By the late Sid Matthews, compiler of most of the following historic record.

It was 1934 in Club Mag. No.12 that the first mention of compiling a history of the Bedfordshire Road Cycling Club was mooted. Since then much has been talked and written about the need for such a project. Over the years two or three members have been mentioned as probably having made a start to cover this history, but the only writing I have actually seen was by Fred Harding.

Fred, who joined the Club in 1928 and was very active until he resigned in 1936, had kept notes from 1928 to 1935 and these he passed over to the Club in 1973.

In compiling this very elementary history of the Club, I have to acknowledge the use of Fred's writing for the years 1929 to 1934, and having been an active member of the Club for over fifty years, regret I did not do the same as Fred and keep notes myself it would have made my effort very much easier.

SID MATTHEWS - Top of Hammer Hill.



On Saturday, 20th October 1923, a group of twelve enthusiastic cyclists met outside the Bedford Town Hall for a ride to the well known cyclists' paradise the Sun Hotel, Biggleswade. Many London clubs used this teetotal hotel on most weekends during the year. The twelve Bedford cyclists were mostly on the 'sit up and beg' type of bike with only two or three owning the sporting type. This did not deter then and a meeting was held at which they decided to form a Club based in Bedford and call themselves the BEDFORDSHIRE ROAD CYCLING CLUB.

The twelve plus two others were B.Greaves, W.Haylock, R.A.Marston, R.Welham, H.K.Greaves, P.Wright, J.Aynesley, R.Cox, C.Lancaster and J.Elstow. These gentlenen vere acknowledged as being Founder Members.

Officials chosen were:
Chairman B.Greaves
Secretary -J.Elstow
Treasurer H.K. Greaves with G.Deag, R.Marston and W.Murdock as Committee Members.

Seven other members were elected before the end of the year and the Club's first President was Doctor Kilham Roberts.

During November thirty-six white metal and coloured enamel Club badges were purchased from Messrs. Hinds &Co. of London for £4.10s.


Club officials were as in 1923. Thirteen new members joined during 1924, amongst whom were;

E. Craig, who held various offices including Captain up to around 1936 and who became a Life Member and was to be seen at social functions well over fifty years later.

T.Bishop, who resigned in March 1926, but two of his sons joined the Club in later years, one of whom, Tom, we shall hear much of in due course.

S.Baker, who with his wife gave good service over the next ten years.

W.A.Ellis, who won the North Road 24-hours event three times in succession albeit in the North Road Cycling club colours, for at that time several of the Beds. Road were also members of the North Road.

W.A. Ellis

Ellis, in 1927, designed the certificates used by the Club throughout the years covered by this history and no doubt will be whilst certificates are used. The design includes Bedford Bridge (top left), Girtord Bridge (top right), with the Eagle's wings depicted bottom left and right. They are much admired by recipients for awards won by members of other clubs in open events run by the Club in later vears.

Some events were organised this year and prize monies awarded amounted to £6.12s.6d. The prizewinners were advised to obtain a receipt for prizes purchased in order to retain their amateur status! The winners, prize monies and purchases are listed as follows:-

J.Aynesley 1.7s.6d (Purchased cape, lamp, razor and a map)
W.Ellis £1.0s.0d (Donated to prize fund 1925)
M.Field 5s.0d (2s.0d to prize fund and 3s.Od as 1925 subs)
H.Greaves 7s.6d (2 picture frames)
W.Haylock £1.10s.Od (Donated to 1925 prize fund)
R.Marston 5s. 0d (Donated to 1925 prize fund)
W.Robertson £1.0s.0d (Cruet)
W.Murdock 12s.6d (wrist-watch strap)
P.Wright 5s.Od {Fountain pen).

Another member who joined this year, and must be mentioned for he was the Club's timekeeper for many years, was W.Robertson or 'Robbie' of Barford. Quite a character this chap, who became a Life Member and was still with the Club over 50 years later.


Same officials as previous two years with the exception that J.Elstow resigned as secretary and W.Haylock took over. G.Deag was made Captain. Runs lists were stencilled by a Miss D. Dyer at two-monthly intervals and payment for this was 1/2 lb. Maison Lyons chocolate (value 1s.8d). R.Welham was Runs Secretary and issued the lists.


Five new members Joined including Mrs.S.Baker, who was an active member for the next ten years. One member was expelled, leaving he total membership of twenty-seven. Officials were as for the previous year.

Expenditure included the purchase of a whistle from Messrs. Hebblethwaite & Co.of Midland Road, price 1s.6d; this was for use by the Captain on Club runs.

During the year a member of the Upper Holloway Club was killed whilst racing and our Club donated 10s.0d to a fund for his dependants. The following is an extract from the Holloway Club acknowledging receipt:-

"Your donation is all the more welcome as most of your members are but a name and it reflects great credit to the sport that mere knowledge of a fellow cyclist's misfortune is sufficient to loosen our purse strings."

Woodbine Haylock

Woodbine Haylock (Secretary) -see above - in his report for 1926 stated that four races had been held during the year and were an unqualified success, being fought out in a sportsmanlike manner, but he stated it would have added more interest to the events if more Beds.Roaders had entered. Prize monies for the events was given by the Beds. Road and amounted to £3.16s.0d. Award winners were as follows:-

J.Hobling (Addr Unknown)1st in September '10'
J.Hobling (Addr Unknown)1st in 50 miles£1.0s.0d unclaimed
B. Massey (Luton)2nd in September '10'16s.0d
B. Massey (Luton)1st in October '10'
A. Thompson (Kempston)3rd in September '10'10s.0d
A. Thompson (Kempston)2nd in 50 miles
C. Riggs (Luton)1st in 25 miles16s.0d
C. Riggs (Luton)2nd in October '10'
J. Boon (Luton)2nd in 25 miles6s.0d
E. Howard (London)3rd in 25 miles4s.0d
R. Welham (Bedford)3rd in 10 miles4s.0d


Records of these years appear to have been lost, but the writer knew that quite a few new members joined the Club during this period and included:

T.Maddox, who gave good service to the Club as Racing Secretary, auditor and 1931-32 General secretary. He left the club during 1933 for the North Road and became a noted long distance rider, at one time holding the trike record for Edinburgh London in 1939.

H.Perkins, a great worker for the club, honoured with Vice-Presidency for that work and wi11 be mentioned again as we go along. Joined the Club in 1929 taking out Life Nembership in 1942.

H. Swales, Life Member and a prolific worker for over fifty years. More will be heard of him as we go along. Given Vice-Presidency for these services.

G.Skevington, another great worker for the C1ub for many years, for which he was honoured by Vice-Presidency. He was a Life Member and more of him wil1 be heard as we record the history of this Club.


The Annual General Meeting was held at The Bull, Barton, and resulted in the main offices again being filled by returning officers, except that B.Edwards took over the duties of Vice-Captain. Although the Club was now in its sixth year, its racing activities were still in their infancy and in order to stimulate competition and interest, it was decided to establish standard times, and these were fixed at:-

25 miles1hr 11mins1hr 15mins1hr 0mins1hr 10 mins
50 miles2hrs 28mins2hrs 40mins2hrs 15mins2hrs 25 mins
100 miles5hrs 25mins6hrs 0mins4hrs 45mins5hrs 10 mins
12 hours190 miles160 miles210 miles195 miles

Vice-Presidents French and Barker also offered to present trophies for Club competition, an offer which was gratefully accepted.

It is interesting to note the great improvement in standard times for these distances which are accepted as commonplace today and to reflect upon the reason. Be it increased competition or greater knowledge of dieting, the result is seen in every event.

The first Club event of the season was the Longmarkers '25' held on March 17th on a scotch-mist morning with visibility about ten yards and resulted in a win for E.S.Goring, with 1-16-44 over F.W.Harding 1-17-O7. The handicap was taken in that order also, Goring with 8 minutes and Harding off the 5 minutes mark. Three weeks later the Spring '25' was won by scratch man H.M.Hartop with 1-1O-33 after a hard fight with W.Abbott some 41 seconds slower, whilst third position was filled by 24-hour W.H.Ellis, whose 1-13-36 reflected his early season lack of fitness.

In the '50' held on May 26th, another of the Club's long distance men, T.F.Maddox, showed his versatility by winning the event with a fine time of 2-22-36, Hartop being second with 2-25-44. In the handicap event E.Clarke took first position with 23 minutes from his 2-34-17 and S.H.Ewington was runner-up with 2-26-37 (12 minutes).

Although a 100-miles event was in the Club Calendar for July 23rd, it was to be run in conjunction with the N.M.& H.C. Association event and attracted only one entry in the person of S.H.Ewington whose ride of 6-3-29 on a hard morning was the more meritorious if only because of the lack of supporters.

Towards the end of the racing season on September 29th, the 12-hour was held for the second year in succession and on a typical Fenland day saw L.Hathaway repeat his previous year's victory with a practically identical distance of 193 miles 1520 yards, F.W.Harding being second with 192 miles 1643 yards. Hathaway's win was not secured until the last hour, the result being in doubt practically until the end. Other finishers were G.Skevington 176 miles 953 yards, F.W.Redman 168 miles 1230 yards, with secretary S.H.Baker one mile less, whilst R.N.Welham covered 163 miles 820 yards on his 66-inch gear.

The final '25' on October 13th resulted in another win for T.F.Maddox whose 1-1O-36 was 16 seconds better than W.Abbott, with F.W.Harding third, a further 24 seconds away, the handicap being taken by F.W.Redman with S.Lambden and Harding in second and third positions.

Owing to weather conditions, the final event of the season, the Hill Climb, had to be abandoned.

During the years the social side of the Club was not being neglected and runs were being well attended, albeit quite an event to have a dozen out to tea. Outstanding events of the social round were the Annual Dinner, the New Year's Eve Run to Mrs.Smiths at Alconbury and the usual weekend runs to Hunstanton and Great Yarmouth, whilst the annual trip to Herne Hill on Good Friday was carried out with great enthusiasm by some half-score riders.


At the Annual General Meeting held at the Old Vicarage, Shefford, on February 10th, a letter from the President, Dr.K.Roberts, was read in which he resigned the Presidency because of ill health, and suggesting Woodbine Haylock as a worthy successor. Deep regret was felt at this announcement and as a slight token of regard the Doctor was unanimously voted to be the Club's first Life Member. Woodbine Haylock was then unanimously elected to the Presidency.

Other changes in officials were w.H.Robertson who took Haylock's late position as Racing Secretary and E.Clarke who took over the Vice-Captaincy, Secretary S.Baker and Captain E.E.Craig retaining their positions.

Following the previous Annual General Meeting the incentive of establishing standard times had shown good results and now it was agreed that Club recording be established at the best times shown over the distances by members, and accordingly the first records on the books were:-

Distances Single inner E 25 miles 50 miles 100 miles 12 hours 24 hours Distances T.F.Maddox .F.Maddox Ellis Ellis Ellis €I€I€'-] !l>!1>II> Tandem Winner 25 miles 50 miles 100nnles 12 hours Distances L.Hathaway + F.w.Harding T.F.Maddox + G.Bullen T.F.Maddox + G.Bullen W.Haylock + W.A.Ellis Tricycle Winner 12 hours H.M.Hartop Hrs mins secs 1 7 36 2 18 18 4 52 35 226% miles A13% miles ?rs mins secs - 58 5A 2 5 6 A 26 A9 225% miles Miles 1752 miles Put up in 1928 1928 1928 1929 1929 Put up in 1929 1929 1929 192A Put up in It had been felt for some time that the Club's expansion was being restricted by lack of funds and in order to alleviate this, a motion was tabled to increase subscriptions from 3s.Od to 5s.Od. A keen debate followed; many and specious were the arguments for and against before the proposition was put to ballot and carried.

Early in the year letters of resignation were received from W.A.Ellis and founder member R.H.Marston. Ellis wrote that "retirement from racing will mean the virtual finish of my cycling and I do not feel it would be fair to continue membership under the circumstances".

At a subsequent meeting of the Committee, the matter was discussed and it was agreed that in view of his services to the sport through his outstanding performances in racing circles, he be asked to retain membership as an Honorary Life Member. Marston wrote that his secretaryship of another club precluded him from spending time with any other body, and he regretted having to resign. A letter was sent thanking him for services rendered and hoping he would return at a later date.

The racing season commenced on March 16th when F.W.Redman won the Long- markers '25', his time of 1-14-A8, less 2 minutes, also taking the handicap. G.Skevington returned second fastest time of 1-20-13 and after his allowance of 6 minutes, also second handicap. A month later, on April 13th, the battle for supremacy over the 25 miles distance was again fought out between Maddox and Abbott; on this occasion Abbott reversed the placings of the last encounter by returning 1-9-h8 against the 1-10-23 of Maddox. The quality of these rides may be judged by the fact that Maddox took first handicap, cff1 minute, whilst to say a few words here about Abbott. This remarkable any training apart from five miles from Milton Ernest to Abbott gained second award with % minute. It is opportune young man did nc: dc Bedford; he smoked and drank and in short did all the things a successful racing man is not supposed to do. The fact that he still won events makes one wonder what his capabilities would have been under the athlete's stricter code of training and abstinence.

It was the custom at this time to hold one Club event each month and on May 18th the '50' was run off over the Fenlake, Girtford, Buckden, Shefford course, this event being remarkable in that the three fastest took the handicap in reverse order. H.M.Hartop proved fastest with 2-29-03 and less 3 minutes also took third handicap; F.W.Harding was second, Bseconds slower with 5 minutes allowance, whilst L.Hathaway returned 2-30-23, and after deducting 7 minutes, gained first place in the handicap event.

Runs were being held each Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and were in the main well attended, although the fluctuating numbers were causing Captain Craig a certain amount of concern. One run, however, which received strong support was the inter-club run with the Luton wheelers. At this period in the history of the Club there was a strong section which came from Luton and many of these were members of both clubs, so there was keen rivalry as to who would have the greatest turn-out.

The venue was The Stag, Mentmore, a very popular calling place for the Luton Wheelers fraternity, probably because of the landlord's two charming daughters, and as a consequence the odds were slightly in their favour. However, the Bedford whips did their job well and the issue as to who mustered most was in doubt until after tea had started, when late arrivals handed the palm to the Wheelers with 23 against the Road Club's 18. The spirit of comradeship and brotherhood was very evident at such gatherings as these, and undoubtedly did much to further the close relationships between the two clubs.

A number of weekend trips into touring country and to the coast were being held now and most Saturdays saw small parties going up the road on one of these jaunts. It was following a trip to Great Yarmouth on one of these occasions with L.Hathaway, G.Deag and E.E.Craig that F.W.Harding was heard to comment upon the ruggedness of the Founder Members. Apparently when the party arrived at the usual port of call, Harboards restaurant, there were only three beds available, two singles and a double, so a coin was spun and resulted in Harding sharing a bed with Deag. Next morning, Deag was up bright and early, and when Harding awoke, there was Deag at the washstand performing his ablutions. After a short time a metallic ping-ping was heard which turned out to be Deag shaving by just dipping his razor into cold water and then drawing it over his hairy stubble without using a soap-brush to soften up. when asked whether it left his face sore, the reply was, "It did but it soon wore off".

As had been the case the previous year, the '100' was run in conjunction with the North Middlesex event in order to make use of the feeding and marshalling arrangements. The morning of July 27th accordingly saw two entries from the Club riding, F.W.Earding returning a time of 5-25-28, whilst H.M.Hartop finished with 5-40-5C. The disappointing entry on this occasion was compensated for to some extent by 13 entries in the 12-hour on August 17th. To successfully promote a '12' by a body the size of the Club was no mean undertaking and meant nearly as many miles being covered by the checkers as they performed their duties as by the contestants themselves. The event was blessed with a good day and resulted in T.F.Maddox covering the greatest distance of 209%"miles, F.W.Harding again filling second place with 208% miles, whilst G.Bullen did 205% to take third award.

On October 5th, the Autumn '25' was held and resulted in a win for Harding with 1-9-48 over L.Hathaway 1-11-09. A newcomer to racing,C.Parker, was successful in winning the handicap, his 1-15-46 being subject to 9 minutes deduction, and another freshman, P.Willis,took second award with a net 1-7-27 after 5minutes allowance, whilst Harding off 2 minutes was third. This event will be remembered by members of the period because of its links with the national tragedy. Up till this time all Club '25's had started from Fenlake and turned at the White Gate, Shefford, but in view of the many members riding in the southern part of the county, it was decided to run the event in the reverse direction. The result was disappointing as although entries were higher, only ten riders started. It was while the Bedford riders were journeying to the start that groups of people were noticed waiting at the gates of Cardington aerodrome and the first whispers were heard of the terrible disaster which had overtaken the airship R101.

A fortnight later the first Club '30' was held, this taking the place of the Hill Climb in the Road Club's Calendar. The event was won by F.W.Harding with a time of 1-23-56 who thereby became the first holder of the French Cup.

At a meeting of the Committee held on November 7th, the Club was presented with four trophies for competition, an epic occasion in history. The worthy President and his wife, Mr.and Mrs.Woodbine Haylock, gave a shield for the 12- hours event, the award to be ante-dated to 1929, thereby enabling the winner of the previous two '12's, L.Hathaway, to be on record as a past winner. Mrs. Leslie and W.Goring presented a challenge cup for Club Championship for the best average speed at 25 miles, 5O miles, 100 miles and 12 hours, all of which must be Club events. F.Barker Esq., one of the Vice-Presidents, awarded a cup for the winners of the Longmarkers '25' and A.W.Chattell Esq., one of the county town traders, offered a cup for competition in one of the Club '25's. The Championship trophy, which was to be known as the Grace Goring Challenge Cup, was awarded to F.w.Harding who had returned the best average speed over the required distances during the past season. It was agreed that the Barker and Chattell Cups be first awarded in 1931.

The dinner was held on December 6th, the venue again being the Silver'Grill, Bedford, where 33 members and friends spent a pleasant and entertaining evening.


The Annual General Meeting on February 1st produced a change in one of the main official positions when S.W.Baker, who had filled the dual position of Secretary and Treasurer so well during the previous four years, announced his intention not to seek re-election. Tribute must be paid to Baker for the sterling work he had put in for the Club during his term of office; his unfailing courtesy and desire to be of service undoubtedly did much to set the Club along the right road in its younger days. A special vote of thanks was accorded by the 26 members present and was carried with acclamation. T.F.MaddoX was elected to the position of Secretary and he also combined with this the duties of Racing Secretary, whilst Baker was finally prevailed upon to retain the Treasurership. The duties of Vice-Captain were taken over by F.w.Harding and E.E.Craig retained the Captaincy. In the report of the year's workings, it was disclosed that membership was now 68 which included two Honorary Life Members, and that 17 new members had been elected during the year.

Two changes to the rules were debated by the meeting and carried, one of which was the introduction of a subscription so as to cater for married couples, whereby a joint subscription of 7s.6d per annum would be paid against the two single fees of 5s.Od each as hitherto. The other was incorporated in the Time Trial rules and was to the effect that 15% of the Saturday and Sunday runs must have been attended by a member before being able to take a prize won in a Club competition, the year for thispurpose to rank as the twelve months preceding the Annual Prize Distribution.

On March 75th, the first race of the Barker Cup was held and the first holder became F.w.Redman whose 1-11-21 off scratch also gained third place in the handicap. Second and third fastest were S.Parker 1-13-58 and S.W.Lambden 1-14-O4 who also took the first two places in the handicap in that order, both being on A minutes. Two weeks later the first Open '25' was held, the start reverting to Fenlake, and a hard morning saw A.C.J.Burrows the fastest of 15 entrants with 1-12-A0, second being E.G.Bullen 1-15-08, and E.E.Linnitt third 1-15-11. H.G.Perkins, with 9 minutes allowance, returned 1-17-46 to win the

handicap, W.Richardson being runner-up with 1-20-52 less 9% minutes, whilst scratchman Burrows was third. It is interesting to note that of the five prize-winners, only one resided in the county; of the remainder, three were from Northamptonshire and one from Hertfordshire.

On April 26th, the '30' was held and out of an entry of 12, E.E.Linnitt returned fastest time of 1-21-21 and beat scratchman Burrows into second place with 1-28-17. Linnitt's fine ride with 2 minutes allowance also gained for him first handicap, H.G.Perkins with 1-31-55 off 5 minutes being second.

Membership had now risen to 76 and runs were being attended in increasing numbers, this being reflected in the large entries for Club events. The first practical example of this was shown when the '50' was held on May 17th and attracted an entry of 18, of which H.M.Hartop was fastest with 2-24-04 which, less 2 minutes, was also good enough for second handicap. A.C.J.Burrows was second fastest with 2-25-51 and off 1 minute, third in the handicap, whilst the indefatigable H.G.Perkins won this section of the event with 2-27-44 less 9 minutes.

Whit Monday, one week later, saw a full team finish in the classic Poly '100', the first time that such a happening had occurred. The first Club record to be broken since their establishment was when F.W.Harding rode in the Kingsdale '50' and reduced record by 18 seconds to 2-17-56.

June 28th was the day fixed for the '100' and this time, run as a Club event, it attracted eight entries. F.w.Harding proved fastest of these with 5-16-03, T.F.Maddox being runner-up in 5-18-52. The handicap went to A.Johnson 5-57-18, less 40 minutes, and E.E.Craig 5-48-53 off 35 minutes.

During June, a Special General Meeting was called to consider whether the date of the 12-hour event should be changed from September 20th, as fixed, to an earlier date, the result being a majority vote for August 16th as a more suitable date. when the event was held, it attracted an entry of 15, of whom eight rode out time. The weather was extremely adverse, heavy squally rain and stormy winds being the lot of the riders for most of the day. Unfortunately the race clashed with the N.M.& H.C.A.12-hour which was held over a similar course and may have led to the complaint that shortage of food was caused through helpers feeding themselves and not the riders. T.F.Maddox again proved best with 204 miles 380 yards, F.W.Harding being second with 201 miles 1370 yards, whilst E.G.Bullen was next 2 miles less.

Social and racing activities during the summer had attracted 17 new members and the total membership had now numbered 85; consequently a good entry for the final '25' on October 4th was expected. This anticipation was realised when an entry of 18 was received for the event, of whom F.w.Harding was fastest in1-7-54, L.Hathaway being second, 1-11-32. Another new name in the prize list occurred when the handicap was won by F.W.Armour whose 1-15-10 was subject to 10 minutes, the runner-up being S.w.Lambden, 1-13-24 less 7 minutes.

The Club was no longer in its infancy and its growing pains produced what is so often the case,- dissention in its ranks. It is not surprising, therefore, that friction was becoming apparent and it broke into strife when, at a special Committee Meeting held on November 27th, leading officials accused one another of maladministration. The result of this unrest was shown by the poor attendance at the Annual Dinner, which was only attended by 22 diners. An interesting point about the entertainment on the evening was that A.A.G.Swales and S.W.Lambden ably supported a professional entertainer.

The Club Championship was won by T.F.Maddox, whose average speed over the four distances was 18.1057 miles per hour, Harding being second with 18.0735 miles per hour. Two other riders completed the necessary performances and their average speed per hour was H.G.Perkins 17.0546 and E.E.Craig 16.9028 miles.

The crisis in Club affairs was now reaching grave proportions and the sparks were fanned into flames when, during Committee on January 22nd, the leading official in the Club was accused of fabrication and, pending a withdrawal, resigned his connections.

Despite efforts to settle the differences, it was apparent that the Club was split asunder and at Committee on February 4th, with E.E.Craig in the chair, many resignations were reported, of which Mr.and Mrs.W.Haylock, Mr.and Mrs. Maddox, C.H.Paget, H.M.Hartop and R.Welham were a few of those who had helped to build up the Club from its infancy, and whom the Club could ill afford to lose.

Amongst the gloom and pessimism of those days, a lesson alone stood out in the form of Cycling's first Best All Rounder Concert which was held in the Albert Hall on January 30th and included a contingent from the Club, the ones fortunate enough to obtain tickets also having the ardent pleasure of a visit to the Polytechnic Institute during the afternoon.


The Annual General Meeting was awaited with more interest and at Girtford on February 4th, under the chairmanship of F.W.Harding, the question whether the Club was to continue or not was decided by the election of new officials, most of whom had never taken office before. Of these, the one who was destined to hold office longer than any before or since was A.A.G.Swales who took the main positions of Secretary and Treasurer. Arthur, as he is familiarly known, has been a veritable tower of strength from those difficult times and his steadfastness and tenacity of purpose have become a byword in the Club. His duties in steering his charge through troubled waters were ably backed by one who was to place the racing activities of members at a high level. F.W.Armour, as Racing Secretary, found like so many others that to combine his duties with his desire to engage in the sport meant his own ambitions taking second place. There is no doubt that officialdom precluded him from making his mark in racing spheres as 't was Club came before self, and that philosophy was the man. The retiring Captain, E.E.Craig, was pressed to carry on in the position he had so well filled for the past four years, but he considered new blood necessary and the Skipper job was taken by F.W.Harding whose efforts to bring together the social and hard riding members were to meet with success and lay the foundations for the structure we know so well today. In this connection he had the help and enthusiasm of S.W.Lambden who, as Vice-Captain, did much to prepare the groundwork of the changes which were to come.

Apart from the main business of the meeting, two other important matters were ventilated, the first being the consideration and acceptance of the new rules which had been revised and redrafted by a sub-committee appointed the previous September. The other resolved into a lengthy discussion as to whether a magazine or gazette could be successfully promoted, the outcome being that the new Committee were given authority to proceed with the venture. This probably more than anything else seemed to show that members, albeit few in numbers, did not lack in enthusiasm and courage.

Since the Annual General Meeting there had not been a President of the Club and it was with great pleasure that P.G.woodford Esq. was elected to this position during March, whilst A.W.Chattell became our sole Vice-President. A further repercussion of our earlier domestic differences now manifested itself and resulted in the reluctant acceptance of w.H.Ellis's resignation from Life Membership.

Following meetings of a sub-committee consisting of Messrs.P.G.woodford, F.W.Redman, C.Townhill, S.W.Baker, F.W.Armour, S.w.Lambden, F.W.Harding, A.A.G.Swales and A.D.Nightall, who was co-opted, it was decided to issue a gazette free to members and to ask readers to contribute towards its upkeep. In order that no call should be made to the funds, Messrs.Baker, Redman,

Townhill, Swales, Armour, Lambden, Harding, Woodford and H.G.Perkins offered to guarantee the cost of producing each number. Accordingly the first issue of "The Bedfordshire Cyclist" started on its long journey during July, and without the advice and knowledge of the financial and publishing aspects so freely given by A.D.Nightall, it is doubtful whether the "Cyclist" would have reached the high standard it now enjoys.

The race for the Barker Cup in the Longmarkers '25' was held on April 3rd and a cold, wet morning faced the eight starters, scratchman F.W.Armour proving fastest of these with 1-10-35, E.E.Linnitt 1-11-10 being second and, less 3 minutes, first in the handicap, P.Barley 1-17-25 off 8 minutes being runner-up, whilst Armour filled third position.

Fourteen entries for the Spring '25' on April 24th had a good morning for the event and F.w.Harding returned fastest time of 1-7-50, the winner of the Longmarkers being second in 1-10-49. A new member, S.Bridel, won the handicap with 1-18-12, off 12 minutes, G.Bateman taking second award with 1-16-A6, 9 minutes, and scratchman Harding third. Riding a time trial in this event, R.Elmer returned a time of 1-10-44 and gave a glimpse of the fine rides he was to subsequently produce.

During the past few years it had been the custom for individual racing members to ride in the wisbech wheelers '25'. This year Racing Secretary Armour whipped up the team spirit now abroad in the Club and a determined effort to blaze a trail resulted in F.W.Harding winning the event with 1-10-03 and leading to victory a team comprising F.w.Redman 1-1A-26 and F.w.Armour 1-1A-33, Redman's time also being good enough to gain him second handicap award. when these trips were made, it was the usual thing to stay at the home of 'Charlie' Lynn, the Racing Secretary of the wheelers, whose mother, a dear old lady, used to regale the guests with the latest news of local suicides and fatal accidents. For the '50' on May 29th, the North Road course was used for the first time and a wet morning resulted in a crop of slow times, of which F.W.Harding was fastest with 2-28-18, F.W.Redman 2-30-A2 being second, which effort was subject to 1! minutes allowance, also gaining him first handicap. H.G.Perkins, also off 11 minutes, with 2-31-32 and G.Mayston 2-42-28, off 20minutes, were second and third respectively.

On June 12th, another inter-club run with the Luton wheelers was held, tea rendezvous again being The Stag at Mentmore. By a coincidence, the number of each club to be present was 25 and was the biggest turn-out for the Road Club on a run of this kind.

A good entry of 12 was sent off by timekeeper Robertson in the '100' on July 3rd, of which six completed the distance. The placings were similar to the '50' and resulted in a win for F.w.Harding, whose 5-11-35 was 8 minutes faster than F.w.Redman. The handicap was won by S.w.Lambden, his 5-3A-26, off the limit of 45 minutes, being the best ride on a hard morning. Redman's 25 minutes secured second handicap, whilst H.G.Perkins 5-25-02, with 20 minutes, completed the prize list.

Up till the 12-hours event on August 21st, the weather for Club promotion had been mainly wet, but on this occasion it seemed as if an attempt was being made to drown the riders. Nine of the eleven entries were pushed off into a rosy-hued dawn and had not travelled very far when the first rain heralded a tempestuous day, and no sooner were the riders dry from one downpour than they rode into another. The whole day reached its climax when, in mid afternoon as the leaders were on the Girtford/Ampthill section, a violent thunderstorm, accompanied by a wind of gale force, literally blew the riders to a standstill. Despite the atrocious conditions, some good performances were recorded,of which mention must be made of the distances of 200 miles and 189 miles respectively by W.W.Pettitt and H.Jackson, for their first rides in any event were remarkably good. Greatest distance was covered by F.W.Harding 221 miles 250 yards, with F.w.Armour in second position, 207 miles 10 yards, C.Newman 206 miles 1670 yards,

W.W.Pettit and G.Skevington 199 miles 1606 yards, H.Jackson and W.Overton 183 miles completing the list of finishers.

With 18 entries and 16 starters for the '30' on September 18th, the stage was set for a great struggle for places, and the result showed that 13 were inside evens. Harding led the field to return 1-20-27 and 2 minutes faster than R.Elmer. The handicap was won by A.Walters 1-27-32 (12 minutes), G.Skevington 1-28-56 (13 minutes) and H.Jackson 1-24-20 (8 minutes) being second and third. The final event of the season, the Autumn '25' on October 8th,provided the usual end of season thrills, and less than a minute separated the three fastest.

R.Elmer won his first event with a fine time of 1-8-38 and was closely followed by F.W.Armour 1-9-04, who was 25 seconds faster than H.Jackson. S.Brid, riding his first race, returned the excellent time of 1-13-AA which less his 12 minutes gave him a walkover in the handicap event; W.Overton,a consistent trier,obtained his first award and second handicap with 1-17-A4 off 13 minutes and G.Skevington 1-11-21 (5% minutes) was third. During the season a number of successes were obtained in open competition, fastest time of 2-21-11 in the Letchworth '50', second fastest 2-15-55 in the N.M.& H.C.A.'5O' and third fastest A-49-13 in the Polytechnic '100' which also made Club record,all being obtained by F.W.Harding. He also lowered the Club '50' record to 2-15-07 in the classic Kingsdale event. Once again the venue for the Annual Dinner was the Silver Grill and on December 3rd, 46 members and visitors helped to make a successful evening. A note of sorrow was present, however, in that Dr.Kilham Roberts, our first President, had taken his last journey and been laid to rest at Higham Gobian during the afternoon. The dinner opened with the assembly observing one minute's silence as a token of respect.

Following the dinner, interest was rife as to how many would attend the New Year's Eve run, which had been arranged for The Swan at Milton Ernest. A record attendance of 29 fully justified the Captain's optimisn1and not theleast interesting feature of the evening was the expert manner in which Robbie carved the sirloin for the assembly.

The last highlight of this memorable year was the pilgrimage to London for the Best All Rounder Concert, and January 21st saw ten members at this meeting adding their plaudit to the other 7000 who had gone to pay homage to the year's champions.


There were no changes in the officers at the Annual General Meeting, and of the business discussed, a proposal that each member pay a minimum of 1s.0d per year to "The Cyclist" fund was passed and incorporated in the rules. A fortnight after the Annual General Meeting on February 19th, an inter-club run with our near friends the Northants D.A.was held in very wintry weather, snow being between two and six inches deep throughout the route. Despite the inclement weather, 17 Beds.Roaders were out all day and a further half-dozen met them for tea.

Twenty new members joined the Club this year, among whom were Sid Matthews of Biggleswade, Stan Williams of Cardington and J.Wiles of Goldington. There was a strong section from Biggleswade in the Club at this time, but Matthews, although attending the Club time trial events and quite a few runs, did not actually join before now as he was a member of the Langford wheelers and had strong ties with them. On the Wheelers becoming defunct, he joined the Beds.Road and thus began a very long continuously active association with this Club. Williams was to become a very, very efficient team worker on the Club's behalf, giving great service during the years ahead until business pressures curtailed his activities somewhat.

Wiles gave good service up to the war years and beyond. Some of his work can be seen in the Clubhouse, for he made the frames for the photos that adorn the walls there.

A change in awards for Club promotions was introduced before the season commenced and was to the effect that first and second fastest and first andsecond handicap be given instead of fastest and three handicaps as hitherto. An ideal morning opened the season's events and the winning ride of 1-11-35 by A.Walter in the Longmarkers was 1 minute 18 seconds better than G.Simco. The surprise of the event was Simco's 1-12-53, which was some 8 minutes improvement on his previous best over the distance and gained him first handicap, Walter off 1 minute being runner-up. F.W.Redman, riding a tricycle, returned a fine time of 1-17-59 during a time trial on the same morning to establish a standard and Club record for the distance.

Four weeks later, the first of the '25's attracted an entry of 22, and resulted in record being lowered to 1-6-A6 by F.w.Harding who was followed into second place by E.Bradbury with 1-8-40. The first handicap place was taken by S.Bird, 1-11-12 less 5% minutes, whilst Redman on his tricycle cut 2 minutes 7 seconds off his record, and less 1O minutes, his 1-15-52 was good enough for second position.

Following last season's successes in the Wisbech '25', there was keenness throughout the Club in the desire to repeat the performance, and on April 30th a strong team rode in the event and again took a firm grip on the prizes. Harding again returned fastest time with 1-6-26 and was closely followed by R.Elmer whose 1-6-46 on a softening tyre was a great effort and with the addition of E.Bradbury 1-9-23, the first team prize again came to the Road Club.

Another well deserved team award came to the Club when F.W.Armour 2-27-O1 with a puncture, E.J.Smith also 2-27-O1, and F.W.Redman 2-27-26, secured first team honours in the Finsbury Park 2nd Class '50'.

With 19 entries for the '50' on May 21st, the Racing Secretary's foremost wish for a good morning was answered with ideal conditions and a resultant crop of fine rides, 11 of the 17 finishers being inside evens. F.W.Harding at this time was riding at his best and his winning ride of 2-11-22 on a 77.7 inch gear cut 3% minutes from Club record, F.W.Armour with a fine ride of 2-27-22 filling second place. The winner of the handicap was G.Mayston, with H.G.Perkins in second position. The season continued with a series of record breaking rides, the '5O'Tandem figures being reduced to 2-1-O2 by G.Crosswell and R.Elmer, whilst in the Polytechnic event on Whit Monday, '100' figures were chipped by 8 seconds to 4-49-O5 by F.W.Harding.

On July 3rd, another fine entry of 19, which included a tandem time trial, saw 17 come under starter's orders in the '100', the surprise of the event being the retiring of scratchman Harding whilst still in the lead at 7O miles. A good day, though rather breezy,saw a keen struggle for fastest time between F.w.Armour and E.J.Smith resulting in Smith returning 5-11-48 against Armour's 5-12-32. The best ride of the day was undoubtedly F.w.Redman whose 5-35-1O on a tricycle gave him second handicap and set up Club record for the distance. L.Hathaway, off 33 minutes, was first in the handicap with a ride of 5-18-O4.

Although the articles of the Club were framed so as to admit both sexes, at this period the feminine sphere of influence was rather small and consisted of some half-dozen members. Following a suggestion from A.W.Chattell, it was decided to promote an invitation run with a view to encouraging cyclists in the district, particularly ladies, to take up Club riding. Needless to say, the proposal was looked upon in askance by some of the die-hard members, but on July 30th a company of 50 enthusiasts were bade God-speed by President Woodford and Vice-President Chattell as they left the Town Hall for Dunstable Downs on the first visitors' run to be held. It would have taken a brave man indeed to prophesy the impetus the Club would receive from these annual meets, for not only the social aspect of Club life was to be stimulated and built up, but lustre to the Club's name was also to be added in subsequent years by its women's racing prowess.

The 12-hour on August 20th was notable for the ride of E.J.Smith who in his first '12' covered 215 miles which was 3 miles less than the winner, F.W.Harding.

This great effort also gained for him the Club Championship for Best All Rounder, a trophy he was subsequently to win outright. F.W.Armour, who had been leading on aggregate over the '50' and '100' miles distances, was unable to withstand the challenge and covered third greatest distance of 207 miles. Of the 14 entries, 13 started and 6 rode out time, S.Bird being fourth with 199% miles, H.Jackson 186 miles and G.Mayston 184 miles sixth.

Of the remaining two events in the season's programme, the '3O'on September 17th takes pride of place inasmuch as both the single and tandem records for the distance were broken. A sign of the times was the ascendancy of R.Elmer over F.W.Harding, a keenly fought struggle showing his fastest time of 1-19-45 to be 8 seconds better than Harding's 1-19-53, S.Birdel with his best time at the distance of 1-26-O4 less 12 minutes taking the handicap, with W.Bateman 1-24-44 with 7 minutes allowance being second. Riding a tandem in the event, H.G.Perkins and C.Newnam established a Club record with a meritorious ride of 1-11-O3.

Once again the Autumn '25' on October 8th attracted a good entry, and of the 22 names on the start sheet, 18 were sent off by timekeeper Robertson and 16 crossed the finishing line. Of these, R.Elmer proved fastest with 1-7-28 against co-scratchman Harding 1-8-O5, who was closely followed by E.J.Smith with 1-8-18. The handicap was won by L.Hathaway whose 1-9-48 was subject to 5 minutes allowance, P.Barley taking second award with 1-15-52 less 11 minutes.

This being the tenth year of the Club's life, great things were expected of the Annual Birthday run and despite stormy weather these were fully realised by 42 members, past and present, attending for tea at The Sun, Biggleswade, on October 22nd. Links with the inaugural run when it was decided to form a Club were provided in the presence of Founder Members H.Greaves, the Club's first Chairman, W.Haylock, a past President, and R.N.Welham. The chain of memories was further strengthened and lengthened by other reminiscences of these stalwarts of a decade back, whilst letters of congratulations and wishes of continued good fortune were received from H.Greaves, R.Cox, J.Aynsley, F.L.Pacey, E.Shelton and P.W.M.Wright, all of whom were present at the first meeting.

A glance back over the racing season shows that successes were gained in open competition by R.Elmer who won first handicap in the N.M. & H.C.A.Short-markers '25', W.Bateman who obtained third handicap in the Letchworth '25', and F.W.Redman who returned the fine time of 2-32-36 in the Tricycle Association '5O' This record breaking year continued with yet another previous best being beaten when on December 2nd, 50 attended on the occasion of the Annual Dinner. Fresh ground was broken again when the chief guest was the Borough leading citizen, Alderman H.R.Neate, and instead of the usual entertainment after the presentation of awards, the rest of the evening was spent in dancing. The New Year's Eve run was this time held to Great Staughton, and after supper had been taken, the line between the old and the new years was crossed by 28 members and visitors.

The year closed with the Secretary stating that membership was now 67.


The only change in officials at the Annual General Meeting on February 4th was that Past Captain E.E.Craig took over the Vice-Captaincy, and the panel of Vice-Presidents was strengthened by the addition of Arthur Gell Esq., J.Cecil Paget Esq. and L.W.A.Ewing Esq. whilst the Mayor of Bedford, Alderman Horace R. Neate, honoured the Club by accepting the position of Honorary Vice-President. Of the business which came up for discussion, two items are worthy of recording. The first was the changing of the financial year from January 31st to December 31st. The other was a proposition which was to have repercussions unthought of at the time and was to change the size and design of the badge. After a lively debate, it was agreed to do this. However,when the new Committee subsequently came to consider new designs, it was learned that opinion was mainly

in favour of the existing design but reduced in size. In order to obtain a consensus of opinion, it was decided to circulate members with voting forms and the result was as follows:-

For the present design reduced in size - 21
For no alteration - 9
For new design - 5

Accordingly it was decided to reduce the existing emblem by 1/8 inch, and such is the badge we know today.

After the previous year's large entries in Club events, something of an anti-climax occurred when it was found that only six entered for the Longmarkers '25'. If the number was low, however, keenness was at a bright level, and all started and finished on a boisterous morning which made the last 6nnles extremely hard. The result was a surprising win for A.Clarke who, riding in his first race, secured a convincing victory to return 1-13-58 against P.Barley 1-17-27 who was second. The one man, one prize rule being in operation meant that scratchman R.Linnitt took the handicap with 1-18-37, and G.Mayston filled second place with 1-21-58 less 2 minutes.

Clarke was to keep alive the interest in his runaway win in the novice trial for on April 8th in the Spring '25', he improved nearly 5 minutes on his previous time to return 1-9-O4 and so be second to R.Elmer whose 1-5-56 constituted a new Club record. Of the 13 entrants, 10 finished, and the handicap resulted in G.Skevington taking first award with 1-12-12 less 7 minutes, with G.Mayston runner-up 1-14-47 off 9 minutes.

It was obvious that Elmer was destined to be the Club's best rider at the shorter distances and it was with some speculation that his prowess at the 50miles distance was received when he entered for the Club event on May 21st. His time of 2-15-05 was a truly great ride on the exposed Shefford Lane-Buckden course and showed his mounting supremacy over his close friends and rivals, E.J.Smith and F.w.Harding. Smith returned 2-18-27 for second place, whilst Harding was third, half-a-minute slower. Two new names featured in the prize list for the firsttime, E.Johnson winning the handicap with 22 minutes allowance from his 2-36-33, and M.Jones taking second award with 2-33-36 less 18 minutes.

The Sunday following the '50' proved to be another highlight in Beds.Road progress for it was the day upon which the second annual invitation run was to be held, the venue on this occasion being Wickstead Park. Forty-six prospective and present members made the journey and a pleasant summer's day with cheerful banter and camaraderie much in evidence helped to make and cement many friendships. The racing season continued with the '100' and July 29th was the day upon which aspirants battled for supremacy over this distance. E.J.Smith proved to be the winner, his A-55-11 being the fastest time returned in a Club event. Second fastest was F.W.Harding who, although leading up to 15 miles, fell away to finish 21 seconds outside evens. The handicap was won by S.Bird who in subsequent years was to make his mark at both the 100-mile and 12 hours distances, whilst second place was taken by R.Page.

Four weeks later, Smith was again in winning form when he won the Woodbine Haylock Shield for greatest distance in the 12 hour, his 209miles being 2% miles greater than R.Linnitt, whilst S.Bird was third with 205 miles. The list of finishers was completed by A.Walter with 191% miles.

In the '30' on September 16th, another keen struggle for fastest time was won by F.w.Harding with 1-23-54 over E.J.Smith's 1-24-12. M.Jones was successful in the handicap with 1-30-58 less 10 minutes, with G.Mayston, once more in the list of awards, returning 1-32-38 off 11minutes in second place. In this event an innovation in the form of a mixed tandem pair rode a time trial and G.Constant piloted the machine with Miss P.Lowe stoking well to return the fine time of 1-29-18.

The final trial of the season, the Autumn '25' on October 7th, again resulted in R.Elmer recording fastest time, with A.Clarke once more in second position,

their times of 1-6-21 and 1-11-26 respectively being on a par with their efforts in the Spring event. A welcome visitor to the prize list was E.(Ted)Hewitt whose 1-19-O8 on a difficult morning represented a remarkable ride for his years and with his 14 minutes allowance gained for him the first award from G.Mayston, 1-15-56 less 8 minutes. The mixed tandem pair again rode a time trial and despite going off the course returned 1-19-O3.

During the season, the '25' Club record had been tightened considerably by R.Elmer who reduced the figures to 1-4-44. Another outstanding ride was in the Kingsdale '50' when he returned 2-14-45.

The two dark quarters of the year were again enlivened by Thursday evening socials and comprised alternate weekly gatherings at The Swan, Milton Ernest,with our near friends, the Rushden County C.C.,and a new port of call in The Woolpack, Wilstead.

For the year's main social event, the Annual Dinner, it was decided to break away from the usual venue because of limitation of space and facilities, and accordingly Thursday, December 6th, saw the Dujon as the scene for the festive occasion. Some 65 diners graced this most ambitious function and after an excellent repast with able speeches by President P.G.Woodford and Vice-President J.Cecil Paget, the trophies and awards were presented by the donor of the Championship Cup, Mrs.Grace Goring. For the second year in succession, E.J.Smith was awarded the Best All Rounder trophy. After the main business of the evening, a further 23 members and friends joined the diners and spent the rest of the evening dancing. As in previous years, the old year was again ridden out, this time the ride being preceded by Rabbit Pie Supper at The Crown, Northill, where 31 Club folk passed an enjoyable evening relating anecdotes and partaking of the hospitality dispersed by Mrs.and Mr.Frank Marson.


Membership was now 72. Alec Archer joined during the year and was to give good service to the Club as Captain later.

Mr.and Mrs.Stan Baker resigned and were thanked for their good work for the past ten years.

Card-playing for money after teas came up for discussion at a Committee meeting and a resolution was passed expressing the Committee's disapproval. The Club Mag.funds were also discussed, it being stated that the guarantors were paying double the amount (2s.Od) of the other members who paid the fixed amount (1s.Od)per year, many of whom were not even paying their dues,thus putting on the guarantors! Writing in the Club mag.(No.16), Mr.C.Paget gives an interesting list of cycling clubs in Kempston and Bedford and I quote:-

"In 1889 there was a cycling club in Bedford known as the Bedford A.C.C.with the Clarence Hotel; Hon.Sec.G.H.Richardson of the same address; Captain, F.Woodward. The club had a uniform - a customary rule in those days - and was formed in April 1887, 100 members. In 1894 there was a Kempston A.C.C. with H.Q. at the welcome Coffee House; Captain, w.Horn; Hon.Sec. E.G.Horn of the Mill House; formed in 1892 with 30 members. Also Our Boys C.C. with The Kings Arms; Hon.Sec. S.W.Adams, 109 Tavistock Street; Captain, W.Sheppard; formed in 1893, 100 members. By 1895 the Our Boys C.C.reached 150 members, so altogether Bedford boasted of nearly 300 club cyclists in 1895."

Amongst the racing men who held licences to race on local tracks, Mr.Paget gives A.E.Adams, H.Brittons,G.C.Gnapp, A.Smith and H.J.Woods. A Beds.Road dance for Club funds was run at the Dujon. Admission (1s.6d) showed a profit. At the A.G.M. a popular Clubman, George Skevington, was appointed Captain in place of Freddy Harding who resigned, whilst another stalwart, Robbie Robertson, took on the Racing Sec.job. Robbie was the Club's Timekeeper for about 2O years.

Two ladies were elected on the Committee, namely Miss Friedlander and Miss Chattell. This inclusion was soon to bring up the question of girls taking up time trials within the Club and at this time it was little thought that this would lead to the Beds Road girls setting National Competition Records, something they were to do within the next few years.

Sunday, June 30th, found four of the ladies competing in the 1O-miles event. Vera Friedlander was fastest in 25 mins.21 secs; unfortunately, on checking the course later, it was found to be a quarter-of-a-mile short due to a mistake by the turn marshal. Mrs.P.Lowe was second in 26-48 and A.Savage third 27-00. An invitation run to Wickstead Park attracted a party of 60, 20 of whom were visitors, and once again the weather was favourable. As a result of the invitation run's success, there were at this time around 20 ladies in the Club. The Captain reported that 11A runs had been arranged during 1934, with over 20 being the average on the Sunday runs. Around this time, many members in the Club thought it would be of benefit to the Club to approach Past President W. Haylock with a view to his becoming an Honorary Member, and Mr.Haylock accepted and rejoined the Club. Thus it was that all was forgiven and the split in the Club which had taken place in 1931 was finally healed, and writing this some fifty years later, I can say there has been perfect harmony in the Club since. Writing in the Club mag. someone stupidly commented that it was not ladies we wanted in the Club but "Cycling" to publish pictures of a Beds Road 'crack' at the start of the North Road '24' event or a Beds Roader to be riding in the Memorial '50' (a classic event of the day). He little thought we would have a National '24' Champion in the Club twice within the next A0 years, more of which will be written later.

Tea places continued to be well supported with an average of 28, Mrs.Smith's of Alconbury being the most popular venue.

The Herne Hill Good Friday track racing found the run (including five girls) cycling to Highgate where they caught the train to the track. Another party went on a tour of the Peak District and it is interesting to note the popularity of youth hostelling in the early days, no fewer than 300 being turned away from Hartington Hall! including the Beds Road party. Whitsun holiday found a party of 14 members on an all-night run to Yarmouth, whilst on July 28th a boating run to St.lves found 33 sitting down for tea.

John Wiles, noted for his efforts of long distance touring, tried his luck in the Longmarkers '25' and returned a time of 1-1O-O8 to win easily by over 6 - minutes from second fastest Jim Holliman 1-16-17 in a field of 12 riders.

Charlie Benson joined the Club this year and in his first T.T., the '25', finished in 1-13-59 to take second handicap.

Charlie Benson

A whole chapter could be written about this chap who was an active member up to his untimely death in 1960.

Club throughout the season had been well supported and the tussle for B.A.R.honours was finally settled by the 12-hour event held on the usual Club course, i.e: Girtford-wansford-Eaton Socon-Ely-Godmanchester-Cambridge-Goldington- Girtford-Bedford-Ampthill-Bedford-Girtford-Hitchin-Girtford-Biggleswade-Girtford (230 miles 320 yards) with nine entries and one tandem pair being sent off by Teddy Craig. Ernie Smith, having won the 12-hour the previous two years, needed a victory this time to make the trophy his own property, whilst if John wiles could finish the winner, he could take the his first season. After a close race throughout, Smith ran out with 223 miles with Wiles covering 222 miles including approximately 5 miles off course which was not allowed to count. The tandem crew of Dibble and Stanton covered 227 miles, which beat the Club record of 225% miles, but as they were not wearing the R.R.C.regulation-required clothing, the Committee could not let it stand. The regulation required clothing from head to foot whilst Dibble and Stanton wore shorts!

Smith was B.A.R.with 19:314 and Wiles second with 19:O6O, the off course riding having cost John Wiles the trophy.


R.V.Dove, one of the characters of the Club, had come into the possession of a Velocipede (Boneshaker) built around 1857, and as the result of a wager with the local Kings Arms publican, a time trial over a 10 mile course (approx) was arranged for November 17th. The morning arrived with very heavy rain falling. However, at 11.15 a.m. with a rush Dove made a great start, the 1857 Boneshaker rattling along in good style with Clubmen riding in orderly fashion behind, round the circular course via Elstow, Wilstead and Cotton End, roughly 10 miles. It was a sight no one would forget. The Hammock saddle swung up and down in perfect rhythm. with the badly swaying back wheel, Dove mastered the slopes very well, but it seemed doubtful whether he would get round, for at the bottom of Tinkers Hill one of the stays holding the back wheel came unbolted allowing the back wheel to rub against the remaining stay. But with a great final effort, encouraged by some 300 spectators massed near the finishing point, Dove finished with a fine time of 56 mins.44 secs, thus beating all previous known times for this type of machine.

The Mayor, Mr.H.Neale, who allowed the event to take place, was given many cheers, especially when he was handed the £5 cheque for the County Hospital, for which a collection was also made.

Club runs were still being well supported under the Captaincy of George Skevington, albeit they had on occasions been a little boisterous, one member being sent a letter from the Committee asking him to "cool it" a little bit. The member wrote an insolent letter back to the Committee, who decided to expel the offending member from the Club. The outcome of this was that sufficient members who felt the decision a rather stiff one called a Special General Meeting as they were entitled to do, and after somewhat heated discussion, the member, who was a popular chap, was allowed to stay within the Club.

The Dinner was held at the Assembly Room on Monday, December 9th, and despite the unusual day it was a great success and was probably the first time it suffered no loss financially.

The New Year's Eve run was to "Colemans" at Great Barford, 23 turning out and after a meal and sing-song the Biggleswade section and the Bedford section set out for home around 11.30 p.m. and enjoyed riding in the New Year.


At the A.G.M. on February 9th, Stan Williams succeeded Arthur Swales as Secretary, thus starting a stint of great work in important positions within the Club over the next few years.

The meeting was of the opinion that efforts ought to be made to obtain a Clubroom of its own.

Standard times were revised as follows:- Single Tandem Class 1st 2nd lst 2nd 25 miles 1-“K00 1-TZT00 1- 0-00 1- 5-00 50 miles 2-20-00 2-30-00 2- 5-00 2-15-00 1001niles 5- 0-00 5-30-00 A-20-00 5- 0-00 12 hours 210miles 19Omiles 230miles 200miles 2A hours 375miles 325miles 390miles 340miles

The Club gave certificates for the beating of the above times to anyone who gave at least 24 hours' notice of their attempt on the standard.

March 29th was windy and wet for the Longmarkers '25'. There was an entry of 1A riders, 8 of whom were complete novices. Charlie Benson(scr) was the winner with 1-12-28. Open racing was becoming more popular by members and in the Finsbury Park '50', Charlie Benson was fastest and handicap winner, whilst Bert Jackson, riding in the Upper Holloway '30', beat the Club record with his time of 1-18-22. "Jacko" also recorded a 1-4-00 in the Northampton '25' and a 2-14-24 in the Godiva '50'.

Riding tandem '25' P.T.T. Charlie Benson and Ernie Smith set a Club record of 58-23 and in the Ladies '1O' Dorothy Prudden recorded a 29-57. Charlie Benson was B.A.R.with an average of 18.61 m.p.h.

The now annual invitation run attracted 56 riders to the Town Hall for a run to Wickstead Park where another 12 joined them for tea. The party included 23 visitors. Other runs included an inter-club one with Hitchin Nomads, 60 sitting down for tea at Gamlingay, whilst another run led by Henry Perkins from Rushden took in the quiet lanes of Northamptonshire so well known by Henry. The August Bank Holiday weekend run was to Hunstanton.

The scout hut at Fenlake had been used this year for the Club '50' as a dressing room and at a Special General Meeting held at Girtford on October 25th it was decided to use the hut as a Clubroom. A Social Committee was formed, including four ladies, and it was decided to open the hut every Tuesday evening and to charge members twopence per night with refreshments extra. The opening night was a great success with the catering side giving good value for sixpence. George Constant was elected Social Secretary.

Runs during the year were attended well and included runs to Leicester, Newmarket, Thaxted, Ashridge Park and Stilton. A new venue for the New Year's Eve run found the Club at the Hardwick Arms, Gamlingay, where in addition to the usual 'nosh-up' there was a dance at a venue opposite which attracted many of the party, but 20 others set off to ride in the New Year at approximately 11.45 p.m.


Early this year a Committee ruling, after discussing the good attendance on runs, was made as follows:-

"That the Club shall return home in sections of which 14 shall be the maximum number. The distance between each section to be left to the discretion of the runs leader appointed by the Captain or his deputy."

Another ruling was "that money invested in the Post Office Savings Bank be known as the Club Reserve Fund, and only to be drawn from when circumstances warrant the use of the money. The General Committee have power only to draw up to a total of £5 from this fund. Any amount above this to be sanctioned by a Special General Meeting of the Club."

A certain young lady, namely Joy Hawkins,joined the Club. Joy from Wellingborough was destined to break both Club and National competition records in her career, more of which you will read as we go along.

The A.G.M.held in February proved to be a busy one and despite the weather, 45 turned up at the White Horse, Biggleswade. P.G.Woodford (President) presided over the meeting and amongst the change of officials was the election of Charlie Benson as Racing Secretary. Charlie was very keen and proved to be a good choice It was at this meeting that the '1st Claim' rule came into being, carried by a large majority, and only '1st Claim' members were to be allowed to compete for Club trophies and championships. Another motion by George Skevington (Captain) that the Club promoted a Ladies Open 25-mile event was carried after much discussion. This promotion was in the years ahead to be most popular and continues to date and no doubt beyond.

Another rule passed, but one which was not to last as long as the Ladies Open, was that persons wishing to join the Club would be required to complete four runs within seven weeks.

The Club also decided to apply for affiliation to the Road Time Trials Council; at the same time, the Committee offered the Club's services to the forming of a Local District Council for organising road sport. It was also at this meeting that the two Georges (Skevington and Constant), the popular Captain and Vice-Captain, offered the Attendance Cup, the rules of which were to be published later.

Receipts for 1936 were £7O.13s.4%d, expenses were £55.6s.1Od. During March a dance was held at the Assembly Rooms, the intention being to help Club funds, but the Club actually lost on the venture.

Meanwhile, Charlie Benson, who was to be Secretary for the proposed Open Ladies event, appealed to the lady members in the Club to support the new event. The girls certainly made the effort to get fit; no fewer than seven started in a P.T.T.after the first Club '25', Joy Hawkins being fastest in 1-17-13. It should be mentioned here that ladies were not allowed to compete in men's events until many years later.

A Ladies 1O-mile event attracted eight entries, all of whom finished, three beating evens (20 m.p.h), namely Joy Hawkins 28-23, Eileen Horner 29-47 and Phyl White 29-58. Keeping with the ladies, our first Ladies Open '25'was promoted on August 29th. The course was:- Start at Fenlake Anchor, proceed via Willington to Girtford Bridge, enter lanes at Bidlake Memorial,proceed to Shefford turn and retrace. (This course was the usual one at this time). Thirty-three entries, which bearing in mind that Ladies' Time Trials were in their infancy, was astounding. The entries were from all parts of the country. Miss M.wilson from Bournemouth, riding from scratch, returned her fastest time to date with 1-8-47 to win the event; her time was the second fastest by a woman in Open Competition. A Sutton-in-Ashfield rider, Mrs.D.E.Cantrill, was second in 1-11-O2, whilst our own Joy Hawkins was third in 1-12-17. The Beds.Road team of Joy 1-12-17, Eileen Horner 1-13-47 and Ada Savage 1-16-31 won fastest team award, beating second team Luton Wheelers by over 1O minutes. Run off in almost ideal conditions, it was timed by Robbie Robertson of our Club.

The ladies, now full of confidence, entered the Coventry C.C.Ladies 1O-miles event and again won fastest team award with Joy Hawkins 27-18 first fastest, Phyl White 28-56 second fastest, and Dorothy Prudden 29-26 fourth fastest. Another first for the Club was the Inter-Club '25' event organised by this Club which attracted 38 Beds.Roaders, 15 Hitchin Nomads and 8 from Letchworth. Letchworth, who had a fast team at this time, won the team prize, beating the Beds.Road by 4% minutes. Fastest individual was Jim Tillotson (Letchworth) with 1-5-O1. Tillotson was to become a Beds.Roader later in his career and whilst with us was to do good rides on solo and break Club records on his trike, more of which we shall read later.

Place-to-Place records were inaugurated this year, namely Bedford to Oxford and back, Bedford to Cambridge and back, and Bedford to Peterborough and back. Two attempts were made on the Peterborough and back trip on August 15th. Stan Wakefield did the return trip in 3-48-16 to set a record, only to see John wiles who started his attempt 2O minutes after Stan return a time of 3-36-42. Stan made another attempt on the Peterborough and back on November 14th, but punctured twice and packed. Robbie timed the records. John Wiles set a record of 2-48-18 for the Cambridge and back ride.

John had an excellent season, winning the Club's '30','50','100' and 12-hour events to become B.A.R.with the highest average to date of 19.91 m.p.h. Stan Bird took Club 12-hour record in the Luton '12' event with a distance of 228 miles and during the season recorded a 4-48-15 for a Club 100-miles record. Stan's times at 50 miles, 1OO miles and 12 hours were good enough for him to be awarded a British Best All Rounder certificate for his average m.p.h. This was the first one to be awarded to a Beds.Road member.

The Continental tour of Germany by Alex Wilmot and George Skevington was probably the first tour abroad by Club members and was to be followed in later years by many other members; to mention a few - Bert Bodsworth, John Butler, Tom Bishop, Bill Roffey, John Steel, Richard Byers and John Howard. Space will not allow the mention of others.

The Annual Dinner held on December 9th attracted a record crowd of 102, many of whom were attracted by our having as chief guest Charlie Holland who was a well known Raleigh Professional, Tour de France rider and former British Best All Rounder.

The New Year's Eve run was to Northill Crown for a meal and sing-song with a visit to the dance in the Village Hall, after which the New Year was cycled in by those that were capable.


Joining the Club this year was one Fred Knight from Quickswood, Baldock. Fred was destined to give excellent service to the Club over the next 25 years, being Captain for a number of these years, and over this period he had a 100% attendance on Club runs. He gave service as team manager and his enthusiasm earned him his nickname of "The Whip". Fred was incredible in the way he could forecast the times different riders would take over all distances. A bachelor, Fred was active with the Club until a year or two before his untimely death at the age of 53 in 1964.

Having been accepted as members of the newly formed Road TimeTrials Council George Skevington was appointed the Club's first delegate, and was soon to be elected on the Committee of the North London Council and from there to a delegate to the National Council. One ruling of the newly formed R.T.T.C.was that all entries in open events must be passed to the appropriate Club official who would then forward to the promoting Club Secretary. The R.T.T.C.also advised Clubs not to advertise any Club events to too many friends outside Club circles as a large crowd at the start and finish of events was not good for the sport. (How different things were to become years later).

The Club's Longmarkers '25' was the first event under the new R.T.T.C. regulations. A terrific gale was blowing and the event was won by Cyril Jeeves with a fine time of 1-15-34 considering the conditions. Later in the season, Cyril was to stoke Alec Archer on a tandem to attack the Bedford to Cambridge place-to-place record; they returned with a 2-26-59 which was passed as Club record.

Meanwhile, Joy Hawkins was fast establishing herself as one of the leading girl time trialists in the country. An article in "Cycling" quoted her as being in the top four girls of the country. Joy was riding many open ladies' events around the country at this time and was recording some good times. Back home in the Club '100', riding a P.T.T.on July 10th, she finished with 5-19-30 which beat Miss T.M.Biggs of the Roslyn Ladies C.C.Competition ride of 1934 by 34 seconds to set a new National Record. Joy also beat her own Club record for 25 miles when she was second fastest in the western Ladies Open with a time of 1-11-49. In form Joy rode a distance of 203 miles 843 yards for 5th place in the Roslyn Ladies Open 12-hour; this record was unbeaten A0 years later. Phyl White won the Coventry Ladies Open '10' with 28-27, Eileen Horner being second with 29-09.

Joy Hawkins' good form encouraged her to make an attempt on the Birmingham to London National Record, but she had to abandon the attempt owing to the adverse weather conditions.

August 28th saw the second Beds.Road Open Ladies event with an entry of 41, again from a very wide area. Top riders of the time, Madge Ball of the Yorkshire Road C.C.with her winning time of 1-7-59 set a new Ladies Competition Record, Miss M.Wilson, last year's winner and who had just taken the London toYork record, was second with 1-8-22, whilst Joy Hawkins was third in 1-12-15. Phyl Cunningham (Beds.Road) won third handicap award, and the Beds.Road team were second in the team event to Yorkshire Road.

This year the men riding in open competition were having a moderate season as far as taking awards was concerned, but Club events were well supported, with John wiles becoming our B.A.R.again with an average of 19.462 m.p.h. closely followed by Alec Archer 19.345 m.p.h.

During the year there was a possibility of a cycle track being constructed in Bedford, Mr.Woodford, our President, conferring with the Town Clerk and the Area Committee for National Fitness at a meeting at the Town Hall to negotiate the possibilities of incorporating the track in part of the new recreation ground in London Road. Unfortunately the rumblings of a possible war breaking out in the near future put paid to anything materialising and 45 years later there was still no track in Bedford.

Tragedy hit the Club when two active members met with accidents from which they died, Dick Asher whilst motor-cycling near Dunstable on June 19th, and Stan Litchfield whilst out training for the Club '100' following which he died in hospital on July 17th. Both had held official posts within the Club and were popular members. A memorial service at St.Leonards Church on October 16th was attended by over seventy Club-mates. Another loss was the death of Mrs.Smith of Alconbury, the most popular tea venue of the Club. Mrs.Smith treated all cyclists like a mother would her children. It was just a council-owned house and we Beds Roaders more or less had the run of the place! A truly remarkable lady, Mrs.Smith loved us all - we could expect a welcome at any time of the day or night.

Membership of the Club was steady and another invitation run to Wickstead Park was well attended. On the return home an unusual happening occurred when a tandem couple, Harold Dempsey and Olive King from Biggleswade, had the front handlebars fall apart leaving the tandem uncontrollable. Harold was detained in Rushden Hospital for four days, but Olive was able to return home the same night after attention at the hospital. A lucky escape!

On the ever popular New Year's Eve run we were hoping for an accident-free


Two ladies were amongst the new members joining us this year, namely Ena Learmonth from Bygrave, Baldock, and Mamie Aylott from Hitchin, and they were soon entering time trials with much success. Mamie could always be relied upon to finish all events in which she started, whatever the times she recorded, and her perseverance was to pay off for she got amongst the Ladies National Competition records as we shall read later.

The A.G.M.saw a change of President, Mr.French taking over from Mr.Woodford who had taken on the position in 1932 during a difficult period in the Club at which time membership stood at 64, and he had during his period of office seen the inauguration of the annual invitation run which had done much to bring the membership of the Club to its peak of 140. In 1935 he gave a Challenge Cup for the 50-miles Club event.

John Wiles passed the Captaincy over to Alec Archer.

Principal alterations to rules included the following:- The award of medals for place-to-place and Club T.T.records and certificates for successful standard times; a new system of calculating the m.p.h. for Best All Rounder; and the formation of the Life Membership rule, the latter being that Life Membership of the Club could be obtained on the payment of £1.5s.Od provided the member had 1O years unbroken membership. Teddy Craig, former Captain, and Arthur Nightall, Mag.Editor for many years, were amongst the first of many to apply for membership.

Early in the year a meeting of representatives from local sports clubs was held at the Town Hall in connection with the National Fitness Festival to be held in Bedford on July 1st. The Club was represented by Mr.Woodford, Mr.Haylock and W.Donnelly who pledged the Club's full support.

The day duly arrived and various sports including cycling were participated in at Russell Park. A cycle track was marked out and Harry Hill, a leading track rider at the time, did a lap of honour during the interval. Jack Holdsworth, a prolific record breaker during his career and who was the National Organiser of Cycling, was in attendance and did the commentary for us. Various cycling events were included and Beds.Road riders were well to the fore. Unfortunately the attendance was not up to expectations. The Area Committee for National Fitness wrote to the Club thanking us for our part in the proceedings and stating they would be pressing for a grass cycle track in Bedford.

The racing season got off to a fine start with the Longmarkers '25' being won in the record time for this event of 1-8-48 by A.S.Smith, with Bill Donnelly Second 1-11-58. Charlie Benson was B.A.R.this year with 20.102 m.p.h.average after winning the '100' in 5-1-30, the'12' with 226% miles, and third in the '50' in 2-19-11. The Club '30' proved to be the last event of the season. war was declared on the morning of the event. Of an entry of 20, only six were able to compete due to the disruption caused. Five members were in the Territorial Army and had been called up the previous Wednesday, whilst others in vital jobs were also unable to start. R.Harrison won the event in 1-23-O8. The last '25' was cancelled.

Previous to the declaration of war, many open events had been entered by both men and ladies and some excellent times done.

Charlie Benson attacked the Bedford to Cambridge and back, doing 2-43-30, a new record. Charlie teamed up with Alec Archer on tandem; riding the Leicester Forest Tandem '30', they took Club record with their 1-10-34. Joy Hawkins continued to dominate both in Club and open events, breaking 25-miles record twice, the second time winning the Coventry Ladies '25' with 1-10-O8; this being her third win of the event, Joy won the magnificent trophy outright. Supported by the other Club girls, several team awards were won, amongst which was a National Competition Record for a ladies team of 3-41-O5 for 10 minutes, Joy, Ena Learmonth and Mamie Aylott having started that time in front of the eventual winners and new Competition Record holders, the Altrincham Ravens C.C.,in the Midlands '25'.

Joy also recorded a time of 2-28-59 in the first ever Ladies Open '50', the Croydon Ladies '50', winning the event.

The Club's Open '25' saw Joy on the scratch mark, but with her starting late, the event provided a big surprise winner in our own Phyl White who won the event with her 3 minute improvement ride of 1-12-O9, gaining her first handicap as well. Ena Learmonth and Eileen Horner completed the Beds.Road team to take the first team award. Mamie Aylott rode her trike to finish in 1-24-36.

1939 also saw the promotion of an Open Gents '25' by this Club. Held on a modified usual course, an entry of 197 was received, 97 having to be returned as the maximum allowed was 100 riders. Winner from a first class field was Len Thorpe (Barnet C.C) with 1-2-13; A.G.Laxton was second with 1-2-38. Mr.Haylock was timekeeper and the event was mentioned in "Cycling" as being held on the fastest course in the North Road area! The Club was congratulated on its organisation and marshalling of this, our first Open Gents '25'.

Despite the war, it was decided to carry on with the Club Dinner at The Swan Hotel; 73 attended, many in uniform of the various Services, but many others had been called to the Forces and were already abroad, and the future of the Club did not seem too bright.

Those members too old for the Forces and those in reserved work pulled together, however, and our first war-time Club run was to Buckden, followed by the birthday run to Girtford Bridge which was at this time recognised as the Club's Headquarters, 25 being able to attend.

The New Year's Eve Supper run was carried out, but was seriously down on previous years owing to the bad weather conditions of frozen roads and thick fog, Ena Learmonth being one of our first casualties in the black-out due to war conditions. She fell and broke her collarbone on the way to the venue at Northill Crown and only seven members finally made it to welcome in 1940.


Membership was down to 73 due to many getting called up before paying the subs due; later it was decided that members called to the Forces should retain membership without paying subs until the end of the war.

During the year a large number of new members joined and they included Tom Bishop, Dennis Murphy, Charlie Pepper,Pete and Peggy Speltinckx and Freddy Brown, all of whom were destined to give good service to the Club over a great number of years.

Pete and Peggy Speltinckx joined us from Hitchin Nomads and it should be mentioned here that Peggy, before her marriage and under her maiden name of Hardingham, was the first lady in Britain and therefore almost certainly in the world to beat 1 hour 10 minutes in an out-and-home time trial, which she accomplished in a Club event in 1936. Twenty-seven years later she improved this time in 1963 with a shorter 1-O9.

Pete and Peggy were mainstays of the Club runs during the war and the immediate years after, for although they were bringing up a family of three youngsters at this time, Pete and Peggy made sure one or the other took the runs on alternate Sundays and when the youngsters could ride cycles the Speltinckx family were often the only ones to make some of the runs.

Those members of the Club who were not called to the Forces were, of course, doing other essential duties which included Home Guard, Air Raid Wardens,Auxiliary Firemen, Special Constables, and Observer Corps etc.

Charlie Pepper was soon co-opted to the Committee and this was the start of his great work for the Club. Charlie at the time of writing (1983) is still in office currently as Chairman! As the war went on and on, Charlie of course was called to the Forces as was that other great worker Stan Williams, who spent some time in North Africa.

The outbreak of the war was no doubt the cause of several Club-mates getting wed ov€* the next few months and they included Stan Williams and Cis Trueman, Charlie Benson and Eileen Horner, Bert Sharp and win Pestell, and Ernie Smith and Nora Crowsley.

Meanwhile, great efforts were being made by those left at home to provide parcels of food and clothing (gloves, socks etc) for those serving abroad. The early days of the hostilities soon took its toll of Beds.Roaders. Bert Jackson and Percy Barley were posted as missing at Dunkirk and sadly their deaths were to be confirmed later. Both "Jacko" and Percy were exceptionally popular Clubmen and they were to be sadly missed. "Jovial Jacko" as he was known had served as Captain and was a fast racing man, holding the Club'3O' record (1-18-32) at this time. Percy was of quiet disposition, not so fast at time trialing, but was for ever present on runs and competing in Club events.

As members reached conscription age, so many of them were called for service, some being fortunate in being based at home, but the majority having to serve abroad.

There was a call from the Chief Constable for volunteers to form a Despatch Riders Corps to take and receive messages from one organisation to another in the district. Beds.Roaders rallied to this cause and to gain practice, a Despatch Riders Trial was organised on June 15th with riders taking a despatch from Ampthill to Girtford with the riders having to definitely check at Clophill crossroads and Shefford Chapel Corner, with other checks giving notice of impassable roads and the riders having to find alternative routes. A Bart's Map was donated as a prize for the first one to arrive at Girtford Red Bridge. This Despatch Riders Section proved a great help to the local organisations.

Surprisingly in the circumstances, Club runs and time trials were able to be carried out. with Fred Knight taking over as Captain(Fred was in a reserved job of agriculture) and George Skevington, the current T.T.Sec., appealing for those members between the ages of 14 -19 and 28 -75 to give him support, time trials continued although with long working hours including Sundays, Club events were switched to Sunday evenings to allow those working during the day to compete, some even doing so before going on night duty!

George's appeal met with good response and some good entries were obtained; the longer distances were out but open events and Club events up to 50 miles were held.

Charlie Pepper, Peter Bischine and Freddy Brown were amongst the prize- winners. Fred won two events at 25 miles and also the '50', as well as gaining successes in open events.

The Club Open Gents '25' attracted 87 entries and the winner was Ken Brooker of Luton Wheelers with a personal best of 1-3-36 with Cliff Smith (East Midlands) second in 1-3-46; both these riders were to have many successes in the coming years. Best Beds.Roader was Freddy Brown, fifth with 1-5-31.

The Ladies Open '25' attracted 26 entries and was won by Nancy Gittens (Rookery) with 1-12-46. Mrs.Broughton (Spelthorne), riding a trike, recorded 1-21-29 for National Competition Record. Ena Learmonth was fourth fastest with 1-14-46, her first ride since her New Year's Eve accident.

The influx of new members gave a boost to the Club runs; the birthday run to Girtford had 4O sitting down for tea.

The Annual Dinner this year was a real cyclists' 'd0', the venue being Fullers of Girtford, the mecca of cycling establishments for many years past. As was to be expected, many on various war duties were unable to attend, but Mr. and Mrs.Ewing and their two daughters gave those present a real musical treat after the excellent meal.

New Year's Eve was a joint affair with the St.Neots Club, eight Beds.Roaders joining them at Fullers for a meal and sing-song, leaving just before midnight to walk to Bidlake Memorial to see the New Year in.


Amongst the new members joining this year were Ron Peckham, Ken Lovelock and Johnny Stanbridge; these lads deserve a mention for they gave great service to the Club for many years.

The A.G.M.saw changes when Mr.Chattell took over from Mr.French as President, Charlie Pepper taking over the T.T.Sec.job, thus releasing George Skevington to organise the two open events this year. George was appointed Timekeeper as Robbie found his war-time duties too time consuming.

Meanwhile, Roy Welham, a Post Office worker who had been doing a good job sending parcels to those members in the Services abroad, at the same time keeping in touch with those on homeland duty, found himself called to R.E.Postal Services. During the year Joy Hawkins married Charlie Drage (I mention this so that as one reads on one does not get confused by the new name of Joy Drage, for more of her will be read later).

The Hitchin Nomads were losing their members to the Forces also and were finding things difficult owing to this. The Beds.Road therefore decided to invite them to join us on runs until they returned to reasonable strength. The offer was accepted.

The Club's parcel fund continued to be well supported and overseas Club-mates were very appreciative of the Club's efforts.

Contrary to expectations at the outbreak of war, 1940 had seen the membership grow to 95 members, 29 joining in the year. Arthur Swales, still doing good work as General Secretary, reported 27 members in the Forces at the end of 1940, and Captain Fred Knight appealed through the Club Mag for all in the Forces to maintain contact with the Club.

The lady members of the Club were without doubt some of the fastest in the country at this period, gaining many individual placings and also team awards, one of which, the Nancy Gittens Memorial '30', found Ena Learmonth first fastest in Competition Record time of 1-28-05, Joy Drage third fastest 1-30-43, and Mamie Aylott third handicap award 1-36-O8. Their combined time of 4-34-56 was also a National Ladies Competition Record.

Joy Drage was in fine form and riding in the Spelthorne C.C.Open Ladies '50', was fastest in 2-25-55 which was the fastest Ladies '5O' ever in actual competition. The Club Ladies Open '25' was won by Joy in 1-12-57, Ena was second 1-13-29, and Marjorie Murphy 1-23-49, the three winning first team award. Many other awards were won by the girls during a good season for them.

Not to be outdone, the men also put up some good performances, a few of which are mentioned here. Tom Bishop, 17 years of age, covered 205% miles in the Luton '12'. Dennis Murphy was beginning to show his potential and won first handicap in the Highgate '100' A-53-31, second fastest in the Club Open'25' 1-5-56, first handicap in the Luton Wheelers '25' 1-6-O9,first fastest Club '50' 2-16-O4, first Club '25' 1-6-17, and riding the Comet '25', he recorded 1-3-O1 for a Club record. Jim Watson, another of our new youngsters, started 1O minutes before Dennis in the Comet '25' and returned a time of 1-A-1O which was also a Club record, gaining him second handicap award as well in the event.

The Club Mag continued to appear if only three times during the year. One of these contained the following comment from the Committee:-

"At infrequent periods after runs cards appear and the resultant gambling takes place. This is definitely against the Club rules."

The Annual Dinner-Dance held at the Dujon was again a great success. It was a big surprise when the great Frank Southall, the internationally famous road and track champion, arrived entirely unexpected. Southall at this time was in the Forces and stationed at Tempsford Aerodrome and being the sport he was, was glad to be amongst us. (Incidentally, the writer still thinks Frank Southall the Best British All Rounder of all time, certainly of his time!).

The usual New Year's meet was again at Fullers, Girtfod, and on to Bidlake Memorial to welcome in 1942.


At the A.G.M. the suggestion that the Club endeavours to get a Club hut as its own property was enthusiastically adopted and it was agreed to try and accumulate the necessary funds.

Charlie Pepper was called to the R.A. and Tom Bishop took over as T.T.Sec. Cath Donnelly was appointed Assistant Sec.and Publicity Sec. being the first lady member to hold a major position in the Club.

Cath Donnely:

Cath Donnely in 2017, now living in Washington State. She married an American during the war and moved to California shortly afterwards.

Mr.Chattell was again elected President.

The Club was still losing members to the Forces and by the end of the year 39 had been conscripted, 11 of whom were stationed overseas. Twelve parcels were sent during the year containing socks, gloves and stockings knittedby Conny Matthews, Mrs.Knight and Mrs.Paul. Joy Drage was also doing fine work sending the parcels and letters to overseas members, thus keeping them well up to date with Club news. Early in the year news was received that Bert Sharp was posted as missing in Singapore and nothing was to be heard from him throughout this year.

On the racing side, Dennis Murphy, Joy Drage, Fred Brown and Ena Learmonth were the most successful individual placings, but they were well supported by a fine bunch of Club-mates entering and riding the same events. Club events averaged 19 entries.

At the outbreak of the war, the Committee decided to put the valuable collection of Club trophies in safe storage and they were not competed for during the war years.

Four Club records were broken during the season. Joy Drage won the Yorkshire C.F.Ladies '15' with a Club record time of 42-26, taking first handicap as well.

Three weeks later on June 28th, Joy, in the Bon Amis '100', returned the excellent time of 5-14-50, another Club record which was to stand for 39 years. Dennis Murphy on the same day rode the Highgate '100' starting and finishing in the Blunham Lane, and his time of 4-45-37 was another Club record. Fred Knight recorded 4-53-O3 to take first handicap.

July 26th found Fred Knight and Murphy riding tandem in the North Road '12' covering a distance of 242% miles, another record which was still a record forty years later.

The Open '25' was won by G.Laws (Catford) in 1-2-29, Murphy being fastest Beds.Roader with 1-5-24 for fifth fastest.

The Open Ladies '25' attracted a record entry of 50, the winner being Sue Rimmington (Chesterfield Spire) in 1-1O-24. Ena Learmonth 1-13-25, fifth fastest and third handicap, was fastest Beds.Road lady.

In an Inter-Club '25' with the R.A.F.Henlow, 25 of the Club returned times, Ken Lovelock taking second handicap award with 1-8-35.

This Club was giving great service to the sport at this time, and many letters of appreciation of the Club's help given to various other clubs' open events were received from the clubs concerned.

This year it was decided to make our annual Red Cross event into an inter-club event as it was thought this would make more money than usual. Mr.Chattell presented a shield to be competed for annually and certificates were to be given as prizes. A profit of £6 was made. Several other clubs' members were stationed in the district, one of whom, P.Wright (wisbech), won the event with his 1-4-33. News of overseas members continued to arrive from places as far away as Bermuda, the Middle East, India, tr Arctic, and Canada, whilst Charlie Benson, stationed on Salisbury Plain, was well to the fore in the Inter—Services Sports Meeting, coming second in the 1—mile cycling event, in the first team in the 4 X 100 yards relay, and first in the 3-mile running event.

Dennis Murphy applied for the Palestine Police Force and was accepted. It was during this year that a group of leading racing cyclists led by Percy Stallard, keen on massed road racing and frustrated by the National Cyclists Union opposition to massed start events on public roads, broke away from the N.C.U.and the 'rebels' as they were to be known formed a Massed Start Racing Club. The N.C.U.circularised all the affiliated clubs with a five-page statement of policy setting out their objections to the promotion of 'bunched' racing on the road.

Our Club called a Special Meeting to debate and vote on the subject. This was held at The Crown, Northill, on December 6th and as was to be expected, some members were for and others against. Henry Perkins was in the chair and he read the N.C.U.po1icy to the meeting; then Fred Knight read the 'rebels reply', a letter he had received after Fred had spoken against road racing earlier in the year. Once the basic particulars were known to everyone, convincing arguments were put forward by both critics and supporters of 'Stallards' races. On voting, the resolution was approved by 13 against 6, several present abstaining. The resolution was that "massed start events should not be held on public highways, with a strong recommendation that the N.C.U.should undertake to find suitable venues for closed circuit events and so cater for the growing demand for racing 'in line'". This was to be conveyed to the the Club's delegate. New Year's Eve found the Club celebrating at Northill again, after which many made their way to Caldecote Village Hall to join the locals in their dancing, leaving just before midnight to ride in 1943.



Officials elected at the A.G.M.were much as before, but one notable exception was Henry Perkins who was called to the Forces at this time.

Still no news of Bert Sharp, but bad news received of Cyril Jeeves who lost an arm and leg whilst in action at Tobruk. Cyril had been one of the most consistent pre-war riders. Stan Bird,holder of the 12-hour record, was reported to have been killed in action on the Italian front, another sad loss to this Club. The parcel fund continued to be well supported and parcels were sent each month on a rota system to overseas Club-mates. Club life, despite rationing etc., continued to flourish. Tea places were mainly at cafes and as long as there was plenty of bread and marg! plus jam with a swill of weak tea, everyone made the best of it. Attendances on runs averaged 20. Time trials continued to be well supported - both ladies and gents and one or two members in the Forces took the opportunity to ride whenever their leave coincided.

Dave Maynard, who had been prominent in events in the Eastern Counties area as a member of the Etna C.C., joined us on taking war work in this district and he proved to be a good all rounder Clubman and successful T.T.rider during his stay with us.

Ken Lovelock won fastest and first handicap in the Club '3O' with 1-23-AA. The Open Gents '25' was won by Ro Herbert (Eleanor R.C) with 1-3-O3. Ro later joined us as a 2nd Claim member and was to remain with us as such for many years. Dave Maynard was fastest Beds.Roader with his 1-6-1O.

The Open Ladies '25' attracted 32 entries, Sue Rimmington (ChesterfieldSpire) and E.waller (Addiscombe) tying for first place with their 1-12-13. Joy Drage, who joined Eleanor R.C.1st Claim whilst still retaining 2nd Claim Beds.Road, was third fastest in 1-12-25.

The Red Cross event attracted 57 entries, making a profit of £8. TomBrabbins was first fastest with 1-A-42. Sid Matthews was fastest Beds.Roader with 1-11-48, taking second handicap award. Six teams comreted and Hayes Swifts tookthe Chattell Shield as fastest team.

Surprisingly under war-time conditions, the Easter Tour to Cheddar and the 9 August Tour to North Devon were well attended, parties of11 and 12 making the trips. The Youth Hostel section also showed a revival, 13 going to Saffron Walden Hostel for the New Year Party. Another New Year's Eve run to Heath and Reach, a popular venue with the Club at this time, was also well supported.

The Annual Dinner found the Club at Fullers of Girtford, with 32 members in attendance. There was a special welcome to Cyril Jeeves as special guest; everyone present was delighted that Cyril was getting along so well. Club-mates Geoff Kindred, Frank Lack and Charlie Lancaster provided the entertainment after the meal.


Mr.Haylock was elected Club President after a lapse of 12 years and he was to remain in this position until his death in 1970.

As a slight mark of appreciation, Cyril Jeeves, who had recently returned to England after being severely disabled whilst serving with the Eighth Army, was elected Vice-President.

A suggestion was made around this time that the Club start looking for a plot of ground ready for our post—war Club hut plan, Robbie Robertson,a master builder, and Woodbine Haylock, a man very prominent on Local Government bodies, offering to help in this respect as much as possible.

Club time trials continued to attract good entries, the Low Gear 63" and the Medium Gear 72" especially so. what a pity these events were destined to be dropped some years later when big gears were to become the vogue, nifty pedalling giving way to brute strength! Still, it must be admitted that the higher gears resulted in faster times, some of which were to be truly remarkable in the years ahead.

_ 25 _

It was in the 1944 season that it was decided to award the Club trophies again. whilst the entries for Club events were very good, owing to working irregular hours plus Home Guard duties etc., there were many non-starters, so it was decided to arrange the time of events to suit the most entries that could start at any particular time. As a result, some events were on Sunday mornings, others on Sunday evenings, and what up to this time was unique, on Thursday evenings. The evening events produced a great many personal bests.

Trophy winners were Freddy Brown, B.A.R.2O.63 m.p.h.for 25, 5O and 100 miles; Junior B.A.R.up to 5O miles distance was Alan Gander with 19.56m.p.h. Fred Knight took the 100-miles Trophy with his fastest and first handicap time of 4-58-44.

The R.T.T.C.early in the year asked the Club if they would promote the first ever National Ladies 25-miles Championship for 1944 in conjunction with our Open Ladies '25' on August 20th. This was a great tribute to this Club and from a good class field, the winner was Sue Rimmington (Chesterfield Spire) with 1-7-46; second was Nellie Spye (Sheffield Central). Ellen Herbert (Eleanor), wife of Ro, won third handicap with 1-13-1O. Fastest Beds.Roader was Peggy Speltinckx with 1-21-59.

The Gents Open organiser was Arthur Aylott, but he was called to the Forces at short notice so Mamie, his wife, assisted by Fred Knight, took over and received a full entry of 100. L.Seath of the Vegetarian C.C. won the event with 1-5-15. Fastest Beds.Roader was Dave Maynard with 1-7-54, whilst Alan Gander won second handicap and the Club second team award.

This year the Hostel Section had 40 members due mainly to the enthusiasm of Frank Lack, the Y.H.A.Sec., and many hostels were visited during the year. On Saturday, March 4th, Speen Hostel was the venue, the main party arriving in bright sunshine, but two girls who had left Bedford later on their own, Joan Champkins and Odette Cooper, were caught in a snowstorm and at 10.30 p.m.were struggling along with 5 miles to go to the hostel. They 'phoned the warden to tell him they were on their way. An hour later they 'phoned again saying they were stranded just over a mile from the hostel as it was impossible to ride a bike on the roads. Fred Knight and the warden braved the night and went to their aid, and they arrived back at the hostel in the early hours of next morning.

The Easter Tour was to the Stratford-on-Avon area and Whitsun was spent touring the Peak District.

This year saw the coming of age (21)of the Club and eight founder and older members sent letters to Arthur Swales who had asked them to send their reminiscences. Parts of these letters were published in Club Mag No.58, and anyone who could get a sight of this Mag would find them interesting and amusing. Our long awaited 21st Dinner-Dance did not materialise; catering restrictions prevented us from inviting celebrities and having a real 'posh' do. Nevertheless Mrs.Ewing of Fullers at Girtford put on a really fine spread which was enjoyed by the 45 members able to be present.

The New Year's Eve hostel run found 12 members setting a new record for the Club when 24 punctures were suffered during the weekend!


Membership was 151 with 51 now in the Forces (14 overseas). Financially the Club was sound.

The A.G.M.included a discussion on the proposed Club hut problem. Finally, owing to the present high costs of a plot of ground, together with the unsettled conditions etc., it was decided to postpone the project in favour of trying to obtain a room in a suitable building.

The Cyclists Rear Light Bill which was being pushed through Parliament aroused much interest. General dissatisfaction of the way it was being rushed through with no conference with cycling organisations resulted in a decision to send a letter of protest to the local M.Ps.


A suggestion that advertisements be printed in the Mag to affray the cost was left in abeyance, many thinking that after the initial beginning, support would soon drop and the trouble of obtaining a regular supply of adverts would not be worth the bother.

At this time, several junior members were asking that the rules for the Junior Trophy be amended to allow them to compete in events up to 1OO miles. It was pointed out to the youngsters that the rules were such that they prevented them from over—taxing their stamina and jeopardising their future racing careers. The Club called for support in providing a suitable Ladies Championship 25-mile trophy, Arthur Swales offering to be treasurer for the project. This year the Club decided to send a copy of our Mags to the Copyright Office, British Museum, to be bound and preserved for all time.

Our new Time Trials Sec. Dave Maynard was well to the fore in the events he organised, winning the Low Gear '25'(63") in 1-13-18, the 72" Medium Gear'25' in 1-11-18, and he also won the Luton Wheelers '25' in 1-8-42 taking first handicap award as well.

Fred Brown, Fred Knight and Bill Green were also prominent in local time trials, whilst leading Club lady rider in both Club and open events was Peggy Speltinckx who was making her presence felt on her return to the sport after a spell of rearing a family of three, one of whom, Jean (later Mrs.Roy Lilley) was also destined to play a big part in the future of this Club.

Peggy's name was the first to go on the Beatrice Haylock Memorial Trophy, a trophy given by Mr.woodbine Haylock in memory of his late wife and to be awarded annually to the fastest Beds.Roader in the Club Open Ladies '25'. Arthur Swales received a good response from the many clubs he contacted about donations towards the cost of the proposed trophy for the Ladies R.T.T.C.Championship '25' and eventually a trophy was purchased.

V.E.Day on May 8th this year saw the possibility of hostilities ceasing in the near future and the suggestion by Henry Perkins and Stan Williams, both of whom were still in the Forces, that an Old Timers Section be formed mainly to keep those in the Club unable to enter into Club life as before interested if only in a limited way, was looking as if it would become a reality, although there were some members with doubts about it being in the best interest of the Club.

Henry, home on nine days' leave, took the opportunity to go away with his wife of twelve months to the Highlands of Scotland, something he had been dreaming about during his Service life, and he wrote an interesting account of the trip in Mag.No.6O.

Charlie Benson, however, was not so lucky, having contracted a disease for which he was invalided out and back to civvy street but still having to have spells in hospital from time to time. On a happier note, Bert Sharp returned home after being a Japanese prisoner on the ill-famed Burma Road for 3% years, Bert telling us he was indeed one of the lucky ones to return after the atrocities suffered at the hands of the Japs. He received a big welcome at the 22nd Annual Dinner held at the Dujon where 98 members and visitors, the best so far, gathered. Guests included Rex Coley of Cape wrath fame, Mr.England, Editor of "Cycling", and Jack Rossiter, the pre-war Century Road C.C.record breaker. Arthur Swales was presented with a large framed photograph of the newly acquired Ladies Championship Trophy by the Editor of "Cycling" in appreciation of his great efforts in organising the fund. This is now displayed at the Clubroom.


Two new trophies were given to the Club by Mr.and Mrs.Roy Marston, one being presented for the member doing the most meritorious work on behalf of the Club as judged by his or her fellow Committee members, and one for the Ladies Attendance on Club runs during the year.


It was reported at the A.G.M.that there was a memberhip of 145 (49 in the Forces).

This year was a good one for new members joining; included amongst them were several who were to be prominent within the Club in future years — namely, Vic Stringer, Pete Purdy, Jean Wood, Ralph Nicol, Mrs.Haylock and Eric Gough. with the ending of the war, the chief Club topic was, of course, the acquiring of a Club hut, possibly the purchase of one of the many coming on the market at this time as Service huts became redundant.

Arthur Swales kept pushing the members at every opportunity and in due course a Special General Meeting was called at which Stan Williams was appointed Club Hut Secretary and a small sub—committee was given permission to purchase a hut should a suitable one become available. During May, disused huts were being offered at Gamlingay and Charlie Benson, accompanied by Con Matthews,made the journey to Gamlingay and after inspection put down a deposit on one. On June 26th at a Committee Meeting held at Arthur Swales' home, it was reported that a hut 42' x 16' had been purchased at a cost of £105 and arrangements had been made for it to be delivered to a site at Diemer & Reynolds factory which they had kindly agreed to let the Club lease on the understanding that six months' notice could be given by either side to terminate any agreement made. Whilst this was indeed good news, it was realised that much cash, materials and many helpers would be needed to hopefully have the hut erected for use by the 1947 racing programme. Saturdays were the days that a hard core of helpers (Stan Williams, Ron Peckham, Ernie Hewitt and Tom Bishop to mention a few) were to be found slogging away at the foundations for the next few weeks. Charlie Pepper had taken over the Captain position this year and he was trying to encourage more members to attend the all—day runs although tea places were averaging 25 to tea. with more open events taking place on the North Road courses, these were being blamed for the drop in attendances of all-day runs.

Youth Hostel weekends were proving popular due to the enthusiasm of Peggy Speltinckx, the Sections Sec., and the Thursday evening runs to Deadmans were well attended with Charlie Lancaster entertaining on the piano.

Time trials, both Club and open events, were being well supported, Dennis Murphy (recently demobbed) and Freddy Brown having many successes. Handicapping of Club events was being done by a sub—committee of four.

Fred Brown was Club B.A.R.with an average of 20.78 m.p.h; he also won the Luton Wheelers '25'on a hard morning with a time of 1-7-25 and riding in the Rapier '30', his time of 1-18-22 equalled Club record.

The newly formed Old Timers Section was proving a success and gradually many ex members were re-joining and the prospects for the future looked bright at this time.

The Annual Dinner attracted 106, the chief guests being the local M.P., Skevington Lodge, and Bob Haythorne (Luton Wheelers), recent winner of the North Road 24-hour.

The birthday run this year was to the Club's birthplace -The Sun, Biggleswade, where after tea an autographed scroll and cheque were presented to Fred Knight for his great work during the war years as Captain, he having completed a spell of six years.

The New Year's run was again to our most popular venue, Deadmans Cross. This was to be the last New Year's Eve with the popular host and hostess, Mr.and Mrs. Facey, who were leaving shortly to retire at Clacton. They had certainly been good friends of this Club, and they themselves were rather dejected at the thoughts of missing our company.



Membership was now 153 with 22 still in the Forces. New members joining this year included Eric Steel, Alan Russell and Fred Hamilton.

"Russ" was a carpenter by trade and was to give much effort in the erection of the Club hut. Steel and Hamilton proved to be good racing men.

This year began with the worst snowstorm in these parts for many years.

The snow was to be around for some weeks and when it did eventually clear, it left floods behind it, alas for our Club hut which was tobe found floating around until the waters subsided. This caused a cry from Stan Williams for more helpers when the lighter evenings came along to make greater efforts to get the Club hut erected whilst the weather was better, but it was still the faithful few who responded and it was with great relief when after a long weekend on the 15th and 16th November, it was finally erected. However, this still left much more to be done by the few regular helpers making strenuous efforts.

Time trials continued to make a big come-back in the country as a whole;this Club itself had 12 events down including three opens. The Club had for the first time elected a Team Manager (Dennis Murphy) and all seemed set for another fine racing season, and so it proved to be. There was a record entry of 52 in the last Club '25', Fred Brown, Barney Higgins, Alan Gander (who won the 12-hour at his first attempt at the distance with 221 miles 1282 yards) and Jack Ball taking the chief honours. In the open events the Club team of Murphy, Brown and Pete Purdy took many team awards, whilst individually Murphy and Brown beat Club records at 50 miles and 1OO miles and 12 hours. In the University '100' on May 26th, Murphy was second fastest with a Club record time of 4-40-36; he recorded 2-1O-51 in the Kingsdale '50', another Club record, and a week later in the De Laune '100', he improved his record to 4-35-43. A week later he was third fastest in the Highgate '100' and helped by Purdy and Brown, took the coveted Highgate Cup for fastest team. These three riders each recorded 2 hours 11minutes in the National 5O-mile Championship to set a Club team record. Brown was second fastest in the Poly '12' with 232% miles, another Club record. This was soon to be beaten, for when riding the National 12-hour Championship event, Murphy covered 235% miles, and with Purdy 225% miles and Jack Ball 222%, yet another team record, whilst on the same day, September 7th, Peggy Speltinckx rode 191 miles 732yards in the Rosslyn Ladies '12'. These were just some of the fine rides in what was our finest Time Trial season to date. The Club '30' team record went in the Upper Holloway '30' with a team aggregate of 4-O-45 by Jack Ball, Barney Higgins and Alan Russell. This left only the '25' team record of 3-15-52 set by Murphy, Jim Watson and Dave Maynard in 1941 not beaten this year! Alan Gander was Club Events B.A.B.

Interest in track racing had become more evident and it was decided to hold Club Track Championships at 1 mile and %-mile distances with an endeavour to get them either at the Wolverton or Kettering tracks.

Racing Section meetings were held under the chairmanship of Fred Knight from time to time at Deadmans Cross, and it was hoped to arrange Hardriders runs to Windsor, Witney and Oxford early next season.

The Club's success in open events attracted a fine bunch of newcomers to the Club and Tom Bishop, a most popular Club Captain,had a good following on the runs, one popular run being to Hurdlefoot which attracted 50 for tea. An invitation run was to Woburn Park with tea at the C.T.C.Rally held at Wrest Park.

George Skevington, our Open Event Sec., was finding overnight accommodation scarce for visiting riders, it being the thing for riders to bike long distances to the events and stay overnight and race next morning, the weekends making good social gatherings which were very enjoyable. Unfortunately, Lou Ewing having left Fullers at Girtford, the new proprietors refused to put up racing cyclists. It appeared that some London clubmen who had been staying there overnight for the events were being inconsiderate during their stay, the chief complaint being the filthy state in which the bedrooms were left with wintergreen oils and even boot polish on the sheets. Thus we cyclists lost what must have been the most famous of club-houses up to and during the Second World War.

_ 38-

Another feature of 1947 was an all-night run to Clacton—on-Sea with a midnight start from the Town Hall.

Sadly two deaths marred the year when Jim Watson died as the result of war wounds, the Club thus losing a promising short distance star.

James Lindsey Watson - Royal Engineers
Mr Watson joined Beds Road Cycling Club on 16 February, 1941
He lived at "The Beeches", Therfield, Royston, Herts.

On November 6th Mr.Chattell died suddenly. Mr.Chattell had been connected with the Club since 1924 and was President from 1941 to 1944.

The New Year's Eve run was again to Deadmans Cross where the new management put on a great meal for the 25 who attended, and who rode to Bidlake Memorial to welcome in 1948.


The death of Tom Maddox of the North Road Club, a National record holder, brought back memories for Beds Roaders for although Tom left this Club in 1932, he being a Bedford man was well known to us,having been a member of the Beds.Road and a Committee Member from 1929 to 1932; he had also been Racing Sec., Auditor and General Sec.

At the A.G.M. Tom Bishop, organiser of the Christmas Draw, reported a profit of £48, materials for the Club hut being purchased with the money.

Membership was well up with 166 members, 15 of whom were in the Forces. New members who joined included Maureen Gibbs, later to marry Pete Stimpson who joined with her, and Dorothy Jill Hyde who was to marry Charlie Pepper, already a member. These four were destined to give excellent service to this Club in the coming years.

Among the changes of officials was the Social Sec. and Club Hut, taken over by Roy Maitland.

The meeting also agreed for more events at 1O and 15 miles, and for a Club Hill Climb to be promoted, whilst it was decided that certificates be awarded to members for Team records.

The Red Cross '25' was to be an invitation event with four to count as a team, whilst prize values for Club events were to be determined by the number of entries received.

During the year, the Club organised raffles and bring-and-buy sales, and invited donations towards the purchase of a new Club trophy to be known as the H.E.Jackson Memorial Trophy, to be awarded to the Best All Rounder of the Club 25, 50 and 100 miles and 12 hours in all events approved by the R.T.T.C. Bert Jackson joined the Club in July 1932, starting his racing career with a Club '12'distance of 189 miles. His best season was 1936 when he concentrated on shorter events. He won the Letchworth '25' with 1-4-48, only 4 seconds outside Club record. Riding the Northants Rover '25' later in the season, he finished in 1-4-24 on a course rumoured to be short, a rumour that was not confirmed, but even so Bert refused to claim the Club record. His best '50' was 2-14-28 in the Godiva '50'; he won the Club's '30', whilst his 1-18-22 in the Upper Holloway '30' was a new Club record and still is 12 years later. Bert was a Vice-Captain and Committee man of jovial disposition. He volunteered for Service at the outbreak of war and was posted missing at Dunkirk in 1940, and he was finally reported as being buried at the Military Cemetery, St.Valory-en-Caux, France. Tom Bishop led a party of Beds.Roaders on a visit to the cemetery to pay respects on behalf of the Club.

Pete Purdy with an average of 21.464 m.p.h.was the first holder of the new trophy.

The 1948 Club events totalled 15 and received excellent support, the final '25' attracting 52 entries. The Club '12' this year had an entry of 14 riders with 83 helpers out around the course. Vic Stringer, who covered 200 miles 1526 yards at his first attempt at anything above 30 miles, was to prove a prolific 'mile eater' in the years ahead! Prominent winners of Club events included Purdy, Gough, Nicol, Russell, Higgins and Ball. Juniors and Ladies to shine were John


Dellar, Housden, Brian Wood and Peggy Speltinckx. The Hill Climb on the Hartington Sundon Hill (the Club's first) was won by that promising youngster, Brian Wood, riding a 59" gear for a time of 2-31.

Club B.A.R.for the third time was Charlie Benson who had made a remarkable comeback from a very serious spell in hospital last year. Charles was a worthy winner and it gained him the Grace Goring Trophy outright as the winner three times, his others being 1936 and 1939.

The massed start events at Rockingham organised by the N.C.U.NorthantsCentre were a big success for them (and for this Club), with 14 entries in the junior event and 12 in the seniors. On a small two-thirds of a mile circuit in the grounds of the castle, the junior event was over 11 laps and Brian Wood, although without team support, was beaten into second place by only the width of a tyre. In the senior event we had Murphy, Ball and Higgins riding; they took the team award.

Ball was second, Higgins third and Murphy fifth. It was an exciting race from the start. Ball fell, then broke a toe-clip, changed bikes and was still in front on the final sprint home, but Dobbs of Dunstable just pipped him on the line. Higgins also fell with two laps to go but was able to get up with the leaders again. Murphy had a lot of trouble with his gear changing and rode more of a time trial than a massed start effort. Altogether a great effort by all concerned at this, the first event of its kind in the district.

Encouraged by their successes, Jack Ball and Dennis Murphy entered the Manx International event on the Isle of Man and against a full and very classy field, Jack finished in fourteenth place covering the 75% miles in 3-37-O3, for which he received a fine silver medal. Murphy fell at GovernorsBridge and failed to finish. Members were also riding local grass track events, Ralph Nicol and Eric Gough getting among the prizes. Open time trials were being entered all over the country, Dennis Murphy giving up the Joint Team Manager's post to concentrate on his racing.

Thirty-two individual prizes were won in open events, also three first team awards and three second team awards. Club records taken included Tandem '3O' by Ralph Nicol and Eric Gough in tbe Upton Manor Tandem '3O' with 1-9-57. Ralph also took Club '3O' in the Coventry'30' with 1-17-31 and backed up by Jack Ball 1-17-A9 and Brian Wood 1-20-59, took team record as well. Peggy Speltinckx covered the Rosslyn Ladies '100' in 5-28-26. The '25' team record fell to Nicol, Gough and Higgins in the Southgate '25' with 3-11-51.

Highlight of this, our Jubilee year, was the birthday run to Gamlingay for tea where TA members gathered. Jim Holliman, the Club's Master Baker, made a cake and decorated it with 25 candles. After tea, Mr.Haylock read the minutes of the very first Committee Meeting of the Club way back in 1923. Five founder members were in attendance, one of whom, "Jock"Aynesley, gave a humorous account of some of the early Club runs.

The racing men's supper was again held at Deadmans Cross and a surprise was forthcoming when Fred Knight (Team Manager) gave a special prize for what Fredsaid was in his opinion the best performance of the year, the 2-1A—51 by Ralph in the west Suffolk '50.

The Annual Dinneer organised by Roy Maitland was another success, 120 gathering at the Dujon. Pete Purdy (Open B.A.R) and Charlie Benson (Club B.A.R) were both chaired to the top table to collect their awards (a usual happening at the dinners, but a ritual that was sadly to die out in the later years). The dancing and games that followed brought a really fine evening to a close.

Tea places during the year included Mentmore, Studham, Harpenden, Harston, Denford and Somersham, whilst the youth hostel weekends and holiday tours were well supported.

The usual New Year's Eve supper at Deadmans Cross and the ride to Bidlake Memorial afterwards brought in 1949.



Amongst the new members to join this year were Andy Butchart, Harry Huckle and John Howard. What a trio! Andy gave great service for the next 25 years, after which he seemed to take a well earned rest, whilst Harry and John have already given 35 years as I write this and are still going strong. Bill Roffey was another to join the Club around this time - and what service was destined to be given by this chap to the Club during the next 35 years and doubtless many more as well.

April 3rd 1949 saw the official opening of the Memorial Clubhouse by Mrs.Ena Haylock, after Woodbine Haylock had addressed the 120 members and friends present telling them how the Clubhouse had been built and paid for by Club members. Mrs. Haylock, after being presented with the key by Valerie Maitland, said: "Today we remember those of this Club who gave their lives for us and for their country; by their bravery and devotion to duty you have been free to build these headquarters and by hard work this has been achieved."

The building having been declared open, we all entered. Over the red brick fireplace hung the Union Jack flag to which the gathering's attention was now directed. Harry Box, a member of the Club studying for the ministry and himself serving in the Forces with the distinction of having been decorated by the King with the Distinguished Flying Medal, after saying a prayer in which all present joined in and after the Lord's Prayer, released the flag to reveal the oak tablet with these words:

"Opened by Mrs.W.Haylock on Sunday, 3rd April 1949.

Dedicated to the memory of Club members who lost their lives in the Second World War 1939— 1945"

H.E. Jackson, R A.S.C.
P.A Barley, R.A Beds.Yeomanry
J.L. Watson, R.E.
S. Bird, R.A
G.W Simco, 4th Buffs."

After the ceremony tea was taken with the Club girls looking after our guests who included relatives of our late Club-mates.

With Club records becoming more prevalent, a new ruling came into being that the claimant had to satisfy the Committee as to his performances, timekeeper and route to be approved, and the timekeeper's watch to hold a current R.T.T.C. approved watch certificate.

It was decided to enter a team in the National Team Pursuit Championship this year and on May 22nd at the Wolverton track, our team of George Simmons, Dennis Murphy, Ralph Nicol and Eric Gough won the Northants Centre Championships by beating the Northants Road Club and the Eleanor R.C. to reach the final against Dunstable Watling who they beat, recording a time of 5-311/5. This was a great performance and it put the Club right in the limelight for they were drawn against the classic Willesden team in the next round which was held at the Herne Hill track on June 12th. As was to be expected, Willesden, a club who concentrated on track racing and therefore having much more experience, beat our team who, however, did not disgrace themselves and built themselves a niche in this Club's history by being the first Beds.Road team to ride at Herne Hill.

Track racing was in demand at this time and this Club offered full support to members riding and helping in the grass track meetings to be held in August at Biggleswade and Kempston.

Eric Steel and Sid Matthews were very prominent in the promotion of the Biggleswade meeting especially and were able to get this meeting to promote and provide the prizes for the Beds.Road C.C., 'Club only' events at %—mile scratch, 10 laps pursuit and one lap flying start pursuit. Fifteen Beds.Roaders entered the Open Event which attracted 37 entries from a wide area. Scratch man of the day was G.Chapman of the Cambridge Town & County C.C. who was in later years to become a prominent figure in the cycle trade.

Charlie Benson won two prizes in the Open Events as well as the Club's one- lap flying start pursuit.

_ 33 _

Thanks for this Club's assistance at these meetings were received from the Biggleswade and Kempston organisers.

Massed start racing at Rockingham was a feature at this time and one of our members, Fred Hamilton, a lad from Arlesey, won the Northants Massed Start title in a very convincing manner. Hamilton also finished second inthe Centre's 5-miles Grass Championship.

Time trials were being well supported. Riding a the Club'30', Joy Sheppard took Club record with her 1-27-O8. Eileen Sargent and Maureen Gibbs, riding tandem, recorded 1-19-20, also a Club record. Ralph Nicol was first fastest third handicap in the N.& D.C.A.'50', his time of 2-9-39 being another record. D.Murphy 242% miles, Fred Hamilton 235%, and Tom Bishop 212% miles in the Luton 12-hour took Club team record, whilst Eric Steel with his time of 2-42-08 for the Bedford to Cambridge and back beat Charlie Benson's record standing since 1939. Nicol, Simmons and Cough had a record aggregate of 3-11-16 riding in the Southgate '25'. Club B.A.Rs this year were Murphy, Club and Open B.A.R.with21.653 and 22.2A9 m.p.h. and Ralph Nicol, Junior B.A.R.with 23.603 m.p.h. - all record aggregates.

Summing up the season, Fred Knight (Team Manager) stated that this had been the longest and most strenuous in the Club's history with a total of 20,615 miles covered by finishers in road events (excluding the evening league). Fifty—seven Open and Association events saw names on the result sheets, with a bag of prizes totalling 35 Individual and Team won at all distances from Q-mile on grass to 12 hours on the road. Of these totals, "Spud" Murphy did over 2,100 miles for eight prizes and a share of seven team awards.

The A.G.M.this year was the first to be held in our own Clubhouse, and it attracted a large gathering of 68 with the meeting going on for seven hours. Finances were promising with profits expected from Clubhouse functions. Thefinal report on the building of the Clubhouse revealed that the total cost was £261.60 and Stan Williams (what a worker!) drew attention to the many snags that may in the future beset the running of the new building and appealed once again for help in the maintenance of the Clubhouse and garden.

Jill Hyde (Pepper? was voted the Velocipede Trophy winner and was also elected on the Committee, the start of many years of service to the Club (35 years as I write and still going strong).

The Longmarkers limit at this time was 1 hour 10 minutes.

It was also decided that the Old Timers Section be renamed Fellowship of the Bedfordshire Road. The first reunion meeting of the newly named Fellowship took place at The Gardeners Arms, Bedford, when 38 gathered, many of whom had not met for years owing to the war.

Another first was the Children's Christmas Party at the Clubhouse. Father Christmas was Johnny Stanbridge who gave out presents to the children, presents paid for from a collection from Club members organised by Tom Bishop. This party was destined to become a feature of Club life in the future years.

The Roy Marston Trophy awarded for outstanding service to the Club resulted in a tie by Fred Knight and A.Russell. Fred had put in his usualtremendous amount of work for the racing lads, whilst "Russ"gave great help and technical advice plus long hours towards the completion of the Clubhouse.

The usual meal, sing-song and 'booze up' at Deadmans Cross was followed by the ride to Bidlake (by those who could make it!) for Auld Lang Syne to welcome in 1950.


Ella How, Olga How, Jean Speltinckx and Hilda Gibbs were notable additions to the ranks this year and were to be active within the Club for the next three or four decades.

An enjoyable evening was held at the Clubhouse on March 1st when members put on their own concert. Nearly 70 members were present when the set-up was on the

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lines of 'Olde Tyme Music Hall' with Eric Steel in the chair, which kept everyone alive with laughter the whole evening.

A new feature was the inviting of three junior members to attend Committee Meetings to give them an insight into the working of Club management. This was taken up by many youngsters and proved popular.

In 19h8 with Club funds at a low ebb owing to expenditure in the Clubhouse venture, certain members had loaned £37 to the Club and this year they were paid back that loan.

Club time trials courses were checked and re—checked by Vic Stringer and Tom Bishop.

On Sunday, May 21st, a minor 'Tornado' damaged the Clubhouse, but it could have been a lot worse had not a large elm tree close to the Clubhouse fallen in the direction that it did, for it would have demolished the Clubhouse completely. A request from the R.T.T.C. asking if the Club would promote the Ladies National 50-miles Championship 1951 was accepted.

Tom Bishop and Bert Bodsworth having just toured extensively in Spain recorded their exploits in the Club Mag.

Secretary Arthur Swales was taken ill and his duties were taken over by Johnny Stanbridge assisted by Jill Hyde.

A record attendance of 119 were at the 27th Dinner held at the Assembly Rooms and non-dancers were this year treated to sketches by CharlieBenson and Eric Steel with Ken Brooker, a visitor from Luton Wheelers, doing his 'Popeye' act and Andy Butchart playing bagpipes.

Lectures at the Clubhouse included the following subjects: Touring given by Harold Briercliffe, Club Management, and Cycle Camping with a home-made tent with all the necessary kit for a camping holiday said to cost £12 was demonstrated by a Mr.Rowell from the local D.A.of the Camping Club.

George Skevington on release from the Services had taken up photography professionally for local newspapers and about this time the Club Mag.became brighter with photos of Club members and social events through George's efforts. Subsequently John wiles undertook to make frames for those photos passed as suitable, and these were to hang in the Clubhouse for posterity.

On the racing side, Club events were up to standard, some good rides being recorded by D.Murphy, A.Russell, R.Nicol and Joy Sheppard. Ron west won the Hill Climb in record time, and A.Russell won both Club and Open B.A.Rs, his averages being 21.641 and 21.954 m.p.h.

Ralph Nicol on taking Club '25' record with his 1-2-21 for third fastest in the Walton C.C.event became the first Beds.Roader to beat 24 m.p.h. In the same event Russell with 1-2-33 and Pete Purdy with 1-5-O6, together with Nicol, took team record also.

The Club '12' was again run by the Club alone and with 13 entries, 12 finishers with one non-starter was voted a big success, as indeed it was. A.Russell recorded 236 miles 1155 yards, beating D.Murphy 232 miles 860 yards. Two others, 'Jock' Aynesley (a founder member) improved to 209 miles 1293 yards and a young Dave Jordan in his first attempt finished with 197 miles 625 yards. Dave was in the next few years destined to hit the local and national headlines with his efforts at longer distances.

Joy Sheppard, riding in the Eleanor '15', did 41-56, another record, and followed it with 1-26-18 in the Rookery '30' for yet another.

New Year's Eve coming on a Sunday this year meant a really full day was ahead, albeit there was quite a lot of snow lying around. Elevenses at Woburn Sands, then Sheep Lane for lunch, back to Deadmans Cross for tea, after which Charlie Lancaster entertained on the piano until closing time; then over to Con and Sid Matthews for further refreshments before taking the road again for Bidlake Memorial just before midnight.



1951 started on a bright note for both President W.Haylock and Secretary A.Swales, after spells in hospital, were home again and hopefully on the way to a full recovery.

Colin Buxton and Roy Presland were amongst the new members joining this year and were to stay with us for many decades. Membership was a record 176, of whom 120 were to gain attendance points during the year!

Mr.and Mrs.Phillips, the parents of one of our younger members, Joan, gave the Club a magnificent trophy for the Ladies B.A.R. and the first holder was Joy Sheppard for her in 1950.

On the social side, a football match was arranged to take place on the Igranic Sports Ground between the St.Neots Club and ourselves. The outcome was a win by 2 goals to 1 by St.Neots.

On May 23rd a demonstration in aid of the NationalPlaying FieldsAssociation took place in Bedford Park before a crowd of 6000 people who saw various displays from netball and judo to a five-a-side football. Then it was our turn to put across cycling, and a grand show our lads made of it, and it was hoped the local Councillors present were impressed and would push for a cycle track in Bedford. July 5th was a sad day, for whilst five of our members were on a run, passing through Stagsden they were run down by a passing car. This resulted in Arthur Pinnock, currently the Club's Racing Secretary, being very badly injured, as was also Ron west, one of our most promising youngsters. Fortunately, Ron eventually recovered but Arthur, after enduring great pain for three weeks, died on July 27th from his injuries. Many members attended the funeral service at St.Mary's, Bedford, and the interment on July 31st. Arthur was a jovial,likeable chap willing to do anything for the Club. Later in the year, J.Stanbridge, R.Peckham and J.Howard presented a shield to be awarded tothe fastest Club member in the Open '25' in order that the memory of Arthur Pinnock be preserved for all time.

A menu card, the only one of its kind, of the first annual dinner of the famous Buckshee wheelers (a Serviceman's cycling club formed in Cairo in 1941) was given to the Club by Dennis Murphy. This menu card was signed by all those present at the dinner and was then auctioned, Dennis's being the final offer. The card was mounted and placed in the Clubhouse and will increase in value in years to come.

During the year a decision by the Committee to reprimand Barry Gibbs for dangerous riding on a Club event caused Team Manager Fred Knight to resign, mainly because he was not notified of that decision by the Committee and Fred had only heard of it by chance.

The Club open events had up to this year been held over the Club '25'course from Bedford to Shefford and back, but it was decided to run them on the North Road in future.

A fund to raise £5 for a prize to be awarded to the first Beds.Roader to beat the hour for a 25-mile T.T.was started.

All five Ladies' Club events were won this year by Olga White in her first season, thus taking the Ladies B.A.R. and being the fastest Club girl in the Open with 1-12-00, also won the Phillips Trophy. Olga came into the sport rather later in life than many and her performances were made on an open-framed ladies' cycle which in itself was somewhat unusual. Olga's time for 1O miles was 27-51 and for 15 miles 43-32.

The Ladies' National 50-miles Championship was duly promoted by the Club on a course starting just north of Biggleswade to turn at first Sawtry Lane north of milestone 70 and return. Daisy Stockwell (Apollo C.C) was fastest with 2-15-20, E.Horton (Coventry C.C) second with 2-16-48. Seventy-three entries were received for the event and for the first time the Club had a team of girls entered, all of whom - Olga white 2-31-35, Ella How 2-A2-04, Nora Smith 2-A3—53 and Mary Matthews


2-49-26 - by virtue of different finishing times, set or beat the Club Ladies '50' team record, and at a Committee Meeting later it was decided to award the four girls certificates acknowledging the records.

Meanwhile, Ernie Smith, making a come-back to competition after a few years' rest, was doing good rides on his trike, beating Club record in the North Road Memorial '5O' with 2-28-48 and the '25' record in the Red Cross event with his time of 1-13-O3. Ernie also won the Club '50' on two wheels with his time of 2-12-43, beating Eric Steel by 3 seconds. Andy Butchart recorded 2-17-35 for first handicap.

The Club Open '25' was won by Dave Keeler (Veg.C.C) in the event record time of 1-1-21 on a very windy day. Dave was at this time holder of the National '25' and '30' records.

Ivor Turner was the Club's short distance 'star' this season, winning the three Club '25's and the Club '30'. Vic Stringer won the '12' with 224% miles, followed by Pete Purdy 218% miles and Ron Peckham 214 miles. Pete Purdy won both the Club and Open B.A.Rs, with Barry Gibbs taking the Junior B.A.R.

The Annual Dinner was another success with Dave Keeler, the Mayor of Bedford and Chief Inspector Woods of the Bedfordshire Road Safety Committee as chief guests.

On Boxing Day, a Beds.Road team competed in the annual St.Neots to Bedford relay run, being represented by C.Benson, R.Peckham, D.Holton and J.Smith, and they were successful in beating some of the athletic teams entered. At the A.G.M. a ruling was made that only first claim members of the Club would qualify for any records. Harry Huckle was elected to the new postof Massed Start Secretary and Ron Peckham won the Velocipede Trophy, having 92 points from a possible 107.

The New Year's Eve run was to a new venue for supper at the White Horse, Southill, after which a ride home via Bidlake Memorial, and so into 1952.


Joining the Club this year were the following, who were to play their part in our Club for many years - namely Jack Page, Colin Butcher, Pat Smith and Gordon Haddow.

Now that the Club had decided to support massed start events, a fund was started with which to purchase a Massed Start Championship Trophy with 1O points for a first place, 7 for second, and 5 for third place to qualify for it. February 2nd saw the first cyclo-cross event of the Club, the course being based in the Woburn Sands area. Organiser was Harry Huckle. A good entry was received with only 11 seconds separating the first four riders, Roy Lester winning narrowly from R.Peters.

Harold Briercliffe, one-time Editor of our Club Mag., was promoted to Editor of "The Cycle and Motor Cycle Trader".

The Open '25' attracted an entry of 211 and of the permitted 12O starters, fastest was Frank white of the Luton Arrow in 59-58. D.Cousins 1-2-13, John Howard 1-3-12 and Ivor Turner 1-3-37 were fastest Beds.Roaders; they claimed a team record but on checking the course it was found to be 1OO yards short!

John Howard put up another good ride in the Unity '50' with a time of 2-1O-48. Ron Peckham, Bert Bodsworth and Mick Peters with an aggregate of 7-39-32 won the Finsbury Park '5O' team award, whilst in the North Middlesex'5O', Harry Huckle excelled with 2-15-53, beating our fast men Cousins and Murphy! amongst others. Fifteen open awards were won during the season.

The Team Manager reported that 7153 miles had been covered in competition excluding 2OO miles by the ladies.


On September 19th, George Cousins riding the Holloway '3O' recorded 1-15-O4 to take Club record; he also led the Club team to another win in the Red Cross event.

After leading the Georges Attendance Trophy with a maximum number of points, Andy Butchart was unfortunate enough to be called for National Service and was thus unable to finish the year with us.

News was heard of Jim Taylor, who had been in the thick of things in Korea, that he was about to be relieved of front line duties.

Olga white was Ladies B.A.R., her fastest times being 28-14 for 1O miles, 43-24 for 15 miles and 1-11-37 for 25 miles.

George Cousins was Junior B.A.R.with 23.238 m.p.h.average, with John Howard taking both Club and Open B.A.Rs with 21.425 m.p.h.and 21.648 m.p.h. R.Pritchett was the holder of the A.Pinnock Track Trophy, winning the 1O-lap pursuit at wickstead Park in 6-1A. Pritchett also won the Massed Start Trophy. The A.G.M.was well attended and it was decided to carry on the Life Membership scheme despite some opposition, with a separate fund started with £10 grant to which membership fees would be placed and the interest each year transferred to the General Fund.

Another resolution that the Ladies '25' be discontinued and a Gents Open'5O' be run in its place was heavily defeated.

Harry Huckle, a great supporter for open road racing, was forthright with his words when this subject came up for discussion, and this resulted in Fred Knight, the Team Manager (an opponent of road racing) resigning from his post. Once again the New Year's Eve run was to Southill and then Bidlake, with about 30 out to welcome in 1953.


A milestone was reached when Club Mag.No.1OO was produced in January/February and it contained a potted history of the Arthur Swales.

What was now becoming a regular fixture, the football match with the St.Neots Club, resulted in a win for St.Neots by 6 goals to 1.

On Sunday, January 18th, the N.C.U.Northants Centre held a meeting at the Clubhouse with about 6O present. It was a special meeting called to discuss the local Centre's lack of confidence in the N.C.U.Appeals Committee and the N.C.U. staff. Mr.H.S.Anderson, the National President of the N.C.U., took the chair. The meeting agreed that N.C.U.members would not be barred from British League of Racing Cyclists' events and vice versa and that an 'Independent Class' be introduced. This being of great importance nationally, the meeting and its resolution was given much publicity in the National Press.

Other events at the Clubhouse included a talk by Vic Farrar of the local Bedford & County Athletic Club on general fitness and training methods. Another concert was given by Club members with sketches etc.and popular Jack Page renderings of songs with his playing of the accordion.

On March 21st, Hilda Gibbs and Ken Lovelock were married at Bromham Church; Johnny Stanbridge was the best man, with many Clubmates in attendance.

Club Captain Tom Bishop reported that he had 17 good tea places, seven of which were up to 15 miles from Bedford, six between 15 and 25 miles, and four over 25 miles.

About this time, producing the Club Mag.was a drain on finances and members were invited to make a donation to a fund opened to help defray expenses of the Gazette.

Club '25' record was lowered again by Ivor Turner with 1-2-15 and this time, coupled with R.Nicol and D.Cousins backing, took team record as well with 3-9-44 in the Nomads '25.

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Later in the season Nicol improved the record to 1-1-47 but Turner regained with a fine 1—O-47 in the National '25', and in this Championship event Turner, Nicol and Cousins improved the team time to 3-7-38. Cousins was recording great rides and his record time of 2-7-43 for 5Onnles,coupled with John Howard 2-9-22 and Fred Hamilton 2-13-30, set yet another team record.

Founder member Roy Marston, donor of two trophies to the Club, met with an accident on July 12th and died the next day; many Club members attended his funeral On July 19th, a cyclists' service was held at Cardington Church attended by many local Clubs, after which tea was taken at the Clubhouse.

Riding the N.& D.C.A.'100', Ernie Smith took trike record for the distance with his time of 5-2O-59.

Charlie Benson with wife Eileen were the Club's B.A.Rs, Charlie also taking the Open B.A.R.Trophy. Ron Dawson was Junior B.A.R. Charlie alsotook the 12-hour record riding in the National Championship with his distance of 242.69 miles, whilst his Club B.A.R.average of 21.684 m.p.h.was another record.

On September 2Oth, a massed start promotion, namely the Northants Centre N.C.U.Massed Start Championship, was held on local roads, the first road race to be held locally. Twenty-seven riders started at Tinkers Hill with a circuit of about 2O miles to be ridden four times, a distance of 8O miles, with the finish along the Cambridge Road, where a large crowd saw Ro Herbert of the North Bucks the winner. The Beds.Road team of B.Groom 5th, Harry Huckle 7th and Tom Holly 8th finished second fastest team. Only 14 riders completed the course.

The Annual Dinner held at the Bridge Hotel attracted an attendance of 98. Chief guest was Eileen Sheridan of the Coventry C.C., holder of 14 to-place records and the leading woman cyclist of the day. Other guests were H.H.England, Editor of "Cycling", and Inspector Ward of the local Police Force.

At the A.G.M. it was said that membership stood at 183, of whom 141 had been active during the year in some way or other. Average attendance at tea was 37, whilst 48 had participated in open everzs with 17 Club records being broken. Membership of Club members in the Youth Hostel Association was 35. The Fellowship was thriving and had a membership of 45. Henry Perkins presented a tankard for competition in the Fellowship 25-miles time trial.

Club records broken in 1953 were as follows:-

25 25 25 miles miles miles 30 30 50 miles miles miles 50 miles 100miles 12 hours Club B.A. Tricycle Team: Tricycle: Team: Tricycle: R: Ivor Turner 1-2-15, Ralph Nicol 1-1-47, Ivor Turner 1—O-47 Ernie Smith 1-11-49 Ivor Turner, Ralph Nicol, Dave Cousins 3-9-44 Ivor Turner, Ralph Nicol, Charlie Benson 3-8-O2 Ivor Turner, Ralph Nicol, Dave Cousins 3-7-38 Charlie Benson 1-14-42, Dave Cousins 1-14-13 Ernie Smith 1-28-44 and 1-25-24 John Howard 2-9-22, Dave Cousins 2-7-43 Dave Cousins, John Howard, Fred Hamilton 6-30-35 Ernie Smith 5-2O-59 Charlie Benson 242.19 miles Charlie Benson 21.684 m.p.h.average.


At the first Committee Meeting of the year it was confirmed that the Friday evening training sessions should be male only, but it was agreed that the ladies could have the use of the Clubhouse on Monday, the only other vacant night.

Stan Williams, who had been Secretary of Fellowship since 1946, passed over the job to Bert Sharp, whilst it was decided that the Club 12-hour event which had up to now been run and organised by Club members themselves was from this year to be run in conjunction with the Northants.& District C.A.event.

National Service continued to take our members, the latest being Club '25' record holder, Ivor Turner. A ruling of the Club was that members called to the


Services for their term of duty should be free from paying subs during that time providing they were fully paid up members at the time of their call-up. Meanwhile, road races in the area were being contested by a Club team of Bill Roffey, Harry Huckle and Malcolm Cothill, who were prominent amongst the leaders and finishes of the events.

Pat Smith, Secretary of the Hostel Section, reported record numbers attending the weekend runs organised by her.

Vic Clark at this time was flying the Beds.Road badge in Calgary, Canada. Vic sent his subs to the Club together with an account of a Youth Hostel run with the Club badge proudly displayed along with his fellow companions from Canada and Australia.

Ralph Dove, who way back in 1935 had ridden the 1857 vintage velocipede for a £5 wager and who was a Vice-President and Life Member of the Club, died suddenly on September 24th. He was the donor of the Velocipede Trophy for the encouragement of the youngsters in the Club.

The Club 12-hour was duly run in conjunction with the N.& D.C.A.event and it was reported that fewer members were out supporting the event than in previous years when it was run solely within the Club. Ernie Smith took Club record inthe event with his distance of 206 miles 92 yards on his tricycle. Ernie also took Trike 25-miles record with a 1-10-41 in the Club's Red Cross event which was won by T.Nimmo of the Hitchin Nomads in 1-1-53, this Red Cross event being confined at this time to local Clubs.

Pete Hutton was Club Champion this year with an average of 21.910 m.p.h.and Eileen Benson was again Ladies B.A.R.with 20.651 m.p.h.average.

The Annual Dinner attracted 110 guests including Stella Ball, winner of the Ladies Open. Special mention was made of Ron Peckham's great ride in the North Road 24-hour which set a Club record of 365 miles 1423 yards. The evening was a great success and Hilda Lovelock, the organiser, was warmly thanked for her efforts.

At the A.G.M. glowing reports were given by the various officials of the year. It was stated that membership stood at an all—time high of 201, 35 new members against 27 resigning.

Charlie Pepper's great work for the Club over many years was acknowledged when he was elected a Vice-President.

Mick Willson whose first year it was with the Club was only one short of maximum in winning the Attendance Trophy.

One hundred and twenty-four members were active during the year, and an average of 23 at teas was held at 18 different places. Whilst on a Youth Hostel weekend at whitwell, members were fortunate to see the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh leaving a church service at St.Paul's Walden nearby. Tom Bishop (Captain) and Mick willson, both keen photographers, obtained some excellent snaps of the couple. George Tomlinson, Ron Peckham, Charlie Pepper and Tom Bishop's long hours of great effort on building the washhouse-cum-bathroom at the Clubhouse were completed by the end of the year.

The Corn Exchange, Bedford, was the venue of a dance arranged by Social Secretary Hilda Lovelock and resulted in a profit of £30, a welcome addition to Club funds, whilst the Christmas Draw run by Jack Page and Jill Pepper showed a profit of £37.10s.0d.

The New Year's Eve run started from the Town Hall at 6.30 dry, cold weather and 12 members met another 10 for supper at the white Horse, Southill, after which the traditional ride to Bidlake found them joining the St.Neots Club to welcome in 1955.

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At a Fellowship Meet at the Clubhouse on March 14th, some 4O members at the meal were entertained by a slide show which contained many slides of early Club life including one of our first President, Kilham Roberts.

Ron Peckham was also presented with a plaque in appreciation of his sterling ride to be the first Beds.Roader to complete a 24-hour event. Bill Ellis, three times winner of the North Road 24-hour in the late 2O's, was at the Meet. Bill, of course, was a member of this Club in its very early days.

A trophy was purchased for the massed start events costing £5.15s.Od.

Tom Bishop had taken a party to France last year where they made a special trip to the Military Cemetery at St.Valeroy-en-Coux. Whilst there he asked if he could this year place a permanent vase or something similar on the grave of our old popular member Bert Jackson, who was lost at Dunkirk. Permission was, however, refused by the War Graves Commission. Tom did take some views of the grave and these were shown at the Clubhouse; Jacko's sisters were present and they appreciated the invitation being extended to them.

Members were still in the Forces abroad and it was decided at a Committee Meeting to send them a postal order value 1O shillings.

On July 17th, between 6O and 7O members of the Northants & District C.A. were filmed on their way to a church service at Cardington Church where the Bishop of Bedford preached a sermon and our President, Woodbine Haylock, read the lesson. Kempston Show in August found members competing in the Club %-mile Champion- ship for a new trophy, the Rudge Whitworth Cup, and this was won by Colin Buxton.

The racing men and ladies were having a good season. Bill Roffey took the '25' record with 1-O-27 and supported by Roy Lilley and Gordon Haddow, the team record as well. Margaret Wood beat Joy Sheppard's 18-year-old 1O-mile record with her 26 mins 5O secs in the N.& D.C.A.event and in the same event Pat Smith 28-44 and Jean Nicol 29-24 together with Margaret's time took team record. Mary Matthews completed a good performance by our girls with k;r 29-42, taking second handicap award.

In the N.& D.C.A.'100' on the same day, Malcolm Cothill broke Association and Club records with 4-27-22, Bill Roffey was second fastest in 4-29-O1 and Roy Presland 4-4O-36, giving the Beds.Road the Association record and another Club record.

Margaret Wood had yet another record when she recorded 4O-47 in the N.& D.C.A.'15'.

Riding his trike, Ernie Smith rode 214 miles in the N.& D.C.A.12-hour and 384 miles in the North Road 24-hour, both rides being Club trike records,the ride in the 24-hour winning for him the prize of fastest trike in the event. This year the Club's Open Ladies '25' attracted an entry of 59 riders. Winner was Daisy Franks with a competition record time of 1-3-36, and to mark her achievement the Club presented her with a silver medal. In the same event Margaret wood returned a time of 1-9-16 which was a Club record.

when Ernie Smith returned a record trike time of 1-9-59 in the Red Cross event, he completed a fine series of trike rides in which in a space of 50 days he had beaten the five tricycle records on the Club's books all previously held by him.

Club Best All Rounders were: Club and Open B.A.R.- Malcolm Cothill 22.298 ; Junior - Alan Smith 22.797 m.p.h; Ladies Champion - Margaret wood 21.909 and Track Champion was John Dellar who won the Arthur Pinnock Trophy.

BE "on SD'

Club Mag.No.116 was to be the last edited by Stan Williams, a great worker for the Club for many years. Stan had become greatly interested in local government affairs and found these were taking up much of his spare time, so he passed the Editor's job over to Cliff Knight at the A.G.M. Charlie Pepper also relinquished the Secretary's job, Johnny Stanbridge taking over.

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The Christmas children's party was a great success as was the New Year's run and supper to a new venue, The Blue Ball, Eynesbury (Cecil Paget's) where a large number of 35 turned out and later left for Bidlake to welcome in 1956.


Owing to inadequate supply of copy, Cliff Knight was unable to produce one copy of the Mag.early in the year, whilst another setback was a series of break-ins at the Clubhouse which resulted in a loss to the Club of approximately £10. The police were very co-operative in that they placed men in the Clubhouse for sometime afterwards in an effort to catch the vandals, but without success. Ron Peckham and George Tomlinson fitted shutters to the rear windows, another expense the Club could ill afford at this time. Lino was also purchased to cover the floor. To offset these expenditures, a halfpenny increase on the price of a cup of tea making a total of 3 pence was made.

At this time considerable difficulty was still being experienced in keeping in touch with members who were being called to National Service and an appeal was made for them to get in touch with the Club on being called for Service or on their being de-mobbed.

May 19th found two popular members, Gordon Haddow and Pat Smith, getting married at Old Warden Church with the usual archway of wheels provided by Clubmates.

On the racing side, Club and open events were being well supported, Margaret Woods winning the St.Neots Ladies '1O' with her 27-OO, whilst Bill Roffey took Club record with his 2-7-O6 in the N.& D.C.A.'5O'.

Malcolm Cothill became the first Beds.Roader to be selected to ride in a massed start event when he was chosen for the South East Midlands team for a two- day event. Quickly following this, Dennis Murphy and Jack Ball were selected to ride for the N.& entered for the Manx International.

Hostelling runs continued to be well supported and the Club had a representative at the Youth Hostel Federation Rally at Edinburgh, Derek Smith attending. News came to hand around this time of a former Clubmate of the 1940s and early 5Os. Ernie Chamberlain, who made world-wide news when he was skipper of a schooner sailing the Pacific Ocean for five years in search of Mollusc Shells for the Philadelphia National Science Museum, was caught in a typhoon and had to take shelter on a small Pacific island. Ernie had some five years earlier crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a 40-foot boat and he met his wife along the inland waterways. They married and made their home in Connecticut where they met the President of the Museum resulting in the strange request for the sea shells. Ernie later wrote a book telling of his experiences during the typhoon incident.

Back to racing news - again Ernie Smith with his trike times of 5-11-50 in the Century '100' and another time of 5-4-19 in the N.& D.C.A.'100' still further increased his hold on the trike records. Miss woods in the N.& D.C.A.'1O' improved her record for 1O miles to 26-33.

Ron Peckham meanwhile increased his 24-hour Club record to a fine 404 miles in the Wessex 24-hour, a truly great ride. Altogether 14 Club records were broken in 1956.


Jim Tillotson, aged 44 years, joined the Club to take up racing again after 2O years in retirement, and what a start he made! He started with a 1-6-42 for a Club '25', did 225% miles in his first ever 12-hour event and took the Club '24' record with a remarkable 427 miles in the North Road event, another record at 50 miles on his trike with 2-22-47 and the '25' trike record with 1-8-24.

Colin Butcher was another one to hit form, taking N.& D.C.A.and Club record with his 4-21-58 in the '100' and the '50' record with 2-3-39 in the Wisbech '50',


also the '25' record in the Southgate with 1-0-12 and made team record as well, helped by Roy Lilley and Alan Smith. Colin returned 1-12-02 in the Club '30', yet another record!

Margaret Sibley (nee woods) had another great season, taking records at 15 miles 39-40, 25 miles 1-8-34, 30 miles 1-25-10, rides which gave her a record B.A.R.Championship.

On July 28th another first for the Club was the promotion of the Bedford Circuit Road Race over a distance of 72 miles. Fifteen riders completed the course and Colin Butcher finished 2% minutes down on the winner, R.Barlow (Tudor C.R.C). Energetic Harry Huckle was the organiser.

Several members went on a tour of the Black Mountains at Easter, an account of which can be read in Club Mags.123 and 124.

Bill Roffey was prominent in Club events, being first fastest in Evening '25' with 1-2-46, first fastest in '50' with 2-8-52, and third in Evening '30' in 1-17-39.

During the year damage was again done to the Clubhouse but the Police were this time able to catch the culprits and they were sentenced to various terms of probation. Jack Page and Tom Bishop were called upon by the Police to give evidence.


1958 started with Roy Welham, a founder member and long serving Clubman, being honoured with the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours List, given for services to the general public during his career as a postman. Other members to be noted in the National press, the "Reveille", were Peggy Speltinckx, together with daughters Jean and Peggy. They were the subject of an article on a mother of 40 years and her two daughters 18 and 16 respectively who spent a lot of time competing in cycling events, Mum being known as Mrs.Cycling in her own town of Letchworth. Peggy senior, with a 1-9-50 time for 25 mile in 1936 whilst a member of Hitchin Nomads, was the first girl in the country to get inside a 1-10 for the out-and-home time trial.

At the A.G.M. Tom Bishop resigned the Club Captaincy after many years in the position and Geoffrey Burch took over.

The Dinner this year was attended by 94 with the Mayor of Bedford the chief guest.

Club Champions this year were Vic Stringer 20.817 m.p.h.Club events, and Colin Butcher, Open B.A.R.with average 23.334 m.p.h.

Alan Saunders was Junior B.A.R.for the third time with 23.499 m.p.h. Alan during the year attacked the Cambridge and back record and was successful with his time of 2-37-23.

The Clubhouse continued to be the hub of the Club's social activities, the Bedford Camping Club giving a slide show at which the opportunity was taken to present a tankard to Tom Bishop in recognition of his long service as Captain. In the Broad Oak '12' on August 17th, Colin Butcher covered 252 miles, and Roy Lilley in the National Championship '12' covered 242 miles; Vic Stringer in the same event did 237% miles.

Jim Tillotson beat the youngsters in the Club '50' with his 2-9-50 and repeated his win in the '100' with 4-33-38.

Later in the season, Vic Stringer finished second in the North Road '24' with a Club record ride of 451% miles.



Terry Bush was Road Race Champion of 1959 and Bobby Smith was prominent at the Club Track Championships held at wickstead Park, winning three events, all of which were well supported.

At the A.G.M. Club funds were stated to be at an all time low and many suggestions on how to ease the situation were put forward by members present. New Year's Eve was spent at The Kings Arms, Cardington, and after a great evening, 1960 was welcomed in with the usual trip to the Bidlake Memorial at Girtford.


It was about this time that the R.T.T.C. informed clubs that all events and the courses to be used were to be notified to the Police of the various districts concerned at least one month in advance of the event taking place so that the Police could consider and give their permission or not for the event to take place on those particular dates. This ruling was to last for many years and was still in force at the time of writing. The Police did point out the dangers of the F1 (North Road) courses.

During the year three great workers for the Club were taken ill - Woodbine Haylock, Arthur Swales and Charlie Benson. Charlie, who had suffered various spells of illness since leaving the Royal Air Force just prior to the finish of the war, failed to respond to treatment and passed on at the early age of 43 on March 30th. Charlie during his racing career had been Club Champion B.A.R.three times and had won the Grace Goring Trophy outright for this achievement. Eileen his wife, gave the trophy back to the Club in remembrance of Charlie, to be awarded to the future winners of the Club 12-hour event.

The British Museum requested Club Mags.from the year 1959. These were sent and have been forwarded regularly ever since, so anyone who cares to visit the Museum will be able to look up these Mags. many many years hence.

Bobby Smith, son of Ernie and Nora, was having a lot of success on the track, winning the North Thames Schoolboys Championship at the Welwyn Track and being placed in the National Schoolboys Championship at Herne Hill.

John Tillotson with a time of 4-A9—3O on his trike took first handicap in the classic Century '100'; this was also a Club trike record.

Vic Stringer was also having a good season, gaining fifth place in the Mersey 24-hour with a fine distance of A34 miles. Vic finished the season as Best All Rounder with an average of 21.385 m.p.h. Peggy Speltinckx was Ladies B.A.R. and R.Finedon Junior B.A.R., whilst Ralph Nicol won the Marston Trophy for his good work as Treasurer. These awards amongst many others were presented at the Dinner-Dance held this year at the Newnham Rooms.

Membership stood at 154 with 87 of these gaining points during the year.


Club funds were somewhat strained at the start of 1961 and one of the economies made was for the Club Mag. which had hitherto been published in print form to be issued in the future as a duplicated one. Also the Clubhouse which had been poorly supported on Friday evenings was restricted to a Wednesday evening opening only.

Bill Roffey gave a slide show at the Clubhouse in March, the first of many by Bill over the following years. They were to attract good gatherings and were popular not only with our Club but Bill was in great demand by other cycling clubs over a wide area.

During the year Bert Greaves, a founder member who had much to do in the design of the Club badge, passed on in his 80th year.

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George Tomlinson, a second claim member for many years and a great worker for the Club during those years, was made an Honorary Life Member of the Club in appreciation of his good work.

On June 5th, Bobby Smith returned a time of 59-54 for 25 miles, this being only the second time the 6O-minute barrier had been beaten by a Beds.Roader. "Jock" Elstow, a founder member and the first Secretary of this Club, was amongst the 83 who attended the Dinner-Dance.


During 1962, with a chair fund reaching almost £40 mainly contributed by the Life Members, a quantity of chairs were purchased for use at the Clubhouse. Members competing in open events had many successes during the year, 17 individual and 3 team awards being gained.

Team records were broken at 25 and 50 miles, the riders being in each case: Brian Munday who beat the hour with a 59-20 in the High wycombe '25', Alan Lowe and Terry Starkey helping Brian to a team aggregate of 3-1-14. It was in the N.& D.C.A.'5O' that Brian took the individual '50' record with 2-2-27 and again with Alan 2-5-24 and Terry 2-5-OO the team record as well with 6-12-51. Many personal bests were returned by members and Vic Stringer rode a dist- ance of 443 miles in the Catford '24' to take fourth place, riding a fixed gear of 78 inches.

Following several good seasons, the massed start events were poorly supported this year, only three members taking an active part, one of whom was again Brian Munday who gained a first place and two second places during the season. A loss of £24 was made during the year; 2O new members joined with 15 being removed, leaving a membership of 15O.

It was with regret that we heard the news that an old stalwart of the Club, Ernie Hewitt, had died suddenly at his home. Ernie had helped in many different ways during his 3O years with us, especially at the Clubhouse keeping the surrounding gardens tidy etc.

Following some poorly attended runs, Captain Geoff Burch appealed for better support from members, stressing the social side of the runs and how fun could be had on occasions after the tea, such as a game of football before the ride home. During the year two notable bachelors decided to take the plunge, namely founder member Roy Welham, O.B.E. and Harry Huckle.

In the time trial scene many personal bests were being set, notable rides being Alan Lowe's 4-33-59 in his first attempt at 1OO miles in the N.& D.C.A. event, followed by 230 miles in the 12-hour, whilst Colin Buxton covered 214 miles 611 yards in the Luton '12'.

Best All Rounder winners were: Ladies - Peggy Speltinckx 21.240, Open - Alan Lowe 22-391, Club - Colin Buxton 2O-O12, and Junior - Brian Munday 24.418.


1963 arrived with Jack Page, after a long term as Clubhouse Secretary, passing over the duties to Godfrey Burch.

In February the Club suffered the loss of two elderly members, Frank Nott and Geoff Phillips, Geoff's death being the result of a road accident at his home village of Great Barford but not connected with cycling.

In view of the financial loss sustained in 1962, the question of whether the Club should be paying rates on the Clubhouse arose and after some correspondence with the local Council, the rates for the year were cancelled.

Bill Roffey, who had been doing much good work as Handicapper for local events, had his name put forward to the National be considered a fully fledged Handicapper and it came as no surprise when the application was approved.


Lack of support for Club tea places was at this time causing Captain R.Turvey some concern and he offered his resignation, but being a very popular Captain, he was persuaded to carry on. However, it was decided to cancel all tea places until the end of October.

No great rides were recorded during the season. Peggy Speltinckx was Ladies B.A.R., Alan Lowe was Open Events B.A.R.with 21.632 m.p.h.average, Vic Stringer the Club B.A.R.with 20.492 m.p.h. and John Steel the Junior B.A.R. 22.685 m.p.h. Colin Buxton became North Midds.& Herts B.A.R. when he was the only Association member to finish in the qualifying 12 hours event; nevertheless it was a great performance for Colin to take this B.A.R., the first Beds.Roader to do it. The Club's Open Ladies 25-miles event only received two entries and had to be cancelled. However, the R.T.T.C.requested that the Club continue to run the event which they considered to be one of the best organised in past years.

At the A.G.M. the Secretary, Andy Butchart, said the membership stood at 136. Ralph Nicol, the Treasurer, reported a loss of £21 on the year, whilst John Howard, the Open Events Secretary, reported entries for the Gents '25' to be 97, saying this was the biggest entry for the North Road course this year.

The time trials scene had been poorly supported for some reason or other all the season. Captain R.Turvey reported that 54 members had attended the tea places during the year; this was better than expected owing to the difficulties early in the year.


At a Committee Meeting held on March 3rd, it was stated that Diemer and Reynolds on whose ground the Clubhouse was situated needed the land for expanding their business. They told the Club that they would consider buying the Clubhouse rather than the Club dismantle it and having to find a place to store it, although Colin and Sue Buxton told the Committee they could erect the Clubhouse on ground at their home at Potton.

Several new sites were inspected during the next few months and Andy Butchart (Secretary) and Ernie Rivers (Chairman) put in a lot of time meeting various people in an effort to overcome the difficulty in finding a site or other premises for a future Clubhouse. Meanwhile Diemer and Reynolds offered the Club £125 for the Clubhouse and this was accepted by the Club Committee who also agreed to vacate by June 3Oth. A Special General Meeting was called for Sunday, June 7th, to discuss the Clubhouse affair and at the meeting it was disclosed that one or two possible sites for a new Clubhouse had been offered but at each it was found impossible to get planning permission.

A fund was started in order to obtain monies that would be needed in the future and appeals for donations appeared in the Club Mag. but at the A.G.M. it was stated that whilst several sites for a Clubhouse had been investigated and in some cases an offer made, the Club was really no further forward in obtaining a site; those that were offered had to be refused as no planning permission could be obtained from the various Councils concerned.

Membership had fallen from 136 last year to 113 this year, and included 46 Life Members.

On March 21st a large gathering of Club members were at Clapham Church for the wedding of Tom Bishop. Tom joined the Club in 1941, served on the Committee for 17 years and had a spell of 11 years as Captain. One of the best, he inspired great enthusiasm in all Club members during his long period in office. Tom and his new wife Connie still retain great interest in the Club and are often seen on race mornings and at social events.

August 9th found four Beds.Roaders riding in the North Midds.& Herts C.A. 12-hour event which resulted in Alan Lowe winning with 236 miles 1436 yards, Vic Stringer third with 234 miles 1310 yards, Terry Bush 223 miles 143 yards and Colin Buxton 205 miles 9 yards. This fine bunch Qf pides gained first team award, whilst


Alan, Vic and Colin were N.M.& H.C.A.Team Best All Rounders and Alan was Association Best All Rounder for 1964.


During early 1965 the agreement with the Scouts regarding the use of their hut by the Club was terminated because of the poor access to the building which was the main reason for the poor support at the temporary Clubhouse nights by Club members. Unfortunately, despite having many sites suggested that may have helped the Club to find other accommodation and the Committee members' enquiries at these sites, no real progress was being made.

In the North Midds.& Herts 12-hour event held on the local A1 road course, Alan Lowe covered a distance of 253 miles 465 yards to win the event and also second handicap award; backed up by Vic Stringer and Terry Bush, they totalled 726 miles 570 yards to win the team award. Club members took seven of the nine awards on offer in the event. Alan's ride was a Club record, as indeed was the team distance.

It was a sad season for during the year Colin Butcher, who was the first Beds.Roader man to beat 60 minutes for 25 miles in 1958, died suddenly at the early age of 29 years; it was indeed a sad occasion for Josie, his wife, and his young son Tan. Josie and Ian were destined to give great service to the Club in the coming years. Colin's death was unfortunately followed by the death of Freddy Redman, a Life Member. Freddy held all the trike records in the 1930s. Fred Knight's death was another great loss, he having given much good service to the Club since joining in 1939. Fred was noted for his uncanny accuracy in forecasting the finishing times of riders in time trial events long before the actual finish of their rides. He was a regular competitor in open as well as Club events and had been Team Manager for some years. Time trialling was his sport and he had no time for massed start racing at all.

At the A.G.M. on November 21st, Club Captain Pete Speltinckx reported an average of 23 out to tea places during the year, most of whom were regulars, and he said he would appreciate more new faces turning out. Members also asked if the 72" gear event could be re-introduced as more members were now riding single gear machines. It was also noted that the Club had won the Dixon Trophy awarded by the North Midds.& Herts the Club doing most for the Association during the year.

The Dinner-Dance was held at a new venue, the Oakley Village Hall. Unfortunately many of the awards, mainly medals, were not presented, having been lost in the post! However, a great time was enjoyed by those that were present.


Early in 1966 Bedford Council offered the Club the use of Clapham Road Fairfield Sports Pavilion as a Clubroom. The offer was accepted.

At the first meeting there on March 4th, Mr.Haylock gave a slide show of films he had taken on a recent visit to Russia; this was followed by two more slide shows later in the year.

The Fellowship Meet was at Clapham Village Hall and attracted an attendance of 5A where the meal was provided by Jim Holliman, a Club member.

Another member, Barry Farrant, designed a new Club Mag.cover showing a penny-farthing which embraced the Club badge as the small wheel. Members thought the design to be an improvement on the old one.

Dave Cole made an attempt on the Bedford to Peterborough and back record and returned a time of 3 hours 20 minutes and 25 seconds to take the record which had stood since 1937.

Another notable ride was done by Peggy Speltinckx who beat her personal best time for 25 miles by a few seconds after 29 years of trying!


In the Club 12-hour, good distances were recorded by Terry Bush 228 miles, Dave Cole 225 miles and Colin Buxton 222 miles. Terry also produced a great ride of 406% miles in the North Road 24-hour and Dave improved to 59-38 riding in the N.& D.C.A.'25' and his '100' time to 4-34-11 also in the N.& D.C.A.event.

Dave Cole won the Club B.A.R. and Terry the Open B.A.R.with 22.232 m.p.h.

The year was marred by a serious accident when on a Club run on October 30th Pete and Peggy Speltinckx, Jeff Hall and Gordon Hart of the Luton wheelers were involved with a car on a bend in the Buckingham-Stony Stratford road. Pete had a broken leg and serious knee injuries and it was to prove a long time and great perseverance on Peter's part for him to recover and ride a cycle again, after doctors told him his knee would be permanently immobile.

This year the Longmarkers limit was set at 1-7-OO.


One of the earlier events during 1967 was the Fellowship Meet at Clapham Village Hall where 53 sat down for the meal provided by the Club's own Master Baker Jim Holliman. Five founder members - w.Haylock,'Uock" Elstow, George Deag (first Captain of the Club), Bill Murdock and Roy Welham - attended. The current Club Best All Rounder Dave Cole was guest of honour. This was to be the last occasion that Bill Murdock was to be amongst us for in June he passed on. It was Bill who way back in 1923 wrote a letter in the "Bedford Circular" asking if there were any cyclists in Bedford interested in forming a cycling club, this resulting in the formation of this Club some weeks later at The Sun Hotel, Biggleswade.

Two good rides that should be noted were Vic Stringer's 441 miles for fourth place in the North Road event and Terry Bush's improvement to 428 miles in the same event.

Jackson Trophy winner this year was Terry with an average of 22.232 m.p.h. Mick Mills won the Stan Litchfield Trophy with 22.415 m.p.h.

Dave Cole won the Silver Jubilee Trophy with his 22.232 m.p.h. whilst Myrtle Street won the Ladies B.A.R.Trophy of the Northants and District Association with 21.638 m.p.h.

During the year Cardington Railway Station (disused), a possible Clubhouse site, was sold by auction and realised £1750, which although a reasonable price, was beyond the Club's means.

At the A.G.M. it was agreed that in the future an open forum would take place after A.G.Ms to give members further opportunities to air their views on matters concerning the Club.

Eighty-seven attended the Annual Dinner-Dance, Mr.ReX Coley of "Cycling" and Cape Wrath fame being chief guest. During the evening it was pointed out that Terry Bush had had an outstanding time trial season, improving all his times from 25 miles to 24 hours whilst winning the B.A.R.title. Also mentioned was the fact that 23 members had ridden 12,645 miles between them during the season and had collected 15 awards in open events.


Richard Daniells took over the Captain's job in 1968, the year that Myrtle Street decided to attack the Club ladies' records. July was a great month for her. In the N.& D.C.A.'25', Myrtle returned a record ride of 1-7-52 which gained her first place in the event, backed up by Sue Roffey 1-8-27 P.B.who gained first handicap. Later in the month Myrtle broke the record once more with a ride of 1-7-O7 in the South west London Ladies '25'; backed up by Sue Roffey 1-1O-51 and Peggy Speltinckx 1-12-OO, they took the team record as well. In the Club '30' Myrtle finished in another record time of 1-25-O8. She was once again, for the third time running, N.& D.C.A.Ladies B.A.R.

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Amongst the men, Barry Farrant proved to be the Club's most improved rider when he returned 236 miles in the Luton 12-hour, following this with 4-38-26 in the N.& D.C.A.'100' to win second handicap. Richard Daniells recorded a personal best of 4-36-19 in the same N.& D.C.A.event.

Club B.A.Rs this year were Barry Farrant - Club; Alan Walker - Open; Mervyn Bird - Junior; and Ladies - Myrtle Street.

Club runs during the year averaged 17 at tea places. Youth Hostel runs were well supported as were the several tours undertaken.

In the Club Mag. another name, Jim Hartley, started to appear under the Youth Hostel Reports; in the following years Jim was a prolific contributor to the Mag. with Youth Hostel news. Jim was hostelling most weeks all over Great Britain and taking great interest in the hostels themselves.


1969 found an appeal in the Mag.for more support at the Clubhouse on Fairfield Playing Fields, Clapham Road.

Riding the Luton '12', Terry Bush covered 239 miles, Alan Walker 230 miles (first handicap), Colin Buxton 220 and Richard Daniells 192 miles. This event was marred by an accident whilst one of the circuit timekeepers, Harry lmpey of the Luton Wheelers, was about to take up his position at a point near Vinegar Hill in the Shefford Lanes. The car conveying Harry to his point was in collision with another car and the result was the death of Harry. He had for many years given much time to measuring courses for the North London District R.T.T.C., a job for which he was noted.

After seven years as Editor, Bill Roffey called it a day and passed the job to John and Mary Howard at the A.G.M. Another change of officials resulted in Jeff Hall taking over from Richard Daniells as Captain.

Richard had during the year re-introduced a runs list to be led by different leaders in an endeavour to interest the younger members in the Club riding during the winter runs; this did show an improvement on previous years.

On July 6th, riding the N.& D.C.A.'25', Myrtle Street 1-8-11, Sue Roffey 1-9-52 and Sue Buxton 1-11-41 beat Club team record and following this they beat Club team record for 10 miles in the Luton wheelers '1O'.

Thirty-nine riders rode in the Evening League events giving a total of 210 rides, whilst 48 competed in the usual Club events.

Open B.A.R.was Terry Bush; Club Events B.A.R. - Terry Bush; Ladies B.A.R.- Myrtle Street; Junior B.A.R. - N.Thompson; and Schoolboy B.A.R. - N.Thompson. During the year Noel Lilley (note this name), age 7% years, competed in a time trial of 1O miles, covering the distance in 36 minutes 28 seconds riding a 45-inch gear; this was good enough for the handicap award but due to his age, he was not allowed to take the prize as he was too young to join the Club. At the A.G.M. this resulted in a new Time Trial Rule 14, "That no competitor under twelve years of age on the day of the event shall compete in Club time trials", being passed. This rule was intended as protection for both Club and event officials as it was felt that in the case of a fatal accident both the coroner and the press would be very critical. The Club also proposed that the above ruling should be submitted to the R.T.T.C.for their consideration to apply it nationally.

Owing to poor support for the Open '25', another proposal at the A.G.M.was for this event to be discontinued but on being put to the vote, it was overruled.



1970 arrived and two popular events at the Clubroom early in the year were an indoor map reading contest organised by our own expert Mike Street and a bring-and-buy evening.

During the year Bill Roffey joined an elite band of cyclists, those who had cycled to the farthest N.W.tip of Scotland, Cape Wrath - namely the Cape Wrath Fellowship - and Bill writes of his experiences in doing so in Club Mags.192/3/4/5 which are well worth reading, so try and obtain a sight of these Mags.

By far one of the most important happenings in the Club's history was when, after years of continued efforts to find a suitable headquarters and the visiting of various plots and buildings in the course of these efforts, Godfrey Burch (Club Chairman) was able to report at the March General Meeting that he, together with a sub-committee consisting of Andy Butchart, Bill Roffey and Ernie Rivers, had met a Mr.Mallory of the Whitbread Estates which resulted in the Club being offered the lease on Cardington Parish Room. The location and accommodation offered by Mr.Mallory was ideal for a Club headquarters, but there were many problems to be overcome before we could take up the offer. The sample lease for the room would involve the Club in painting the outside and inside of the building every five and seven years respectively, the lease to run for a period of 28 years at an annual rent of £50. It was thought that the Club would need £600 to put the room in reasonable condition but it was hoped that half of this would come from a grant aid from the Ministry to whom an application had been made. Later in the year, on Sunday, November 22nd, at the A.G.M. the proposal by the sub-committee to accept the offer of the Cardington Parish Room for our new headquarters by the Whitbread Estates was carried by unanimous vote.

Terry Starkey was the Club's B.A.R. taking no fewer than eleven of the trophies at the Dinner-Dance. Terry did 58-22 for the fastest '25' by a Club member and competing in the Luton Wheelers (and Club) 12-hours covered 242 miles 298 yards to take the novice prize, a great first time effort.

Ladies B.A.R.was Myrtle Street With 20.627 m.p.h.average.

Tom Finding was Schoolboy Champion.

The awards were presented at the Dinner-Dance held at Bromham Village Hall, where Rex Coley, founder of the Cape Wrath Fellowship mentioned earlier, was chief guest and in view of Bill Roffey's trip, this was a nice gesture.

This year, besides being co-Editor of the Mag., Mary Howard organised the Dinner and also the Children's Party, a great effort on her part which was greatly appreciated by her fellow Clubmates.


The Club suffered a great loss early in 1971 when our President, Woodbine Haylock, passed peacefully to rest on February 28th. The funeral service was held at Ely Cathedral where Mr.Haylock had been a chorister for a number of years in his youth and a memorial service was held at the Church of Transfiguration, Kempston on March 9th. Many organisations were present at the service, Mr.Haylock having served for many years on the Kempston Urban Council and also on the County Council for 15 years. Woodbine was a man of many pursuits and interests, cycling being his big love, his career starting in 1905 in his home town of Ely. He came to Bedford after World War I and in 1923 helped to form the Bedfordshire Road Club. He was already a member of the North Road Club, having raced in their colours with much success with perhaps the 50-mile distance being his speciality for he held North Road Club records at that distance. He was President of this Club from 1944 continuously up to the time of his death. He held the Presidency of the Northants N.C.U.Centre for many years, for which service he was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit. He was for over 23 years Chairman of the Bedfordshire D.A.of the C.T.C. and was also first President of the Northants and District Association. Woodbine devoted a lot of his time to the well being of our Club and all who knew him will never forget him.

Following closely on our President's death, news was received of the death on March 18th of another founder member, Charlie Lancaster. Charlie regularly


attended Club functions in the 4O's and 5O's and could be relied upon to give us renderings on the piano should one be available at our tea places. His playing and singing of the ballad "When Charlie papered the parlour" was in great demand - anyway, we got it whether we wanted it or not!

Club Captain Bill Roffey reported good support for runs even after Club racing events, and also Youth Hostel weekend runs. He asked those on runs to keep to a maximum of eight riders per group with a decent gap to allow overtaking traffic between each group, a timely request in view of road conditions of this time.

For some years the Club had been having great success in Open Map Reading events held over a wide area, our experts at this time being Mike Street, Vic Stringer, 'Ticker' Joyce and Jeff Hall, ably backed up by others in the Club when winning team awards. Mike was successful in winning the North Bucks Open and was second in the old established North Met event held this year in the Wheathampstead area.

Alan Walker meanwhile seemed to be riding time trial events nearly every other night during the season. Alan won eight Club trophies, finishing B.A.R. both in Open and Club events with some good times and distances. Terry Bush was sixth in the North Road '24‘ with his 425 miles, Bill Roffey won four awardsfrom his six open events, whilst Richard Daniells broke Club trike record with his 1-6-18 in the Birmingham St.Christopher '25‘.

Myrtle was again Ladies B.A.R., Tom Finding was Junior B.A.R. and J.Keen under 18 B.A.R.

At the A.G.M.on November 21st, Sid Matthews was elected President of the Club. Since joining in 1933 he had always been active within the Club, being elected a Life Member in 1943 and a Vice-President in 195O. Mrs.Ena Haylock widow of our late President, was added to the list of Vice-Presidents.

7 The lease for the Cardington Parish Room was finally signed and the Club took possession, calls being made for volunteers to report to Godfrey Burch or Bill Roffey for working parties to be arranged to help at the newly acquired Clubhouse

The A.G.M.deleted the rule allowing members to take out Life Membership of the Club after a certain number of years membership but it was decided that existing Life Members should retain current rights and facilities. Three Trustees for Cardington Parish Room to be elected annually were G.Burch, A.Butchart and R.Lilley.


Club Magazine No.2OO bore the date January 1972. No.1, April/May 1932, showed A.D.Nightall as Editor. Nightall, a comparatively new member, worked at Diemer and Reynolds‘ printing works and suggested the name and that it should be printed, the cost being 25s.Od per 1OO copies. Soon the financial side was giving trouble, members failing to send voluntary contributions to any appreciable amount, and at the 1933, 1s.Od was added to subscriptions to go into the Gazette fund, but this was not enough and at the 1942 A.G.M. it was decided to incorporate it in Club subscriptions and finance the Mag.from Club funds. Another new rule passed at the A.G.M.stated that each candidate for Club membership aged over 21 should pay an entry fee of 50p and under 21 a fee of 25p. This rule was made in an effort to get members to pay their subs more promptly rather than let them lapse and then rejoin later.

Meanwhile, only four or five members were to be found helping Bill Roffey at weekends to make the Cardington Parish Room into more suitable premises for the new Clubroom. Bill was to be found most weekends putting in remendous hours of work knocking out old walls and rebuilding again. A progress report in Mag. 201 by Bill stated that the main foundations for the new toilets to be erected had been excavated, not without incident, as a large soakaway had been found

-51- filled with water which had to be emptied and then filled with rubble and earth. Internally the old boiler system had been removed by Charlie Pepper and Jin1Huckle who also arranged a water supply from the adjacent cottage. Four thousand bricks plus sand and cement had been purchased and received. Appeals were made for doors, paint, locks etc. and Harry Huckle and Ho Herbert supplied several gallons of paint. Mr.and Mrs.Gillman donated a cooker.

An old hearth and rotting timbers were removed and the footings for the new toilets were ready for inspection by the local Council Building Inspector and duly passed. Alan walker gave much advice on the drainage system.

A progress report by Bill up to June 22nd showed that the external brickwork had been completed and the main concrete floor placed. Timber had been ordered for the roof and arrangements made to have it placed the next weekend. The bar internally was being erected by Barry Cartwright and Wes Johnson, both in the woodwork trade; the sink had been placed in position and connected to the drains. The girls had given help clearing out the old cupboards.

The garden was dug and cleaned up and a concrete path put down to the front gate. By this time the usual Friday night social gatherings had started again. By August the roof had been erected, tarred and felted on the newly built toilets, George Tomlinson supervising the job. Vic Stringer glazed the windows and a lower false ceiling to save heating costs was nearly completed. Godfrey Burch attended to the installation of the electric lighting and electric heaters. The toilets and wash-basins were installed and just needed to be plumbed in, and Sue Buxton, Mick Willson and Greg Etoe removed cobwebs and tried their hand at painting, and the end seemed to be in sight.

Bill Roffey, besides this terrific amount of work on the Clubroom, was also Club Captain this year and it cannot be stressed too much how the Club is indebted to him for this work. Well done, Bill! - not forgetting all the other Clubmates who pulled their weight over the months of work, some of whom have been mentioned and some have not, but thanks are due to all making the effort.

At the March Committee Meet ng it was decided that the permanent memorial to our late President, Woodbine Haylock, should take the form of a clock for the new Clubroom and donations to this memorial were solicited from his late Club- mates.

The hostel runs arranged were well supported and in the main so were the tea runs with one or two exceptions when owing to weather conditions there was a deficit; Captain Bill Roffey appealed for better support when weather conditions were not favourable. Throughout the year Bill contributed Club run notes to the Mag.and these were appreciated by the less active members and helped to keep them well up to date with the goings on within the Club.

The racing side found Alan walker in good form throughout the season, but the Club records were due to be entirely rewritten over the next few years when George Bettis, a schoolteacher from St.Neots, joined us. George had some years before been prominent as a youngster with the Elite C.C.and had in their colours covered stupendous distances. Riding as a Beds.Road man in the Luton 12-hour on July 2nd, George did 252 miles 174 yards for first fastest; with Alan Walker 223 miles 1429 yards and Mike Street 220 miles 1206 yards, the Club took the second team award

George took second fastest in the N.& D.C.A.'100' with 4-27-42 and was first in the North Middlesex '100' in 4-19-24.

August 2Oth found him winning the N.& D.C.A.12—hour with 247 miles 1149 yards and being backed up by Mike Street 223 miles 669 yards(third handicap) and Colin Buxton 220 miles 384 yards, the Club won first team award. The following weekend, riding in the North Road Championship '24‘, Bettis covered 470 miles 526 yards for first place and the Championship and to loosen up a bit! George rode the Southgate '50‘ to record 2-8-49 and a fortnight later on September 17th the Viking '50’ in 2-7-23. What a fine bunch of rides! These rides following his Club record in the Sherwood '100' of 4-16-56, his Championship ride was of


course another Club record, beating Vic Stringer's mileage of 451 miles 757yards of 1959. Two car loads of supporters from the Club attended the R.T.C.C.Prize Presentation held at the Rainbow Rooms, Bloomsbury, London where George was feted as National 24-hour Champion for 1972.

Map Reading season arrived and this Club was once again to the fore, Mike Street taking first places in the following events:- Birmingham C.T.C.Southern Section (also first team with J.Hall and B.Joyce), South Bucks and North Metropolitan D.A. C.T.C. with some promising juniors at this time within the Club, a request was made for their own records to be recorded and it was decided that the following recent fastest rides should count as records:— 10 miles J.Keen 24-05; 15 miles J.Keen 37-09; 25 miles J.Keen 1-3-09; 30 miles G.Etoe 1-17-39 and 50 miles J.Keen 2-10-14 At the A.G.M. a proposal that certificates should be awarded instead of medals for Club events was defeated, whilst another proposal that no awards should be given in Club events but winners should be allowed to purchase awards should they so desire was amended, and it was decided to continue to give prizes for nominated Club time trials.

December 9th found the Club at Bromham Village Hall for the Annual Dinner- Dance, chief guest for the evening being Johnny Helms, the well known cartoonist of "Cycling", but of course, the man of the night was our very own National Champion, George Bettis!

The first children's party to be held in our new Clubroom attracted 66 adults and 39 children when all agreed it was a most enjoyable time. A small profit was made of £6.95 and this was passed over to the Club Treasurer by Christine Farrant who had so ably organised the party.

On a sadder note it was reported that George Deag, a Captain of the Club in its early days and a founder member, had died on December 27th aged 82 years. George was a very popular and jovial Clubman and news of his death drew tributes from many of his former Clubmates from a wide area.

A hostel run to Saffron Walden Youth Hostel and a Captain's run to tea at Langley Cafe on December 30th and 31st brought to an end a memorable year for Beds.Roaders with a new Headquarters and a National Time Trial Champion within our midst. The future looked promising as we went into 1973, our 50th year.


At the monthly Committee Meeting in April, it was reported that the final cost of the Clubroom extension was £631.02 plus £40 architect's fees. Further expenses were still being incurred, such as paint for internal and external use, replacing slates and obtaining turfs for the front garden, 50 sets of cutlery, two dozen chairs, a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher.

At the A.G.M. the Social Secretaries reported that during the year Mesdames Street, Hutton, Lovelock, Matthews and Buxton had given much effort and assist- ance which was particularly appreciated.

The Committee had decided that all Club events during the year should be open to all members and this had proved a success and was to continue in the future. Thirty-one members had competed in Club events, 24 of whom gained an award of some sort.

Thirty-seven members rode 16,000 miles competing in open events, resulting in one team record, nine individual records falling, and 29 awards won.

George Bettis was outstanding and had a season that the writer thinks will never be beaten and never is a long time! Just look at the following:- May 27th - Hounslow '100': 4-15-24 third fastest, Club record. July 1st - Luton Wheelers 12-hour: 254 miles 49 yards first fastest, Club record.

July 4th - Fenland Clarion '25‘: 57-47 Club record.


July 8th - N.& D.C.A.'100': 4-13-28 first fastest, Club record.

July 14th - North Road '50‘: 2-0-33 Club record.

July 22nd - North Midds.'100': 4-17-01 first fastest; together with Mike Street 4-50-47 and Nick Gillman 4-53-32 first team,

August 19th - N.& D.C.A.12-hour: 255 miles 259 yards first fastest, Club record.

August 25th - North Road 24-hour: 491 miles 171 yards first fastest, Club record.

September 9th - Middlesex 12-hour: 266 miles 61 yards second fastest, Club record.

September 16th- Viking '50’: 1-58-28 Club record.

September 23rd- Century '100': 4-18-15 first fastest, third handicap.

September 30th- Norwich '100': 4-18-30 first fastest, first handicap.

Only one word can describe George's performances - STUPENDOUS!

Other Club record rides were:- July 14th - Fenland Clarion '10’: Alan walker 22-48; September 9th - Beds.Road Red Cross '25‘: Richard Daniells on his trike 1-6-10; August 4th - Alan Walker 1-14-32, Richard Daniells 1-15-01 and Greg Etoe 1-16-53 team record in Mercia '30‘.

Our leading map reader Mike Street, riding three events during the year, gained two firsts and a second place.

Club runs and hostel weekend runs were well supported and the New Year's Eve Party attracted 49 members to the Clubhouse to welcome in 1974.


One of the new members to join us officially (he had been with us from a toddler) this year was Noel Lilley, son of Jean and grandson of Peggy and Pete Speltinckx. Noel was destined to become well known in racing circles in the years ahead.

During the year runs were again well supported but the Captain, Terry Bush, was baffled at times by the inconsistency of those attending tea places, there being differences varying from 15 to 35 at the same venues, thus making Terry's job of booking teas somewhat hazardous.

On the racing side, things returned to normal after George Bettis's great record breaking rides of 1973. George, although riding afew events, was troubled by his knees and he was restricted throughout the season. Nevertheless, he recorded a 25-mile time of 1-1-33 to take the Fastest Club '25‘ Trophy, the Chattell Cup. Mick willson had a great season, taking six Club trophies including Club B.A.R. 21.666 m.p.h.and Open B.A.R. 22.474 m.p.h. Noel Lilley was Schoolboy Champion with 21.487 m.p.h.average, whilst his mother Jean was Ladies B.A.R. 20.333 m.p.h. Wes Johnson was both Under 18 and Under 21 B.A.R. with averages of 21.487 and 23.696 m.p.h.respectively.

Richard Daniells, riding trike, took the '25‘ record with 1-5 -14, the '50‘ record with 2-19-23, and he finished third fastest in the N.& D.C.A. B.A.R. Jeff Hall, also riding trike in a Nomads evening 10-miles event, returned a time of 27-18, another record.

Riding the Rockingham Wheelers '10‘ on June 29th, Alan Walker did a record- breaking ride of 23-53 and with Roy Lilley doing 24-21 and Trevor Hughes 25-58, they broke team record. On July 28th, the Club Track Championships were held at the Gosling Stadium, Welwyn Garden City, where 10 competed. Martin Donnelly won both the pursuit and sprint events and Mike Street the one-lap time trial.

Road racing attracted about six Beds.Roaders during the year, the most successful being Martin Donnelly, a first category roadman who joined this Club during the year. He gained second place in the Essex Roads Criterium and other placings in more minor events over a wide area.

At the A.G.M. a proposition that the limit for the Longmarkers '25‘ should

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be 1-3-OO was thought to be too drastic as the limit at the time was 1-7-OO. However, after much discussion, no amendment was put forward so the proposition was carried by 26 votes for and 7 against.

Late in the year, a new name, Robert Garrett, appeared in the new members list; a schoolteacher, he was to play a big part within the Club as a fast racing man in following years.

Christmas was spent at Edale Youth Hostel by ten members and three friends, and New Year's Eve found a big attendance at the Clubhouse to welcome in 1975.


With some promising youngsters having joined last year, it came as no surprise that membership of the British Cycling Federation by Beds.Roaders had increased to 12, which suggested there would be more road racing activity by this Club.

Attendances at the Clubhouse on Fridays were very good and slide and cine shows by Bill Roffey and Gordon whittington were greatly enjoyed. The Fellowship Supper at the Clubhouse was attended by A8 including some old stalwarts - Robbie Robertson, Roy Welham, Teddy Craig and Len Hathaway, all of whom had been the backbone of the Club in the mid 2O's.

Open Time Trials promoted by this Club had full cards, as many as 57 entries having to be returned for the '25‘ on May 11th. This event was won by E.Adkins of Hemel Hempstead with a fast time of 55-55; Bob Garrett with 1-1-O6 was fastest Beds.Roader. Unfortunately the event was marred by an accident to rider No.33, Stuart Austin of the Welwyn wheelers, at the Brampton Hut roundabout. He was about to leave the roundabout to go on the southbound carriageway of the A1 when he was struck by a car coming from Brampton. He was seriously injured and taken to hospital where he subsequently died after an operation. George Arnot was marshalling at that point on the roundabout and he gave a statement to the police. Later the motorist concerned was summoned, convicted and fined for the offence. John Howard who organised the event attended the inquest on b half of the Club. As a result of this accident, the Committee purchased a quantity of luminous jackets for use by the marshals at future events and also a set of luminous race numbers as an extra precaution against a repetition of this accident. Just a month later on June 11th, the death occurred at the age of 34 of Godfrey Birch. He died in Stoke Mandeville hospital as a result of injuries sustained in a motor-cycle accident eleven days earlier.

Godfrey joined the Club on Club runs, as is shown by In 1958 at the age of 17, he as a schoolboy in 1955 and was a regular attender his winning the Velocipede Trophy two years later. became possibly the youngest Club Captain we have had, and in the same year he took the post of Assistant Clubhouse Secretary, which he held until becoming Clubhouse Secretary in 1961, a post he held for five years. He was elected Chairman in 1970 and continued in this role until 1974, when his increased interest in the Sea Scouts, and commitments at work, caused him to take a less active part in Club life.

Club members enjoyed another good season of time trialling, getting many awards which included two N.& D.C.A.Best All Rounders, seven first placings, four second places, three third places and three team awards. Many personal bests were recorded and seven Club records were broken. Amongst many good rides, the following are but a few of them:-

May 31st - Bromsgrove Vets '25‘: Bill Roffey 1-3-OO first fastest.

June 15th - Colchester '50‘: Mick Willson 2-8-O8 personal best.

June 21st - Finsbury Park '50‘: Bob Garrett 2-6-57 third fastest.

Mick Willson was having a good season, beating the hour for a '25‘ for the first time in the Inter-Club event with the St.Neots Club with his 59-38, also a personal best for 30 miles with his 1-14-53 in a Club '30’. Bob Garrett won the North Midds '100' in 4-16-A9, and in the Luton 12-hour Garrett 239.6, Martin Donnelly 211 and Terry Bush 206 won first team award.

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On September 13th in the Fenland Clarion '10‘, M.Donnelly with 23-18 took record, with Trevor Hughes 26-10 and Wes Johnson 24-29 team record. Richard Daniells took trike record for 10 miles in the Fenland Clarion event on August 9th with his 25-53 and the '30‘ trike record with 1-22-18 in the Kettering Amateur on July 27th.

The map reading team led by Mike Street continued to do well in all events they entered, Mike winning the Kidderminster event for the fifth time and with Brian Joyce second and Jeff Hall fifth took the team award as well. Mike, together with Brian second and Pete Hutton seventh, won the team award in the Birmingham event, Mike being the winner for a fourth time in this event. The dinner found a large gathering of 131 at the Clapham venue, where the chief guest was Alan Gayfer, late Editor of "Cycling", and the chief prize winners were Bob Garrett, Jean Lilley, Noel Lilley, Mick willson, Nick Gillman and Bill Roffey. After the initial period of getting the seating sorted out owing to the exceptionally large gathering, everything went along smoothly thanks to the organiser, John Marchant, and the usual band of helpers at these do's. John said he enjoyed the job and would do it again, but not next year! The now well established Kiddies Christmas Party was successfully organised by Nancy Bettis, whilst a new venue for New Year's Eve was the Youth Hostel at Ivanhoe where members joined in the folk dancing and danced in 1976 led by our two regular hostellers, Jim Hartley and Vic Clarke.


Among the new members this year were Pete and Joan Davey, and they were soon to play their part in the life of this Club.

George Bettis after a lay-off last season started time trialling again in March and with Bob Garrett 59-37, Mick Willson 1-2-52 and his 1-1-17, they were first team in the Crest '25’. Bob was winner of the N.& D.C.A.'25' with 1-2-18. A new series of handicapped road racing by the Northants C.R.A. run through- out the early part of the season attracted the following Club members:— Neil Ord, Alex Ings, Nick Gillman, John Butler, Bob Garrett, Martin Donnelly, John Poyzer, Ken woods and Gordon Allison. All performed creditably and the series helped to get the riders fit for later events. Martin and John Butler, being very keen on the road racing game, entered events over a large area with moderate success. George Bettis was soon finding good form, winning the Club's Shortmarkers '25‘. He was second in the N.& D.C.A.'50' with 2-6-13: Bob Garrett won with 2-4-36, and with Mick willson 2-11-51, together they took first team award. On May 23rd in the Brentwood '50‘ on the fast E8 course, the same three riders did a team record time, George in 2-1-45, Bob 2-2-34 and Mick 2-7-32. Alan Jarman was a good back-up fourth team member with his 2-11-38. In the Meersbrook '25‘ Mick Willson improved to 58-51. Mick after years of using around 83-86 inch gears had taken a hint from Bob Garrett's use of big gears and this was to help him to some really good times in the years to come.

Bettis was beginning to get back to his best form. In June he was second fastest in the N.& D.C.A.'5O' with 2-3-03, first in the North Midds.& Herts '100' with 4-15-O0, recorded 58-37 in the Kettering Friendly '25‘ and with Bob Garrett 58-38 and Mick willson 1-O-25 took team record. George did 4-10-41 in the N.& D.C.A.'100' for record and together with Bob 4-11-34 and Mick 4-26-1O, smashed the team record by a massive 48 minutes! In the Hainault '10‘, Bob did 22-35, another record, and yet another record of 1-9-57 for 30 miles in the Kettering '30’. In the National Championship '100', Bob was seventh fastest with 4-12-25.

The ladies were also in the news. Jean Lilley 30-O1 was first fastest in the Mildenhall '10‘ and son Noel first Juvenile 25-02 in the same event. In the Eastern Counties 12-hour George Bettis was fastest with a new Club record of 267 miles, whilst on the same day in the Central Scottish '50‘, Bob


with 1-59-OA was first fastest. In the N.& D.C.A.'12' a week later, George with his winning ride of 265 miles beat the N.& D.C.A.record by 7 miles and with Mick Willson 241 miles and Terry Bush 221, set a new N.& D.C.A.record and also Club record.

George Bettis, riding the North Road '24‘ which incorporated the National Championship, recorded a great ride in wet, windy and foggy conditions of 482 miles to become National Champion once again.

Terry Bush did a great ride of 421 miles and it was a pity the Club did not have a third rider in the event. Yet another record at 25 miles was set by George in the Oldbury '25‘ with his 56-49.

Club events this year were well supported, 13 members sharing the awards. Thirty members had competed in open events which resulted in 19 wins, 35 placings 8 team wins, 9 individual records and 7 team records, quite a good season for the Club. Bob Garrett was N.& D.C.A. B.A.R. whilst Mick Willson was N.& D.C.A.Vets B.A.R.

At a Committee Meeting on October Ath, it was reported that a Mr.Jon Miles had been approached by Charles wells, the brewers, to organise a road race in June 1977 and the Company were providing £1,500 for the purpose. In view of the large sum involved, it was felt that the major event would have to be a profess- ional one. Mr.Miles had most of the organisation well in hand with both the British Professional Cycle Racing Association and the British Cycling Federation, but as event organisers must be members of affiliated clubs, Mr.Miles was applying for membership. The Committee had mixed feelings on the subject especially with regard to allowing a virtual stranger to run a very big event in our name, and it was decided that cautious approach would be necessary, perhaps co-opting Mr.Miles on to the Committee next year.

At the A.G.M. the following proposal was put forward by Trevor Hughes, and seconded by D.Graham:- The Club will pay the travelling expenses of any first claim member competing in a R.T.T.C.or B.C.F.National Championship providing that he or she complies with R.T.T.C.Regulation 56 or B.C.F.Regulation 39. The expenses to be 4p per mile if using a private car or second class rail fare. The riders to compete in current Club vest in the events and submit a claim in writing for Committee approval.

Mr.Hughes accepted an amendment that the rule should apply to junior or schoolboy members only. The amended motion was heavily defeated with only one vote in favour.

It was said that membership had increased, 2O new members having joined during the year, one of whom was Ian Butcher, son of the late Colin and of Josie. Ian was another who had been with us from a very early age just awaiting the permitted age for joining officially and he was

in the coming years destined to add his contribution to this Club's history. The Sunday runs were poorly supported during the racing season but at other times were reasonably good and having the teas timed for A o'clock was voted a success.

Youth Hostel runs attracted around a dozen or so; one of these was to Cambridge for a film show by Colin and Veronica Scargill who had just returned from a world tour on a tandem. Colin had been a member of the Club a few years earlier, before he left the district and then undertook this journey. After the show, members took a tour around the famous Cambridge Colleges before returning home.

Throughout the year Bill Roffey had continued to write up the weekly runs by the Club in the Mag., these notes being much appreciated by the less active members, and Bill's efforts helped a lot by keeping all Club members in touch. As one writes these memoirs the more successful racing men get mentioned quite a lot, but one must not forget that the Club is held together by good management and ‘back room‘ people who put many hours‘ effort into running the

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Club, together with others who are always willing helpers, doing Clubhouse duties, marshalling etc. but not getting a mention. Maybe one day someone will do more research and give details of some of those ‘back room‘ people. The writer cert- ainly hopes so as they deserve recognition perhaps more so than the racing men. Some have received that recognition by being given the honour of Vice-Presidents of the Club, a list of whom can be seen by perusal of the Club Minutes Books.


1977 arrives and at the General Committee Meeting in January it was reported that Jon Miles had been co-opted on the Committee. Jon presented a list of letters which he had sent in connection with the Open Road Races which looked likely to take place in Bedford Park. Programmes were being printed and advertisements solicited for inclusion.

Another decision taken was that instead of handicapping the time trials (open) the prizes should be for the biggest improvements.

Meanwhile the proposed Road Races sponsored by Charles Wells and organised by Jon Miles caused quite a lot of controversy within the Club, George Bettis in particular writing in the Club Mag. a letter protesting against the running of these events that were being sponsored. George felt that the Club should continue to be strictly on an amateur basis. More letters from Jon Miles and George appeared in the Club Mag. and eventually the local press carried reports of the differences of opinion within the Club over the proposed races, and more publicity was given when the national cycling press carried news of this. To cut what turned into a long story short, George Bettis threatened to resign over the issue. Happily the whole affair fizzled out a few weeks later with George still in Club colours and the Bedford Criterium taking place on June 19th when more than 1,000 people turned out to see the star-studded promotion in Bedford Park.

On show were some of the top names in the sport, amonst them four times world pursuit champion Hugh Porter, national road race champion Geoff Wiles, and Robin Coker and Mick Bennett, bronze medallists in the Montreal Olympics. Club members riding in the minor events were Dave Tetlow, Ivor Lumbers, Neil Ord, and Mark Roche, a schoolboy. Neil was the most successful, finishing fifth place in his event.

Looking back, it seemed that coverage of the event in the local press was poor and doubts were cast as to whether Charles wells, the Bedford brewers, had received sufficient publicity considering their total outlay. However, Jon Miles, keen as ever, was looking forward to next year.

Prior to the Criterium events, Martin Donnelly on behalf of this Club organised the South East Midlands Road Race Championships held on May 15th with the start on the Cardington to Old Warden road and going via Hill Foot to Old Warden, Northill Church, Cople Church with the seniors covering seven laps and the juniors four laps, 80 and 46 miles approximately to finish in line with the start. Six members of the Club competed and in the junior event Dave Tetlow was just beaten for first place.

Twenty—three new members joined during the year, two resigned, and with regret we had to record the death of three long-standing members, namely Johnny Stanbridge, Eric Steel and founder member Roy Welham, each of whom had given many hours of service to the Club.

North Beds.Council sent a demand for £50 as annual rates on the Clubhouse. Kem Greaves noticed this when he received his Mag. and he wrote advising the Club to appeal, which they did, and the result was a rebate of nearly £40. On the debit side, our landlords, Whitbreads, discovered they had not been charging us for the property insurance which we have to pay and although they waived most of the four years‘ payment we owed them, the Club had yet another annual bill to pay.


At the Clubhouse we were able to take advantage of the cooking facilities for the first time. Having obtained a gas cooker, Mary Howard and helpers provided hot breakfasts at the end of Club events and hot teas in the winter. Roy Lilley (T.T.Sec) reported a good year made possible by the few regular marshals and timekeepers, namely Sid Matthews, Ken Lovelock, Charles Pepper, Jean, Noel and Karen Lilley, George Tomlinson, John Howard, Bill Roffey and Pete Davey. Roy also suggested that for the evening events the riders should take a turn at marshalling on a rota basis, it having been proved difficult in the past to obtain marshals for these events.

This year saw more Club members than ever taking part in open time trials, 41 riding one or more events, and the N.& D.C.A.'25' in May attracting 20 Club riders. .

Forty-two individual prizes were won, the bulk of these by Messrs.Bettis, Garrett, N.Gillman, N.Lilley and Willson. Seven team awards were won, whilst this Club's team were also Northants & D.C.A. B.A.Rs.

Noel Lilley recorded his first under-the-hour ride in the lnvicta '25'with 59-33 (many more were destined to follow).

At the 54th Annual Dinner-Dance at Clapham, Noel received four trophies and Mick Willson eight. Myrtle Street was fastest lady this year.

Riding the Meersbrook '25‘ on June Ath, Bob Garrett 56-10 record, George Bettis 57-32, and Mick Willson 57-33 took first team and record. Bob improved to 55-57 on June 25th. Six Beds.Roaders started and finished in the N.& D.C.A. 12-hour National Championship, namely Mick Willson 24A miles 741 yards (Personal best), Pete Stimpson 231, Nick Gillman 227, Vic Stringer 215, Terry Bush 212 and Martin Donnelly 211 on trike. Bob 22-38, Mick 23-29, Nick Gillman 23-51 took team record for 1O miles in the Rockingham event.

Throughout the year Bill Roffey continued his write-ups in the Mag.on the happenings on Club runs, whilst Arthur Swales was also reporting the various goings on within the Fellowship, mentioning in one how pleasing it was to see Cis and Stan Williams put in an appearance after a lapse of some years. John Marchant meanwhile was updating the Rule Book of the Club. John researched all rule alterations passed at A.G.Ms since the Rule Book was pub- lished in 1960. He presented them at the A.G.M. and they were accepted unanim- ously, subject to one small alteration.

Slide shows at the Clubhouse during the winter were excellent, Bill Roffey entertaining with slides of his travels abroad with a commentary that was much appreciated. A well travelled newcomer to the Club, Ray Colliver, showed slides of his stay in the Antarctic, the scenes shown provoking a great deal of interest and discussion. Gordon whittington, by now well known for his movie shows of road racing, was another to entertain.

Christmas found members enjoying themselves at Duntisbourne Abbotts Youth Hostel, this Christmas get-together now being a regular feature of the Club's social life.


The tea run to Deadmans Cross on January 1st saw the start of a promising 1978 with 1O on the all-day run in the Hertfordshire lanes meeting 2O others for tea.

br> Quite a few junior members were joining the Club and a potterers' run leaving the Clubhouse at 10.30 on Sunday mornings started. These runs, led by Sid Matthews, became increasingly popular and were to help some of the junior members to greater fitness ready for their introduction to the harder Club runs. Neil Ord took over the Captain's job this year and was going a good job until he met with an accident during a road race midway in the year resulting in a broken thigh bone. Richard Byers then took over the duties.


June 4th found Kingsway, Cauldwell Street and St.Johns Street closed to traffic for Jon Miles and this Club's Bedford 'Kermesse'. Thunder and lightning did not stop several hundreds of enthusiasts from watching the nation's top cyclists do battle round the tight little circuit with the start and finish outside Hamblin Motors Garage in Kingsway, with the weather brightening up just before the start of events. Excellent police and local authority co—operation saw the roads closed to other traffic by 9.30 a.m. and right on 10.30 a.m. commissionaire Mick ward started the first race for 3rd category and juniors sponsored by Nat West Bank; 35 minutes later the Luton C.C.riders took the first three places with our Ivor Lumbers a close fifth place. The second event for schoolboys and girls lasting 25 minutes was another fine race, resulting in another win for the Luton Club. In the third event for senior amateurs, John Dowling of the Hemel Hempstead C.C. won easily.

The professionals were next to go, chasing prize values of £175 sponsored by Charles Wells, the 60 minutes duration of the race taking place on wet roads which caused some crashes but made for good spectating. The eventual winner was Dave Broadbent, followed home by Tony Gowland of six-day fame and Sid Barras, the man most people expected to win the event. There was just time to present the prizes before the rain came down again. These events were undoubtedly the best cycling seen in Bedford.

Following these events, the Committee at their next meeting discussed them, it being said that the Police Superintendent was happy about the organisation and so were the Committee, but it was felt that the Club had not played much of a part and that the Committee had not been well informed about the progress of the organisation by Jon Miles and should the events be run next year they should be run by a properly constituted sub-committee reporting back to each meeting of the General Committee.

Jon Miles was at the next General Meeting when it was proposed to hold the event in 1979, Jon stating that Charles Wells were prepared to sponsor the event again.

The map readers were again prominent in the events entered, Mike Street and the usual team-mates gaining a good share of the prizes on offer. Another well supported event organised by Social Sec. Mike Street was the visit to the Skol Six Day event at Wembley. Members attended on the Friday, Saturday and the last night on the Wednesday when 49 from the Club enjoyed every minute of it.

Time trials attracted entries from 45 members and the following awards were gained:- 9 wins, 3 second places, 9 third places, 8 vets and handicap awards, and 12 team wins. The following Club records were also ratified:-

10 miles - Bob Garrett 22-24 and 22-09

10 miles Team - Bob, Mick willson and Mike Street 1-9-50 and Bob, Mick and Noel Lilley 1-8-56

10 miles Tricycle - Martin Donnelly 25-37

30 miles - Bob with 1-8-54

30 miles Team - Bob, Mike and Nick Gillman 3-38-42

30 miles Tricycle - Martin Donnelly 1-20-34

50 miles Tricycle - Martin 2-13-51

100 miles Tricycle - Martin 4-39-00

12-hour Tricycle — Martin 221 miles

Junior 10 miles - Noel Lilley 23-00 and 22-54

Junior 25 miles - Noel 59-23 and 59-07.

At Club level the reduction in the number of events made it easier on organising and marshalling, but owing to these events not being self-supporting financially, it was suggested that an increase in entry fees be made for 1979. The Club were again team winners in the N.& and Bob Garrett was Individual B.A.R. with Mick Willson runner-up.

John and Mary Howard completed another successful year as Clubhouse Secretaries and praised the willing band of helpers at the Clubhouse throughout the


the year. John and Mary passed the duties over to Chris Byers for 1979. Planned way back in the summer by that willing organiser Bill Roffey, a large party of 30 strong were booked in at the Sheringham Youth Hostel for the popular Christmas gathering of Beds.Roaders who, with three overnight stays, found the excellent fare provided by the warden to be too much for some of them; nevertheless it was voted a great Christmas by everyone. The heavy rains and head winds on the day of departure sorted the men from the boys on the way home for those who were brave enough to cycle it.


A successful pace judging event on January 1st, the brainchild of Richard Byers, over the 1O-mile Club course attracted 36 entries. with arctic conditions prevailing, some ‘old’ hands were attracted to competition again, including John Howard, Sid Matthews, Charles Pepper, and Ken and Hilda Lovelock. An enjoyable event was won by Jeff Hall who was only 2 seconds away from his required time. wintry weather continued, but a slide show at the Clubhouse given by Chris Davies (Hampshire R.C) of one of his many tours, namely South Africa, was enjoyed by a good gathering on February 3rd.

Next weekend found a Spring-cleaning party at the Clubhouse on the Saturday prior to the reliability trials on the Sunday. These trials had become a feature of the Club and again attracted a good field; almost 40 riders were able to obtain hot food at the Clubhouse on their return thanks to Chris Byers and other willing helpers Myrtle, Jill, Josie and Joan.

Magazine No.242 contained the names of 23 new members, amongst whom were Ray and Dot Crane, Eric and Lorna Webb, all of whom were destined to give great service to the Club in the future.

The Club's third venture into closed circuit racing took place on Sunday, June 3rd, Cauldwell Street, St.Johns Street and Kingsway again being the circuit. The schoolboys event was won by Niall Woolton (Luton Arrow C.C); the 3rds and junior event boasted no fewer than seven Beds.Roaders, one of whom, Ivor Lumbers, finished in third place, the easy winner of the event being Glen Taylor of the Magnasport C.C. Neil Ord was our only rider in the senior event, won by Dave Roberts (Hainault C.C). The professionals event was for 75 minutes duration plus five laps and Dudley Hayton (Viking Cycles) was the winner from a bunch of four riders who had lapped the field. The result of this was that all those caught had to pull out of the race for the final five laps.

A total of £100 was taken at the tea tent by those helping in that depart- ment. Altogether a good day's racing attended by an enthusiastic crowd, but not an exceptionally large one consisting mainly of club cyclists rather than the general public.

It was another successful season for Club time trialists, with a total of 13 wins, 12 first handicaps, 9 first team awards and many more placings in the first three; also 1O new Club records were set.

Noel Lilley was most active, winning five events, one handicap, and breaking four Club records, also being a member of six winning teams.

Myrtle Street won three ladies events, a first handicap, and set two Club records.

Geoff Eaton in his first season improved steadily throughout the year to take four first handicap prizes in the process.

Ian Butcher won two first junior awards and one first handicap. Mick Willson recorded a 56-49 for 25 miles and won two first Vets awards. Alex McNab, Nigel Aston, Alwen Ings, Steve Poultor and John Marchant all won first handicap awards in open events.


Club events attracted good fields with finishing times being recorded down to 22 finishers.

The Road Racing Secretary reported a B.C.F.membership of 24, a record for the Club, the most successful riders being Ivor Lumbers, Bob Garrett, Dave Tetlow and John Butler.

On the Club maintenance side, the condition of the roof of the Clubhouse was causing some concern and an estimate of £600 to re-roof it during two week- ends was approved at the December meeting of the General Committee subject to the landlords‘ (Whitbreads) approval. It was suggested that perhaps some interest free loans could be obtained from Club members.

Thirty members visited Castleton Youth Hostel for Christmas, a Christmas not as good as some in the past, spoilt to a great extent by the remoteness of the staff and their not quite sufficient relaxation of the rules, according to Mike Street's report in the Mag.


1980, and Dick Byers organised the second New Year's Day pacing competition over the Club's 10—mile course. Fifty-six entered,of whom 41 started and finished Karen Lilley, Josie Tomlinson, J.Chubb and Bob Garrett and Wendy on tandem taking the awards.

Saturday, February 2nd, found a gathering of Club folk at Bromley, Kent for the Cyclists Touring Club National Prize Presentation where Bob Garrett, Andy Hunt and Mick Willson took the Allondon Trophy as first team in the C.T.C. B.A.R.for 1979, Ian Butcher taking another award for being C.T.C.Junior B.A.R.1979. Easter found 15 Beds.Roaders on the first of what could become a regular three days fixed centre tour. This was from Crowscombe Hostel, near Taunton, whilst another party of six went up to Yorkshire, both parties having decent weather and a happy time.

It had been the Club's intention to again organise the town centre races this year, but when the Council submitted a charge of £250 for erecting signs, wages etc. it was decided to cancel the events. Another set-back came when the Council sent the Club a bill for £234 in April this year for erecting signs etc. for the events that had taken place in 1979. The Club queried the time lapse between the actual events and sending of the bill to the Club; this charge had never been suggested and was quite unexpected. Many letters passed between the Club and the Council and mention of the affair was made in the local papers. However, after months of differences of opinion, the Council offered to take £144 in settlement.

It was money the Club could ill afford to part with as at this time work had commenced on the maintenance of the Clubhouse roof that involved removing the slates and replacing them after covering the roof with tarpaulin. The work took five weekends to complete and payment of £600 was made on completion. On May 11th, Jon Miles organised the South East Midlands Division Road Race Championships, the headquarters being the Clubhouse. Kevin Morgan (Luton C.C) won the event with Dave Tetlow just being beaten on the rise to the finish. July 25th found a large party at the Clubhouse to surprise Ed Basconi, an American who had become very popular during his stay with us and who had been out with the Club regularly. It was a farewell party at which he received a scroll and plaque engraved with the Beds.Road badge, the work of Club Captain Ian Butcher The 1980 time trial scene was certainly a season to remember, with many improvements and even a National record, plus numerous Club and N.& D.C.A.records. May 31st found Ian Butcher recording a '25' record of 54-59; then on June 24th Noel Lilley brought it down to 53-23. Not to be outdone, and riding a'25' at the Harrogate Festival, Ian recorded a 52-30, breaking National Junior Competition record.

Noel in his first year as a senior finished 20th in the National '25‘ with 56-02.


Paul Street riding the National Junior Championship was inside the hour with 59-A9.

Bob Garrett won the N.& D.C.A.'100' and '50’ and with a 59 minute '25‘, %s?ywm1weN&1LGA.BAR.

Another good ride was done by Irene Saunders in her first season, taking first place in the North Midds.& Herts '25‘.

Hazel Montilla excelled during the season, taking records at Slough with a winning ride of 1-2-55 for 25 miles, the '50‘ record with 2-16-39, and the '15‘ record with 39-O9 (also N.& D.C.A.Ladies record).

Paul Street on August 25th recorded 22-AA for Junior '1O' record.

In the N.& D.C.A.'15' on August 16th, Ian Butcher with 34-31 took Junior record, and Mick Willson 36-57 N.& D.C.A.Vets record.

Noel Lilley 2O-58 (record) with Ian Butcher 21-15 and Ian Gillman 23-3O also took team record.

Altogether a great season for the Club, only marred by a serious accident to Richard Byers who, whilst riding the North Road 24-hour incorporating the National Championship, suffered a broken right leg when a car coming from the Sawtry junction with the A1 collided with him.

Noel recorded a record-breaking ride of 1-5-23 in the Leo R.C.'3O'; Ian Butcher was third placed rider in the R.T.T.C.National Junior B.A.R. and Bob Garrett was in 24th place in the final table of the National B.A.R.

Club events were somewhat restricted when the police objected to our '25‘ and '15' courses because of the dead-end turns in the Shefford Lanes. we could not disagree, although we should have been given earlier warning of their wishes. Road Race Secretary Martin Donnelly reporting on the S.E.M.Division Track Championship said Noel Lilley was one of the better prospects, whilst Paul Street and Malcolm Eames did well in the Schoolboys Omnium.

During the year a new venture for the Club was the booking of the Civic Theatre, Bedford, for a film show "The Stars and the Water Carriers" and "The Impossible Hour", which was voted a success, thoroughly enjoyed, and financially viable.

At the end of the year Noel Lilley joined the Slough V.C. 1st claim, but retained 2nd claim membership of this Club. It was purely in an effort to further improvement that Noel made the change and he was certainly destined to make the headlines in following years. Beds.Roaders who had seen Noel grow up with the Club were naturally disappointed at his move but at the same time wished him well, and he could look forward to full Beds.Road support in the future. Noel volunteered to retain the Treasurer's job for 1981.

At the Annual General Meeting, Christine Byers passed over the Social Secretary's post to Johnny Howard. Chris had done a great job whilst in the position and ably assisted by Richard, had enhanced the Club's finances. Her work was acknowledged when the Marston Trophy was handed to her at the Club Dinner held at the Clapham Hall where 102 sat down for the meal. Bas Clarke of the Rockingham Forest was guest speaker and the whole evening was arranged at short notice by ever faithful Jill Pepper.

The Children's Christmas Party and the Christmas hostel weekend brought a successful year to an end.


1981 arrived on time and New Year's Day found the pacing event over the '1O' course taking place once again. A good entry enjoyed the social side of Club life at the Clubhouse on finishing.

A letter from the R.T.T.C.asking if we wished to organise the Men's National '25‘ was received, but the Committee declined the offer.

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Due to construction work on the new Sandy/A1 roundabout, Club events other than the 10-mile were greatly curtailed. The Evening League which for many years has remained popular with the men was confined to 10-mile events and 12-mile circuit events. Mick Willson had been running the evening events but he became a little dejected and that overworked Bill Roffey again stepped in for the season. What a man!

May 10th found a 10-mile Club event being held in place of the usual '25‘; Andrew Wilkins, age 14 years, returned a time of 26-30. Later in the year a.'25' was run in with the Hitchin Nomads on their course when Ian Butcher was first fastest and Colin Isles first handicap. Mick Willson was fastest Fellowship '25‘. In open time trial events, the 1981 season will probably be remembered as ‘the Ladies year‘ in which eight ladies‘ Club records were broken. Hazel Montilla broke four records, the '10‘ in 24-39, the '25‘ twice 1-2-47 and 59-57, and the '50‘ in 2-8-O2.

Lorna Webb, our ladies’ mile-eater, broke three records — the '100' 5-11-03 which had stood for 39 years!, the 12-hour twice 208 miles 638 yards and 215.01 miles. Lorna's 208-638 was also N.& D.C.A.record. Hazel 1-2-A7, Lorna 1-9-12 and Karen Lilley 1-10-33, all personal bests, set new ladies '25‘ team record in the Club's Open Red Cross event.

There were no record rides this year by the men but many personal bests. (Record times weregetting tight!). The men had five team wins with the follow- ing riders:- Ian Butcher, Andy Hunt, Bob Garrett, Noel Lilley, Clive Anderson, Mick Willson, Roy Crane, Ben Stout, Geoff Eaton and Dave Cole. Bob Garrett got under the A hours for the 100-miles distance for the first time, and Clive Anderson, a vet, was inside 1 hour for a '25‘ first time. Noel Lilley, now 2nd claim, had a great season which included 22 wins.

Martin Donnelly on his trike, riding from Winchester to Wantage and back, covered the distance in 4-5-59 to break the Southern Counties record. Club nights continued to be well supported and during the year Ron Peckham re-clothed the bi;liards table and a new table tennis table was purchased, both games being popular with members.

On June 14th another show was held at the Civic Theatre when a film, "Breaking Away", drew a good crowd, and a small profit was made. A tea at the Clubbouse was very successful, 38 being present including several Fellowship members, and the Captain reported that on the whole Club runs were well attended, more so of course out of racing season. Takings at the Clubhouse on Friday nights continued to show a profit and helped the Club to keep clear of debt.

Youth Hostel runs were also well supported, and at Sheringham for Christmas 32 members turned up; the usual Beds.Road comradeship was evident and the whole stay was most enjoyable, helped by the hospitality of the Warden and his staff. Snowy conditions prevailed weather-wise and walking rather than cycling was done by those so inclined.


1982 started with rainy conditions, but that did not stop 36 members enjoying themselves riding in the New Year's Day pace judging 10-mile event once again organised by Dick Byers with the social gathering at the Clubhouse afterwards.

Dick together with Geoff Eaton got together again and devised a points system that would give every rider a chance of winning the ever popular Evening League even if some rider for some reason or other could not ride in all the events.

The Club Mag. under its new Editor continued to contain interesting reading by Arthur Swales with his Fellowship notes, Kem Greaves' reviews and comments on

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the contents of the previous Mag. and Jim Hartley with his reports on Youth Hostels, these three having sent regular reports for many years. Another regular contribution coming from Bill Roffey had been write-ups of the Club runs, but this year they were missing, Bill deciding no doubt to ease his heavy work load on behalf of the Club. He was certainly doing well over his share of various duties and knowing Bill, no doubt enjoying every minute of it despite his out- spoken comments at times on the lack of some Club folk putting in a little more help around the Clubhouse and at Club racing events.

A review was being done on the Club time trial courses and depending on the finishing date of the reconstruction work at Girtford Bridge, it was hoped that a new 25-mile course would be devised before the start of the racing season. Early in the season Ian Butcher resigned 1st claim membership but retained 2nd claim of the Club. He went to sponsored club Coventry Olympic for a time but returned 1st claim Beds.Roader before the end of the season. Ian felt more at home with Beds.Roaders, as indeed he was.

A reliability trial over various distances was organised by Pete Davey, Club Captain this year; 39 riders entered and the event made a profit of £10. March 2Oth found the Fellowship winter Meet being held at the Clubhouse. Several older members were in attendance and after a splendid meal arranged by Pam Williams, many happy memories were recalled by those present, many of whom had given great service to the Club during their younger days.

when some old minute books were returned to the Club by an older member, some discussion took place on the advisability or not of consigning them to the County Records Office. This was decided against by the Committee and a storage cabinet was obtained to house them within the Clubhouse.

A discussion took place at the June Committee Meeting as to why Club runs were not being supported so well as the pottering runs and the general feeling was that the racing men did not want to stay out all day and the youngsters were not able to afford the costly lunches.

with many Club events being curtailed again this season, the Evening League that finished at the end of July proved to be an outstanding success, with 24 members still competing on the final night.

The series was won by Ian Ivett and for this achievement he received an engraved tankard. Other prizes went to Paul Street - first Junior; Gordon Lawrence - first Juvenile; and Lorna Webb - first Lady, each of whom received a medal. In addition, seven youngsters qualified for a Club jersey by riding regularly throughout the series; they were Gordon Lawrence, Neil Bateman, Rajbinder Sagoo, Morgan Burgess, Paul Street, Sharon Bateman and Colin Isles. A Shortmarkers and Longmarkers Club '25‘ held on a new course resulted in Dave Cole 1-3-22 and Charlie Cameron also 1-3-22 taking first places from a small entry. Charlie also returned a fine time of 2-13-OO in the Club '50' run in conjunction with the N.& D.C.A.event, fine times for one who was a complete novice last year.

Club riders in open events were gradually riding into form, Bob Garrett and Noel Lilley (first fastest) doing under the hour '25's on April 25th on the E1 course. In the Vets National '10‘, Derek Rowlands did 25-23, a personal best. The first team win came in the N.& D.C.A.'25' by Noel 56-30 first fastest, Ian Butcher 58-20 second fastest, and Bob 59-41. Hazel Montilla with 1-9-21 was fastest lady in the same event.

Clive Anderson improved his ‘5O' time by over 7 minutes, recording 2-5-51 in the Norlond Combine event.

The first record to go this year was in the Finsbury Park '5O' when Martin Donnelly did 2-12-53 on his trike. Riding the same event, Garrett did a fine 1-55-O2 and a week later did a personal best of 54-23 for 25 miles. Only four days later he recorded 53-52. Following these fine rides, Bob took the '100' record with a 3-56-17, it being said that he used a gear of 126" for only 95% of the distance!


In the Lampard '10’ Hazel returned 24-O3, another record. Myrtle Street rode this event in a skin suit and did 25-52, whilst Guy Lilley did a personal best of 28-00 and brother Noel was first fastest with a 20-23. Riding the National '100', Garrett with a time of 3-57-20 was ninth fastest from a full field of 120 riders.

Noel Lilley (2nd claim), current Club Treasurer, finished fourth fastest in the Championship '25‘ and in the National '50‘ finished fifth fastest, two great rides which gained him many headlines in the cycling press.

Club records continued to fall. Hazel Montilla was first lady in the N.& D.C.A.'15' with her record time of 37-30, whilst following her under 5 hours time for the London Marathon run in May, Lorna Webb rode the Luton '12' finishing with 200-19 miles and set a new ladies 24-hour record when she covered 337 miles in the North Road event - tremendous efforts acknowledged as such by her Club- mates when they purchased and signed a book which was presented to Lorna at the Club Dinner.

Paul Street and Ian Gillman riding tandem returned a fine 22-15 for 10 miles for Club record. Two good rides by Ian Butcher, back in Beds.Road colours again, were a 56-13 first fastest in the Hinckley '25‘ and a 1-6-24 first fastest in the Leo 3O—miles event.

Garrett, Butcher and Alex McNab returned a total of 748 miles in the Luton '12‘ for a team record and Ian Butcher riding in the N.& D.C.A.'15' did a fine ride of 32-07 for N.& D.C.A.record (and course record).

Derek Rowlands won four Veterans Time Trial Association standard medals, as did Geoff Eaton.

Thirty-four Club members competed in open events covering a total of 8,216 miles.

Another booking of the Civic Theatre was made by the Club for the showing of a film "A Sunday in Hell". It was the story of the 1976 Paris-Roulaux road race, all 170 miles of it, and was g;ven a poignant twist by the fact that the winner Marc de Meyer, a Belgian professional rider, collapsed and died in recent months. The support given to this venture was not as good as the show deserved, mainly because two parties were away at the time touring.

The death occurred in June of Mrs.Marston after a long illness. We have a permanent reminder of Mrs.Marston and Roy, her husband, in the Roy and Phyllis Marston Trophy and the Roy Marston Trophy. Mrs.Marston left Bedford some years ago but maintained an interest in the Club's activities and attended the 50th Annual Dinner.

With the racing season over, our new tandem record holders Paul Street and Ian Gillman posted up a notice on the board at the Clubhouse giving details of a training night, suggested for Wednesdays at the Clubhouse throughout the winter nights and asking members to put in an appearance. They were an instant success and Paul, knowing an ex-boxing trainer Frank Cole, asked him to attend and put everybody through a rigorous routine of physical movement and weight-lifting - and so began another aspect of the Club's activities.

Another show at the Clubhouse of films of R.T.T.C.Championship events of past years was given by Gordon whittington and was well received. This was followed by our Bill Roffey putting on a slide show on November 20th showing some more recent expeditions abroad and this was voted one of Bill's best shows.


For many years Jean Nicol and Hilda Lovelock had been doing a good job auditing the Club books at the end of the financial year and being completely satisfied, but on doing the audit on the 1982 finances they found instances of excess cash in hand not being banked and long delays in payments, and Jean and Hilda made the following recommendations to the Committee:-

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1) Cash in hand - That excess cash is banked regularly to cover the payments made by cheques.

2) Clubhouse accounts - That a duplicate book is used for all expenditure not covered by bills.

3) Club events, Open events, Club dinner etc - Suggested that it would help if a proper balance sheet was prepared by the various secretaries to enable the net profit/loss to be correctly checked.

4) That the books be presented for audit at the very latest by October 15th.

The new Club Captain, Lorna Webb, organised leisurely paced runs on Sundays which were well attended and from this Lorna started a number of Hostel weekends in 1983, mainly for our family groups and younger members. The first weekend was in February and 14 members stayed at Ivinghoe Youth Hostel. Rebecca, aged 1O, and Daniel Byers, aged 6%, the two youngest of the party (with Mum and Dad of course), were out on their own cycles and thoroughly enjoyed the weekend stay. This led to visits to Milton Keynes, Castle Hedingham, Saffron Walden and Badby Hostels during the year, all well supported.

A slide show by various members showing slides of former years of Club life found a sizeable audience well entertained at the Clubhouse. A gathering of racing men and helpers at a supper organised by Jean and Roy Lilley in January brought back memories of former ‘dos’ of this type which used to be held at Dead- man's Cross regularly each year.

With the training evenings getting more and more support, the Sports Council were approached for help in purchasing equipment. This was refused, so members contributed 20p each night and from the proceeds other equipment was purchased as the money became available. Quite a bit of noise was being made at these sessions and a letter was sent to the neighbours next door apologising for this. Happily they were understanding and made no complaints. The success of this training night resulted in another night being required to accommodate all those wishing to participate and by the end of 1983 Beds.Roaders were to be found flexing their muscles on Mondays and Wednesdays.

The new roundabout at Sandy having been vompleted, the first Club '25‘ was held on a new course starting at the Canvin lay-by on the Cardington-Willington stretch of the B603 road going to Girtford, left at the roundabout, north on the A1 over the Black Cat roundabout, left and over the flyover to Eaton Socon and left to the old North Road, and left again to Eaton Socon bypass, south to Girt— ford and right at Red Bridge onto the B603 to finish at Dog Farm garage just after Cople Turn junction.

Ian Butcher won the event with a fine 57-52. All the riders negotiated the right-hand turn at Girtford Bridge correctly and the general opinion was that although not perfect, it was not too bad when properly marshalled and the riders took care.

Eric Moody, a leading contender for the National B.A.R.way back in the 6O's, having recently moved home to Willington, joined the Club and made a come- back; teaming up with Dave Cole, they were winners of the 2-up 20-miles event. Eric followed this with a second fastest in the Hilly '17’ and another second fastest in the Club '25‘.

The Ladies '1O' was won by Karen Lilley, beating mother Jean into second place with Sharon Bateman third.

Another 2-up '2O' later in the year resulted in a win for two of our most promising youngsters, Ian Wood and Colin Isles, in 53-31. Pam and Tom Finding riding tandem did 54-OO. Other youngsters to show in Club events during the year were Kevin White, Neil Bateman and Alan Crane.

Early in the season Ian Butcher beat British B.A.R. Ian Cammish to win the Kettering Friendly Hilly '25‘, a fine start to the season by Ian.

In the Southgate '5O', Ian Butcher improved his personal best with a fine 1-51-42 and yet another personal best for 1OO miles a week later, doing 4-8-O1 in the Midland C.A.'100'.


In the National Ladies Championship '100', Hazel Montilla finished in thirteenth place with her 4-46-43.

Magazine Editor Ian Gillman riding in the Luton Arrow '25‘ was under the hour for the first time with 59-42 and Geoff Eaton recorded a personal best of 1-2-27 in the same event.

A notable absentee from the racing scene this year was George Bettis. He did not compete at all; he was getting more and more interested in marathon running, an interest that started during the latter part of 1982. From the Club's point of view it was a pity, but all wished him well in his new sport. In the Club's Open Middlemarkers '25‘, Eric Moody 1-1-56, Tom Finding 1-2-18 and Geoff Eaton 1-4-50 took first team award. Mick willson showed that he had recovered from his accident when he did 59-16 in the Slough V.C.'25' and on the same day ‘comeback man‘ Dave Cole was also 'under' with a 59-51 in the Rutland '25‘ and yet again with 59-41 in the North Midds.'25'.

Riding the National '25‘, Noel Lilley won the bronze medal, finishing third fastest, and was just outside the medal positions when he finished in fourth position in the National '50‘ Championship.

On the track in the National Track Championships, Noel was prominent in the pursuits and this gained him a place in the Olympic Squads for special training and possible selection for the 1984 Games.

The mid-summer map reading event attracted 18 entries, 12 in the Novices section won by David Crane, and six in the Experts section won by the expert himself Mike Street. First lady was Dot Crane.

Club runs were well supported, much credit for this being due to the hard work of Lorna Webb, Club Captain. Attendances of as many as 25 were out to lunch on occasions and 31 for tea at a new venue, The Royal Oak, Houghton Conquest. At the A.G.M. it was reported that 39 new members had joined and nine were removed for non-payment of subs. Jill Pepper after her first effort at being Club Treasurer said she had enjoyed doing the job and tlok the position for another term.

Ray and Dot Crane, the Joint Clubhouse Secretaries, reported bar takings of over £1,000 (these included teas etc. at our two open, another record.

Roy Lilley, Racing Secretary, said that 50 riders had competed in Club events during the year and asked for better co-operation from them in the future as regards them entering the events early rather than leaving entry until the last minute.

Geoff Eaton, Open T.T.Recorder, gave the following statistics:- 47 1st claim Club competitors, 58 events ridden, 156 rides with a total mileage of 5,469 miles, with two Club records, namely Hazel Montilla '100' miles in 4-46-43 (an improvement of 24-20 on the old record) and a tandem 25-miles record of 53-25 by Pat Meaney and Bob Garrett.

The Dinner-Dance held at Clapham Village Hall, being the Club's 60th, attracted an attendance of 131, chief guests being two of our founder members - namely Ralph Cox C.B.E.and Kem Greaves C.B.E. who was the Club's first Treasurer 60 years earlier. The only other remaining founder member, "Jock" Aynesley, although invited, was unable to attend owing to illness. Ralph and Kem had both travelled long distances to be with us and both in their speeches included interesting accounts of Beds.Road Club life in the early 1920s, giving the 'do' a good start. Ben Stout as Social Secretary was the organiser, assisted by Club- mates.

Later both Ralph and Kem wrote saying how very impressed they were with the apparent healthy state of the Club, and congratulating the Club officials for a great evening.