Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  



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

6. Potteries No 2 Branch, 'Cyclo- Phobia' and 'cycling camps'

The Clarion Cycling Club in Birmingham had started something. The report of their first tour appeared in the Clarion at the end of April. As we've seen in previous instalments (now on the 'history page' of the website) their was considerable enthusiasm to follow suit in other areas. 'Bewicke's' letter from Newcastle appeared in our last Circular. In the same issue, 28 July, 'Swiftsure' (aka Frank Leeming) included another in his now regular 'Cycling Notes'

Potteries (not Hanley) No 2 Branch Clarion CC. Seeing we are such friends with Brum CC we must follow close on their footsteps. Stafford was the run on Saturday last, but local weather spoiled an otherwise enjoyable outing. Just fancy going past Stafford Gaol with Clarion badges on! The club is now 16 strong and still growing. Now, Clarionette cyclists, come up to scratch. Would like to know more about the meet at Ashbourne on the third Sunday in August.

This seems to be the first appearance in connection with the Clarion CC of the word 'meet'. 'Swiftsure' followed this letter with the following plea:-

Might I once more invite all Clarion cycle clubs or cycling Clarionettes to send me any interesting items or news coming under their notice. I desire to make this column as amusing and instructive as other portions of the Clarion, and can only hope to do so by the aid and assistance of its readers.


'Swiftsure' identified this unfortunate mental condition long before most of those Evening Argus correspondents we so enjoy hearing from were even born – or probably their grandparents!

From the Clarion 4 August 1894 'Swiftsure's' Cycling Notes again

Cyclo-phobia is a very prevalent complaint in these trying days; whilst very noticeable in yelping dogs and cap-throwing boys, it reaches its highest development in some magistrates, notably one in Dublin.

Well, at least we don't experience too much trouble from cap-throwing boys on B&H Clarion runs. The bit that followed where 'Swiftsure' turned to the question of 'rules of the road' has perhaps a more definite anticipation of contemporary Brighton and Hove.

If cyclists only observed these rules there would be less reason for the present outcry against them and the risk of an accident to themselves or others would be greatly diminished.

A couple of weeks later, on 18 August, 'Swiftsure' returned to what would become the Easter Meet – with a few modifications.

Cycling 'camps' are all the rage just now. ………..Could not a camp be got up by 'Clarionettes' for next Whit-week in the neighbourhood of Ashbourne?………………..What says Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and other Clarion CC's?

Next time: badges once more and the Bounder's election as president of B'ham CCC may not be a shoe-in! The Dangle challenge.





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