Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  



The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s

18. The Manchester cyclists' parade. Swiftsure's report continued from 13 October 1894

For the most part I had to watch the procession from amidst the crowd, otherwise I should have liked to have given something like a list of the various costumes which passed. I will therefore just give a few of those which impressed me the most.

The most worthy of mention was the excellent idea of the Longsight BC, who had rigged up a model of a lifeboat on eight bicycles, whilst the riders of the machines and the rest of their members were all dressed in full lifeboatmen's dress. Other dresses were: Australian digger, Red Indians, Robin Hood and his merry men, Punch and Judy á la tandem. 'two little girls in blue' (one of these girls had a deep bass voice) jockey and horse, Red Riding Hood and the wolf on tandem, fireman with minature escape on his machine, toreadors. Clowns, suit of mail, a ghost, vivandrière, Claudian, Old Father Time with his scythe, beef-eaters – in fact, I haven't space to enumerate a quarter of the eccentric costumes, though one more I must mention; he deserves it too, for the actual work must it must have been to him. He represented a broken down cyclist carrying the backbone and little wheel over his shoulder in front of him. Another rather vulgar creation was the mimicry of a female dressed in a nightgown and cap, carrying a candlestick. But stay, I'm rattling away as if I have the whole page to fill.

Mention should be made of the numerous harriers, in costume, who assisted in various ways to make the parade a success.

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The proceedings at the Botanical Gardens were of a lively description, and the musical ride was a good idea well carried out. To give a description of it would entail too much space. Suffice it to say that those who had the pleasure of watching it are loud in their praises of the novelty and execution of the ride. It was a pity that it couldn't have been carried out under more favourable conditions both for the spectators and the performers, and if on some future occasion it may be deemed worthy of repetition, a space should be secured where it can be done in a manner creditable to its originators.

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The duty of judging the various costumes must have proved a difficult one: but the following characters were awarded prizes: Fireman with fire escape, Little Boy Blue, Lohengrin, Old America, skeleton, gold digger, Little Tich with big cigar, rags and bones, Punch and Judy, captain, mate, and crew, strolling players 'Pagliacci', Napoleon and Josephine: whilst prizes for the largest club turnout were awarded as follows: Star Wheelers, 59 members in costume; Beswick Wheelers, 36; Robin Hood Wheelers, 30 members.

I understand that Birmingham is going in for a similar paraded for charitable objects shortly.

Next time - Liverpool CCC and 'Swiftsure' on Sunday cycling.


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