The Next Ride

14 October 2018

Sunday 28 October 2018:

Glynde to Berwick via Ripe, Laughton, Chiddingly and Muddles Green

*** Please email Graham if you are coming (see below) ***

This ride welcomes all those clarionistas who remembered to put their alarm clocks back 1 hour on the Saturday.

Also please remember that sunset is at 16:42 so make sure that you have working cycle lights. We will need to keep to schedule to make the 15:55 train back in daylight.

This is a delightful and easy 18 mile ride down some lovely quite and largely flat lanes and byways which should provide some amazing autumn colours. I believe the last version of the ride was done by Sue in Nov 2011

From Glynde station we will make our way to Middle Farm, following the cycle path on the north side of the A27 for coffee at the café there.

Then from the farm car park we follow a quite lane north east to Ripe where we turn left towards Laughton via church lane. Turning right onto the Lewes Road at Laughton we pass the Roebuck inn and then turn left onto a track leading into Laughton common wood and then Vert wood (This track is wide and flat with a better surface than much of the downslink).

Emerging a mile and a half later we cross the A22 and curve round to Chiddingly and our lunch stop at the Six Bells pub. This pub has lots of atmosphere and could well have a Jazz band playing depending on what time we arrive.

After lunch we go the short distance to Muddles green where we will call in at Farleys House and Gallery where there is an exhibition on of unseen images from the Lee Miller Archives and The Penrose Collection.

Then we cross the A22 again and follow a long straight byway-lane-byway for 3 miles ending to the east of Chalvington. From there it is a short spin to Berwick station.

Length: 18 miles and largely flat including about 3 miles on byways.

Duration: 6 hours including stops

Meet: at Brighton station at 9:40 to catch the 10:05 train to Glynde (Buy a return ticket to Berwick) Start: We will start the ride at 10:30 at Glynde station for anyone arriving by car.

Return: from Berwick at 15:55 (last train in daylight)

Warning : on the 28th there are no London bound trains and as a consequence Southern have lengthened the Glynde train to 8 carriages which is too long for the platform. Please check the signs and only get on I think the front four Carriages.

To help me book lunch please email me if you are coming.





14 October 2018

14 October 2018

Dear All

It’s always unfortunate when a ride has to be cancelled – but it’s no fun getting soaked while pretending you’re enjoying yourself. I’m sure Jim did the right thing in cancelling this morning in the light of the forecast.

Graham has switched the dates for the next two rides . We’re just looking for offers for 25 November and 9 December now.

I’m sending this out two days earlier than usual – it gives everyone maximum time to look at the next ride. If anyone was planning to send a report for this newsletter I will send it out separately – if I get it, of course!


In the next newsletter I’m planning to include the possible dates for rides in 2019 so that if I’ve got it wrong you can put me right. I always try to avoid rides at the beginning and end of BST 31 March and 27 October in 2019 – especially the first where there’s always the danger that someone will turn for the start of the ride only to find everyone else has left an hour before – and the London-Brighton Bike Ride on 16 June. If anyone can think of any other dates we should avoid please let me know at once.

In Case You Missed It

Just now and then you get a message that makes you feel that in our very small scale and modest way we are doing something worthwhile as well as enjoying ourselves. If you’re in the google group (see below if you’re not) you will already have seen this – but it’s not something I would want anyone to miss. Haven’t yet checked with Fred and Jim – can we take up Emily’s suggestion?   And would a report based on this be a good idea for the proposed Christmas Boots and Spurs. Let me know what you think

My name is Rachel Walters, and I just wanted to let you know how much my daughter Emily enjoyed your page, . She just recently learned to ride a bicycle at the end of the summer, and has been really hooked on it since! Her birthday was over the weekend, and we finally got her her own, as she’d been learning on a bike we borrowed from my sister’s kids who are a few years older. Needless to say she was ecstatic!

Emily has been spending her computer/free time reading about biking safety, tips, and upkeep- And that is how she came across your page- She called me over quite a few times to point out things she was learning, and I mentioned that it might be nice to send you a quick thank you note- Emily thought that it’d be great to share another article about basic bike maintenance,– as well! I thought it was a neat article, and was hoping you’d be able to include it on your page? I’d love to show her that she could contribute another helpful biking article- she’d be thrilled!

I’m proud of her for being so proactive about learning more about safety and upkeep for her new bike! Thanks again for providing such cool and helpful resources for bike enthusiasts new and old! Hope you enjoy the article Emily wanted to share, and if you end up being able to include it, please let me know so I can tell her! Have a great day and hope to speak again soon!

Denis Pye Memorial

Denis, the author of Fellowship is Life: The Story of the Clarion Cycling Club which I strongly recommend to anyone without a copy, sadly died earlier this year. I’ve recently had a letter from Charles Jepson of the ‘1895 Clarion’ about a plan to remember him with a memorial bench at the Clarion House – run by the Nelson ILP Clarion Society – at Roughlee and asking for donations. I met Denis a couple of times early in the century – and I’ve visited the Clarion House. I’ve sent a small donation; should you want to do the same, send a cheque made out to NCCC1895 to Wendy Pye at 34 Temple Road, Halliwell, Bolton BL1 3LT

Google Group

As I mentioned last time it’s good to see so much useful discussion in the google-group. If you’re not in it do join   It’s on the web page:

Graham’s ‘Rehab’ programme

Good to hear that Graham’s great idea of short rides on Thursdays is starting to work. If it keeps up long enough I hope to be able to join in at some point. I’ve recently had X rays of my left knee and hip which has shown degree of arthritis and I’m waiting to hear from the orthopaedic folk to see what I should do next. I may have to follow Sean’s example.

Until yesterday I hadn’t been on the bike since before the fall I had in August which resulted in six stitches in my nose. I’d been having a bit of trouble getting on and off the bike before then and the fall -although it had nothing to do with that – just shook my confidence. But I managed a tiny ride on the seafront yesterday and I’m hoping – leg etc permitting – to gradually work up; from there and perhaps join the rehab group.

Good to hear also that the Mitre meeting was so productive of good ideas

Re: Good News for Bury Clarion

After my reference to the success of Simon Yates in the Vuelta I had a message from our old friend and keen reader of our ride reports Peter Roscoe. He writes:

Pleasing to see you mention me in relation to the Yates brothers. I liked the bit about keeping chips warm – I’m always dismayed on holiday when the meal plates have not been warmed properly. There must be a market for plates that can be kept warm during a meal.i.e. battery heated.

Bury Clarion are enjoying some glorious years. I managed to be relieved of Secretary, Treasurer and Membership Secretary at this year’s AGM. At 84 I have some personal affairs to sort out.

I was baffled for half a second by the reference to chips – then I remembered Nick’s report. Peter really does read our ride reports!



Clarion History

14 October 2018

11 The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club – a national link-up?

We’re still in 1894 -and indeed rather earlier in that year than last time. In trying to give an idea of how the Clarion developed and what it stood for; I want to tie in as far as I can something of the story of the CCC, using where possible some of the material I collected and put out in earlier newsletters some years ago. Two episodes back I used Tom Groom’s ‘Advance Birmingham’ letter which appeared in the paper at the end of April 1894. A month later the piece that follows appeared. It’s part of a report from ‘Manchester and District’ by Leonard Hall. Hall was a long-term ILP activist, probably best known later on, in 1910, as one of the authors of the ‘Green Manifesto’ (not an environmental tract, I’m afraid, but so called from the cover of the booklet). Its official name was Let Us Reform the Labour Party (yes, even then!). The story is told – I think I can allow myself a plug after all this hard work – in one of my chapters (the ‘political’ rather than ‘union’ ones) of Logie Barrow and Ian Bullock,Democratic Ideas and the British Labour Movement, 1880-1914, Cambridge University Press, 1996, now available in affordable paperback from CUP! I’m drawing on this a lot for other episodes of this ‘history’ But enough of this self-promotion – here’s Hall’s report from the end of May 1894

The latest and greatest ‘idea’ in the world is that of a National ‘Clarion’ Cycling Club with local centres. The electrical Tom Grooms and the oak-hearted Harry Atkinsons of Birmingham have the honour of inspiration but there is nothing ‘Brummagem’ about it. These neighbours of Joseph the Pneumatic have already a lively little society of ‘jiggers’ who wear in their caps a natty gilt badge consisting of a miniature bugle with the legend ‘Clarion’ in silver letters – all permanent wear and who not only enjoy themselves but spread the gospel by way of sticking I.L.P. labels and texts wheresoever they wander on wheels. Besides which they can lend a hand – or rather a voice – at struggling branch meetings in adjacent districts wherever occasion calls.
. . .
I.L.P. cyclists – and their name is now legion – all over the country can have the aforementioned emblems by applying to Comrade Chris Thompson, 253 Park Road, Hockley, Birmingham, who is the designer. And local societies that wish to fall in with the National ‘C’ C.C. should communicate with the same gentleman at once, as it is proposed to organise a great gathering of the clans later in the summer at some convenient centre – say Derbyshire.
. . .
By the way, why not have a great ‘Clarion’ picnic for all and sundry some August weekend, in some happy English valley, to which should come the faithful from the four corners of the world, on wheels, on legs, in trains, ye Bounder to preside over the revels and – er- the vittles.

Which, among much else, tells us about the origin of the Clarion silver badge.


Next Time       Hail Referendum! (no certainly not that one!)


The Next Ride

2 October 2018

Sunday 14 October 2018

Today’s ride has been CANCELLED due to bad weather.


The Last Ride. Nick’s Report

2 October 2018

30 September 2018

Bosham – Bosham/Itchenor Ferry – Witterings – Chichester

Clarion cyclists: Wendy, Wendy, Angela, Angela, Sally, Jim, Graham, Nick, Prudence, Tessa & Wilma

Angela and Wendy’s promise of ‘country lanes interspersed with watery views and cycle paths’ in a route from Bosham to Chichester attracted eleven cyclists on the last day of September. The weather was dry with occasional sunny spells, but there was a slight autumnal chill in the air too.

Bosham church was our first destination when leaving Bosham station. Although the church has been around since Anglo-Saxon times and features in the Domesday Book and Bayeux Tapestry, I had been there recently and didn’t stay inside the church for too long. A service had just finished when we arrived and the pleasant smell of incense lingered in the air, as we investigated what is Clarion member Julian’s favourite Sussex church.

September 30, 2018: Bosham – Bosham/Itchenor Ferry – Witterings – Chichester

While the others continued to spend time taking in the historic significance of Bosham church, I waited outside and was advised by a stranger on the best bike shops in the area and the correct way to fix the loose bearings in my back wheel.

When the rest of the group emerged from their Sunday morning church experience, we all headed off to the highly anticipated ferry journey we had all been looking forward to. As we approached the Itchenor/Bosham ferry, Wendy’s back tyre developed a sudden puncture, which she decided to fix during the scheduled coffee break planed after we had completed the ferry crossing.

September 30, 2018: Bosham – Bosham/Itchenor Ferry – Witterings – Chichester

L-R Prudence, Sally, Jim, Wendy T, Wilma, Tessa, Graham, Wendy S, Angela C, Angela D

The narrow plank used to carry bikes onto a tiny ferry a few years ago, has been replaced with a more user-friendly system. Cyclists are now able to wheel their bikes onto the ferry with ease and I was surprised that the ferry was able to accommodate all eleven cyclists and their bikes. I don’t recall the tiny ferry from my last visit in 2010 being quite so spacious.

The ferry crossing to Itchenor was very brief (most of us would have liked the ferry ride in sunshine to have lasted a little longer). For the leisurely cyclists in the group, it was good to follow the crossing with a coffee break in the excellent Quarterdeck cafe. We managed to complete an entire loyalty card and must return for our free cup of coffee soon.

We all gathered outside the Quarterdeck cafe, with the shipyard backdrop, to watch Wendy and Graham’s masterclass in how to fix a bicycle puncture. The puncture was fixed very quickly and Wendy was pumping up her revitalised tyre just as we finished drinking our cups of coffee.

September 30, 2018: Bosham – Bosham/Itchenor Ferry – Witterings – Chichester

We then headed to the sandy beaches of West Wittering, which entailed  the longest period of cycling of the day so far. On a warmer day, a pre-lunch dip in the sea would have been a great idea. Although I hadn’t packed my trunks, I was impressed that some members of the group were considering a late September swim in the sea.

September 30, 2018: Bosham – Bosham/Itchenor Ferry – Witterings – Chichester

It was a short ride from West Wittering to the lunch stop at The Old House, where their chips are still served in buckets. I thought chips in buckets were an unnecessary fad until relatively recently, when I realised that the metal of the bucket helps to keep the chips warm.

Wendy and Angela had no time to discuss the presentation of chips (or buckets) because they were busy fine-tuning the final leg of their cycle ride. There was a brief discussion about whether we should turn left or right as we left the pub. The decision was taken to turn right, which led us to the final part of the day’s ride.

The final part of the day’s ride took us along the Chichester canal, with plenty of moorhens and swans to keep us company. This was a great way to reach Chichester station and avoid the roads.

Black swan

I was surprised how close to the station the canal route took us. The only negative aspect of the afternoon’s ride was that Wendy’s puncture problem reappeared and her back tyre had to be pumped up again.

Thanks to Angela and Wendy for expertly crafting a fascinating ride on completely flat terrain. We should certainly consider doing this one again in the future.


Wendy adds:

When Julian heard about our proposed visit to Bosham he was keen that we shouldn’t miss out on visiting the church, which is one of his favourite Sussex churches.  Glad we did.  Hopefully everyone got to see his notes from a talk he’d attended – I passed them round in the church.  Julian had looked out all his Sussex church books to show me, as this is another of his many ’special interests’, so maybe the photo can go in the ride report. I think we have several people who like a good church stop on a Clarion ride, so if anyone wants any further info on a particular church, Julian’s the man!


2 October 2018

2 October 2018

Dear All

Thanks to Roger for looking after the last two newsletters when I was away.

Graham has taken on 28 October and 11 November so we now need offers just for 25 November and the final ride of the year on 9 December if anyone is thinking that far ahead.   I think the London line will be operational again by then – but it’s always best to check any trains needed at an early stage before putting too much time and effort into planning a ride.

Beginning while I was away there has been considerable discussion in the googlegroup about the possibility of including some shorter and easier rides in our programme.   I think this is right. We have always had a variety of different sorts of rides in our programme. For example, some of us aren’t keen on off-road cycling while others prefer it and if you look back at the rides we’ve done since 2004 you’ll see that we’ve always had plenty of both kinds. Similarly, we’ve had more and less demanding rides. Before I was put out of contention (I hope temporally) by my leg problem the rides I was hoping to offer this year were all in this category and I hoped they might attract people who had not been on a ride recently.

Following up on the discussion, Graham has come up with what seems to me – and judging by the responses via the google-group others as well – an excellent idea for helping to get those of us who need it back into shape. I just wish I was up to taking part in it at the moment – but I live in hope!   Of course one would have to add to Graham’s mileage whatever it would take to get to and from the Peace Statue but this is a really good suggestion. At the end of his suggested programme Graham says ‘Could start next week.’

As always when you’ve been away, I’ve had a lot to catch up on – apart from Clarion things and am almost certainly out of touch. So, I’m not sure whether or not any of the suggested rides have taken place. It would be good to have some brief report or reports – not necessarily more than a sentence of two – about how it is going.   Anyway, with thanks again to Graham, here it is again

Graham’s ‘Rehab’ programme

Every Thursday weather permitting at 11am

Starting point Angel of Peace Statue

Initially 5 ride lengths with cafe half way.

  1. 4 miles Return   (Big Beach Cafe Hove Lagoon)
  2. 8 miles Return   (Carrots  Cafe Shoreham Harbour)
  3. 12 miles return     (East Beach Cafe’s Shoreham)
  4. 16 miles return     (Lancing Beach Cafe)
  5. 20 miles return     (A Steyning tea room) (Drop out at 1 or 2)

You can drop out, take a break and return at any of the Cafe points.

Longest ride maybe 3 hours  + Cafe  (Strictly no photo stops or reading of nature signs or eating roadside fauna or flora)

Group decides distance on the day

Should self function

Good News for Bury Clarion

It was good to see that Bury Clarion got a mention in reports in both Guardian and Observer when Simon Yates won the Vuelta (Tour of Spain – one of the 3 three-week grands tours.) I’m sure our friend – and regular reader of this newsletter, Peter Roscoe, Bury’s long-time secretary, was pleased.

Usual episode of Clarion history at the end of the newsletter,



Clarion History 10: The Clarion and John Lister

2 October 2018

We saw in the last episode how much Blatchford objected to the very notion of ‘leadership;’ He rejected it in Clarion articles on ‘Real Democracy’ and ‘On Leaders’ in the summer of 1894. He always conceded that he was in a minority, even among socialists, in taking such ideas so far. And there was considerable debate in the paper featuring those who disagreed with him. One such was John Lister, who was among other things, the national treasurer of the ILP.. Perhaps a slightly unlikely ILP, Lister was a Wykehamist, an Oxford graduate and the owner of Shilden Hall near Halifax, a town he would stand twice unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate for the ILP. In the Clarion on 15 July he recognised the necessity for democratic control but entered some caveats about leaders and elected representatives. Responding to Blatchford he gave his opinion that

…a large amount of individual freedom must be left to the selected ones. This, not in the interest of the leaders themselves, but of those they represent and guide. To me the essential thing seems to be that really the fittest men for any special work be selected.

Provocative words – if you were Robert Blatchford.

But the debate died down over the summer – for one thing the staff of the Clarion were up to their ears busily bringing out the penny edition of Merrie England. In November the debate was resumed with a new intensity when the behaviour – or alleged behaviour – of Lister on Halifax council seemed to epitomise ‘the never-ending audacity of elected persons.’ The facts of the case were hotly disputed but, as initially presented in the Clarion, concerned suspicions of secret dealings with the Liberals by Lister and his colleague as a town councillor representing the local constituent of the ILP, the Halifax Labour Union, James Beever. Such activity would have been anathema especially to advocates of the ‘Manchester Fourth Clause’ like Blatchford.

Whether or not they were guilty of such things Blatchford argued that it was ‘quite clear that they were guilty of another and equally serious offence and that is insubordination.’ Lister had refused ‘to act according to the direction of his constituents when on the Council’ and Beever had refused to publicly deny charges of Liberalism. They were both prominent and popular people who had served the movement well in the past, but that just made it more clear that ‘the only course open to Halifax Labour Union is to expel both of these members from the I.L.P.’

A heated controversy inevitably followed with Hardie defending Lister in the Labour Leader. Blatchford insisted that

Socialism without Democracy would be a state of abominable tyranny. Democracy means that the people shall manage their own affairs…

One critic of Blatchford and defender of Lister in the Clarion itself was Edward Carpenter – ironically enough the declared disciple of the very Walt Whitman so often cited by the Clarion editor as a steadfast democrat. Carpenter attacked ‘the dancing doll theory’ and supported Hardie on the Halifax business and eulogised John Lister. Like so many other Clarion campaigns in the 1890s the Clarion – or in this case Blatchford himself – lost out. But this does not mean that the issues raised are not important -even in the 21st century




Next Time   The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club – a national link-up?