The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
12. 'The O' Groomie O' responds to an enquiry about the Clarion badge and Swiftsure's take on the North Road Club's annual 24 hour race.
You might recall (or see No 7 in 28 April Circular) that someone from Pinnock had asked about the badge and 'Swiftsure' had responded by referring to the advert that had appeared in the Clarion a few weeks earlier. This then appeared on 22 September.
The O'Groomie O writes me:
'May I point out to your Pinnock correspondent that there is a National Clarion Cycling Club Badge. It was designed by Chris J Thompson, 253 Park Road, Hadley, Birmingham and can be had from him for 1s 6d each; post free. Thre is no profit attached to these badges, the idea of the Birmingham Clarion Cycling Club being solely to provide a national badge, and therefore cannot afford to advertise. A national badge is certainly a good idea. It was by one of these badges that we were enabled to chum in with the Potteries Clarionettes on our August tour. When Clarion clubs spread far and wide this badge will be still more useful.'
It seems to me that the best thing cycling Clarionettes can do, as a return for this gratuitous advertisement, is to buy the badges and advertise the Clarion. The Board won't grumble if the circulation is doubled thereby.
The North Road Club 24 hour race … and dangerous tandem riding on public roads.
This first bit is edited from the North Road Club's website – it's still going.
The North Road Cycling Club was founded in 1885 to 'Promote fast and long distance cycling on the Great North and other Roads'.
Most of the founding members were already members of other clubs and the intention was to establish a club primarily for racing and record breaking. However from the very beginning the all male membership enjoyed a very varied and full social life during the non racing season.
From its earliest days the Club, which recruited its members from the comfortably off even wealthy middle classes was in the forefront of the development of cycle sport, particularly road racing.
When the "Authorities" began to look with a lack of favour on bunched racing on the open roads, 'it frightened the horses', it was a member of the NRCC who devised the Time Trial which was the backbone of cycle sport in the UK for more than 50 years.
The Club was responsible for the very first 24 hour race and, war years excepted, continued to promote what became almost a legendary event until the years when road traffic conditions made its continuance untenable.
For more see www.northroadcc.org.uk/club-history.html
And this is what 'Swiftsure' had to say in 1894. The 24 hour race had gone ahead 'despite threatened police interference'. Swiftsure thought this was OK because:
…the competitors seldom travel at a pace of more than 18 miles an hour. The same cannot be said of such performances as that of J. W. Schofield and T Ralph who, on a tandem, rode a mile in 1 minute 41 seconds. Such a performance has no right to be countenanced and cannot benefit the sport or trade one iota.
Next time – End of season report from Birmingham CCC – more light on the origins of the Easter Meet.