Time trialling in the fifties

A young member of the Northwood WheelersA young member of the Northwood WheelersA young member of the Northwood Wheelers

A young member of the Northwood Wheelers time trialing in the fifties. Note the unusual frame with curved seat tube and very rare rear triangle.

The following was found on the Northwood Wheelers website. To the best of my knowledge there has been no such club for at least twenty five years so presumably the writer is a former member who has published his memoirs under the name of his old club. I believe that in September 1954 the writer would have been aged eighteen or thereabouts so he did a good ride for a youth. Incidentally on the previous Wednesday he rode 153 miles to Brighton and back as “training”. None of this tapering nonsense in 1954! WLCA is short for West London Cycling Association. The less said about the “loan” of the GPO van the better!

Sun Sept 5th 1954, The WLCA 12 hour event on the Bath road

Got out of bed at 2.00 a.m. and left in the van at 2.45 on our way to Theale. [Bob Harvey, who worked for the Post Office, had borrowed a GPO van for the weekend to carry our bikes, and ourselves, to the event. In the wee small hours of the morning, as we drove through Reading, a policeman stopped us – presumably to check – and asked Bob for the van’s registration number. Bob calmly got out and went round to the front of the van to find out …………very suspicious, but we were allowed to continue!].

We got down to the start in safety, and I was off in a damp mist which persisted for the first three hours. It then cleared up and the rest of the day was quite warm and sunny. I averaged ‘evens’ [20 mph] for the first 80 miles and covered the first 100 in about 5 hours 6 minutes. I reached the finishing circuit with about 2¼ hours remaining, and covered another two laps and 4 miles before finally ‘running out’. My total mileage for the 12 hours was about 225 miles 1000 yards, and I think that I just beat Rodney Bridge. If I did, I won the club championship and broke Alan Stratman’s club record! I can’t be sure until the final result. [The official result showed that I covered 225 miles 1661 yards, a new club record].

For more about the Northwood wheelers click here: http://northwoodwheelers.org.uk


  1. Robert Saunders said

    Hi – I just came across this item on your blog. I am responsible for the Northwood Wheelers site (just re-vamped over the Xmas 2008 break). I wasn’t actually born when the club was in its prime – I put the site together on behalf of my father!

    My real life bike club is the North Bucks Road Club (www.northbucksroadclub.org.uk)

    Robert Saunders
    Hi Robert, nice to hear from you. greenjersey is second claim to the Kenton Road Club so he is familiar with many of the roads your Dad pounded in the old days.

  2. Even in those days they had the seat tube curving around the rear wheel.

    is that a cashmere jumper he is wearing to keep the cold out?

    Hi Pocket, good to hear from you again. To me it looks as if the youthful tester is wearing his school rugby jersey. I rode my first events in a white rugby jersey and it was pretty serviceable.

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