The Next Ride: Sunday 13 November 2016 – Haywards Heath to Shoreham

21 October 2016

Hickstead (via Ansty or Cuckfield) – Twineham – Blackstone – Henfield

This started life as a ride themed on the River Adur. But unfortunately rivers are not very cycle-friendly, and in the end we encounter the Adur only once (or twice if you count going over it on the train on the way to Haywards Heath) before cycling alongside it for the last few miles.

We leave Haywards Heath in a south-westerly direction, along Copyhold Lane (not the one we’ve met before, which is on the other side of town) at the end of which is a bridleway, which is OK if dry but may get muddy; we can avoid it if we need to. Then to Hickstead via Cuckfield Road (where we pass over the East Adur) and Job’s Lane. If we do decide to avoid the bridleway we can instead use the Cuckfield route we took back in April, when I abdicated as ride leader in favour of Julian. Both routes converge on Hickstead and we continue through Twineham and Blackstone.

There is a marked lack of east-west continuity around these parts. The path from Blackstone to Henfield is marked as a footpath on the map, but is a good firm flat surface with no stiles.

Henfield will be our lunch venue – probably the Plough. Then down the Downs Link to Shoreham. I missed Sikka’s ride on 2 October so the new, smooth, wide Downs Link surface was a delightful discovery for me on the practice ride. So too was the detour which avoids the “suicide dash” across the A283. If tea is called for, we can divert to the airport, but we will miss most of the new path.


Length 23 miles. Duration about 5-6 hours.

Start at Haywards Heath station at 10:30. Leave the station by the footbridge at the south end and aim for the Boltro Road exit (on the west side of the line). This is where we will start the ride.

Terrain: Some off-road. Mostly flat: the only substantial “undulation” is on the Downs Link near Bramber, where it diverts across farmland.

Trains from Brighton at 9:59 or 10:14; Hove at 9.55. Return trains: 3 per hour.

This is a linear ride.


The Last Ride: Sunday 16 October 2016 – Lewes Circular via Ringmer

21 October 2016

photo by Julian Arkell

Awoke at 7.30 to hear the rain teaming down the window “Oh no did I really have to get up and prepare for a bike ride”… But duty and optimism won the day and by 10.15 the rain had stopped, we had bought tickets at the station and were greeting our faithful Clarionistas :- Julian, Richard S, and Richard C. There was the further pleasure of seeing Sue Priest and Chris Smith from Lewes spin into sight at Lewes car park.

Onward then through the cobbles of Cliff Walk and on to cycle route 90 alongside the A27 (but with reassuring spacing from the road and a good smooth surface). Up Ranscombe Lane to Glynde via what some would call undulations (and other hills…) , but everyone managed very well. At St. Mary’s church Chris gave a very erudite run though the history of the church and the Glynde area – too much to put here but Chris will surely oblige with information if contacted. By this time the wind had turned to something more like a gentle following breeze and we descended from Lacys’ to Moor lane, a lovely quiet lane and on to Potato Lane, a lined avenue of trees with a wonderful view of a large wind turbine on the hill. Through the village of Ringer to lunch at the Anchor where we found excellent food and good service.

photo by Leon Moore

True, the food took some time to arrive, but that allowed for much discussion. By this time I (Joyce) had been persuaded into doing the report. The first stage of the discussion I threatened to call “oldies reminiscing”, as the tone was set by Leon declaring how “they don’t make ale like they used to” – although he did say the one he was drinking was an exception. From then the conversation ranged through childhood experiences: – memorable teachers, fishing with hemp seeds, various travel experiences, the Miners’ strike and historical political tales (we enjoyed Chris’s one about the Islington goats …). Things were seriously brought up to date though in the later and longest discussion which involved (as it had to) Brexit, The future of the Labour Party, The Progressive Alliance, Proportional Representation and of course Marmalade face was mentioned.

photo by Julian Arkell

With all that we were finally served with delicious food, so satiated by our first course that only Julian had room for a chocolate brownie with ice cream. The rest of us contented ourselves with coffee and a small piece of chocolate.

Our return was in keeping with our now very relaxed bodies – a run down the straight smooth cycle way through to Mill Lane into Lewes. Who should we run into but our good friend and Clarion member John Clinton who had the week before completed the Coast to Coast cycle run. Our final stop was on the river bridge for the group photo and then farewell to Chris and Sue and to our trains.

Thank you Leon for your first ride back with the Clarion, it was a lovely relaxing easy ride and we are grateful for luck that the weather turned out to be so good (and yes it was his ride, I was just the proposer.)



21 October 2016

Dear All

Later than usual! You have probably been wondering what happened to your newsletter for the last few days. I normally get it out on Tuesdays or sometimes even earlier.

The explanation is that I’ve had no offers to lead the 30 October ride and I can’t really commit to taking it on myself at the moment. But I knew that Jim had something in mind. Unfortunately it turned out that the trains are not right on 30th, for the ride he has planned. So we’ll skip the end of BST on 30 October – as I suggested we might a while back – and Jim’s ride will be the next one on 13 November.

We have 2 more rides to fill this year – one in November and one in December. It would be nice to be able to complete the ‘Future Rides’ grid in the next issue Let me know ASAP!

I’ve had a message from Tess about her participation in the Innovations in Ceramic Art exhibition which I have forwarded to you separately.

If you’re signed up for the google group you will have seen the following already – but not everyone is so it’s worth repeating it here.

Hello Bike Friends,
I’m recruiting volunteers to help run bike clubs and have put some info together below. Please can you spread the word and share with your friends, colleagues and networks?

Thank you and hope to see you on a bike soon!

Bike It Lucy

Sustrans are recruiting volunteers to help run after-school bike clubs in Brighton and Hove Primary Schools. Bike clubs take place after school for 45 minutes with a bit of time for setting up and packing away. Bike clubs have up to 12 children and either focus on learning to ride or improving bike skills. Training and support is provided. Volunteers need to:

  • Have an interest in bikes
  • Have good communication skills with children
  • Be able to commit to a weekly club for a minimum of 12 weeks (it is understood that volunteers may have to miss one or two sessions)
  • Be able to work as part of a team of volunteers and independently
  • Be willing to fill in an application form, provide references and complete a Disclosure & Barring Service check

If you would like to have a chat about becoming a bike club volunteer please contact Lucy Dance 07768 424363 /

And while we’re on the subject of Sustrans, there was a great story in their latest enews. This is a slightly re-arranged short version.

Sylvia started cycling when she was 70 and hopes to still be going at 90.
‘Sometimes I didn’t really want to get on the bike and would be feeling quite low. Then I’d get out there and see the sky and the birds and the endorphins kicked in.’

Well, that’s an experience I can certainly relate to and I guess I’m not the only one in the B&H Clarion. As the Sustrans piece goes on to say –

Sylvia is an inspiration to us all and shows that it’s never too late to start cycling.


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

21 October 2016

I think this extract from ‘The Club Stewpot’ from the Clarion, 27 February 1897 contains probably the first mention in the paper of a Brighton Clarion.


And so our London readers don’t feel left our here’s a bit from ‘Cycle Trifle’ in the Clarion on 4 November 1899. The S.D.F was the Social-Democratic Federation, the first socialist party in Britain formed in the early 1880s.


The Next Ride: Sunday 16 October 2016 – Lewes – Ringmer Circular via Glynde.

4 October 2016

12 miles on cycleways (NCN 90) and quiet country lanes.

(For those who wish for a longer ride, it can be lengthened by either cycling to Lewes and joining us at the station car park and/or cycling back to Brighton. If people let me know I can put those who want to do it that way in touch with each other.)

We meet at the Lewes station car park and ride/walk Cliffe walk that is cobbled despite it being designated NCN route 90. 
Then following NCN 90 to Glynde where if you decide we can stop and view St Mary’s Church. Now heading north to Ringmer via Moor lane, Neaves lane and Potato lane, followed by lunch at the Green Man  Ringmer. 01273 812422 to check your menu.

After lunch we cycle round to Gott lane and join the cycleway followed by the riverside path to Harvey’s brewery and Cliffe Walk where there are several tea rooms at our disposal before the short ride to the station.

Terrain: Mainly level but there are three small undulations near Glynde.
The cycleways are well surfaced and suitable for any bike. The few roads that we use are picturesque and benefit from low volume motor traffic, with one exception of 200m on a ‘B’ road in Ringmer. (On this ride there are no gates, steps or obstructions to climb over.) Lewes station has working lifts and ramp to access all platforms.

Providing there isn’t a rail strike:-

Trains out:  Brighton 10.22 arrive in Lewes 10 39.

Return: 44 minutes past each hour.
Meet in the station car park at 10.45am to depart at about 10.50am.

If any riders are cycling to the start, please call me on 07484803638 if you are delayed.

Leon and Joyce

The Last Ride: Sunday 2 October 2016 – Shoreham – Steyning Circular

4 October 2016

Photo by Julian Arkell

Sikka, who had devised the ride at the last moment, was met at Shoreham Station by Angela (D), Chris, Julia, Julian, Prudence and Richard.  We set off at 11.25 and followed the blue Downs Link signs until reaching the Old Shoreham Bridge which we crossed over, seeing a very high tide, and went north up Coombes Road. The sun had come out by now but the wind was still cool.

Only one of us walked up the steep undulation near the Passies anglers’ pond. The downhill section past St Botolph’s Church was rapid and then we joined the Downs Link track that now goes east on the southern side of the A283, passing under the road bridge by the Adur River, and back on the north side of the main road to the Steyning/Bramber roundabout – far safer than before, which involved crossing the road on a bend where cars can be doing 60 mph in both directions.  However we did have to do this soon after at the Steyning bypass to cross at the side of the green sward into Castle Lane and then on past the great Norman church.

Photo by Julian Arkell

Four of us had lunch in the award winning Steyning Tea Rooms on the corner of Church Street and High Street. Excellent first courses included baked potatoes with tuna mayonnaise and with goat’s cheese, and a vegetable tart. Desserts included a brownie with walnuts, sultana cake and an almond flake topped jam slice. The other three went on to the White Horse Inn where beer could be found.

Chris led us briefly after lunch along Jarvis Lane to cross over the A283 bypass road and back down to the Steyning/Bramber roundabout.  Then Sikka took us over the Lower Beeding footbridge to rejoin the Downs Link on the east side of the Adur, the track having just been re-surfaced to a good standard. At the Shoreham Station Julia and Prudence took the train and Chris got to his car. Total mileage about 12 miles. Angela, Julian, Richard and Sikka went on to Southwick Park, over the harbour lock gates and back along the seafront, having bravely not stopped at the Carats Cafe!  For them this was another seven miles – so your reporter who had not taken the train, the day’s total was 26 miles.

Thank you Sikka for a pleasant alternative to the cancelled Seaford ride.



4 October 2016

Dear All
Well, it looked like we were going to be without a ride last Sunday after Sean had to cancel. But Sikka came to the rescue with remarkable speed and it is right that I should record our thanks.
At the beginning of last month I asked for views on whether we should go ahead with a ride on 30 October when BST ends. I asked anyone who thought we shouldn’t to get in touch and added ‘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!’
Nothing has been heard so all we need now is a volunteer to take on 30 October. As I have been doing for most of this year I will let everyone know as soon as there’s a definite offer to minimise the chance of anyone spending time planning a ride to no avail.
And offers for the final three rides of the year in November and December are also welcomed of course.

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

4 October 2016

From ‘Cycle Trifle’ Clarion, 17 September 1988. Can’t help wondering what did happen to the case of whisky and barrel of beer – but I expect both have been drunk by now. Anyone want to form a ‘musical or dramatic society?’ [Nb in two bits this week]