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  • Sculptured in Steel
    cycle show at London s Olympia in 1913 it created a sensation This new lightweight on display had been constructed by E Bastide of Paris At the time Bastide was a leading specialist French lightweight frame builder noted also for producing demi fond machines for track racing The Bastide road machine was shown on the stand of the London based Constrictor Tyre Company which had recently been joined by Leon Meredith Meredith was a multiple amateur demi fond world champion winning the world title no fewer than seven times between 1904 and 1913 Unlike his insular British contemporaries Meredith regularly travelled to compete on the Continent and was thus exposed to the latest advances in racing technology and machine design abroad The cosmopolitan Leon Meredith must therefore ultimately be credited with having introduced the revolutionary new design into Britain This was on the eve of WWI Although there is evidence of some British lightweight builders as having adopted it during the war years its rapid spread in British cycling circles was deferred until the 1920s It was during this decade that the Continental frame template was popularised in Britain by specialist frame builders such as Granby Maclean Saxon F W Evans Grubb and Selbach The Continental design was supported by influential British cycling writers of the time writing under the pseudonyms of Wayfarer W M Robinson and Kuklos Fitzwater Wray They championed an ascetic fresh air way of life in the great outdoors with which the minimalist Continental lightweight design accorded perfectly It was an ethos captured in the idyllic cycling art of Frank Patterson whose quiet rural scenes invariably featured cyclists with Continental style machines A Frank Patterson 1871 1952 line drawing of a cyclist with his Continental machine Patterson s many works typically capture lone cyclists or tourers in pairs wheeling through rolling countryside or stopping at a welcoming hostelry for refreshments The Cyclist s Companion The Continental frame type was inherently more rigid than its predecessor This derived from its compact triangulation and its being of brazed construction throughout A typical interwar Tour de France scene with the rider on a Continental machine The road systems and surfaces of much of mainland Europe suffered serious damage during WWI In the 1920s these remained generally poor and underdeveloped Thus the Continental lightweight frame template while of pre war origin continued to be eminently suited to the needs of sporting cyclists in mainland Europe during this decade It matched the prevailing cycling conditions of the time Indications are that public roads in Britain were also slow to improve in the post war period favouring the Continental frame design The International frame design c 1935 1980 In the early 1930s a few leading specialist lightweight frame builders began to offer customers a choice of either a conventional Continental or a more upright frame design This signalled the arrival of the International lightweight frame template The hallmarks of the new International style clearly distinguishing it from its two predecessors were significantly steeper head and seat angles 70 72 and markedly shorter wheelbases 40 42 This new generic design coincided with a number of novel developments at this time These included The construction of new superfast wood surfaced tracks Milan s Vigorelli built in 1935 397m per lap with 42 bankings and the similar 1936 Berlin Olympics velodrome both designed by the noted German track architect Clemens Schürmann 1888 1957 Major improvements in road systems and road surfaces linked to significant increases in motor vehicle traffic The shortening of the length of stages in races like the Tour de France from an average of 400km before WWI to 200km in the 1930s leading to a greater emphasis on speed rather than simply endurance The first appearance of the lighter Reynolds 531 steel tubing in 1935 succeeding the heavier gauge Reynolds HM tubing The general acceptance of the derailleur multiple gear freewheel system in European road racing The 1930s boom in Britain of fixed distance road time trialling including the BBAR competition with riders seeking fast times using minimalist short wheelbase fixed wheel Road Path machines The widespread commercial promotion of track racing including six day events in both Europe and the USA as a spectator sport on purpose built banked velodromes with smooth cement or wood surfaces Increased international contacts and competitions between previously distinct cycling traditions and technologies accelerating the spread of innovative designs In Britain a new generation of lightweight builders emerged in the 1930s who strongly promoted the International frame template Claud Butler was a leading figure in this movement producing models like the DSH Path which followed the new International design The flamboyant Butler discreetly sponsored star amateur international trackmen of the day like Dennis Horn Toni Merkens Bill Maxfield and later Reg Harris to publicise his innovative machines They in turn shared their knowledge gained from racing on Europe s steeply banked velodromes with their British frame builders The International frame template in post WWII cycle sport The revival of cycle sport after WWII gave new impetus to the International design The road machines with derailleur gears now standard ridden by new post war stars like Coppi and Koblet exemplified the International frame template In the 1940s the modernising BLRC s British League of Racing Cyclists promotion of mass start road racing in Britain stimulated the wider adoption of the International frame template in the UK British lightweight frame builders of the 1940s and 1950s began to give their models exotic names like Vigorelli Italia and Continental The gold standard steel road racing frame of the era quickly became one with parallel 72 head and seat angles and a 40 101 6cm wheelbase accommodating 700C 27 wheels Swiss road star Hugo Koblet 1925 1964 on a post WWII International machine Koblet won the 1951 Tour de France This image shows him crossing the Casse Desert on the Col d Izoard on stage 20 Gap Briançon in the 1951 Tour Wearing the maillot jaune he was pursuing Fausto

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  • South Africa vs Great Britain track racing 1948
    originally been constructed in the 1920s when the foundation stone was laid by the then deputy chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines the Earl of Bessborough It incorporated a rugby field athletics track and a 500 yard cycling track In 1939 the stadium s cycling track was upgraded and resurfaced in cement which made it unique amongst the country s many outdoor tracks These typically had slow and often uneven tarmac surfaces The Kimberley track at the De Beers stadium was thus technically the best available choice for the first and only 1948 Great Britain versus South Africa cycling test match as it was billed locally That the Kimberley track was also chosen as the venue for the SAAA CA s national track championships in 1946 1949 and 1950 points to its popularity amongst cyclists at the time In 1948 Arthur Rice was a young cycling enthusiast from the Kimberley area who was nurtured on the De Beers track Tucked away in the Rice family photograph album kindly recently loaned to me by his daughter Lynne Larsen are a series of photographic images documenting the historic 1948 Kimberley Great Britain versus South Africa cycling test match Unfortunately many of these images are either untitled or contain only minimal information This article attempts to reconstruct the contest they depict 1948 international teams Great Britain South Africa 1 Lew Pond captain 1 Ronnie Benvenutti 2 Alan Bannister 2 Stan Chelin 3 Tommy Godwin 3 Ronny Fairall 4 Ron Meadwell 4 Jan Huyshamer 5 Dave Ricketts 5 C Ginger Olivier 6 Ian Scott 6 Johnny Ramsey 7 Wally Rivers 8 Eddie Scholtz Quite why the South African team had eight members while the British team had only six remains a mystery The eight members of the South African team with officials Hometown boy Ginger Scholtz from Kimberley was in the SA team Alan Bannister Lew Pond Alan Bannister Ronny Meadwell The 1948 South Africa versus Great Britain track international omnium The 1948 Kimberley track international took the form of an omnium Track omniums involve a series of events with points being awarded in each These points are accumulated as the meeting progresses and the individual or team with the best final points score is declared the overall winner The omnium format was popular at track meetings in Britain during the interwar years with international track contests typically being run on an omnium basis Thus the 1948 British touring team would have been entirely familiar with the principles of an omnium contest Likewise for the South African team since from the late 19th century onwards competitive track cycling in South Africa had mirrored British style cycle sport The events in the 1948 international omnium The Kimberley omnium consisted of the following events Quarter mile 440 yards One mile scratch 1 000 metres scratch 1 000 metres Individual TT 4 000 metres team pursuit Five mile These events would also have been familiar to all the members of both teams They were all SAAA CA

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  • South Africa track racing 1952
    the sport nationally Administratively the Johannesburg region had set a precedent by breaking away from organised athletics and establishing the Southern Transvaal Amateur Cycling Union STACU This was ultimately to lead to the establishment of the South African Cycling Federation SACF in the mid 1950s It was the SACF which was to come into conflict with the world governing body the UCI in the 1970s over racial discrimination in the sport It resulted in South African cycling s suspension by the UCI and this remained in force until the ending of apartheid in the early 1990s The racing on the 1952 British track team tour Soon after their arrival in Cape Town the British team of amateur cyclists were out on the new Green Point Track for a limb loosener and then five of the six left by road to cycle the 36 miles to Paarl for their opening match against the Western Province Lloyd Binch their crack sprinter was the only member of the team to travel by car to Paarl The South African Cyclist February 1952 In the same issue of the magazine the inaugural Paarl meeting was reported under the headline British Cyclists Overwhelm Western Province The British riders won every one of their six events quarter mile one mile 1000m individual time trial 4000m team pursuit and ten mile It was to become a familiar pattern echoing the achievements of the 1948 team THE BRITISH PURSUIT TEAM IN ACTION W Box leading D Burgess K Mitchell and A Geldard Winners in match against Western Province 5 minutes 22 5 seconds THE WESTERN PROVINCE PURSUIT TEAM Gelderbloom top of banking Rivers Laubscher and Otto GODWIN LEADING THE BUNCH IN THE 10 MILE Followed by Lausbacher Otto Burgess and Mitchell with glasses Paarl 19 January Left to Right BURGESS 2nd GODWIN 1st and LAUBSCHER 3rd Finish of the 10 mile at the opening of the Btitish Tour at Paarl 19 January The team later competed against a Southern Rhodesia team in Bulawayo 2000 kilometres distant from Cape Town The SA Cyclist headline read Two Rhodesian Records Broken by British Team Another Grand Slam Tommy Godwin set a new Rhodesian record for the I000m TT of 1 15 2 bettering the old record of 1 15 5 In the 4000m team pursuit the combination of Godwin Box Burgess and Mitchell recorded a new best time of 5 8 2 However after returning to South Africa the team began to encounter stiffer opposition In Port Elizabeth on the South African east coast the tourists were challenged by an Eastern Province selection Binch won the match sprint event Mitchell the 4000m individual pursuit and Britain the 4000m team pursuit The big upset came in the prestigious one mile race where the local junior Abe Jonker won in a fast time of 2 25 7 with Burgess second and Geldard third The headlines in the SA Cyclist read Eastern Province Cyclist scores First Win against British Cyclists The scene was set for

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  • 1948 World Championships Amsterdam
    French amateur sprinter was defeated by Harris in the 1947 quarter final of the match sprint world title race in Paris At the 1948 Olympics in the tandem event the team of Harris and Bannister beat the French pairing of Faye and Dron in the semi final on their way to the final in which they won the silver medal Faye and Dron took the bronze medal The gold went to Teruzzi and Peroni of Italy Image 8 Axel Schandorff Denmark The top Danish amateur match sprinter Schandorff was beaten by Harris in the semi final of the 1947 world amateur match sprint in Paris on his way to his first world title At the 1948 Olympics Schandorff then aged 22 finished third in the match sprint behind Ghella and Harris He also contested the 1948 Olympic 1000 metres individual TT title finishing fifth in 1 min 15 5 secs behind the winner Jacques Dupont Fr whose time was 1min 13 5 secs Tommy Godwin of Britain was third in 1 min 15 0 secs with Pierre Nihant of Belgium second in 1 min 14 5 secs Image 9 Ghella and Bevilacqua Antonio Toni Bevilacqua Italy finished third in the 1948 5000m pro pursuit championship behind the winner Schulte Hol and Coppi Image 10 Bontekoe and Ghella Gerrit Bontekoe Nederlands leads Mario Ghella in a round of the amateur sprint Bontekoe was an 8 times national champion participated in three worlds and the 1948 London Olympics This information is supplied courtesy of Marten Gerritsen from the Netherlands Image 11 Motor paced equipment This image is untitled but clearly is of a pacing motorcycle and demi fond bicycle with reverse forks and small front wheel It would have been used in the professional event Three notable points to emerge from these images are The marked absence of spectators on the stadium s tribunes in the background of most of the images This is in contrast to the large crowds that thronged Herne Hill for the cycling events at the London Olympics For the riders involved in both Amsterdam must have been an anticlimax even if the evening semi finals and finals attracted more spectators It casts doubt on the organisational ability of the UCI at the time Subsequent UCI world track championships at Leicester UK in 1970 and Liege Belgium in 1975 were similarly poorly attended suggesting a persistent failure of the UCI to address this issue The varied modes of dress of the competitors Ghella wears a modern close fitting track suit emblazoned with the word Italia Harris wears a dressing gown which was the typical dress code of pre WWII British trackmen Van Vliet and Scharndorff both favour baggy track suit bottoms Faye and Voorting sport elegant long trousers and Hijzelendoorn wears plus fours This lack of uniformity points to the absence of a common international cycling dress culture at the time That it was the amateur match sprinters who were Arthur Rice s main focus of attention at these championships The 1948 UCI world amateur match sprint championship Having thus identified the dramatis personae in these images as being involved primarily in the amateur sprint event how then did matters play themselves out on the track between these different national representatives In his autobiography the defending world champion Reg Harris describes these from his point of view as follows The 1948 world championships were held in Amsterdam only about a fortnight after the Olympics As my body was still in pretty poor shape from the various batterings it had suffered I was scarcely looking forward to the prospect of trying to defend my title I no longer felt much pain but I knew that my stamina was at a far lower level than usual and so the news I received on arriving in Amsterdam came as a bitter blow The U C I had decided that all the amateur sprint races must be condensed from two days into one The only way in which this could be done was to have races going on from early in the morning until late at night and nothing could have been more disastrous for me than that On the day I found that I was getting on quite well at first but by the time I reached the semi finals I had done a lot of racing and I knew my reserves of energy were by no means unlimited I was up against the wiley sic Schandorff and his was a name that never caused me to lose any sleep But at that moment I really felt that the thing I needed most of all in the world was a good sleep and since I could not have one I was in trouble Despite this pessimism I defeated Schandorff in the first round of the semi finals which boosted my morale But when I wanted to use maximum effort in the second round the strength just was not there and I lost I gave the decider everything I had got with the result that it was declared a photo finish When the photograph was quickly examined it was discovered that the light had been so bad that it was impossible to tell from it who had won The judges only course of action was to call it a dead heat and call for another decider to be run I knew that I could not find the necessary strength to put up a good performance again and I suppose I was quite lucky that I only lost by half a wheel The final result of that year s championship was that Ghella won the title with Schandorff second myself third and Bannister in fourth place I returned to England feeling utterly miserable I really expected my luck to change for the better at this point Reg Harris Two Wheels to the Top 1976 76 77 Thus Mario Ghella emerged as clearly the dominant international amateur sprinter of 1948 winning both the Olympic

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  • Aerodynamics in cycling
    Belgian maestro Eddy Merckx also in Mexico City But whereas Merckx had done so on what was to all intents and purposes a conventional track machine of his era Moser s record breaking steed was revolutionary in several respects Its novelty lay primarily in both its wheels and frame Using a large back wheel and a smaller front wheel the frame while employing conventional steel tubing was variously curved to accommodate the different wheel sizes and simultaneously give the rider a lower frontal area Complementing this both wheels were of solid composite construction devoid of spokes and were termed lenticular due to their biconvex lens like profiles Their successors are now generically termed either disc or aero wheels and generally have thin flat profiles Clearly in his preparations for attacking Merckx s record Moser exhibited outside the box thinking in the form of extreme aero consciousness While it attracted less attention than his machine this extended to his apparel which included close fitting shirt and shorts as well as aero headgear and oversocks Moser s record breaking achievement was widely publicised at the time not least for its revolutionary aerodynamic dimension Greg LeMond s defeat of the taciturn French maillot jaune Laurent Fignon in the Paris time trial stage on the last day of the 1989 Tour de France was witnessed globally by millions on live TV 1 LeMond s stage win gave him a stunning overall race victory by 8 seconds But whereas race leader Fignon was mounted on a conventional TT machine of the period with a sweatband encircling his pony tailed head and a pair of granny glasses the innovative LeMond raced on a low profile machine equipped with a rear disc wheel but conventionally spoked front distinctive aero tribars a smooth hardshell helmet skinsuit and curved sunglasses The then controversial narrow aero bars gave LeMond a position on his machine akin to the tuck position of downhill skiers from whom it was ultimately derived whereas Fignon s wide bullhorn bars rendered him virtually a drogue parachute on his Fignon nevertheless finished third in this TT only 58 seconds behind LeMond whose winning speed was a very rapid 54 5 kph for the 24 5 Km course a faster average speed than Moser s 1984 hour record LeMond s Tour triumph served as a decisive further stimulus to the aerodynamic revolution in modern competitive cycling triggered by Moser s hour record earlier in the decade But that other competitive cyclists before Moser and Lemond had flirted with aerodynamics is demonstrated by a report tucked away in a 1958 issue of Sporting Cyclist magazine and kindly forwarded to me recently by Classic Lightweights webmaster Peter Underwood The main photograph in the SC report is of the South African track pursuiter Abe Jonker taken at the Maindy stadium in Cardiff Wales on the occasion of the 1958 Commonwealth Games What its caption draws attention to is Jonker s track crash hat While of the traditional hairnet or Danish variety consisting of narrow padded strips it had been modified by being covered with what the report terms adhesive transparent plastic thereby rendering it more aerodynamic The accompanying article notes that Jonker s team mate Jan Hettema used a similarly modified crash hat in the 1000 metres TT Jonker employed his to compete in the Games 4000 metres individual pursuit event It is further noted that Jonker had assisted his English opponents in the pursuit to similarly streamline their crash hats 2 Unfortunately the English duo responded by duly eliminating the South African from the pursuit with one Norman Sheil winning gold and the other Tom Simpson taking silver in the event But it is clear from the SC article that the Jonker Hettema innovation was not entirely original for as it observes with quaint hyperbole quite a few of the spectators at Maindy were a little shaken at seeing the Hettema Jonker style in streamline headwear It was the first time I had seen a Rivière pattern plastic covered crash hat The allusion here is to the French rider Roger Rivière who had successfully broken his own hour record on Milan s Vigorelli track in 1958 As the French journalist Pierre Chany reported Rivière rode wearing a helmet covered in nylon varnished shoes and a world championship jersey made of silk At the time Rivière was the reigning world 5000 metres professional pursuit champion a title he had held since 1956 In 1957 he had set the hour record at 46 923 Km also at the Vigorelli beating the previous record held by Italian Ercole Baldini 46 394 Km set in 1956 In 1958 using his aero apparel he increased this to 47 431 Km The widespread publicity accorded Rivière s achievement in the cycling press of the day was undoubtedly what inspired the South African duo to emulate his aero headgear at the Commonwealth Games However there is no evidence to suggest that the Rivière Jonker Hettema aero crash hat innovation caught on subsequently 3 For instance photographic images from the 1970s of the likes of Dutchman Roy Schuiten winning the world pursuit championship and of Eddy Merckx setting his hour record show them as wearing conventional unmodified Danish type crash hats John Gray s Gios Pink Peril an example of the first leap forward in time trial bike development in that it has a steel frame with aero bars but the gear levers are still on the down tube i e before bar end levers and split aero bars The wheels are early deep section alloy versions of the aerodynamic trend However if these 1950s aero innovations had little lasting impact developments some twenty years earlier in the 1930s certainly did albeit in a direction which was ultimately to place them outside the mainstream of competitive cycling The early 1930s saw the introduction of both recumbent and streamlined upright machines in an attempt to break the hour record which had been on the shelf for nearly twenty years

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  • Specialised Cycling Clubs from the classic era
    to Maidstone by bike Silver trays were easy but china teasets posed a problem Clubruns are still held on Saturdays and Sundays with up to 100 riders of various levels in 7 groups on a Saturday During the 1960s and 70s the clubroom was the cellar of Nora and Pete 100 this year Avis and the club continues to meet every Tuesday night Time trialling has always been strong especially in the Kent C A Ladies and Mens Championships Roy Manser finished 6th and 13th in the BBAR in the 60s and jointly held the national 10 mile tandem record Carole Gandy was Womans BBAR won the national 100 mile championship and holds several joint tandem records with Geoff Hodgson Ian Silvester won the national 12 hour championships promoted by the Fairies and Roly Crayford has 3 golds in the Worlds Masters track championships Promising youngsters are junior MTB champion Katherine Hibberd and roadman Ian Field However despite racing successes and being the biggest club in Kent with 400 members including members now living in the Midlands the Fairies are still a community club promoting many events in all disciplines including the annual Maidstone Fun Bike Day Easyrider runs for novices and Go Ride sessions for children as young as 5 In 2007 the visit of the Tour de France to Kent saw the Fairies involved with the media in promoting the event and cycling One stalwart who deserves mention is Pat Hill who regularly produces a monthly magazine The Milestone which would be the envy of most clubs The Fairies are 90 in March 2012 and with a dedicated band of club officials and a thriving membership a further 90 years are confidently predicted Mike Baker Bromsgrove Jan 2011 With permission to use material and images from S F A C C Spartacus CC was another specialist club this time for card holding members of the Communist Party Spartacus led the slaves revolt in Roman times The March 1936 newsletter describes a schism within the club at the AGM where the Eastern Section defected en masse to the Clarion which was another left leaning club but not quite as far to the left as the Spartacus would have been It also has an interesting extract from The Bicycle Ed 2 stating That the acute shortage in 531 tubing now being felt by small makers and their customers is entirely due to the abnormal demands made on the manufacturers by this government s new Air Building programme The communists at this time were advocating a pacifist agenda Left March 1936 Newsletter cover The inside sheets were typed duplicated and stapled inside this thicker printed cover hence no date on the cover as they would have held a reasonable stock to cover many issues The design was quite modern and stylish for its day and reminiscent of Russian typography of that time See below for image of Mick Butler s Spartacus CC badge St Christopher and other religious cycling clubs were formed through churches for members of the Catholic faith although the few that survive now allow members of all faiths to join them Surviving clubs include Glasgow St Christopher s which recently celebrated 75 years since its formation in 1935 Leeds St Christophers CC formed in 1938 and Manchester St Christopher s Catholic Cycling Club Enquiries about anothers matter brought up St Michael All Angels Cycling Cub attached to an Anglican church in Walthamstow St George s Gravesend Cycle Club affiliated to St George s Parish Church Gravesend Church of England early 1900 s the club held dances whist drives and concerts in the nearby Church House They also held outdoor cycle gymkhanas at Southfleet where the prizes given by church and club members were presented by the curate Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club The Vegetarian Cycling Athletic Club can trace its origins back to 1887 the year of Queen Victoria s Golden Jubilee In September of that year Leslie Large of Lewisham an enthusiastic worker in the Vegetarian movement and a keen cyclist placed notices in a number of periodicals inviting other Vegetarian cyclists to contact him with a view to forming a Vegetarian Cyclists Club Their objective was to provide a means of contact between Vegetarian cycling enthusiasts and to seek to prove by the yardstick of athletic competition that Vegetarians could easily hold their own against their meat eating counterparts Throughout the Spring and Summer of 1888 a series of club runs and social events were held and the membership built up steadily until over 100 names were on the roll The first formal meeting was held on October 9th 1888 at the Central Vegetarian Restaurant St Bride Street London and this was followed by a meeting on February 9th 1889 at the Appletree Vegetarian Restaurant 34 London Wall when Leslie Large was elected as the first Secretary and Arnold F Hills a wealthy industrialist became the first President The name of the Club was confirmed as the Vegetarian Cycling Club Reports from those early days are few but it is evident that VCC racing cyclists performed competently if not outstandingly Henry Light a founder member who was elected Captain in 1890 soon became the main driving force behind the Club and under his direction standards of performance of the VCC men improved steadily 1896 saw the VCC achieve its first outstanding success when Jim Parsley of Peckham won the prestigious Catford Hill Climb the country s top event in record time The VCC were cock a hoop at this major breakthrough and held a dinner in Parsley s honour In 1896 the green and gold triangular badge was introduced Sadly the same year Leslie Large while on a visit to Edinburgh died of diptheria just as his dreams were becoming a reality In the mid to late 1890 s the VCC cyclists really began to make their mark on both road and path The riders such as the Nickel brothers Wherlow Sharp Bryning Wyatt Parker Walker Newman and the Pfleiderer family achieved performances well beyond previous Club standards In the early years of this century the club went from strength to strength and was well organised socially The club won several best attendance awards at Cyclists Rallies a flourishing ladies branch started its own active programme Cyclist s such as Ragan Ratcliffe Newman Agnew Paul Newall Pulman Beurle Pearce Gibben Heath Carpender Jarratt and Briault ensured that the Club s name figured prominently in the results list whilst up in Scotland the redoubtable Jock Miller rallied his Vegetarian cronies to form an active Scottish branch As a result of the increase in athletic activities the Club s name was changed in 1909 to the Vegetarian Cycling Athletic Club In 1910 its cyclists adopted the white sleeve stripe to facilitate identification for feeding purposes The 1912 Olympic Road Race held at Stockholm saw six Club members selected as representatives three in the English team two in the Scottish and one in the Irish With the outbreak of the War in 1914 virtually every able bodied man was either coerced or conscripted to serve King and Country The Club was kept going on a social basis throughout the war years but no athletic activities were carried out Following the armistice in 1918 the Club was slow to get into its stride again Charlie Davy carried the Vegetarian flag virtually alone winning events and breaking records and was selected twice as a World Championship representative Davey turned professional in 1923 and broke several RRA records but his main goal Land s End to John O Groats eluded him beaten by adverse weather conditions In later years Charlie became much valued as manager and mentor to a number of successful professional and amateur riders when his experience was put to good use By the late 20 s the Club had quite a few promising racing cyclists coming along Charlie Marshall H T G Page Len Cave Harry and Sid Ferris Ted and Bert Brumell George Philips Alf Oxbrow and Sid Eaden were all capable of national performances Marshall Cave the Ferris s Philips and Oxbrow all held RRA records at one time Bill Ellis and E J Doubleday dominated the 24 hour scene In 1930 the magazine Cycling introduced the Best All Rounder competition based on the performances at 50 miles 100 miles and 12 hours which was to give road sport a tremendous boost It was fortuitous that the VC AC had at that time half a dozen of the best riders in the country at its disposal The club won the Best All Rounder Shield in 1930 31 and 32 and the club s name was rarely out of the prize list in all the major events The impact of these successes on the cycling world was tremendous and new members entered its ranks in a steady stream Branches were formed in Lancashire Yorkshire the Midlands and later in Scotland Sid Ferris after an outstanding career as an amateur during which he won the classic North Road 24 three times turned professional in 1936 and in 1937 and 1938 broke a number of RRA records including the Edinburgh to London the Land s End to John O Groats and the 1 000 miles Sid also gained the 24 hour record with 465 75 miles Pearl Wellington that diminutive powerhouse saw to it that the fair sex were not kept out of the picture and took track racing time trialling and record breaking in her stride She broke 5 WRRA records between 1935 and 1938 Walter Greaves a one armed member of the Yorkshire Branch set up a year s mileage record of 45 385 75 miles and Law Innes and Bill Thompson also of the Yorkshire Branch broke a number of tandem RRA records culminating in the Land s End to John O Groats in 1938 The 1930s can truly be said to have been the Vegetarian C A C s heyday They dominated the Cycling scene in virtually every sphere We were particularly prominent in the 12 hour 24 hour events and one correspondent felt compelled to write to the Cycling press suggesting that Vegetarians should be banned from long distance events since their diet gave them an unfair advantage The clouds of World War II gathered and riders like Henry Pickersgill Frank Hill George Logan Harry Rosenberg Arthur Laston Ted Valey Geoff Guy Paul Rohr Eric Wilkinson and B F C Gough ensured that the Club s name was rarely out of the headlines The end of the war in 1945 found the club in a debilitated condition It had no top rider and no one of the calibre of Henry Light to stir the club into action Around this time the club was dealt a severe blow when the RTTC felt compelled to impose the first claim only in open events rule Second claim members could prior to this have ridden in the club s name but were now no longer allowed to do so Things were at a low ebb until 1947 when Dave Keeler made his debut and the club had a new superstar During that year Dave quickly established himself as a top short distance rider and in a brilliant 20 year career he developed into one of the greatest all rounders taking titles from 4 000 metres on the track to the End to End record Subsequently no one has matched Keeler s efforts though Malcolm Amey produced many superb performances in the 1960 s and took a top BBAR position Graham West a second claim member was National 50 mile Champion and like Amey finished in the top 10 of the BBAR Competition Graham currently holds all thecClub single bicycle records with the exception of Keeler s 24 hour record which came so near to being the first ever over 500 miles Tom Smith was another rider to achieve a top 10 BBAR placing The club organised annual open time trials in the 1990s thanks to Steve Oxbrow and later Nick Guy Nick himself was very competitive alongwith Tim Holmes Phil Packwood and later Steve Wigglesworth Steve in particular led the way into the millennium with some winning performances in local events for the Club and not far behind was Matthew Smith Steve Nick also combined in the tandem with notable success Similarly Steve and Emma Smith were successful as a mixed tandem team Chris Stuttard was a competitive performer on the track and road racing Compiled by P Simpson of the V C A C John Gills and David Hibberd of the Veteran Cycle Club researched this list of cycling clubs with political religious or trade connections from the Cycling Manual 1933 It does show the depth and variety of clubs formed in these inter war years it includes religious political and temperance societies of all persuasions as well as work related clubs and one or two esoteric gatherings Aero Lady back Tandem Club London SE4 Pre WWI there existed a Southern Ladyback Tandem CC in the same area Presumably Aero was added later Alfred Herbert CC Coventry works club Bedford Wesley Guild CC Manchester Benwell Temperance CC Newcastle Burnley United Temperance CC Cestrian Imperial Ramblers CC Durham As Cestrian means from Chester this club was presumably for exiles of that city Darnell Three in Hand CC Sheffield East Wolverhampton Div Labour Party League of Youth CC Contender for longest club name Essex Primrose CC London E6 Conservatives see above Primrose League Cycling Corps Glasgow Corporation Transport CC Liverpool Municipal Technical Students Assoc CC London General Omnibus Co CC London SW19 Metropolitan Railway CC London EC2 Pelsall Brotherhood CC Staffs Railway Clearing House CC London NW1 Salford Police Fire Brigade Ath Assoc Shelton Iron Steel Co Welfare Society CC Birmingham Small Heath Weslyan CC Birmingham Somercotes Rogues CC Derby Stepney Templars CC London E2 Terpsichorean Wheelers Rotherham This relates to dancing Many thanks to John and David for this fascinating snapshot of the Thirties cycling scene Gallery of badges from speciality clubs Supplied by Mick Butler Manchester Working Men s Cycle Club Church of England Cycling Club Kodak films and cameras CC Spatacus CC British Workers Sports Federation Vegetarian Cycling Athletic Club lapel badge Bournville Works C C Also from Mick regarding speciality cycling clubs Here are just a few from the classic era post 1936 through to the 1960 s Aerodyne Cycling Social Club Aerodyne manufactured wirelesses in Tottenham North London until the 1960 s They mostly rode GA bikes and George Brooks made a good living from the wireless works when he was shop manager at GA s Civil Service Cycling Club Easington Colliery Unity Wheelers Liverpool Co Operative Society C C There were also Masonic Cycling clubs Manchester Liverpool and Paisley being three that I have seen badges for Norwood Paragon started life as the Norwood Postal CC in 1904 I did have an original badge but I sold it not so long ago There was a F Grubb C C in the 1920 s The General Strike of 1926 started when printers on the Daily Mail refused to print an article condemning the striking miners Most of the chapel members had been out on a cycling club run before going into work that night not sure but it might have been the Daily Mail Cycling Club Other clubs include Cycling Templars Club Michael Townsend writes This was founded in the 1938 season as a club affiliated to the International Order of Good Templars The Good Templars was and indeed still is a movement founded initially in the USA but now based in Sweden to promote Temperance The cycling club may well have operated rather like the Clarions on a regional basis You already have reference to the Stepney Templars CC above The article from The Cyclist 10 May 1939 edition says The Cycling Templars Club which was formed last season has started this season with success in Liverpool The International Order of Good Templars with which it is associated will welcome any cyclist who is interested in our cause Further details from G A V Phillips 35 Hudleston Road Liverpool 15 Domestic Cycling Club Because she felt lonely and found it difficult to make friends a servant girl decided to take up cycling She got into touch with other girls who also felt lonely through The Cyclist and so the Domestic Cycling Club has now come into being The club now has members all over the country possesses an album containing photographs of every member and runs its own club magazine The young girl s name is Miss M Leigh of Shoppenhangers Manor Maidenhead and she is the secretary of the club Spotted in The Cyclist 26 April 1939 by Michael Townsend who thinks that the club may have been short lived as many serving girls would have switched to munitions or the services shortly after the outbreak of war for probably double the wages they received in service Ericsson Wheelers Ericssons were an electronics company based in Nottingham and became absorbed eventually into one of the multi national conglomerates Ray Booty he of first to beat 4 hours for 100 mile time trial fame worked for Ericsson and rode for the Wheelers He went on to ride for the Army C U when he was conscripted in the 1950 s Gaiety Cycling Club Mick Butler This club was most certainly in existence in 1887 and was still going strong in 1902 Now most of us have heard of the Gaiety Girls and the Stage Door Johnnies who pursued them around London in this period but how many of us have ever heard of the Gaiety Cycling Club This club was formed of members of staff from the Gaiety Theatre The Gaiety was located at Aldwych at the eastern end of The Strand in London Amongst its membership was Gertie Miller later the Countess of Dudley and Edmund Payne the famous comedian but the clubs

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  • Speed technology
    and retrospectively discounting all hour records including Moser s set subsequently by riders using aero machines If nothing else this action by the UCI served to officially confirm the by then widespread suspicion in cycling circles that the aerodynamic rider machine combination inevitably produces greater speed for the same or even lesser amounts of effort However this increasingly popular notion is really something of an oversimplification Rather improved aerodynamics allows a rider to achieve a sustainable higher speed if but only if higher gears are used in concert with both cadences and power outputs physical efforts similar to those of comparable non aero riders In short the aerodynamic formula for increasing one s cycling speed is more complex than it may at first appear and can be stated thus Improved Aerodynamics Higher Gears Similar Cadence Pedal rpm Similar Power Output Higher Sustainable Speed Nowhere is this better suggested than by the details of the world individual unpaced hour records set by successive record holders some aerodynamic and some not over the course of the 20th century see Table 1 Table 1 Details of Selected World Hour Records 1914 2005 Year Rider Gearing Inches Cadence RPM Distance Kilos Distance Miles 1914 Egg Oscar 92 5 102 1 44 247 27 4 1942 Coppi Fausto 93 6 103 3 45 848 28 4 1956 Anquetil Jaques 93 6 104 0 46 159 28 6 1958 Riviere Roger 95 4 104 7 47 346 29 3 1972 Mercx Eddie 100 3 103 8 49 431 30 6 1984 Moser Francesco 104 0 103 0 51 151 31 8 1993 Obree Graham 117 0 92 9 51 596 32 0 1993 Boardman Chris 110 0 100 1 52 270 32 4 1994 Obree Graham 117 0 94 9 52 713 32 7 1994 Indurain Miguel 112 1 99 7 53 040 32 9 1996 Boardman Chris 116 3 104 1 56 375 35 0 Aero records Source http www bikecult com bikecultbook sports recordsHour html Accessed 15 May 2011 As Table 1 shows the cadences pedal rpms in the record rides range across a fairly narrow band throughout The outliers are 92 9 rpm slow pedalling Obree 1993 and 104 7 fast pedalling Riviere 1958 the average for all riders being 101 6 rpm Furthermore over the entire period cadences exhibit no distinct trend towards becoming either significantly higher or lower In marked contrast gear ratios generally increased up until 1996 Moreover the most significant gearing increases occurred during the post Merckx aero era with Moser the lowest geared 104 0 and Obree the highest geared 117 during this period However amongst the aeromen Obree remains by far the slowest pedaller 92 9 rpm in 1993 while using the highest gear 117 In contrast in1996 Boardman succeeded in increasing both his gearing to 116 3 and his rpm to 104 1 from his 1993 record ride when these were110 0 and 100 1rpm respectively This could well be due to better aerodynamics In the

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  • Classic lightweights photo gallery 2
    Dayton Cycles in 1951 He is Riding a Dayton Elite with sprints on Airlite hubs Simplex gears and Universal brakes Another image of K D Tubby this time at Norwich ABC hillclimb at Ringland hills in October 1952 on Billy Rix s Gillott track bike without brakes Billy went on to win the event Note the clothing of the spectators who would have ridden to the event some quite a distance probably as a club run The chap in the middle would have been d rummed out from a Lightweight Group Ride as he is wearing jeans Another image of Ken Hogg stoking the tandem at speed in a time trial Ken explained that he was wearing football shorts and PE shirt being an apprentice he wasn t able to afford proper cycling gear at that time Peter Underwood and Dickie Lines 1949 King s Lynn CC posing before riding a 12 hour the next day Peter has a new Claud Butler and Colin an Evelyn Hamilton Both on fixed gear about 79 ready for the event A typical pre war image note the black Alpaca Jackets Three from the Charlotteville CC at the finish of the Dragon RC 25 in 1940 left to right George Nightingale won it in 1 1 34 Freddie Wallman and Vic Jenner These three won the team prize for Charlotteville Machine is believed to be George s Baldock Information from Les Bowerman Image from AVT Tommy Godwin at speed in the World Championships held in Paris 1947 riding a one off frame built specially for him by Billy Gameson In 1948 Godwin rode a BSA he built himself at the BSA works Laurie Weeks Image from AVT K D Tubby Norwich ABC with his 1947 8 Paris Tour de France after winning the Wixey

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