News, Xmas lunch and AGM

15 December 2017

Cool Yule edition

Dear All

2017 has been a very good year for me on many ways – but not cycling-wise. Since I broke my ankle two years ago and had to lay off the bike for 3 months I have found it difficult to get back into a regular rhythm and since the summer my habitual back problem has started to turn into occasional leg problems. But I’m determined to be OK for the little ‘brunch ride’ on 2 January and I hope after that to gradually get back to where I can come out on a Clarion ride from time to time.

After that, at the moment, there is nothing planned. If anyone wants to take on 7 or 21 January let me know and I’ll pass the message on so no one else will spend time planning for the same date. And I’ll include it in the brief reminder I’m planning to send out sometime between Boxing Day and New Year.

The First New Year Brunch Ride
Until recently we always had our short New Year ride to Carats café on New Year’s Day. But eventually the place got more and more popular so we switched to 2nd January (or 3rd Jan this year because 2nd was a bank holiday). Here’s the report that appeared after the first one in 2006. Some of the names will be familiar, but – to my shame – I can’t remember Mei who wrote the report. Anyone remember? Joyce?

The Last Ride – Sunday 1 January . New Year’s Day Brunch Ride to Carats Café – Mei’s Report.

The city seemed still asleep that morning after the previous night’s celebration of the New Year. Clarion riders gathered by the Palace Pier for the first ride in 2006.

Ian wasn’t sure who would be coming. Fred, Sheila and myself were waiting to see if there would be others. Luckily, Jim and Annie came toward us, then Anna, Lucy and Stuart. Finally there was Joyce.

As usual, Fred took a group photo by the Palace Pier then we set off to the Carats Cafe. The clouds were thick and grey. Seagulls appeared and disappeared in the gloomy sky.

Around noon we arrived at Carats Cafe. It had already lots of people inside so, despite the cold wind, we sat outside. Everyone introduced himself/herself again and we had a relaxing talk. Stuart mentioned that, he had seen a line of cars with their wing mirrors smashed, presumably as part of the New Year’s Eve ‘celebrations.’

Also, Sheila asked where the “Boots and Spurs” came from and Ian explained its history to us. After the food and chat, we set off home all looking forward to the next ride. Joyce, Sheila and Fred cycled to the end of the Carats café area. Ian thought they would came back so we could cycle back together to the pier. However, they still didn’t reappear after ten minutes or more. So Ian and I decided to leave. On the way home, more and more people seemed to have appeared on seafront on that windy New Year’s Day.


< Some photos of this ride can be found on the old website – scroll down… – Fred>

The 2018 AGM
Just to remind you, some years ago we altered our constitution to allow for the AGM to be held a lot later than had most often been the case prevously. Now we can have it anytime for 1 January to 31 March. There are advantages to holding it a little later – among other things it will make it easier for us to take a collective position on at least some of the things that may be proposed at the national AGM at the Easter Meet. So I’m proposing to call it for a date sometime in March.

When it does take place one thing we will have to decide is whether to reinstate (or increase) our £1 p a local sub for 2019 or leave it suspended. (In order to make life a bit easier when it comes to collecting the subs – so that we know right at the start of the year how much we need to pay – we adopted the system of deciding it a year in advance.)

If anyone, preferably someone living fairly centrally, would like to host the AGM please let me know. We’ll try and sort out the best day of the week nearer the time.

B&H Clarion Xmas lunch at Shoreham aerodrome Wednesday 13th December 2017

The Christmas Lunch
It wasn’t the most inviting start weatherwise yesterday but it did clear up nicely and quite surprisingly and after the meal when Sue, Jim, Angela and me visited the Old Toll Bridge whose fund-raising rides for restoration we took part in some years ago, the sun was shining on the river and the downs so wonderfully in a way that made it difficult to remember how the day had begun with such unpromising weather. We went to the bridge to have a look at the memorial to those killed in the terrible Shoreham air show disaster.

But the miserable weather around lunchtime made it more impressive that Jenny and Fred arrived at the Humingbird by bike. [If anyone else did that I failed to register let me know and I’ll record your feat next time!]

As well as the aforementioned the lunch was attended by Richard, Charlotte, Jim, Joyce, Leon, Anne, Suzanne, Roger, Angela (C) – who had organised the feast – and Sue and myself. That made 13 altogether but anyone with undeclared superstitious tendencies must have breathed a sigh of relief when Mick turned up having successfully survived an earlier visit to the dentist. The food was fine but some of the jokes in the crackers were almost as feeble as the sort I’ve been known to tell. For example:

‘What do Santa’s little helpers learn at school? The elf-abet.’ (Groan!)

The party poppers were more impressive and Leon, in particular, demonstrated how they could be deployed to the best effect. Roger made a little speech thanking Angela (and me – quite undeservedly).

So all the best for Christmas and the New Year and thanks again to Angela for arranging the lunch.



The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and Cycling in the 1890s

15 December 2017

Some not so good advice from Clarion 11 December 1897

The Next Ride: Sunday 10th December 2017 – Burgess Hill, Ditching Common, Hassocks circular

29 November 2017

Lunch at The Bull Ditchling. This is a delightful and award winning pub with excellent food, open fires, good ale (so I’m told) and everything delightful.

We have made a reservation for 10 but it is held on my credit card, so it is really important you confirm you are coming by Friday 8 December, 9pm.
This is short ride (around 6 miles), as the days are also short, and cold, and the pub will be beckoning. Some of it is off road, with a few gently undulations, through pleasant woodland, along mostly firm terrain, some with leaf cover, some with mulch and a few short stretches of actual mud, easily negotiated by dismounting and walking alongside on the firmer ground. 
We meet at Brighton Station and catch the 10.14 train to Burgess Hill. We start by walking along a footpath which takes us to join a bridleway which in the Anglo Saxon period was known as Kings Wood, owned by King Alfred.  We continue along bridleways through Ditchling Common joining Spatham Lane, then a short distance along the B2116 and through Ditchling village to The Bull for lunch. After lunch, we continue along the B2116 to Hassocks Station (just over 1 mile). Trains to Brighton are 09 and 32 minutes past the hour. The return journey after lunch is therefore very short.
We have made a reservation at The Bull, secured by Angela D’s credit card. We must confirm numbers in advance, so please let Angela know by 9pm on Friday 8th December if you are definitely going to come.
Should the weather forecast be extremely inclement, we could cut the ride very short by getting the 11.44 train from Brighton to Hassocks and cycling to The Bull at Ditchling, returning the same way.
Angela D – 07814 457680
Wendy     – 07495 887701
Angela and Wendy

The Last Ride: Sunday 26 November 2017 – Shoreham to Steyning

29 November 2017


Anne, Mick, Jim, Prudence and Tessa travelled to Shoreham by train and were met outside the station by Julia, enjoying a warm patch of sun, out of the wintry northeast wind. Chris and David and Dave joined the group, also newcomer Mike who had cycled from Hove.

We set off and crossed the wooden bridge over the River Adur. Jim photographed the section of train track that lies beside the new stretch of cycle/walking path not yet open to the public.

Old railway lines

We crossed the A27 and set off up Coombes Lane.

As it was a short ride we had decided at the station on two Church stops. The first was Coombes, set above Coombes Farm on our left.

Coombes Church

Coombes Church

This Saxon church, mentioned in the Domesday Book, was a delight. Many of us had not visited it before. Terracotta painted frescoes of biblical scenes decorated the walls and seemed in good condition. There was a note pinned to the church door asking people to leave it slightly ajar as a wren had built her nest in the church.

View from Coombes Church

The graveyard

The only serious hill on the ride took us to Botolphs and we sailed down to view the church. We decided that this church, also built in the 11th century was less interesting than the first. It had been ’got at’ by the Victorians and there were only traces of the original frescoes.


Botolphs Church

We joined the Downs Link, avoiding the busy road crossing by taking a detour to the river and back. At the A283 roundabout we rode up the gentle hill into Steyning, some using the pavement as the road was busy.

Bikes were parked at the White Horse pub which most opted for as a lunch stop. Dave left us at this point as he had afternoon commitments.

Julia, Mike and Tessa chose the Steyning Tearooms for lunch, we all had delicious meals. The carnivores enjoyed lunch at the White Horse, the vegetarians were disappointed at the lack of choice.

After lunch Mick and Anne left as they had an afternoon concert to attend.

The rest of us set off, winding our way through Steyning till we came to a Downslink sign which took us back to the roundabout and the off-road path. Again we rode up to the river to avoid the road crossing and on to Shoreham with the wind behind us.

The view from Coombes Lane

The Adur Valley

A bit of confusion at the station meant that the three returning by train carried their bikes down steps to the tunnel to cross the track and then up again. Just in time to catch the train though, but not enough time to say goodbyes.

On the train Jim complained that his glove collection consisted mainly of right hand gloves. Tessa thought she had a spare left hand one at home and promised to check. Indeed she does!

Thank you Julia for planning the ride, and on such a gorgeous day!



At Botolphs


29 November 2017

Dear All

No one has pointed out any problems with my proposed dates for rides in 2018 that appeared in the last edition so I assume they are OK.

I’ve had a number of messages via email since the last newsletter. I don’t think I have forgotten anyone but if I’ve left anyone out please remind me and I’ll put out a special supplement.

From one of our long-time friends
Peter Roscoe of Bury Clarion has been mentioned in this newsletter from time to time. He has long been on our mailing list and has often said in the past how much he enjoys our newsletters – above all the ride reports. Here’s the latest message I had from him after the last edition which, you will remember, featured a ride report by Wendy plus a short additional piece by Leon. Peter wrote:

What talented writers you have.

I’m experiencing the ride in my mind.


It’s always good to hear from Peter who is not the only newsletter reader to appreciate the excellent ride reports we so often feature.

Message from Angela

Just a reminder, that the Clarion Xmas Lunch is at the Hummingbird Restaurant, Shoreham Airport, on Wed 13th December, 12.30 for 1pm.

Look forward to seeing everyone who has booked.

Love – Angela xx

And from Bob Harber
Not only a Clarion member Bob also chairs Brighton Excelsior. I will forward his message complete with flyer. Bob suggests that we might use our 21 January date to take in an opportunity to meet up with other cyclists at Washington [NOT DC!] village hall. I’m a bit doubtful about the practicalities – particular since we are invited for ‘elevenses’ between 10 15 and 11 45. But at the moment we have no volunteers for our January rides and you never know. In any case it’s always nice to be asked.  Thanks Bob.

Dave Churchill and riding on footpaths
Dave has emailed me expressing serious concerns about riding on footpaths. I suggested that rather than try and use these fortnightly newsletters to discuss this it would be much better to employ the Google group which would allow for much more rapid responses. I believe Dave is going to do this. And it may be a good opportunity to remind everyone how you can join the group.

Our Google Group
If you look at our website there’s a button top right called Google Group… this gives the Long explanation – at the end it says:

If you want to join the Google Group you can email Jim Grozier at or you can visit the group’s web page at!forum/brighton-hove-clarion.
To join on-line, or to choose the “no emails” option, you will need to create a Google login if you don’t already have one.


The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and Cycling in the 1890s

29 November 2017

A bit of poetry – or at least verse from Clarion 18 December 1897. Sorry it’s not clearer.

The Next Ride: Sunday 26 November 2017 – Shoreham to Steyning

17 November 2017

This is a not too strenuous ride along the River Adur from Shoreham Station to Steyning and back. Option to cycle to Shoreham or take the 10.30 train from Brighton arriving at 10.45. We will set off at 11.00 and make our way to the River Adur, crossing over the Old Shoreham Bridge and joining the cycle/footpath along the river. There’s an excellent cafe and pub for lunch in Steyning which we wouldn’t have to book for in advance – we can decide on the day!

Options for the return journey are either to cycle all the way back or take the train again from Shoreham – trains run every 30 minutes (the choice of a 12 or 26 mile ride).

Julia (mobile 07969523425)