The Next Ride: 8 December 2019: Eastward Ho! Rottingdean. Saltdean and Newhaven

30 November 2019

Having looked back in the archives for a December Ride I was struck by the inclement weather & consequent falls on ice, soakings by rain & coatings in mud, punctuated by punctures & thus thought a less adventurous ride may be safer.

I had been searching for The Old Coach Road Ride  but Mick refused it on grounds that wet,slippery chalk road was inappropriate uninviting in wintery weather, so fell back on my old favourite-the NCN2 Eastward.

This ride has everything!–the Downs, the sea, good pubs  good bike paths , few hills, nature reserve, woods  & most importantly -railway stations to return home easily if disaster or weather strikes.


Meet at Palace Pier at 10.15am.   If weather  is awful we can have a festive drink together in Brighton then go Xmas shopping or canvassing for General Election.

Proceed along cliff-top bike track to Rottingdean (thus avoiding any risk of punctures on the way out). Along the Undercliff to Saltdean Art Deco Cafe. Stop if needed.

Up on top again to Peacehaven.

We can have lunch at The Ark pub which serves- fish from local boats & /or tapas plus usual fayre.    OR If weather & spirits are good may be able to make it on to Seaford , via NCN2 & the Nature Reserve- to The Yatch Club, which is open for lunch on Sundays & I have asked for their menu, which will be sent to me on Tuesday.

Any tired riders can return from Newhaven station, or Seaford & keener, sprightlier riders can proceed on to Berwick Station for a train home, or cycle back .

Distance;  22 miles if you go all the way to Berwick on NCN2.  

Duration;    As much as you can manage

Start,         10.15am Palace Pier

Terrain,        NCN 2  Quiet roads & well marked Sustrans Trail .

Undulations  A few but mostly flat

.Trains           From Newhaven at 05, 36 past the hour     From Seaford at 59 and 29 past the hour Berwick 14 and 55 past the hour


The Last Ride: Westbourne and the Ems Valley – 24 November 2019

30 November 2019

This was another ride from the archive. Moving the start to Emsworth from Warblington was definitely a good idea: we very soon got off main roads and into quiet lanes with lovely autumn colours, and marvelled at the number of old flint houses in the valley. We also saw two 12th century flint churches, but did not go inside, preferring to save our churchgoing for the 11th century St Hubert’s at Idsworth, with its wall paintings.

Ride 19.11.24: St Peters Church at Lordington

Wells are not as frequent a feature of our rides as churches, but there were two on this ride – as well as the promised thatched one at East Marden, Angela C pointed out a smaller well near our lunch stop at Compton. I wondered whether a preponderance of wells could be connected to the dryness of the river bed in some way – it’s a pity neither of our retired water engineers could make it for this ride, as they’d no doubt have had a ready answer to that question.

Ride 19.11.24: the river Ems at Westbourne

Angela D pointed out that the geography of the area would have made settlements such as Stoughton and East Marden easily defensible. It also helps, along with the narrowness of the lanes (some of which have grass growing in the middle) to make it a natural “backwater” for motor traffic, and hence very popular with bikes and other less common forms of transport. On the recce ride I had overtaken a little pony trap at Westbourne, but there were few horses in evidence on the ride itself, and thankfully, no tractors. Also no motorbikes, which had plagued an earlier recce.

The sky was overcast, and quite gloomy by the time we reached Idsworth, so St Hubert’s was put on hold for another occasion, and we pressed on. Wilma and Angela C opted to return home from Rowlands Castle station, while Angela D and I took Woodberry Lane where, half way to Westbourne, Angela noticed a newish-looking cycle path leading off through the woods, and signposted to Emsworth, so we decided to try it out. Despite a paucity of signposts further on, by astute use of the compass we eventually found ourselves back at Emsworth station with just under 20 miles on the clock.

The unexpected cycle path

Angela and I agreed that further adaptation of this ride would be possible, perhaps linking it up with one of our favourite cycle paths, the Centurion Way, which now seems to be called the New Lipchis Way. Perhaps whoever takes it on next could have a think about that.


Clarion Latest: 26 November 2019

30 November 2019

Dear All

No-one on Jim’s ride on Sunday was able to take on writing the ride report but I persuaded Jim to do one himself as you’ll see at the end of this newsletter. We’ve included ride reports in our newsletters right from the start. As I recall it was Joyce’s suggestion back in 2004 and an excellent one since it is really good to have a record of what we do. Over the years we’ve had all sorts of reports – long ones, short ones, learned ones, funny ones – there is no requirement for any particular approach – all are very welcome and long may they continue. I sometimes get emails from people saying how much they enjoy reading them even if they haven’t taken part. One fan of our ride reports is that veteran of Bury Clarion, Peter Roscoe, extracts from whose messages of appreciation I have included in this newsletter from time to time.


Sue and I went to see Julian this afternoon. He’s coping remarkably well but with much of his left side paralysed and a frozen shoulder, progress is slow though his physio treatment is helping.

Next Year’s Ride Dates

In the last newsletter I gave proposed dates for next year’s rides and asked for anyone who spotted any problems to let me know. Jim pointed out that 19 April is the date of the 2020 Brighton Marathon and therefore another date best avoided. I don’t think we need to decide now what to do about this- probably moving it to either the previous week or the one following – but we will clearly need to keep an eye on this nearer the time

You will see that I’ve included the January dates in the ‘Future Rides’ grid below. I know it’s difficult to think about next year this side of Christmas but if anyone wishes to take on either 12th or 26th January please let me know,

But please check train availability for these dates.

Informal Sunday ride on Sunday 22 December. Message from Angela D

Meet at Hove Park Café at 10am for 1030 departure up to the Dyke, then down and along the Undercliff path to Rottingdean. Lunch stop in a café en route

  I’ll include this again in the next newsletter after the 8 December ride

National Clarion Survey

As I mentioned last week do please take part in the survey. It is genuinely aimed at finding out the direction – or directions – members want to see us go in. It finishes at the end of this month.




The Next Ride: November 24th 2019: Westbourne and the Ems Valley

15 November 2019

Emsworth – Westbourne – Walderton – Stoughton – East Marden – Compton – Idsworth – Finchdean – Rowlands Castle – Westbourne – Emsworth

Impress your friends! Tell them you are going to cycle along the river
Ems, but omit to mention that you are referring not to the 231-mile
Dutch-German river, but a slightly shorter one in West Sussex.

This is basically my Warblington circular that Julian and I did four years
ago with four members of Gosport Clarion, but transplanted to Emsworth
because (a) it has more trains, (b) it cuts out (most of) the horrible
Emsworth Common Road, and (c) it enables us to have a coffee/ second-breakfast stop at the delightful Westbourne Café in the delightful village of Westbourne. (The café ladies have promised me scones if I pre-order. Any other requests?)

We ride past Racton Monument, a ruined 18th-century folly that is said to
be haunted. We’ll visit East Marden, with its unusual thatched well, then
on to our lunch stop at the Coach and Horses at Compton.

This is a hybrid ride, in which a slightly different route is available for
anyone wanting to cycle further and faster. If a different route is not
required, duplicate ride directions will be given to anyone wishing to avoid
frequent stops – in the event of such stops, they can cycle on and meet
us later, possibly at lunch.

After lunch we’ll continue westwards until we reach the Waterloo to
Portsmouth railway line at Idsworth, where St Hubert’s church (1053) has 14th century wall paintings and also a 20th century one. Riding south
alongside the railway, we reach Rowlands Castle where we can have tea
at the Bumblebee café, then back to Emsworth, once again via Westbourne.

Distance: 22 miles for the wanderers, a bit more for the speedsters. Anyone wanting to retire early can get the train from Rowlands Castle
(change at Havant), saving four miles.

Duration: about 6 hours including stops. Sun sets at 4pm.

Start: Emsworth station at 10:15am, westbound platform exit.

Terrain: All hard surfaces, mostly quiet lanes.

Undulations: Remarkably few, considering that we are basically in the
foothills of the South Downs, albeit the “dip” side. There is one short hill
of about 1 in 10 gradient, in a quiet lane, which we can walk up in 10
minutes. From a starting height of 15m, we never go above 115m in a 22
mile ride – so about the same height range/distance range as a return trip on the Cuckoo Trail.

Getting there: Take the 09:00 Portsmouth train from Brighton, arriving
at Emsworth at 10:07.

Getting home: Trains to Brighton leave Emsworth at 16 and 38 minutes
past each hour.



The Last Ride: Sunday 10 November 2019: Gatwick Circular via Leigh

15 November 2019

Nick’s Report

Just beyond WH Smith and the International Arrivals area, there are lifts enabling passengers and cyclists to leave Gatwick Airport. It was a team of four Clarionistas (Tessa, Doris, Jim & Nick) who pushed their bikes past armed police, uniformed plane crews and confused plane passengers to find the lifts to leave the airport.

November 10, 2019: Gatwick Circular via Leigh

Before locating the exit lifts, we gathered on the Gatwick Airport concourse for a brief photo opp in front of WH Smith and took the opportunity to visit the airport’s luxurious loos. Sunday’s bike ride was particularly memorable for the backdrop of trees and autumn sunshine which accompanied visits to Riverside Garden Park, Hammonds Copse Nature Reserve, an intriguing bus stop and some eco protest solidarity.

November 10, 2019: Gatwick Circular via Leigh

Riverside Garden Park is a very short bike ride from Gatwick Airport. The Garden Park lake, surrounded by vivid autumn tree colours, was worthy of a brief stop to take a few photos. We then followed Cycle Route 21, Surrey Cycleway Link and assorted twists and turns in a nine mile journey to the Plough pub lunch stop in Leigh

While waiting for our lunch in the Plough we all agreed that cycling in the morning, with low sunlight and autumn leaves, had been picturesque and enjoyable. My lunch consisted of a plate of chips and pint of lime & soda. Other food options were available though.

Tessa handed out flyers over lunch to remind us that she would be busy with her artists’ Open House from late November to early December. I must try and go along.

As we left the Plough after lunch, we noticed an ornate and distinguished looking wooden bus stop on the village green. We didn’t see anyone waiting for a bus, so perhaps this was another rural location without a Sunday bus service.

November 10, 2019: Gatwick Circular via Leigh

It was Remembrance Sunday and we saw quite a few outsized poppies attached to traffic signs, as we started the post-lunch leg of the day’s cycle ride.

November 10, 2019: Gatwick Circular via Leigh

Dramatic autumnal colours were on display as we cycled through Hammonds Copse Nature Reserve. The muddy conditions caused by the recent heavy rain weren’t particularly welcome, but the waterlogged path we found ourselves on didn’t last for very long.

It was a delight to meet two activists from the Horse Hill anti-fracking camp on our way back to Gatwick Airport. Jim was given a big hug when he explained that we were part of a socialist cycling group which had been founded more than a hundred years ago.

We were given leaflets on drilling, acidisation & fracking in the South East, which Surrey County Council has encouraged. I tended to agree with the Horse Hill campaigner who said the recent moratorium on fracking from the current Tory government was nothing more than an election ploy.

After our brief spell of Horse Hill eco-warrior activism, it was time to cycle back to Gatwick Airport train station. Thanks to Jim for a perfectly planned and rather glorious autumn cycle ride.


Clarion Latest

15 November 2019

Dear All

I had hoped to be able to offer a – nice and short – ride for 8 December but my efforts to ‘get back on the bike’ have been rather uneven recently though I certainly am making some progress and have real hopes for next year. But for now I’d better operate on the basis of discretion being the better part of valour.

Which is a very convoluted way of asking ‘does anyone want to take on 8 December?’

National Clarion Survey

The questionaire for the national survey has been sent to everyone individually. Mine arrived on 30 October, which should help anyone who hasn’t already filled it in to find it in the inbox . If you haven’t yet responded you still have up to the end of this month. Quite a few people certainly have taken part already including some from our club/section.

A few days after I completed and returned it I chaired a meeting of the national committee in Nottingham– on 2 November – at which it was reported that up to then over 300 members had taken part. This is an encouraging start – but we have more than 2,000 members so it’s to be hoped that the numbers will continue to grow.

Please give it a go,

Proposed Rides for 2020

Last year, around this time, I suggested a ride schedule. Various people then made suggestions to change some of the dates – which we did. That seems to me a sensible way of doing things, many heads being better than one, so I propose to do the same with regard to the 2020 dates.

In working out a schedule I tried to avoid the beginning (especially) and end of BST (29 March and 25 October) the London Brighton Bike Ride (21 June) and the Sunday of Brighton Pride Weekend (2 August) and – somewhat to my own amazement – managed to miss them all. But there may be other dates we should avoid – let me know if you think there are

So, here are my proposed dates for our fortnightly rides (‘extras’ can of course also be offered any time).

January      February          March           April             May           June

2 Jan

(New Year

brunch ride)

12, 26            9, 23              8 , 22            5, 19      3,17, 31          14, 28

July          August       Sept.        Oct         Nov          Dec

12, 26      9, 23          6, 20       4, 18    1, 15, 29       13

Clarion Christmas Lunch – Message from Sean

Due to circumstances one of our number now cannot join us on the 21st December Luncheon.

Therefore, if anyone could cover the placement please get in touch with me to confirm.




ust to remind you, the Xmas Lunch will be at The Walrus, Ship Street, Brighton, Saturday 21 December, midday. Contact Sean at if you can take up the spare place


Message from Jim

‘I have now put two “oven-ready” ride files on my cycling web page – these are files which contain all you need to know about a ride – description AND directions. One is for the Bindley Heath ride (Three Bridges Circular via Lingfield) – the one Leon liked. The other is a Horley ride which features Redhill Common, which was the subject of a conversation on the ride yesterday.’


Charlotte’s Problem

I don’t know whether anyone had any useful suggestions to make in response to the email I’d had about getting help with her daughter learning to ride a bike which I included in the last newsletter.

I mentioned it at the national committee meeting I touched on earlier and Ian Clarke had what I think is very probably a possible solution which was to contact Cycling UK’s GoRide scheme. I emailed her with this suggestion.


Please also read the message from Julian that follows if you haven’t yet renewed.




Next Year’s Subs Message from Julian


Your Clarion subs for 2020 will be due on 1 January. The fee will be £15, as Brighton & Hove section agreed at its last AGM to a local sub of £3 to supplement the national fee of £12. It is some time since we had a local sub, but it is necessary to levy one every few years as our bank balance dwindles. (The £12 all goes straight to the national Clarion).

The £3 will contribute towards various costs such as website fees, together with providing a buffer in the event of an increase in national Clarion fees (last year we lost a substantial portion of our reserves following an unanticipated national fee rise). The subscription does NOT buy members any “services” other than third party insurance, which is covered by the national portion of the sub. All our rides and other events are organised by members, on a voluntary basis.

Membership details are held in an on-line database called “Membership Mojo”, to which you should have been given a unique login that does not require a password, and you can use this to update your details.  Membership Mojo has the facility to renew directly by making a payment to Paypal, but we have disabled this because we cannot access our Paypal account. Instead, you need to EITHER transfer £15 by BACS to our account at the Co-Operative Bank, sort code 08-92-99, account no. 65377325, with your name as the reference, OR send a cheque for £15, payable to Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club, to:

Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club
92a Springfield Road
Brighton BN1 6DE

Julian Arkell,


The Last Ride :Sunday 27 October Three Bridges to Wivelsfield

15 November 2019

Sunday 27 October Three Bridges to Wivelsfield

Sally’s Report

Six of us: Sikka, Doris, Angela D, Nick, Jim and Sally.

Fine autumnal day, blue skies, trees turning gold and red in patches.

Leaving Three Bridges station, we stopped to look at the blue plaque to
Caroline Haslett (1895-1957), electrical engineer. Then through Tilgate
Forest, where we had enjoyed vistas of bluebells in early May. Today, there
were oak trees, buzzards and lots of jays.

Parish Lane and Grouse Road took us west and then south to Hammerpond Road,
past two of them, turning east to Slaugham and Staplefield, where we lunched
at the Jolly Tanners – very nice, apart from Sikka’s rice pudding.

There were a few downs and ups on this ride, but they were worth it for the
varied views across fields and woodlands. We reached Wivelsfield Station
with 4 minutes to spare!