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Challenge Ride


2024 Events 

  • 24th September - 3rd October - Majorca

  • 15th - 27th July European Tour Saint Malo to Amsterdam 

2021: Celebrating 125 years of Bolton Clarion Cycling Club

In the 1890s the development of the “safety bicycle”, which replaced the
“ordinary” (or penny farthing), led to a great cycling craze around the world
including Europe and Britain. At the same time there was a revival of socialist
thinking, which had been in decline since the end of the Chartist movement in
the 1850s. In 1891 Robert Blatchford and others founded The Clarion, a
socialist weekly newspaper which quickly became very popular.

In February 1894, in Birmingham, a socialist cycling club was formed, and it
soon changed its name to Clarion Cycling Club. Numerous other Clarion Cycling
Clubs were soon founded, especially in the north and midlands of England. At
Easter 1895 a meet was held in Ashbourne in Derbyshire, and the many clubs
together founded the National Clarion Cycling Club.

Bolton Clarion Cycling Club was inaugurated in a meeting on 24 February 1896,
at the rooms of the West Ward Independent Labour Party on Prince Street, off
Higher Bridge Street. In 1910 there were more than 200 Clarion Cycling Clubs,
and by 1936 Bolton Clarion was the biggest with around 200 members. As well
as club runs and tours, in those days Bolton Clarion was a successful racing

While the Clarion Cycling clubs grew and thrived, the previously pacifist
Blatchford had supported the Great War of 1914-1918, and this contributed to
a decline of The Clarion, which finally closed in 1934. Bolton Clarion survived the

1939-45 war, in which several members died, and remained successful in the post

war years. Like most cycling clubs, Bolton Clarion declined in the 1970s, and at

the low point was a small group of mostly elderly members, who kept the club in

existence by holding an annual meeting.  In 1983, new members such as Denis Pye

(author of Fellowship is Life, history of the National Clarion Cycling Club) and Paul

Salveson helped rejuvenate Bolton Clarion CC, and there was an influx of new

members. Since then membership has been steady at around 60. 

Bolton Clarion Cycling Club has been in continuous existence for 125 years.
Though founded as a socialist club, in keeping with most of the National
Clarion Cycling Club we are now a cycling club and not a political movement.

Our main activities are weekly club rides, and there are regular social meetings
(subject now to Covid regulations). Regular cycle tours are held, and members
take part in triathlons, sportives, audaxes, and time trials. We are proud of our
origin and history, and some years ago donated our early papers to the
Working Class Movement Library in Salford. Membership is open to all adults,
no matter what political persuasion. We are affiliated to the National Clarion
Cycling Club, Cycling Time Trials, North Lancashire Time Trials Association, and
British Cycling.

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