The Last Ride. Ann’s Report

24 March 2017

Sunday 19 March 2017: Horsham Circular via Shipley

Sedgwick – Copsale – Southwater – Shipley – Christ’s Hospital

We never leave a rider behind: London Clarion C.C. Motto.
Fellowship is Life: our CCC.

John Ireland plaque

Plaque commemorating the 20th century composer John Ireland, who is buried in Shipley churchyard

I thought London Clarion’s new website on 1st day of Spring was appropriate for yesterday’s ride as I was often bringing up the rear, due to coughs and sneezes keeping me off the bike much of this winter and fears that I’d only make it half-way, partly led to us driving to the Horsham station starting point, rather than taking the train.

Once we arrived it seemed that, although the train had too, the Clarion crew were missing!  The back entrance – where we had been asked to assemble had no disabled/bike/buggy access so had to ask a guard to help me to go the other way in search of The Clarion, who had been spotted  by the guard on platform 2, where there was also a [needed] toilet. Up the stairs, over the bridge, down the stairs to the other exit, where Leon and Joyce were, having taken the lift and been deposited at the wrong exit and unsure both where the others were and how to return to the far exit appointed for assembly. I then went back up the stairs, down to platform 2 in search of Clarionistas and the Ladies. Found the latter but not the former. Returned to the right exit, where Angela and Sikka were attempting the puzzle of how to squeeze themselves through the narrow exit where Mick and my bike awaited. Eventually all 9 of us (Angela D, Anne, Jim, Joyce, Julian, Leon, Mick, Sean B and Sikka) were reunited outside the station & Sean took the group photo.

We were off!   Through quiet lanes with intriguing names like “Doomsday Lane” – and “Doomsday Gardens – No Thoroughfare” which we wisely did not enter! – carpeted with banks of woodland anemones, golden primroses, celandines, and later, spotted orchid leaves.


Mick shaking hands with the Southwater Iguanodon. Incredibly, the plaque on the statue fails to inform the reader that it commemorates the finding of an iguanodon skeleton in the nearby quarry in the 1920s.Shipley Church 2

After going through Sedgwick, Copsale and Southwater (where we stopped briefly to look at the Iguanodon statue in Lintot Square) and then on to Shipley village to look inside the St. Mary the Virgin church, where I bought a card for us all to sign at lunch to celebrate Fred’s birthday.  This church is one of the oldest Norman churches in Sussex and dates from the 12th Century, contemporary with Chichester Cathedral, and was built by the Knights Templar on the site of a smaller Saxon church.

In 1906 Hillaire Belloc bought a house nearby together with the iconic King’s Smock Mill, sadly now decaying.  To the west is the Knepp Castle estate becoming nationally known due to its rewilding policy.  Continuing on for a mile or so, almost to Dragons Green, we stopped for lunch at the George and Dragon Inn.  Arriving a bit early for our 2 pm reservation, finally we were all seated and “eated” very well, with, perhaps Angela and Sean’s meals vying for the “most splendid” title. Off again, after having slavered over the pudding menu and decided we didn’t really need banoffie pie or mocha pannacotta or sticky toffee pudding etc, but did fancy catching the 4.33 pm train.

Anne's pic

Magnolia Stellata in a garden at Shipley

On the way back Leon and Joyce stopped, while the rest went on, to pick green wild garlic leaves for a later salad due to its medicinal purposes and I grabbed some too, momentarily forgetting that they had electric bikes to catch up and I had legs and lungs that had not been cycling much recently!  As they soared past me on the hills I lagged behind so much that our leader, Jim, had to come back and find me and lead me to the waiting group.  I had tried to apply Angela and Julian’s tactic of not being left behind by starting off at the front but everyone seemed stronger than me and I did lag and linger on the hills, enjoying the birdsong and the peace, and the trees and flowers.  Robins and Great Tits were the most vocal, with occasional accompaniment from Blackbirds and Wrens – and a distant yaffle from a Green Woodpecker.  Julian delightedly had a good view of a Treecreeper climbing up a small tree trunk.

The way back was promised to be shorter than the way there and with the wind behind us we made good time (no thanks to me, sadly) and reached Horsham promptly. We followed the signs to the station, but may have missed one and ended up asking passers-by and, in the rush, taking alternative routes. Ours led through a huge and beautiful park, from where we emerged eventually, opposite the station with time to catch the 4.33 – I hope!  Mick and I found the route that Leon and Joyce had taken in the beginning to reach the proper, designated start exit, leading, in our case, to the station car park.  We had a swift drive home, having tea there at 5.30 pm, both tired but happy.

Thanks Jim for a wonderful day and to the other Clarionistas for their company and patience.

Anne's pic

Close-up of Jim’s T-shirt showing the Clarion’s “other” motto


24 March 2017

                                                      21 March 2017

Dear All

Ian and Sue are away so I’m standing in as newsletter editor for this edition.

Suzanne and I are looking forward to welcoming members to our new flat for the AGM next week (see below).

Thanks to Jim for offering the next ride (see further below) and to Julian for the one four weeks later. We still need an offer for 16 April!!

Our treaurer, Julian has received a subscription from W J Scott but with no contact details. Can anyone help?

Many of you will already be members of the B&H Clarion Google group. But quite a few of us aren’t.  It’s a valuable way of communicating and discussing with other local Clarion members.  To find out more go to .

Finally, I’m sure everyone will want to join me in sending our very best wishes to Richard Carroll. He has just had an operation on his ankle and as a result his mobility will be restricted to four wheels for the next few weeks.  Let’s hope he’ll be back on his bike before too long.

So with Richard in mind I’ll end with a specially adapted version of the Clarion greeting …




News from Ian

The 2017 AGM

Just to remind you the Annual General Meeting will be held at 8 pm on Tuesday 28 March at 12 Abbotts, 129 Kings Road, Brighton. (Roger’s and Suzanne’s). You should have already received agenda papers.  If you haven’t please let me or Roger know at once and we’ll send them.

Roger adds some necessary info:

Abbotts is on the corner of Kings Road and Regency Square, just east of the i360. The front entrance is in Regency Square.  Enter the flat number (12) into the entry phone and then press the Enter key.  Once in the building take the lift or stairs to the fifth floor.

If you’re coming by bike there are bike stands and railings in the square opposite the front door. So you can lock your bike there and keep an eye on it from the window during the meeting if you want to.

Pneumatic Brakes

In the last issue in the extract from the 1890s ‘pneumatic brakes’ were recommended by Swiftsure. I expressed some surprise/incredulity.  Clearly I shouldn’t have. Hardly was the newsletter out than I received an email from TJ

For reference, here is a US patent for a pneumatic brake:   Patent US597456 – Pneumatic bicycle-brake – Google Patents

(no model.) l bowles v pneumatic bicycle brake. patented jan. 18,1898. united states patent fr es. ijeivis boivles, of san francisco, california.

TJ went on to give some details of another similar pneumatic brake patent.   You live and learn. Which reminds me about a recent item in ‘Cycleclips’

200 years since Rad forefather gets his wheels out

It was way back in 1817 that a crowd gathered along the best road in Mannheim, Germany to watch Baron Karl von Drais demonstrate his latest invention: the ‘Draisienne’. That first-ever vélocipède fan base must have been mesmerised to see the speed with which this self-propelled machine managed to cover the nine miles to Schwetzinger without the need for a horse! Here’s Cycling UK’s historian Sheila Hanlon to explain why without Baron von Drais, we wouldn’t have the modern bicycle. We also love this animation about Kirkpatrick Macmillan’s first bicycle – and, if you’ve got a history of cycling itch you want to scratch further, join CTC Dumfries and Galloway for their Kirkpatrick Macmillan Cycle Rally on 26-29 May.

Before anyone asks, I’ve never been to Manheim!

The Old Brighton Clarion

I’ve had an email from our old friend Ken Wells with some photoes of the Clarion of 1950 or thereabouts. I haven’t managed to get them working but have sent them on to Fred in the hope that he can, and at least put them on the blog.

‘Too Close for Comfort campaign’

If you’re in Cycling UK (the old CTC) you will have heard about this already – if not it’s something I think we all might consider supporting.  Here’s their introduction to the campaign.

For the majority of cyclists throughout the UK, close passes can be an almost daily occurrence. I don’t need to tell you how intimidating they are, we all know it, and all want something to be done about it. That’s why today Cycling UK has launched our Too Close for Comfort campaign: to put an end to dangerously close overtaking.

We’ve seen the excellent work done by West Midlands Police with their innovative and cost efficient ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ operation. Plain clothes officers out on bikes have been pulling over close passing drivers, and using a ‘safe pass’ mat have educated (and prosecuted where necessary) them on how to carry out safer overtaking.

I want to see every police force throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland doing the same, which is why we need to raise £12,000 and are appealing to you to help us. With this money we will, make sure every police force can educate drivers how to overtake vulnerable road users safely, just like West Midlands Police.

But why should we have to stump up our cash for the police? It’s simple really, years of government cuts has left them under resourced where we would like to see it most: roads policing.

Our campaign will help make cycling safer, not just for you, but your family, friends and everyone else We only need 1,200 of our members to donate just £10 to make this happen and put an end to overtaking that is too close for comfort.

I hope I can count on your support – just head to

I’ve also had an interesting history piece from Leon which will appear in the next issue.


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

24 March 2017

This time an ad from Clarion 18 December 1897:


The Next Ride: Sunday 19 March 2017: Horsham Circular via Shipley

8 March 2017

Sedgwick – Copsale – Southwater – Shipley – Christ’s Hospital

Ever since we last went to Shipley in 2009, I have wanted to go back there, but have been deterred from repeating it by the length of that ride, from Christ’s Hospital to Shoreham (26 miles) and the long and complicated train journey needed to get there. Now re-crafted as a circular, it takes advantage of the fact that, unusually, on this day trains will run direct from Brighton to Horsham. (Never let it be said that we don’t sometimes benefit from engineering works!)

Just south of Horsham, the river Arun is fed by a number of streams, some of which flow through hammer ponds. Despite being the longest river in Sussex (37 miles) it is less well documented than the Adur or Ouse (indeed, if you google the Arun you’re far more likely to be directed to the one in Nepal!), and it is not clear which, if any, of these streams bears the name Arun. Nevertheless, we will pass over at least one of the candidates on this ride.

After half a mile of the Downs Link, which is our only off-road experience today and has a hard surface which is unlikely to get too muddy, we arrive in Southwater. Here there is a statue of an iguanodon, which apparently commemorates the discovery of an iguanodon fossil in the 1920s in what was then the Southwater Brick Company’s quarry. I say “apparently” because incredibly there is no mention of this on the statue’s plaque!

After 2 miles of Cock’s Hill, a very gentle gradient which, luckily for us, is in our favour, we reach Shipley. The windmill here is still an impressive sight, but has sadly been closed to the public since just after our 2009 visit (nothing to do with us – the lease ran out!) It was once owned by Hilaire Belloc, and was used in the TV series Jonathan Creek. In contrast, thankfully, the George and Dragon, where we had lunch in 2009, is still very much alive and kicking, and we will be making a long overdue return visit. Note that lunch is rather late (at 2pm) – this is partly due to the train timetable and partly to the pub’s prior bookings. Have a late breakfast!


The pub has unconventional cycle storage …

We return to Horsham by a different route. There will be plenty of opportunities for tea stops in Horsham town centre.


Length: 18 miles
Terrain: Mainly quiet lanes. Some short climbs early on, but mainly level after that.
Start from: Horsham Station (down side exit) at 11:30.
Getting there: Leave Brighton station at 10:15 (Hove at 10:18).
Getting back: Leave Horsham at 16:33, arriving Brighton at 17:43. (Sunset is at 18:12.)


The Last Ride: Sunday 5 March 2017 – Marrocco’s, Hove, to the Sea Lane Cafe, Worthing Beach, and back

8 March 2017

This ride was suggested by Alex Southern – he arrived with four other London Members just after 10 am at Marrocco’s. Here he was met by his father who lives in Hove (but just for a brief hello) and only Julian – which must have been a disappointment, which he nobly did not show. It was cloudy and there was quite a strong wind, which two surf gliders were enjoying by racing among the large waves. We rode past Hove Lagoon and on past the Shoreham Power Station to the harbour lock gates. After Southwick we followed the NCN2 route, where a brief rain shower soaked us by the allotments, until we reached the Shoreham swing bridge. Here David and Chris joined us. 
Then over the bridge and past Widewater in a strong headwind that made the seaside cycle track feel as if it were going uphill until we reached Worthing Pier. Linda had joined us a little before, but decided to move on at her faster pace, as we waited after 12 for Alexander, Joan and their three-year old son Nye to join us. These three and Julian went straight on to the Sea Lane Cafe, battling against a strong headwind, of probably up to 30 mph, and for a while the drops of sheeting rain felt like hailstones on their faces. 
The other seven had a coffee pick-me-up opposite the Pier and rode a ‘Goring Loop’ before reaching the cafe somewhat later. The cafe was teeming with customers with a queue first to book a table, then another to order food: – though it did arrive quite promptly. 
For the return journey, Chris and David decided to start back earlier, while the rest of us set off after 2 pm. The  ride back with the wind behind us felt as if we had electric bikes, so fast and smoothly did we glide, even in some sunshine! A little before Shoreham the parents and child peeled off to their new home, having finally moved in last Tuesday. At Southwick Green Julian led an alternative route along Manor Hall Road (passing near St. Julian’s Church!), then under the railway at Fishersgate, and round to the traffic lights at Boundary Road, and then along New Church Road, where, in Church Road, he turned off at The Drive and waved goodbye. He had biked about 26 miles and got home at 4 pm. The others had probably added another 5 miles or so and I expect visited the Brighton Beer Dispensary before boarding the train to London.
Our thanks to Alex – and how he must have wished for another surname given the recent troubles on Southern (rail)!


8 March 2017

Dear All
Thanks again to Alex for leaping agilely into the breach and taking on Sunday’s ride. (see Julian’s report below)

So what we’re looking for now are offers of rides on 2 April , 16 April (Easter Sunday; anyone fancy this one? – some of us will be at the Meet in Chester) and 30 April.

I’m going to be away during the week beginning with Jim’s ride and Roger will be sending out the next newsletter. So, though I’ll at least be beginning to compile it, it’s best if all offers, the ride report (especially), and any other contributions to the newsletter are sent to both of us from now on. That’s to say to;; I shall be preparing the next newsletter from time to time during most of the coming fortnight but it will be good if Roger knows what is going on before he takes over.

The 2017 AGM
Just to remind you the 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.) You should have already received agenda papers. If you haven’t please let me know at once and I will send them.

Roger adds some necessary info.

Abbotts is on the corner of Kings Road and Regency Square, just east of the i360. The front entrance is in Regency Square. Enter the flat number (12) into the entry phone and then press the Enter key. Once in the building take the lift or stairs to the fifth floor.

Shoreham Airshow Tragedy
There was much coverage last week of the Air Accident’s report on the disaster of August 2015. What brings the dreadful event home to us as cyclists, particularly, is the fact that among the 11 fatal victims were two cyclists, Richard Smith and Dylan Archer. They were, according to the Argus report, ‘on the way to meet another friend for a bike ride on the South Downs.’ It seems reasonable to assume that they were about to take the Coombes Road which has featured in many of our own rides over the years. Of course all the deaths in the appalling crash were equally tragic – but it is so easy to imagine yourself in that situation on a bike heading into the Downs.

For me the appalling horror of it all comes even closer to home in that that day Sue and I had driven through what was to become the crash site it must have been about three quarters of an hour before the disaster happened. We were on our way to Chichester to visit the ‘Sickert in Dieppe’ exhibition at the Pallant art gallery. It was only at the end of the afternoon that when we tuned in to the local radio in the car to see if the A27 was clear and the air show crowds had dispersed that we learnt of the tragedy. Let’s hope that nothing similar ever happens either at Shoreham or anywhere else.


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

8 March 2017

Following Alex’s ride which was one of our longer ones, the first part of the following extract from the end of Swiftsure’s  ‘Cycling Notes’ of 1 August 1896 seems perhaps rather appropriate. It’s from the final section headed ‘Answers to Correspondents’

‘the pneumatic brake!’  The mind boggles.