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Lymm Transport Day 100years Centenary


The Bolton Clarion Cycling Club are building Lymm into a 150K ride on Transport Day , aiming to come through the village as part of the parade. The club has been coming to the village for nearly 100 years. These clubs were massively popular at the beginning of the 20th century. Here's a photo of the Bolton Branch


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A Rides on Sundays - April to June 14 - Runs List  here or   Autumn 2012 runs listfor pdf
B Rides on Wed & Sundays - April to June 14 - Runs List  here or Autumn 2012 runs listfor pdf


Saturday Rides continue on 2nd Sat of month

see Facebook page for updates and details








New Summer 2014 Newsletter - here










Spring 2014 Newsletter - here

Winter 2013 Newsletter - here

Autumn 2013 Newsletter - here

Summer 2013 Newsletter - here

Spring 2013 Newsletter - here








Bolton Clarion at the Tour de France 2014

TDF Yorkshire









Tony's Highlight of the Year


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Link to the Lymm Tranport Day Photo's






BCCC Team Spirit flying the Flanders 2014 Sportive

Another yearly adventure in Belgium by the Clarion Team


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Spain 2014 – Mike Singleton

One tough trip!

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Charlie Westlake and Bolton Clarion – Anthony Bowles.

It was in the early nineties and the Medium paced ride met on the town hall square for a ride to Knott End. While exchanging chit chat before setting off a group of unfamiliar guys turned up, but the clarion leader recognised Charlie Westlake among them, it was the Bury CTC section. ‘ The Long Distance ride have just left Charlie’ said the leader, a smile was the response, a man of few words was Charlie. They dismounted and made it clear they were intent on joining us to Knott End. ‘we’re only a slow group Charlie, not up to your pace’, again a slow smile, ‘not to worry, we’ll just tag along at the back’.
And so they did, all the way to KnottEnd, and after the Ferry ride over to Fleetwood.
There was a strange event as we neared Elswick, one of the young lads from Bury, Chris Peatfield, (Chris in later years married Bolton member Katy Prescott) seemed to have got the bonk, he slipped off down to Bonds cafe for and ice cream as we waited patiently at the end of the road.
It was summer and a nice day so it was no big deal really, so it seemed but then the minutes dragged on and no sign of Chris, other Bury lads went to look for him, they too seemed to be long gone. Perhaps a mechanical or puncture? I set off to investigate but just as I did the missing riders appeared, appeared to be well refreshed also, it turned out the ice cream had followed a meal.
Off again and the young man began to get a bit sprightly, he certainly had recovered well, so much so he was hard to contain.
Once through Preston and on the well trodden A6, the pace began to lift and slowly the group began to break apart as Charlie and his henchmen ended the truce, obviously now out of the country lanes and back on main roads we were no longer of use.
A few of us though refused to surrender and took up the challenge as Charlie marshalled his men at the front. Charlie eventually had to take to the front himself as we doggedly refused to surrender, Bamber Bridge, Whittle le Woods, Chorley, Adlington and Horwich, where a frantic sprint for the boundary took place.
The sprint at Horwich seemed to bring about a truce and the pace returned to a sociable one back down to Bolton. As ever Charlie didn’t speak while riding, just pushed the pedals like a metronome, mile after mile after mile, hence his reputation for tough hard rides, rides like that yearly one he did to the centre of Humber Bridge and back in the day, they did have an early start though. Charlie never did turn up at another Bolton clarion ride, he may have forgotten us but certainly did not forget the return from Knott End.




A Beacon would burn on Halliwell Dean by Albert Winstanley

"ALLO…ALLO…ALLO…AND WHAT’S ALL THIS ‘ERE THEN?" Though these may not have been the actual words, there was no mistaking the "fierce greeting" in the policeman’s voice, as he stopped me with the palm of his hand a few inches from my face, at the Knowsley Street and St. George’s Road junction, where he was on point duty.

I stopped with both legs straddled over the crossbar of my ancient ‘dreadnought’ bike, with its 28 x 1¾ wheels, ‘sit up and beg’ handlebars and roller brakes. I was only 14, on my first ever bike, and trembling with fright. I awaited his next question, "and now young man, where’s your light?"

I looked down to my oil lamp below the handlebars, and now thoroughly scared, saw it was out.

"Please Sir," I replied, "It must have blown out in the wind." There was disbelief in his voice as he said "Well, let’s see then." He opened the lamp glass, poked a finger inside and withdrew it immediately with an "Ouch" as the still hot lamp burnt him. I had to stifle a smile as he said. "I believe you this time, but light it straight away, and never let me catch you again without a light".

He watched as I produced a match to light the wick, which immediately burned merrily, and with relief I pedalled away, the warning still ringing in my ears.Such little episodes were common in my first cycling days (1930 onwards) and woe betide the cyclist caught without a light during darkness. It would result in a summons and an appearance at court, and a fine of usually 5/- plus the disgrace of your offence being mentioned in the Bolton Evening News.

How times have changed, with a blind eye turned to scores of cyclists who ride without lights and riding on the pavement (also then an offence carrying a summons and a fine).

There came 1932 and the purchase of my first ever new bicycle, and the beginning of a love affair with cycling, which is still as strong as ever in these advancing veteran years of mine. At that time too, I bought the weekly magazine "CYCLING" (price 2d), and most weeks there was a delightful sketch by the ‘King’ of cycling artists. His name was Patterson, and his sketches portrayed to perfection, the joys and delights of the countryside of England. Keen touring cyclists eagerly looked forward to the magic of his pen, luring them to follow his wheels to the scenes of beauty he depicted.

Even today…his sketches are sought after items, and I treasure the two originals that I have and which were presented to me many years ago.

Now there was a week, shortly after acquiring my new bike, that a sketch appeared showing a lonely moorland road in gathering darkness. Two cyclists are seen lighting their lamps their readiness for their night ride, and its caption was "LIGHTING UP TIME". How I drooled over that sketch, looking at it time and time again. It did something to me, and in mind’s eye I could picture myself taking part in the little scene. The curving moorland Patterson had depicted was similar to the moorland on the road over Hordern Stoops leading from Belmont to Rivington; and I knew I would not be content until I too, like the cyclists depicted, would stop and light my lamp just as they had.

In those early years of the 1930′s, times were bad. We had little money, and cycle oil lamps were the cheapest means of lighting. Though the first battery lamps were around, the favourite cycle lamps were acetylene or carbide. I vowed I had to have one, and weeks and weeks of saving from my pocket money eventually rewarded me with one, the price was 6/6d (33p), and it would be goodbye to my old oil lamp that had resulted in the burnt finger of the policeman. I can laugh at the episode now.

Now I could re-enact the "Lighting Up Time" scene Patterson had so admirably portrayed. It was mid autumn, and one evening as I arrived home from work, I vowed that this would be the night I would achieve my little ambition. I recall it was not quite dusk, as I wheeled my bike from its shed in Back America Row and pedalled up Halliwell Road, dipping down to Smithills Dean. How well my acetylene lamp looked on its bracket below the handlebars and I was as happy as the proverbial king. I began the slow ride up Smithills Dean (I could ride it then). I thrilled to the turning at the top of the Dean to Scout Road, passing the Bryan Hey Reservoir, and then the lovely swoop down to Belmont Road.This was the cycling life I loved, very little traffic then, the scents of autumn around, the bike running sweetly and with not a care in my early teenage years. I swept down to the stone setts of the hill to Belmont village, and then I turned by the Black Dog Inn, and the moorland road to Hordern Stoops and Rivington was before me.

The autumn dusk was now cloaking the moorlands and the road was absolutely deserted. Passing the ‘Blue Lagoon’ reservoir, I began to walk, and nearing the summit I decided that this would be the spot of my "Lighting Up Time" Patterson had depicted. I opened the glass of the lamp, and turned the water valve on that controlled the drops to change the carbide to gas. I sniffed at the burner to see if the gas was coming through, and lighting a match there was a plop as the gas ignited to flood the road with a lovely broad beam of light.

I was the happiest of cycling boys, a lovely acetylene cycle lamp, the contours of the curving moorlands all around silhouetted against the autumn sky, and it was all mine.I gave a silent "Thank You" to Patterson and then I was sweeping down to Rivington and relishing every moment of my ride through Horwich and the climb to my homeward road.

I passed the Blundell Arms and loved the freewheel down to Bob’s Smithy, my lamp beaming the road so lovely. Indeed, instead of going back to Halliwell via Doffocker and New Church Road, I turned at Bob’s Smithy towards Walker Fold. This was a night to be savoured, and I was determined to live it to the full.

Thrilling was the swoop down Walker Fold to Colliers Row and not a soul around to see my exuberance and joy of my cycle acetylene lamp. At the junction of Halliwell Dean and Scout Road, I sat down fur a few minutes, the bike by my side resting on the seat, the beam from the lamp so lovely, as I realised that the "magic" of this ride would soon be ending when I would reach Halliwell Road.Now, there may be several of my readers unfamiliar how a cycle acetylene lamp worked. There was the upper body which contained water, under that was the light chamber with a burner and a pipe linked to the lower chamber which contained the carbide. A control valve on top enabled drops of water to drip onto the carbide to produce acetylene gas which when lighted gave a lovely beam reflected by the lamp reflector itself.

After resting on the fingerpost seat, I began the descent of Halliwell Dean which, in those days, was paved with large "setts" for horse traffic. Down, down, and down I freewheeled, the bike bouncing over the rough surface. Now I have mentioned the burner of the lamp of which there were two types, a ‘screw in’ one and a ‘push in’ one. Mine was the ‘push in’ type. Speeding swiftly as I was and due to the vibration, there came a decided "plop" as the burner had jumped out of its pipe, and immediately the front of the bike and lamp was enveloped in flames, as burning gas was pouring out of it.

This was the night a "Beacon would burn on Halliwell Dean". I hurriedly dismounted, in disbelief at it all. The glass shattered and the autumn evening breeze fanned the flames alarmingly. No amount of blowing would quell the blaze and I took off my cap to try to push it into the lamp to douse the display. Frantically I managed to take the lamp from its bracket and throw it onto the road. I was almost in tears, as I looked at it, so sorrowful and shattered. My lovely lamp and all those weeks of saving for it, as for Patterson, I was saying some unkind words about him.

Disconsolate I continued homewards, riding without light, and ready to dismount if any policeman should appear. It was the saddest of boys who reached home that night, knowing the events of the evening would always be with me.

These days, as ‘lighting up’ time approaches, I switch on the dynamo, which with a gentle purr lights the road magnificently. Modern "halogen" bulbs in the lamps perform perfectly, and I also have a "back up" rear light with three ‘L. E. .D. s’, (Light Emitting Diodes). It is all high tech. I have a handlebar computer, ‘indexed’ gears and the most efficient of brakes. It is all a far cry from those early days. But! I still have a soft spot for the acetylene lighting of old. It recaptures nostalgia for those golden days of cycling, when life was at a much leisurely pace and the wonderful friendship and comradeship of the open road prevailed. Besides, I still love Patterson and the collection of his sketches recalling it all.



HEROES OF THE DAY - Anthony Bowles


A bit of a post script, we have another hero, beside me. Richard Brown reached the off licence at the lights before Atherton station and dived in desperately needing a cool bottle of coke, I spotted his bike parked outside as I passed. Good, I thought, someone else beside me is knackered. Relaxing on the town hall square I fully expected Richard to make an appearance at any moment, but no show. After a long chat with Brian Timms and Carl Bolton, Carl confessed to a short walk up part of Firs Brow, I ambled off in the direction of the Middlebrook trail, a god send after a tough reliability ride. I later rang Richard and it turned out that as he came out of the shop, just in time to see my back end going up the road, a pup, running scared caused an incident with a motor car. Richard took charge, the security training kicking in and both he and the woman driver went to great lengths to find the owner and get the distraught animal back to safety. Richard's good deed took around half an hour before tackling the remaining few miles back to Bolton. I rang Richard shortly after I had showered and drunk two gallons of tea and cold drinks , I was convinced he had died, no one could have been that far behind me, I was mighty relieved that Richard answered the phone straight away. Well done Richard, he gets this info second hand from a relative who follows our club news.




A Few Photo's from the Bolton Clarion in the late 1890's


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Bolton News Article from 10th March 2004


BOLTON Clarion Cycling Club was a successful organisation long before the current obsession with health and fitness. It celebrated its centenary in 1995 and is still going strong. Mr Harry Speak of Bury New Road, Bolton popped into the office recently with this picture from either 1948, 1949 or 1950 - he is not quite sure which. He does know that he is on the right in the fetching shorts and that they were pictured outside Bolton town hall on the day they had an enjoyable ride to Cheshire. The National Clarion Cycling Club goes back to the days when the unstable Penny Farthing was replaced by the triangular "safety cycle." Mr Robert Blatchford, a leading Socialist activist, journalist and publisher, called in his weekly newspaper, "The Clarion", for working people to make the most of the new opportunity to explore countryside - previously the province of the rich - and spread the Socialist message of fellowship. As well as cycling there were social clubs, rambling clubs, handicraft groups and even choirs. The Bolton club was kept ticking over by older members until the 1980s and was then revived by younger enthusiasts. I came across the following Evening News report from March, 1904 which gives a wonderful flavour of the times: "Saturday found some 70 Clarion cyclists and friends at Rivington, the occasion being the opening run, tea party and social at the unitarian School in the village. After tea a social was held. The Rev S. Thompson presided and delivered a pithy address on old England sports. Between the dancing Miss Sandham sang most sweetly, giving entire satisfaction and pleasure to the company. Comrades Hancroft and Marsh also sang and a couple of recitations were contributed by Comrade Fred Wild, also one by Comrade Nicholson of Preston. The affair on the whole was up to the mark and everybody seemed to have a good time. The ride home at night put all in good heart and the Secretary reports that they feel as if a very good start has been made for the season. Run cards are now ready and he is wishful to supply all intending members."


Bolton News Article from 1st May 2001 - Appeal from Down Under


Clarion National Secretary Frank Bibby has received a letter from Australia from an ex-Bolton Clarion member who is anxious to correspond with any of his former cycling friends. Albert F. Johnson lived at 10 Cleggs Lane, Little Hulton and worked at Hick Hargreaves in Bolton. Albert cycled throughout the war years with the club from 1938 to 1946, and will no doubt have many worthwhile memories of this period that are dear to him. Little is known of the wartime exploits of Bolton cyclists and Albert, being one of them, should have much to relate. Contact can be made through Frank Bibby, 130 Crompton Way Bolton. BL2 2SB




Tony Bowles

Peter Moore expressed an interest in John's classic retro bike when I published it on Facebook with a view to presumably insert the details in a future club newsletter, I was asked for more info from John. I have now got more of that info and as I spoke to John a nice surprise unfolded. In the main :- Frame Hobbs of Barbican. Frame tubing, Accles and Pollock, no transfers available,. Frame is fillet brazed, a classic lugless method of lightweight building. Wheels, again a classic of the day, 26 x 1 1/4" Conloy Asp rims, front wheel 32 spokes on a large flange Airlight hub, rear wheel 40 spokes laced into a three speed Sturmey Archer AW hub. 32 front paired with 40 spokes for the rear was considered the best all rounder set of wheels. While browsing the saddlebag sale at York Rally one year John came across a bit of Lancashire history in the shape of a three speed quadrant changer, (see top tube on photo) the gear selector was made by 'Lodge Engineering co. of Oswaldtwistle' in polished brass. John moved away from an original rebuild when it came to the brakes, the mountings
for the old Resilion brakes were removed in favour of a more modern and reliable caliper brake, being a tourer, long drop brakes were required so Alongha brakes were chosen. Handlebar is Cinelli, mudguards are Bluemels as is the pump, the saddle is the classic
Brooks Swallow. The big surprise I mentioned a'fore was the information obtained by Terry Dolan who did the refurbishment of the frame, the frame numbers on bottom bracket and fork stem, C 714 31, relate to 1931 as the original date of building. The C (circa) 7 (July) 14 (day) 31 (year), even John was surprised at that date though he did suspect the 'thirties' due to the tubing used in manufacture.
While discussing the bike John just mentioned during conversation that he still had his Grandfather's bicycle pump, all that was left from the bike his Grandad had used as a railway signalman. Apparently the bike was disposed of while John was serving in the Airforce. Now as John is now eighty three we can only speculate what bike his Grandad wheeled around on, a valuable bit of history gone missing. Almost forgot, stronglight single ring chainset set fitted, a forty tooth ring.



Ben Colman


Cycling to work, my rear gear cable snapped. I was on my Geoff Smith bike with 105 integrated gear shifter and brake levers. The cable snapped inside the shifter, leaving the nipple and some cable stuck inside there. I tried in vain to get the broken bits out and, having failed, took the bike to Geoff. Geoff looked at it and gave me the bad news. There was no way of getting the cable out, so it was going to be a whole new set of levers at something like £150. Yikes! What choice did I have?
A few days later, I left Geoff's with shiny new levers, a much lighter wallet and a heavy heart. Got home later and there was a message from Geoff. Could I call in to the shop? Strange! Had my card failed? Had I left something there? I couldn't think what the problem could be.I turned the bike around and headed back up New Brook Road towards the shop.
It turned out that once Geoff had got my old levers off, he'd been playing around with them and eventually bashed them a few times and dislodged the broken cable. He'd put the old levers back on and refund me the money. Wow! Happy days.
I'm still using the original levers and not had any more problems with them. But, the whole episode got me to thinking...
Sometimes I wonder if I am a Luddite. Do integrated shifter and brake levers make that much difference to my cycling experience? I don't race or time trial, I’m happy using gear levers on the down tube, where there is far less to go wrong. If something does go wrong, then it’s easier and cheaper to fix.
Technology can be brilliant, but I just question sometimes, whether we invent things and then we invent the need for them. How much do they actually increase our quality of life? For me, one of the joys of cycling is its ability to take me away from everyday worries – it’s just the bike and me.
As bike technology gets more complex, could we be in danger of losing some of the freedom cycling gives us?



My Bike “1952 Sun Wasp”
Frank Bibby



The Frame and Forks were found on the Raikes Lane tip during February 1995 by another member of Bolton Clarion. The original chrome on seat and chain stays, front forks was in good condition, but the integral bearings on the head tube was badly damaged, and the finder seemingly had neither the understanding or experience to enable him to cut out the old bearing cups and reamer out the head tube so as to fit modern bearings in the head tube. Seeing the potential of the frame I swapped the Frame/Forks from him for a 6 inch Cineli Stem. As soon as I got the frame I cut off the old bearing cups (Hack Saw), and passed a reamer down the Head Tube "top to bottom" and "bottom to top" so that the new cups would be parallel and a good fit, to be sure that the Seat Pillar, Bottom Bracket Cassette and Stem would be a good fit, I bought new and tried them, shortened the steer tube to fit the new head set (Hack Saw) then oiled and greased the inside of the Frame, left it hung up for a week or so to let any surplus oil run out before sending the frame for respray leaving the chrome as it was when found.
By t he end of March it was ready to build up, and in April it went on its first club run, from then on it went on all the club runs up to August 2011 but was beginning to look a bit tired. In between it had toured the South of France, Raced in the opening 25 on Garstang complete with mudguards and saddle bag carrier doing a 1-13-41,took me to college every day for three years with loaded
pannier's and carried me home from MaccIesfield with a broken rear drop out. In September 2011
I stripped it, had it re chromed/painted, then slowly rebuilt it with all new accessories and gave it away as a Christmas present in 2011.




Local Bike Shops web links - MK Cycles, Geoff Smith Cycles, Brown's Tyres

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