Some memories from Peter Roscoe, our National Treasurer. [There'll be a piece by Peter about the National Clarion Cycling & Athletic Association in the next Circular]
My story will be like so many others - indeed reading Brighton's excellent website and time travelling is quite a pleasant way to spend half an hour or so. Good to see all those records from 1950 preserved on your website.
I was born in 1934. After the war coach trips to Blackpool were very popular. But while I enjoyed them I would see many cyclists on the road and I knew what I wanted to do. Getting started with a cycling club was not the easiest thing to do for a young teenager so it was not until 1949 that I really got going. I started riding with Bury Clarion that year and it was wonderful - I had arrived where I wanted to be. In those days there must have been between 20 and 30 on clubruns and I was surprised to find that old people rode out on Sunday rides. The oldest was Ellis Barlow, he was 66 that year, and he was pushing young girls up hill if they could not keep up - I was amazed. We called him 'owd Ellis - would 14 year olds today think of 66 year olds being elderly? I suppose they would. Now anybody under 70 is young to me.
The first clubrun with Bury Clarion was to the Vale of Chipping but after the Mytton dinner stop Brian Berry decided this was not hard enough and took the lads from Little Lever over the Trough of Bowland. What a marvellous late summer's day it was - I had never been to such places and cycling into Yorkshire was almost like cycling to a foreign country. Afterwards I recounted to a jolly aunt of mine how at the boundary stone I stood in Lancashire and pee'd in Yorkshire - not that I feel an antagonism towards Yorkshire people you must understand. We were enthused by the Tour de France and identified with Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali - flat out up the hills and sprinting for boundaries - not the done thing if we had stayed with the club.
Clubruns were what it preferred though. We did rough stuff* that would have been better on a mountain bike if they had been invented then - Salter Fell and Calder Fell spring to mind. I was delighted to be with the people of the club. Socialism was never a campaign although the older members were staunch socialists. They did not push socialism although I was influenced by being in the Clarion. I was already drawn to the Co-op. I have to say, though, that at heart I am no more than a democrat - appreciative of the National Health Service and the Co-operative Movement. I love the latter almost as much as the Clarion but my involvement in the Co-op leaves me cynical.
Bury Clarion has a website and you may find our history interesting www.lomax2000.fsnet.co.uk
* At the time Peter is talking about 'rough stuff' was the usual term for what we would now call 'off road' cycling. There was even a Rough Stuff Fellowship, I seem to remember, which specialised in this. (Innocent times!) Ian