The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
32. Manchester Cycle Show and a cycling club for MPs – with Clarion comments.
From Swiftsure's 'Cycling Notes in The Clarion, 2 March 1895
I met the hon. sec. of the local Clarion C.C, and although Mr Dawson is not exhibiting, he tells me his machines are selling remarkably well, and from what I have seen they deserve to.
The Clarion 9 March 1895
The hon. sec. of the Liverpool Clarion C.C. Hy. Cummins, sends me a cutting which avers that a cycling club is being formed amongst members of Parliament, to be called the St. Stephens C.C with Mr A. J. Balfour* as the probable captain. I suppose it is a canard arising from Mr Balfour having been spoken of as the next president of the N.C.U.** Comrade Cummins makes some facetious remarks on the subject and suggests that we invite this extra-ordinary club to Ashbourne, and there discuss Socialism with them. He also says 'suppose this remarkable club happens to have their tyres punctured while out riding, it would be an easy matter for Mr Balfour to deliver one of his celebrated orations to the tyres and in a few seconds the tyres would be filed with wind.'
* prominent Conservative politician, later prime minister in the early 1900s and probably best remembered today for the 'Balfour Declaration' of 1917 giving British Government 'support for' the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. Balfour was Foreign Secretary in Lloyd George's wartime Coalition Government.
** The National Cyclists' Union had been formed as the Bicycle Union in 1878 and adopted that name in 1883. See Brian Hutton's pieces in Boots and Spurs and on the 'history page' for the struggles between the Union and the 'rebel' National League of Racing Cyclists in the 1940s and '50s. Peace was restored in 1959 when they merged to form the British Cycling Federation.
Next time. The first Easter Meet gets nearer as Clarion C.Cs continue to get organised