End of the road for Kirkby Cycling Club

lyonfrankFrank Lyon who turned pro because he couldn’t make the Kirkby first team. (Frank says that he received an offer that he couldn’t refuse)

greenjersey wouldn’t normally credit Scousers with sensitivity but credit where due they waited until Ken Matthews died before announcing the end of his club.

It is difficult now, after years of decline, to appreciate just how good the Kirkby was. OK they attracted riders from other clubs but so far as I can recall they were all locals. Before they became the Kirkby they were the Melling Wheelers with riders like Joe Maclean and Charlie McCoy who rode the Rome Olympics.

greenjersey hopes to avoid seeing the past through rose-tinted specs but I doubt if we will ever again see such a concentration of talent as there was on Merseyside in the sixties and seventies. One time greenjersey rode an Harry Quinn criterium at Bickerstaffe on a Thursday evening, just a local training race. he was fourteenth and the thirteen in front of him were all current International riders, and some behind as well.

greenjersey isn’t sure the Kirkby CC will be missed, truth be told they were never that popular, but the club certainly deserves to be remembered.



  1. Terry Sudlow said

    would you know the results of the melling wheelers 25 mile time trial for 1950and 1951 thank you
    Sorry Terry, I can’t help you with your query as I don’t have any records before 1958.

  2. Ken Sawyers said

    As a youngster in the 70’s, living inYork and following the Milk Race during school lunch time Kirby CC and their distintive jersey’s to me became synonymous with serious British cycle road racing.

  3. sally said

    Hi do you any record of a melling wheelers member whos surname was rigby? .
    Sorry Sally I can’t help you with your query.

  4. Ed said

    i was a proud memeber of Kirkby CC and I miss riding, trying to start again and seems everyone I new and everything I thought I new has changed, but KCC gave me a place to belong and a past I can be proud of thanks you to all, if any one from KCC remembers me Eddie Nortcliffe, get in touch at email enortcliffe@yahoo.co.uk

  5. Mark Culleton said

    I wasn’t aware that the Kirkby cycling club had ended, this is a shame as I remember my grandfather being a member many years ago. My grandfather was named Leslie Culleton and he was a very active member of the club even into his 70’s. I’ve recently started cycling myself and was looking into what local clubs are active and feel a great sadness that the Kirkby cycling club is no more. Do you have any records involving my late grandfather about his cycling past?
    Sorry that I can’t help, I have no idea what happened to the records of the Kirkby CC. Ken Matthews was “Mr Kirkby” but he died a few years ago. He would, I am sure, have had comprehensive records, surely they weren’t skipped when he died?

  6. My Dad was a member of Kirkby CC, probably in the early-late 60’s & early 70’s if I remember correctly. John R Williams was his name, from Birkenhead, but he lived in Wallasey, would be nice if anyone else remembered him. 🙂

    • Stuart Kirkham said

      I remember John R Williams although I didn’t know him personally. I raced against him in Time Trials in the 1960’s & 1970’s. He was a member of Birkenhead North CC, Kirkby CC and Rockingham Cycling Club, he was older than me, he was about 40 in 1970 when I was 23 (I am now 68) he wasn’t a big guy though he pushed big gears, 60 tooth chainwheel. A popular figure with grey hair on the Time Trialling scene in Merseyside, Cheshire & Staffordshire, in fact he travelled round the country racing mostly short distance Time Trials. There is a picture of him in Cycling Weekly in the summer of 1977 when he recorded a time of 54.13 for a 25, very fast for a 47 year old, will try to dig the magazine out, probably in the loft with in a pile of Cycling magazines! he mentioned he had a shower fitted in his campervan (or similar) so he could shower after a race. I may have spoken and said hi to him once or twice, as I said I didn’t really know John, though I remember him very well.
      Some of the guys in Rockingham Cycling club & Doncaster Wheelers like Mike McNamara & Graham Huck would remember John, you may be able to contact them through their club(s) website.
      Stuart Kirkham. member of Cheshire Roads Club.

  7. Phil Squires said

    I was a ‘social’ member of The Melling Wheelers in the mid – late 50’s before I moved away from Merseyside. Two names ring bells: Anne Simpson and Ian Trainor.(?) I have a couple of amateur photos taken in the club house on Northway, Maghull., if anyone would like copies, we could add a few names to the faces
    I recall going to Bootle Stadium on a number of occasions (three laps to the mile?) and also visiting Fallowfield with other club members to watch Reg Harris’ ‘comeback’!

    • keith rea said

      I remember anne simpson and ian trainor in fact I went touring with ian round England for a fortnight in the late 50s

    • keith rea said

      would like to see the photos
      Hi, Keith, I think the photos are already on my blog in the “Melling Wheelers” post..

  8. PaulineAllen said

    How can I join a cycling club in kirkby

    • Hi Pauline, It is many years since I cycled on Merseyside and I’m not sure where the clubs are based. The Liverpool Century always seemed a friendly kind of club. This is their website. http://www.liverpoolcentury.com/club-night/ Also I know there is circuit racing in Litherland and it may be worth checking it out just to speak to riders about the Liverpool scene (where have I heard that before?) If you are new to cycling you need to find a club that has regular club rides at a pace that suits you. Some clubs are really only racing teams and don’t have much of a club life. Hope it goes well for you, let my readers (all ten of us!) how you get on.

  9. george murphy said

    Prescot Eagle are a club that understands and helps new or inexperienced riders, take a look at them.
    I was a member of Kirkby C.C. in the early 80s, just started riding again this year

  10. I came over to the U.K. from Canada in early 1975. I was introduced to Mr Eddie Soens. Quickly joined the Kirkby and learned how to become a bike racer. Eddie as coach and Ken Matthews in charge of club affairs was ideal. In the end I did learn how to race. I have so many fond memories of long club rides. Some very hard races especially if our lads were in it. And meeting some fantastic people that are still friends.
    Although the club has finished I’ll always be a Kirkby CC rider.

    Gordon Singleton
    Hi Gordon, thanks for the comment. By 1975 I had moved to London so I didn’t have the pleasure of being beaten by you on Kirkby!

  11. Hughesy said

    I remember a Kirkby chain gang including Doug Dailey, Dave Lloyd and Kevin Apter arriving at the Unicorn Cafe one Sunday afternoon in the early ’70’s. It was like the ‘Wild Bunch’ had arrived. I’ll never forget their Harry Quinn’s – I was in awe of them

  12. Russ lw said

    I remember seeing John clewarth and his team mates at the horshoe pass when John won the national hill climb. My friend and I were in awe of their “ten gallon” musettes. Wild bunch indeed

  13. John Kenny said

    I was a junior member of Kirkby CC in the early 60’s. I was probably around 12-14 yrs. As l remember the club it was set up at Kirkby stadium, l lived nearby. The Melling Wheelers amalgamated some time later, not sure on that point.
    I do have fond memories of checking the Saturday Liverpool Echo to check the meeting point for the Sunday run usually at the Pier Head for the ferry then a run around North Wales.
    I can recall being on training runs with Doug Daily and Ken Matthews. I also entered several 10 mile TT’s that started at the Scotch Piper pub in Maghull, and a few races around Wavetree Park.
    I left the club to concentrate on my O levels, then left Kirkby.
    I still cycle although l live overseas and have done for many years. I sometimes look at my current bike, carbon, Di2, and so on and compare it to my first bike a Jim Soens that my dad bought me from his shop in Lower Breck Rd, it has chrome half way up the front forks and rear triangle, in those days there were a few riders who had fully chrome plated frames, wonder what the weight weenies of today would make of one of those!
    Happy days, but enough of this reminiscing.

  14. Jeff Matthews said

    I accidentally stumbled across this thread whilst seeing what happened to Kirkby CC. Ken Matthews was my Uncle and I was sad to learn the club ceased shortly after he died. His brother Charlie Matthews (my father) and my mother (Beryl) were active members of Melling Wheelers from the 1950’s. I will ask my father about the records of Kirkby CC to see if they are still around. Does anyone remember my parents?
    Hi Jeff, thanks for posting. If you go to my Melling wheelers post there are some old photos and someone thinks they have identified your dad, Charlie.

    • Jeff Matthews said

      Thanks – great photo from mid to late 50s I’d guess. I also think that’s my Mum (Beryl Matthews nee Poole) on the front right of the photo.

  15. Doug Howell said

    I was in the Wheelers during the the 50s as a raw teenager and can remember Ian Trainer as he was shorter than me.
    We met in the church hall on Northway. My later girlfriend lived on Broadwood and her garden backed on the the land.
    I trecked from Melling to Lydiate for the weekly 10m TT and to the glorious Bootle Stadium for the regular track session. Was it concrete or tarmac?
    And did we really ride through the Mersey Tunnel before 6am on a Sunday morning to get to North Wales?
    I can also recalling helping with marshalling a 24hr TT on a large roundabout on the A41 on the Wirral. I took a photo of every every rider that went past but sadly no longer have them.
    I always rode a 76″ fixed wheel (even up Axe Edge) because my pocket money wouldn’t stretch to derailleurs

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