The Next Ride: Sunday 5 March: Brighton to Goring and back

28 February 2017

(with Alex of London Clarion).

Meeting outside Marrocco’s café at 10am

(Marrocco’s is at 8, Kings Esplanade, Hove BN3 2WA; on the coastal cycle route NCN2, near the King Alfred).

Cycling to Goring and back, mostly off main roads and pretty much flat. Ending at the Brighton Dispensary, Dean Street for some light refreshments. Just under 30 miles all in.

Lunch at Sea Lane Café:

Click to access SLC_Menu.pdf

Alex’s mobile on the day is 07768 614883.

The Last Ride. Sikka’s, Julian’s and Jim’s Reports

28 February 2017

Sunday 19 February 2017 Lewes – Newick – Lewes

Brighton & Hove Clarion ride Sunday 19-02-2017 Lewes to Ringmer circular.

Crocuses by Leon

John, Jenny and Mick met on The Level to cycle to Lewes where they were joined by Julian, Tessa, Pru, Chris, Sikka, Jim, Joyce and Leon. Joyce was sporting a spanking new racing green electric bike she was finding more suitable on hills, as it has a throttle, and this excited some interest.

The morning was overcast and remained so in spite of a brief glimpse of blue sky as we set out.   We avoided going through the centre of Lewes, instead followed the riverbank, passing the Pells Pool where ducks were being fed by a small boy.

For John, leading us all, this ride may well have been an example of ‘herding cats’!   Soon after leaving the station Tessa’s pedals refused to turn.   Being at the back her calling failed to alert those ahead to her plight!   A phone call to Mick called him and John back to the rescue – we waited while repairs were carried out.  Fortunately successful!  As we joined the A275 at Offham Jim, Joyce and Leon became separated from the rest of us and were thought to have chosen a different route.   They turned up at the pub shortly after us and it turned out they were merely a little behind!

View from Offham View from the A275 at Offham

By the church at Offham, imagine our dismay when we found the lovely quiet lanes to Barcombe full of traffic – diverted from a closed level crossing at Cooksbridge!   As  we swept down the hill past these cars, Mick fortunately spotted the credit card dropped from Tessa’s bag and went once more to the rescue!

Once past the diversion we enjoyed the delightful quiet of country lanes, admiring the muted soft colours of winter trees and fields.   The terrain undulated somewhat, a challenge for a couple of us less fit members, but we all eventually arrived at the pub in time for lunch.

We enjoyed a tasty lunch and Leon wrote some additional lines to add to the poem John had quoted for us and I was asked to include this in the report – see below.

Brighton & Hove Clarion ride Sunday 19-02-2017 Lewes to Ringmer circular.

L-R Chris, Julian, Terry (who joined en route), Mick, Jenny,
Jim, Joyce, John, Tessa, Sikka, Pru. Photo by Leon

The near-disasters on this ride – almost losing Tessa at the start, Jim, Leon and Joyce later getting left behind, make a good case for adopting Jim’s ‘foolpoof’ remedy for avoiding these mishaps and ensuring all are accounted for, that is, for each rider to keep the person behind them in sight – or STOP!   If everyone does so, when one stops, we all stop, and find out what the holdup is.

Would this be a suitable topic for the AGM?   To introduce this as a regular practice?   We would, of course, need to be trained into it!

Added as requested, The poem John quoted with Leon’s extra lines in red:

May the road rise up to meet you

…always use a helmet

May the wind be always at your back

…keep ahead of the farty one

May the sun shine
Warm upon your face

…take factor 50 with you

The rain fall soft upon your fields

…but not on your head

And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand

…not yet I hope



Terry's bike

Terry’s “leftie” bike (notice anything missing?)

After lunch at The Royal Oak in Newick, at about 2.45 pm, Mick went off home at great speed for an appointment at 4 pm.  Sikka and Terry departed in the other direction for a rendezvous with a van in Plumpton.  So of the 12 at lunch, nine led by John returned south down to the Schoolhouse Farm junction.  Here Joyce, Jim and Leon turned left on the same road as we had arrived to Newick, presumably soon passing the gated entrance to Newick Park and then on down through Gipps’s Wood.  The remaining six turned briefly right, then left, and having passed over the disused railway continued on a beautiful almost flat minor road until a longish haul up to the junction with the A275 north of Cooksbridge.

The brief sunshine in the afternoon must have convinced the bird community that Spring had arrived, with robins, wrens, Great tits, blackbirds singing strongly at every turn, and a possible Song thrush, a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling and even a fieldfare, presumably on the way back to Scandinavia, while crows and magpies were carrying nesting material.

By now Jenny, Pru and Christopher had steamed on ahead, leaving Tessa and slow-coach Julian to go with John.  Then, due to the railway level crossing being closed to road traffic, we took the Hamsey Lane diversion road and soon into The Drove up into Offham.  John departed directly home, leaving Tessa and Julian to take the A275 and A2029 into Lewes, crossing over the river footbridge near the Superstore and finally to Lewes Station completing 20 miles.  The 4.26 left Lewes on time enabling a change onto the 4.46 Hove train at Brighton Station. Thanks to John for a lovely route, new for most of us.



This was a ride of two Clarions, joined by a common lunch. When Julian and I emerged from the bridge over the railway at the Pells, we noticed that most of the rest had turned sharp left (as if to go back into Lewes) and were heading for Offham Road (the A2029 which carries traffic into Lewes from the north-west). Joyce and Leon had gone straight ahead and were almost out of sight, so I set off after them while Julian raced to join the others.

I caught up with Joyce and Leon at the start of the Landport path, which we thought probably too muddy to risk. So we wended our way through the Landport estate and eventually made it to Offham Road, expecting to see the others a little way ahead. But they were nowhere to be seen. The A2029 joins the A275 on the way to Offham, giving cyclists the choice of taking the road or riding on the poorly-maintained footpath. We opted for the latter, but it was not a pleasant experence – especially as it meant facing oncoming motor traffic, with a very steep drop on the other side.

Once clear of Offham and the diverted traffic (due to a closed level crossing) we began to enjoy the quiet lanes. There were hundreds of snowdrops and even a few crocuses. The road got hillier after Barcombe Cross, and I learned what it is like to try and keep up with two electric bikers! However they were very considerate, and waited for me at the tops of the “undulations”.

Brighton & Hove Clarion ride Sunday 19-02-2017 Lewes to Ringmer circular.

A former church at Spithurst, now apparently being used as a music school

We met the others in the pub at Newick, and had an enjoyable lunch (apart from the worrying few seconds when I thought my order for a mushroom dish had been transcribed as “mussels” – but it turned out they were for someone else). The return route was to take a more westerly lane (which according to my OS map goes under the intriguing name of Deadmantree Hill) but still end up on the A275; so once again Joyce, Leon and I peeled off, this time taking the road south-eastwards through Barcombe Mills, past the old station (which appears to be part of someone’s garden now – a possible obstacle to the much-vaunted Lewes-Uckfield railway restoration). More snowdrops, lovely views, quiet lanes and even a bit of sun. Marvellous!


Snowdrops by Jim

The problem with bike rides to the north of Lewes is that it’s difficult to get in or out of town without encountering a major road. In our case we had to cycle along a short (~ ½ mile) section of the A26 before heading off to Ringmer and then taking the new cycle path from there to Lewes. At the station we met Prudence, who had cycled back with the others, but there was no sign of Julian or Tessa. Time for a hot drink and cake at the still-open cafe, then home.




28 February 2017

                                                       21 February 2017

Dear All

The 2017 AGM

This is to give formal notice that the 2017 Annual General Meeting will be held at 8 pm on Tuesday 28 March at 12 Abbotts, 125 Kings Road, Brighton. (Roger’s and Suzanne’s). I will be sending on minutes of 2016, my report and those of other officers plus more details about the venue in the next few weeks..

Leon recently sent me the following info about insuring bikes against loss. He writes ‘For Brighton and Hove Clarion members who need an ethical and worthwhile comprehensive bike insurance, I recommend the ETA.’

Ethical bicycle Insurance with ETA.

On the face of it, one cycle insurance policy is much like another, but the devil is the detail. How much excess you will be charged is just one of the things that varies wildly between providers. Another is so called ‘new-for-old’ replacement – many insurers use this term, but if your bicycle is more than a few years old, they devalue it severely. This means you are left out of pocket when you come to replace it. Furthermore, every cycle insurance policy you buy from us helps support the work of the ETA Trust, our charity campaigning for a cleaner, safer transport future. ETA cycle insurance has a low standard excess of 5% (minimum £25) and offers a new-for-old for life – however old the bike, if it’s stolen you get enough to buy a new model. For over 26 years we have been providing straightforward, affordable bicycle insurance. Whether you use your bike to commute, shop, race or amble in the park, ETA Cycle Insurance has you covered. We never devalue bikes no matter their age, allow you to buy your replacement bike wherever you like, replace stolen quick release components and handle claims in-house. The Good Shopping Guide voted us Britain’s most ethical insurance company 2016


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

28 February 2017

Something a bit different this time – from ‘Cycling Notes’ Clarion, 18 December 1897.  I seem to remember that a ballade – not to confused with a ballad – started as a late medieval or renaissance French form with a very strict scheme that had to be followed ending with an ‘envoi’.  I seem to remember that François Villon was a dab hand at them.

For ‘wheelman’ we should of course read ‘wheelperson!’

Joyce will recall that long ago in the days we were both active in NATFHE  the now Lord (then simply Dave) Triesman was routinely referred to – in the SE Region at least – as ‘Triesperson.’



The Next Ride: Sunday 19 February 2017 – Lewes to Newick and back C 20 miles

6 February 2017

Meet at Lewes railway station car park at 10.30 am outside the very posh bicycle storage facility.

Catch the 10.12 from Brighton, arriving 10.28 or the 10.17 arriving 10.32 or why not ride from home? Riding from Brighton will add about 8 miles to your journey one way. Why not ride out and take the train back?

Return trains to Brighton at 16.22 and 16.44. Home before dark I should think.

Lunch at The Royal Oak, Newick.

1 Church Rd, Newick, Lewes BN8 4JU. Jimmy and Beryl, would like to offer everyone, and dogs! (no cats) a very warm welcome to our friendly and traditional country pub! Offering a good range of quality beers, wines, ciders, spirits and home cooked food! (Food served 7 days a week from 12-3pm and 6-9pm!) Phone: 01825 722506

I’ll book for about 10 people. Attendees please confirm to

My landline is 01273 776361 and mobile 07814 257495

According to Google Maps we travel through Hamsey, Barcombe, Spithurst Road and on to Newick. They are some hills but pretty ones. Apart from getting out of Lewes the roads are minor with little traffic. We should be able to chat a bit on the way.  It’s a nice route and one I use to Fletching, a bit further on. Jenny knows the area well, so if we get lost (if she comes) we’ll follow her.

For those who like a bit of interest to their itinerary St. Mary’s Church on the way to Barcombe is worth stopping at. Flint elevations and a prominent steeple single it out. I stopped here some years ago attracted not only to the church but also to the sound of the music wafting from the building. Inside I met with the music maker, a woman. We spoke for some time and she told me of the old saying, “going to the wall”. It seems in days gone by before pews were used the elderly tired of standing were allowed to sit on benches lining the walls of the church. Hence the saying. Interesting, if you stop awhile its surprising what you can find? Only by bike!

May the road rise up to meet you
may the wind be always at your back
may the sun shine
warm upon your face
the rain fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again
may God hold you
in the palm of his hand

An old Irish saying.


The Last Ride: Sunday 22 January 2017 – Ice Nine [apology to Kurt Vonnegut]

6 February 2017

Nine riders assembled at Hassocks station, 8 came by train & Angela C. was kindly delivered by her son & picked up at the end in Lewes. All delighted to have new member, Wendy, join us at Brighton station for the day’s adventure. While awaiting a tenth, a walking group member from across the road was recruited as photographer for the group photo. As the missing 10th rider was a new Clarionista, Tessa tried to contact him, but no joy [till lunch time], so ten minutes later we set out as it was chilly & the ice was started to penetrate our extremities!

Clarion ride 22 January 2017. Hassocks to Lewes. Photo by Anne Barry

Sun was shining brightly on us as we strung out along the Keymer Road to Spatham Lane. The other Angela was feeling the cold penetrating her asthmatic lungs & with Sean Burke volunteering as backstop, & me with the wrong cold weather gear on-three asthmatics made up the rear, while the sprightly avant guard led the single file. Some of us were glad of the uphill to warm the joints, but all of us glad to reach the lanes & leave the traffic polluted roads. Now a new hazard emerged … ice!

Clarion ride 22 January 2017. Hassocks to Lewes. Photo by Anne Barry

Up till now [then] winter had been mild & sunny for us, apart from 1 day’s snow, which quickly disappeared, but, like Trump’s election & dreaded Brexit, looks like Winter’s Bane [excellent film!] was coming to engulf us now. There were huge marches of protest against Trump & Tory follies the previous day, but a winter of discontent looms over us now. Some bravely rode the ice filled lane but walking was allowed too, & my preferred option, though I’d walked a good few miles yesterday with John McDonnell [Shadow Chancellor] holding the banner high & leading the way from local hospital to Brighton Station opposing the so-called Sustainability & Transformation Plan which seeks to privatise our NHS.

Our leaders Sue & Tessa, had recce’d their ride as recently as previous Wednesday & it hadn’t rained since but had become colder, so they frequently consulted us to modify the routes, in order to keep us as warm as possible. So, our coffee stop at The Jolly Sportsman was cancelled due to high price of coffee there too [£4 ] & prospect of warming stop at The Plough was also cancelled due to majority vote for keeping up the pace in order to keep warm!

Clarion ride 22 January 2017. Hassocks to Lewes. Photo by Anne Barry

After the non-stop at The Plough, next stop was at Plumpton Green, but this was both unplanned & delightful surprise. Just as both Mick & I were talking in separate conversations about Sean T. & Jane T, who live in Plumpton Green, Jane hailed us from the pavement & invited us back to theirs for hot coffee, even though Sean was confined [& cribbed] hard at work doing his marking. They were both very busy & some of us still cold, so pressing onwards won the day again. As soon as we reached the smaller lanes again we hit the ice.

This time, more literally, as our gallant backstop, Sean B. on his Brompton, took a slow paced tumble, just as we could see a descending cyclist taking the narrow path at centre of ice strewn hill & rushing towards us. The young man was kind & solicitous to Sean & was assured that he was OK before we all scrambled up between the icy path to the summit where warmer lane & extensive views met us. When we reach Offham -having stopped to take a photo of the beautiful, blossoming Old Man’s Beard in the hedgerow.

Clarion ride 22 January 2017. Hassocks to Lewes. Photo by Anne Barry

Sean & I were last again & forgot the instruction to cycle on the pavement along the busy A275 & took the road, but survived & soon all reached the outskirts of Lewes & the riverside walks & pleasant parks where families were enjoying the winter sun. Now we can lock up the bikes & enjoy the warmth of the pub by the river & have some fine food & ale & even cakes! [torte actually].

Clarion ride 22 January 2017

A long table had been reserved for us & drinks soon served. Food was more complicated as both Sean & Mick & Tessa had food delivered to them & then removed! Sean was just about to tuck into mussels cooked in ale, though he thought he’d ordered sea bass & trout & Mick was admiring a veg roast, when the young waitress realised that she had been too hasty & mixed up the tables. When ours did all arrive shortly afterwards everyone was pleased & Mick & Sue couldn’t resist the chocolate torte & mandarin sorbet pud to share, which all-comers were invited to stick a teaspoon in & savour. That was the final ice of the day.

Clarion ride 22 January 2017. Hassocks to Lewes. Photo by Anne Barry

Thanks to Tessa & Sue for organising a super winter excursion for us all & to Sean for ensuring we all survived the icy conditions & enjoyed the winter sunshine, which never seemed to rise to the 6C. promised in the forecasts. I shall rethink my winter gear next time we set out on bikes, though really only toes that succumbed to ice. Now we have freezing fog surrounding us & so glad & grateful for Clarion’s fun & joy yesterday.


More photos on Flickr


6 February 2017

Dear All

Well, we didn’t get a volunteer for a ride today – not entirely surprising given what the weather has been like (and see Anne’s report below) but John has come up with something for 19th (see below also). So we’re now looking for volunteers for the two March dates – once more 5th and 19th. The last of these misses ‘the Ides of March’ by a few days- so we should be OK!

The 2017 AGM
In the last newsletter I reminded everyone that we always have the AGM on a weekday evening and since Roger & Suzanne can’t make Thursday or Fridays the choice narrows to a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I asked that anyone intending to attend who has a regular commitment on any of these evenings to me know at once and we’ll try and avoid that one. No one did – but since it’s been a while since the last newsletter I’ll ask again (for a final time!). I suggest that we go for a date late in March.

Anyone who still hasn’t renewed for 2017 – and wants to of course – please don’t leave it any longer but get in touch with Julian. He tells me that so far 33 people have paid their subs which means, I think, that there are at least 7 who haven’t renewed. Fine, if you don’t want to but if you’ve just forgotten please help Julian by delaying no longer!


Dave Gravett
In the last newsletter I reported the sad news of the death of Dave Gravett, a contemporary of the late Brian Hutton in the old Brighton Clarion section back in the late 1940s and early 1950s and mentioned a photo I hadn’t been able to track down which showed ‘Dave doing a very stylish bit of fast cornering during a time-trial.’ Fred chased it up and it’s now on the website [above]. I intended to include it in this newsletter but have been defeated – not for the first time- by my lack of technical knowhow!

I also said that though I’d tried to get him to come along to some of our social events I’d had no success. Not quite true. Sue reminded me that he did turn up – as did Brian – to at least one of the two Christmas get-togethers we had in 2004 and 2005 at The Swan at Falmer.

Also in this newsletter you’ll find an interesting report from Joyce and Leon as well as Anne’s one on the ‘Last Ride’ – which now seems quite a long time ago. She wrote it with exemplary speed but there was no point in doing a newsletter until I had a ‘next ride’ to tell you about.


Membership subscriptions for 2017.

The subscription is unchanged at £8, all of which will be passed on to the National Clarion Cycling Club, as in 2016.

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

Please complete the form attached with the newsletter and return it to Julian 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.


Sustainable Travel Transition Fund Meeting – Whitehawk Library – 24 January 2017

Leon & Joyce attended this meeting as did Mick, which was the second consultation meeting concerning the Sustainable Transport Fund Bid under which the Council was awarded £485,000 to deliver the Local Transport White Paper: – “Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon” ,in East Brighton – (essentially access to/from and within Whitehawk, taking in the Marina). The main aims include support local economy, reduce carbon emissions, and actively promote increased levels of physical activity through walking and cycling. The projects 2016/2017 will include:

  • Personalised travel planning
  • Business and University planning
  • Road safety campaigns
  • Walk and cycling permeability (making improvements to the highways to make it safer for people to walk or cycle)
  • Pedestrian way-finding

Joyce & Leon reported on their experience of access to Whitehawk from the Hanover area:-

  1. Elm Grove/Warren Road/Wilson Avenue: – Narrow Road/fast traffic/uphill until Wilson Avenue
  2. Bentham Road/Pankhurst Avenue/Manor Hill: – Fast roads Manor Hill particularly difficult, cars & vans parked on left forcing vehicles to navigate on wrong side – keep left signs taking precious space – buses in both directions with little passing space in narrow road. A dangerous road for cyclists.
  3. Eastern Road: – High volume of Traffic, many buses in two-way road, insufficient space for cyclists to ride safely.
  4. Madeira Drive/ Dukes Mound/Lewes Crescent/Bristol Gardens/ Whitehawk Road (wide pavement which could be potential cycle way). This is the longest but safest route (but see comments re Dukes Mound – and route through the tunnel).

Dukes Mound had been discussed at previous meeting: – Fast speed of cars, no walkway for walkers – problem at bottom with cyclists needing to cross to access cycle lane – west to east cycle route confusing – signing not clear. This area should be 20mile limit.

Other issues raised were: need for secure cycle storage – issues around buses and cyclists. State of the roads and how dangerous potholes are for cyclists. Pedestrian crossings lacking in Whitehawk, especially Wilson venue. Cycle training should be based in East Brighton Park.

The most interesting information was the existence of the route through to Whitehawk from Elm Grove via the tunnel under the race track (unknown to me – Joyce)…

Leon & Joyce

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

6 February 2017

Seasonal advice from ‘Cycling Notes’ in Christmas Eve edition 1897