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From London to Barcelona to remember the Clarion cyclists

Lyn Hurst reports on the ride by a group of cycists from London to Barcelona to remember the International Brigades…

Leaving the IBMT’s annual memorial event in London’s Jubilee Gardens on 1 July, the National Clarion Cycling Club 1895 members set off on an epic 20-day, 1,200-mile journey to Barcelona, via Dieppe, Chartres, Bellac, Bergerac, Castelnaudary and Argelès-sur-Mer.

In Barcelona we were the guests of the city’s mayor at a very well organised event attended by 600 people, including many youngsters, at  a sports centre.

The occasion featured song and dance to celebrate the Barcelona People’s Olympiad of 1936, held in opposition to the Berlin Olympics of the same year. The fascist revolt happened in Spain at this very moment and caused the games to be postponed. Many of the athletes stayed to fight for the Republic, including Clarion members.

Three of the People’s Olympiad athletes who survived came on stage to a rousing response from the audience. The Clarion cyclists also received a loud and spontaneous reception as we marched down the hall to the stage with our banner.

Stuart Walsh gave a short speech and was then presented with a medal especially made for the occasion. It was modelled on a badge from the 1936 games that Stuart had found and given to the organisers a year earlier. It was one they had not seen before.

This was a perfect and meaningful ending to our epic journey. Representing the Clarion and the IBMT with honour, the cyclists showed fortitude and determination in completing the ride and delivered true comradeship and solidarity to our Spanish comrades.  

Posted on 31 July 2017.