The Next Ride: Sunday 10th December 2017 – Burgess Hill, Ditching Common, Hassocks circular

29 November 2017

Lunch at The Bull Ditchling. This is a delightful and award winning pub with excellent food, open fires, good ale (so I’m told) and everything delightful.

We have made a reservation for 10 but it is held on my credit card, so it is really important you confirm you are coming by Friday 8 December, 9pm.
This is short ride (around 6 miles), as the days are also short, and cold, and the pub will be beckoning. Some of it is off road, with a few gently undulations, through pleasant woodland, along mostly firm terrain, some with leaf cover, some with mulch and a few short stretches of actual mud, easily negotiated by dismounting and walking alongside on the firmer ground. 
We meet at Brighton Station and catch the 10.14 train to Burgess Hill. We start by walking along a footpath which takes us to join a bridleway which in the Anglo Saxon period was known as Kings Wood, owned by King Alfred.  We continue along bridleways through Ditchling Common joining Spatham Lane, then a short distance along the B2116 and through Ditchling village to The Bull for lunch. After lunch, we continue along the B2116 to Hassocks Station (just over 1 mile). Trains to Brighton are 09 and 32 minutes past the hour. The return journey after lunch is therefore very short.
We have made a reservation at The Bull, secured by Angela D’s credit card. We must confirm numbers in advance, so please let Angela know by 9pm on Friday 8th December if you are definitely going to come.
Should the weather forecast be extremely inclement, we could cut the ride very short by getting the 11.44 train from Brighton to Hassocks and cycling to The Bull at Ditchling, returning the same way.
Angela D – 07814 457680
Wendy     – 07495 887701
Angela and Wendy

The Last Ride: Sunday 26 November 2017 – Shoreham to Steyning

29 November 2017


Anne, Mick, Jim, Prudence and Tessa travelled to Shoreham by train and were met outside the station by Julia, enjoying a warm patch of sun, out of the wintry northeast wind. Chris and David and Dave joined the group, also newcomer Mike who had cycled from Hove.

We set off and crossed the wooden bridge over the River Adur. Jim photographed the section of train track that lies beside the new stretch of cycle/walking path not yet open to the public.

Old railway lines

We crossed the A27 and set off up Coombes Lane.

As it was a short ride we had decided at the station on two Church stops. The first was Coombes, set above Coombes Farm on our left.

Coombes Church

Coombes Church

This Saxon church, mentioned in the Domesday Book, was a delight. Many of us had not visited it before. Terracotta painted frescoes of biblical scenes decorated the walls and seemed in good condition. There was a note pinned to the church door asking people to leave it slightly ajar as a wren had built her nest in the church.

View from Coombes Church

The graveyard

The only serious hill on the ride took us to Botolphs and we sailed down to view the church. We decided that this church, also built in the 11th century was less interesting than the first. It had been ’got at’ by the Victorians and there were only traces of the original frescoes.


Botolphs Church

We joined the Downs Link, avoiding the busy road crossing by taking a detour to the river and back. At the A283 roundabout we rode up the gentle hill into Steyning, some using the pavement as the road was busy.

Bikes were parked at the White Horse pub which most opted for as a lunch stop. Dave left us at this point as he had afternoon commitments.

Julia, Mike and Tessa chose the Steyning Tearooms for lunch, we all had delicious meals. The carnivores enjoyed lunch at the White Horse, the vegetarians were disappointed at the lack of choice.

After lunch Mick and Anne left as they had an afternoon concert to attend.

The rest of us set off, winding our way through Steyning till we came to a Downslink sign which took us back to the roundabout and the off-road path. Again we rode up to the river to avoid the road crossing and on to Shoreham with the wind behind us.

The view from Coombes Lane

The Adur Valley

A bit of confusion at the station meant that the three returning by train carried their bikes down steps to the tunnel to cross the track and then up again. Just in time to catch the train though, but not enough time to say goodbyes.

On the train Jim complained that his glove collection consisted mainly of right hand gloves. Tessa thought she had a spare left hand one at home and promised to check. Indeed she does!

Thank you Julia for planning the ride, and on such a gorgeous day!



At Botolphs


29 November 2017

Dear All

No one has pointed out any problems with my proposed dates for rides in 2018 that appeared in the last edition so I assume they are OK.

I’ve had a number of messages via email since the last newsletter. I don’t think I have forgotten anyone but if I’ve left anyone out please remind me and I’ll put out a special supplement.

From one of our long-time friends
Peter Roscoe of Bury Clarion has been mentioned in this newsletter from time to time. He has long been on our mailing list and has often said in the past how much he enjoys our newsletters – above all the ride reports. Here’s the latest message I had from him after the last edition which, you will remember, featured a ride report by Wendy plus a short additional piece by Leon. Peter wrote:

What talented writers you have.

I’m experiencing the ride in my mind.


It’s always good to hear from Peter who is not the only newsletter reader to appreciate the excellent ride reports we so often feature.

Message from Angela

Just a reminder, that the Clarion Xmas Lunch is at the Hummingbird Restaurant, Shoreham Airport, on Wed 13th December, 12.30 for 1pm.

Look forward to seeing everyone who has booked.

Love – Angela xx

And from Bob Harber
Not only a Clarion member Bob also chairs Brighton Excelsior. I will forward his message complete with flyer. Bob suggests that we might use our 21 January date to take in an opportunity to meet up with other cyclists at Washington [NOT DC!] village hall. I’m a bit doubtful about the practicalities – particular since we are invited for ‘elevenses’ between 10 15 and 11 45. But at the moment we have no volunteers for our January rides and you never know. In any case it’s always nice to be asked.  Thanks Bob.

Dave Churchill and riding on footpaths
Dave has emailed me expressing serious concerns about riding on footpaths. I suggested that rather than try and use these fortnightly newsletters to discuss this it would be much better to employ the Google group which would allow for much more rapid responses. I believe Dave is going to do this. And it may be a good opportunity to remind everyone how you can join the group.

Our Google Group
If you look at our website there’s a button top right called Google Group… this gives the Long explanation – at the end it says:

If you want to join the Google Group you can email Jim Grozier at or you can visit the group’s web page at!forum/brighton-hove-clarion.
To join on-line, or to choose the “no emails” option, you will need to create a Google login if you don’t already have one.


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

29 November 2017

A bit of poetry – or at least verse from Clarion 18 December 1897. Sorry it’s not clearer.

The Next Ride: Sunday 26 November 2017 – Shoreham to Steyning

17 November 2017

This is a not too strenuous ride along the River Adur from Shoreham Station to Steyning and back. Option to cycle to Shoreham or take the 10.30 train from Brighton arriving at 10.45. We will set off at 11.00 and make our way to the River Adur, crossing over the Old Shoreham Bridge and joining the cycle/footpath along the river. There’s an excellent cafe and pub for lunch in Steyning which we wouldn’t have to book for in advance – we can decide on the day!

Options for the return journey are either to cycle all the way back or take the train again from Shoreham – trains run every 30 minutes (the choice of a 12 or 26 mile ride).

Julia (mobile 07969523425)

The Last Ride: Sunday 19 November 2017 – Palace Pier to Newhaven

17 November 2017

Nine of us gathered at the Palace Pier under blue skies and sunshine, but layered up with additional headgear etc against the cold North-Easterly wind. We were Julian, our leader, Angela D, Wendy, Prudence, Sikka, Leon, Joyce, Tessa and Jenny. We set off along the cycle path towards the Marina to the tune of “Oh when the Saints came marching in” being played by a young, uniformed, marching band participating in a Remembrance Day event.
The undercliff path was pleasantly sheltered from the wind, then we made our way up to cycle alongside the A259 for a short distance, until we joined the cycle route running through Peacehaven parallel to the main road. Peacehaven was remarkably devoid of trees, as Angela D pointed out later in the day, but looking between the houses, we could see glimpses of the downs to the left and sea views to the right. The newly surfaced cycle path on the western side of the A259 took us to the pedestrian traffic lights where we crossed to join Upper Valley Road. It was quite blustery on the higher ground, but we were rewarded with a lovely view down towards Seaford Bay and the white cliffs beyond. After a gentle descent we made our way along West Quay to find The Ark, which was our lunch stop. 
The Ark was warm and welcoming, with a comprehensive menu that seemed to suit everyone, and apparently the locals were impressed that we had cycled all the way from Brighton. After lunch, we split into two groups, some taking route a) back along the outward route, and the others taking route b), the cross country route.
Prudence, Angela D and I followed our leader through the backstreets of Newhaven to find the Sussex Ouse Valley Way, which proved to be fantastically scenic but also incredibly windy. The path was grassy but firm in spite of the recent rain. We passed Piddinghoe Lake and walked along the stretch by Piddinghoe village, as required.

Back on the bikes and along a minor road, then rejoined a newly surfaced stretch of the Sussex Ouse Valley Way up to Southease Bridge, and a quick stop at Southease church to admire the round tower.
With the wind proving utterly relentless and the sun already rather low, we unanimously agreed to forego the longer off road option b) with “a steep undulation” in favour of Julian’s new offer of route c). This was a delightful cycle along a quiet road towards Telscombe, with amazing views of the South Downs, which made Prudence contemplate capturing it all through the medium of paint on canvas. I reached for my iphone, which had inconveniently died.

We managed the downhill off-road section across Telscombe Tye with ease, and returned through Saltdean to rejoin the undercliff path. The sun was setting, giving a beautiful sky, but causing us all to reach for our bike lights. A few hundred yards later we were plummeted into darkness and managed to dodge the pedestrians on the undercliff, who were thoughtlessly devoid of lighting. The bright lights of the pier heralded the end of this really enjoyable ride. Hopefully Sikka, Tessa, Jenny, Joyce and Leon also had a good return journey.

Many thanks to Julian for planning such a great day’s cycling, and for coming up with a very timely 3rd option, which proved so spectacular.
Leon adds:

Five of the nine riders chose to return to Brighton on the same route as outward. Jenny went off first and fast using the A259, a road not favoured by other riders, who were, Joyce and Leon, Tessa and Sikka.

We retraced our route in the face of a gale and bright low level dazzling sunlight. Needless to say it was quite difficult at times but we all got back into Brighton refreshed by the cold wind and fulfilled by the experiences of the day.

Boots,  Leon


17 November 2017

Dear All

Thanks to Angela (D) and Wendy – as well of course as Julia – we now have both remaining dates for 2017 covered. So we can start thinking about next year.

2018 Rides
It’s quite diffiucult to work out a fortnightly schedule that avoids certain dates – the main ones being the those of the London-
Brighton Bike Ride when trains are impossible and the start and finish of BST. This year I took the view that given the difficulty of avoiding BST Sundays at both ends it was better to have a ride at the end when clocks go back and if you forget it’s just a matter of turning up to the start point an hour early. Better than being an hour later when BST starts. Same next year.
So, the dates I’m proposing for next year are – after our usual New Year Brunch ride on 2 January – as follows:-

Jan 7, 21 Feb,4, 18. Mar 4,18. April, 1, 15, 29 May 13, 27 June 10, 24. July 8.22. Aug. 5,19, Sept. 2,16, 30 Oct.14, 28 Nov.11, 25 Dec. 9

If no-one spots any problems with this within the next fortnight I’ll assume we agree and put the first few dates in the Future Rides list.

An important message from Julian follows

Membership Subscriptions in 2018
The National CCC has been working on, and testing, a new national computer internet-based subscription system, and plans to introduce it nationally on 1 January 2018.
It is being designed to allow all members to join online and pay subscriptions online using credit cards, debit cards and Paypal.
Thus every member will need an email address and be able to enter their details online to the website.
The main benefits foreseen are that it will do away with paperwork, give more accurate data nationally, remove postage costs, not need cheques, and make the issue of membership cards faster, as well as the enrollment of new members. 
As soon as the NCCC let us have the full description of the new system, it will be circulated to you.
In the meantime please would Brighton & Hove Clarion cycle club members not make any subscription payment until the new system has become operational.

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

17 November 2017

From Clarion 4 December 1897.
Looks like another great invention that didn’t catch on!

The Next Ride: Sunday 12 November 2017 – Palace Pier to Newhaven

3 November 2017

Outline: start at 10.30 from the Palace Pier, Brighton, and ride the nine miles to The Ark, Newhaven, for an early lunch. Owing to buses replacing trains to Brighton from Seaford and Lewes, two return routes can be taken according to choice i.e. a split into two groups. The first is to return on the outward route back to the Palace Pier. The second is to go along the River Ouse as far as Southease, then take the South Downs Way and a short cut to Falmer and return down the Lewes Road to The Level in Brighton – about 13 miles.

Outward Route: from the Palace Pier the cycle path goes to the Marina along the seafront, behind the Marina onto the undercliff path and on to Saltdean, and then beside the A259 to Peacehaven. To avoid this busy main road, parallel minor roads to its north are taken, starting on Highview Road and ending on Downland Avenue, where we can use the newly surfaced cycle path on the western side of the A259 as far as the pedestrian traffic lights so as to go across to Upper Valley Road, and then down Gibbon Road and along West Quay to the Ark Inn for lunch.
Return Route (a): those not wanting to go on grassy paths and bridleways, could either return to the Palace Pier along the outward route, or go on towards Seaford for a while (past the nature reserve), and then return to Brighton.
Return Route (b): this would start on the Sussex Ouse Valley Way (SOVW) to Piddinghoe (the latter part is grassy, and the need to dismount past the end of a barn for about fifteen yards), then continue for half a mile on the minor road, until rejoining the SOVW up to the Southease Bridge. From this bridge the South Downs Way (nearly all grassy, and a steep undulation west of Rodmell), is taken passing above Rodmell and Kingston, and just after the Jugg’s Road track, from the Newmarket Plantation, we go on the grassy bridleway across to the Falmer B2132 road and down the parallel track to Brighton University (i.e. past the Amex Stadium) and on past The Keep. Thereafter the cycle path along the Lewes Road is followed as far as The Level. (A few might go on past The Old Steine to the Palace Pier to get home along the seafront cycle path.)


The Last Ride: Sunday 29 October 2017 – Jim’s Berwick Circular

3 November 2017

Slight showers at the start of the day, heralded a wonderful Autumn/Winter day, a little chilly but not too much, with a bright blue sky and continuing sun all day. Six of us arrived at the station to meet up with Julian who had generously stood in for Jim who unfortunately had damaged his leg and could not lead the ride – (hope all is well now Jim …):- We were Chris, Leon, Joyce, Prudence, Sika, Wendy and Julian, to be met at Berwick station by Angela.

Hence 8 of us started out on what proved to be a wonderful ride in perfect conditions. We followed Jim’s ride but, but with some variation. Start by passing Arlington Reservoir, then NE along the full length of Langtye Lane, and north along lovely quiet lanes with serene views across the Weald until we reached Church Lane for a stop at Laughton Church which as Jim mentioned in his description was once the seat of the famous Sussex Pelhams family. We pondered at the “The Buckle of Laughton” which we learned represents the sword buckle of the King of France who was captured by Sir John Pelham at Poitiers in 1356. The family vault beneath the chancel of All Saints Church, Laughton, includes coffins of one bishop, two Prime Ministers, three earls and a duke, and was sealed up in 1886. The nave is the oldest part of the church, in early English 13th century style, and retains two original lancet windows. The roof is of single frame construction with tie beams, and some of the medieval timber used still remains. The chancel is eighteenth century. It was well worth the time to look and admire.

Wild flowers still in Bloom 29th October.

After the tranquil time in the church grounds the group decided to make a variation by visiting “The Tower”, which served as a moated outlook tower and which is all that is left of a much larger house built in 1534, now owned by the Landmark Trust for holiday lets. To get to the Tower we were warned that the route would not only be “off road” but bumpy. This did not discourage the hardy Clarionets – except yours truly, who started the attempt but soon took very much against the teeth shattering, the head battering and the forlorn attempt to avoid the chasms … (well that’s how it felt anyway … ). Leon, in solidarity kept in pace and when we did arrive after a mixture of walking and very little riding we were glad to meet up with the others who had had their time at the tower and face the return to the “comfort” of a road!

But pleasure was to follow for us all when we reached the Roebuck Inn where we admired the beautiful pigs, had excellent food (nothing to do with the pigs) and discussions ranging around healthy eating and a range of alternative curative practices.

Our long lunch over and with concerns about timing and darkness catching us we agreed to forego the section of Vert Wood, retracing our route past the church and taking the road east along lovely quiet lanes and wonderful views through the villages of Ripe and Chalvington, to rejoin the road south past Arlington Reservoir to Berwick Station for the 15.44 train to Brighton and some 18 miles of cycling.

Thanks to Jim for offering the ride and great thanks to Julian for coming forward and providing (with the weather) a really lovely Autumn/Winter ride.

Joyce E-S