The Next Ride: Sunday 10 June 2018 – Christ’s Hospital to Shoreham Downslink

30 May 2018

This ride explores the Downslink trail to Shoreham which should be nice and dry unless the weather changes, and of course downhill most of the way.

The Downslink surface is mostly hard, compacted earth and stones, Apart from the road sections and the new surface coming into Shoreham. Ok for MTB or Hybrid.

The first section to Henfield takes us first via Southwater where the track is a bit narrow and we have to cross the Worthing Road and then a little further on Cripplegate Lane (There is a Cafe here should anyone need a comfort break) then on under the A24 and out into the countryside.

Then on past Copsale where we cross Bar Lane then under the Cowfold road and over the B2135 at Needs Bridge, and on into Partridge Green.

Here we have to turn right onto the B2135 for a short distance and then left again at Stan’s Bike Shack. (This is 8 miles into our Journey so option for Coffee and a break ).

Our Lunch stop is The Plough in Henfield.

After our lunch stop we will retrace our route via Church Street, Upper station Road and Station Road back to the old Railway and south towards Bramber.

After About 2 Mls and just after crossing the Adur the track abruptly leaves the railway on the right and up short piece of farm track to Wyckham Lane, this is a bit rough and pothole strewn for the next mile until we get onto Kings Barn Lane then on into Bramber via king Stone Avenue and Castle lane.

We could break at the Castle for a rest.

To avoid crossing the A283 we then follow a track which runs SE parallel to the A283 and under the road bridge over the Adur cutting back in the opposite direction.

We then briefly join the S Downs way and over the Adur ourselves. From here it is a lovely run on a good surface to our end point in Shoreham at Falconers Court.

Length: 22 miles.
Duration: about 5-6 hours including lunch.

Starting at Christ’s Hospital Station 10:45

Getting there:
Suggested that we get the 9.27 Victoria train and changing at Gatwick Airport (14 minute wait) onto the Southern service from London Victoria to Portsmouth Harbour. (On Jim’s ride this train stopped at Three Bridges despite not being scheduled).  If it does that again get off avoiding the noise and smells of Gatwick )

If you miss the above then get the 9.42 Bedford train changing at Three Bridges onto the same Southern service from London Victoria to Portsmouth Harbour (only a 7 minute gap) Currently there is a yellow warning on the National Rail website “At present, we cannot confirm whether this service will run”.  So an update nearer the time if any problems.

If you miss both of the above you would be 50 mins behind as the next train arrives  CH at 11:30. We could be catchable by Stans with some dedicated pedalling.

Currently there is a yellow warning on the National Rail website “At present, we cannot confirm whether this service will run”. So an update nearer the time.

Single Ticket to Christ’s Hospital

Getting back: From the ride finish at Falconers Court there is the option of a train from Shoreham station or follow the NCR2 via southwick then across the locks and follow the seafront to Hove and Brighton

Graham

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The Last Ride: Sunday 27 May 2018 – Christ’s Hospital to Pulborough

30 May 2018

Downs Link

After a hot train journey we set off on the Downs Link, which was pleasantly cool under the foliage. We were 4: Jim, Graham, Wendy and I. We passed an ancient aeroplane, wrapped in plastic and shortly afterwards a sign “low flying aeroplanes” and a field which was used as a runway. We could only surmise that the aforementioned plane had missed it!

Aeroplane wrapped in plastic

Later we passed another sign: “low flying owls” ! How bizarre.

A brief detour from the Downs Link provided a delicious ice cream and we were invited into Slinfold Church only to behold the sight of a family eating loads of doughnuts. Odd.

Double bridge

The waterways were of particular interest on this ride: we marvelled at the famous “double bridge” over the river Arun, which features in the Downs Link logo. After a pleasant lunchtime at the Mucky Duck (with a clock that goes backwards) we came across another waterway wonder: Drungewick Aquaduct, where the canal actually goes over the. River Lox. Pretty spectacular.

Double Bridge info board

Things got more normal after that, apart from seeing a sign “Holiday Home for Hens” outside a farm ????

We heard a cuckoo and spotted two buzzards too.

It was mighty hot on the ride but intrepid souls that we are we managed and had a really lovely ride.

Many thanks Jim for leading this very enjoyable ride.

Prudence

Low Flying Aeroplanes notice


News

30 May 2018

Dear All

My computer crashed at the end of last week and it’s only just been fixed. I think I’ve managed to catch up with replying to emails – but if anyone still hasn’t received a reply please get in touch again.

You’ll see that I’ve left Jim’s piece on the Bath-Bristol ride in September for at least a second time.

Poor (not so) old Simon Yates- but what a performance for someone barely in his mid-20s.

Clarion History
I ended my end-of-the-newsletter piece on Clarion history with an account of how I learned that the Cycling Club was still going decades after I assumed it had died out. This has inspired Bob to tell us about his first unexpected encounter with the CCC. And here it is:

Ian

If your Clarion riders at Bourne YH were indeed en route to Skegness, you are forgiven for being hazy about the year, as Easter Meet was at Skegness in each of the years 1971, 1972, 1977, 1981, 1987 and 1991.

My intro came at Easter 1996. I took the train to Llandudno with David and Jeane Lepper, for the Co-operative Party conference.
I had my bike with me, so as to ride back to Brighton after the conference.

From Llandudno railway station I was riding to the Co-op Party conference hotel when a weather beaten mature cyclist caught me up, then greeted me with

“Eh up, lad, off to Conference?” I concurred.

“Right, follow me, it’s this way.”

We went in the back entrance of a sea front hotel, into a large room full of bikes and riders. Cries of ‘Boots’ and ‘Spurs’ resounded.

I guessed I was NOT at the Co-op Party Conference; so enquired further, liked the explanation of a cycling club linked to socialism, and signed up to membership there and then.

I was dismayed to have to go on to the Co-op Party Conference, but I did sneak round to the Clarion Meet again over the weekend.

Bob

Message from Roger – Cycling round the world!
The circumference of the world is 40,075 km. That’s equivalent to 69,215 laps of the Preston Park velodrome.
So what?

Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) has issued a challenge to the cyclists of Brighton and Hove (and anywhere else). Let’s all cycle around the track until we’ve jointly done the equivalent of once round the world!

Why?
You guessed it – fund-raising, but it is for a very good cause. BHT runs First Base, a drop-in centre for rough sleepers and others with housing problems. It provides help with healthcare, training, learning and accommodation. Everyone is welcome and there are early morning sessions for rough sleepers. Last year 508 people were helped and 220 cases of homelessness prevented.

Guess what!
First Base needs funds. So, if you’d like to help, get yourself some sponsors and bring your bike to Preston Park on Sunday 1st July (not a Clarion ride day). In fact, how about a Clarion get-together at 12 noon?

The boring bit!
Click here to register (£15 fee) and print a sponsorship form or create a JustGiving page.

Other rides are available

If riding round the World isn’t exciting enough for you, BHT is also raising money with two country rides on the same day (30 or 58 miles). Click here for details.

Roger

Bath-Bristol Weekend Ride: 1-2 September 2018
The weekend of 1-2 September will feature two wonderful rides. On the Saturday we will repeat the ride from Bath to Bristol that we last did in 2012, with some additional options. The Bath-Bristol cycle path was one of the first dedicated cycle paths to be created in the UK, and the route abounds with information boards about the area’s rich history. The basic ride will be about 25 miles long, but there will be longer and shorter options; as we have all day, we can take it nice and slowly (stopping to read the information boards is mandatory!)

The Sunday will feature the amazing Two Tunnels Greenway from Bath to Midford, which opened the year after our last visit. The two refurbished, dimly-lit railway tunnels on the former Somerset & Dorset line (one a mile long) create a unique experience which it is difficult to convey adequately in words. We’ll return to Bath via the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath, which we used last time. The circular ride is about 16 miles long. Being on old railway lines, both rides are largely undulation-free.

So far, six of us have signed up for the weekend, but we would welcome more.

Most of us are staying in Bath Youth Hostel, but of course there are plenty of hotels in Bath if you don’t fancy the hostel. It will be necessary to travel to Bath on the Friday in order to leave enough time for the Saturday ride. The return journey can be on Sunday or Monday. (NB the hostel is unfortunately on a hill, so if you are seriously allergic to hills you might want to look elsewhere.)

Participants book their own accommodation; if you want to stay at the hostel, you will have to book soon as it is currently undergoing a partial rebuild and has fewer beds than usual. But do contact me first (j.r.grozier@btinternet.com) as there may be spare beds in rooms that have already been booked by members of our group.

Jim.


Clarion History – 2 Robert Blatchford before the Clarion

30 May 2018

Robert Blatchford, 1851-1943, was, together with his brother Montagu who later became one of the Clarion team writing mainly about the theatre and music, was the child of ‘strolling players.’ He was born in Maidstone and raised by his mother, Georgina after his father died in 1853. It was a pretty hand-to-mouth childhood with frequent moves and little in the way of a formal education, though Blatchford managed to read Dickens, the Bible and other books which would have a clear influence on his later writing style.

By 1862 the Blatchfords were in Halifax and in 1864 Robert was apprenticed to a brushmaker. At the factory he met his future wife, Sarah who he would marry in 1880. For reasons that are still not totally clear he ran away, walked to Hull and eventually made his way to London and was next heard of as a promising recruit for the British army in which he was eventually promoted to sergeant. His time in the army was a formative experience. His first biographer A Neil Lyons would maintain in a Clarion article after the outbreak of war in 1914 that the army was in his case the equivalent of university. Certainly he was later fond of writing tales of army life based on his own experience such as Tommy Atkins of the Ramchunders published in 1895. And, as I mentioned last time, his army years provided the origin of the Clarion CC greeting ‘Boots!’ and ‘Spurs!’

After leaving the army Blatchford worked as a clerk for Weaver Navigation which connected the Manchester Ship Canal with the Trent and Mersey Canal via the famous Anderton Boat Lift. In his spare time he concentrated on improving his written English and teaching himself shorthand with a view to becoming a journalist. By this time he was a friend of Alexander Thompson whose background involved an even more peripatetic childhood than Blatchford’s.

Thompson – who became the Clarion‘s ‘Dangle’ and by 1914 the paper’s virtual editor – was 10 years younger than Blatchford. Born in Karlsruhe he always insisted that German was his first language and by the mid to late 1860s was living with his parents in Paris. At the age of 10 he witnessed the horrific suppression of the Paris Commune during the Semaine Sanglante (or ‘Bloody Week’) In the Edwardian years Thompson would enjoy a second career as a successful librettist of a number of musicals including at least one smash hit. But that’s running too far ahead of the story.

By the early 1880s Thompson was working on the Manchester-based Sporting Chronicle. Through his journalistic contacts he helped Blatchford get his first newspaper job with Bell’s Life in London.

This one one of the many publications of the rising press baron Edward Hulton who, after Blatchford had written some articles for it from 1885, took him on as a leader writer – a very well-paid job – for his new Manchester paper The Sunday Chronicle. It was at this stage that he acquired his long-term pen-name Nunquam (short for Nunquam dormio – I never sleep) which he used on a number of articles exposing the poverty and the often appalling living conditions of many in the Manchester area. These were published as The Nunquam Papers  in 1891. By the end of that year Blatchford left the Hulton empire to start the Clarion – I will give an account if this next time.

Meanwhile, it is enough to say that by that time Blatchford was committed to socialism. Later, in1907, he would give the following account to the Fortnightly Review.

I have never read a page of Marx. I got the idea of collective ownership from H.M. Hyndman the rest of my Socialism I thought out myself. English Socialism is not German: it is English. English Socialism is not Marxian; it is humanitarian. It does not depend upon any theory of “economic justice” but upon humanity and common sense.”

[Henry Hyndman was one of the main founders of the first socialist organisation in Britain in the early 1880s the – much misunderstood – Social-Democratic Federation.]

Ian


The Next Ride: Sunday 27 May 2018

15 May 2018

Christ’s Hospital to Pulborough

Rudgwick – Bucks Green – Tismans Common – Wisborough Green – Kirdford – Pallingham

This ride explores the far reaches of West Sussex – just this side of the Surrey border.

Leaving Christ’s Hospital station, we will ride for 5 miles along part of the Downs Link, the old railway line that runs from Shoreham to Guildford. Along the way we will see the famous “double bridge” over the river Arun, which features in the Downs Link logo.

Not long after leaving the Downs Link we arrive at the lunch stop – the “Mucky Duck” at Tisman’s Common. After lunch we continue south-westwards, and traverse the wonderfully-named (and indeed, wonderful!) Drungewick Lane, a little way along which we will encounter Drungewick Aqueduct, where the Wey & Arun Canal passes over the river Lox. This was, no doubt, a fine piece of engineering when it was first built, but the extensive restoration work, done by the canal trust after decades of neglect had done their worst, is also a thing of wonder.

At Wisborough Green we turn westwards without going anywhere near the dreaded A272. At Kirdford we turn south. Eventually we will come to a woodland known as The Mens, which is apparently an internationally important nature reserve.

The thing about having crossed the Arun at Rudgwick is that we now have to get back across it; and bridges here are few and far between. It seems most of the traffic passing over Pallingham Bridge has four legs, and despite this being part of the Wey-South Path, the result is not pretty, nor pleasant to walk on. (We will have to dismount, for sure). Unfortunately for Pallingham, this bridge, and the nearby quay, is the area’s main claim to fame. Pallingham is the tidal limit of the river, 25 miles from the sea. At 37 miles in total, the Arun is the longest river entirely in Sussex, according to Wikipedia.

Back on firmer ground, we’ll traverse a short, pleasant bridleway and then back onto tarmac for the long haul up the one serious hill, which ascends the ridge overlooking Pulborough and the lower Arun Valley. Then a long whizz downhill to Pulborough Station.

Length: 23 miles.

Duration: about 6 hours including lunch.

Terrain: Apart from half a mile of the B2133, all the roads and paths are quiet. The surface of the Downs Link is hard, compacted earth and stones, which may get slightly muddy if it rains. The track leading to the Arun bridge is bumpy, and around the bridge it may be very soft and uneven, but this does not go on for long. One hill (see above).

Start at Christ’s Hospital station at 10:45 am.

Getting there: The 9.42 Bedford train will get you to Christs Hospital on time, but the change at Three Bridges is only 7 minutes, which may be a problem if the Bedford train is late. I would recommend instead getting the 9.27 Victoria train and changing at Gatwick Airport, where we get 15 minutes. Get a return to Pulborough.

Getting back: There is one train an hour from Pulborough in each direction. It is possible to get to Brighton via either Three Bridges or Ford, taking roughly the same time (about 1.5 hours).

Jim.


The Last Ride: 13 May 2018: Ford to Littlehampton (with added Yapton)

15 May 2018

This was a ride with a difference. The difference was that the lovely Binsted Wood, which we rode through on a nice quiet lane, is under threat from a road-building scheme which is poised to cut a huge, noisy, polluting swathe through the wood and cut it off from the nearby village. This despite an alternative, much simpler, and no doubt cheaper, option which merely bypasses the famous A27 bottleneck at Arundel station and avoids the wood altogether. Our leader, Angela D, handed out leaflets from the Save Binsted Wood campaign to every cyclist we met, and implored them to sign the petition and write to their MP. Please take the time to look at the website and support this campaign. There is a map showing the various options here.

Binsted Lane

Binsted Lane – by Jim

Angela led Angela C, Graham, Marilyn, Sikka, Wendy and me around a 15-mile route, painstakingly devised by her and Wendy, which featured two churches, a prison, and an aeroplane on a stick. We welcomed Graham on his first Clarion ride; he had found us via our excellent website, hand-crafted by our own Fred Pipes.

IMG_5101

The Madonna Pond – by Wendy

We visited the Madonna Pond, and heard the fascinating story of local artist Lorna Wishart. We reached Climping via a delightful byway across a cornfield, but the proposed sea-bathing option was shelved due to the failure of the Met Office to deliver warm weather. The lunch menu, at the Black Horse in Climping, was uncharacteristically restricted, with almost nothing for veggies or vegans; I opted for cheesy chips, while Wendy’s chips were cheese-free, but only after rejecting a duplicate portion of the cheesy variety that had been produced by the chaotic food ordering system. However, any shortcomings in the lunch department were more than made up for by a truly excellent coffee stop at Edgcumbes in Ford Lane, with exotic drinks and delicious snacks all round.

IMG_5110

Crossing the field – by Wendy

Reaching the River Arun at Littlehampton, Sikka and Graham decided to ride further east, while the remaining five of us rode down to the West Beach Café for ice cream, and a quick look at the old fort, whose defences have been rendered somewhat useless by the towering sand dunes that have built up in front of it. On the train back, we were entertained by a busker, and thanked Angela and Wendy for a memorable ride.

Remember … PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION!

Jim.

Wendy scampering up the dunes

Wendy scampering up the dunes – by Jim


News

15 May 2018

Dear All

Even more summer rides are now spoken for – but 10 June is still vacant.  Anyone? We’ll need a ride for description for the next newsletter, after Jim’s ride, if there is going to be one.

I realise that not everyone who reads this newsletter is interested in cycling as a sport. But our friend Peter Roscoe might never forgive me if I failed to point out that Simon Yates, currently leading the Giro D’Italia, generally regarded as the second most important 3 week race after the Tour de France, began cycling – together with his twin brother Adam – in the Bury Clarion

Latest from Julian

I rang Julian yesterday to see how he’s getting on and whether he needed anything. He says he has lots of helpers and feels he is making progress albeit quite slowly. You can contact him via arkell@arkell.info

Proposed changes to the Highway Code

The following item in the current edition of Cycleclips rang a bell – or two:

Breaking bad habits

Is there any cyclist out there who hasn’t been passed too closely by an overtaking driver? Or been cut up by a left-turning vehicle? Or been ‘doored’ by a driver or passenger not looking behind them? These common acts of bad driving are very off-putting to experienced and budding cyclists alike, and we’re asking the Government to make some simple changes to The Highway Code to tackle them. Read more from our Campaigns Officer, Keir Gallagher, in the fourth blog of a series outlining some of the key proposals we’re making in our response to the Government’s review of cycling and pedestrian safety.

To find out what Cycling Uk is proposing by way of changes in the Highway Code go to Cycleclips on the  cyclinguk.org website.

Clarion History

As you may have noticed it’s a while since I included the feature I ran for several years ‘The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and Cycling in the 1890s’ in the newsletter. There are a number of reasons for this – I’ve been very busy with other things, I’m running short of material and for reasons I won’t bore you with it’s become more complicated to collect more.

Then I read the following in Jim’s email about Boots and Spurs – ‘Also there is the rich Clarion history that we have learned about from Ian – both the history of the cycling, and also the history of the wider Clarion movement.’   Well. I’ve done quite a bit on the cycling aspect – but not a great deal – in the newsletter – on the wider Clarion movement. So, encouraged by Jim, I’ll try to make amends.   I’m going to start this time with an account of how I came across both the paper and the cycling club. This will I hope, establish my ‘credentials’ for writing about all this.  Then next time – or, if not, sometime soon – I’ll give an account of how it came about that Blatchford started The Clarion at the end of 1891.

Ian

Bath-Bristol Weekend Ride: 1-2 September 2018

The weekend of 1-2 September will feature two wonderful rides. On the Saturday we will repeat the ride from Bath to Bristol that we last did in 2012, with some additional options. The Bath-Bristol cycle path was one of the first dedicated cycle paths to be created in the UK, and the route abounds with information boards about the area’s rich history. The basic ride will be about 25 miles long, but there will be longer and shorter options; as we have all day, we can take it nice and slowly (stopping to read the information boards is mandatory!)

The Sunday will feature the amazing Two Tunnels Greenway from Bath to Midford, which opened the year after our last visit. The two refurbished, dimly-lit railway tunnels on the former Somerset & Dorset line (one a mile long) create a unique experience which it is difficult to convey adequately in words. We’ll return to Bath via the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath, which we used last time. The circular ride is about 16 miles long. Being on old railway lines, both rides are largely undulation-free. If you need further convincing, take a look at the report from 2012. (Note that the tunnel pictured there is on the Bath-Bristol route – it’s not one of the Two Tunnels that we are doing this time).

So far, six of us have signed up for the weekend, but we would welcome more.

Most of us are staying in Bath Youth Hostel, but of course there are plenty of hotels in Bath if you don’t fancy the hostel. It will be necessary to travel to Bath on the Friday in order to leave enough time for the Saturday ride. The return journey can be on Sunday or Monday. (NB the hostel is unfortunately on a hill, so if you are seriously allergic to hills you might want to look elsewhere.)

Participants book their own accommodation; if you want to stay at the hostel, you will have to book soon as it is currently undergoing a partial rebuild and has fewer beds than usual. But do contact me first as there may be spare beds in rooms that have already been booked by members of our group.

Jim.