Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  



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

49. Blatchford prepares for the Meet - continued - Thursday to Monday

Thursday - Same as Wednesday – only more so.

Friday - too stiff to walk downstairs. Had the cycle up into the sitting room and swore at it

Sunday - Went out in the morning. Mounted the animal boldly in the High Street and road about six miles!

I don't think I broke any records, as I lost a lot of time carrying the monster up and down hills. This is a hilly place.

Found it better to mount on the flat, because when you mount uphill the thing always turns round and tries to bite his tail.

As for mounting downhill, I only tried it once.

I don't know what happened, but I found myself under a hedge with the machine in my lap.

I noticed at this time that the nettles were growing very nicely.

This is a nature note, On Monday I shall make my will and start for Shanklin.

* * * *

Monday - I now know. You should never travel without sticking-plaster and bandages.

This morning I rose as one clothed in confidence and I said "Let Dangle creep thro' Surrey lanes with two men to hold him on his machine; I will ride to Sea View and back by dinner time. I am a roadster".

I rode. The way hereabouts is hilly, and somewhat too lavishly decorated with rough stones. But I rode – and walked – to Sea View, and after admiring the beauty of the place set out on the return journey. I was proud of myself. I was doing a twelve mile run.

Pride goeth before a fall. I was galloping along a roached-backed road near St Helens when the right handle came off the machine !!!!!!!!!!!!

There were many thorns in that hedge, but I collected them all. I didn't miss a thorn,

More than that, I did not miss a great blably, gnarly, knotty elm root. I hit it fair and square with my cheek bone and ********

Soon after a good-tempered labourer came by. He took me to a spring he knew off and stanched the blood for me.

One good turn – just so . We called at a tavern at St Helens, where I slaked the thirst of the spade-man and borrowed some stamp edging from the landlady. Then I road home – with one lovely black eye.

These are pain and unvarnished facts. When I got home I made a few graphic remarks.

* * * *

But 'tis an ill wind etc. I am now in a position to offer a few hints to the young cyclist.

Firstly - Don't have a machine with loose handles.

Secondly - when indulging in such healthy exercise as taking headers, don't choose a sot where an elm root stands in the way of your face. Elm roots are harder than the hearts of the wicked or the cheek of the righteous. When you want a header choose a sand heap or a nice mossy bank.

* * * *

Perhaps the wisest plan of all is to travel on foot - lend your machine to some other fool. I have said,

Next time – More on the first Easter Meet


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