The Last Ride: Sunday 10 February – Clarion Relay Run to Worthing

11 February 2019

Pouring with rain at 9.30am & so  we decide not to go,but it stopped at 9.45 so we set out. Headwind so strong that I had to pedal down Duke’s Mound & decide that I’ll only make it to Palace Pier meeting point & then enjoy the tailwind home.

However – at pier I see almost 8 people in yellow vests & rain gear all ready for the off. There’s Joyce & John Clinton, whom we’d not seen for a while, David – our leader, already cycled from Shoreham & hardly wet at all, though he said storms were expected at Shoreham at 11am & dark clouds surrounded us. Chris, Mick, Sikka, All ready to face the 20+mph headwinds & gusts. Chris was asked to take a photo for another group or pier pleasure-seekers but general view was that our Clarion Group Pic could wait till Marocco’s Cafe where we would be joined by Hovians.


Graham joined at Peace Statue & Tessa & Pru at the italian ice-cream cafe & we all had chat & photo op & ploughed on to next stage along the prom [as much as permitted] to Lagoon, where I again thought I could manage one more leg, though Harbour Way prospect was daunting in such strong winds. It seemed a long way to Carat’s Cafe but then I said, like Goethe at the San Gothard Pass “Thus far, but no further”. Mick ,who had a cold agreed to join me & the Clarion Convoy proceeded, hoping to lunch at southern end of Worthing Pier.

Joyce did suggest that I could ride to Worthing & take train back, but I was longing for the tailwind to carry me homeward bound. Mick & I had a little stop to watch the surfers ride the waves. There were at least 30 & two who had finished told me it was good out there. Saw a few crashes, but plenty more surfers arriving for the thrills. Windmills on horizon were enjoying the spin too!

Rain, sun & rainbows back in Brighton, but mostly wind!  Hope the rest of the bunch had fun & good fortune. I had a nap & Mick had the England – France rugby. Thanks to David for  a jolly ride [or-half a ride] or even less in our case.


Clarion Ride Palace pier to Worthing pier … a continuation.

Mick and Anne left us at Carats car park. We continued battling the headwind to Shoreham where David suggested a welcome coffee stop. On an earlier ride Prudence had discovered an upstairs ‘sitting room’ in Toast on the Coast cafe and recommended it. It was indeed delightful and though the coffee may not have been as good as the cafe next door chosen by Joyce and John, we enjoyed the convivial setting which we had to ourselves.

We reassembled, and all apart from Joyce and John decided to continue to Worthing. There was no sign of the predicted rain and the sky was lighting up with shreds of sunlight. We persevered into the headwind thinking how easy our return journey would be.

Worthing Pier 10th February

Arriving at Worthing pier David gave us the choice of two lunch stops, one either end of the pier. We chose the end of the pier because both sea and sky looked so magnificent and we would have those views. The building is Art Deco, warm and inviting with a discreet piano player for entertainment. Unfortunately the menu was sparse, most of us choosing baked potatoes with fillings. We were disappointed and all wished we had chosen Graham’s tomato and pepper soup. Conversation at both coffee and lunch stops centred on holidays of one sort or another- yachting, cycling, Center parcs and the Dieppe raid. Gardening was another subject, compost and the sex lives of worms – of which we knew little?

Clarion ride 10 February 2019

The sun was out when we set off home. As we approached Shoreham, grey skies appeared with a magnificent rainbow, then a smattering of rain. Apart for a few gusts the wind was with us. We gathered for a photo of the group on Shoreham Beach before leaving David at home and continuing eastwards fast to beat the rain.

Thank you David for trusting the weather and leading us on an invigorating ride.



The Last Ride –Nick’s Report

31 January 2019

Sunday 27th January – Hassocks to Shoreham

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

The intrepid trio gathered on Brighton station for Sunday’s ride included Nick, Prudence and ride leader Graham. Although the Clarionistas can be a hardy band of cyclists, the blustery and rainy January weather on Saturday night may well have deterred some from attending Graham’s Hassocks to Shoreham Sunday ride.

Bright sunshine created good light for a few group photos outside Hassocks station, as we prepared ourselves for the first leg of Graham’s ride. Morning coffee in Washbrook Farm was our first stop and a relatively short cycle ride away.

By the time we arrived at Washbrook Farm, foreboding rain clouds had replaced the blue skies we had experienced earlier in the morning. I had read there was a 33% chance of rain on the BBC’s weather forecast,  so the dark clouds weren’t entirely unexpected.

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

Although we had only cycled a couple of miles, it was quite hard to move away from the warm wood fire we had been sitting in front of to resume our ride. Instead of cycling against the wind to the Partridge pub in Partridge Green for lunch, we agreed with Graham that we should change the lunchtime destination to the Fox in Small Dole.

We were an abstemious bunch for our lunchtime meal. Both Prudence & myself opted for lime & soda, which I combined with a packet of salt & vinegar crisps. Graham seemed to be enjoying his leek & potato soup and half of ale. Although the crisps I ate were perfectly fine, maybe I’ll sample the soup next time.

The ride after lunch was particularly enjoyable. We cycled through Bramber to join the South Downs Way and Downs link. I’ve never invested in a pair of waterproof trousers, so felt slightly left out as Graham and Prudence took the opportunity to change into their waterproof trousers under a bridge during a sudden rain shower. The rain stopped as soon as 2/3 of the group had changed into their over-trousers and I decided I could probably continue taking part in rides without adding trouser waterproofs to my cycling baggage.

The waterproof trousers break was the last I saw of the rest of the group for a while. I became distracted when photographing dark clouds over the River Adur. By the time I had finished photographing clouds and a South Downs Way sign, my Clarion comrades were nowhere to be seen.

I knew the direction to Shoreham, so continued along the River Adur in an attempt to catch up with the rest of the group. The abandoned London double decker buses and Underground sign left outside the dilapidated former Shoreham cement works seemed worthy of a few brief photographs.

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

I had photographed the Underground sign and an abandoned fire engine when someone drove up in a 4×4 to tell me I was trespassing on private property. I never did find out why the London buses had been left in the former Shoreham cement works, but it would be great to return to take a few more photos of the London bus graveyard very soon.

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

I caught up with Graham a few minutes later. He told me that he and Prudence had been waiting in the cold for me for about 10 minutes. I had to apologise for my photographic diversions and hoped he appreciated why I found a London Underground sign in the Shoreham cement works so intriguing.

Prudence had gone on ahead to seek out a suitable end-of-ride coffee stop. Ginger & Dobbs was a fine place to end the ride. As well as drinking coffee, Graham and myself agreed to sit still while Prudence drew our hands for an art course she was doing. Perhaps there’s a future for the two of us as male models?

As ever, thanks to Graham for organising a terrific cycle ride. I must try and take fewer photographs and peddle faster next time.

January 27, 2019: Hassocks to Shoreham

The Last Ride: Sunday 13th January 2019 –  Balcombe to Wivelsfield

14 January 2019

January 13, 2019: Balcombe to Wivelsfield

Jim, Sally, Wendy, Sikka, Angela, Mic and Nick caught the early train (9.08!) to Balcombe. The weather was good – fresh and bright and in the afternoon wintry sunshine bathed the countryside in beauty. Now and then we were treated to the scent of woodsmoke as we cycled among the wooded hillsides. Views opened up between the trunks of trees whose discarded leaves lay dry and brown below and after reaching the summit of each undulation we were treated to far-reaching panoramas.

January 13, 2019: Balcombe to Wivelsfield

We came across a few interesting curiosities on our journey, offering momentary respite from the rigours of cycling. First, an essential pause to admire the magnificent Balcombe Viaduct, next in a set of diversified farm buildings, the offer of counselling, foot health and trichology at the Hair Sanctuary. Lindfield was noted to have a number of attractive Georgian homes and taking a short cut along a bridleway we stopped to admire a smallholding and envied the smallholder her cup of tea! She told us about her hens, pygmy goats, rabbits and fighting cockerels.

January 13, 2019: Balcombe to Wivelsfield

We were joined in The Farmers at Scaynes Hill for lunch by Graham, Prudence and Chris who had taken a later train. The menu catered for various diets and Wendy was able to enjoy the rare treat of a totally vegan nut roast meal – while sitting under the head of a magnificent hunted stag. Over the meal Angela proposed a toast to one of our members on account of his promotion to Compost Monitor in his neighbourhood. Much discussion ensued about compost and the compost monitor and Mic asked ‘was the compost monitor ‘compos mentos?’

January 13, 2019: Balcombe to Wivelsfield

In the afternoon we all cycled back to Wivelsfield station together and landed safely back in Brighton just as dusk was falling.

Thank you Jim for a very enjoyable ride.

Report put together by Sikka from various contributions over lunch!


The need for speed (Graham)

After plugging Jim’s excellent ride instructions into Ridewithgps and despite the extreme undulations revealed i thought it possible to do a fast ride starting an hour later and catch up with the advance group before lunch. So it was that Graham, Chris and Prudence set off from Balcombe station at 10:45 following Jim’s route. We caught up after 9.5 miles and an hours hard cycling free of chickens, roadkill and viaduct photos while approaching the Sloop Inn with 2 miles to go to lunch. The run was helped by enabling live tracking on WhatsApp so that Nick, Wendy and I could look at each others progress. Later there were murmerings of no signal and we would have cycled faster if we knew you were catching up. So could we!

Thanks to Jim for organising the ride and an excellent lunch stop.

Clarion Annual New Year Ride

5 January 2019

Part 1.   Anne reports

Clarion annual Carats cafe ride and brunch

A goodly crowd of folk gathered at Brighton Palace Pier on a cold winter morning & photographer Fred performed the ritual snap. New arrival Wendy T. agreed to snap the all-inclusive Fred as well Photo & a long line of yellow jackets wended their way to the next rendez-vous outside Marocco’s Cafe on Hove sea-front. The numbers now soared to 20 plus we almost recruited two more on the spot, when they recognised the joy & camaraderie of Clarion Cycling Club

Since the weather was so nippy & the cycle track so busy, it was difficult to chat en route in the usual friendly way but the miles seem to fly by & we reached Carat’s Cafe well before 12pm & started to queue & to find space to seat 20. No seats out in the sunshine this year, nor tempting silvery sea for paddling. It was sometimes silvery but was too shivery too!

We joined the queue & on finding out  that the soup was spicy vegetable I decided on that & soon reached the till & paid up & received my receipt & number. Before I’d left the counter the kitchen staff anounced that there was no more soup, so I went back & ordered the veggie brekkie, which did sound good. Another receipt was given me  but as I tried to leave again kitchen called out that there now was soup, By then I had become keen on the option of the veggie brekkie but had agreed to the soup now. Further down the queue Wendy S. was waiting with Graham & she wanted soup but agreed to order the veg breakfast if there was no longer soup.

By now earlier birds [or cyclists] had bagged tables – 1 inside & 1 in sun lounge extension so I took my soup inside where Ian, Sue B, Richard C, Prudence, Joyce & Leon, Wendy B, Fred, & Graham were seated. I would have needed another space, so when Fred got up to take some more pics, he sat himself down at a nearby table, whence Graham, then I, went to join him. Wendy had been seated in the extension with Sikka, Jim, Sally, Suzanne, Roger, Julia, Nick, Angela D. Tessa & her nephew, Rupert. There had been no more soup [again] so she’d ordered veg. breakfast, so I invited her back to room 1  to sample my soup & hopefully, share her breakfast. That worked very well as she liked the soup, though not the buttered bread, being a vegan. The breakfast had an egg on toast  which she w/couldn’t eat but I relish, though not white toast. Fred & Wendy, maybe Graham,  shared the copious mushrooms & sampled the fatty, deep-fried veg sausages & fatty hash browns & we all enjoyed the baked beans. So that worked well.

Angela D joined us & discussed cycling on to Shoreham or back to Brighton to sample /recce The Walrus, as some don’t like the food at Carat’s & had just had tea or coffee & were thus somewhat peckish still. 4 or 5 in the end went on to Shoreham from where Graham will take up the tale.

What will 2019 bring?  Can we stop Brexit & UKIP & Tories? Or are we all doomed?   Happy New Year to all our readers & riders & welcome to our new rider Wendy Tait.  A good start to the new year.

Sorry that I haven’t reported on the other tables but maybe they can add their bit too.


January 2, 2019: Clarion ride to Carats

Part 2. Graham adds:

Angela, Jim, Sally, Wendy, Prudence , Nick and myself went over the locks and as far as Shoreham. where we settled into the comfy chairs upstairs at “Toast by the coast” for coffee and snacks until about 2:30, then cycled back.

PS. Prudence left her red beret in Carats and is wondering if anyone picked it up


Part 3. Jim adds:

There were certainly a lot of us at the café, and I am sorry I didn’t get to say hello to everyone.

While waiting for everyone to lock up their bikes in Shoreham, Sally and I were approached by a gentleman on a bike who asked us where we had cycled from. He gave us a newspaper cutting about wearing cycle helmets. OK, it was from the Mail On Sunday, but I promised to pass the message on – which was that a doctor, Dr Michael Mosley, had written a full page article under the heading “Don’t all shout but I refuse to wear a cycle helmet and here are my reasons why”. Despite that headline, most of the article was about the benefits of cycling, and only the last few paragraphs were about helmets. He says he “finds it an uncomfortable inconvenience” but goes on to add that “according to University of Bath scientists, drivers are more likely to veer dangerously close to helmet-wearers due to a subconscious belief that those who wear a helmet are more serious, experienced and predictable than those without”.

It’s a familiar argument, and I wouldn’t contradict it, but I must say I was glad of my helmet when I got too near an overhanging branch on the Downs Link a few years ago! Also there are other precautions you can take, including getting a mirror to warn of approaching motorists (I wouldn’t cycle without one) and also maybe  a swing-out fluorescent arm such as Rob has.


Part 4. Fred adds:

After a trouble-free albeit nippy ride back to the Palace Pier, I was in town cycling west past the Corn Exchange when I had an encounter with a car door, my first ever. Due to unfortunate timing, a driver opened his door just as I was passing and I crashed straight into it… it was one of those time slowing down moments and could have ben a lot worse. The driver apologised, but I was too shocked to take any details. The only damage done seemed to be with my left big finger, which was numb, and my left hand brake lever. Over a coffee in the warm nearby Caffe Italiano, feeling gradually came back, much to my relief,  and I reflected on what had happened. I was obviously riding too close, to avoid the traffic to my right, and thankfully I wasn’t going fast. Moral: be eternally vigilent!

The Last Ride: Sunday 9 December – Polegate Circular

18 December 2018

Tess and Sikka led Angela, Richard (your humble reporter) and Chris (gilets jaunes tous) on the Polegate Circular, a splendid and particularly well- organised  spin maximising the benefit from the few available daylight hours.

On a pleasantly mild sunny day Olive’s Kitchen at Lime Cross Nursery was the lunch venue (vegan menu options I understand) and y.h.r. believes that all were pleased with same.

During said lunch we also sorted and completely solved the Brexit situation. Long shadows were a feature of the ride as were high reeds in beds either side of the road, and I note the planning skill of the ride designers in terminating the ride just before sunset. I am told that I am not to mention the h***s word. I would observe that the ride, being circular, was completely gradient-neutral


The Last Ride: Sunday 25 November – Palace Pier to Lewes via Telscombe Tye

27 November 2018

Nick, Graham, Wendy, Jim, Prudence, David, Chris, Anne, Mick, Angela D

Warning. This report contains a word that some Clarionistas may find offensive.

Various Clarionistas assembled in front of Palace Pier and joyfully welcomed our bi-partisan leadership duo, Nick and Graham. The first part of the ride was nice and flat but the volley ball courts and zip wire emplacements failed to offer any shelter from the chill north easterly wind. Sensibly our gallant leaderly pair had decided on an early stop for warming coffee, but then it was decided with much about turning and circumlocutions along the sea walls that perhaps it was too early. So off we set again, until a suitable coffee stop with loos was found, although even then it wasn’t entirely clear if we were stopping, standing, dawdling or just milling around getting in everybody else’s way. Still this is the right of Clarionistas everywhere and no amount of bustling walkers or harried buggy-pushing parents would do us out of our time honoured rituals of indecision.

November 25, 2018: Palace Pier to Lewes via Telscombe & Southease

A little while later came – and here I ask impressionable and sensitive readers to turn away now – our first up****. This was but a paltry slope compared to what, unannounced, was to follow, so we unsuspectingly followed one, both or neither (my memory is vague here) of our gallant leaders up the cliff side.

Reaching the top of the cliff there proved to be an energy defying, soul-sapping and possibly for the weaker amongst us, life threatening series of hills. As you know, one aims for accuracy and precision in these reports and it is for this reason I have had to break our customary taboo against this iniquitous word, which I know sends shudders of fear, terror and loathing through all stout-hearted Clarionistas; but it was as I tell it; in future reports I do so hope that this word will be again thoroughly retired from lack of necessity and not have to ever again be introduced into Clarionista parlance.

November 25, 2018: Palace Pier to Lewes via Telscombe & Southease

On we laboriously pedalled, not quite in the tight formation of an elegant peloton but rather more as a long line of stragglers, dawdlers and loiterers until it became obvious that we had perhaps managed to find our group in several different places without a coherent narrative of progress. One leader decided to contact the other leader by means of a brilliant outdoor communicative device; I think it was something about two tin cans with a long string between them. Well unfortunately maybe the string wasn’t taut enough, or the cans were the wrong sort of metal, but the device didn’t seem to work. Nothing daunted a few Clarionistas went in one direction and others in another, and we all went round in circles until we met up in the middle, which in this case turned out to be Telscombe Tye and a bemused woman was prevailed upon to take a photograph of the entire troop together.

November 25, 2018: Palace Pier to Lewes via Telscombe & Southease

Sadly, more hills were to follow but somehow or other even the wheeziest and droopiest among us found our way into Lewes, and gaining a little more alacrity in our pace, managed to make our way to The Snowdrop Inn.

November 25, 2018: Palace Pier to Lewes via Telscombe & Southease

Indecision, vacillation and uncertainty are a core part of the Clarion experience, and, once in the pub, we were not deprived of partaking in these excellent amusements. We were at this table; no, we were at the one opposite. We had a table reserved, but it was not the table that was reserved for us, but an alternative table that was reserved upstairs, or as they say in certain superstitious incantations ‘in another place’ that most of the group were unable to find. Once some sort of table was satisfactorily colonised people did insist on changing places, a stray member had to be rounded up and returned to the herd, lost gloves had to be identified, all the food had to be photographed and strawberry beer had to be replaced by Sussex cider.

November 25, 2018: Snowdrop, Lewes

Some rather wild talk was heard over lunch, particularly after several further refreshing glasses of the pink beverage, about a return trip to Brighton in the dark via Black Cap and the South Downs, and indeed it is believed that some members leapt on their bicycles to return home at the pedal. One of that group returned later, like the last little boy in The Pied Piper, to recount sorrowfully how the cyclists she had been accompanying had been swallowed up by the black mountain but that she had been left behind to tell the tale. It is to be hoped fervently that at some point the wanderers are returned once again to the bosom of the Clarion fold.

November 25, 2018: Palace Pier to Lewes via Telscombe & Southease

This confirmed a general decision that the train might be the best means of finding our warm beds in Brighton and Hove, though even this produced confusion as the writer of this piece was heard to go off muttering about how she had to get to Five Dials, or Seven Ways, or Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

Many thanks to Graham and Nick for devising and leading this excellent trip and the £5 I found on the Undercliff walk has been given to Amnesty.

Angela Devas

25 November 2018

The Last Ride. Tessa’s Report

30 October 2018

Clarion Ride Glynde to Berwick   28/10/18

Ten of us gathered at Brighton Station: Angela D, Chris, David, Graham, Jim, Nick, Prudence, Sikka, Tessa and Wendy.

Tessa had the interesting experience of her bike getting stuck in the middle of the double gates leading to the platform whilst chatting to the railway guard. No way would it allow him to open them and the only way was to lift the bike clear. Lucky it wasn’t an electric bike!

October 28, 2018: Glynde to Berwick

L-R Jim, Wendy, Prudence, David, Angela D, Sikka, Tessa, Chris, Graham. (Photo by Nick).

Setting off from Glynde we encountered our one and only ‘H…’ It was definitely more than an ‘Undulation’. We quickly arrived at Middle farm, our coffee stop via country lanes and a spell on the bike friendly pavement alongside the A27.

October 28, 2018: Glynde to Berwick

When coffee and second breakfasts had been consumed we set off on more country lanes fringed by cropped hedges and autumnal trees.

After Ripe we headed for Laughton, stopping for a moment to count ginger cats in a farmyard. The skies were full off swirling wind-driven clouds with a hint of rain.

We crossed the A2124 to ride along a byway through Laughton Common Wood. It was well-timed. Rain had become heavier but we were protected by overhanging trees.

October 28, 2018: Glynde to Berwick

By the time we reached Vert Wood where the track was wider and the trees less protective, the sun was out.

Crossing the A22 we continued on country lanes to Chiddingly and our lunch stop, the Six Bells.

Opinions of lunch were mixed, Angela being pleased she had eaten a hearty Cornish pasty at our coffee stop.

It rained during lunch so many decided to don their waterproof trousers. TherOctober 27, 2018: Glynde to Berwicke was much mirth at Wendy’s all-in-one waterproof trousers and overshoes which made her her look a clown about to enter a crime scene.

We stopped in Muddles Green at Farley’s Farm House to see an exhibition of Lee Miller’s recently found archive photographs, really varied and interesting.

The sun was low as we cycled the remaining miles to Berwick station along a mix of byways and lanes. Those really keen to catch the 15.55 train to Brighton raced ahead with directions from Graham. Others were delayed and did not get there in time. I believe they spent a convivial hour in the pub waiting for the next train?

Thank you Graham for a voyage of discovery along those lanes and byways.


Jim adds: Yes, we “lost” Nick and waited for him to catch up, but it turned out he was ahead of us! He could have caught the earlier train with Tessa et al., but gallantly waited for us to arrive before repairing to the pub. As we waited on the platform, we witnessed a lovely sunset. I’d like to thank Graham for finally introducing me to Farley’s, which I had heard of on an earlier ride but never managed to pinpoint. As well as Lee Miller they were also featuring an exhibition on space, time and relativity by Sir Roger Penrose, who is the cousin of Farley’s current owner, Antony Penrose, the son of Lee Miller. This was “right up my street” as I am currently studying the philosophy of relativity!  Sadly, both exhibitions were closing that day, and we had little time to tarry.

Berwick sunset