On a dry Saturday morning 11 set off from Surrey Quays for the start of the ride to Tilbury Fort, for half the group it was their first London Clarion Cycle Club ride, Alex led as normal and we made good progress sticking together nicely as a group. It soon became clear however that the weather forecast was not to be believed as it suddenly started to pour down with rain. not a shower but a torrential downpour. Sadly the rain persisted for an hour and half the group decided to head home at Dartford. The rest of us continued riding and as is typical with British weather it brightened up. After a coffee stop in Dartford at a very friendly cafe we headed back on our way towards Gravesend to catch the ferry.
At Gravesend we headed straight for the ferry, when someones tire exploded thankfully nobody was hurt and we were fortunate to find Tri the Bike Shop in Gravesend High Street who replaced the tire in record time. Back on our way a few minutes later, at the ferry it was obvious we weren't the only cyclists as the boat was already half full of bikes due to a 400km audax happening at the same time. No need to worry though as all the bikes were safetly stored away and we made the short crossing to Tilbury. At Tilbury we were met by two fellow London Clarion Cyclists one who had just joined a few days ago. We continued our cycle riding past Tilbury fort and then on to Colehouse Fort and park where we stopped at the Engine room cafe for a delicious and reasonably priced lunch. After Colehouse Fort we started our ride back to London with a short stop at the RSPB cafe at Rainha Marshes for coffee and cake. The ride back to Tower Bridge took in a long section of the Cycle superhighway and allowed a quick stop to admire the Cable Street Mural.
In 2020 London Clarion Cycle Club will be celebrating it's 125th Anniversary it will also be the 125th Clarion Cycling Club Easter meet.
What better way to celebrate both these milestones than with a relaxed weekend of cycling and socialising in Ashbourne, Derbyshire where Clarion Cyclists first met for Easter back in 1895.
This Saturday London Clarion Cycle Club members along with other fellow Clarion Cyclists will be visiting the site of the Yorkshire Clarion Club House which is now a campsite. Our ride starts in Bradford at 10am and will include a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site Saltaire Mills before heading for the Yorkshire Clarion Camp Site.
In the 1913 York Easter Meet National Clarion Cycling Club programme and Year Book it describes the Yorkshire Clarion Club House as follows.
"The Switzerland of England" The Camp was started at Hawksworth in 1901 by the Bradford Clarion CC and later on taken over by the Yorkshire Union of Clarion CC. ... The Camp is situated at the Menston End of Otley Chevin, the locality where Turner obtained sketches for some of his finest pictures whilst he visited Farnley Hall, near Otley.
The cohesion of several clubs in and about London was brought about in 1907 by the establishment of the Union. The desire to do more effective spade work upon better organised lines, which inspired the few strong clubs then in existence, has been amply justified by the results. The aims of the Union are to organise upon co-operative lines, to inculate the spirit of fellowship and sociability, and to disseminate Socialist Ideas. - National Clarion Cycling Club, Annual Meet York 1913, programme and year book.