As an offshoot from the the Clarion Cycling Club, the National Clarion Cycling Club 1895 still wishes to support the original principles of the Club which was formed in 1895. The slogan of the original Clarion Cycling Club is “Socialism the Hope of the World” with the motto “Fellowship is Life” and “Lack of Fellowship is death”.

In the late 1880s the bicycle boom and rewakening of socialist principles through various organisations in Britain gave birth to the “synchronisation” of the coming of the Safety bicycle with the spread of Socialism. Tom Tyas, secretary of the Handforth Clarion Cyclists’ Clubhouse recalled it as “a happy combination of natural forces”. The bicycle itself “brought within easy reach all the things which the new philosophy taught (people) to enjoy”. It offered an “escape from city life after the daily round of toil” and gave them “the power to roam on the King’s Highway”.

In 1891 Robert Blatchford and friends started the Clarion weekly paper. As a writer and journalist using the pen name “Nunquam Dormio” (literally “I never sleep”) Blatchford’s life in Manchester led him to write in the first issue of the Clarion:

“The Clarion is a paper meant by its owners and writers to tell the truth as they see it, frankly and without fear. The Clarion may not always be right, but it will always be sincere. its staff do not claim to be witty or wise, but they do claim to be honest. The y write not for factions; but for ther people. They fight not for victory;but for the truth. They do not seek to dazzle, but to please; not to anger, but to convince. Wheresoever wrong exists they will try to expose it. Towards baseness, cowardness, self-seeking or roguery, no matter where or in what class it may appear, they will show no mercy….

The essence of this new journalism, for it is a new journalism, and a journalism created by the men now risking this venture, is variety. I would, therefore, beg our serious friends to remember that truth may lie under a smile as  well as under a frown, and to our merry friends would say that a jest is none the less hilarious when it comes from the heart. the policy of The Clarion is a policy of humanity, a policy not of party, sect or creed; but of justice, reason and mercy.”

In February 1894 the first meeting of the Socialist Cycling Club was held in Birmingham and over Easter seven cyclists set out to Evesham and back.  the following Easter at Ashbourne around 120 members of Clarion Cyclists met and “The National Clarion Cycling Club” was formed.

The object was to be “the association of the various Clarion Cycling Clubs for the purpose of Socialist propaganda and for promoting imnter-club runs between the clubs of different towns”.

The calling of a general Election in July 1895 prompted the organisation of propaganda methods including afrom Liverpool working with gummed labels printed black on red with the keyword “Socialism” prominent. it was suggested that they could be stuck on telegraph poles, gates, walls and even cows!

Slowly but surely the Clarion members spread propaganda on thei cycling trips and by 1896 aThe Clarion Van (a conveted Gypsy caravan) was used to spread the principles of Socialism to a sometimes unfriendly audience in villages.

 more about the history of the clarion cycling Club will be added to this page. But for those who wish to know more I recommend the book “Fellowship is Life. The Story of the Clarion Cycling Club” by Denis Pye. Avaiable for £4.95 including postage and packing  from Clarion Publishing, c/o 34 temple Road, Halliwell, Bolton, BL1 3LT

The website http:/ourhistory-hayes.blogspot.com/search/label/Clarion also provides a history of the Club.

More to follow!

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