This is a dip into articles published in the Summer 2018 issue
of FELLOWSHIP NEWS 214, quarterly magazine of the Fellowship of Cycling.
The authors are all members, who write on any subject which
catches their eye, not just cycling.
Why should a self-confessed “devout heathen” cycle 124 miles to visit 53 churches in 16 and a half hours? Simply, writes Lionel Joseph in the Summer 2018 issue of Fellowship News, the journal of the Fellowship of Cycling, for the pleasure of riding a bike while recording crafts work of the past and noting the geology of the countryside. An example: How about the memorial stone to a young albino man who killed himself. Parishioners blamed his mother, saying she treated her son badly. In response she removed the stone from the churchyard and relocated it in front of the village pub. It remains there and is now a listed monument of historical interest.
Brooklands is famous as a motor racing circuit, but it has close connections with cycle racing. Bob French provides a fascinating resume of the place, which opened with a motor race there in 1907. It was won, driving a Napier, by S.F. Edge. Now S.F. Edge is more famous as a lifelong racing cyclist. He came third in the first Bordeaux – Paris race, broke the London-Brighton and back record four times and was a member of the Anerley BC, the Catford CC, North Road Club and the Surrey BC. The first modern cycling road race in England took place at Brooklands in 1933. The winner was J.J. Salt (Anfield CC). Runner-up Bill Burl (Marlboro AC) was the only rider to climb Test Hill (1-in-4) five times. But then even some early motor cars couldn’t make it.
Here’s an extremely controversial contribution from Brian Griffiths in the light of current developments around the treatment of women. He thinks women shoot themselves in the foot when loudly seeking gender equality. He cites feminine quirks, such as claiming to be experts in cookery at a time of widespread obesity. Wearing revealing clothing and then complaining about being fondled by men is another trait picked out by Brian. Brace yourself, mate, for a fiery backlash in the next issue.
The present boom in cycling is the subject picked over by Peter Hopkins. He labels newcomers to the pastime as New Cyclists. A NC doesn’t race but is often clad and equipped like a professional coureur. His machine, all titanium and carbon fibre, will have a device to monitor everything down to his pedalling cadence and heart rate. Few NCs join established cycling clubs but even so CTC membership now stands at 67,000 and British Cycling has more than 126,500. But few teenagers are NCs. Most are middle aged, middle class. But there are great signs of cycling being accepted even in the higher echelons of UK society. Fifty years ago Ernest Marples, then a transport Minister, was thought of by the general public as being “an eccentric nutcase” for riding a bike. Now politicians vie to be pictured on a bike.
Falling off one is pretty common, though rarely injurious. Doing so on a tandem is less fun. Derek Hayday offers a graphic description of a tumble after climbing the Healey Pass in Southern Ireland, with his wife aboard, in pouring rain. On the descent of this 1-in-7 he braked but the blocks on the front wheel went under the rim. Then same again with the rear brake. He yelled “no brakes” to his stoker and steered into a rain gully. They stopped suddenly, the tandem flipped into the air, as did the two riders, “We must have looked like two yellow bats in our capes”, Derek wrote. Luckily a motor home driver saw the predicament and drove them to hospital, Derek with a badly damaged ankle and his wife with a head injury. The tandem was a wreck – forks bent level with the top tube, chainrings bent in two. No serious injuries, but a few days later they finished the holiday hitchhiking with walking sticks.