passed endless waterlogged fields and the river Ouse at Lewes was as high as I have ever seen it, seemingly just about to burst its banks.

Sorry to abandon you all so abruptly, I hope you had a good lunch and an entertaining journey home. The rest of the report will of necessity have a different author, but thanks to Mick for leading a very nice route which is much improved by the new NCN link.


And Anne’s Report

Wet & Wild West Wind Assisted improved route to Seaford.

Half the troupe having peeled off at Rottingdean & I having joined at the Marina, it was a thrilling & scary ride to Saltdean, with Jenny Mick, Sean & Julian racing the waves on the Undercliff. I was hoping for respite at the Saltdean Tunnel, but no, the leading 4 were wind-assisted up the 2 steep slopes past the Saltdean cafe so I struggled to keep up with them. Julian told me it was the first time he’d managed to cycle all the way up that very steep incline. I pushed my bike but that was still easier than usual. We flew along the NCN 2 to Newhaven but by then, Jenny was soaked & wanted home, but remaining 4 dived into the pub, where warm fire & warm food & radiators & creative wall decor greeted us.

Mick phoned Angela & she soon joined us by car for lunch. 3 soups, 1 fish pie & egg, ham & chips, plus salmon gravadlax for me, all good value & much enjoyed at The Ark. Animated conversations followed on politics & Clarion. Julian was keen to cycle on to Seaford because of the nature reserve, but as soon as we left the pub the rain started again & I made a dash for the shelter of the Harbour train station. Julian’s enthusiasm & the tailing off of the rain, persuaded us all to carry on & not surrender to the comfort of the train.

Just as the NCN2 has been improved at Peacehaven’s eastern end, so has the Seaford section been made safer at its western side, so we breezed along at speed, until the 1st sign for the station.

We had already noticed that we’d missed the return train by about 10mins, so that left 20 to explore Seaford, before another train, so impelled by v. strong westerlies, 3 set off for the seafront & I indecisively, followed, hoping to be able to escape from the sea-front without having to battle the headwind too much to reach the train, but that proved impossible. However, I did break out before the boys & managed to find the station five minutes before them, buy my ticket & scream from the train that they were to immediately get on the train as it was about to leave. Nobody wanted to wait another half an hour in wet clothes & all were able to buy tickets on the train & rearrange the bikes at the Lewes stopover.

Thanks to Mick for organising & leading. We all had a great day & hope that nobody suffered any adverse consequences from the adverse weather.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club – the very beginning

12 January 2016

The weekly Clarion newspaper had been going since December 1891.  On 28 April 1894 the letter below appeared.  I should explain that most of the regular Clarion journalists and contributors had strange nicknames.  This had started before the Clarion was launched with Blatchford when he worked on Bell’s Life and then the Sunday Chronicle in the 1880s writing under the pen-name Nunquam Dormio (I never sleep) soon shortened to Nunquam.  The Bounder, who features much in the report, was the tall, 18 stone, Irish, humorous writer, Edward Fay.  There’s a splendid picture of him, on his bike, on the 1895 Birmingham Clarion CC greeting card featured in Denis Pye’s book Fellowship is Life. The Story of the Clarion Cycling Club. (1996, 2004) The Clarion co-editor A M Thompson rejoiced (?) in the name Dangle, and Blatchford’s brother Montague was Mont Blong. But enough of this erudition – on with the show!



‘We shall arrive!’ And in order that our coming may be speedy, we have started the Clarion Cycling Club, and at Easter we want to tour. We were seven; And we started from Birmingham to Wolverhampton by train on a dirty, dark, damp, dismal, dreary morning at 7.15.

We were only half awake and we were cold and hungry and the journey between Birmingham and Wolverhampton is one of the most mournful in England.

But – aha – we got to Wolverhampton, and had a little refreshment, and we got on our jiggers, and we woke up, and the sun came out, and the ‘little squeakers’ began to warble fit to crack their little throats, and we got hopeful, and cheerful, and oh! we were gay!

Then came we unto Bridgenorth and did there Bounderise.  Bounderise – verb irregular (very) meaning to imbibe liquors of various degrees of strength – to assimilate resuscitating comestibles – to walk on one’s heels – and to generally spread oneself out.  Afterwards we sampled Bridgenorth on the banks of the silvery Severn, and departing thence came to Arley and Bewdley both on the banks of the aforesaid silvery Severn.

On our way hitherwards we were led by ‘The Fiend’ into a veritable slough of despond, from which we emerged covered with much variety of landed estate causing a delay of many golden moments whilst we scraped ourselves.

Bewdley is a fine place, but – they haven’t been used to catering for cyclists there. We assisted in their education, however, and the next time they hear of our coming they will prepare themselves.  For we shall arrive.

Next day we pushed on to Evesham, via Stourport, Ombersley, Worcester and Pershore.  At Worcester we indulged in periphery swelling, consuming spring chickens (year doubtful), sampled the cathedral, and then in single file proceeded through the town. Suddenly the first man rang his bell and dismounted, the others following suit.  The first man spoke not but pointed with trembling delight to where they sold the Clarion.   There is hope for Worcester – they sell the Clarion there. We marched in, in order, and purchased our Clarions, and then as solemnly walked out, once more mounted our machines and proceeded on our way, as men who had glimpses of higher things.

In this mood we came to Evesham, as quaint and pretty a little town as existeth, and there once more we Bounderised. Good Lord! How we did eat!   Before we commenced operations, our fair hostess besought us to stay for dinner the next day, telling us of the gracious things provided for the meal.  She plied us with legends of cyclists who had fared at her hands, and had afterwards wandered to other taverns, but had come back to her hostelry once more as a haven of rest and home of plenty.  Then provender appeared.  For half an hour we raised not our eyes and spoke not a word, but steadily thought on the Bounder.  The landlady became silent, the moody, then morbid, flinched, trembled, quivered, quavered, quock, broke line and finally succumbed. It was a glorious victory. ‘Are you,’ she asked with quivering lips, ‘are you gentlemen going to stay dinner tomorrow?’  We said we were not and once more she breathed freely.

We went to bed late that night – very late – but we arose early next morn, for the Army of Salvation paraded the town at 6 a m with a band, the big drum being in charge of the local blacksmith. May he be eternally spiflicated.

We were due at the Labour Church that night, so we started Brumwards, having spent as good a holiday as possible. Ah-h-h-h!!!!   It was glorious!!   Say no man lives till he has been on tour with the Clarion CC.  Till then he but exists.  After – !!!

We are going on another tour at Whitsun of which more anon.

By the way, we want a President. Bounder, what sayest thou?  Wilt thou preside o’re us?  The duties are light.  Thy might name to grace our fixture list, and a visit of yourself to Brum to preside over a periphery –swelling function.  Wilst thou come?  Look you, Bounder, we are no mean admirers of yours.  See here, what you have moved one of us to: –

When the bounding Bounder boundeth

Lightly o’er the Clarion page

Then the reader’s heart rejoineth

Filled with wisdom from the Sage

Fig for Nunquam and for Dangle

Fraud Mcginnis and Mont Blong

Thou alone, mighty Bounder

Art fit subject for our song

There are 98 more verses to this, which, if the Bounder will become our President we solemnly promise to destroy, If not – !!!


[We print the above with some misgiving. After recent allegations we are not wholly untroubled with a horrific suspicion that it may be an invention of this unconventional person. Our fears in him stick deep – especially since he has gone, or has not gone – on Tour.  If our suspicions should prove correct – but enough –  Ed. Clarion]


I’m convinced that the editorial comment was just one of Blatchford’s jokes – but perhaps not everyone was at the time.  Or perhaps they saw in it the opportunity for another ‘go’  because  the following week , 5 May 1894, there appeared in the Clarion as one of the contributions to ‘Local Notes a report on Birmingham, signed ‘Arturo’ which, after reporting the recent foundation of the Birmingham Democratic Club went on:-

The Clarion Cycling Club has come to stay and the article in last week’s Issue in reference thereto was written by a prominent member.  So the editorial misgiving that the Bounder may have done this thing my now give way to editorial calm, and the Great and Only one stands once more vindicated before men.

Well, any member who has been puzzled by references in Boots and Spurs to the Tom Groom Trophy may be getting an inkling of what that’s all about.  What strikes me is how similar some of the events and sentiments are to those on some of our rides – though I wouldn’t dare to risk a nomination for a contemporary version of ‘The Fiend’   At this stage, they’re all blokes, of course, but Denis Pye tells us this was quickly rectified just a few weeks later in July 1894 when they recruited their first woman member.

At the time Tom Groom was Secretary of the  Bond Street  Labour Church in Birmingham.  This was a recently-formed organisation – another part of the ‘socialist revival’ of the 1890s that helped float the Clarion. Its founder was an ex Unitarian (as in New Road, Brighton) minister – John Trevor.   Not to be confused with the various brands of Christian Socialism.  Basically the difference was that whereas Christian Socialists believed that Christianity was essentially socialist, the Labour Church started as it were from the other end seeing the Labour Movement itself as essentially religious.

The Next Ride: Sunday 10 January 2016 – Newhaven Circular

3 January 2016

We start the Newhaven circular at the Palace Pier at 10.30 am, go  by the NCN 2 on its new route from  Peacehaven to Newhaven (much better than that unmade road) then return via Hoddern Farm (or train, depending on the weather). We wlll find somewhere for lunch, probably the Ark.

Anne and Mick


3 January 2016

Dear All

I think Roger was right to cancel the ride.  But it was great to see so many of us at Carats café this morning.  I was really surprised that so many turned up.  There were 14 of us altogether, but only Tessa and Sikka deserve as special mention; they had come by bike and were talking about possibly riding to Worthing afterwards. Heroes both.

We had passed them in the car earlier.  They were well muffled up – as you really needed to be if you were to risk that wind and the rain – and we went by quite quickly. Couldn’t really see faces so I asked Sue if she thought it might be two of our folk. “Don’t think so, “ she replied, “they looked far too young for our lot.”

Volunteers Still Needed!

As I said in my message the other day, we’re now looking for offers to lead rides on 24 January and 21 February.  Let me know if you can take on either.

Julian tells me there are still people who haven’t yet got round to paying their 2016 subs so I’m repeating his message and attaching the <a href="http://Subscription form” target=”_blank”>membership form.

No extract on “The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s.”  Not for want of trying.  My computer has been upgraded and now I can’t find out how to copy the material. Hope to get it sorted before the next issue.

Happy New Year”


2006 Subs.  Julian 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 this 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