Distance: 13 miles
Duration: about 4 hours, including lunch in Rottingdean.
Start: 10.30 at the Velo Cafe on The Level
Finish: Brighton Pier
We meet at the (former?) Velo Cafe on The Level by 10.30 and then ride on the cycle lane along the Lewes Road to the University of Sussex. We go up the slip road and past the roundabout for a brief stop at the Falmer pond by St. Laurence church. Then onto the cycle path that runs south parallel to the Falmer Road. This path involves an uphill gradient/undulation to the top of the Downs where there are views east towards Lewes and the other way across Brighton to the sea.
We turn left into Bexhill Road to go down on the eastern side of Woodingdean through housing estates so as to avoid the main road (ie Falmer Road, B2123), until we join it just north of Rottingdean.
Lunch can be taken in Rottingdean either at The Queen Victoria Pub, 54 The High Street, on the left just before the A259 T-junction (recommended by Angela D), or at The Coach House on the other side of the A259.
After lunch we cycle westwards along the undercliff path back to the Brighton Pier.
Julian and Angela
The next ride: Sunday 30 April 2017 – The Level to Brighton Pier via Falmer, Woodingdean and Rottingdean26 April 2017
Distance: 13 miles
Just back less than an hour ago. This newsletter is overdue – but the ride details for 30 April were included in the last edition. I’m too busy to do a full newsletter but will include a brief report on the Easter Meet in the post 30 April one.
By which time – who knows – we may have offers for the May rides – or at least the first one on 14 May.
Masses of emails as usual when you’ve been away and not reading them – so if you contacted me while I was away – and in my defence I did warn everyone I’d be away from 12th April till today or tomorrow – it may take me a while to get round to replying. So just a couple of messages from Joyce – one you’ve had already and a new one a reminder about the next ride on 30 April and a report on last Sunday’s expedition.
Mayoral Charities Bike Ride
Sunday 23 April from 9.00 to 15.00.
The ride will start at Hove Lawns and cover some 50 miles (but one can do a part of it). The ride starts at Hove Lawns and covers Lewes – Ditchling – Woods Mill (lunch) Bramber – Shoreham.
£20 registration fee which goes to charity
Leon and Joyce will be doing it – but not all 50 miles. More information can be had from Suzi or Sarah on 01273 664 936.
The Dieppe Raid
Some Clarion members might be interested in the Dieppe Raid (a somewhat confusing title) – it is a cycling “get together” which takes place in Dieppe and began in commemoration of the original Canadian Raid in support of the allies in 1942. It takes place 24 – 25 June and brings together cyclists from all over the country, including many from Dieppe. Rides are organised at different levels and other events such as walks etc., are available for those who don’t cycle . There is also a dinner on the Sunday evening.
Some Clarion members are signed up already: – Joyce, Leon, Terri and David Jezeph and Bob Harber. It would be good to see some other Clarion members, it is usually a very pleasant weekend. Info and signing up can be found by googling Annual Cycling Weekend in Dieppe , or Cycle Tour in Dieppe.
Four optimistic Clarionistas turned up at the station in defiance of weather warnings about rain (first due at 1pm and then 4 pm). We were :- Julian ( of course), Prudence, Julia, Joyce. Julian’s ride description is so detailed I don’t have the task of reporting the detail, so suffice it to say that this was a lovely ride – the more so because Julian had arranged so many peaceful lanes and quiet minor roads on an Easter Sunday … We had the pleasure of the Pevensey Levels on a clear sunny day and on to the area identified as Horse eye Level and to New Bridge, where we rode almost alone between two tranquil peaceful canals. Here it was so pleasant and calm with lovely views that we decided to have elevenses with part of our “picnic lunch”, (although I managed to eat all of mine).
Onwards then again along quiet roads with some manageable undulations to the A271 where for a short while we encountered speedy cars, but there was a cycle track alongside. Down then into Herstmonceux and to the Woolpack Inn in the hope that we might find some refreshments despite the Woolpack not serving food. But first we had to inspect what Julia found round the back, she was delighted to come across a telescope/binoculars which had been abandoned in the waste area. As a bird lover she was already planning the usages she could make of them. But alas when we enquired in the pub a kind man and his son assured us that it was damaged. But the good news was that we were able to get cups of tea and a coffee with a very nice comfortable table to eat our picnic lunches, just as well because Julian had done himself proud with a full scale lunch, ( I was very happy with just my cup of tea and declined the many offers of food). To add to the pleasure – no sign of that 1 pm rain, still a pleasant sunny day.
We spent a leisurely hour or so in conversation ranging from the low and humble (dog fouling, barbeques) to complex issues such as why we have the names we do, leading to identity and much else..
The next stage was back to the Cuckoo Trail via Hailsham and a downward route to The Loom cafe where we fell on the toasted tea cakes and for Julian ( of course) a “Rocky Road” of chocolate marshmallow and nuts. Such was our relaxed state of mind that we had to race back to the station for our train, arriving just in time to see Prudence in front sailing across just before the barrier came down. Well done Pru… Hey Ho once on the station we learned that the next Brighton train was cancelled … But still no rain and refusing to lose the pleasure of the day and thanks to Julian’s “App” we found a route via Lewes for Brighton and home which worked and got us to Brighton and STILL NO RAIN !
Thanks to Julian for a lovely ride.
Polegate circular via Herstmonceux
Julian has now confirmed that he will be leading this ride.
Morning: The ride starts at 10.50 am on the north side of Polegate station; there is a public loo a few yards north on the road we then take. We cross over the B2247 onto the start of the Cuckoo Trail and soon turn right to ride through a narrow wood for nearly half a mile, until we turn left into Shepham Lane which goes north to cross the B2104 and soon a turn right into Glynleigh Road. After a left turn the road goes over a small river and we pass Rickney Farm to go north over the Pevensey Levels, via New Bridge and on up to the Magham/Pevensey T junction. Here we turn right going along Lower Road until a sharp left into Church Road that takes us through Flowers Green and Chapel Row to the A271 where turn left going west for half a mile into Herstmonceux.
Lunch: this is a slight problem as the Lime Cross café is closed, and the Woolpack Inn in Herstmonceux will only serve pre-booked meals. Although there might possibly be other eating places not far from the Woolpack, it might be safer to bring a picnic to eat a little earlier with a view south over the Pevensey Levels, at a spot agreed at the time.
Afternoon: In Herstmonceux we go onto the minor road uphill through Stunts Green to the Cowbeech Hill junction. Then we go left and south-east down a long minor road and turn right (by the A271) onto New Road going west, which is soon disused and gated off, but can be cycled along, until we cross over a busy road and come into Station Road and turn left onto the Cuckoo Trail just before Hellingly. Once on the Cuckoo Trail, apart for some time on the level through Hailsham, it is gently downhill all the way back to Polegate. There may be places open for tea near the end of the Cuckoo Trail or in Polegate near the station.
It is about 9 miles both before and after Herstmonceux.. (O/S Map 123 1:25,000)
Take the train from Brighton leaving at 10.12 and arriving Polegate at 10.40. Return trains from Polegate to Brighton are hourly at 34 minutes past the hour, or, with a change at Lewes, hourly at 6 minutes past the hour.
Sunday 2 April 2017: Circular ride via Oldland Mill, led by Jim
L-R Jim, Wendy, Julian, Julia, Angela, Prudence, Corinne, Sarah, Joyce. Photo by Leon
Ten of us set off (Jim, Angela D, Corinne, Sarah, Joyce, Leon, Wendy, Prudence, Julia, Julian; we welcomed Sarah to her first ride) from Hassocks station on a gloriously uplifting spring day. Jim, with his usual attention to detail, kindly arranged for the sun to continue shining the whole time. This ride involved some traffic free off road peregrinations and did not have any h**ls. The latter word is banned on Jim’s rides, so we encountered the odd undulation, otherwise known as an inconsistency in an otherwise level terrain, which might require a dismounting and pushing of a bicycle.
Along the way we passed masses of wild flowers; among the trees and in the hedgerows there were carpets of woodland anemones, also known as windflowers. These low flowering plants, with their white and pinkish tinged petals, seem to be especially profuse this year. They spread by rhizomes and the petals are, in fact, sepals.
Daffodils are now mostly fading. We also saw banks of lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) glowing in the sun. By roadside verges there were clumps of lady’s smock (Cardamine pretensis)– about 60 centimetres tall with pink flowers. The blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) was in flower everywhere; its berries are used to make sloe gin. An odd bluebell or two poked its head above ground, but May is the month for those. I saw a horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) in full leaf; they always seem the first to come out. In the suburban streets of Hassocks there were cherry trees in bloom and it was good to see lots of saplings being planted – I found this site https://hkdtransition.org.uk/trees-for-hassocks/ .
As cyclists we depend on quiet residential roads so we have not only the issue of climate change but also the pleasure that trees give, to some of us anyway.
We stopped for an outdoor lunch in Wivelsfield at the Cock Inn. A few of us had the nut roast – beautifully crunchy vegetables but the ‘Moroccan’ nut roast was coated in a readymade sugary sauce. On the way back we glimpsed a windmill – not our destination but Chailey windmill.
Stained glass window at Streat Church
We stopped at Streat church. As we thought, the church was thoroughly modernised by the Victorians. The churchyard has a stunning view over the Downs.
In a farmyard near Ditchling village we stopped to admire an early 20th century vintage car; its knowledgeable owner explained that it was American and would have had its tyres removed on weekdays so it could be used as a plough, and at weekends the tyres were put back to take people to church. At Ditchling four people peeled off to go directly to the station while the rest of us went up to Oldland Mill. Those interested in investigating its gears and other innards climbed up to the top, while others of us sat in the garden with tea and simnel cake.
Thanks to Jim for a glorious day for Brighton and Hove Clarionistas and for giving us a route sans hills but with some gradients, rising ground and elevations down which the bravely crazy ones freewheeled.
PS Not many photos yet! Will add some later when available – Jim.
Anyone want to take on a ride on 16 April (Easter Sunday)? I shall be in Chester at the Easter Meet but as far as I know there aren’t very many of us going so someone may still come forward with a plan for 16th (or take on Julian’s ‘ready made’ one – see below). Let me know ASAP. Offers for the two rides in May are also very welcome.
Julian had originally intended for 30th a ride based on Polegate – but the train situation has made that a non-starter. He, like me, will be away at Easter However, he has generously agreed to offer the details he had worked out to anyone who feels like taking on a ‘ready-made’ ride for 16th; click here for ride details. Let me know if you want to take this on and I’ll send it out again together with any necessary changes – including of course the date and who is leading the ride.
I shall be away from 12 to 25 April in all. So if you decide on a ride for 16th at a late stage after – let’s say – 10th April, please send it to Jim who will then forward it to everyone on our mailing list as well as putting it in the blog.
This newsletter has grown and grown. All good stuff, but since it’s become so long and it includes some ‘history’ content from a later period about midway between it and us I’ve decided to leave out my usual Clarion extract from the 1890s this time. Thanks to all contributors, especially Angela Devas who has offered to organise a Dieppe-based ride. (see below) and Ken Wells (see also below!)
You will have received the draft minutes of the AGM. A number of suggestions were raised during the meeting.
Ride Partners (see 7.4 in the minutes)
The question was raised of the possibility of more joint rides with members taking on the planning and leading of rides together. This is an excellent ideas. So if anyone who would like to lead a ride – but share the responsibility with someone else – will let me know I will either include it in a newsletter or forward it as as separate message. If you have a particular route in mind it might help to include this – but feel free to leave that open.
Leading a Ride (see 13.2)
Roger’s excellent guide to leading a ride, Leading a Ride – a Rough Guide should help anyone who would like to take on a ride for the first time but feels a bit hesitant about embarking on it. (Far from ‘rough’ in my opinion!)
Mayoral Charities Bike Ride (see 13.1)
Joyce has sent me the following details:
Sunday 23 April from 9.00 to 15.00.
The ride will start at Hove Lawns and cover some 50 miles (but one can do a part of it.) The ride starts at Hove Lawns and covers Lewes – Ditchling – Woods Mill (lunch) Bramber – Shoreham .
£20 registration fee which goes to charity
Leon and Joyce will be doing it – but not all 50 Miles. More information can be had from Suzi or Sarah on 01273 664 936.
Dieppe and Avenue Verte (see 12.2)
Angela D has offered to co-ordinate a Clarion ride to Dieppe and the Avenue Verte. The main issue will be booking accommodation in advance.
Some ideas so far circulated in discussion:
- Initial tentative dates are Tuesday 05 September to Sunday 10 September
- To do a circular around Dieppe and avoid Paris
- About 25 kilometres a day – 18 miles or so, the usual Clarion length give or take
- Possibly staying 2 nights in the same place and doing a circular ride on day 2 without baggage
- Spending the first night in Dieppe at Egg hotel and doing a walk along the cliff in the evening and having a good dinner
- Investigating staying in a gite
- Forward planning for vegetarians as Normandy can be a little tricky
Please email Angela if you are interested and she will set up an email group. She would welcome a companion to do a recce ride.
Photos (see 4.2)
Uploading photos to Flickr
If you have taken photos during a Clarion ride and wish to share them with your fellows, here’s what to do.
1 Join Flickr https://www.flickr.com/. If you already have a Yahoo account you can use that to log on.
2 Join the Clarion group https://www.flickr.com/groups/532678@N24/pool/
3 Click the button top right, that looks like a cloud with an upward arrow, next to the bell. This will take you to https://www.flickr.com/photos/upload/#
4 Here you’ll be prompted to either drag and drop your photos or search them out. Once they are in the browser window, you can Select All and add them to the Clarion Group and any of your own Albums. You can also add titles, captions and tags (to aid searching), either individually or by selecting all. You can change them later if you wish.
5 When you are ready, click the Upload button top right and Bob’s your uncle. We’ll do the rest, selecting a few for the website.
Click ‘New Here?’ (Top right on https://www.flickr.com/photos/upload/# ) for a step-by-step tutorial.
If you don’t want to join Flickr, you can use the Clarion account firstname.lastname@example.org to log in (email me or Jim for the password). Then follow steps 3-5 above. Please remember to add your name in the caption so we can see who is uploading.
If you have a smart phone, you can upload straight from there. Download the free Flickr app, click the camera icon and follow steps 3-5 above.
If you really can’t do any of this, email your photos to me or Jim and we’ll upload them for you.
All the photos are in a place that is searchable. Flickr gives everyone 1 terabyte of memory and pictures are viewable by anyone in the world. Photos posted on Facebook, however, are difficult to locate even a few days after posting, and you have to be a member of Facebook to see them. Images can also be uploaded to WordPress, where our blog is hosted, but they are only accessible by the web team.
The Old Brighton Clarion
Here are the photos I mentioned last time from Ken Wells, a member of our predecessor. I’ve put Ken’s accompanying words together from several different emails and done a tiny bit of editing – Hope I got it right, Ken!
Attached picture of a Clarion club run. We even had a club run to Southampton Track when Mike Moreton was riding there.
Centre in the back row is Brian James who was still competing in time trials in his mid seventies, another former Clarion Member. I think many of us left when the chap sitting on Derek Payne in the foreground became active in the local Labour party and wanted us to deliver political leaflets, He later became Councillor Newman on Brighton Council, and I think later Alderman. I know the Clarion was affiliated to the Labour Party, but we did not join because of that.
I am in that photo, I am immediately behind Newman’s head, Brian James to my left, and on my right, Peter Howarth who was later best man at my wedding. I can name some of those in the picture, but not all of them. Extreme left is Dave Howson, Colin Moon extreme right, another one who went to the Wheelers
Much has changed since my days in the Clarion. Photography was a fairly expensive hobby pre digital; you had to get them all developed and printed, not just the ones you wanted to keep. On one occasion a group of us rode to Herne Hill for the Good Friday meeting, and I found some were going on a short tour to Kent. Someone had cancelled and there was a spare place in the bookings, and I was asked if I wanted to come. No mobile phones in those days, and no phone at home, so could not tell my parents where I was, but agreed. We spent the first night at Kemsing YHA, I was a YHA member, then went on to a B & B somewhere on the Kent Coast, I forget where, then to Winchelsea to a B & B. Fortunately had enough money with me. But I was totally out of touch with home, my parents were somewhat worried, and I was told off firmly when I got home. The marvels of modern communications! It’s good to see, by the way that Kemsing youth hostel is still going – so many have closed in recent times.
I was away on National Service 1951-53 track seasons, but did managed to ride one meeting when I was on leave. One notable occasion when we had a Dunlop sponsored meeting at Preston Park, with a number of Pros riding, including world Champion Russell Mockridge, I was able to ride that meeting while I was one leave. I was currently serving at Inverness airport, but entered a local grass track meeting near there. The fact that I had ridden in the same event as Mockridge seemed to have convinced the organisers that I was much better than I was, and found myself almost on scratch in the handicaps.
Did not win anything!
One other notable event I remembered, when we had a Dunlop sponsored meeting in 1953 we actually had a bigger gate than B & H Albion, who were in the old 3rd Division, South in those days. You may wonder why Dunlop sponsored a meeting at Preston Park. .In those days, Dunlop made the only UK sourced tubular tyres, there were some continental ones around, but not many UK stockists, and no local ones
There were two good cycle shops in Brighton then, Strudwicks, Oxford Street, who manufactured frames and George Hill in Spring Street, who stocked several leading makes, including Carlton, used by many of us, later swallowed up by Raleigh. Common practice then to order a frame to your specification, road or track. Track we usually specified bottom bracket height, top tube length and frame angles. These two shops supplied most local club cyclists.
Apart from big events, we used to charge for entry to ordinary track meetings, my wife was cashier for a number of years. We employed paid gatekeepers, at the three entrances to the track. I was League treasurer for quite a few years.
The photo below is from a typical Prestonville cub run run turn in 1950s, this was after I left Clarion to join Prestonville It shows our family transport, until I acquired a car. Both children taken on Prestonville Nomads club runs in that.
I am now nearly 86, and no longer own a bike of any sort but I’m a Life Member of BCF and Brighton Mitre.
It’s always good to here something of the history of the previous Brighton Clarion and of cycling in Brighton generally in time gon by. One suggestion at the AGM was that it was time we started putting together our own history – but I think that can wait – at least till the next newsletter!
Hassocks Circular via Oldland Mill
Burgess Hill – Ditchling Common – Chailey Common – Wivelsfield Green – Streat – Ditchling
This is not quite a copy of Helen’s regular Oldland Mill ride (which she is planning to repeat in August). The lunch venue and the return route will be familiar to us, but the outward route may be new. About a fifth of the ride is “off-road” to varying degrees, with hard, stony or tarmacked surfaces on some sections and a few that are just compacted earth. Some rain is forecast for the two days prior to the ride, though not on the Sunday itself; but if it looks like it’s going to be muddy, we can avoid most of the worst bits.
We will have lunch at the Cock Inn at Wivelsfield Green. The windmill will open to the public (minimum recommended donation £3) at 2pm; we should arrive at about 2.45. Those who do not want to go into the mill can continue to Hassocks station (1.5 miles or about a 15 minute ride, all downhill).
Ride starts at: 10:15 am, Hassocks station, Platform 2 side (use the lifts if travelling from Brighton).
Distance: 17 miles.
Terrain: See above. Some undulations, but not many. Certainly none that might provoke a roadside lynching!
Getting there: Take the 09:55 train from Brighton (Victoria train via Hove)
Trains return at: 41 minutes past each hour.
held on Tuesday 28 March at 12 Abbotts, 125 Kings Road, Brighton
Present were Corinne Attwood, Anne Barry, Ian Bullock, Sue Bullock, Angela Devas, Jim Grozier, Joyce Edmond-Smith, Roger Hinton (Chair) Suzanne Hinton, Leon Moore, Jeanne Openshaw, and Fred Pipes.
• Apologies for absence were received from Julian Arkell, Mick Barry, Sean Burke, Angela Coulter, Bob Harber, Jenny Millington, and Tessa Wolfe-Murray.
Ian reported that Sean was ill and the meeting sent its best wishes for a swift recovery.
• The minutes of the 2016 AGM were agreed as accurate.
• There were no Matters Arising from the minutes.
• 4.1 Fred’s report had been circulated prior to the meeting. Ian, on Sean’s behalf, raised his request for ‘a clear procedure’ for uploading photos. There was considerable discussion during which Joyce asked how photos were selected for the website, Roger noted the praise for our section received from Peter Roscoe, and Jim drew attention to the national website.
• 4.2 It was agreed that Fred would write a guide to uploading photos on FLICKR which Ian would include in the newsletter.
• 4.3 Fred’s report was accepted with thanks.
• Julian’s report had been circulated prior to the meeting.
• Corinne expressed concern about the future of the Co-op bank in the light of recent press reports.
• The report was accepted with thanks.
6. Racing Secretary’s Report
Bob’s report had been circulated before the meeting and was accepted with thanks.
7. Secretary’s report
• 7.1 Ian’s report had been circulated with the agenda papers.
• 7.2 It was suggested that it might be added to the website, Joyce said it provided a very good summary of the year’s activities and Jim suggested that it might be used as the basis for the next report in Boots and Spurs.
• 7.3 The report was accepted with thanks.
• 7.4 Arising out of the report, Angela (D) raised the question of the possibility of more joint rides with members taking on the planning and leading of rides together. After discussion it was agreed that Ian would feature this in the newsletter and pass on requests for partners.
8. There were no other reports.
9. Election of Officers
• 9.1. The following were duly nominated, seconded and elected
Chair – Roger Hinton
Vice Chair – Anne Barry
Secretary – Ian Bullock
Treasurer – Julian Arkell
Social Secretary – Angela Coulter
Webmasters – Fred Pipes and Jim Grozier
Racing Secretary – Bob Harber
Campaigns Organiser – Joyce Edmond Smith
• 9.2 Angela (C) had, via Jim, expressed her willingness to serve again as Social Secretary and Sean had stated his willingness to step in if the position was ‘unoccupied and available.’
• 9.3 Angela was thanked for organising the Christmas lunch
• 9.4 In connection with the Campaigns post Joyce drew attention to recent local
meeting attended by Mick, Leon and herself.
10. There were no motions
11. National Annual Conference Business
Ian reported that only the proposed rule change attempting to prevent any other organisation using the Clarion name or logo was contentious. He was concerned that it would be unenforceable without financial resources well beyond those the Clarion could command but asked to be allowed to listen to the arguments put forward and cast the section’s votes after consultation with the rest of our delegation
12. Proposals for Activities in 2016
• 12.1 Summer social. There was a strong preference for a picnic.
• 12.2 Away weekends. Leon raised problems with booking with the YHA and the need for someone to take this on. On a show of hands about half of those present expressed an interest in taking part in an away weekend. The possibility of one in Normandy was briefly discussed.
• 12.3 Anne suggested that anyone planning such events should take into account the dates of national Clarion activities.
13. Other Business
• 13.1 Joyce drew attention to a local charity bike ride in April. Ian would publicise
the details in the newsletter.
• 13.2 Leon said that the practical application of our slogan ‘Fellowship is Life’ must include being very careful not to leave people behind or ‘lose’ them on rides. It was vital that all ride leaders stopped at junctions where there was a change of direction. Ian would draw attention to Roger’s website guidelines on leading rides in the newsletter which cover the points made by Leon.
• 13.3 The question of third party insurance was discussed and Leon drew attention to the possibility of acquiring comprehensive insurance which would cover the loss of a bike with ETA as explained in the 21 February newsletter.
There being no other business Roger and Suzanne were thanked for their hospitality in hosting the meeting.
Ian Bullock, Secretary
29 March 2017
From my personal point of view 2016 was a very worrying and frustrating year. I had contrived to break an ankle just a few days before Christmas 2015 and was not able to return to cycling for the next three months. Soon after I was just about getting back to normal Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer and began treatment which included two operations and chemotherapy which lasted for pretty well the rest of the year. And is still on-going of course. Not surprisingly I was not seen on many Clarion rides in 2016.
The year began rather inauspiciously. Roger had taken over the organisation of the New Year ride but the day before was forced to send out a message cancelling the ride since as he accurately put it ‘The weather forecast promises continuous heavy rain and southerly winds of over 40 mph for tomorrow and Sunday’ However he did add that ‘Ian and Sue are still planning to be at Carats Café from about 11am tomorrow (Saturday) and will be pleased to see anyone who does fancy a morning out, whatever their mode of transport.’ I was subsequently able to report in the newsletter that no few than 14 of us turned up though only Tessa and Sikka – what heroes! – came on bikes.
The weather was slow to improve. But in spite of discouraging forecasts no fewer than 9 set out on Mick’s Newhaven ride on 10 January. The sea was so rough that the intrepid Clarionettes avoided the Undercliff until Rottingdean where, as Jenny reported, ‘the sea was pounding spectacularly over the sea wall, full of sand and stones, although we managed to avoid the worst of it by hugging the cliffs to Saltdean.’ With the sea coming over the harbour walls at Newhaven, the Ouse threatening to burst its banks and the rain resuming in earnest after the lunch stop at The Ark what had been intended as a ‘circular’ had to be curtailed and the return was made from Seaford by train.
Water was very present in the second of Mick’s rides on 24 January which attracted only two further participants Sikka and Jenny. According to Sikka’s report Mick was able to find the most shallow route across what she described as ‘ a minor flood.’ The ride ended at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne whose café was no doubt as welcome as the exhibitions, much as the latter were appreciated. . Of the five who met in February for the ride led by Jim and Julian from Emsworth two were members of the Gosport Clarion – both, it seems, called Paul. ‘Moist conditions,’ to quote Tessa’s report, continued for Jim’s Outwood Lane ride which was joined by Martin of the London Clarion at some point.
Meanwhile, Joyce and Leon had represented us at a Stakeholder Workshop where a number of local problems affecting cyclists were discussed. The first ride in March began with Sikka’s vivid dream in which her co-leader, Tessa, was too ill to take part and then Sikka herself managed to get lost. Fortunately it was just a dream. The weather was again not very encouraging but Jim concluded his report with ‘Thanks to Tessa and Sikka for enduring hail, snow, and nightmares to bring us this lovely ride.’ So all was clearly not lost. The AGM was well attended on 14 March (see minutes) but the ride on 20th had to be abandoned when no one volunteered to lead it.
Illness again visited us in April with both Joyce and Leon with serious problems – Leon with throat cancer, from which he eventually was to make a great recovery, thank goodness. Jim organised a ride planning meeting which had some success. As Kate reported, he had to leave his Hayward’s Heath ride on 3 April very early on with the result, she said, that it turned into ‘ a mystery tour where we had to stop frequently to find the next clue.’ But, she continued, ‘Julian stepped into the breech with aplomb so that never once did we need to retrace our path.’ The ride also featured Nye, aged 4, almost certainly the youngest participant ever on one of our rides
The other ride that month took place not on our usual Sunday but on a Saturday. This was to link up with a London Clarion ride to Eastbourne. Junction was made at the Three Crowns at Ashurst Wood. The origin of the pub’s name featured in lunchtime discussion. after which there was a small diversion to look at the ruin of Brambletye House. Only Julian and Sean – whose ride it was – turned up on 1 May. The ride to Seaford was similar to Mick’s ride in January and like it featured the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve. The following ride in May had a much better turnout but started with the train being too long for the platform at Lewes which since our people were in carriage 7 led to them having to return from Berwick before they could even start. One lane on the way to East Hoathly was called Hollow Lane, and as Sikka reported ‘in honour of this memorable name, Jim brought the poem The Hollow Men which Anne read out to us over lunch’ at the King’s Head. Either Sikka or Jim – or possibly both – sent me the whole text of Eliot’s poem – not the shortest one in the treasury of English Lit and I included it in the newsletter for the delectation of those of us who had missed the ride.
At the end of May we had a very welcome and useful report from Sue (Priest) on the opening of the new section of the Egrets Way between Lewes and Newhaven. Roger’s ride around Chichester – literally – saw 14 participants, including for the first time in 2016, me, though I had to leave before the end because of a previous engagement. In contrast, the ride on 12 June was – almost literally again – a washout. As I put it in the newsletter ‘Was it the rain, or was it the wind, or perhaps the naked bike ride? Whatever it was, it persuaded all but one Clarion rider not to join Angela’s planned ride and picnic yesterday.’ In fact Angela was ill – but dutifully turned up at the Velo Café to make sure no one was left wondering where she was and what was going on. By then the rain had set in and only Julian plus Joyce – who had turned up simply to say hello to people but was not up to going on the ride – were there, so it was abandoned..
Sue(P)’s ride on 28 June took place , as reported by Anne, on ‘a splendid summer’s day with super cycling’ It was not without incidents, the strangest of which concerned a young bloke apparently comatose lying by the side of the road. After efforts to wake him failed an ambulance was summoned – but had to be cancelled when further efforts succeeded. It is not clear whether or not he attempted any explanation of his strange behaviour. On Julian’s 10 July ride the usual stop at the Crown and Anchor was full and, as Tessa reported, there were ‘mixed opinions’ about the food at the Boathouse Café. Sunday 24 July saw Chris Froome win his third Tour de France with Adam Yates who began cycling with Bury Clarion fourth. Much closer to home –and B&H Clarion abilities (with a couple of exceptions) – eleven took part in a ride to Rottingdean via Falmer. 30 July – another Saturday – saw Jenny and Jim set off to meet the London Clarion – plus our own Bob Harbour – at Ditchling Beacon, after which, with a few additions on our side, the party repaired to The Signalman.
In August Helen’s ride included a favourite tea stop at Oldland Mill. Later that month the Cuckoo Trail featured in one of Julian’s rides. Somehow three participants were temporarily lost en route but all ended happily. A round dozen turned out for one of Jim’s rides early in September. Prudence, who supplied the report, found the first stop at The Dragon ‘a rather upmarket dolled-up place,’ though the food was good. But she liked the Half Moon Inn at Balcombe where a stop for tea took place . It was up for sale and she hoped it would not change too much. David’s ride to Littlehampton later in September was – at c 30 miles – a long one by our usual standards. But there was a good turnout of 13 nevertheless.
Sean had to abandon his intended ride early in October but later that month saw the very welcome return of a now recovered Leon to lead a circular ride based on Lewes. There were no offers to lead the ride scheduled for 30 October – which may have been just as well given that it was the end of BST with all the possible confusion that that can entail. Jim’s November ride was delightfully characterised by Julian as ‘notable for sunshine all day and a profusion of Autumn colours on the trees and leaves carpeting the ground.’
Southern rail company did its best to sabotage our ride schedule by cancelling the train that participants were told to catch on 27 November but in spite of their efforts – and a temporary worry at the end of the ride about how Leon and Joyce might get back to Brighton – seven of us had a very enjoyable day out. It was the first time I’d managed to get out with the Clarion since Roger’s Chichester ride much earlier in the year. Angela organised a Christmas lunch at Hangleton Manor on 10 December and the following day Julian led the last ride of the year. Once again the Crown and Anchor was booked up and lunch was taken at Fishbourne in the café attached to the Roman palace.
Thanks to all those who led rides, wrote reports, organised things and generally contributed to the life of our club. It’s you who make it what it is.