The Next Ride

24 February 2016

Sunday 6 March 2016: Hassocks to Lewes

We will catch the 10.59 train to Hassocks (buy return tickets to Hassocks) arriving 11.09. Londoners, there is a Victoria train arriving at Hassocks 11.05.

As it is Mothers Day we have planned an early lunch at the Cock Inn, Wivelsfield to avoid the crowds. The pub have asked me for approximate  numbers 4 days ahead, so please ring or text me if you plan on joining the ride.

We head off through Ditchling to Keymer then turn left on Spatham Lane.

After a few yards we turn right   onto an offroad track (weather permitting). A good easy surface for most of the way, there is a short section that some may choose to walk.

Arriving at Streat we turn left and head towards Wivelsfield on a small road that gently undulates.

The Cock Inn in Wivelsfield is our lunch stop where we plan to arrive just before 12.30.

After lunch we set off for Lewes avoiding Plumpton Green, arriving at Cooksbridge where we take a small road to Hamsey then Offham. Arriving there we cycle the pavement of the busy A275 (the law having clarified that where it is dangerous to use the road, its ok to cycle on the pavement) before turning left into Lewes for tea.

Trains to Brighton: 22, 44, 52  past the hour.


 01273 777574  or   07887 489900


The Last Ride. Tessa’s Report

24 February 2016

Sunday 21 February 2016

5 of us caught the train to Redhill: Anne ,Jim, Mick, Sikka and Tessa.

Among other things, we talked about my recent cycling trip to Burma, travelling in Italy, and learning Italian.

The journey went quickly and on arrival Jim led us out of convoluted Redhill station where Mick photographed us as there was no-one close by to ask.


Within a minute we had left Redhill to join NCN 21- direction Greenwich – a sandy path onto the Moors Nature Reserve which Jim said would be our ‘mud gauge’ for the ride. Part of the Nutfield Marsh Nature Reserve, an area of old quarries now  ponds,  we saw Crested Grebes but not Snipe which were advertised as inhabitants.


Mud came later and was a big feature of the pre-lunch ride. It was not deep, and therefore manageable, causing a new Clarion expression to join our vocabulary along with ’Undulations’. ‘Moist conditions’.

At Spynes Mere Nature Reserve, a former sand quarry, Martin, a member of London Clarion, caught up with us. He lives in Tunbridge Wells and either his train to Redhill had been delayed or he had cycled from home (not sure which).

We joined a small road that took us under the M23 and then turned onto a track to Pendells Barn.

Strange structure
A strange structure seen at Pendells Barn

Gargoyles on the roof were noted and photographed as were a Shetland pony and some sheep.


A tram /railway carriage (we weren’t sure which) was being renovated as a mobile home. Jim said no progress had been made on it since his last ride.


We joined another small road. The first of several undulations came next ,through delightful wood-fringed fields, but always  we heard the sound of the M23 . Spring flowers, snowdrops and daffodils were everywhere and the sun shone, a little bleakly.

Undulations continued from the village of Bletchingly to our lunch stop the Bell Inn at Outwood.

Arriving at the pub
Arriving at the pub

Lunch for all was delicious, made better by the arrival of a tray of free ‘amuse bouches’ – coffee cups filled with carrot  soup – while we waited for our meals to arrive.

Jim discovered a puncture whilst setting off from the pub but it was quickly fixed.


Setting off, Martin soon left us at the windmill on Gayhouse Lane to cycle back to Tunbridge Wells. He is planning to ride to the Clarion Meet in Lincoln this year so Tunbridge  Wells is probably a hop and a skip for him!

Lovely downhill sweeps for us in weak sunlight and a headwind, took  us to Moat Lane (a watery ditch running alongside the road). We passed Redhill Aerodrome but felt it was too soon for tea. We came into Redhill having cycled through the grounds of Earlswood, housing estate, previously a large psychiatric institution. Another housing estate we passed was Hooley Lane, site of a concrete shed that Jim loved to visit for meetings/days out, as a young railway engineer.

Early for the train, the ticket inspector suggested Macdonalds or Costa for a cuppa. We did better, we found a community café run by the church -great cake and delicious hot chocolate!


Thank you Jim, a very enjoyable day out.



24 February 2016

23 February  2016                                                             

Dear All       

Until I received the message from Tessa who came to the rescue earlier today (see Next Ride below) my appeal for offers for rides for 6 March – and indeed for 20 March and the rides in April – had produced no takers. Jim had a fallback position in mind but hadn’t had time to check it out and wasn’t 100% sure of his availability.  In the last few years we have had a number of people take on the leading of rides who haven’t done so before – which is great and long may it continue.  But recently everything seems to have fallen to the lot of the “usual suspects” – above all  to Jim

This has made me wonder whether it might be an idea to revert to the practice of some of the Clarion CCs back in the 1890 when there seems to have been the notion of a cycling season – rather like in those days (and even when I was a child) there was a football season and a cricket season.. This is something we could discuss at the AGM (see below).  One posibility might be to suspend regular rides in January and February in future.  This needn’t prevent there being “out of season” rides if anyone particularly wanted to have one in these winter months but it might be worth considering

Looking further ahead, Jim has some thoughts:

I can’t make the ride on the 17th April but I noticed that the London Clarion website shows Saturday the 16th as a ride from London to Eastbourne (and possibly on to Hastings). I wondered whether some of us might meet up with them somewhere. As it’s a long ride for them, they probably wouldn’t want us actually riding with them for very long, as it will slow them down; but we might perhaps just do Polegate to Eastbourne with them, or go up the Cuckoo Trail a little way and ride back down to Polegate with them? (It seems they are likely to go that way, as they say via Three Bridges and the Worth Way – though I’m not sure if they will go all the way to Eridge and down, or whether they have some means of cutting the corner).

I just thought I’d throw that in, so that, in case we have trouble finding a ride leader for the 17th, we might switch to the Saturday.

As a third option, with their permission, maybe we might just publicise the ride, in case some of our more athletic types (Jenny? Mick?) wanted to do a fair bit of the ride with them, and hence could maybe meet them at Three Bridges or somewhere like that. (We could, of course, as yet another alternative, all meet them at Three Bridges, and then move off along the Worth Way at our own paces, with our lot maybe turning round at East Grinstead … but even if you are back in the saddle by then, I imagine you might not want to revisit the site of your unfortunate chain problem?)

London Clarion are also riding to Brighton on 30 July (another Saturday).

We can discuss these possiblities further both in this newsletter an – again – at the AGM.


Thanks to all those who let me know about weekdays and dates they couldn’t make, as I requested in the last newsletter. That didn’t leave an awful lot to choose from- in fact the one I’ve arrived at more or less chose itself by a process of elimination.  So,

The 2016 AGM will be on Monday 14 March at 8 pm at 104 Bonchurch Road, Brighton

Bonchurch Road is between Elm Grove and Hartington Road – coming up Elm Grove it is on the left after the school. Going up Hartington Rd from Lewes Road it is first on the right.  Main buses at Hartington Rd end (Melbourne St. stop) are 25 and 49. At Elm Grove end (Bonchurch Rd stop) 21, 22.

I will try to get the agenda out in good time. If you have any motions to propose or anything else you would like on the agenda please let me know ASAP.   I will also try to write and circulate my secretary’s report well before the meeting and will also of course send out reports received from other officers



Report on the Stakeholder Workshop, 9th February

This workshop was organised by Mott Macdonald, who have been appointed by B&H City Council’s Transport Planning team to undertake a study into potential walking and cycling improvements in the East Brighton area bounded by Old Steine in the west and Arundel Road to the east, Edward Street/Eastern Road to the north and the upper promenade to the south. The brief for the study is: “Measures to improve walking and cycling.”  This was an initial consultation and ideas would be taken away for consideration and ultimately included in a report to the Council.

The meeting was attended by a range of representatives from the local community: – pedestrians, cyclists (Bricycles & Clarion as organisations), the Bus Company, business, and the Council. Joyce Edmond-Smith and Leon Moore attended on behalf of B&H Clarion as an invited stakeholder, (helpful comments had been provided by some members.)

A large map of the area was placed on the table and participants were asked to identify issues, problems and possible solutions. These were marked on the map for further consideration.

The discussion moved from Arundel Road westwards. Issues raised were: – pedestrian crossings bottom of Whitehawk Rd, contraflow for Arundel Road. It was generally agreed that the Edward Street changes have been a success, but the problem of vehicles joining Edward Street from the South and blocking the cycle lane for bikes going east to west in order to see oncoming traffic was raised.  There remain serious problems with Edward Street from east to Lower Rock Gardens and the new road improvements.  A possible parallel route was discussed from Arundel Road to Montague Place, involving contra flows and a new westward cycle path on the wide footpath from the junction Eastern/Road Montague Place.

Dukes Mound was raised by a number of participants: – need for 20 mile limit , no walkway for pedestrians , lack of guidance for cyclists and pedestrians at bottom , cycle route diverting suddenly and then “disappearing at Dukes Mound , inadequate signing for the  Under Cliff path.  (Accessibility to the seafront must be looked at in context or redevelopment of seafront arches)

The problem of closures of the Madeira Drive cycleway was also raised the question of off-main road sharing of Marine Parade Upper level by reducing the walkway and creating a west bound cycle route was discussed as a possible option again something that could be linked to the redevelopment of the seafront arches (It was suggested that a levy on events taking place in Madeira Drive could pay for the work on Marine Parade …….)

We then moved to St. James Street which proved to be seemingly the most intractable and brought the longest discussion. Issues raised were :- contraflows in intersecting street ;  more cycle parking ; control of proliferating A signs on walkway;  review St. George’s Road ….close it to traffic?  ; contraflow in St. James Street (produced a long discussion re buses).

Although off the scope of the study the roundabout at the Steine was discussed. It is accepted that work needs to be done and this will be an issue for the Valley Gardens project.    The meeting closed at 5 pm.

Joyce Edmond-Smith   Leon Moore

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

24 February 2016

This is not, strictly speaking, about cycling, but it does give an idea of the Clarion ethos of the time. It appeared among the ads in the issue of 13 March 1897.   Nunquam was, of course, Robert Blatchford, Dangle his friend and journalistic partner Alex Thompson, and Mont Blong was Blatchford’s brother Montague who concentrated on theatrical articles and reviews.


The Next Ride

11 February 2016

Sunday 21 February 2016: Outwood Lane

Redhill – Nutfield Marsh – Bletchingley – Outwood –
South Nutfield – Whitebushes – Earlswood – Redhill

The lunch venue for this ride wants to know numbers a few days before the ride itself. If you are planning to come, please email me by Friday 19th February.

This is an amalgam of three of my previous rides plus a bit extra. The only untravelled (by us) bit is the 3½ miles of Outwood Lane itself. In March 2008, and again in November 2010, we touched upon the southern tip of the lane; then in July 2014 we brushed the other end of it, on the way to Tandridge. From that moment on, I knew this ride would have to happen.

We’ll start off with yet another trip through the delightful nature reserves of Nutfield Marsh, and (if not too wet) proceed along NCN21 and quiet lanes to Bletchingley. Then the eponymous Lane, and lunch at the Bell at Outwood, where we stopped on the second of the above rides. We make two crossings of the Salfords Stream – like its sister the Gatwick Stream, flowing westwards into the Mole. At one point it runs alongside the road, and if the wet weather continues, we may even be riding through it!

Our luck in securing a tea stop at Redhill Aerodrome on these rides has been patchy. On the second occasion, the cafe was closed; this time, it isn’t even there – it has been demolished, and replaced by an uninviting portakabin. We may want to sit outside and watch helicopter pilots practise taking off and landing, if it isn’t too cold.

The rather unappealing modern ribbon development alongside the railway between Earlswood and Salfords is apparently known as Whitebushes; we’ll soon be through it and back on NCN21, possibly bringing back memories of my Gatwick-East Croydon ride in May 2011, which used this route; and so back to Redhill.

Distance: 18 miles.

Duration: About 5 hours, including stops.

Terrain: Mainly hard surfaces – NCN cycleways and unnumbered roads. Some bridleways, which can flood; but if there has been much rain, diversions are available.

Undulations: We meander around the 100 metre contour, Bletchingley being the highest point but no serious gradients; the steepest is a short section of Outwood Lane known as Brown’s Hill, which reaches 1 in 20 for a short distance.

Start: 11:00 at Redhill Station (down side/platform 3 exit)

Getting there: Take the 9.59 Victoria train from Brighton Station (arrives Redhill at 10:49). Cross to the down side via the subway and lifts. Londoners can get the 10:04 from London Bridge.

Getting back: Direct trains to Brighton leave at 1 minute past the hour; there is an alternative option, with one change, at 12 minutes past.


The Last Ride. Sikka’s Report

11 February 2016

Sunday 7 February 2016


Five of us met at Emsworth station, our two leaders, Jim and Julian, Sikka, and two gentlemen from Gosport Clarion, both named ‘Paul’.

The day was chilly but beautifully bright and sunny as we cycled along a variety of large and small roads, weaving our way around the villages of Westbourne, Funtington, Southbourne, and West Ashling, eventually arriving in Bosham for lunch at the Anchor Bleu pub.

After the first few miles, we decided to stop for coffee at a pub well known to our friends from Gosport. The Woodmancote Arms sported a large sign describing itself as the ‘Cyclists’ Pit Stop’, and the handy Sheffield posts were decorated with an ancient painted bicycle. A very comfortable stop with an open wood fire.

Woodmancote Arms Pit Stop - by Jim

On our way to West Ashling we enjoyed the company of a clear flowing stream down ‘Watery Lane’. This brought us to the edge of a village pond where photos were taken of a single black swan, with a bright red beak.

Black Swan at West Ashling -by Jim

Lunch was substantial, and good, and only Julian still had room to tuck away a caramel apple pie with ice-cream.

At the Anchor Bleu - by Jim

L-R Jim, Paul, Sikka, Julian, Paul

After lunch, we visited the church which boasted an impressively large Saxon arch.

Bosham Church - by Jim

Then back on the bikes to ride round the quay, the tide having receded so we kept dry. We circled along the Bosham Channel and up to Fishbourne.

Rooks at Bosham Hoe - by Jim

Rooks at Bosham Hoe

We were still full of lunch so declined the tea-stop and the visit to the Roman Palace. Instead, Julian and Jim made their way to the station to catch a train back to Brighton.

Sikka accepted Pauls’ invitation to ride back to Emsworth with them to pick up her van, rather than wait 40 minutes for the next train from Fishbourne. Another 8 miles or so with a head-wind, but a pleasant sense of achievement on arrival there, and an interesting route north of the A259, possibly via the A2178?

A very patient slow-paced return considering both Pauls had applied to participate this year in the Fred Whitton Challenge – 112 gruelling hilly miles in the Lake District – and one of them had secured a place in the draw!

Thank you Jim and Julian for a pleasant ride, and the chance to meet members of Gosport Clarion.



* Jim adds: The definition of an emsworth, as given in Douglas Adams and John Lloyd’s The Meaning of Liff:

“Measure of time and noiselessness defined as the moment between the doors of a lift closing and it beginning to move”.


11 February 2016

Dear All

Julian tells me that there are 12 people who were members last year who haven’t renewed their subs for 2016. It may be that some at least don’t want to join up this year – but if not will they please do the necessary. Julian’s reminder below; click here for a form. If you’re not sure whether or not you’ve paid – contact Julian!

We now need some offers for the two rides in March. Jim has suggested that to avoid the inevitable crush in pubs on 6 March – Mothers’ Day/Mothering Sunday – it might be good to make the lunch-stop a café – not likely to be so busy. That seems like a good idea to me.


As you will recall last year we changed our constitution in order to allow more flexibility over the timing of our AGM.   The relevant clause now reads  “ The AGM shall be held each year between 1 January and 31 March.”  The feeling was that it should be later rather than earlier, so I’m now planning to call it for some  time early in March.  I will try to include the details in the next newsletter in a fortnight’s time.

We’ve always held it on a weekday evening and I want to avoid – if that’s possible – choosing a day when anyone can’t make it. I seem to recall that last year someone had a day that was impossible – I think it was Jim on a Wednesday.  So it would be very helpful if you let me know any evenings that are not “on” as far as you are concerned – in fact it would be a good idea which would help with the planning if everyone intending to attend would let me know within the time indicated.


2016 Subs. Final Call

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


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

11 February 2016

From the “Cycle Trifle” Clarion 24 December 1898

The “bicycle habit” in Java and a Lord of Bad Manners