|The Charlton Challenge 23 May 2012|
|Written by Graham Rogers|
|Friday, 25 May 2012 08:56|
Latest! SOC Cycling Section at risk of corruption...
“The National Clarion cycling club grew during the early 1900s with 8000+ members at one time and with sections all over the UK. Working class people were getting their freedom on bikes in the countryside and the Clarion was spreading the word and the newspaper to industrial towns and villages. In those days before most people could own a car, the bike gave freedom and fellowship…the Clarion thrived.
Bikes still give us our freedom, freedom from the motorcar, the stresses of the rat-race and gives us great friendship, great friends around the country.”
As a young boy I recall becoming a member of the Bury Clarion Club. My introduction was a speed trial on a cold, wet Tuesday evening around the mill towns of the Rossendale Valley. At the end I was told I had a great future in cycling. I didn’t feel quite like that. After that exhausting event I could feel the TV beckoning and I more or less stopped riding. That’s says more about me than the joys of cycling.
As a social historian I know that the Clarion Club (established 1894), indeed cycling itself, is entrenched in our social and cultural history especially in the 1920s and 30s. In very recent decades cycling has enjoyed something of a resurgence and future social historians will have something to say about that as well.
Our ride on 23 May struck a resonance with the aims of the early Clarion Club – it was most certainly about friendship, challenge, fresh air, the soothing ambiance of the English countryside, all those qualities that were associated in the minds of the Clarion’s founding fathers with the building of the physical and moral fibre of the nation. A Clarion club ride would never be complete without a stop at the Temperance Bar for Tizer and Sasperella.
By contrast our ride took in the taste of Copper Dragon (Skipton Brewery) at the A66 Motel, Newsham, and Houston Bitter in Gilling West (“Houston we have a problem” – 2.5 mile climb back into Richmond).
I needed ample fortifying to cope with the Charlton challenge (yet more training for their forthcoming 60 miler to Whitby – it’s been nice knowing them). But it was a great day in hot sunshine which took in a route from Richmond along the Reeth Road as far as the turning to Marsk. From there a blood and guts ride took us up the seemingly endless Cordilleras Road over Feldom Moor before descending into Newsham. Fortified by a couple of pints of Copper Dragon I trundled along at the rear of the pack, past Gayles (and home), Kirby Hill (Shoulder of Mutton closed), down to Whashton, through Hartforth, paused at Gilling, and weaved a way up that interminable road that leads to Richmond.
Lovely day, finished off by tea and cake at the Charltons’ (there you are, the Clarion Club history is not lost on me after all!)
|Last Updated on Friday, 25 May 2012 19:53|