The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
55. Easter Sunday at the Meet (and the 'Beery Person' re-emerges)
This - at last - is the final instalment of 'The Easter Meet. The Evolution of the Cycle.' From the Clarion 20 April 1895. I began to transcribe this back in episode 50 so it will be as well to remind you how the piece began:
It was the great sight of the century. Even the Beery Person admitted that after Whiffly had endeavoured to wipe the floor with him. We couldn't convert him because he disarmed us by his artless and ingenuous admissions.
"Aw don't know owt," he said, when pressed by the Scouts. "and aw don't want to know owt."
Such a line of defence was impregnable and worth in every respect of Ashbourne which is, perhaps, the sleepiest hollow in England. But I anticipate.
And now - to the final paragraphs of the article.
The next morning, Easter Sunday morning - we marched, two hundred strong, to Dove Dale. Preceded by the Clarion Bugler, the Clarion Scouts took the open road in fine style, and as they passed the market place raised a Clarion whoop which so alarmed the Yeomanry, who were preparing for church parade, that one or two dropped off their perches.
It was a faultless morning, with a wide sweep of pale blue sky without the suspicion of a cloud, and a great strong English breeze which invigorated everybody. Of the meeting, to form a National Union of Clarion Cycling Clubs, which was held at one o'clock on the lawn outside the Izaak Walton Hotel, it is Dangle's part to speak [He's already 'spoken' - see episodes 44 and 45, IB] as he was the chairman thereof, the which office he carried out to the satisfaction of everyone lying down on the flat of his front elevation.
But perhaps the greatest feature of the function was the great meeting in the market-place on Sunday evening, which stirred Ashbourne to its very foundations. And sooth to say it wanted stirring badly.
For it was upon this occasion that the Clarion Scouts unearthed the "Beery Person", who is such a conspicuous light and adornment of the Duke of Devonshire's tenantry. A person whom we Clarion chaps intend to make famous by our pen and glorious by our propaganda. A person who shall make history for us, and who shall be handed down the 'ring grooves of change' for our children and our children's children to wonder at. A philosopher, in short, who must be ranked as one of the most remarkable men of the century, and one whose historic utterance shall live for aye!
AW DON'T KNOW OWT
AND I DON'T WANT TO KNOW OWT.
Next time - Cycling accidents and some rather alarming advice on bike management from Swiftsure.