Newsletter – 18 June 2022

18 June 2022

Hello all

Although I’m typing this Clarion newsletter on the warmest day of the year, it felt decidedly cool during this year’s Clarion Sunday event in Pendle, only a few days ago. The main purpose of this email update is to report back on the 2022 Clarion House ride and social, but I have included a few other snippets of information as well.

Ride report: Blackburn to Clarion House for ‘Clarion Sunday’ (12th June, 2022)

It was a lightning visit to Blackburn, lasting just over 24 hours, to take part in this year’s Clarion Sunday.

As with last year’s event, the train journey from London to Blackburn was amazingly efficient. I met London Clarion’s Alan, Alex and John at Euston station. The journey took to Blackburn took us less than three hours, but seemed to go faster (possibly due to the bottles of ale Alex had brought to share with us).

I spent two nights in Blackburn’s Premier Inn for last year’s Clarion Sunday, but this year had been offered a bed, bike and food with Charles and Margaret Jepson. Charles also very kindly had arranged to drive us to his house for an evening meal. Margaret had cooked to accomadate those with a vegan diet, which was quite possible just myself.

It was Alex and myself who had opted to cycle the 16 miles to Clarion House on the Sunday morning, which we started as soon as we had finished breafast, shortly after 8am. Although Charles had adjusted the saddle of his drop handlebar carbonfibre racing bike, I must say it took me a while to master how to use it without wobbling all over the place. It took me ages to feel comfortable using the pedal toeclips and I don’t think I quite worked out how to change the gears. Despite those difficulties, I was grateful to Charles for lending me his bike for the cycle ride. The weather was definitely cooler than last year’s Clarion House ride in September, but was rather pleasnt when the sun came out.

The route to Clarion House took us through some familiar terrain (see Strava link below). I don’t think either Alex or myself have quite mastered how to cycle up the steep Lancashire hills without getting off our bikes. The freewheeling decent to our Clarion House destination made a pleasnt change to the steep hills we had either cycled or walked up previously.

The Clarion Sunday gathering was possibly even more successful than last year’s event. It was great to watch cyclists from different Clarion clubs arrive (Blackpool, Bury… Brighton etc). Although I’m not sure of the actual number of attendees, I overheard someone say about two hundred people had turned up. That sounds like an accurate figure to me.

I somehow missed the socialist choir part of the gathering last year, so it was a pleasure to hear songs of solidarity sung with conviction outside Clarion House. There was a particularly rousing version of The Internationale at the end, which Margaret told me wasn’t the Billy Bragg version. I rather like Billy Bragg’s rendition of The Internationale, performed with piano accompaimment, but apparently Billy had amended some of the lyrics in his version.

A few of us were interviewed for a podcast recording with a presenter from the Ribble FM breakfast show. She was particularly interested in our thoughts on socialism and cycling. Although we were interviewed separately (in the Clarion House potting shed), it seemed like we were all asked similar questions about the relevance of Clarion socialism today. Perhaps we could bring along a selection of favourite cycle-themed records for inclusion in the Ribble FM breakfast show next time?

We ended the day in the nearby pub. The cool weather had become rather chilly, so we headed inside to sample the local ale.

Thanks to the hospitality from Margaret and Charles, which contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable 24 hours in Lancashire.
June 12, 2022: Clarion Sunday @ Clarion House, Pendle

Clarion merchandise

Alex says he would be happy to host a Brighton & Hove Clarion cycling jersey in London Clarion’s online shop. This seems like a great idea to me. There would be no costs involved because the jerseys are made ‘on demand’. We would only need a rough design of what we wanted the jersey to look like. Apart from ‘Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club’, what else would we like to see on the jersey? Some Walter Crane artwork? A bike logo? Stick of rock? Clenched fist?

Amanda suggested, perhaps not entirely seriously, a while ago that we should produce some Clarion ‘Fellowship Is Life’ tea towels. This does seem like a very good idea, the more I think about it. Anyone else keen on owning a Clarion tea towel to dry their dishes?

National Conference motions

National Clarion’s conference was due to take place tomorrow (Saturday 18th June), but has been cancelled due to an ‘administrative error’. The conference (again taking place on Zoom) has been rescheduled for Saturday 17th September. We have been asked to submit motions by 17th July for the September conference. I’d like to submit a motion recommending ‘one person, one vote’ to replace the antiquated bloc vote system, which enabled last year’s controversial change to the constitution. Any other suggestions for national conference motions?

Future rides

We don’t have any future rides planned at the moment. As ever, all ideas for cycle rides are welcome.

London Clarion are cycling to Lancing on the 24th July. Perhaps it would be good to organnise a bike ride on that day to meet up with them? I’m pencilling in a ride on 24th July. Some details here; More definite details to follow soon.

June 18th, 2022: TUC ‘We demand better’ march & rally

I’m heading to the TUC’s ‘We demand better’ day of action in London tomorrow (Saturday). If you’re going too, see you on the streets…



2021 cycling highlights

3 February 2022

The second UK Covid lockdown dragged on for the first three months of 2021. Apart from cycling to coffee shops for socially distanced cups of coffee outside in the cold, I didn’t go on any noteworthy cycle rides in the early part of the year.

Clarion spring ride

Although lockdown restrictions were gradually lifted from late March, it wasn’t until the first Clarion ride of the year in late May that I did any serious cycling. The Palace Pier circular via Peacehaven, Southese, Telscombe & Saltdean on 23rd May was a reminder of how enjoyable Clarion rides could be.

Brighton & Hove Clarion Agm

May was the month that Ian stood down from the role of Brighton & Hove Clarion secretary and I took over. After last year’s Covid cancellation, we held our first Agm for two years on 27th May via Zoom. As the meeting seemed to go reasonably well, it looks like a virtual gathering will be the best way to conduct our Agm in 2022.

National Clarion Agm

Three of us from Brighton attended the National Clarion Agm via Zoom on 12th June. Tuxford’s attempt to remove the supposedly ‘divisive’ reference to socialism was passed during this poorly attended meeting. The second Tuxford motion, which attempted to ban any reference to ‘outdated’ socialism in all correspondence, was not passed.

It was good to see wide coverage of the Clarion Agm in various media outlets, including a Guardian editorial which concluded socialism and cycling were fellow travellers. The Guardian editorial pointed out that many local Clarion branches, including Brighton, value the unique history the Clarion movement represents and have voiced their opposition to the recent constitution change.

It is positive for the future that we retain the socialism reference in our Brighton constitution and can ignore the decision made to remove its reference by National Clarion.

BHT ride

We haven’t had a full programme of Clarion rides in 2021. Perhaps there was a certain amount of pandemic lethargy which has resulted in less people coming out on rides. As we haven’t had a fortnightly programme of rides this year, I was looking out for non-Clarion cycling events I could participate in. It was good to take part in the BHT cycling fundraiser on 11th July. This was the first time I had used my bike since it had been given a thorough service (thanks G-Whizz Cycles!). I was amazed that there was a waiting list of six weeks for bike services, which demonstrates how popular cycling has become since the start of the Covid pandemic. My rejuvenated bike certainly helped me complete the 30 mile BHT route a little easier without my previously faulty brakes and gears.

Tour de France

I’m not that interested in competitive cycling, but ITV4’s coverage of the Tour de France was essential viewing during July. Mark Cavenish achieving his record breaking 34th stage cycling sprint victory was genuinely exciting to watch. It was also a real joy to watch cycling enthusiast Alexei Sayle join the ITV4 commentary team for an afternoon. He had a number of sharp political and showbiz anecdotes up his sleeve and even mentioned the London to Oxford Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign bike ride some of us used to take part in during the mid-1980s.

Clarion summer rides

The warmest day of the year on 18th July coincided with Dave’s excellent Chattri Circular ride across the South Downs. Off-road cycling without mud on a hot summer’s day has a certain appeal when looking back from the winter chill of mid-December.

Dave’s Chattri Circular ride couldn’t have contrasted more with his 8th August ride from Portslade station, which heavy rain eventually forced us to abandon. It would be good to try that Portslade ride again in drier conditions next year.

My trip to Blackburn on 18th Septemberto take part in the Clarion Sunday cycling social in the Lancashire hills was thoroughly enjoyable. It was great to finally visit Clarion House and celebrate the club’s illustrious past with hundreds of other like minded cyclists. I look forward to returning to the same area when Clarion Sunday takes place again in June 2022.

Coffee often features on Clarion rides, so it was good to visit Richard Durrant’s Pollinator Cafe in Shoreham for the first time during Jim’s ride on 26th September.

Old Shoreham Road cycle lane

Many of us thought the UK’s first Covid Cycle Lane, introduced in Brighton during the first pandemic lockdown in 2020, was an inspiring cycling initiative. The decision to remove the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane in September (at great expense), following complaints from a small minority of local car owners, was so disappointing. Let’s hope there is more positive news for Brighton cycling routes in 2022.

Clarion autumn rides

There was a plan to join London Clarion in their cycle ride to Haywards Heath’s Heathen Brewery on 2nd October. The torrential rain throughout the day meant that I only attempted a short ride from Balcombe to The Hop Sun in Haywards Heath. Although it was a great social event with London Clarion, I don’t think I ever properly dried out during the couple of hours I spent in the pub.

It was a pity that our 31st October Halloween ride was canceled due to heavy rain (we haven’t had much luck with rain this year!). I was looking forward to returning to the pumpkin display at Tulleys Farm and hope we can have another attempt at this ride in 2022.

It was great to see the return of the Bonfire Bike Train to Lewes on 5th November, after last year’s Covid cancellation. There was a wonderful feeling of cycling solidarity as more than two hundred cyclists occupied most of the A270 to Lewes. The usual raucous procession through Lewes & impressive fireworks were worth seeing too. The midnight return to Brighton takes less than an hour and is always surprisingly fas. Definitely a date for the 2022 cycling diary.

Brighton & Hove Clarion ended the year with a couple of excellent rides organised by Jim. The Preston Park to Wivelsfield ride on 28th November was very cold, but terrific conditions for taking photos. We followed that ride up with another outing two weeks later on December 12th, which was a Haywards Heath circular. Although this was our winter solstice ride, the weather was mild in comparison with the conditions we cycled in two weeks earlier.

It was great to finish 2021 with a return to the fortnightly ride programme we used to have. Although it looks like the current hopelessly inept government will be colluding with the Omicron variant to make everyone’s lives more miserable over the next few weeks, it would be good to have a regular ride programme next year. Let’s discuss ride plans for 2022 at the Carats new year gathering on 2nd January (Omicron variant permitting!).

Ride report: Clarion Sunday, 19th September, 2021

9 October 2021

Pictures from the Trip

Travelling from Brighton to Blackburn was a bit of a trek, but well worth the effort in order to attend this year’s ‘Clarion Sunday’ gathering in Clarion House. It takes just over two hours by train from Euston to Blackburn, which I thought was an impressively fast connection from south to north.
I had booked a couple of nights in Blackburn’s Premier Inn, which is conveniently situated opposite Blackburn station. Alex & Alan from London Clarion were also staying in the same hotel and we agreed to meet later that evening in The Postal Order, a former post office which had been converted into a pub by the Wetherspoon chain. Although I disagree with the Brexity rightwing politics of Tim Wetherspoon, the vegan pizza and £1.99 pints of ale couldn’t really be faulted.

We probably stayed in The Postal Order for longer than was really necessary. Leaving the pub at midnight, before the 6.15am start on Sunday, perhaps wasn’t the best preparation for a day of cycling.

It was just as well that I had remembered to pack an alarm clock and was able to meet Alex and Alan in the hotel reception just after 6am on Sunday morning. Charles Jepson was waiting with his van outside the hotel and drove us to his house for breakfast. Joining us at the breakfast table were London Clarion’s Nick and Iain, who had been staying with Charles.

Cycling to Clarion House

The plan was then for Alex, Iain, Nick and myself to cycle 18 miles to Clarion House. It was pleasant cycling at 7am on Sunday roads without many cars. The rain which accompanied the early part of the ride eased off very quickly and it became apparent we would have dry and sunny weather for most of the ride.

We stopped a number of times to photograph the terrain we were passing through. This was my first time cycling in Lancashire and I really hadn’t appreciated how steep the numerous hills would be. I could blame the limitations of the folding bike I was using, but suspect I really wasn’t fit enough to climb some of the steeper hills. The effort required to cycle the 18 miles to Clarion House was worthwhile for the incredible scenery which surrounded us though.

When we arrived at Clarion House, we were greeted by Barnoldswick Clarion. They had prepared a 22-mile cycle ride and we set off immediately on the route they had devised for us. The hills in the Pendle area are particularly steep. Although it was an exhilarating cycle ride with terrific views, I was having difficulty maintaining the brisk pace adopted by Barnoldswick while on my Brompton bike.

Alex suggested those of us who had already cycled from outside Blackburn to Clarion House might like to shorten the route and head to Clarion House via the Bay Horse Inn. This seemed like a good idea to me, particularly as we estimated the combined length of our ride would be 33 miles at the end. It was very pleasant sitting in warm sunshine outside the Bay Horse Inn. A number of other Clarion cyclists stopped at the pub before heading to Clarion House.

Clarion Sunday

The Clarion House Sunday gathering was a really successful event. It was estimated that a couple of hundred cyclists & supporters dropped in during the day to express solidarity with the Clarion movement.

Alan Ward from Axis Design had set up a temporary photographic studio outside Clarion House and was photographing all participating cyclists. This was for a project he’s working on which celebrates Clarion’s culture and heritage. He hopes to publish a book celebrating Clarion radicalism before the end of the year.

Alan was also giving out #I_AM_CLARION shoulder bags to all Clarion Sunday attendees. The bag contained useful information on the Pendle Radicals walking trail (PENDLERADICALS.ORG.UK) and a fascinating extract from a 1954 edition of the Daily Worker, which details Harrow Clarion Cycle Club’s visit to Clarion House. There was also an impressive Clarion metal badge in Alan’s bag.

London Clarion had also produced a commemorative ribbon, which they were handing out to mark the special 2021 Clarion Sunday gathering. The ribbon was a fine addition to the Clarion 1895 cycling jersey I was wearing during the day.

It was great to meet people I had never spoken to before. Everyone was really friendly and it was great to learn more about the Clarion movement’s radicalism, which continues to this day.

I had some great conversations about Clarion socialism whilst drinking tea in Clarion House. It was fascinating to look at the banners, posters and other examples of socialist ephemera on display.

We wondered how recent Clarion House visitor, Michael Portillo, could have turned into a rightwing Tory MP when his dad fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Although Portillo’s reactionary politics have nothing in common with Clarion socialism, he was evidently perfectly polite when being filmed (and heckled!) in Clarion House for his BBC railway programme.

I rather regret missing the socialist choir’s performance during Clarion Sunday. Hopefully there will be the chance to sing some socialist anthems when Clarion Sunday returns in June next year (the Covid pandemic pushed the event back to September this year). There’s talk of next year’s Clarion House celebration being a two-day event. Two days of cycling in the Lancashire hills? I had better start doing some training!


The Guardian view on socialism and cycling: fellow travellers

21 June 2021
The Guardian view on socialism and cycling: fellow travellers | Editorial

February 2021

9 February 2021

Ian Bullock, Secretary of the Brighton and Hove Clarion, writes in his February Update: 

“I’ve been chairing monthly National Committee meetings via Zoom for what is starting to seem like ever.  It’s now planned to have a National Conference on Zoom too. 

We and other sections can of course propose anything we like but it seems likely that the main business of the conference will be to consider the rule changes concerning the structure and functioning of the national committee that the committee will be proposing.  There will, of course, be elections (or re-elections) of officers.  I’m hoping to be able to stand down as chair so if anyone would like to propose themselves for the post do let me know! Tel: 01273 682133”

The Brighton and Hove Clarion hope to run an AGM via Zoom in the near future.  We are seeking a new Secretary and a new Treasurer.  If you are interested in either of these posts, Ian Bullock (details above) will be pleased to explain what’s involved.

Clarion Latest: 9 March 2020

15 March 2020


Dear All

As yet we have no details of the ‘Next Ride’ which I understand (from an email from Jim) will be a ‘mystery’ one ‘facilitated by Angela D”. In the nature of things you can’t have details of a mystery ride without defeating the whole object, but participants will need to know when to meet at Brighton station or wherever the starting point is. I’ll let you have these vital bits of info as soon as Angela has had a chance to work out where she intends to take the ride and the when and where of the starting point.

Section Report for Boots and Spurs.

We had a really excellent report in the much delayed last issue and Joyce has volunteered to do a new one for the next Boots and Spurs which I feel sure will be equally interesting and reflect our activities in the latter part of last year really vividly.

Centurion Way Extension

You’ve probably seen Jim’s message about this on via the google group. Of course we used the southern bit of the Way as a means of getting out of Chichester on our Dell Quay rides which became a favourite with Julian. But early on we also had a ride that started on the Way and broke for lunch at the excellently- named The Fox Goes Free at Charlton. We didn’t do this one more than once or twice because of having to use a rather dangerous bit of the A286 for the last bit of the outward journey. But it may now soon be possible to think about reviving something like this.

Our AGM Wed 25 March 2020

It has become evident during the last week that going ahead with our plans to hold our AGM on 25 March was not such a good idea.  But I didn’t want to take a unilateral decision to postpone without consulting anyone – perhaps it was just me that was having serious doubts.  So first I got in touch with Anne and Mick who were going to host the meeting.  Mick replied quickly saying ‘‘I am getting more and more convinced that non-essential meetings in confined spaces are not a good idea for people of our age profile.’  Then I sent a message to our various office-holders, quoting Mick’s response and asking whether we should postpone the AGM. The replies were unanimous that we should.
So we will postpone the AGM until such times as it seems safe to go ahead.  There were no really urgent decisions to be taken.  At some point we will have to take a decision about he 2021 local subscription (the national one is staying the same) but there’s plenty of time to do that.
Sorry to have to send out a message like this – but I hope you’ll agree that it’s the sensible thing to do.



Clarion Latest 24 February 2020

27 February 2020

Dear All

Coming back down the M1 from Nottingham yesterday in pretty appalling weather with parts of the motorway partially flooded– following the national committee meeting on Saturday – I kept wondering how the ride to Stan’s Bike Shed was going and hoping those on it were having a bit better luck weatherwise than us. Sorry that Stan’s turned out to be not ‘on’ for all but Nick and that he arrived after it was closed. Better luck next time!. I think I’ve included everything suggested in the Future Rides grid – but please let me know if I’ve missed anything.

Norfolk Trip

I gather things have progressed a bit since the last newsletter. But anyone still thinking about it or having views about the best time of year to do this please let Jim know ASAP at

Our AGM Wed 25 March 2020

Thanks to everyone who responded to my plea in the last newsletter (and ‘last chance’ message).

If you intend to come do print out the agenda and any other papers you think you’ll need. In order that we can take a view and instruct delegates at our AGM I hope to be circulating the agenda for the national conference and the list of motions to be discussed fairly soon- once the final versions arrive.

Similarly, I’ll circulate any reports I receive from the other office-holders and any motions or general proposals you’d like discussed before the meeting.

The Warwick Meet, 10-12 April

We’ll all be getting info soon about this year’s Easter Meet – the 125th one. Earlier last year I actually suggested that Warwick might be a suitable place to hold it and wrote a little piece about the attractions of the area for those not involved in the various cycling activities. I’m putting it in this newsletter at the end after Tessa’s report (delivered exemplarily early as usual) of yesterday’s ride. Even if you’re not tempted to come to Warwick I hope you’ll find the bit about the Clarion connection with Daisy (aka the Countess of Warwick) and her exploits an interesting bit of ‘Clarion history’


Warwick Attractions and the Clarion connection

As with last year at York, the 2020 Meet will take place in one of Britain’s the most interesting county towns. There are plenty of possibilities for exploration in the area– Stratford-upon-Avon is not too far away and even the Cotswolds are not that distant.

But with the spa town of Leamington just a couple of miles away and the still impressive Kenilworth Castle within five there is really little need to stray that far. In Warwick itself St Mary’s church cannot rival last year’s York Minster but is still worth a visit.

But the main attraction is Warwick castle. Dating in part since before the Norman conquest, the castle was deemed the best in Britain by the 2003 Good Britain Guide. The castle is worth visiting for the setting alone – perched on a hill above the Avon. Owned and run nowadays by the Tussauds Group there are two impressive towers, dungeons and lots of displays and events going on throughout the day.

One feature of the more modern apartments is a sort of reconstruction of a 1898 weekend party hosted by Frances Countess of Warwick – better known as Daisy. It features wax figures representing the chief guest the Prince of Wales – future Edward VII – with whom she had had quite a long-running affair, her husband the Earl of Warwick and other guests including the young Winston Churchill.

Daisy (1861 -1938) was the inspiration of the 1892 music-hall song ‘Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do’ by Harry Dacre – still well-known. She was famous for her colourful, not to say scandalous, lifestyle, her lavish entertaining which eventually got her into serious debt and very nearly prison, her philanthropic activities, and her Left Wing politics which grew out of a connection with the Clarion.

In 1894, the year that Tom Groom wrote of the cycle tour that led to the foundation of our National Clarion Cycling Club, the paper published an article by its editor, Robert Blatchford, which criticised one of the extravagant Warwick castle parties put on by Daisy. Someone must have made her aware of this. She was incensed. She believed that she was doing a good deed by hiring lots of local people to help her to entertain her guests as temporary servants and so on. So she set off for London and confronted Blatchford in his office.

However, far from apologising abjectly, Blatchford explained his socialist beliefs and principles – and, surprising, converted her to his way of thinking. There was no looking back. Later she joined the Social-Democratic Federation (SDF) – generally regarded as the most radical of the socialist organisations. She was rumoured to be the only delegate ever to arrive at of its annual conference by private train. In August 1923 the SDF’s paper, Justice, described her as being ‘intellectually and sympathetically with the working classes’ and a few months later she stood as the Labour candidate in the general election against the future Tory PM Anthony Eden for the Warwick and Leamington constituency.

However you look at it she was pretty unforgettable. If you want to know more, there is Sushila Anand’s 2009 book Daisy. The Life and Loves of the Countess of Warwick and there’s lots about her on the internet including a video documentary and Nell Darby’s article from 2018 ‘Daisy, Daisy the Cycling Countess’ which looks at some of Daisy’s adventures and misadventures connected with bikes. She did cycle though whether she ever had a tandem as suggested in the song or whether she ever joined our club is not known.

In contrast to all the razzmatazz at Warwick, Kenilworth castle is relatively peaceful. It is ‘one of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit’ as Marie Lloyd once sang. It was deliberately ‘slighted’ in 1649 to prevent it being ever used as a royalist stronghold in the Civil War. But though mainly ruins it is still one of the most impressive castles in Britain. It was put back on the cultural map in 1821 when Sir Walter Scott’s novel Kenilworth was published. This was set in the Elizabethan period and one of the main and most attractive features of the castle today is its reconstructed Elizabethan knot garden.

So, no shortage of things to do and to see in and around Warwick. The problem will be fitting them all in!

Clarion Latest: 9 February 2020

14 February 2020


Dear All
The ride planning meeting last Tuesday seems to have been very productive but I
will wait until I get a definite offer for 8 March before confirming anything. As
usual will let you know when I do.
If you’d like to take on 8 March please let me know and I’ll include it in the next
newsletter. Likewise if anyone wants to take on 22 March.
Norfolk Trip
One of the items from Nick’s report (see his google group message) of the
meeting was
When are people free for the proposed Norfolk trip? It was suggested that
September might be the best time for this, although the previous Clarion
Norfolk visit was in April (7 years ago). Would 5 or 6 people be able to
commit to the Norfolk trip.
Since then I have received the following message from Jim.
I would like to get a date fixed, and accommodation booked (at least for me
and Sally). A few from the Google group have expressed interest, but I’m
aware that not everyone is in the Google group.
So, please let Jim know ASAP at

Boots and Spurs
Suzanne’s report – complete with photo – did us proud in the last (much delayed)
issue of Boots and Spurs and I was very pleased that Angela (D)’s piece on
‘fellowship’ (which I sent in without telling her!) was also included.
The deadline for the next issue is the end of March. Anyone feel like doing a
brief report on our more recent activities? Do let me know.

I think the best time for our AGM will be one of the days during the final fortnight
of March which will give people the best chance of having proposals included in
the agenda and in the case of office-holders having their reports circulated – even

if they go out after the agenda in some cases.
I’ve had zero response from my request in the last newsletter that those intending
to attend the meeting let me know specific dates or days of the week that are not
good for them, but let’s try again.
I’ve checked again with Anne and Mick who are hosting the meeting and also with
our chair, Roger, as a result of which I’ve been able to reduce the choices to the
following 6 dates in March Mon 16, Wed 18. Fri 20, Tues 24, Wed 25, and Fri
If you can’t make any one of these dates (or more than one!) please let me
know not later than next weekend – Sunday 16 February. I’ll be sending out
the agenda etc as soon as possible after that. Any reports that arrive
subsequently will of course also be circulated.
Sorry the notice is so short but I have to attend a national committee
meeting in Nottingham the following weekend and I’m pretty busy at the
moment checking proofs during the rest of the week.
Angela (D) suggested using Doodle – which I attempted to do but without success
in the end, It was a good suggestion – just a bit too complicated for my tiny brain!
But since there are only 6 choices now it shouldn’t be too difficult for everyone
just to say ‘I can’t make………’
Finding a date that suits everyone is always a problem and I realise things may
come up before whatever date we agree that will make it difficult or impossible for
someone to attend. So, I can’t guarantee that the date will be good for everyone
but as usual I will do my best!
If anyone has a proposal to put to the AGM it would be good if it could be included
in the agenda so everyone can think about it – and perhaps discuss it before the
meeting. Again, let me know by next Sunday if there’s anything you’d like
included. I’ll be happy to circulate any other proposals that arrive after that
Sorry that Jim had to cancel the 9

th February ride – but it was clearly the right

decision in the light of the weather forecast
However, we have still got Sally’s account of the 2 Feb ride and you can see a
version brilliantly illustrated with photos on via the google group.


Clarion Latest: 25 January 2020

30 January 2020

Burns Night Edition

Dear All

As you will have seen from her google group message Angela has had to change the date of her ride from tomorrow to next Sunday 2 February. Details of the ride are below again as are those for Jim’s ride on 9 February

There wouldn’t be enough time to get a newsletter out between these two rides so I’m sending it to you today. Nick has now taken 23 Feb.

March rides, anyone?

Opening attachments (or not)

With the last newsletter (13 January) I asked ‘  if you can’t open one of the versions attached please let me know and I’ll send it as a (longish) email’ One recipient did reply saying the attachments couldn’t be opened so – for the time being at least – I’m going to revert to the 2019 practice of pasting the newsletter into the email as a – less elegant but still readable – alternative to the attached version.


I’ve checked with Anne ands Mick and they are happy -at least at the moment – to host our AGM any day in March except Tuesday 31st;

Finding a date that suits everyone is always a problem.

So please let me know if there are any dates in March that are not OK for you and/or days of the week when you have a regular commitment that might prevent you attending the meeting.

Can’t guarantee that the date will be good for everyone but as usual I will do my best!

I’ve started writing my report on last year which will eventually be circulated with the agenda. Other officers are invited to do likewise, of course. Please let me have them ASAP.

If anyone has a proposal to put to the AGM it would be good if it could be included in the agenda so everyone can think about it – and perhaps discuss it before the meeting.

Dave on safety and pavement cycling

In response to the last newsletter I had two emails from Dave Churchill raising, I think, some important points. It’s at the end of this newsletter.


If like us you’re having haggis this evening, and you’re familiar with the poem, do bear in mind what happened to Tam O’Shanter’s horse and take the poet’s advice to go easy on ‘Inspiring bold John Barleycorn’!


Dave Churchill’s Comments

Reading Nick’s Ride Report only convinces me that one has to ride defensively on the roads following Cycling UK, Sustrans and British Cycling’s Leadership Training stance especially riding two abreast to make traffic wait instead of passing at inopportune moments and cutting in.                                                                                                                                                          Putting on my H & S professional hat in eliminating or substantially reducing a hazard and risk is called for which is why I ride off road on bridleways etc preferring to fall off and get muddy and bruised rather than killed or seriously injured by a vehicle.

Most of my friends are of the same mind finding it difficult to understand why anyone would want to ride on any road for leisure!

I am also a Member of the Institute of the Motor Industry who uses a car when essential such as for business so I appreciate the problems facing both side, good and bad drivers and good and bad cyclists.

Unfortunately there are many car drivers that have not cycled for years so don’t appreciate the problems and I regularly encounter cyclists riding down one way streets and riding on the pavements and these problems do not help mutual understanding.

The attached guidance (below) seems to imply that police have to decide if there is a real risk to a cyclist when one is seen  riding on the pavement for example at a very busy junction as well as risks to any pedestrians at the time.

Speaking to police officers they have said that that a cyclist cannot just say they are nervous of the traffic and decide to ride willy nilly on the pavement instead of pushing their bike as this would set a precedent and open floodgates to cyclists on pavements.

There are some pavements at certain times could cope safely with cyclists but Western Road Brighton on a Saturday afternoon couldn’t!

Unfortunately from my reading of some posts on Bricycles FB page there is an assumption that as saviours of the planet cyclists should be given carte blanche to ride where they like and ignore pedestrians.

The guidance on pavement cycling referred to by Dave

Cyclists should not be fined for mounting the pavement to escape dangerous sections of road, a transport minister has told police amid claims officers are ignoring official advice.

Robert Goodwill urged police not to penalise cyclists for moving off the road at congested junctions after complaints £50 fines are being handed out too readily.

He said enforcing laws which prohibit cycling on the pavement is a matter for police, but added that discretion should be exercised “where a cyclist is using the pavement alongside a dangerous section of road out of fear of the traffic”.

Mr Goodwill reiterated guidance from 1999, when fixed penalties for cycling on pavements were first introduced, which states that the goal is not to penalise “responsible cyclists”.

In a private letter to a cycling safety group who raised the issue, he also advised campaigners to take it up with Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), to ensure the advice is followed.

The guidance, which was first issued by Home Office Paul Boateng 15 years ago, states: “The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users.”

“Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”

Campaigners have been concerned at the increase in fines being handed to cyclists since the launch of Operation Safeway, the major road safety drive launched in the wake of six cyclists’ deaths in a two-week period last year.

Almost a third of penalty notices issued under the operation, which has seen hundreds of police staged at major junctions across the capital, have been handed to cyclists despite the fact they make up a small minority of road users.

Donnachadh McCarthy, spokesman for Stop Killing Cyclists, claimed police officers stationed at London Bridge told him they had been advised to ignore any guidance and issue fines every time cyclists were spotted on the pavement.

In one unconfirmed case, he said, a cyclist had reported being fined for riding a “Boris bike” a matter of feet from its docking station to the kerb.

He said: “Fining vulnerable cyclists for cycling responsibly on the pavement at extremely dangerous junctions like Vauxhall Cross is a bedroom tax on two wheels as there is no safe alternative for them to cycle on.”

Mr Goodwill wrote to the group after they raised their concerns with ministers, telling them “I agree that the police should be using discretion in enforcing this law”, and advised them to write to Sir Hugh Orde.

He later said in a statement: “Pedestrians should expect to be able to use the pavement without fear of being in a collision with a cyclist and we are determined to discourage dangerous behaviour, which is why last year we increased the fixed penalty for this offence to £50.

“Enforcement is a matter for the Police but we endorse their approach of showing discretion in instances where a cyclist is using the pavement alongside a dangerous section of road out of fear of the traffic, but is being mindful to not put pedestrians at risk.”

National Policing Lead for Cycling Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom said: “We welcome the re-issued guidance from the Minister for Cycling in respect of cycling on the pavement and have re-circulated this to all local forces.

“The issue of cycling on the pavement, as in other areas of law enforcement, varies according to local circumstances. The ministerial guidance supports the importance of police discretion in taking a reasonable and proportionate approach, with safety being a guiding principle.”


Clarion Latest 13 January 2020

17 January 2020

Dear All

Angela (D) and Nick have volunteered to take on the 26 January ride, so now we are looking for an offer for 9 February (and/or 23 February)  Anyone up for taking on one (or both!)?

Thanks  to Nick also for getting the report of yesterday’s ride  to me with exemplary speed.  Pity about the nasty 4×4 driver. Who do such people think they are?  And what century do they think they are living in​?  Born in 1941, I still catch myself writing ’19–‘ on cheques etc.  But at least I actually know we are nearly a fifth of the way through the 21st century.  Some people!

National conference motions

I explained in the last newsletter that  with motions for the Clarion national conference – at the Easter Meet in Warwick – we need to make any proposals  ‘no later than 2 months before the annual conference.’   That means – as I also explained –  that I need to receive any in order  to allow time for a meeting if necessary by Friday 18 January  – this Friday!  None received so far.


I’ve had a message from Anne saying that she and Mick are willing to host the AGM in March once again.

Great!  That’s a load off my mind. Thanks to them  both.

As soon as I can find time I shall begin putting my Secretary’s report for last year together.  I wouldn’t want to twist anyone’s arm, but it would be nice if other office-holders sent in a written report for circulation –  as has often been done in the past

I’ll be consulting Anne and Mick about which day in March will be best for the AGM.  Then – assuming there is more than one possibility –  as I have done in the past I’ll ask everyone to choose the best one for them.  Inevitably, it’s             all too likely that it won’t be  good for someone – but it does seem the fairest way of doing things.