The Last Ride: Sunday 18 September 2016 – Lucky Thirteen Cycle to Littlehampton

21 September 2016

Shoreham Station

Saturday had been cold & dull with NE wind, but Sunday brought sunshine & thus a big turn-out for David’s ride from Shoreham to Littlehampton. For some of us it was a long ride – 30 miles there & back again, Mick found it not long enough so cycled from East Brighton & back home again, making 45 miles. Prudence cycled to Shoreham but took the train home from there with Tessa, me, & Sue, making her ride 35 miles approx.

The train out was full, with bike carriage loaded with Julian, Julia, Sue, Angela D. & the guard who told me to park in another coach. Tessa got on at Hove & joined my coach, along with a young woman with a huge case of luggage who was going to university in Wales for the new term & a mum & baby in a pushchair. In the rush & tumble of getting off at Shoreham, where the student had to get off, in order for our 2 bikes to get past the baby buggy, I realised, once the train had left, that I must have left my bike helmet on the train table. The guard at Shoreham made valiant attempts to intercept the missing helmet, phoning Worthing station & Lancing, but to no avail.

David, Mick, Prudence, Angela C. & Helen had made their various ways to the meeting point & we then set off, meeting Marilyn at Shoreham Beach. We progressed along the sea-front NCN2 route to Worthing, then on to The Bluebird Cafe at Ferring, which was very busy. Mick, Sue, & Tessa went in the sea for quick swim & some others queued up endlessly for their coffee & bit of cake. I was wary of the “outfall pipe” at the beach there, but David, who is a water engineer, assured me it was safe. However, there was a large group of contented seagulls enjoying the waters by the outfall, so I was not entirely convinced.

Beach at the Bluebird Cafe

We then wandered in & out of the private roads around the posh estates of Kingston Gore, Angmering & Rustington, admiring the large houses, mature trees & beautiful gardens & topiary. It involved lifting the bikes over several locked gates as the private estates were not welcoming cyclists. Thank you Mick & David for the heavy lifting.

Lunch was at the new harbour in a social enterprise cafe called Harbour Lights with good food & great views. A large group of swans with many brown adolescent cygnets lounged around & drank from a couple of buckets set out for them. You could see the water running down inside their long necks & we were lucky, after our lunch, to avoid the green, slimy deposits they left behind when they had taken to the water!

After lunch, Corinne & Julia decided they had had enough & decamped to Littlehampton Station for return train. Then there were 11. Think it was the same way back, but this time we stopped at the Sea Lane Cafe on the beach. By then there were less of us – fewer of us! Queues again & grand array of cakes & choccy tiffin. Julian decided he would go straight home from there & Angela D disappeared too.

So around 7 of us joined the queues for ice-creams, tea & cakes. Mick had a double chocolate & raspberry torte which was packed with calories, so he had to cycle all the way home to burn some of them off. Helen & Angela C. decided to cycle straight back to their transport at Shoreham too. Then there was 6 or 7, or 5!  All getting a bit tired by then & there were dark clouds & autumn returned after the morning’s Indian summer…

Marilyn stopped for a rest near home at Shoreham but gallant leader David, escorted us almost all the way back to the station & 4 of us caught the train, after a short wait of 7 minutes. This was enlivened by a seagull on the station’s corrugated roof who had in his beak … a pair of glasses! He was obviously delighted with his prize & I wished Fred had been with us to capture the moment for us all. If anyone has lost their specs recently they may be on the station roof!

At Brighton Station I asked again after my helmet & the security guard fetched a charming young woman Keeper of the Lost Property, who had no helmet but gave me a card with phone numbers to ring to report it.

I arrived home around 6.15 to find Mick had been back 45 minutes. Both tired after a very pleasant ride, with no hills, a new harbour & new restaurant – well worth revisiting. 13 is quite a large number to manage but no-one was lost & all enjoyed both the company & the cycling. Thank you David for leading us, shepherding us, reccying the ride with Terri’s help & “counting us out & counting us in” as in the classic Falklands War commentary. My maths is a bit wonky on the comings & goings but I believe we all had a marvellous day of sunshine, sea & fellowship, exercise, refreshments & chance to chat, socialise, swim & have a little adventure. Chat was varied as ever, with Brexit, Burma, Vietnam, Labour Party Leader Re-election & impending cycle restrictions on railway, on my list. The first on the list led me to happily recall Robb Johnson’s song on Brexit & since Ian asked previously for cycling songs, this was running round my head as the legs pedalled! “Turkeys voted Christmas,/Canaries voted cats,/Soldiers voted over the top/And the headless voted HATS!”


The Last Ride: Sunday 1 November 2015 – Shoreham to Littlehampton “Circular?”

3 November 2015

Start at Shoreham Station

David had long wanted to create a safe ride from Shoreham Beach along the coast to Littlehampton avoiding the busy A259, railway crossings, roundabouts and traffic lights, since the days when Linda used to cycle with us.  Now she travels as far as Venice, but did today join the ride at Widewater.  The pre-start photo at Shoreham-by-the-Sea Station south-side thus did not include her.  David’s camera was wielded by a kindly van driver to record Angela, Chris, David, Delia, Julian, Richard and Sikka.  Julian and Sikka had come by train, Angela and Delia had brought their cycles by car, Chris and David had cycled there.  At 10.30 we set off passing St Mary de Haura Church and crossed over the new Adur steel swing-bridge and then west on the Shoreham beach road to Widewater still in the mist with little to see apart from two Little Egrets and a few Swans. 

Flock of Little Egrets
Here are the egrets David saw on the recce

No sign of the usual Little Grebes, or Cormorants hanging out their wings to dry.

cormorants on Widewater Lagoon
But here are some cormorants David saw on the recce

After passing the Lancing Sailing Club and the Green we carefully cycled past the doors of the newly-opened Perch Café on the beach, from which the wafts of cooking spoke of an early lunch: and Chris said his wife had found it a good buy.  The coastal path followed to Worthing Pier and on to the end of the promenade and after passing a newly sown field with gulls resting and a flock of dunlins busily pecking away, we turned briefly inland to the end of Marine Drive into Ferring and a strong-coffee stop at the Bluebird Café.  Then the able men lifted the cycles up onto the beach and soon after over a five-barred gate as well.  We cycled carefully through quiet, private roads of the rich and famous, eventually, as David put it, to be disgorged into Sea Lane and the beach in Rustington.  A short ride along the promenade of the newly-developed harbour in Littlehampton, got us to the Harbour Lights café in the Look and Sea building by 12.50, after about 13 miles.  Delia and Linda sat outside and the other six had a reserved table against a mirror wall.  The meals were scoffed down with coffee, beer and lemonade, which included soup, fish pie, jacket potatoes with tuna and baked salmon.  Just outside a loving mother Swan was caring for her two handsome large cygnets with their perfectly clean feathers.

Coffee at Bluebird Cafe

The return journey was blessed at 2.50 pm with sunlight and a blue sky until we reached the Sea Lane Café where Delia, Linda and Sikka decided to continue on.  It soon got cold and misty and after coffee, hot chocolate and apple crumble and a concerned discussion about the lack of jobs for school leavers, Angela, Chris, David and Julian slogged their way back past Widewater where three Little Grebes were diving, but again not much to see.  Just before the Adur bridge Chris and David said goodbye, leaving Angela and Julian to return to the Shoreham Station where the barrier was down for trains in each direction, and once re-opened Angela went to her car to squeeze in her cycle, and Julian just missed an eight coach train and waited 15 minutes for a four coach train to dismount at Hove Station, finally reaching home at 5.30 pm.

Thank you to David for a ride with no “undulations” along the 26 miles, so welcome after Jim’s last two rides, though there were a range of rigid speed bumps across the private roads.


The Next Ride: Sunday 22 September

10 September 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. If you are not a member, and have not ridden with us before, email us (see the “Contact Us” box) for details of the next ride. If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.

The Last Ride: Littlehampton Circular, N,W,S &E.

10 September 2013

Extra Brownie points to Linda for arriving at Littlehampton on two wheels. Commiserations to Angela who arrived on four wheels but who was unable to join the ride as she was suffering from tennis elbow. Anne, Mike, Julilan, Roger and Suzanne all opted for letting the train take the strain.


The BBC Weather site had forecast two drops of rain for 11 am and thankfully that is all we saw as we wended (wand?) our way N.-W. through Yapton on to Walberton to have a brief look at the pretty little pond nestling between Barnham Lane and Eastergate Lane. Eastergate Lane then took us W. to Westergate (obvious, really) and on through to Oving (the Saxon village of Uuinges – the territory of Üfe’s people) to a very happy rendez-vous with Angela and welcome lunch at the Gribble (a marine bug that will eat any of your submerged wood if you’re not careful) Inn.


Real rain had fallen during our enjoyable lunch, but the lowering skies had us putting on various layers of waterproof clothing – wisely as it later transpired. From Oving we made a dramatic turn to the S. and managed to avoid busy roads by crossing the perilous A259 and arriving at the intriguing (but unfortunately closed) church of Merston (the marsh farmstead) where Julian tried to take a photo with his new camera, but five soggy cyclists got into the picture by mistake. Now it was time to turn E. Anne and Mick had found a lovely solution to the tricky problem of negotiating the top of Pagham Harbour for our return to Bognor: three bridleways through vast open fields giving magnificent views of the turbulent skies. In what seemed like next to no time we were in Bognor (“bugger” – I quote a king) … which seemed to have battened down the hatches for autumn. We bowled along with, at last the wind behind us. When we arrive at the shared cycle/pedestrian route along the prom there was no danger of getting within about 100 yards of the very sparse sprinkling of pedestrians. This gave us time to admire the sea of colours ranging from the lightest Connmara marble green to the darkest Welsh slate grey. The sky a swirl of blue, white and ominous black.


Linda had a date (with her husband, one hastens to mention) so cycled off alone while the remainging, infamous five were lured into the Lobster Pot café and did not emerge until copious tea and cakes (no ginger beer) had been consumed. It had rained heavily during this scrumptious feast – and it forgot to stop when we came out. After a couple of pusillanimous stops to shelter from the downpour, the decsion was made to spurn the NCR2 and to make a dash along the A259. Not a pleasant experience. Cars were travelling well above the 60mph limit. Julian got soaked by puddle spray. The magnificent rainbow arching over the road was little compensation. Angela’s suggestion at lunch that all car drivers should be made to ride a bike for a week as part of their training seemed very apposite at that moment.

This “short cut” had saved us a couple of miles. Is it not time that a safe cycle route be built parallel (preferable not alongside) the A259? Why do those using their own energy have to go the long way round to protect themselves from those polluting the atmosphere and making noise with their internal combustion engines?

Rather than continue to put our lives at risk, we opted for a trip down to Climping Beach and back N.-E. into Littlehampton (see “Haneton” in the Doomesday Book). Our train pulled in almost as we arrived at the station. The 49 minutes of the return journey sped past in lively chat and “I’ll show you my GPS if you will show me your iPad” conversation.

Many thanks to Anne and Mick for keeping the rain off for far longer than we expected and for organising such a fascinating ride which reached some parts which Clarion ( a cycling club in which Fellowship if Life) had not reached before – always a great achievement.


The Next Ride: Sunday 8 September

23 August 2013

We welcome people who want to try one or two of our rides before joining. If you are not a member, and have not ridden with us before, email us (see the “Contact Us” box) for details of the next ride. If you would like to join the Clarion club, click here to download a membership form.

The Last Ride: Angmering Cicular with a Beach Picnic

11 September 2012

On what is very likely the last glorious day of summer 14 Clarionettes assembled from various parts:-

Angela – Angelika (our London regular) – Anne – Jim – Joyce – Kate (welcome to a new rider) – Leon – Marilyn (Another new rider to welcome) [well, new-ish, anyway – Jim] – Rob – Roger (our Leader)  – Sikka – Suzanne  –  and TJ and Joan (another two Londoners).


This turned out not to be the fastest ride we have done, but with Roger’s patient shepherding it was full of delights.  The first part if not from the “sublime to the ridiculous” was, once past Angmering, from the horror of the A27 with cars seeming to be going at 80 miles p.h. to the haven of  lovely wooded lanes and on up a very acceptable hill to the great view of the castle.

Arundel Castle

The ride was not without its small crises – first was Joyce who had joined the ride determinedly (or foolhardily) braving a damaged back muscle, but who was shortly racked with pain. To the rescue came Rob with his magical pills – (no advertisement here but they were legal ….)  And they worked a miracle which enabled her (me) to stay in the group of back riders.

Bicycle Repair Man in action

Then Joan’s rear gear change gave up which forced her to ride in one gear – but, good rider that she is, she managed, and, as Jim said, we went “Climping up to Limping”, foregoing the  option of tea at Arundel so that we could get to Climping beach quicker;  drawn by the promise of a picnic on the beach and – for some of us – a likely last swim in the sea this year.


It was indeed perfect weather for a picnic and swim which was enlivened by Leon’s  new toy, an “underwater camera” which allowed us to take fun photos in the water. 

clarion photo at climping 9-9-12 (19)

clarion photo at climping 9-9-12 (6)

We left the beach just as the perfect weather gave way to a blustery wind to accompany us on our way back to Angmering via Littlehampton.  Last delight was the little cafe on the station at Angmering which had just the tea/coffee we needed.

Thank you Roger for a lovely meticulously organised ride


The Next Ride: 9 September 2012: Angmering circular with a beach picnic

28 August 2012

Why Angmering? Because on 9 September that’s where trains will be turning into buses. But of course a circular ride can start anywhere.

So much for philosophy, what about the ride? We will set off north from Angmering station through Angmering village and up to the thundering monster which is the A27; we will need to do a mile or so on this abomination, but separated from the traffic.

Then we turn into peaceful wooded lanes, only to discover that other cyclists’ favourite: hills. Well, let’s call it a climb, rewarded at the top with a fine view of Arundel Castle and a downhill run into Arundel town.

Decision time. We could stop for a coffee by the river, or not: it might be a good idea since our picnic lunch will not be until 14 miles into the ride. There is also a handy Co-op shop where picnic supplies can be purchased if needed.

Our second, and final, hill will confront us as we leave Arundel; it’s steep and short. Then another downhill run to Ford where we could stop briefly to view the small and charming church of St Andrew. At this point we will also be very close to the point where our old friend the Chichester Canal used to enter the river Arun. Few signs of it remain except the name of the building next to the church, “Lock Cottage”.

One more burst of pedalling will take us past Ford Open Prison, through Climping, and down to the beach where we will stop for lunch and a swim for those so inclined.

The final stage of the ride takes us over the footbridge into Littlehampton, where we can stop to read the heritage sign recording how, for many years, this was the main western route into the town. We head east along the seafront; look out for the oddly shaped East Beach Café. Then through Rustington, East Preston and back to Angmering station.

Meet: Angmering station (north side) at 10:26.
Getting there: Catch the 9:50 from Brighton (9:54 from Hove). There is a car park on the north side of the line; £1 per day on Sundays.
Distance: About 20 miles.
Hills: A climb from the A27 to the high point on Blakehurst Lane and a short sharp hill on Torton Hill Road as we leave Arundel.
Off road: All on surfaced roads, except a mile or two on unsurfaced tracks.
Catering: Possible stop at Arundel for coffee and/or to buy picnic supplies. Lunch on the beach near Climping.
Getting home: Trains to Brighton leave Angmering at XX:48 (direct) and XX:22 (change at Hove).

My mobile: 0789 985 1172.