Although I’m typing this Clarion newsletter on the warmest day of the year, it felt decidedly cool during this year’s Clarion Sunday event in Pendle, only a few days ago. The main purpose of this email update is to report back on the 2022 Clarion House ride and social, but I have included a few other snippets of information as well.
Ride report: Blackburn to Clarion House for ‘Clarion Sunday’ (12th June, 2022)
It was a lightning visit to Blackburn, lasting just over 24 hours, to take part in this year’s Clarion Sunday.
As with last year’s event, the train journey from London to Blackburn was amazingly efficient. I met London Clarion’s Alan, Alex and John at Euston station. The journey took to Blackburn took us less than three hours, but seemed to go faster (possibly due to the bottles of ale Alex had brought to share with us).
I spent two nights in Blackburn’s Premier Inn for last year’s Clarion Sunday, but this year had been offered a bed, bike and food with Charles and Margaret Jepson. Charles also very kindly had arranged to drive us to his house for an evening meal. Margaret had cooked to accomadate those with a vegan diet, which was quite possible just myself.
It was Alex and myself who had opted to cycle the 16 miles to Clarion House on the Sunday morning, which we started as soon as we had finished breafast, shortly after 8am. Although Charles had adjusted the saddle of his drop handlebar carbonfibre racing bike, I must say it took me a while to master how to use it without wobbling all over the place. It took me ages to feel comfortable using the pedal toeclips and I don’t think I quite worked out how to change the gears. Despite those difficulties, I was grateful to Charles for lending me his bike for the cycle ride. The weather was definitely cooler than last year’s Clarion House ride in September, but was rather pleasnt when the sun came out.
The route to Clarion House took us through some familiar terrain (see Strava link below). I don’t think either Alex or myself have quite mastered how to cycle up the steep Lancashire hills without getting off our bikes. The freewheeling decent to our Clarion House destination made a pleasnt change to the steep hills we had either cycled or walked up previously.
The Clarion Sunday gathering was possibly even more successful than last year’s event. It was great to watch cyclists from different Clarion clubs arrive (Blackpool, Bury… Brighton etc). Although I’m not sure of the actual number of attendees, I overheard someone say about two hundred people had turned up. That sounds like an accurate figure to me.
I somehow missed the socialist choir part of the gathering last year, so it was a pleasure to hear songs of solidarity sung with conviction outside Clarion House. There was a particularly rousing version of The Internationale at the end, which Margaret told me wasn’t the Billy Bragg version. I rather like Billy Bragg’s rendition of The Internationale, performed with piano accompaimment, but apparently Billy had amended some of the lyrics in his version.
A few of us were interviewed for a podcast recording with a presenter from the Ribble FM breakfast show. She was particularly interested in our thoughts on socialism and cycling. Although we were interviewed separately (in the Clarion House potting shed), it seemed like we were all asked similar questions about the relevance of Clarion socialism today. Perhaps we could bring along a selection of favourite cycle-themed records for inclusion in the Ribble FM breakfast show next time?
We ended the day in the nearby pub. The cool weather had become rather chilly, so we headed inside to sample the local ale.
Thanks to the hospitality from Margaret and Charles, which contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable 24 hours in Lancashire.
Alex says he would be happy to host a Brighton & Hove Clarion cycling jersey in London Clarion’s online shop. This seems like a great idea to me. There would be no costs involved because the jerseys are made ‘on demand’. We would only need a rough design of what we wanted the jersey to look like. Apart from ‘Brighton & Hove Clarion Cycling Club’, what else would we like to see on the jersey? Some Walter Crane artwork? A bike logo? Stick of rock? Clenched fist?
Amanda suggested, perhaps not entirely seriously, a while ago that we should produce some Clarion ‘Fellowship Is Life’ tea towels. This does seem like a very good idea, the more I think about it. Anyone else keen on owning a Clarion tea towel to dry their dishes?
National Conference motions
National Clarion’s conference was due to take place tomorrow (Saturday 18th June), but has been cancelled due to an ‘administrative error’. The conference (again taking place on Zoom) has been rescheduled for Saturday 17th September. We have been asked to submit motions by 17th July for the September conference. I’d like to submit a motion recommending ‘one person, one vote’ to replace the antiquated bloc vote system, which enabled last year’s controversial change to the constitution. Any other suggestions for national conference motions?
We don’t have any future rides planned at the moment. As ever, all ideas for cycle rides are welcome.
London Clarion are cycling to Lancing on the 24th July. Perhaps it would be good to organnise a bike ride on that day to meet up with them? I’m pencilling in a ride on 24th July. Some details here; More definite details to follow soon.
June 18th, 2022: TUC ‘We demand better’ march & rally
I’m heading to the TUC’s ‘We demand better’ day of action in London tomorrow (Saturday). If you’re going too, see you on the streets…