The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s: 147. “A CYCLE SONG” from 1896

This comes from the Clarion 2 May 1896 in a column called  OUR ‘CLARION’ PASTIME MIXTURE. J Johnson must have been a member of either the Bolton Clarion CC or the Clarion Scouts – possibly both. I’ve no idea of the provenance of the long quotation that introduces the song. But in view of the current boom in bike sales and growing numbers of ‘wheelists’ it seems topical again.

You have to admire someone who didn’t flinch at rhyming “roll” and “all,” don’t you!

“The future is with the wheel. It is all-conquering. The season of 1896 has hardly begun, and already  the increase in the number of wheelmen and wheelwomen is most marked. Indeed, from the number of orders placed with bicycle manufacturers, it is estimated that by the end of the year the number of wheelists in this country will be almost doubled.”

Air. “Bonnie Dundee”

Let others sing loudly of pastimes and joys
Endeared to the hearts of men, maidens and boys.
My ditty shall be of the pleasures I feel
When mounted secure on my dearly-loved wheel


Hurrah for the cycle, swift, trusty and strong!
May it daily win lovers and stay with us long;
Good luck let us wish to the courser of steel,
And health and long life to the men of the wheel.

It carries me swiftly and safely along
Away from the town with its noise and its throng;
Away from the stifling and smoke-laden air,
To the life-giving breezes and rural scenes fair.

Hurrah for the cycle &c.

The whole world is mine to wander at will;
For me are the glories of valley and hill’
The larks in the sky and the flowers on the lea
Shed sweetness and beauty for cycle and me

Hurrah for the cycle &c.

When tired of the city, its clamour and strife,
My Pegasus bears me to newness of life;
And nought can relieve the heart of the load
Of worry and cares like a “spin” on the road.

Hurrah for the cycle &c.

Let the rich in their coaches and carriages roll,
My cycle is better by far than them all;
The wheel of Dame Fortune to them may bring wealth
But my flying wheel is  the wheel of good health.

Hurrah for the cycle &c.

J. Johnston , Bolton

Next time: The 2nd Easter Meet

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