Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  



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

65. "The Philosophy of the Bicycle" concluded

Sometimes the various people writing in - or to - the Clarion, in the 1890s seem so much on our own wavelength that you half expect them to turn up on one of our next rides. But then there are other things that remind us how much things have changed. I've always found a large part of the fascination of history in the interplay and tension between 'universal' human strengths and frailties on the one hand and the past as 'another country' on the other. Still with the piece from 11 May 1895, I've picked out some extracts which brings home how cycling through London was very different in those days. Whiffly and the author (I think it's the Bounder) have a whole series of misadventures in central London. Here are some of the later ones..

Fresh disaster came opposite the Canterbury Music Hall. It was this way. I had tram cars to the right of me, the kerb to the left of me, and a perambulating hansom in front of me. What could be nicer? I follow in the wake of the hansom and all is well. Old gentleman emerges from the Canterbury and calls a hansom. Four hansoms sweep down upon him, and my cabby being the nearest, draws his horse upon his haunches and stops dead short, while I who wrote this veracious chronicle run into him from behind, climbed up the back and on to the roof.

* * *

Once out of Lambeth we progress freely and easily to Kensington where we foregathered with the Demon Van

And a young lady in rational costume, who was riding by slipped up on the tram lines opposite Kensington Church.

She was clothed in a grey knickerbockers suit and blue stockings.

* * *

With knightly care we replaced her on her bike.

Next time - an editorial response

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