The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
38. An encounter with 'Lady Cyclists' and Swiftsure urges NCU affiliation.
From 'Swiftsure' Cycling Notes, The Clarion, 6 April 1895
Last Saturday the writer and another turned up for the run of the Clarion CC Manchester and District; true it was a wretched day and required no little resolution to venture forth: but judge our surprise when some miles from home we passed the Manchester Lady Cyclists – seven in number, slithering awheel through the slush and rain and weren't they a merry party? I fancy I can still hear their bantering chatter and hearty laughs at each other's mishaps.
There was non of the 'butterfly-wait-until-the-road's-dry' about them. They were out to enjoy themselves, and you bet a little bit of mud wasn't going to stop them. It is also a fact that they were the largest party of cyclists we met out that day.
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In the same edition Swiftsure noted criticisms of the National Cyclists' Union (NCU) for neglecting the interests of 'the ordinary road rider' and concentrating on racing. He rejected this:
If we only take the number of danger boards erected last year we should have ample proof that such an assertion is baseless.
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Therefore I consider that any club which has the requisite number of members (25) stultifies its own existence if it refuses to join the local centre of the Union and accept whatever benefits that membership already gives. I note that the Birmingham Clarion Cycling Club joined there centre a fortnight since.
Next time. 'Unattached cyclists' and accommodation at the first Easter Meet