Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club  



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

73. "Random Scrip on a Tandem Trip"

This followed on from the verses that appeared in the last episode. We're still on 8 June 1895 and it seems that Swiftsure is away and others are looking after the week's "Cycling Notes". As a general rule I give the whole text of anything I find that is cycling-related in order that we have a full and rounded picture of what the Clarion was up to but occasionally with long and rambling pieces - something of a Clarion speciality on occasion - I do indulge in a bit of editing. What follows is an account of a cycle tour in the West Midlands on a tandem. The participants seem to be - if I've interpreted the initials correctly - J D Suttcliffe, a member of the national committee of the CCC and "The Candid Friend" the editor of The Scout. It's too long - and in places (to us) obscure - to give in full; I've tried to pick out bits that give an idea of the route and/or seem interesting in one way or another.

The Candid Friend (CF from now on) "never moves a muscle, but sits on the hind seat and sleeps, and sleeps, and sleeps"

They begin their tour at Lichfield where the CF criticises the "ancient sculptors" for mixing up "the reprobate kings of England with good old prophets and saints" on the cathedral fa├žade. But they decide that "the west part of Lichfield cathedral, with the close and adjoining houses, make up a combination as harmonious to the spirit of Merrie England as the lark's hymn the harvest". On to "Brummagem" (about 15 miles from Lichfield) where they meet others from the National Clarion Cycling Club, one of whom, Atkinson "prophesied that 2,000 Clarion cyclists would attend the next meet, and demanded that if Nunquam did not attend his head should be brought on a silver charger."

While in Birmingham they visit Steve Muir "ostensibly to see the Clarion Cycles Works, but surreptitiously to borrow a lamp." Setting out that evening for Coventry they were "pursued" by Birmingham Clarion cyclists to Stonebridge; "we hear as we course madly down the last hill, a distant shout of 'Boots! - the pubs are closed". Some verse follows which I will spare you - this time. A Scout meeting is held "and the Birmingham chaps frightened the nightingales with the number of their resolutions, and the way they carried 'em."

Next day to Kenilworth castle. "C.F went to buy a guide-book, but before the returned Tandem Captain secured to living guides - pretty girls, very. C.F hid his guide book"
. . . . . .

"We were doing well - seven miles in three hours. Had to leave the girls behind and proceed to Warwick where we called at the Wool Pack for refreshment."

Continued next time

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