The next ride: Sunday 30 April 2017 – The Level to Brighton Pier via Falmer, Woodingdean and Rottingdean

26 April 2017

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


26 April 2017

Dear All

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.

Also contact Joyce or Leon for info on their route. Joyce is at and Leon at

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.


The Last Ride: Sunday 16 April (Easter Sunday) 2017 – Polegate circular via Herstmonceux

26 April 2017

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.


The Next Ride, 16 April 2017

4 April 2017

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.



The Last Ride. Angela’s Report

4 April 2017

Sunday 2 April 2017: Circular ride via Oldland Mill, led by Jim

Start of ride photo by Leon. (Hassocks Station).

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.

Wild flowers ( Wood Anemones).

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 .

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.

Streat Church window

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.

A Ford 3 litre vintage car at Streat Church.

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.

Angela (D)

PS Not many photos yet! Will add some later when available – Jim.


4 April 2017

Dear All

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.

Also contact Joyce or Leon for info on their route.


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.

Option 1

1 Join Flickr If you already have a Yahoo account you can use that to log on.

2 Join the Clarion group

3 Click the button top right, that looks like a cloud with an upward arrow, next to the bell. This will take you to

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 ) for a step-by-step tutorial.

Option 2

If you don’t want to join Flickr, you can use the Clarion account 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.

Why Flickr?

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!

Ken writes:

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!



The Next Ride: 2 April 2017

4 April 2017

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.