The Pedal Club First 21 Years



A Souvenir History

of the

First Twenty-one Years


George Herbert Stancer
The first Chairman of the Pedal Club and President of the Cycling Tourist Club


TODAY, 21 years after its foundation, the Pedal Club can claim to be recognised as the forum of all sections of cycling opinion. What were its origins, who were the personalities who set it going and what has it done for the cycling game as a whole?
This history is published to celebrate the attainment by the Club of its majority and to try to record the answers to those questions. It is being presented on the evening of the commemoration dinner at the Cafe Royal, London, on November 21, 1962.

How it began

Probably few club cyclists have not at some time or other mused on the practicability of a central club or headquarters where there would be every facility for the club cyclist and where all could meet: officials, trackmen, roadmen, tourists—everyone connected with the sport and pastime. Were some such thoughts in the minds of A. R. (Bob) Haine and his collaborators in October, 1941, when a note appeared in Cycling inviting interest in the formation of a luncheon club for cycling officials and journalists? Or in the mind of Ron White, when—even earlier—in April, 1941, he invited a small party of officials and journalists to a luncheon in war-time London? The Metropolitan and Home Counties Cycling Gazette records this gathering as consisting of Mrs. K. Weller, R. B. Coley (Ragged Staff), E. C. Bolton, A. Cook, W. J. Mills, H. H. England, B. W. Best, R. White, Miss J. Wright and L. F. Dixon. [see note at end of this transcription]
Or there might have been other considerations. The cycling game (like everything else) was suffering from war- time stresses: cycling officials and riders were being torn from their usual haunts; the “massed- start” controversy was beginning. There were very good reasons, then, for the establishment of a forum for contact and for exchange of views—and, resulting from the note in Cycling—the first positive stage was the meeting in the Blue Lion, Grays Inn Road, W.C.1, on Tuesday, 18 November, 1941, at which the Pedal Club was formed.
The inaugural meeting, seen retrospectively by those who attended, had some of the incongruities and drollness of an Abbey Theatre bar comedy: the prospective members conducted the business in the public bar AND in the private bar, moving and seconding propositions, voting and taking part in discussion over the wooden-and-glass partition, while eating such foodstuffs as war-time permitted! For the Club’s title, there


SYMBOLIC GONG, surmountedbyapedal,waspresentedtothePedal Club by J. A. Phillips and Co. Ltd.Recently, it was renovated by Raleigh Industries, Ltd., of which J. A. Phillips is now part.


The Presidents “Jewel” presented to the club by Steve Pontin (President 1955 & 1962)

were suggestions which ran from the strictly formal (The Cyclists’ Luncheon Club) to the bizarre (The Cranks). More than one of the founder members thought that the last-named might have been more effective. But it was not to be: the title the Pedal Club was adopted and has remained ever since. In all the circumstances, it was surprising that the chairman, the late Herbert Goodwin, managed to keep order at this first meeting; but he did, and so the Pedal Club was born.

Early Days — 1941 – 1945

The 22 founder-members who were at the Blue Lion (on 18 November, 1941), supported a motion moved by A. P. Chamberlin (then NCU secretary) seconded by Alex Josey (assistant editor of Cycling): that “A luncheon club for cycling officials and cycling journalists be hereby inaugurated”.
For a cycling gathering, the meeting was unusually unanimous in defining its constitution and objects, the prime movers being Chamberlin and Josey. Membership was to be confined to 50, composed of members of national and local cycling organisations and cycling journalists; and the annual subscription was fixed at 2s. 6d.
The objects, which still remain, were to provide an opportunity for cycling officials and journalists to meet informally to discuss cycling topics and for prominent public people and others to address the club. G. H. Stancer (then CTC secretary) was elected as the first Club chairman, with A. P. Chamberlin as secretary. Committee members elected were: H. W. Bartlett, J. F. Ditchman and H. H. England.
The first invited speaker was A. S. Gillott (then President of the National Association of Cycle Traders) who spoke at the Beguinot Restaurant, Old Compton Street, on 16 December, 1941 about the newly-founded Institute of Cycle Repairers.
During the next few months, speakers included T. C. Foley (Pedestrians’ Association secretary) and W. J. Mills (then editor of The Bicycle\ whose subject was massed- start racing prospects for Britain—a prophetic address, given shortly before the Llangollen-Wolverhampton race which was the first in-line race on the roads of modern times and started perhaps the biggest cycling controversy since the first world-war. In the chair on that occasion was a youthful Peter Bryan, now Assistant Secretary of the Club.
In the early days, most of the meetings consisted of general debates and discussions, some of them most animated. A feature of the early days, too, was the system of members drawing lots to determine their seating places, primarily in order to introduce the membership better. In addition, the member drawing number one acted as chairman of the meeting, and the member drawing number 13 opened the discussion. This course had the advantage of inducing members to take a closer interest in the topic for discussion, but— less advantageously—led to some members absenting themselves if they knew little of the subject; and on occasions it is believed there occurred a subtle pre-arrangement of the ballot. In this formative period, there were several proposals to change the constitution and various rules, and in 1942 one such proposal by the officers, to restrict still further the eligibility rule for prospective members, together with other proposals, was rejected by the Club, and brought about the resignations of the five elected to office at the first meeting. From that time until 1951, the Club functioned without a committee and conducted all its business at the monthly luncheons—a source of embarrassment on some occasions when there might be guests as well as an invited speaker present.
At this meeting, in April 1942, the rules were revised, on the initiative of A. A. Josey and A. J. Ballantyne. The chief effect of the changes approved was to confine membership to cycling officials and cycling journalists. Membership was specifically restricted to males. At the same meeting, following the resignation of the officers, George Brake was elected as secretary-treasurer, the sole officer of the Club. In the original constitution, election to membership was by unanimous vote which had the result of several eligible candidates being rejected, but the meeting agreed that election of new members should be on a majority vote. This was an important meeting and a further decision was to move the monthly luncheons to Slaters in the Strand, where they stayed for the remainder of the war years.
As early as October, 1942, and within the first 12 months, there was a discussion on the apathy prevailing at that time among Pedal Club members. As a result, the practice was adopted of electing at each meeting a chairman for the following fixture, and selection of the opening speaker by the number 13 method ceased to operate.
The year 1943 started auspiciously when, in January, the speaker was the Marquess of Donegall, whose topic was his cycling experiences at home and abroad; Bernard Newman apparently enthralled the June meeting with stories of a recent visit to the USA—so much so that, it is recorded, the meeting ran 10 minutes over the allocated time of 90 minutes. Evidently, they were better timekeepers then!

At the November, 1943, annual general meeting, Chamberlin became secretary for the second time and H. E. Miles treasurer.
The most important meeting in 1944 was held at the Connaught Rooms on Tuesday, 14 March, when the speaker was Mr. Philip Noel-Baker, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport. He forecast extensive segregation of road traffic after the end of the war—a forecast of the motorways of today.
In May, propositions to expand the Club by admitting women members and members’ guests were lost, but in November, a proposal to allow one male guest per member was accepted. The lunch venue was changed for June and July from Slaters to the White Hart, Drury Lane. The final meeting in December, 1944, was addressed by Tom Fraser, M.P. for Hamilton, who promised to help cycling by arranging for MP’s with cycling affinities to meet regularly.
The May, 1945, meeting was cancelled because the date, the 8th, was VE day. Indeed, a minor tragedy was averted by the end of the war in Europe—Slaters had told the secretary in advance that there would be no beer available on 8 May! Scarcity of intoxicants was of course a concomitant of the last days of war and the first days of peace.
At the first (European) peace-time meeting, the speaker was Alex Josey, a founder-member, who told the story of the Buckshee Wheelers, the best-known of the cycling bodies founded overseas by wheelmen in the Services.
During 1945, practically every outdoor organization with cycling affiliations was invited to send speakers to the monthly luncheons to speak about post-war reconstruction. This theme of a brave new world was to recur time and time again during 1946 and 1947. The Pedal Club provided a congenial forum for discussion, thus fulfilling the function visualised by its founders. The last meeting of the year was held at the Ambassadors Hotel, Upper Woburn Place, and a venue which the Club was to use for several years.


AT THE CONNAUGHT ROOMS in January, 1946, Mr, George Strauss, then Parliamentary Secretary- to the Ministry of War Transport condemned massed-start racing on the roads and sparked off a major cycling controversy. Among his listeners were founder-member Bob Haine, writer Stanley Baron, the late J. F, Ditchman and the late H. H. England,


Post-war Plans — 1946-48

One of the greatest controversies aroused by a monthly meeting of the Pedal Club was that which prevailed in the cycling Press after the address in January, 1946, by Mr. George Strauss, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport. The well-attended gathering was held at the Connaught Rooms. The topic of massed-start racing was to the fore at this time throughout the cycling world and no-one was surprised when Mr. Strauss roundly condemned this type of racing on the roads. He said: “There is no doubt that massed-start cycle racing on the roads is dangerous and contrary to the public interest. If those who indulge in this form of racing do not act, we will put an end to it”.
At the February meeting, founder-member Bob Haine was the speaker and he said that he would like to see an unlimited and unrestricted membership, with evening functions. Arising from his suggestions, Mr. Haine was asked to formulate a revised constitution. In April, a sub-committee consisting of Messrs. Haine, Penn and Lyford was set up to consider alterations to rules and, at the annual general meeting; the sub- committee’s proposals were accepted, with amendments. The major change was in the definition of the membership qualification, which read: “That membership of the Club shall be confined to all male (sic) persons who are rendering, or who have rendered service to cycling which in the opinion of the members shall warrant their admission.” This qualification still operates.
In an address given in August by A. E. Dawson, of ROSPA, the extensive system of road-training for child cyclists that now prevails was anticipated.
The second post-war year appears to have been comparatively quiet, although Tommy Hill, English Manager of Continental cycling stars, created a stir at the January meeting when he said that the rules of the Belgian controlling body permitted cash prizes to amateurs in road races. This was subsequently denied by the Ligue Velocipedique Beige, which stated that cash payments to amateurs were restricted to expenses.
In September, W. J. Mills (a former, and founder, member), was questioning whether the Club was fulfilling its founders’ intentions. On being pressed to a division, his motion in the negative was lost by 4-16, but his criticisms no doubt found some targets and, if the mixture of metaphors may be forgiven, probably sowed the seeds of future changes.
The annual general meeting in November marked the end of the reign of Adrian Paulet Chamberlin as an officer of the club, notably as secretary throughout the first five years, except for 18 months when the post was filled by George Brake. APC said that his duties in connection with the Olympic Games to be held in Great Britain in 1948 would prevent his continuing as secretary. L. A. Gebel was appointed secretary; and G. E. Martindale was re-elected treasurer, for the second successive year.
During Olympic year of 1948, notable guests and speakers on 28 July were Victor Breyer (UCI president), Frank Small (president, Amateur Bicycle League of America) and S. Bhoot (president, National Cycling Federation of India), as well as a number of Olympic entrants from India, South Africa and the USA.v

The Pedal Club
The interest which the club world was still taking in the massed-start controversy had its reflection at the end of 1947 and the beginning of 1948, when no fewer than four successive meetings were devoted to the subject. These gatherings undoubtedly contributed to the eventual rapprochement between the NCU and the BLRC although at one meeting a majority vote supported national officials of the NCU who said that they could not be involved in discussions with members of a suspended organization! Several leading officials of the League took part in the debates, with Jimmy Kain as the opener of the series in December.

A LINK WITH DUNLOP was provided in March 1953 when his daughter Mrs Jean McLintock spoke at the Club

Coasting — 1949 – 51

As the 1949 touring season opened, the speaker in May was Lord Fermoy, whose remarks were widely quoted in the national press: he upheld cycling as a recreation suitable for all ages. Place-to-place record breaking had an airing in December, when Ken Joy spoke about his experiences in the course of his successful attack on the Brighton record. He was supported by two other Best All rounder’s P. A. Beardsmore and F. W. Southall, previous holders of the record.
In December, 1949, Basil Cardew had submitted in the Daily Ex-press a nine-point code to cope with cyclists. Mr. Cardew was invited to address the club at the April, 1950 meeting, when he reiterated his proposals which included impounding of bicycles owned by “offenders” riding without rear lights or not using cycle paths.
Another Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport to address the club was Lord Lucas of Chilworth. His visit was in July, 1950, and after saying that more rear warnings on cycles were necessary and even imminent, he left for the House of Lords before a stormy debate ensued. On this occasion, Macdonald Bailey, world-beating athletic sprinter, was the guest of Dr. C. R. Woodard, who from time to time has introduced many well-known athletes as guests; also, the first woman to attend the Pedal Club made her appearance, a journalist from a national newspaper. This gathering received wide Press coverage and even national leading-article prominence. Such publicity, then as now, was the result of the groundwork of Robert Williamson, then Dunlop Press Officer, whose experience and contacts have been invaluable to the Club.
In the Festival Year of 1951, D. D. McLachlan, Hercules’ Director of Publicity, spoke in April about the Festival of Cycling which was run three months later at Fort Dunlop. Again, the Club was lending advance aid to a big cycling project. The occasion was the first of a series of evening bi-monthly meetings held at The King, Leather Lane.
However, the Club reverted to a luncheon meeting during Cycle Show week of November, 1951, when Reg Harris, world sprint champion, was the speaker at The Horseshoe, Tottenham Court Road, and he told the gathering of 50 that to end the impasse in cycling circles, someone must climb down. The three organisations conducting the sport in Britain should settle their differences, so that their prestige abroad did not sink lower. Sid Patterson of Australia was also a guest on that occasion.

Growing up — 1952-62

At the end of 1951, it became apparent that the Club was not at that time actively fulfilling the intentions of its founders; instead of being simply a vehicle for social meetings, it had to be sustained as the forum of the cycling game, which was again in a period of transition. The Reg Harris meeting had emphasised the keenness and enthusiasm of the membership, provided the speaker was well known and his subject topical.
A group of members, with faith in cycling and in the future of the Club, proposed at the annual meeting in December, 1951, that the business of the Club should be conducted through an executive committee, headed by a president elected annually, and supported by the secretary, the treasurer and a publicity officer. The proposals were accepted, together with another urging the executive to take all appropriate measures within the constitution to re-vitalise the club and secure the attainment of its objects.
Founder member, George Brake, a former secretary, was elected first president, with Don Lyford as secretary, George Martindale was re-elected treasurer and Robert Williamson as publicity officer. Les Gebel, who had intimated that he was unable to continue as secretary, was warmly thanked for his work, practically unaided, as secretary for four years during a most difficult period of the post-war era.
As part of the expansion programme, the meetings held in 1952 saw an increase in the number of public figures who addressed the Club. However, it was a member, H. H. England, who began the year with a talk about raising the status of cycling—an ever-recurring topic. Harry England anticipated much of the present- day propaganda favouring cycling as an aid to healthy living.
Although the innovation did not meet with unanimous approval, there was held in April the first luncheon to which women were officially invited. Not only that the speaker was a woman: Mrs. Lyn Stancer, who spoke about the future of women’s cycle racing. Several meetings during 1952 were held at Jupiter’s Pillars Restaurant, Great Queen Street. It was at this venue—in the cellar, in fact—that the club entertained no fewer than five Members of Parliament: Miss Elaine Burton, Mr. Tom Fraser, Mr. John Parker, Mr. John Rogers and Mr. Ernest Marples. Mr. Fraser thus implemented his earlier promise of gathering together a group of MP’s favourable to cycling.
A well-known speaker from the sporting world in October was Russell Mockridge, popular Australian track-man, who was then an Olympic and Empire Games Champion. In October, too, the club saw a preview in London of the Dunlop film Spinning Wheels.
The increased liveliness and influence of the Pedal Club was evidenced at the 1952 annual meeting, when attendances during the year were reported to have averaged 29 per meeting, compared with 17 in
1951. A visitors’ book was started in May and, in September Phillips’ Cycles presented the club with a chairman’s symbolic gong. Search led to the locating of the founder members’ scroll, which was framed and since then has been on display at every meeting.
At the annual meeting also, the election of new members was delegated to the committee, and it was decided to abolish honorary membership.
The touring side of the Club’s interests was to the fore again in January 1953, when R. C. Shaw spoke about a journey to Lapland. By March, the Club was meeting at the Shaftesbury Hotel and the speaker was Mrs. Jean McLintock, daughter of B. Dunlop: one of the Club’s best attended meetings, it included many lady visitors.
In August, the women had it their own way again, with Mrs. Edith Atkins speaking about her Land’s End to John O’Groats amateur bicycle record. She signed the Golden Book of Cycling on this occasion. Present also were Russell Mockridge and Eileen Sheridan.
The rising attendances (during 19 53, the average was 33) showed how the Club was progressing. Again the Club was favoured with an invitation to a preview of another Dunlop film, Awheel in Britain.
In the following year, in May, a venerable visitor was Hannen Swaffer, while in August H. H. England told of his 25 years as editor of Cycling.
Concern about the cycle trade was illustrated by a series of meetings at which speakers from trade and industry gave their views on what might be done. The addresses were given by such notable figures as Hugh Palin (Director, British Cycle and Motor Cycle Industries Association), H. L. Shephard (Currys) and D. D. McLachlan (Hercules). These meetings culminated in a dinner—the first formal dinner in the Club’s history— at The Horseshoe, Tottenham Court Road. Under the chairmanship of founder-member A. J. Ballantyne, president of the Club in 1954, representative personalities expressed their faith in the future of cycling. Quite out of the run of previous fixtures was a visit at the invitation of Hercules to the firm’s factories at Manor Mills and Britannia Works, Aston, Birmingham, in May, 1954. On Ascension Day, nearly 30 members went by air on this expedition, which was the first of a number of works’ visits.
The Pedal Club
The Pedal Club
The Pedal Club
The highlights of 1955 were two week- ends awheel, one based on Aylesbury (The Bull’s Head) in March and the other on Guildford (The Angel) in October. Both these fixtures were well attended and set a precedent that is still being followed.
An unusual presentation came in October, when Stephen Arlen, of Sadler’s Wells, spoke on the subject of a Bicycle in the Ballet.
The 1956 attendance figures were the highest since 1952 and the year generally was probably one of the best in the Club’s history, so far as the calibre of the speakers was concerned and the scope of their chosen subjects. Additionally, there was a memorable visit to Fort Dunlop and another autumn week-end, based on Whittlesford (The Red Lion) in Cambridgeshire.

Left Top – HERCULES TOOK THE CLUB to Birmingham and the firms Factories by air in May, 1954. In the- left foreground (on a bicycle) is Past President Robert Williamson, a former Dunlop press officer. Coming down the aircraft steps is Ron White, another Past President.

A picture taken in autumn, 1956 at the Red Lion, Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire. Sharing the board, among others, are Secretary Harold Briercliffe, Laurie Dixon and Jack Lauterwasser, with the then president, the late Harry England, in the chair.

Left Bottom – WE DON’T JUST TALK CYCLING- Members of the Pedal Club a ‘wheel in Surrey, near Abinger, in October, 1955. Seen in the autumn sunshine are 1962 committee members, President S. H. Pontin, press secretary R. Williamson, treasurer L.A. Gebel, D.E.S. Kirby and F. H. Dredge, as well as E.C.W. Stevenson and G. Culliford.

The 1956 speakers included, in February, Dr. F. E. Camps, MD, (Home Office Pathologist) on A Medical View of Road Accidents; March, Mr. Anthony Greenwood, MP, on The Bicycle in the National Economy; in May, E. W. Arkle, chief commercial manager, British Railways – London Midland Region, on Cyclists’ Special Trains; in July, Dr. Adolphe Abrahams, on physical fitness; in September, Ray Booty, 1956 Best All-rounder; and in November, R. A. Adams, Ford advertising manager on Publicity for Cycling. In October, a remarkable film and talk was provided by the sculptor Wilfred Dudeney on the modelling of Eileen Sheridan’s head. An altogether, an impressive year for the Club.
For 1957, the Club followed the established programme of monthly meetings, a works visit and an autumn week-end. The accent on youth was supplied by David Duffield, who spoke in July of his End-to-End record experiences: the Commonwealth angle was struck by H. H. England who, under the general title of Australia’s Latest Gold Rush, gave two successive addresses on his visit to the Antipodes for the 1956 Olympic Games; and trade personality H. L. Shephard first put forward his plans for a National Cycling Fortnight.
In April, 30 members visited the Raleigh works at Nottingham; and there was an attendance of 15 on the autumn week-end based on Hawkhurst (Tudor Hall Hotel).
Another good bill-of-fare made the year 1958 outstanding. In addition to two MP’s who responded to invitations to speak, an exceptional address was given in August by G. H. Stancer, president of the CTC, whose absorbing subject was Eighty Years of Cycling, a masterly survey of the whole of recorded cycling history by one who had lived through most of it. The MP’s were Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire), whose main topic in February was the origin and development of the annual Cumnock Rally; and Vice-Admiral Hughes-Hallett, whose engaging address in April bore the title of Memoirs of a Cycling Admiral. Later in the year, other notable speakers were Millie Robinson on the events leading to her record- breaking trip to Milan and Sir Harold Bowden who told of his early days with Raleigh.
The April works visit was to the Dunlop rim works at Coventry and the autumn week-end to Bourton-on- the- Water (The Old New Inn).

The Pedal Club

A GOOD MUSTER OF MEMBERS at the 1958 visit to the Dunlop rim works at Coventry

The peak attendance of members and guests was reached in 1959, when the average total was 37. The year’s speakers and their subjects were varied and engrossing. Notable names from the sporting world appeared in the advance notices sent to members: Reg Randall, Owen Blower and Beryl Burton. Harry England spoke of his 30 years as editor of Cycling; Stainless Stephen came in with a mixed bag of memories and rhetoric; Tommie Chambers, of Glasgow, related an absorbing story of Half a Million Cycling Miles; and R. C. Shaw gave a provocative address headed Cycling’s Gravediggers, dealing with pessimistic touring publicists. Possibly, the high-spot in the luncheons, however, was the visit of Beryl Burton, 1959 Best Woman All-rounder and World Pursuit Champion. Ladies attended as guests and the event was voted a great success.
The growing importance of the Pedal Club as a sounding board for the year’s programme of cycling activities was underlined in 1960, when advance reviews of two of the most outstanding events were publicised by their organisers.
In March, Hugh Palin (Industries Association) gave advance details of the IA’s 50th birthday celebrations and, in July, Cliff Pratt spoke about the York rally. The British sporting element got a good show, with addresses by Bryan Wiltcher (1959 BAR winner) and E. C. Thompson (Olympic cyclist) and a unique presentation was the address by the French sporting cyclist and journalist, Jean Bobet, whose subject was A Continental View of British Cycling. There was no doubt about the enthusiasm with which British cycling, as represented by the Pedal Club, greeted Jean Bobet.
Lord Montagu was accompanied by Lady Montagu—and there were other ladies present—when he gave a talk in May, illustrated by colour slides, on the Montagu Museum; and another illustrated selection was provided in September by Johnny Helms (Cycling cartoonist) with examples of his sketching technique.
The 1960 works excursion was to the British Cycle Corporation at Smethwick, while the autumn week- end took members to Clare (Nethergate Hotel) in Suffolk. The Clare outing took place on the wettest week- end for years and floods were encountered at every turn, leading to diversions that presented even worse dilemmas. In the end, a past- president lost foothold; bicycle and all had to be pulled out, soaking, to “dry” land.
At the annual meeting in November, 1960, a system of country membership was inaugurated, relaxing the rules slightly in their favour and enabling the membership to be increased moderately beyond the maximum of 50. G. H. Stancer was also elected the Club’s only honorary life member.
The year 1961 was again one of colourful personalities. Charles King, president of the British Cycling Federation, and a member of the Pedal Club, opened the year with a thoughtful address on the next steps for British cycling. Another member and a Club past-president, Ron White, also spoke on the projected Harlow cycle track; Brigadier-General Stoney of ROSPA on the Child Cycling Proficiency scheme; and Rex Coley {Ragged Staff) wandered over many fields in his inimitable fashion.
To illustrate our catholic tastes, Don Thompson, well-known walker and 1960 Olympic gold-medallist, was invited in May to give us the walker’s approach to his sport—and most refreshing it was. He was followed by D. D. McLachlan, who was then retiring from the industry; and by Bill Oakley on Fifty Years of Cycling. Ladies’ Day found Eileen Gray telling the Club about the forthcoming Women’s World’s Cycling Championships in the Isle of Man—the first occasion on which they had been held in the British Isles.

The Pedal Club

FRENCH FLAVOURING was provided in 1960, when Jean Bobet, Breton racing cyclist and French journalist, gave a Continental view of British cycling. The year’s president Ron White is on M. Bobet’s right, while-on his left is Jock Wadley, Editor of The Sporting Cyclist, who was in the chair.

A. M. R. (Blob) Harbour, a Bath Reader of note and racing repute in the 1920’s, and now domiciled in South Africa, gave us a view of cycling conditions there, as well as some comments on contemporary cycling at home.
It was not possible to arrange a works’ visit in 1961, but the season closed with the autumn weekend at the Black Horse Hotel, Horsham.v

Twenty-one Years

Appropriately enough, in the Club’s 21st anniversary year, no fewer than four speakers were drawn from its ranks. The Club had grown up!
I n March, Reg Harris gave a talk on Reflections of a Champion turned Manufacturer; and in April, 43 members and other friends were present to see D. D. McLachlan sign the Golden Book of Cycling, in recognition of his services to the industry and to the sport and pastime. The European touring and racing sides of cycling were balanced at the July and August meetings by R. C. Shaw and J. B. Wadley respectively. Jock Wadley had a fascinating story to tell of the 1962 Tour de France and Tour de 1’Avenir, while Reg Shaw gave an insight into the part played by the Alliance Internationale de Tourisme over the years in easing the problems of all tourists travelling outside their own countries.
W. G. Franklin, managing director of Silver Cities Airways, spoke at the January gathering about the Channel Bridge ‘plane facilities available to cyclists. Geoffrey Dyson, the well-known athletics coach, was the February speaker, when he dealt with various aspects of modern fitness training. In May, Matt Newton gave an entertaining description of his experiences as Mayor of Middlesboro’; Keith Butler, son of 1961 president, Stan Butler, reported in June on his experiences as a rider in the 1962 Berlin—Prague—Warsaw race; and in September, “Ladies’ Day”, there was a record attendance for the year of 58, to hear Mrs. Eileen Sheridan describe the part played by the British girls’ team at the 1962 world’s championships in Italy.
In May, the Club paid a visit to the Coventry Eagle and Falcon works at Smethwick. Twenty members were entertained by the chairman and managing director, Mr. A. Douglas Mayo. Later, Mr. Mayo accepted an invitation to become a country member of the Club.
The concluding meetings of 1962 were as varied as ever. In October, the Chief Constable of Hertfordshire, Lt.-Col. A. F. Wilcox, O.B.E., spoke on present-day road sport as seen through the eyes of the police; and a month later, Alex Moulton, inventor of the revolutionary Moulton bicycle, gave the Club an exposition of the design and thought behind this machine. The autumn cycling week-end was to the upper reaches of the Thames, with headquarters at the Beetle &Wedge at Moulsford. Indeed, a year to remember in Pedal Club circles.

The Pedal Club

AMONG THE CHAMPIONS is D.L. McLachlan, former Hercules director of publicity, as he signs the Golden Book of Cycling, in April, 1962. Others in the picture are Reg Harris, George Fleming, W.J. (Bill) Bailey, 1962 president Steve Pontin, Frank Southall and Reg Randall.

In a history of this character, it is not possible to record every happening; or to mention all who have helped the Club along the road. Apologies are made for the omissions and acknowledgements also to those who have helped in its production, in particular to Dunlop for their generosity in meeting its cost; to Geoffrey Culliford for his help in its presentation and printing; and to Iliffe and Temple
Press for the pictures and photographic blocks with which it is illustrated. The practice has been adopted in general of omitting courtesy titles in the belief that it accords more with the spirit of the Pedal Club and also produces a less formal narrative. Certainly, it is not for want of courtesy or respect to fellow members or other friends whose names appear in these pages.

Reference might appropriately be made here to the claim earlier in these pages that the Pedal Club is recognised as the forum for all sections of cycling opinion. This may appear somewhat bold for a London- based luncheon club, but is not its membership drawn from all the national cycling organisations, both sporting and touring; from organisations representing the whole country s trade and industry, as well as traders themselves; and from the national, sporting and trade Press? Has it not entertained speakers from all parts of the country, often from abroad, and from many walks of life?
Their subjects have been wide and varied—-from Olympic walking to magistrates’ courts; from horology to Government road policy; from racing and touring in this country and abroad, to Home Office pathological knowledge and experience. On such evidence, may not the Pedal Club fairly claim to be representative of all aspects of the country’s cycling interests?

Note: Regarding the end of the second paragraph of the section entitled “How it began”, there is a reference to a meeting of like minds similar to the Pedal Club proposal, but it was not the beginning of the Pedal Club. Ron White did not join the Pedal Club until 1949.

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