As we have noted in the past, not all Clarion Cycling Clubs of the early days went in for much in the way of political propaganda. Indeed, Blatchford himself discouraged the more, shall we say extravagant, forms. But some did –and here is an example from 8 August 1896 which appeared as the first in a series of “Clarion Club Reports’ that week devoted to “Cycling Clubs.”
In looking for an archive ride to fill the hole in our schedule, I came across this one, which, incredibly, dates from 7 years ago (click here for the report from that ride). It features an optional visit to Laughton Place, formerly the chief manor of that well-known Sussex family, the Pelhams, originally built in 1400 and remodelled “on a grand scale” by Sir William Pelham. All that has survived is the tower, which stood close to the main hall, “an outlook post and set of secure private rooms combined. By 1600 the family had abandoned Laughton, driven by the damp, to build again on higher ground, and slowly the house decayed.” (Text from the Landmark Trust, who now own it.)
We may also have a look at All Saints’ Church (13th C), where there are plenty of dead Pelhams, including a couple of Prime Ministers, and some nice stained glass. (Last time, we got invited in for coffee!)
It’s a bit of a “there and back” ride, although a slight variation is possible in the matrix of lanes around Ripe. There is also an optional 1-mile section via Vert Wood on a track if it is not too wet.
Length: 19-20 miles; no hills.
Terrain: Tarmac lanes, with a 1 mile offroad section in Vert Wood if we take it.
Lunch: The Roebuck at Laughton at 1pm.
How to Get There: 10.12 train from Brighton to Berwick or meet at Berwick Station at 10.34.
Return Train at 44 mins past the hour, 24 minutes journey time to Brighton.
REMEMBER TO PUT YOUR CLOCK BACK! (or we’ll collect you from the Berwick Inn!)
Eight riders assembled at Hassocks railway station: Tessa, Sikka, Sue Priest, Joyce, Prudence, David Jeseph, Chris Smith, and Leon.
A group photo was organised and some minor adjustments were made to Chris’s new e-bike before setting off toward Hurstpierpoint and Albourne. Motor traffic was light and the skies were grey but the temperature perfect for cycling.
We stopped for a moment in Blackstone village just to listen to the silence before continuing toward Small-Dole via Woodsmill. Arriving at our lunch venue in Small Dole; the Fox public house a delightful small village pub.
Our lunch was served quickly and our topics of conversation were light-hearted and very entertaining on a number of subjects other than politics and world problems.
After lunch we all cycled back to New Hall lane where we soon spotted a basket of fine Brambly apples going free at the side of the lane, we eagerly helped ourselves to some of them before moving on and riding/walking across a damp grassy meadow before reaching the Downslink.
This section of the Downslink possess a varing quality of surface that can be a pleasure or torture only metres apart. On arriving at the Bramber Castle roundabout we regrouped and decided on who wished to use the ‘new’ super surfaced section of the Downslink that is slightly longer than the one that crosses the dangerous Bramber Bypass.
Only Joyce and Leon chose the safe longer route but found in terms of time it was equal to the short route as we arrived at the river bridge near the cement works, together. After a short stop there we headed off along the river to regroup at the ‘old tollbridge’ only to find some confusion had caused a delay back at the first bridge where Joyce and Leon were not noticed waiting when the group crossed the bridge. Never mind, we were all accounted for at the Tollbridge.
At this point we said goodbye to Prudence, Sue and Chris, leaving the remaining five to proceed into Shoreham for a delightful tea stop at Teddy’s near the footbridge. Then quickly to the station for a train to Brighton where we were halted by thousands of football supporters flooding through the station and filling the trains, that’s great to get cars off the roads but very difficult to navigate while wheeling a bicycle amongst them in a station.
Thanks to Tessa and Sikka for organising and leading this super ride.
I was hoping to be able to cover 12 November with Julian’s ride to Seaford. But unfortunately it’s one of those ‘bus service only’ days from there on 12th. So, any other suggestions?
This is as shorter and more hastily prepared newsletter than usual. So here’s the explanation. ‘The best-laid plans..’ Mr Burns got it right. I’d alerted my publisher about when we were planning to go on holiday and was assured that I would get the proofs of my ILP book in good time to check them and do the index before going away. But they only arrived a couple of days before we set off so now I’m having to try desperately to catch up if the book is to appear before the end of the year.
I’m forwarding a couple of messages from the National Club.
Nice piece on cycling in Brighton by Adam Trimingham (aka ‘The Sage of Sussex’) in today’s Argus.
From Alan Kiddle:
It’s the first time in a number of years the Easter Meet is being held in the South so it would be great to see a good attendance from B&H 🙂
We are delighted to announce that Maurice Burton will be our Guest Speaker for the National Clarion Annual Awards Dinner at the 2018 Easter Meet in Southend-on-Sea.
As a three-time British champion and someone who beat the legendary Eddy Merckx, Burton knows a thing or two about cycling.
Maurice Burton was the first black British champion in cycling. His first taste of success came when he won the Junior Sprint national title in 1973. He won the amateur scratch title the following year, raced over a 20 km distance. He went on to represent Britain at the 1974 Commonwealth Games, but was not selected for the Olympic squad in 1976.
Burton became frustrated by the racism pervasive in Britain at the time so moved to Belgium in 1977, basing himself in Ghent. He was described as the first coloured professional cyclist. Burton rode 56 professional Six Day events, and retired from competitive cycling after a serious racing accident at the Buenos Aires Six Day in 1984. His son Germain Burton is also a racing cyclist who has represented Great Britain on an international level as a junior and has just joined JLT Condor.
To reserve your place at Easter 2018: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/clarion-cycling-club-easter-meet-2018-tickets-35860523792
From Hassocks station we turn right onto the B2116 and through Hurstpierpoint to Albourne. At the T-junction there we turn right into the B2118 for a few yards then immediately left onto the Henfield Road (B2116).
After cycling about a mile take the second road on the left signed Blackstone Lane. Continue through the village of Blackstone to the T junction with the A281 (on old maps this is the B2117!). Turn right into this road, directed to Small Dole, then immediately left into Bramland Lane, the road continuing as Horn Lane.
At the T-junction just past Woods Mill nature reserve – where we had a picnic in the summer with Joyce and Leon – we turn left onto the A2037. Continue along this main road for about a mile to stop for lunch at The Fox.
After lunch we retrace our route through the village as far as New Hall Lane, turning left into this small and quiet cul-de-sac then right onto a potholed track as the lane comes to an end. After a short distance at another T-junction, turn left onto a narrow, well-surfaced lane and at the fork in the road, we turn right towards Stretham Farm. At the entrance to the farm a few yards along we go through a footpath style gate on the left (on Sundays the entrance to the farm is locked). Cross the cattle field towards the farm, and once through the gate turn left onto a pebbled track for 100 yards or so, to join the Downslink Cycle route. Turn left here and continue along this route to Shoreham.
Terrain: mostly flat with short undulations. The morning on tarmac, some roads with fast-moving traffic, some quiet lanes. The afternoon mostly off-road – one field – and the Downslink. Possibility of one muddy patch if weather has been wet.
Distance: Approx. 18 miles, (8 am, 10 pm.) Waterproof shoes advisable if it is wet.
(Alternative routes in wet weather or for those wishing to avoid the potentially muddy field, and the bumpy bits of the Downslink north of Bramber: – after lunch turn right onto the main road (A2037), and cycle as far as the roundabout (about 1-1/2 miles). Take the right turning there into Upper Beeding through Bramber to rejoin the Downslink at the roundabout below Bramber Castle, on the A283)
(There may be a possibility of the two groups, if we do divide, meeting up again at this roundabout – there is a benchseat!)
Trains from Brighton: 10.14 arriving Hassocks at 10.22. (Thameslink)
Return trains from Shoreham-by-Sea: 16.03, 16.33, both direct or the 16.48 with a change at Hove. (Southern)
We will have to book a table for lunch so please ring Sikka 01273 697412 if you wish to have a meal at The Fox.
Tessa and Sikka
The Last Ride: Sunday 1 October 2017 – The Level to Brighton Pier via Falmer, Woodingdean and Rottingdean2 October 2017
Six of us, Angela (D), Prudence, Wendy, Chris (S), Julian and Sean decided the weather forecast was overly pessimistic and set off, under Julian’s leadership with Wendy acting as backstop, for Falmer.
Rather than follow the usual route via the University to Falmer we took the underpass towards The Keep and then cycled past the Amex Stadium. Interestingly as Prudence cycled towards the road barrier across the exit road from the Stadium it duly opened to let her through and promptly closed again. The rest of us lesser mortals were left to push our bikes around the barrier.
After the initial steep climb out of Falmer we paused for breath and a group photograph with the Amex Stadium as the backdrop. By this time the weather had improved to the point that a number of us felt the need to remove jackets to avoid overheating! The steady climb to the Woodingdean traffic lights was soon completed and followed by the exhilarating ride down Bexhill Road and into Rottingdean where we were greeted by sunshine.
Disappointingly The Coach House could not accommodate us unless we were prepared to compete with a football match on Sky TV. After due debate we adjourned to The Queen Victoria where we were made most welcome. The beer drinkers amongst us were impressed with the range of beers on offer and those looking for a meal were impressed with the quality of the food. As befits “teenagers” of a “certain age” smart phones were used to take photographs of the meals. A pub to remember for the future!
The lunch conversation embraced the benefits of dual nationality, cycling in France, Julian’s taste in puddings and the possibility of cycling the Downslink from Guildford to Shoreham.
As we left the pub sadly it started to rain but it stopped shortly after we commenced cycling the under-cliff towards Brighton. At the Palace Pier we went our separate ways and I suspect most of us made it home in the dry.
I am sure I speak for all those who took part when I say “Thank you Julian for arranging a very enjoyable ride”
Ian and Sue are away at the moment so I’m looking after this issue of the “Clarion Latest”.
Many thanks to Chris for a very prompt report on yesterday’s ride. My main recollection of the ride I led on a similar route some time ago is the breath-taking descent from Woodingdean down to Rottigdean. It’s hard to imagine that a suburb could be so exciting … on which subject, please do read the historical piece at the end of this issue … and then check your brakes!
The next ride will be led by Sikka and Tessa on October 15th (see below). We are still looking for someone to lead on 29th October, and dates thereafter. Please send details to Ian if you can make an offer (email@example.com).