The Next Ride: Sunday 2 October 2016 – Shoreham – Bramber – Steyning Circular

21 September 2016

Note: this ride replaces the postponed Palace Pier to Peacehaven ride

Meet at Shoreham station at 11.15. A circular ride to Bramber/Steyning via Downslink and Coombe Road, not necessarily that way round. The distance will be about 11 miles. We will aim for a circular ride using the Downslink and Coombe Road. We can decide on the day which order to choose. For those who want a longer ride, they can cycle from Brighton to Shoreham and cycle back that way as well, adding either 7 or 14 miles. I may decide to do this myself if the weather looks promising.

The train from Brighton leaves at 11 am and arrives in Shoreham at 11.15. (Trains from Brighton are every half hour on Sunday).

There are several possible eating places in Bramber and Steyning, and if the weather is warm, there is the possibility of a picnic.

It would be helpful in choosing a lunch stop to have numbers so do let me know if you are coming on 07787402229. Thanks.


The Last Ride: Sunday 18 September 2016 – Lucky Thirteen Cycle to Littlehampton

21 September 2016

Shoreham Station

Saturday had been cold & dull with NE wind, but Sunday brought sunshine & thus a big turn-out for David’s ride from Shoreham to Littlehampton. For some of us it was a long ride – 30 miles there & back again, Mick found it not long enough so cycled from East Brighton & back home again, making 45 miles. Prudence cycled to Shoreham but took the train home from there with Tessa, me, & Sue, making her ride 35 miles approx.

The train out was full, with bike carriage loaded with Julian, Julia, Sue, Angela D. & the guard who told me to park in another coach. Tessa got on at Hove & joined my coach, along with a young woman with a huge case of luggage who was going to university in Wales for the new term & a mum & baby in a pushchair. In the rush & tumble of getting off at Shoreham, where the student had to get off, in order for our 2 bikes to get past the baby buggy, I realised, once the train had left, that I must have left my bike helmet on the train table. The guard at Shoreham made valiant attempts to intercept the missing helmet, phoning Worthing station & Lancing, but to no avail.

David, Mick, Prudence, Angela C. & Helen had made their various ways to the meeting point & we then set off, meeting Marilyn at Shoreham Beach. We progressed along the sea-front NCN2 route to Worthing, then on to The Bluebird Cafe at Ferring, which was very busy. Mick, Sue, & Tessa went in the sea for quick swim & some others queued up endlessly for their coffee & bit of cake. I was wary of the “outfall pipe” at the beach there, but David, who is a water engineer, assured me it was safe. However, there was a large group of contented seagulls enjoying the waters by the outfall, so I was not entirely convinced.

Beach at the Bluebird Cafe

We then wandered in & out of the private roads around the posh estates of Kingston Gore, Angmering & Rustington, admiring the large houses, mature trees & beautiful gardens & topiary. It involved lifting the bikes over several locked gates as the private estates were not welcoming cyclists. Thank you Mick & David for the heavy lifting.

Lunch was at the new harbour in a social enterprise cafe called Harbour Lights with good food & great views. A large group of swans with many brown adolescent cygnets lounged around & drank from a couple of buckets set out for them. You could see the water running down inside their long necks & we were lucky, after our lunch, to avoid the green, slimy deposits they left behind when they had taken to the water!

After lunch, Corinne & Julia decided they had had enough & decamped to Littlehampton Station for return train. Then there were 11. Think it was the same way back, but this time we stopped at the Sea Lane Cafe on the beach. By then there were less of us – fewer of us! Queues again & grand array of cakes & choccy tiffin. Julian decided he would go straight home from there & Angela D disappeared too.

So around 7 of us joined the queues for ice-creams, tea & cakes. Mick had a double chocolate & raspberry torte which was packed with calories, so he had to cycle all the way home to burn some of them off. Helen & Angela C. decided to cycle straight back to their transport at Shoreham too. Then there was 6 or 7, or 5!  All getting a bit tired by then & there were dark clouds & autumn returned after the morning’s Indian summer…

Marilyn stopped for a rest near home at Shoreham but gallant leader David, escorted us almost all the way back to the station & 4 of us caught the train, after a short wait of 7 minutes. This was enlivened by a seagull on the station’s corrugated roof who had in his beak … a pair of glasses! He was obviously delighted with his prize & I wished Fred had been with us to capture the moment for us all. If anyone has lost their specs recently they may be on the station roof!

At Brighton Station I asked again after my helmet & the security guard fetched a charming young woman Keeper of the Lost Property, who had no helmet but gave me a card with phone numbers to ring to report it.

I arrived home around 6.15 to find Mick had been back 45 minutes. Both tired after a very pleasant ride, with no hills, a new harbour & new restaurant – well worth revisiting. 13 is quite a large number to manage but no-one was lost & all enjoyed both the company & the cycling. Thank you David for leading us, shepherding us, reccying the ride with Terri’s help & “counting us out & counting us in” as in the classic Falklands War commentary. My maths is a bit wonky on the comings & goings but I believe we all had a marvellous day of sunshine, sea & fellowship, exercise, refreshments & chance to chat, socialise, swim & have a little adventure. Chat was varied as ever, with Brexit, Burma, Vietnam, Labour Party Leader Re-election & impending cycle restrictions on railway, on my list. The first on the list led me to happily recall Robb Johnson’s song on Brexit & since Ian asked previously for cycling songs, this was running round my head as the legs pedalled! “Turkeys voted Christmas,/Canaries voted cats,/Soldiers voted over the top/And the headless voted HATS!”



21 September 2016

Dear All

I suppose that whoever the magistrate was that decided not to take away Christopher Gard’s driving licence thought they were being kind and doing him a favour – in spite of the fact that he had already seven or eight convictions for using a mobile phone while driving. But then Gard went on to drive into Lee Martin who was taking part in a cycling event and kill him, while he, Gard, was on his mobile – again.

There are no winners in this situation – clearly not poor Lee Martin. But Gard is now serving a 9 year prison sentence with his life probably ruined and having to carry the guilt of killing someone for the rest of it – bad enough if it was a genuine accident – which this wasn’t. How do you live with that?

So, the news that penalties for the offence that caused the tragedy are being doubled is at least a move in the right direction. Of course though in this case it was a cyclist who was the victim of the irresponsible act it might just as easily have been someone walking or driving another motor vehicle. More directly cycling related and equally good news as the penalties increase is the following that I picked up from Cycling UK’s ‘Cycle Clips’

Police clampdown on near misses is spot on

Today we’re applauding West Midlands Police force for their sterling efforts in clamping down on  near miss incidents in the region. We’ve possibly all had that experience of being ‘squeezed’ towards the gutter on the road by another road-user. So, seeing our West Mids bobby buddies doing the right thing by pulling over and giving on-the-spot fines to those not giving cyclists enough wriggle room is something we’re very proud to be supporting at Cycling UK. (Police) hats off to them and long may it continue.

On a much less troubling matter, the same edition Cycle Clips tells the story – or some of it – of Jeanie Welford who was the first woman to become a member of the Bicycle Touring Club – later the CTC and now Cycling UK – in 1880, just two years after the club was started and more than a decade before the advent of the Clarion cycling club. She was still cycling in her nineties – an example to us all! To read more, try

Offers for rides for 30 October onwards welcomed!


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

21 September 2016

Since the 2017 Easter Meet is going to take place in Chester I thought it might be interesting to see what was planned for the 1898 one there (‘Cycle Trifle, Clarion, 2 April 1898). Trust there will still be no ‘scorching’ in Eaton Park, but whether anyone will get away with a 3d levy seems a trifle doubtful.


The Next Ride

7 September 2016

Sunday 18 September 2016: Shoreham to Littlehampton Circular

This is a very easy ride along the coast and one of my favourites that I do about once a month and the Clarion group cycled last October. The route generally follows the NCR2 and avoids the A259, keeping as close as possible to the beach for the entire ride, which is mainly off-road on cycle paths or quiet estate roads, with no “undulations”.

I will start from Shoreham Station, hoping that Southern Railways will be providing a service from Brighton and Hove on that day, otherwise allow a 40-60 minute cycle ride from Brighton, depending on route and lock openings at Shoreham Port. After crossing the Adur Ferry Bridge, we will head off westwards along the shared cycleway to Widewater Lagoon, Lancing, Worthing, Goring and Ferring, with the options of stopping for a coffee break at Sea Lane or the Bluebird Café, a distance of about 9 miles. We can then either cycle northwards on a narrow track alongside Ferring Rife and back into Kingston Gorse Estate, or cut out this extra two miles by lifting our bikes over a gate on the beach behind The Bluebird directly into the private estate. From here we ziz-zag for about 6 miles through the quiet roads of Angmering and Rustington and then follow the promenade into Littlehampton and the harbour. I aim to arrive at the Harbour Lights Café between 12.30h and 13.00h for lunch, where they offer excellent, reasonably-priced meals or the usual snacks.

If there is a strong westerly wind against us, we can take lunch at The Bluebird and turn back from there. Unfortunately the best return route is the same way we came, but somehow it always seems different going the other way; and we will usually have the wind to blow us back to Shoreham. We could stop for another break at the new and excellent Perch on Lancing Beach. I personally think this café puts the award-winning East Beach Café s food and architecture to shame, but then I’m only an engineer: The new West Beach Café at Littlehampton is somewhere for me to explore at a later date on a longer ride into Bognor.

Trains: Catch the 10.00h train from Brighton to Shoreham-By-Sea arriving at 10.15h and aim to leave by 10.30h.

Connecting trains from London to Brighton leave at 08.17h from Victoria, or 08.06h from London Bridge. One direct train from Victoria to Shoreham leaves at 09.17h arrives just in time at 10.26h.

Trains from Littlehampton to Hove leave at 15 minutes past the hour if you want to return at leisure.

Surface: generally smooth tarmac, except for alternative route on earth embankment alongside Ferring Rife or 100m of shingle beach at the Bluebird.

Undulations: None. There are about 8 speed bumps to climb inside the private estates.

Obstructions: one 1m high gate.



The Last Ride. Prudence’s Report

7 September 2016


Riders: Jim (leader), Julian, Kate, Roger, Suzanne, Tessa, Sikka, Chris, Dave, Haider, Angela D, Prudence

We set off at 11.40 in fairly clement weather. Rather overcast but no rain.

Close to Three Bridges Station we had a look at a plaque for Dame Caroline Haslett (1895-57), one of the few women engineers to be recognised in this country.

Plaque at Three Bridges, Haslett Avenue

We then entered Tilgate Forest with its lush greenery, and cycled on to Pease Pottage and Colgate. Here we stopped for lunch at the Dragon, a rather upmarket dolled-up place but with excellent food.

After lunch Roger, Suzanne and Tessa peeled off to take the train from Three Bridges. The rest of us soldiered on.  We entered St. Leonard’s Forest and learnt about the medieval iron and rabbit industries.  Oddly enough on the information board the rabbits looked like giant chickens (??).

In St Leonards Forest

L-R: Angela, David, Kate; standing: Chris, Prudence; sitting: Sikka, Jim, Haider, Julian. And a dragon.

The forest was really splendid and we panted up hills and whooshed down hills to our hearts’ content. Most of us were lucky enough to see three large fallow deer speed across our path and leap over the wire fence!

Pilstye Wood

Pilstye Wood, Balcombe

We ended the ride at Balcombe and were rather disappointed that the tea shop was shut. Why shut a tea shop at 4 pm on a Sunday in high season? We were puzzled, but luckily the Half Moon Inn was open and two of our group were more than delighted with the sticky toffee pudding.  This is a really nice pub, but it is for sale, so hopefully it will stay the way it is.

Balcombe Station Garden

Balcombe Station garden

It was a great ride and pretty tiring as there were quite a lot of hills, but they are worth it for the speed one can enjoy on the way down! Length: 18 miles

Thank you Jim


Hammer Pond

Hammer pond near Slaugham


7 September 2016

6 September 2016                                                             

 Dear All

You may remember that I featured the Bradford Clarion in December 1899 showing an interest in ‘part songs and glees’ in the last newsletter. And I commented “Now there’s  an idea we hadn’t thought of – but might try – those of us not too short of breath, that is.  Anyone know any suitable part-songs or glees?  Answers not on a postcard (but an email will be fine!)”

Well, I didn’t have to wait long. An hour and one minute to be precise.  Then I received the following from Anne:

“Probably wouldn’t suit everyone, but Joyce & I sometimes sing/sang the cycling song from Jules et Jim-

Elle avait les baques sur chaques doigts, si fascinées, si fascinées
Elle avait les baques sur chaque doight, ca fait deja, une femme des baques

– could be something like that, or, as my recently-read Booker-prize-winning History of 7 Killings [about “the singer”, Bob Marley & Michael Manley peace concert etc] Jamaican motto:  “If it no go so, it go near so.”


We’re fixed up for the rest of this month and the start of October but there are still 5 2016 slots waiting to be filled. Well, I say 5 but that assumes we are going to go ahead with a ride on 30 October the day BST ends – which just might cause a bit of confusion.   In my note after the ‘Future Rides’ grid I’ve been asking ‘let me know what you think’ so far without result.   So, this is what I now propose.  If anyone thinks we should skip 30 October please let me know within the next week and a half – in time for the next newsletter.  We  can then debate the issue and make a decision.   If I don’t hear anything I will assume that we are going to go ahead with that date – always assuming someone volunteers to lead the ride!

Nice to see (on TV) some North Cheshire Clarion people, well kitted out, in the crowd at the end of today’s Tour of Britain stage


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

7 September 2016

Two items from ‘Cycle Trifle’ in the Clarion 26 February 1898. I don’t think I have used the first before – apologies if I have.  I particularly like the bit about evening dress. Little Hay is a tiny village between Birmingham and Lichfield which I remember well since one of my earliest schoolfriends lived there and it is just a few miles from where I was born. The second item seems oddly topical in the light of the current controversy about disc brakes for bikes.