The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 90. Swiftsure’s epic 330 mile ride from Manchester to Folkestone and back to London – on his wife’s bike!

This is from ‘Cycling Notes’ Clarion, 10 August 1895:

It isn’t often I introduce an account of my own doings into these ‘Notes’ and I shouldn’t do so now only I think it just possible that the particulars of a journey I undertook last week from Manchester to Folkestone (260 miles) and back again to London (70 miles) may have in it some items of interest and instruction to some readers. The journey is not a great one and probably every other cyclist could do as well if he were similarly mounted. My time being extremely limited I had to pick out the shortest route possible. By the aid of the guidebook and map I copied out my route onto a slip of paper which I carried in my waistcoat pocket, and consulted whenever necessary, without dismounting.

The rain had been heavy for several days previous to last Saturday week, and it was 11 o’clock of the forenoon before I could start, thus making it an impossibility to reach my contemplated journey’s end (Northampton) that day. My own machine being without efficient mudguards, I decided to ride my wife’s machine. And my judgement was not mistaken, for it ran beautifully and carried me the whole distance without the least mishap or trouble of any kind. The low gearing and six inch cranks tried my knees the first day but afterwards I was quite at home and liked it as well as my own.

More next time

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