|Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club|
The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
As you may have gathered by now, the (unsigned) piece on 'The Evolution of the Cycle' on 20 April 1895 was very long - even by Clarion standards. I notice that in my hurry to get the last episode out I indulged in some typos - the end of it should read 'fourteen miles of collar work.'
53. The intrepid heroes of the Clarion staff finally arrive at the Ashourne Meet and are greated with "Boots!"
First we got oiled and blown up at Timberlake's Repository.
"A great gent like you," says Timberlake, when he saw my non-perisher tyres, "should have a better machine than this one."
" A great gent like me," I reply, " Why, what sort of gent am I?" and Timberlake looked three ways for daylight and also scraped himself. "Well, " he said, at last, with a critical air, "you look like a gent who could do with his portion."
"You've guessed it at once," said Whiffly and so we bestrid our wayward steeds, an afer a brief halt at the "Buck in the Park" went in for records.
We got there, and, under the circumstances, we claim this as the greatest of cycling records. Cycling papers please copy.
Halfway is a village called Brailsford, with a contription. Ha! Ha! I need say no more.
It was a mile or two after this that Whifflly riding down a long steep hill with that sublime confidence which marketh the new beginner, lost control of his machine. Talk about Gilpin's ride, it was nothing compared to Whiffly's. He disappeared in a cloud of dust, out of which on the right-hand side a man and bicycle presentely turned double somersaults on the grass bank. Talk about De Quincey's "Vision of Sudden Death". In those cases where you are suddenly face to face with grim death, it is wonderful how coolly you philosophise.
"If Whiffly had fifty necks, " I said to myself as he careered past, " he'll break every one of 'em this time."
Instead of which, he was, beyond a few bruises, practically uninjured. It is unsafe to make predictions concerning him, he is such an unreliable person,
When I say practically uninjured I mean that the new knickerbockers were rent in twain. But we borrowed some string from a village blacksmith and tied 'em up behind a hedge. After which we smoked pipes on the grassy verge, and rode into Ashbourne , where we were welcomed by a knot of young fellows on the bridge with a cry of "Boots" to which we gave the Clarion countersign "Spurs – and plenty of 'em."
Next time - The Ashbourne 'smoker' and Sheol.