The Last Ride: 21 September 2014 – Dell Quay Mark II

22 September 2014

Dell Quay ride

It was perfect cycling weather: light winds, some sun but not too hot, and no rain. Nine riders assembled at Chichester – Corinne, Julia, Julian, Marilyn, Richard, Roger, Sue, Suzanne and Tessa. After being photographed by a friendly passer-by, we were off.

The Centurion Way provided a relaxed start to the ride; we soon turned off to take the road to West Stoke. It was here that eyes were attracted to the right-hand side of the road: at first glimpse through the trees it looked like a flood. then I thought it was poly-tunnels, but once we got a good view it was clear that it was a field completely carpeted with solar panels.

The countryside around Chichester is some of the most beautiful in Sussex and it was looking its best today. I’ve been on many Clarion rides through it and led quite few, but even so, I’m sure that some of the lanes that Julian led us down were new to me: a fresh pair of eyes gives us a new view of the familiar.

Our first stop was the Crown & Anchor at Dell Quay. We found a large table on the terrace looking out over the channel. Julian had been hoping to spot a few local birds, but the high tide meant they had gone elsewhere.

The food and service at the pub were good; the summer pudding looked particularly impressive. (I’m not saying who ate it!). Conversation at my end of the table focussed on contrarian ideas about diet: some kinds of cholesterol are good for you – though no one was quite sure which kind it was; fruit juice should be avoided in the interest of healthy kidneys; cream in your coffee is far better than milk.

The route back to Chichester took us along the canal tow path. The first section was narrow but fortunately there were few other users and those we met seemed happy to stand and watch us all roll past. The second section was wider but also busier, off and on the water. We stopped at one point to express disapproval of three lads in canoes who seemed to be attacking a duck with their paddles.

And finally to the Canal Trust’s café where tea, coffee and cakes were consumed with enthusiasm before we dashed to the station and squeezed into every nook and cranny on the 15:53 to Brighton.

Thanks a million to Julian for a perfectly planned and expertly led ride!


The Last Ride: 22 September 2013 – Chichester Circular Ride

25 September 2013

It was a somewhat cloudy but warm morning as our little band of four, Roger, Suzanne, Linda and me, set off from Chichester station in a south easterly direction to begin our 20 mile circular ride. I often have difficulty remembering many details of rides that I have done before, but I did remember the lovely track that goes alongside the lake as you leave the city. Autumn is not yet really apparent in the trees but the abundance of blackberries along the track definitely indicates the beginning of the change to the new season.

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 (3) by Linda

As we cycled out of the city towards North Mundham, the large fields of corn had not yet all been harvested and it always amazes me how the corn grows out of the side of the plant and never looks particularly edible. In fact, to be honest I’m not over keen on corn and Suzanne, who told me she loves it with blobs of butter, also told me that the French certainly do not eat it because the vegetable is fed to animals! I did not know that.

Somewhere along the route between North and South Mundham we stopped to look at a rather lovely and large house that had a beautiful Monkey Puzzle Tree in its garden. But there were, disappointingly, no monkeys doing puzzles in it. So why are they called that, then?

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 (5) by Linda

From there we cycled along the canal, where there were even more blackberries, through Runcton (I think, if my memory is correct) and out onto a road back towards the city to get to the pub for lunch. We had to negotiate a seriously challenging roundabout at North Gate, for we were indeed at the northerly point in our circular ride, and got to the Bell Inn, having done about ten miles.

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 (4) by Linda

Being a warm day we sat out in the garden and if Fred had been around to take pictures of our food, he would perhaps have found the composition of his pictures rather uninteresting as Roger, Suzanne and me all had the same thing! Linda, being vegetarian, made a different choice and said that her bread crumbed brie with salad was very nice.

The second part of our ride took us through a very pretty place called Lavant and out onto the Centurion Way, which we have cycled many a time and if my memory serves me ok, as we left the Centurion Way, we emerged onto a road by a housing estate where, through the trees we had the most wonderful view of the cathedral and its spire. This prompted Linda to tell us a story about a church that she visited abroad (and I’m sorry Linda, but can’t remember which country you said it was in) where you could pay to stay in its tower for up to three months with your food brought to you but not come out! Imagine that and having to pay for the experience too!

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 by Linda

After this little stop to view the cathedral we cycled on through Apuldrum (what a lovely name) and Stockbridge before rejoining the canal path back to the city where we stopped for tea at the little cafe where the canal itself comes to an abrupt end. A nice pot of tea and a piece of cake for £1.70 (how come in Brighton it can be more than double that?) with more swapping of stories about what we had been up to over the last few weeks, and then we set off for the short ride back to the station and home.

Chichester 22 Sept 2013 (2) by Linda

Thank you, Roger, for organising this very pleasant and gentle ride and I hope my memory of the ride is not too out of ‘synch’ with my fellow riders. I had a lovely day out and the rest of you were missed and we hope to see you all soon, hope you are all well and are enjoying this lovely September.

Angela xxx

The last ride: 9 June 2013 – West of Chichester

13 June 2013

The Rediscovered Country from whose Bournes 10 Travellers Return

Actually 11+ met at Chichester station as our youngest ever Clarionette was there with his mum and dad, Joan and TJ – the tiny new arrival, Nye, and what a delight to see them. He had his pram so Joan had no bike, but joined us at Emsworth for lunch and teatime at Chichester Canal’s new shop. Angelica had also taken the train from London, with Rob, Mick and Anne driving and Richard, Roger, Tessa, Julian and David taking various Southern ‘expresses’.


Some of us had been on previous rides out that way and others rediscovered the Bournes from sailing days, but every Clarion ride is different with the changing seasons, weather and company.  Weather forecasts had been showing consistently sunny for days but when we awoke the same chilly east wind was blowing and no sun appeared from the white sky, so warm clothes were worn by almost all, David and TJ favouring shorts and Mick zipping off his zip-offs once warmed up and some sympathy expressed for the World Naked Bike Riders back in Brighton.

Roger led us along the South Coast Cycle Path out of the city into the countryside, under and over the railway lines and motorway 3, 4 or more times. The unguarded crossing with gates is being replaced by a bridge where work has now started  and finish times were said to be three weeks, though this was greeted with scepticism by a builder working there and certain of our members. After Fishbourne we saw three tiny lapwing chicks on the road with two anxious parents wheeling overhead.

We reached Bosham at what was agreed to be high tide in Brighton, Hove and Shoreham, but apart from a few puddles, were unimpeded by being almost entirely surrounded by water. Having not taken the usual group pic at the station, we paused at Nutbourne Marshes to drink in the peace and take some pics. 


A few of us made a brief side-tour to the artillery barracks entrance guarded by a tracked rocket launcher.

Cycling swiftly onto Southbourne warmed me up and I stopped at a crossroads to remove winter garb and bare my arms. Mick then got a phone call, so we both awaited the main group in a lay-by with three fields of shaggy ponies, which looked as if they may be used for pulling traps. There was a large van behind their field plastered with a picture of a camel and the letters CTC. Those camels keep cropping up in the most unexpected places on Clarion rides and beginning to wonder if CTC stands for Camel Touring Company. Maybe they’re preparing for global warming, certainly less polluting than cars and more fun! Here we saw a buzzard being dive-bombed by two crows.

CTC =Camels Touring Club[?]

Having been on Roger’s previous ride when we missed Thorney Island, I was delighted that we found it this time, with its charming cottages and peaceful lanes. Back on the road again we arrived at The Ship Inn, Emsworth, for lunch where Joan and Nye awaited us. Food was excellent value and arrived promptly; six veg + 2 sorts of potatoes with the small roasts for £6.75, thick veg soups, and various fishy dishes and fry-ups, as well as several takers for the puddings.

baby Nye aat lunch with TJ & Joan.

We rode off again along the delightful Lumley Road with a brook running alongside on our left, in front of pretty cottages, until the small waterfall and the elegant blue and white Lumley Mill House and its garden.

Lumley Road group-Annes'pic

Passing through the gates of the house the track became rougher and soon we were on a footpath alongside a large field. It was a narrow path along the field edge parallel to the A27 and seemed very long, a bit too long for some of us, who got lost in its longness. It was quite testing and tough to admire the views as you needed to concentrate on the ground beneath your wheels in order not to be thrown off into the luxuriant barley crop. I was quite relieved that there were still 10 of us, who eventually emerged onto a real road south of Westbourne, with some extra help from Roger. I do remember it from a previous Clarion ride, when I walked and pushed and relaxed more.

irresistible pigs

After Woodmancote the road undulated with roadside verges bright with spring blossom and trees full of varied birdsong. Julian heard a greater spotted woodpecker and “a little bit of bread and no cheese” sung by a chaffinch. There was hardly any traffic and I was able to spot some irresistible pigs and piglets over the road and stopped to snap them. Rob, acting as backstop, accompanied me and enquired about the tall wooden tower near the pig farm. The owner said it was an experimental radar tower from 2nd World War, which he was trying to turn into a spectacular home, though the planners were objecting. Back on the road Rob wondered why we couldn’t see Chichester Cathedral from this vantage point south of West Ashling, but it must have been because Spring had finally arrived and we were so used to the bare branches of that long winter, though still not sunny.

wooden radar tower

Warm enough though to enjoy a cup of tea at the new and enlarged Chichester Old Ship Canal Basin tea-shop where Joan and Nye rejoined us. David bought some excellent fair trade cookies which we shared, bringing the trip to a convivial conclusion. Thanks very much to Roger for leading us for about 19 miles to the Bournes and back again. No “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in guise of punctures, nor “Sea of troubles” by way of high tide at Bosham sweeping in on us, but 11+ wanderers wended our way homeward.


See a video of the ride by Rob

The next ride: Sunday 9 June – Wandering West of Chichester

3 June 2013

(or The Four Bournes (or Thorney Island resurrected))

This is a gentle and fairly flat ride for those who haven’t been doing much cycling lately and need to ease themselves back into the saddle – i.e. me.
We leave Chichester past the college and skirt the edge of the Roman Villa at Fishbourne. Then down to Bosham for a brief discussion on how to pronounce it. Next there’s a stretch on the A259 with a cycle path part of the way.

We will pass through Nutbourne and then Southbourne, where we will take a short detour to investigate Thorney Island. This is not really an island: most of it is a military base – that’s why the detour is short. Those who were on my previous ride when I attempted this detour will remember that I missed the turning. It’s easily done!

So, having now got three of the bournes out of the way we arrive at Emsworth for lunch at the Ship Inn.

The good news is that the return route to Chichester is shorter. The bad news is that it has some hills, but nothing serious. We ride up Lumley Road, past the old mill. The road then becomes a track and eventually a path, which takes us past Westbourne (bourne number 4). And so onto quiet country roads through Woodmancote and West Ashling to Chichester.

Meet: 11:00 at Chichester Station
Getting there: 10:00 train from Brighton (10:03 from Hove) or 10:19 from Hove
Distance: 20 miles (approx.)
Hills: A few short ones on the return journey
Off road? About a mile of track and field-side path
Catering: Lunch at the Ship Inn, Emsworth – traditional pub food; tea at Chichester canal for those who want it before catching the train
Getting home: Trains leave Chichester for Hove and Brighton at 15:15*, 15:23, 15:53, 16:23, 16:27, 16:53, 17:15*, 17:23, 17:53 (*change at Hove for Brighton)
My mobile: 0789 985 1172


The Last Ride: Sunday 7 April 2013 – CATS MALIGNED AT DELL QUAY

8 April 2013

Group photo

On this Sunday’s ride, cat herds were unfairly defamed when being compared with an anarchic group of Brighton & Hove Clarion Cyclists. Legal action is being contemplated. The club’s officers are considering making an emergency call to Paolo Di Canio to lead the next ride. The guilty cyclists should be named and shamed, they were duelling duo Jim and Angela, several who went under assumed names Fred aka Alan, Mal aka Marilyn, others whose mug shots have previously appeared on these pages, Joyce, Corinne, Anne, Nick, David, Julian, Anne, Jenny, Linda, Mick and their leader Ian, as well as newcomer Julia who, extraordinarily, later claimed to have enjoyed the experience.

It was an unpropitious start. Four who had arrived early or by other means watched as the 11.25 train from Brighton arrived and departed. Five minutes later no cyclists had appeared outside the station and the impatient four departed for the north side of the station in search of Ian who also came by car. Meanwhile the 10 who had been on the train had finally managed to get off and along the platform and were met by Ian who thereupon phoned the pub to advise that there would be 10 cyclists arriving (counting beyond the digits on 2 hands not being a strong point of the assembled company).

Ian immediately explained the need to set a good pace in order to arrive at the Crown & Anchor by the appointed time of 12.30. He found a backmarker (who it was reported had promptly forgotten his allotted role) and set off up the Centurion Way at a steady pace. At the end of the short ride up the Centurion Way the four riders at the front looked back to find only Anne in sight. It later turned out that Corinne had a problem with her tyre and David had left his bag at the station and had returned there to look for it. After some time the group set off again.

April 7, 2013: Centurion Way, Dell Quay, Salterns Way & Chichester Canal

There were, or so it seemed, only 11 waiting at the next gathering point. Nick, who had been photographing farmyard animals, eventually arrived to make it 12. He thought we had set out with 16. At this point Mick noticed that David was not there and without any further consultation cycled back the way we had come to look for him. Unsurprisingly he was not to be found. The rest made their way on the planned route.

We arrived at the Crown & Anchor to find David already there having found his bag had not been blown up by security and having cycled the direct way to Dell Quay was the only person to arrive on time.


Lunch was peppered, inter alia, by discussion of the usefulness of Latin, the NHS demo the day before, the Norfolk trip and Steiner School mums re-united. The Crown & Anchor is set in a magnificent position and for the first time this year it was just about warm enough for some to sit outside.

After lunch, the company drifted up the road while Ian made adjustments to his bike. Alas they drifted too far and Mick was despatched to bring them back to the righteous road along the Saltern’s Way. At this point Ian took firm control and imposed Mick as backmarker with strict instructions that there was to be no more getting ahead of the leader, forgotten bags, slow punctures or unnecessary photography of common or garden objects or creatures. This latter injunction was shortly to be ignored on the discovery of swans, with a nest, with eggs, in springtime.

April 7, 2013: Centurion Way, Dell Quay, Salterns Way & Chichester Canal

Eventually we made our way to the end of the canal to find that the ramshackle hut serving tea and cakes had been replaced by a splendid new building but still staffed by volunteers (one of whom had done a 48 mile ride that morning) serving delicious homemade cake at 60p a slice.

New cafe at Canal Basin

All were a agreed that it had been a super ride and that all things considered a spot of anarchy on a 13 mile ride was no bad thing unless of course you happen to be our long-suffering but dearly-loved leader.


Lot more photos on Flickr

The Next Ride: Sunday 7 April: Centurion Way, Dell Quay, Salterns Way, and Chichester Canal

25 March 2013

Just a short way up Centurion Way, then off down, initially, the B2178 south to Fishbourne , a short stretch of the old main road and down to Dell Quay for lunch at the Crown and Anchor.* Then the Salterns Way cycle route down to the Salterns Marina, over the swing bridge and back via the Chichester Canal with probably time for a tea stop at the open-air café at in the canal basin.

Catch the 10.30 from Brighton Station, 10 34 from Hove or meet at Chichester Station at 11.25. Best trains back seem to be the  15.23, 15 23 or  16 23  

My mobile number is 07770743287   It will be switched on!

* I’ve never tried to “book” at the Crown and Anchor in the past – we’ve always gone there in the spring or summer and usually sat outside in the sunshine where there are masses of tables.  This time – with winter threatening to last until next autumn – I’m going to wait until a few days before and see what the forecast looks like before deciding whether to get in touch.


The Last Ride –Tessa’s Report

18 June 2012

Saturday 16 June – Centurion Way, Dell Quay, Chichester Ship Canal.

Jim, Roger, Sean and Sue boarded the train at Brighton station. By the time Tessa joined them at Hove a lively debate/discussion had taken place around the subject of the Queen, prompted by Jim’s comments in the last report. It was all over by Shoreham when Tessa actually joined them in the carriage, having been ousted from hers by a wheelchair arrival.

1. The Start

We were met by Ian and promptly set off on the Centurion Way after a passer by took our photo. A slight delay while Ian returned to check that his car was locked, but we were happy waiting, relaxing in the windy sunshine. Marguerites were in bloom and they were waving in the wind as we passed the site of the Roman amphitheatre flanked by the metal Centurion sculptures, ‘A distinct lack of signage’ was Jim’s bugbear of today, and he was right- unless you knew it was a Roman amphitheatre there was nothing to tell you.

3. Centurions

Once off the Centurion way, we headed for Fishbourne, weaving over and under the A27. We turned onto Dell Quay Road and into even stronger wind, so the sewage farm we passed was a mere whiff. The Crown and Anchor was a welcome sight. Beside the blackboard signs outside the pub advertising football matches being screened etc was another announcing ‘ Coming soon- Summer’

5. Dell Quay

We had planned to eat outdoors but both food and conversation would have been blown away. Our indoor table was presided over by a very large photograph of the Queen Mother pulling a pint. Jim was persuaded to pose, smiling, with an arm extended towards it, in an embrace.

4. In The Pub

8. Salterns Copse

After lunch we joined the Salterns Way past Apeldram airfield, a wartime landing strip, now a field of wheat. We passed through Chichester Marina and joined the canal footpath where we were at last protected from the wind. We passed canoes, coots and water lilies in the beautiful afternoon light, on a narrow muddy track. When the footpath became a cycle route, the surface improved and the canal scenery gave way to ducks, swans, a rowing boat and a canal cruiser. Somewhere along the path Sue managed to gather a pannierful of elderflower heads, destined to become cordial when she got home.

12. Chichester Canal (1)

Tea was at the delightful Canal Basin tea stop before we left Ian and boarded the train home. Maybe because the ride had been flat and short, there was energy for more conversation, again focussed on the Queen, the Royal Prerogative and Nuclear proliferation. The journey passed quickly!

Thank you Ian for a delightful ride on nearly a summer’s day!


The Next Ride: Saturday 16 June 2012 (NB Note — Saturday!) Bloomsday.

5 June 2012

Centurion Way, Dell Quay, Slaterns Way, and Chichester Canal

Just a short way up Centurion Way, then off down, initially, the B2178 south to Fishbourne, a short stretch of the old main road and down to Dell Quay for lunch at the Crown and Anchor. Then the Slaterns Way cycle route down to the Salterns Marina, over the swing bridge and back via the Chichester Canal with probably time for a tea stop at the open-air café at in the canal basin.

Catch the 10.33 from Brighton Station, or 10 37 from Hove or meet at Chichester Station at 11.24. Best trains back seem to be the 15.25 or 16.00
Meet at 10.15 for a chance of Groupsave.

My mobile number is 07770743287 – It will be switched on!


The Next Ride (for stay-at-homes): 22 April 2012 – Chichester circular

17 April 2012

Centurion Way, Dell Quay, Salterns Way, and Chichester Canal

Just a short way up Centurion Way then off, initially, down the B2178 south to Fishbourne, a short stretch of the old main road and down to Dell Quay for lunch at the Crown and Anchor. Then the Salterns Way cycle route down to the Salterns Marina, over the swing bridge and back via the Chichester Canal, probably with time for a tea stop at the open-air café at the canal basin.

Catch the 10.17 from Brighton Station or meet at Chichester Station at 11.19. Best trains back seem to be the 15.53 or 16.28.


The Last Ride: Sunday 21 August – Chichester Harbour with Picnic

24 August 2011

[More photos on Flickr]

Ian was unfortunately unable to lead the ride after all, having suffered ‘bike problems’ at the last minute (see below). So Roger kindly took on the lead and managed to guide us round the delightful route that Ian had designed, only once consulting the map and being heard to say, ‘I think I know the way’!


On the train were Roger, Suzanne, Rob, Wilma and Joyce. Leon drove to join us with his recently acquired pale-blue Brompton folding bike, and Terry and Sue awaited the others at the café by the canal. So altogether we were eight.

The weather kept fine, alternating cloud and sun, and generally very warm. We cycled along the first section of the Chichester canal, along a main road and then on a track between the lakes and through North Mundham. We followed Sustrans Route 88 which I enjoyed very much as it involved extending an old familiar trail, making further paths available to cyclists. So exciting to explore new byways.

"I think I know the way"

We reached Pagham harbour in record time (by 12.30) and as no one was hungry enough to stop for lunch we decided to continue to West Itchenor. There was a bit of a moment when waiting for Roger to do a recce, getting so involved in discussion about the riots and the appropriateness (or otherwise) of punishments handed out, that only Terry noticed Roger return and signal us onwards. So there was a general dispersal, with Leon and Joyce reluctant to leave the spot until sure that they weren’t leaving Roger behind. All sorted by a phone call (modern technology definitely has its moments) and eventually reunited.

So we arrived at West Itchenor rather hungry and found benches and a small concrete platform to sit and have our picnic overlooking the harbour. Sailing boats and launches as well as canoes were busy moving up and down and across the narrow waterway as we followed the progress of the tiny ferry. Rob had been pumping up his tyre regularly all morning. Now while we all ate lunch, Rob mended his puncture having found shards of flint wedged into his tyre.

Leaving Itchenor over the water.

Getting on the ferry was a slow process as it was extremely busy. So we had to await its second return when the boatman managed to carry and store 7 bicycles and Leon’s folded Brompton on his tiny vessel. Roger’s bike had to be held on for the brief journey over to the ‘far shore’ (about 300 yards actually). Wilma had not been here before and appeared astonished at the lack of pontoon or jetty as the boat crunched up the pebbles to unload us via a ‘gang plank’. Very wobbly experience for most of us and almost disastrous for Leon who unbalanced as he stood on the plank and, unwilling to let go of folding bike in one hand, or bag in the other, jumped off into the water, saving these precious items but soaking his socks and shoes. Nothing daunted.

Sue and Terry on the Legionary Trail.

On the way along the road to Bosham, Leon and Terry sought a place to have a swim but found the beaches all mud and grass. No way of reaching clear water without returning covered in mud! So we all ended up in the café at Bosham for a very welcome cup of tea and snack.

Post 202 on Emperor Way, Chichester.

Roger managed to steer us up to the main road and off onto a safer cycle track which took us all safely back to Chichester. Thank you Ian and Roger for a very enjoyable day out.


‘Things Fall Apart’

It’s Saturday evening, between six and seven. I’ve been frantically busy for weeks and haven’t been on a Clarion ride for ages. But now I’m back (more or less) to normal and looking forward to leading the way on one of my favourite rides – the Chichester harbour one with the celebrated ferry.

On and off all day I’ve been making preparations. I’ve checked the bike, and pump, spare tube, tool kit (including steel tyre levers as John rightly recommends), puncture outfit, and made sure the tyres are properly inflated, reminded myself of the route details with the OS Explorer map, made my sandwiches and bought a box of mixed olives from our local Turkish shop on Lewes Road to hand round during the picnic.

Suddenly. And terrifyingly as well as perplexingly there’s an explosive bang – sounds for all the world like a gunshot. Sue almost jumps out of her skin – I think I’ve already left mine behind. What can it be? Turns out it’s my back tyre. Never known anything like that happen before. Unbelievable. Tyre was blown up hard, of course, but no more than usual.

Well, initial shock over, I start to think, ‘If it was going to happen, good job it happened now rather than on the ride. I’d have been stranded,’ Sue says, ‘Might have been even worse if it had exploded while you were driving to Chichester with the bike in the back – could have caused an accident.’ Too true.

OK. Not the end of the world. Back wheel punctures always a bit more of a bind than front wheel ones where the wheel can be got out and back in a second or two – but straightforward. So I set about it.

I’ve seen inner tubes with tiny holes and larger punctures but never one where about five or six inches of the tube has just been ripped apart. Wow! No wonder it made such a noise. Some defect in the inner tube. I put in a new tube – then calamity. Something wrong with the wheel itself – can’t get it back in – struggle with it, with Sue’s help after a bit, for nearly an hour but no go. No bike shops open at 7 pm on Saturday evening. Obviously can’t do the ride tomorrow. But what to do?

Will send out an emergency circular saying what has happened and drive to Chichester in the morning so that I can explain to anyone who does turn up there and if they want to continue give a quick tutorial on the route. That’s plan B.

Plan A is to find someone else to lead it now. Know Jim’s otherwise engaged from the email he’s sent me. Roger to the rescue! What a relief! Eternal gratitude.