Friday, 30 November 2012

More Garage Shots: Retired Cyclist

'Borrowed' from the side of the road at the women's Tour of the EU

'Borrowed' from the side of the road at the Tour De France one year

Every cycling garage needs a few of these.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

What's in a name? (and other RTTC related business)

One of the more obvious changes that have occurred in British cycling in the last 50 years is in the style of the names of the clubs appearing on start and result sheets.

Please note this document is Private and Confidential. Love Yellow

In the fifties it was nearly always clear from the name of his club of the area or district  where any rider came from, e.g. Notts Wheelers, Barnet C.C., North Lancs. Wheelers, Norwich Amateur B.C. and so on.

There were of course the few exceptions like 34 Nomads, San Fairy Ann C.C. but as the 1959 RTTC Men’s Twenty Five Miles National Championship result shows these were a very small minority  

A few famous names from many parts of the Country. Love Yellow

It was always interesting to look at a result sheet and see which areas of the country were producing the best riders.

Having reached the stage when I no longer get start or result sheets, (because I no longer  enter events) I can only suppose from looking at the few results published in the Cycling Weekly that either all riders are now professional or choose only to ride for clubs with exotic names like Kinesis Morvelo Project, Scott-Contessa-Epic, or Biketreks RT. These club or team names give no indication of the area from which they attract their members.

Has anyone any thoughts on how this lack of local attachment has affected club loyalty and pride?

The above event was in the days before we had access to motorised transport so the day before the event my team mates I rode most of the way to Thrapston and after the event we arranged to meet up with about 20 to 25 other London clubmen, including Ken Craven and the other Crescent Wheelers,  Roy Savery  and Roger Wilkins of the Gravesend C.C. to ride  the 90 odd miles back down the A.1 Trunk road to London.

The group set out with bikes loaded with saddlebags and carrying racing wheels and despite being loaded up were soon exceeding 20 m.p.h.   After about an hour of purgatory we decided enough was enough so we said goodbye, turned off and went to Cambridge where we had a pleasant day out on the river before proceeding home by train.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Garage Shots: Retired Cyclist

Garage Shots: 'the odd sprocket' Copyright Love Yellow 2012

That spider's seen better days...

Garage Shots: 'Campag hubs' Copyright Love Yellow 2012

Can't beat Campag quality… an old'n but good'n

Monday, 19 November 2012

Guess What This Cycling Item Is?

Clue: Generates a lot of static

Clue: Static electricity.

The Answer:   TAT

Of course they were state of the art rollers in their day but now have lost their sheen and gained a few paint streaks. Shown here in all their retired glory at the back of Eltham John's garage.

Rollers (not the sort for your hair)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Grass Roots Racing: John Clarey - Tour De France Rider

On looking through some old photos of grass track racing at Avery Hill Park, I spotted a future Tour de France rider.

Grass track  - Devil take the hindmost - Avery Hill Park

He is not easy to spot as he is near the rear of the bunch. This was not unusual as he had very early in his career developed the annoying habit of making his way to the front only when the finish line appeared.

To make him easier to spot here is another pic of a young John Clarey picking up his first place prize at the Eltham Paragon Road Race that was held on the tough North Downs circuit in Kent.

Prize Presentation by Eltham Paragon club president Charlie Almond 

In the background on the left is Sid Phillips of the Kent Road Club another prizewinner and who was, I believe an early inspiration in Mick Ballard’s development as a prolific short distance time trial winner. This event was filmed the the Eltham Amateur Film Society but unfortunately I have been unable to trace any copies of the film.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

More Memorable Racing Digs

In the same year that our Farnham adventure occurred we made several trips to the South Coast to ride courses in Sussex and Hampshire. One such place that we booked through our tried and trusted NCU Handbook in Bognor turned out to be rooms above a Funeral Parlour. This gave us another uneasy nights sleep and in fact in the morning we all overslept and missed the intended event.

Cycling digs in Christchurch - Eltham 'Paragon' John

The above picture is one of the better addresses we stayed at. It was in Christchurch and belonged to a retired actress. The place was full of the ladies stage costumes and great fun was had with the various outfits. I suppose you could say that this was our first contact with a “Dragstrip’. The ghostly figures at the upstairs window are my Eltham Paragon Colleagues.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Exciting Cycling Photography: That's a Nice Telegraph Pole

Exciting race photography - racing in Yorkshire

It has to be said that is a fabulous example of a bollard and telegraph pole. The Telegraph Appreciation Society would give it full appreciation. It might be in with a chance of 'telegraph pole of the month'. Further reading The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society

Posted by Love Yellow

Monday, 5 November 2012

Weekends Away… a Cyclist's Tale

In the days when only a few cyclists had the use of motorised transport, in order to ride at least one event a week meant that when any event was more than 30 or more miles away from home we incurred a weekend away.

The way to get “digs” was to refer to either the NCU or CTC handbooks, which listed cheap bed and breakfast establishments. The accommodation (like those used by the entertainment fraternity) ranged from very good to bloody awful, and some just made a long lasting impression.

On one well remembered weekend two Eltham Paragon team mates and myself had ridden a Saturday afternoon track meeting at Herne Hill with the intention of going on to Farnham in Surrey to ride a Sunday morning 25 mile time trial. Our belief was that the speed from the track would still be in our legs for the following time trial.

During the afternoon a friend who belonged to the Sydenham Wheelers decided on the spot that he would come with us. He said that he would have to go home first to pick up a few things but would be back by the time that the track meeting finished.

When he returned we asked what were the things he had gone home for as he had no saddlebag or other visible luggage. He pointed to his cape roll, which was attached to the rear of his saddle, and we saw that he had stuck his toothbrush under the strap so it was obvious that he intended to travel light.

For reasons not now remembered we had not bothered to book any digs thinking that we would find somewhere to stay using our trusted NCU Handbook. Well we quickly exhausted the listed B & B’s, all were full, with not a spare bed between them. However being hungry from out track efforts we thought we would have a meal and look for digs later.

After eating we went along to the local Salvation Hostel but even there we had no luck. The Sally Army man was however very helpful and suggested that the Police station might be able to come up with something. The station sergeant came up trumps and gave us an address which turned out to be a tiny terraced cottage, and the lady said as her son was away for the weekend she had two rooms available.

By now it was getting late so we quickly prepared our bikes for the next days event and then went to the Local pub for a quick pint before turning in. We had about three or four pints and then returned to the digs which were now in complete darkness. There was no one about but we knew which two rooms had be allocated to us so we decided to get off to bed in view of our early morning start

The room that I shared with our Sydenham friend had just one double bed. I was about to drop off to sleep when my companion for the night nudged me and asked if I had seen where the toilet was when we had first arrived. As we had come to the room in total darkness I told him I had no idea. He then climbed out of bed and fished around on the floor emerging in triumph with a large china pot, which he immediately started to use. Once started because of the beer we had consumed we could not stop. To cut a long story short very soon the pot was filled to the brim and we were still in need of its use.

There was only one thing to do we opened the window and emptied the pots contents onto the front garden hoping that no one had seen us and returned to bed stifling our laughter.

Next morning we told my two team mates of our traumatic night and they said that we had been lucky. The room that they occupied belonged to the absent son, and that when they had opened a cupboard in the corner they had been frightened out of their lives when confronted by a full sized skeleton so they had spent the night awake waiting to be attacked by the living dead.

We did in fact find out later that the son was a medical student and as nothing was said about the state of the front garden we assumed that no on had witnessed our late night effort to water the lawn.

The details of the weekend are easily recalled but there is no memory of the actual racing so at this distance I can only imagine that our results were best forgotten.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

My Very Badly Documented Cycling Career: Part 3

Another nondescript photo.

Another gem from my personal cycling archive, these two I’m told are from a road race during the Harrogate cycling week. It’s a technical descent at speed and seems to have induced fear in the photographer, causing them to fire off the shot just 2 or 3 seconds too early. Nice record of street furniture and the telephone system in that part of the country, but as usual absolutely no detail of any riders in particular me. I’m in the picture and can’t even begin to pick myself out.

Now I take this opportunity to up the badness stakes, this is later on in the same race in Yorkshire. A steady climb up through a small town. All the time in the world, no need to panic, just position yourself nicely on the climb, get the bunch in your view finder, pick out your target (me) and snap, easy.
Anticipating some cycling.

But what’s this, not a single rider in sight. There is a motorbike bottom left which may be connected with the race control but no one can be 100% sure. Anyway Yorkshire looks as lovely as ever, might turn to rain later, now rain in Yorkshire that’s something I actually remember.

Posted by Love Yellow