Author Topic: Renegade Reds Rampaging Rebelliously (Now with pics)  (Read 2227 times)


  • Tyke
Renegade Reds Rampaging Rebelliously (Now with pics)
« on: 10 August, 2009, 03:14:40 pm »
Or A leisurely and jolly pootle in the flatlands

Or Clarion & The Clarion

So Butterfly & I arrived at the tiny Ford Station half an hour early (and an hour before we set off, but more of that later).  We were still in mellow mood after Saturday’s ultra-chilled Lambeth Cyclists’ Park Ride (including picnic & pub trip).  Flocks/swarms/drifts (we never did work out an appropriate word) of butterflies swirled around us, making us both smile. Clarion to meet the Clarion, and Butterfly being greeted by butterflies.  :)

Wandering round to the car park, we saw an information board.  There were two Points of Interest.  The prison we knew we were going past later, so we didn’t want to spoil it, but we had a potter the other way to the Victorian Business Centre.

I have to say, I’m not sure what’s ‘Victorian’ about it, especially being as the main business there appears to be a collectors shop, with a picture of Betty Boop outside.  

The chief point of interest was the especially sharp and mobile gravel under our wheels, but fortunately we didn’t fall, and rode back up to the delightful bijou church of St Andrews.  It was set well back from the road, which gave a lovely aspect to it, framing it, and creating a sense of ritual as we approached.  It really was tiny, and the fact that a chap was in the graveyard strimming the grass indicated there probably wasn’t a Sunday service on, but we decided not to go in, and moved on, noting sadly that, even in such a remote spot, they felt the need to protect the stained glass with steel mesh.

So, back up to the station, and we had a short wait in the sun before the level crossing gates went down again, and a train rolled in, disgorging a Several of cyclists.

I was pretty certain of who they were, but I went for a tentative cry of ‘Boots!’, to be greeted with the traditional cry of ‘Crikey, no one’s ever said that to me before’, followed by an enthusiastic ‘Spurs!’.

Yes, this was where we met the Clarion Cycling Club (Brighton & Hove Section). :)  We gathered across the road from the station – about a dozen of us.  Ready to ride?  Well, no, not yet.  We were waiting for another Lahndan resident to make his appearance on a slightly later train.  So we milled a bit, and I introduced myself to the Membership Secretary of the Network of Engaged Buddhist (of which I am a Life, but frequently re-Lapsing, Member).

Several of the company admired the Clarion CC decals on the top tube of my Orbit.  Yes, in a fit of vanity, I had decided we were taking solos rather than the tandem, just so I could show off :-[  Good call, actually, but more of that later.

One member of the Section, Angela, had turned up for the ride with her bike in the car.  Well, most of her bike – crucially, she discovered she was missing an axle nut when she came to reassembling her machine.  Various ingenious efforts were made to find something that would do service, but there was nothing that fit.  Perhaps we could have tried the huuuuge model railway store next door, but I doubt they would have had anything.  So she was unable to ride with us, but decided she would join us at our various stops, and was ribbed for her creative, almost Nutkin-like, approach to routefinding.

OK, so the level crossing gates went down yet again – this time for the train that was due to bring Nick from London.  And here comes the train… But hey!  There’s a dog.  There, on the tracks!  Stoppppppp!!!!  :o :o :o Fortunately, the train driver had been rolling slowly in, and was paying good attention.  But how do you get a dog off the tracks, when it’s dumb enough to stand between the rails staring at the huuuge train waiting patiently…?  The solution was two-pronged: a barrage of horns & bells from our side, and a cyclist (not from our group) reaching over the gates to grab the collar as soon as the chap was in reach, deftly slaloming the beast through the gates to safety, as a meathead lumbered up, saying ‘I was just coming to look for him…’, and got a gentle bollocking from the cyclist.

Big horn tooting from the train as it crawled the last few metres up to the platform to allow the last of our party to de-train alight.

Fantastic.  It’s supposed to be a Ride Report, so, in the twelfth paragraph, the ride actually started, half an hour after the very precise 1101 time given.  OK, so we’d ridden into Croydon (and walked through a very quiet centre), then done a couple of km pottering about while we were waiting, but now we were away proper.

Joyce led, Leon tried hard all day not to lead, and Ian was TEC for the day.  Jim larked about (I guess that, if the Section had an official position for a Jester, Jim would be elected unopposed; he was great fun :) ).  

Joyce was on her new bike (one of five Ridgebacks in a group of just 13), and steamed away at high speed, setting a blistering pace as she burned up the road through the Prison.

Nah.  Not really.  But somehow we managed to leave some of our party behind.  I guessed this was not going to be much faster than Saturday’s ride.  That’s fine.

Soon, we reached a road at Climping that said ‘No Access To Sea’, so we followed that.  It was the first of three sections, which increasingly reminded me of NSTN. ;D  But it was OK for most of its length, only dissolving into pebbles as we got to the beach proper.

Bikes propped against the concrete sea wall or the huge groin*, half of us got changed & went for a swim in the surprisingly warm and gentle sea.  I say, ‘swim’.  But I think that’s an exaggeration for the ineffectual splashing around I managed.  Great feeling, though.  And the first time I’ve ever swam in the sea in the UK.  Ever.  I’ve been paddling at Weston, Morecambe, on the Isle of Wight, Anglesey, near Nefyn, Whitby, Scarborough and Robin Hoods Bay ( Oh – and Skegness, but, despite walking for ages, I never even saw the sea there), but never swum.  And I love the feeling of the salt water that, like a (very soggy) Madeleine** takes me back to family holidays in Brittany, and the warm warm waves of Morbihan.  Beyond the seaweed and the sharp pebbles, it was so good we didn’t want to come out again.

Back onto the pebbles – ouch ouch ouch! – then changing back into cycling clothes.  I couldn’t get all the very very fine sand off my feet, so I had to hope that I wouldn’t regret it later.

Angela had found her way to the beach to meet us, though we were on the quieter section of beach, an impossible 50m away from the swarm of people near the car park. ::-)

Being as the Clarion is made up lefties, we split into factions.  Official route: along beach to car park.  Two other (less pebbly) ways were found, and we regrouped to trundle away down the quiet lanes, admiring the creativity of the local thatcher, who had created figures including a brace of pheasants (with coloured patches round the eyes), a yacht, and a life sized man atop the cottages.  Really cool, but I don’t think I took any photos.  

On we went, at a gentle pace, seeing plenty of other cyclists, to the lovely village of Walberton, where we met up with Angela at the Holly Tree for lunch.

The food was really good, with a wide range.  Unfortunately, they didn’t start cooking until they’d got all thirteen orders, so we had a bit of a wait, among the buzzy but benign wasps.  Never mind, it all added to the laid-back atmosphere.

After lunch, we were off quite abruptly (if I’d been in the loo a few seconds longer, I may have been left behind ;D ), and Joyce again zoomed off at a pace the TRATters would have been proud of.  Well, not really, but the peloton still strung out quite significantly.

Then we went down a hill.  Down a hill on a road closed to motor traffic :thumbsup:

And then up.  Proper up.  Straight after we were stuffed with lunch and sloshing with tea.   The nearest we got to the South Downs, really.  I found myself passing people to keep up the momentum, so we must have had some seriously low gears being ground there.  And we climbed too far.  OK, a bit too far, because we’d missed the turning for the bridleway.

Oh yes.  Another reminder of our dear NSTN.  And quite a treat for our backmarker, too, who apparently is not a fan of anything without tarmac.  But this path was so enticing, drawing you on – grassed & dry underfoot, not too rutted, and no trees, so no roots to bump over.

We stopped to try out some cherry plums, which were ripe and juicy and perfect hedgerow treats.  Unfortunately, the lower branches were picked clean, so Leon shook the tree, and it rained plums.  I had a couple, and was tempted to pick up a load to carry home with us, but I’m glad I didn’t, given what we did next.

What did we do next?  Well, my RSF instinct took over, and I just sort of drifted on up the path – a perfect off-road ride.  Well, then we descended slightly into some woodland, which was very beautiful, but held some boggy bits that we slopped, squelched, squerched and skidded through.  Muddier and murkier.  Eventually, we got to wider and marshier bits we needed to dismount for.  Off & on again, starting & stopping, trying hard not to bump into the person in front (who might  have different thresholds on what can be ridden, or what line to take), it was a scrappy bit of ride, but we emerged and regrouped, muddy & smiling, at the other end.  We had the narrowest tyres on the day – it was pretty much hybrids all round in the group – so no great hardship.  I stood waiting, using a stick to unclog my brakes/mechs/gears/cleats etc.

Don’t know why I bothered, really.  We crossed a road, then, pausing only for a couple of hard MTBers to come swooping out, we entered another patch of woodland on a footpath

It didn’t bode well.  The first obstacle, immediately, was a stream.  The macho guys had ridden through it, but I wasn’t going to try that.  The regulars set up a chain to pass the bikes across as their owners stepped over unencumbered.  Jim tried a different route, managing to put his foot deep into the squishy mud.  I learned from him, and managed to get through drier.  Years of boghopping up on Yorkshire moors ever since I can remember as a kid help me to get across these things quite well, generally (only my appalling lack of balance or athletic ability letting me down :-[ )

But, once across the stream, this section was less muddy.  It was also a bit more winding, and certainly a bit more up & down, over roots, down dips etc, but a bit more solid under our tyres, so we got into a good rhythm in the front group, emerging far too soon and unexpectedly into a housing estate.

A short freewheel down, and we reached the A27.  Hmm.  Naaasty road. :(  So we bunched up to form our own little Critical Mass to cross the roundabout.  It kinda worked, then we strung out again as we went up the hump that is Arundel.  Having bumbled around so far, we felt like we had lots in our legs still, so we enjoyed the road.  Joyce stopped us part way up, with a view to walking the wrong way down a one way section of road.  But I used the excuse of someone having gone on ahead to go and ‘let him know which way we’d gone’ ;) and go over the top of the rise so close to hand.  As it happens, Mick was stopped right at the top, and so we had a word, then zooooooooooomed down the high street, turning towards Swanbourne Lake.

Surprisingly, the road down there, thronged with people walking to & fro (many to & from their cars, parked all the way along both sides) was NSL, so there were a few prats with heavy right foot storming along.

Never mind, we went over a stone bridge with knobbles on, and arrived at a café advertising ice cream and other delights…  Here we met Angela again, who had successfully managed to navigate her way to all of the stopping points. :thumbsup:

But the group didn’t want to stop at the café *whimper* :-\ and so we pressed on to a pub, where we had a fabulous view of the castle.  Angela being unlikely to find a parking place at the pub, she left her car near the café, and got a backie from Leon all the way there (and back).

Sadly, we’d missed the previous day’s Bathtub Raft Race, but the curious constructions were still there to be viewed.  I imagine a lot of people had a lot of fun getting very wet on saturday ;D

Missing the ice cream café was soon compensated for, as we got huuuuge portions of Dorset apple cake with honeycomb ice cream.  Nom, as I believe the expression is, nom!  And we got tea for Several.

But the downside of taking a leisurely approach to your riding is that you need to take care of other commitments, and a couple of the company realised they had appointments to make back in Brighton, so needed to get going for the train from Ford at six minutes past the next hour.  We, on the other hand, had no particular need to rush, so bade the company a very fond goodbye, and relaxed with a great deal of tea in front of us, watching people motoring by on the pleasure boats, and idly observing the wasps (again).  Relaxed and lovely time with the delightful Butterfly.

Then we decided to go, and realised that we had a chance of making the train at six minutes past, so we got moving a bit.  Up the hump of Arundel was a grunt, but it was fun down the other side, and up to the A27 roundabout again, where we were held up only briefly by the snarled up motor traffic.  We picked our way in between, and were soon on the fast straight road back to Ford.

Butterfly drafting me, we kept up a good pace to Ford, slowing slightly to take in the view of a field full of traditional tents, dominated by a wonderful tipi, and wonder who was camping there, and envy them for a few moments.

But Ford came soon, and the lights started flashing at the crossing.  No problem, we didn’t need to cross.  Up onto the platform, and the Clarionettes there indicated we were in time for the six minutes past train to Brighton.  Not only, but also – we were just in time for the three minutes past train straight back to Croydon.  On we got, and the looong trip back away from civilisation back towards londonton.

At Croydon, we still weren’t done.  We took advantage of road closures for various works to do some pathfinding through the town, and found the cycle route (not as marked on the maps, but largely as marked on the roads – thank you Croydon Council  :thumbsup:

Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding at a junction with a big road, I was looking right for traffic (there was none) as I pulled out left to where there was (Butterfly), and we sort of crashed.  A bit. :-[  Fortunately, the victim of this collision was unharmed.

All that remained was a potter home, and a soak in the bath, reminiscing on a weekend well spent :) ***

* Insert your own joke here
** tbf, Proust was dunking his…
*** There were photos taken of this ride, which I hope to post later, but not of the bath.

Getting there...

Re: Renegade Reds Rampaging Rebelliously (Now with pics)
« Reply #1 on: 10 August, 2009, 09:12:42 pm »
What do you mean 'sort of crashed'?
You weren't looking where you were going and smashed into the back of me! :o
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.


Re: Renegade Reds Rampaging Rebelliously (Now with pics)
« Reply #2 on: 11 August, 2009, 05:27:27 pm »
That looks like a load of fun :)


  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Renegade Reds Rampaging Rebelliously (Now with pics)
« Reply #3 on: 11 August, 2009, 06:42:07 pm »
All you needed was for Billy Bragg to turn up and do a miners' benefit gig at the end, and you'd be there.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.


  • Tyke
Re: Renegade Reds Rampaging Rebelliously (Now with pics)
« Reply #4 on: 11 August, 2009, 07:23:54 pm »
All you needed was for Billy Bragg to turn up and do a miners' benefit gig at the end, and you'd be there.

;D  tbf, there was less politics discussed than on your average yacf ride ;D

btw, the view of Arundel Castle is from the Black Rabbit pub, which is where Turner sat to do his painting.  Horrid daub
Getting there...