Come & Dance with your Bicycle

FREE – SBS Taster Workshops in Newhaven & Brighton

We’re delighted to offer a series of fun, sociable taster sessions for you to learn some basic moves with your bike, develop your own moves & short sequences & work with the whole group to create a short choreography.

Confirmed dates so far:

22 June – 10.30am -12.30pm, Preston Park, Brighton open session

23 June – 10.30am-12.30pm, The Sidings, Newhaven, open session

25 June – 5.45pm-7.45pm Young Haven Creatives session, Newhaven

6 July – 10am-12noon with Our City Dances, Brighton, open session

2 more Brighton dates to be announced soon

More dates to be announced soon. Please check back & & follow us on Facebook or Instagram
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What you need to know: All ages are welcome, we just ask that you have a level of cycling proficiency, recommended Bikeability Level 2 – essentially that you can ride safely with one hand off the handlebar. Wear comfortable clothing & bring your bike.

Borrow a bike: some bicycles are available to borrow. If you need one, please contact us on info(at)sussexblazingsaddles.co.uk giving your age & height

Participate in the Show: If you love it, as we’re sure you will, please sign up to participate in Blazing Saddles shows in September. More info HERE

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Sussex Blazing Saddles – Participatory Performances 2024

Newhaven on 7 & 8 Sept & Brighton 21 & 22 Sept

Come & dance with your bicycle & take part in a Sussex Blazing Saddles performance. The show is based on the moment women in the 1890s, transformed their clothing & society to be able to ride bicycles.

We will create the shows with local women & girls (you & your bike) over a weekend, starting with workshop/rehearsals & a ride around the performance sites on the first day; further rehearsal & performance on the second day.

You will learn the show’s choreographic structures & moves, as well as create your own moves & short sequences & work together safely as part of the cast. You will develop your cycling skills & confidence, improve control of your bicycle on the roads & as part of a group, & have the best fun doing so. Some of our workshop materials have been incorporated in the Bikeability programmes.

Come & join in, email to sign up – infoatsussexblazingsaddles.co.uk (please add in @, we get spammed if we’re not careful)

Previous Participants said…

& you can watch a short film of previous participants HERE

You can take part in either the Newhaven or Brighton shows, or both if you have the time/energy. Rehearsals & performance will take a whole weekend.

Here’s a very rough, draft schedule for both weekends:

Saturdays 7 Sept in Newhaven or 21 Sept in Brighton

9.30am-10am – Arrival

10am-1pm – Introductions, workshop to learn core skills & basic choreographic moves & introduction to the show choreography

1-2pm – Lunch break

2-5pm – Ride to performance sites & around routes, rehearsing scenes

Sundays 8 Sept in Newhaven or 21 Sept in Brighton

9.30am-10am – Arrival

10am-12.30pm – Rehearsal running through choreography

12-1.30pm – Lunch break

1.30-2.30pm – Costume call & prep

2.30-4.30pm – Ride to performance sites & around routes, rehearsing scenes

Sign up to get more information soon or check back here shortly… infoatsussexblazingsaddles.co.uk

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In the meantime… watch this short film of the show

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SBS Events Diary 2024

Loads of FREE activities & events throughout the year. The calendar below lists confirmed events only & we’re working on dates for a programme of FREE workshops to upcycle cycling outfits, dance with your bike & SBS heritage inspired rides. Follow us on Facebook & Instagram for updates

April

13 April, 11am-4pm, A FREE, all day or drop in sewing & remaking workshop at CREW 8-9 South Street, BN11 3AL. Participants made bloomers & sashes from men’s shirts for a dressing up box for the SBS exhibition. More HERE

May

2 May, Worthing Museum Costume Archive Training, an invited group visited the costume archive for a special talk, with examples from the collection, about 1890s-1928 women’s clothing constraints, contraptions & convertible horse riding outfits by Senior Curator Gerry Connolly

22 May, Newhaven, Come along & help us shape the Re-Imagining, Re-Making programme in Newhaven over the next few months. Hillcrest Centre Newhaven 6pm-8pm

June

1 June, Bexhill – Re-Imagine Re-Make session at the Eco Hub, Western Road, Bexhill time tbc

1 & 2 June, Bexhill – Women & Girls Bike Safety Checks by Bexhill Wheelers, Egerton Park back of Bexhill Museum 12-4pm

10 June – Bexhill, Re-Imagine Re-Make session at the Eco Hub, Western Road, Bexhill time tbc

14 June – Bexhill, talk by Senior Curator Julian Porter Bexhill Bicycles & Brasseys Bexhill Museum 2.30pm

15-16 June, Bexhill SBS Exhibition Bexhill Museum

16 June, Bexhill Pleasant Sunday Afternoon – heritage ride, talk & music – bring your bike & meet at Bexhill Museum at 1.30pm

16 June, Bexhill talk by Creative Director Karen Poley Sussex Blazing Saddles, 2pm

18-30 June, Worthing SBS Exhibition Worthing Museum

22 June, Brighton Blazing Saddles Taster Workshop, Preston Park, 10.30am – 12.30pm

23 June, Newhaven Blazing Saddles Taster Workshop, The Sidings 10.30-12.30

25 June, Newhaven Blazing Saddles Taster Workshop with Young Havens Creatives

July

6 July, Brighton Blazing Saddles Taster Workshop with Our City Dances, Richmond Square 10-12noon

31 July, Brighton, SBS Director Karen Poley’s Pecha Kucha for Brighton & Hove Museum. Venue, time tbc

September

1-15 Sept, Newhaven SBS Exhibition, Newhaven Library, as part of Newhaven Festival

7 & 8 Sept, Newhaven Participants workshops & rehearsal for Blazing Saddles performance 10am-5pm both days

8 Sept, Newhaven Blazing Saddles Performance & Ride, 2.30pm-4.30pm, starting point Newhaven Skatepark & Pumptrack BN9 9DL

16-30 Sept, Brighton SBS Exhibition, Jubilee Library Brighton

21 & 22 Sept, Brighton Participants workshops & rehearsal for Blazing Saddles performance 10am-5pm both days

22 Sept, Brighton Blazing Saddles Performance & Ride, 2.30pm-4.30pm, starting point St Peter’s Square Brighton BN1 4GU

More soon…..

SBS Re-Imagining & Re-Making

In the late 1890s, women embraced cycling & transformed their clothing to be able to ride safely in shorter skirts or bloomers, & breathe more easily without corsets. This was a revolutionary transformation sparking a significant backlash, that also helped fuel the suffrage movement.

As part of our exploration of the pioneering heritage of women & cycling, we’re thinking about how perceptions of cycling clothing today – lycra, helmet hair etc – discourage women & girls from riding bicycles.

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SBS is running a series of free talks & sewing workshops to Re-Imagine, Re-Frame & Re-Make women’s clothing for cycling or any time.

Come & transform preloved clothes – repairs or making them fit; transforming them completely adding splashes of colour or different fabrics; merging two or more completely different items in chaotic experiment. We’re also creating a dressing up box of bloomers upcycled from men’s shirts, to tour alongside the Sussex Blazing Saddles exhibition.

Get involved in the next planning sessions in Newhaven & Brighton to help us develop what we will do in each location. Coming up:

NEWHAVEN, an initial, open planning session to be followed by two days of making sessions

  • 22 May, Hillcrest Community Centre, Newhaven 6pm-8pm

BEXHILL, two making & upcycling sessions. BOOK HERE, drop in or stay the whole day:

  • 1 June, with Community Supporters, at the Eco Hub, Western Road, Bexhill – 10.30am-12.30pm & 1pm-3pm
  • 10 May, with Community Supporters, at the Eco Hub, Western Road Bexhill, 10.30am-12.30pm & 1pm-3pm

BRIGHTON, initial planning session & two days of making dates tbc

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Have a look at the images below to find out more about the project so far

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This element of the Sussex Blazing Saddles project started in February 2024 with two conversations in Worthing & Bexhill. Local people came to hear about the project, help us develop ideas & frame how we might work together.

The initial sessions took place in:

Worthing – Saturday 24 February 1.30-3pm at the Stitch It Don’t Ditch It session at CREW, Climate Resilience Centre, Worthing, 8-9 South Stree, Worthing, BN11 3AL, &

Bexhill – Monday 26 February 1.30-3pm at Bexhill Museum, 47 Egerton Road, Bexhill, TN39 3HL

Following this, we ran:

A FREE, all day or drop in workshop at CREW (Climate Resilience Centre Worthing) 8-9 South St, BN11 3AL on Saturday 13 April, 11am-4pm

Next up:

Two sessions in Bexhill with Community Supporters on 1st June & 10th June & one more tbc. More info soon

Please contact infoatsussexblazingsaddles.co.uk for more information

TLCUE Technical Specs

There are two versions of TLC Undersea Experience for different types of events:

The HTC Vive version is a high-quality, vr installation, enabling users to move around an area approximately 3.5-4m2 to explore a virtual, chalk reef gully, similar to those in the MCZ.  Users can follow their curiosity to explore, pick up rocks to see creatures underneath & see marine life all around. Scroll down for Technical Specs

The 360-film version, is suitable for schools & busy community events or festivals where there are large numbers of people.  We currently have 8 headsets, each with the capacity for 8-10 users per hour, so 70-80 users per hour, depending on size of space available. 

Scroll down for Technical Specs

Skirts vs Knickbockers

A surprise for one of our new volunteers when she discovered her grandmother’s role in the cycling rational dress movement.

“I have no sympathy, whatever with the skirt, in any shape or form, and if a woman is not prepared to ride in knickers(knickerbockers), I think she should not ride until she is.”

Home Chat magazine, June 27, 1896.

This fantastic quote is from London based 1890s cycling champion Monica Harwood. It was found by her Worthing based, grand-daughter also named Monica, who has become one of our first volunteers, and who has been digging into her family history. It appears before Monica Harwood married, she became a cycling champion, then joined Bert Howard’s troupe of lady cyclists and was Captain of the Chelsea Rational Cycling Club. She never mentioned her cycling career to her family.

Photo: Monica’s grandmother

The First Brighton Ladies Cycling Club

It has been well documented in various blogs and books that Brighton 16 year old, Tessie Reynolds, made a record breaking cycle ride of 8 hours and 30 minutes from Brighton to London and back again in 1893. It caused a media sensation as she wore bloomers and rode a drop handlebar bicycle with a cross bar, paving the way for wider societal change. A new discovery in local newspapers by Sussex Blazing Saddles volunteer Irena, reveals more about the young Tessie’s organizational skills.

In May 1894 Tessie created Brighton’s first Ladies’ Cycling Club with 20 other women as reported in the Brighton Gazette newspaper. The following month The Worthing Gazette observed that this new club, with its proper title of Brighton and District Ladies’ Cycling Club, was growing ambitious: “Recently they had a ride to Worthing, and found the journey far too short!” Worthing Gazette 27 June 1894