This is a dip into articles published in the Autumn 2017 issue
of FELLOWSHIP NEWS 211, quarterly magazine of the Fellowship of Cycling.
The authors are all members, who write on any subject which
catches their eye, not just cycling.
This autumn edition of Fellowship News, journal of the Fellowship of Cycling, reflects in an entertaining way the enormous range of cycling done, or still being done, by its members. On the one extreme, an amazing crossing of Iceland. On the other, previously untold background accounts of an early Brighton-to-Glasgow stage race. Rough stuff cycling doesn't come any tougher than that recounted by Adrian Hinchcliffe. He and Ron Bartle were led by Dick Phillips, of London, later to become an Iceland specialist, who had twice before had to abandon the same challenging journey. In 1958 this threesome made the first successful unassisted transverse of that island by bike. The 160 miles included the fording of the bridgeless, mountainous, Tungnaa and Kaldakvisi rivers, which had foiled Dick's previous attempts. For this latest attempt they had to lug – apart from a tent, clothing, cooking apparatus, and a spade – a small rubber dinghy. This was the brainchild of Ron's and he, using the spade as a paddle, made the first crossing, then had to ferry across the other two and their bikes.
Alan Gifford is a prolific contributor to the magazine this time. He writes enthusiastically about the National Cycling Museum at Landrindod Wells (the issue carries a rare back page advertisement for the museum). He also tells of a crossing of the mighty Col D’Isoard (jokingly “Is so hard”) and then floats an idea for the Tour de France organisers. He reflects that the Paris-Roubaix race has deliberately relayed a stretch of cobbles, so that present-day riders experienced the pave which made the race different, not to say notorious. Why doesn't the Tour de France lay grit and gravel for, say, one kilometre at the summit of the Isoard, to replicate the surface which he had to negotiate on a 1950s trip? Over to you, TdF. Later in the issue Alan tells an amusing story about how he, with only a basic grasp of the French language, came to interpret in the 1951 Brighton-Glasgow stage race. Quite unexpectedly and uninvited a team from France turned up at the start and, after discussion, were allowed to ride. Among those present only Alan could communicate and, as they had turned up, for instance, at a time of food rationing without any food, there was a lot of negotiating to do. But it got worse. Somehow, a home rider ended up in a ditch, punished for not sharing the work at the front during a breakaway. A French rider was blamed. A ferocious row broke out, with Alan in the middle, desperately translating. In the end the French team continued, won four of the six stages, but little else. From the French team manager Alan received a letter of thanks, together with a cigarette lighter, though the stand-in translator didn't smoke.
There are some splendid illustrations (in content rather than quality) in this issue but the pick must be that of Fellowship of Cycling secretary Sian Charlton, aboard her tricycle during the Prudential London Free Ride, on the vehicle-free streets of central London.
Norman Saxby is pictured in an Irish cycling campaign jersey. On the back is a diagram of a car passing a cyclist with the slogan: “1.5 metres please. Share the road”.
Frank Patterson, cycling's most famous artist, pops up in several articles. There is a suggestion that Fellowship News should publish an anthology of Pat's output, but Dave Twitchett tells us he already has six volumes of Pat's works and he can't see a need for another.