[CR] Politics In Our Sport

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PY-10)

Date: 23 Aug 2004 21:53:41 +0000
From: "Michael Butler" <allondon@rock.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR] Politics In Our Sport

I might have missed the boat on this one, this is not meant as a reference to your current political TV adds! They are getting a lot of media coverage at present in the UK. Prior to the 1890's in Britain bicycling was a upper class pursuit. When the knobs got tired of it and turned to motoring cycling became more universal and this is when the politics started. My own club the Clarion begun in February 1894. Six young men in Birmingham met at the local Labour Church in Constitution Hill to discuss how they might "combine the pleasures of cycling with the propaganda of Socialism". They decide to form the Clarion Cycling Club named after their favourite weekly newspaper "The Clarion". The idea spread like wild fire, branches sprang up all over the country, but especially in the industrial north. At weekends hundreds of "Clarionettes", their saddlebags filled with copies of The Clarion would cycle through the villages of England spreading the ideals of Socialism. The Clarion movement reached it's peak in the first decade of the 20th. century when membership was well over 40,000. The movement spread from cycling to football, rambling and choral singing. Clarion clubhouses sprang up around the country and the horse drawn vans were regulary seen in the lanes of Lancashire and Cheshire. The movement rapidly declined after the 2nd.World War. Today the Clarion movement lives on in the form of the National Clarion Cycling Club and in the form of its Clarion Clubhouses of which just two remain. Tom Groom, a founder of the Clarion Movement, said "To spread good fellowship is the most important work of the Clarion Cycling Clubs".Our aim is to fulfill his ideal every time we meet strangers and call them a friend. Other British cycling clubs with differing political leanings were the Primrose (Conservative). Spartacus (Communist). The Unity and loads of Co-operative cycling clubs. Incidentally I believe the star headbadge on the "Thanet" is because the maker was a communist (Les Cassels?). Interesting link http://www.mikron.org.uk a canal boat theatre company who are touring on the water this Summer with a play about the Clarion CC. Mick Butler Huntingdon UK now a political atheist.