Aireborough Clarion Cycling Club Remembered by David Horner and Roger Brashaw
I had no particular interest in cycling at the age of 16 other than using a bike as a means of transport between my home in Guiseley and my work as an apprentice engineer at ‘ Rawdon Engineering & Tool Company ‘ based in London Lane Rawdon, a small engineering company founded after the war by Albert Hindle and moved around 1970 to premises down a passage way adjacent to Chippendales shoe shop on Otley Road Guiseley.
Cycling up the hill past Nunroyd Park and Apperley Lane to London Lane Rawdon at 7-00 am on a cold winter morning to start work at 7-30 was no joke.Compulsory overtime and evening classes left little time for leisure activities other than Guiseley Brass Band where I played base drum.
An early work finish on Friday’s enabled me to collect our weekly local paper, the Airedale & Wharfedale Observer from Rhodes paper shop.On the front was a bold box lined item headed, Aireborough Clarion Cycling Club.
It read as far as I can remember, Invitation Run, new members of all ages are welcome, meet on Sunday outside the White Cross Hotel Guiseley at 9-00am. Bring a packed lunch. To proceed at the speed of the slowest rider.
The Sunday morning band practice would have to be missed but as they also had a practice night during the week I did not consider I should be missed too much.
A friend, Colin Jackson who lived nearby persuaded me to go along on the invitation run to find out what the cycling club was all about. Arriving at White Cross on the appointed time, together with around six other newcomers to the club. We were told the destination was Saxton Village, it proved to be an easy flat run, riding two abreast, Trevor the club captain and his friend at the front setting an easy pace.
The destination was the Crooked Billet public house where we obtained a mug of tea to help the sandwiches down as we sat outside in the sun. Trevor the club captain explained to prospective new members that the Aireborough Clarion Cycling Club was a branch of a national club, and had a club house on the West Chevin road at Chevin End.
Trevor went on to explain that the Aireborough branch had the use of club house on Wednesday evenings for a regular meeting when the Sunday’s run would be revealed.
During the 1950’s every corner of the Yorkshire Dales was covered on the Sunday runs , The Clarion was chiefly a touring club whilst our near neighbour, Otley Cycling club was a sporting club holding regular races and time trials.
In the mid to late 50’s the fitter and faster club riders arranged time trials on the 25 mile circuit known as the pool triangle and I was persuaded to enter the Leeds Clarions 100 mile reliability ride, starting at Otley Maypole on to the A1 and on to a 50 mile turn around point at Yarm. I well remember the return leg as my friend Brian Wigglesworth of Horsforth and myself took advantage of the slipstream from a lorry as we flew towards Otley down the A1 near Wetherby.
We had longer touring trips to North Wales and the Peak district and.Weekend rides to visit Blackpool & Morecombe illuminations staying at a B&B overnight.
Most of the Clarion members were in early to late teens, the exception was a well known Guiseley character called Dick Whitely who rode a tandem solo around the town.
My cycling interests got me into real trouble, I should have been conscripted for National Service at the age of eighteen but was deferred until the age of 21 to complete an apprenticeship. A condition of deferment was that I was attending part time or evening course at a recognised technical college. The Clarion Cycling Club night on Wednesday evenings clashed with a college night. For a year I missed technical drawing for at least half the year, preferring the Clarion club night which the tutor reported to my employer at Rawdon Engineering . I was threatened with being reported to the National Service Board if I did not attend college regularly. The Clarion Cycling Club had to take second place for a while.
I was also in trouble for missing the Guiseley band practice on many occasions in preference to the Cycling Club Sunday run’s resulting in a lecture on commitment by Wybert Stevenson the band master. I later resigned from the band in favour of the cycling club.
It is difficult with advancing years to remember but a few names, Colin Butler was a particular friend who had a nasty accident on a club run when he was descending a steep hill at speed ahead of the club, he rounded a blind bend to be met with a motorcycle and sidecar. His leg was quite badly hurt with a large gash, Colin spent at least three weeks in the nearest hospital which was in Northallaton . Along with another friend Brian Hey of Rawdon we cycled the trip to Northallerton visiting him on a Saturday afternoon.
A club dinner was held at the Crown Hotel in Ilkley and allowed us to see each other in smarter clothes than the usual cycling shorts etc.
The Chevin inn only a few yards from the club house was often frequented after a meeting.
The Clarion had around half a dozen female members including my future wife and I believe my friend Brian Wigglesworth of Horsforth married another member from Nunroyd Guiseley , Maureen Roper. Brian Hey of Rawdon became a manager at Kirkstall Forge and also married an ex club member.
Towards 1958 the club split into two sections, intermediate and fast, the fast section undertaking Sunday runs to places as far away as Lake Windermere, the intermediate section of which I became captain meeting them at Ingleton for tea.
National Service in the RAF, 1958 and marriage in 1960 meant losing touch with all the Clarion friends. The Clarion membership card read fellowship is life very apt motto.
A memory shared by Roger Brayshaw of the Clarion Cycling Club.
Your article on Aireborough Clarion Cycling Club, brought back happy memories of the time, I (Roger Brayshaw) had with the club.
I have photos of some members of the club, rowing on the River Nidd, also a photo of us frolicking on a village green near Masham.
My mind goes back, when the older cyclist persuaded me to go on a fast section outing. We met at the White Cross 6.30 a.m. and set off.
The route was Otley, Harrogate. Ripon, Richmond, up Swaledale to Reeth, then up Arkengarthdale to Tan Inn (the highest Inn in England) for lunch.
After Lunch we set off and went through Keld over the Butter Tubs to Hawes, then over the top to Wharfedale and had tea at Kilnsey Crag where we met up with the remainder of the cyclists from the club.
I was very tired, but Brian Wigglesworth was pushing on to keep up. It was the first and last time I went with the fast section.
On one occasion I remember we cycled to Dent and stopped at the youth hostel there.
You mentioned about a trip on our bike to Blackpool Illuminations, I went on this trip too. The club used to do time trials around the triangle. I only did this race once and came in fourth.
Some of the members did a hill climb on a hill near Arthington.
Some names I remember are as follows:- Brian Hey, Joyce Tattersall, Brian Tattersall, Brian Wigglesworth, Maurine Roper, Barry Childs (Gosforth) Keith Jenkinson, Colin Cowdroy (I bought a Hitchen curly frame off him) Alfie from Horsforth, Colin from Guiseley, Eric from Guiseley, a girl called Roe from Henshaw Yeadon.
As your writer stated as time goes by you tend to forget names.
I now live in France, but have never forgot the good time we had at the Aireborough Clarion Cycling Club.