Thursday, 7 February 2013

Isle Of Wight Cycling Weekend

This is the time of year when we look forward to the weather improving. In my youth this time of year also meant getting ready for the Easter Weekend.

The Isle of Wight Easter was always a big part of my cycling calendar We either set out after work on the Thursday night or sometimes leave directly after the Good Friday Track Meeting.

Our club always stayed in a small family hotel in Sandown, it was just known to us as Mrs Blacketts. Old Charlie (the club President who must have been all of Forty years old) would have been collecting our cash weekly starting after Christmas in order to make a block booking. We took over all the rooms along with the Watford Road Club in what was really quite a respectable Bed and Breakfast establishment.

Club group outside "Mrs Blacketts"

Most rode at least one time trial (promoted by the Vectis C.C.) and one road race but the main object of the weekend was the social scene. This included having informal Club Dinners in a local restaurant/cafe and the Saturday night dance at the Atlantic Ballroom.

The dance usually ended up as an almighty "knees-up". On one occasion the knees-up got slightly out of hand and the proprietors started to get a bit panicky (probably thinking that the building would collapse) and after a great effort managed to quieten the possibly tipsy mob by asking for a volunteer to go onto the stage to lead a sing song. I was on the stage in a flash but to the horror of the management I led the whole audience in a stirring version of "Knees Up Mother Brown". I was bundled off the stage but it took a long time for the building to stop shaking such was the enthusiasm of the dancers.

There were many other memorable events like the spontaneous show we did out of a bus shelter on the sea front, the boat race we had on the mini golf course and the infamous Inter club Knicker Bocker Glory Ice Cream Race. I could explain the details of this last event but It might make you nauseous.

Golf corse boat race

Looking back it seems that the Weekend was all about having a good time with very good friends and acquaintances.