The Next Ride: Sunday 28 April 2019 – Bluebell wood ride, Angmering to Littlehampton 

22 April 2019

From the station we cycle North over the A259 and through Angmering village. Turning left into Dappers Lane we go under the A27 and veer left, then straight ahead onto the bridle path. This leads us to the top of the Downs and West onto the Monarch’s Way which commemorates the route taken by King Charles II in 1651 after being defeated at the battle of Worcester. And here, blossoming beneath the tall trees of the forest, we expect to see a vast carpet of bluebells.

The track from here is well surfaced and almost entirely downhill, taking us past the red post which marks the spot where the last person was hanged in Sussex in 1771. Quiet lanes lead us to the A27 which we cross at Arundel station and re-cross to enter Arundel itself for lunch.

Lunch is in Belinda’s Tea Rooms where we can only eat if we book in advance. If you want to eat there please let us know and we will include you.

After lunch we make our way to the roundabout on the West side of the river Arun, take the Ford road for a few yards and cross onto quiet roads leading uphill, along a short footpath, onto a short stretch right and uphill then left for a long downhill ride with open country views to Tottington. There to rejoin the busy Ford road which takes us down to the A259 where we cross to enjoy a quieter road that leads to the bridge over the River Arun and into Littlehampton. Here the option of a train home or a search for further refreshments.

The terrain is mixed, with some off-road stony earth tracks, the surface firmer after dry weather, one busy main road past Ford, the rest being small, quiet country roads.

Trains: Brighton station 10 am train direct to Angmering, arriving 10.38. Disruptions on the train journey back means returning from Littlehampton at 14 minutes past the hour direct as far as Hove, but change for Brighton in Preston Park on the 16.14 or in Hove on the 17.14 . (There are trains at 0.31 which do not go via Hove and require a change in Ford with a wait of 29 minutes to get to Brighton!)



The Last Ride: Sunday 7 April 2019 – Berwick to Hastings – Sally and Nick Report

15 April 2019

Berwick to Hastings by way of Arlington, Abbots Wood, Glynleigh Levels. Pevensey Levels, Normans Bay and Bexhill.

Part 1 (Sally)

Graham led his flock of 12 assorted cyclists from Berwick station (most of us having arrived from Brighton on the 10.05 train) on a varied and beautiful excursion through farmland and woodland, over marshes and along the shoreline, to the De La Warr Pavilion, where four of us peeled away after a late lunch to take the 16.30 train home from Bexhill station: Angela C., Bill, Wendy Taylor, and Sally. This was Bill’s first ride with the Clarion and it was his birthday. Welcome, Bill, please come on lots more rides. The other nine carried on for après ride activities in Hastings, and I cannot say what they got up to there: Graham, Wendy Scott, Angela D., Prudence, Tessa, Sikka, Nick, David, Chris.

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

The day was mild and hazy, with a thin mist that never quite cleared, and at one stage turned into a gentle sprinkle of rain. Most of the rain fell while we were in the Pavilion, eating expensive but very nice food, and looking at an exhibition on Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, called “And Still I Rise” (after a poem by Maya Angelou), and paintings by Hayv Kahramans, Iraqi Kurd artist who had left as a refugee during the first Gulf War, when she was still a little girl.

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

Our ride was remarkable for the virtual absence of undulations, just the occasional hump-backed bridge over the many watercourses on the Levels. The woodland edges were embroidered with birdsong and emergent wild-flowers. I look forward to seeing Nick’s (and perhaps also Tessa’s) pictures of ladies’ smocks along the ditches, primroses, ferns, wood anemones, bluebells just beginning to unfurl, dog violets, lesser celandines…Not many insects about, and though we took in a snatch of the Cuckoo Trail, no hint of a cuckoo.

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

Along the Levels, the lanes followed the drainage ditches for much of the way, where last year’s dried reeds and reed-mace were still standing high, pale gold and ghostly, and I couldn’t help thinking how they will be full of birds in a month, when the new stalks have grown. I hope so, anyway. At the side of one lane we were saddened to find a dead badger. Tessa and Sikka caught a glimpse of a stoat (alive), and Wendy T. and Sally saw a red partridge near to Normans Bay; this was alive too but didn’t deserve to be, as it was trying to hurl itself under a car.

It was too early in the season to be tempted into the sea, but on a future occasion we might have to take swimming gear. It’s a relaxed sort of beach, and might be an irresistible destination at the end of a ride on a hot day.

Twenty-two miles for the revellers who went on to Hastings, twenty for the other four of us, and a very pleasant journey it was.

Part 2 (Nick)

After two hours of art, feminism and food in the De La Warr Pavilion, the remaining nine of us were keen to cycle the six miles along the coastal path to Hastings and complete the route devised by Graham. The rain we had observed during lunch had stopped, which made the final leg of the ride a pleasant experience.

April 7, 2919: Berwick to Hastings

When we reached Hastings, three of the group (Sikka, Tessa and Angela D) decided to head straight to Hastings station and return home. The remaining six of us were keen to investigate one of the pubs Graham had researched for the end of the ride.

Before we all headed to a pub in Hastings Old Town, Wendy was keen to follow the main road to see where it led to. We ended up in a car park with a good view of the coastline and marvelled at the effects of dramatic coastal erosion on a path, which had been completely destroyed.

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

Graham’s suggestion of Hastings pub was a good one. The Crown is an independent pub, with local suppliers for its food and drink. I decided I didn’t need any food, so concentrated on sampling an excellent oatmeal stout instead. All the food looked good and Wendy’s vegan rhubarb pudding tasted particularly delicious.

April 7, 2019: Bexhill to Hastings

April 7, 2019: Berwick to Hastings

We spent quite a while in The Crown discussing train times and made the travel options back to Brighton appear more complicated than they really were. Sunday trains can often be uncomfortably packed in the evening, but we found seating together to talk about the great day out out we had all had.

Sally and Nick


15 April 2019

14 April 2019

Dear All

Easter is always difficult with pubs and cafes full to overflowing and difficult to ‘book’ unless you can be 100% accurate about numbers. Hence the longer than usual gap between the April rides. We’re still very well set-up for the next 3 rides but if anyone wants to offer an alternative ride on 12 May for ‘stay-at-homes’ not signed up for the Late Spring break please let me have details ASAP. Likewise for either of the June rides.

Ride Cancellations

We’ve always encouraged as many people as possible to volunteer to lead a ride. A problem that has arisen is that this necessitates sending the mailing list to every ride leader in case they have to cancel, typically because of a really bad weather forecast.

So we’re trying a new system. The cancellation message has always said that I can be phoned on the Saturday afternoon if the ride leader has trouble sending out the cancellation message. The problem with this is that I can’t guarantee to be available every Saturday For example, the day before the ride on 24 March I was in London hobbling down Whitehall on the shorter version of the People’s Vote march. And sometimes I’m going to be away. Roger usually covers for me on these occasions.

So if you need to cancel a ride please phone me well before 5 pm on the Saturday prior to your ride . If you get no answer try any of the following – Roger, Jim,or Graham – all of whom will have the mailing list . It seems extremely unlikely that all four ‘custodians of the list’ will be unavailable at the same time though we will keep things under review. I will give the phone numbers in the cancellation message I send to ride leaders, though, clearly, this won’t be necessary in the case where the ride leader already has the mailing list.

This new system will reduce the number of people who have access to the mailing list and ensure that messages are always sent out blind copied to protect the addresses of those on the list.

Insurance cover and ride leaders

At our AGM last month Graham asked whether our existing insurance covered ride leaders. (see 5.2 of the minutes). I was fairly sure that the answer to the question was ‘yes’, but at the time couldn’t completely recall the message I had received from the national secretary just before Christmas which dealt with the matter. I have now checked it. The relevant part reads as follows:

I have been speaking to our insurance providers regarding insurance cover for ride leaders and club officials and volunteers.

From our brokers at Butterworth Spengler they have said that they “can confirm that all Organisers, Officials and Ride Leaders of the Clarion and your events, will be covered for Third Party Liability insurance under this policy, provided they are members of the Clarion.”

Ian Clarke ended the message by underlining the importance of having third party insurance cover – a very good reason to be a Clarion member.

I recently heard a story whereby a non-Clarion rider rode into the back of a Tesla by accident and was sued for damages of £15,000…so it does and can happen.

Potholes – a frightening statistic

If, like me, you first joined in 1954 you still tend to think of Cycling UK as the CTC. The latest edition of its magazine Cycle has a small item which begins with a frightening statistic – and ends with something we should all support, and when we spot potholes, use. It goes like this:

At least 431 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured on British roads since 2007 because of road defects. That’s why on 3 March Cycling UK launched the UK’s first Pothole Watch to shine a light on the human cost of our crumbling local road networks. We called on Government to fix the roads everyone uses first – the UK’s local roads- before building new motorways and trunk roads. Over the course of one week ,625 potholes were reported via our pothole reporting tool


Message from Angela (D)

There will be a hustings in Brighthelm centre to discuss transport issues on Thursday 25 April 7pm for 7.30 start. Candidates for local elections from all parties will speak for 3 minutes only and then there will be questions from the floor. Lots of issues around cycling we might want to raise, so hope to see Clarionistas there.

Message from Roger

We all love a challenge (I hope)

Slotted neatly between Jim’s 12th May ride and the currently vacant 26th May, is the Greater Brighton Cycle Challenge.

I must of course declare an interest. I’m a trustee of Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) which organises the event. As a result, I’ve had a chance to learn about the work that this wonderful organisation does and to meet some of the people it has been able to help.

It is not just a social landlord. Much of its work is about supporting people who are coping with addiction and mental health problems, and the threat of homelessness that they create.

The Cycle Challenge is an opportunity to raise funds for BHT or for any other charity you choose. I know that some Clarion members have already signed up for one of the longer rides. If you’re not wanting to do 30 or 60 miles, why not join me for a few laps at the Preston Park Velodrome as part of the Around the World Challenge.

Every lap you complete will be counted and will contribute to the target of 66,792 which, if achieved, would get us all the way round the world. Last year, on a pretty hot day, I managed 30 laps. Apparently, we got as far as southern Australia!

You can do as many laps as you like, with as many breaks as you want for tea etc. It starts at 8am and finishes at 5pm. If you can round up some sponsors then you can donate the proceedings to BHT or any other charity of your choice.

You can register on-line. It costs £15 (concessions £5) or £25 for a family. I’ll see you on the way round!


Our predecessor The original Brighton Clarion

15 April 2019

After the last newsletter I received an email from Ken Wells reminding me that he had been a member of the old Brighton Clarion.

Quite early on – soon after the current version started back in 2004 – we tried to find out as much as we could about our predecessor. In one of our newsletters, then known as a circular, that 1 April, I reported as follows:

As a result of the piece that Adam Trimingham put in the Argus the other week I had a call from Brian Hutton. Brian is the paper’s long time cycling correspondent and may be known to some of you (He was a member of a Brighton section of the Club in the later 1940s. Apparently the leading figure was Wally Newman, a local Labour councillor, who I’ve certainly heard of and I’m sure so have some of you Most of the members, though, like Brian himself, tended later to concentrate their efforts with other local clubs like the Brighton Mitre.

Brian actually became a member of the new B&H Clarion, although he was not able to cycle any longer. Sadly, he is no longer with us – Sue and I attended his funeral a few years ago – but happily, as already indicated, Ken certainly is. Below is a piece he wrote for us back in the day. You’ll find much more, with some photos, including one of Dave Gravett who some of us will remember from when he attended early Christmas ‘do’s’ (and the old Brighton Jazz Club)) if you go to the blog, click on the the link to the old website and then on ‘history’ In the meantime here are some of Ken’s recollections.

Ken Wells recalls the Clarion in the late 1940s

I was a member from early 1948 to 1949, when I left to join the Prestonville Nomads, I have been in Brighton Mitre since Prestonville Nomads ended in 1968, and am currently treasurer and official for Sussex CRL.

Unfortunately, I do not have any results from that period, but I remember riding an SCA 25 in September 1948, when Clarion had quite a good team, and several club events. Principal rider was Mike Moreton, another rider for Clarion in that event, and second team counter was Brian James, also a Mitre member who lives at Bracknell. He may have records. Mike Moreton left shortly after to join the Brighton and Hove Wheelers, he is no longer in the district. A few more names of 1948-1949 members, but I have no idea of their whereabouts.

Derek Payne who joined B & H Wheelers later and emigrated to Canada, Derek? Howson, Derek Grover, Brian James. Derek Marsh, who was club captain in 1948
Also ? Bush (cannot remember his first name), Len Blackman, Mike and Pat Moreton.

Pat joined the Prestonville when I did, and Mike Joined B & H wheelers shortlybefore being called up on National Service. National Service was the cause of a lot of people giving up cycling after being posted to distant shores with no bike. Mike was Sussex Pursuit champion and won several other championships in Wheelers colours, Clarion the team prize in an SCA 25 in Sept 48, which was my first 25, Mike did a 1-1 Brian James did a 1-4 in his first 25, I cannot remember who the third team counter was. It was not me.’

Brian, who is still in touch with Ken, adds a few more names though he’s not sure whether or not all of them actually joined the Clarion Ivan Kettley, ‘Faz’ Farrell, Derek Cover,]

At Easter 1948, what was, I think my second club run, was to Herne Hill for the Good Friday meeting at which Reg Harris was due to compete. (He did not owing to being injured in a car crash.) The run went on to a youth Hostel tour into Kent. I joined in as there was a vacancy, without letting my parents know. This caused a certain amount of alarm, as this was before wide availability of telephones, before I turned up on Monday evening. Club runs to Herne Hill were a common occurrence, Sunday runs were well attended: 20-30 attendance usual. In those days if you wanted to go anywhere, you just got on the bike and went. No cars and no money for train fares.

We also rode to Southampton Track and back to see Mike Moreton ride in an event (140 miles round trip).

One other small nugget of news, when I joined the RAF for national service in 1951, one of the standard questions was “Are you a member of a political party or cycling club”. Clarion was regarded as a political party.