National Clarion Cycling Club
|Formation||Easter 1895 in Ashbourne|
|Legal status||current - continuous operation and membership since its formation in 1894|
|Purpose||The Clarion’s objects shall be: To protect and further the interests of cycling and cyclists. To promote Mutual Aid, Good Fellowship and support for the Principles of Socialism.|
|as of 2017, c1900 members, organised in 29 sections|
|Boots & Spurs|
|Affiliations||British Cycling, Cycling Time Trials|
|Remarks||Run entirely by volunteers all members now benefit from 3rd party liability insurance for 2018|
The National Clarion Cycling club is a cycling club with some 30 member sections and over 1900 members throughout Great Britain and Europe.
Clarion Cycling Clubs
The first club was formed in February 1894 in Birmingham, England as the Socialists' Cycling Club. At its second meeting it renamed itself the Clarion Cycling Club after The Clarion socialist newspaper. This was at the peak of the bicycle boom, when the old penny farthing had been swept away by the new safety bicycle, a diamond-frame model we would recognise today.
The number of local Clarion Clubs/sections grew to 30 by the end of 1895 and 70 by the early part of 1897. They reached the peak of their extent and influence in 1914, when their Easter Meet was at Shrewsbury. The illustrator and socialist Walter Crane designed the National Clarion Cycle Club's letterhead.
The Clarion membership reached its peak in 1936, with 233 sections across the UK and 8,306 members. The fall in membership from the 1930; 5000 by 1951, 4000 by 1953, 3000 by 1957, 2000 by 1961 and 1000 by 1965, by the turn of the next century the Clarion limped along with only 500-600 members until 2010. From 2010 a strong message was sent to sections, supporting youth development and encouraging new sections, this combined with a UK 'golden era' of international cycling success was timed perfectly and by the end 2017 the membership hit 1,894 members (the year of its formation).
As of Summer 2018 the club has the following sections: Barnoldswick - Lancashire, Blackpool - Lancashire, Bolton - Lancashire, Brighton & Hove, Bury - Lancashire, Calder - West Yorks, Clitheroe - Lancashire, Coatbridge - Scotland, Cotswold, Fenland - (Peterborough), Gosport - Hampshire, Heanor - Derbyshire, Hereford, Ironbridge - Staffordshire, Italian - (based near Torino), London, Manchester, North Cheshire, Nottingham, Saddleworth - Greater Manchester, Sheffield - (defunct), Stockport - Greater Manchester, Sunderland, Teesside, Tuxford - North Nottinghamshire, West Lothian - Scotland, West Lothian Youth, West Scotland, Yorkshire Coast
There is also a 'private' membership category for members who do not live close to a regional section.
In 1894 a writer in the Clarion under the pen-name "Numquam" suggested a "cycling corps of Clarion Scouts". That summer, a meeting between The Potteries and Birmingham Clarion Clubs decided to put it into effect: "scouts" using their cycling trips to circulate socialist leaflets and copies of the Clarion wherever they visited.
In November 1894, members of the Bradford and Liverpool CCC's campaigned for socialist candidates in local council elections. By the end of that year, 22 of the Bradford CCC's 25 members were working as Scouts, distributing propaganda to villages around the town. In March 1895 a new socialist magazine, The Scout, was launched for Scouts to read and circulate. It was subtitled "A Monthly Journal for Socialists" and its first edition included a set of "Instructions for Scouts" written by The Clarion's editor Robert Blatchford. The Clarion Clubs also did much to circulate The Clarion, Blatchford's book Merrie England and the socialist ideas that they expressed.
When the Clarion Clubs were formed, socialists in Britain were divided between the Social Democratic Federation founded in 1881, the Independent Labour Party founded in 1893 and smaller organisations. The Labour Representation Committee that evolved into the current Labour Party was not founded until 1900. Clarion Scouts were encouraged to support either SDF or ILP candidates in elections, and Scouts in districts that lacked local socialist groups were encouraged to form either a local group of either SDF or the ILP, and to build unity between the disparate organisations of Britain's labour movement.
The Modern Day Clarion Movement
Since 2007 the Clarion Cycling Club has seen a significant increase in its membership over-doubling its membership to close to 2,000 members across some 28 sections. Many new sections have started up from West Lothian, North Cheshire, Malmesbury, Yorkshire Coast, Saddleworth, Ironbridge and with several others in their infancy. Today the Clarion stands less for political activism and more for all forms of cycle activities, from cycle tourism, sportives, club events, road, track, cyclo-cross racing. The staple diet of the Clarion cyclist is the club run', organised group rides usually at the weekends covering distances from 20 miles to over 100 miles in a day. The Clarion fellowship and spirit can be witnessed across the country in one of our many club runs. These are group rides where riders of all abilities can take part, be encouraged into group riding and develop their skills under the expert eye of more experienced riders. Despite the Clarion changing with the times, it still stands true to one of its earlier mottos - 'fellowship is life'. A biannual award-winning newsletter called 'Boots and Spurs' was published by the membership for the membership. The annual conference remains the mainstay of a social get together. Despite the lack of political activism of a century ago, the club today still holds great empathy and respect to its founding principals and the political campaigning to better the working rights of the common person. Today the club is open and welcoming to all people, and this can be observed at all of its activities.
Sporting Successes and Champions of the Clarion
The Clarion has 'grown' and is proud to have many Champions from its membership:
Barry Hoban is a current life member of the Clarion and Calder Clarion who won many European victories as well as stages of the Tour de France. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Hoban
Adrian Timmis formerly of Hednesford (Cannock Chase Clarion) was a prolific national champion and major European stage racer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Timmis
Chris Newton formerly of Teesside Clarion won in 2002 the World Points Race Championship on the track and won many other world, Olympic and Commonwealth medals. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Newton
Adam and Simon Yates who are still members of the Bury Clarion are current professional cyclists for Michelton Scott racing team. Both of the twin brothers have many great victories in their palmares. Simon won Gold in the World Points race in 2013, the GP Miguel Indurain 2017 and the Tour de France young rider award in 2017. In 2018 he held the Pink jersey in the Giro D'Italia for several days having won 3 stages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Yates_(cyclist) Adam won the Tour de France young rider award in 2016, the Tour of Turkey in 2014 and the Clasica San Sebastian in 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Yates_(cyclist)
National Clarion Cycling Club 1895 (2006)
In 2006 a splinter group called National Clarion Cycling Club 1895 North Lancs Union was formed but this is not affiliated to the National Clarion Cycling Club.
- "Home". National Clarion Cycling Club. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- "The Clarion Cycling Club". Working Class Movement Library. 6 January 2009. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- "The Clarion Scouts". Working Class Movement Library. 10 January 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
- Pye, Dennis (2004). Fellowship is Life; The Story of the Clarion Cycling Club. Bolton: Clarion Publishing. ISBN 0-9525071-1-0.