About this website

This website documents a sadly now defunct cycling club, the Northwood Wheelers. My father, David Saunders, was a member of the Northwood Wheelers from the late 1940s through to 1955, when adult life "distracted" him from cycling. A large part of this site consists of his cycling diaries (Open Roads) written at that time, and which he has annotated with photographs and editorial comments. You can reach this material via the menu at the top of the website.

Since the original incarnation of these web pages a couple of years ago, I have had emails and phone calls from former members of the Northwood Wheelers. I hope that this new version will encourage others to do the same. 

The tales of cycling presented here are the reason I took up cycling myself, albeit rather late in life (I too got diverted by student life). Not for me the motivation of the exploits of professional cyclists - rather, I was fired by the exploits of my father and his cycling pals, particularly his cycle tour to Scotland with Brian at the tender age of 16, the infamous Cheddar Gorge expedition, and possibly the best example of why you need to pay attention to the chain tension on a fixed gear bike.

 

Robert Saunders December 2008

Photo Gallery

Page 1

Bob Harvey’s editorial this time focusses on the good weather of Spring bringing out ill-prepared cyclists, coupled with ‘weekend’ drivers. Many of his complaints could be voiced today, though to be honest nowadays I’m just pleased to see more people on bikes on the road!

Bob presents some accident figures for one month in the Ruislip-Northwood area. As ever, incidents between motor vehicles and cyclists top the list, but there were only four…I should think more cyclists fell off on ice! Some of these incidents seem rather freaky - one is of a lorry’s chain striking a pedestrian.

From the perspective of a cyclist in 2014, I wonder what Bob would have made of our traffic levels and accident rates - I’ve no idea what the comparative numbers are for Ruislip-Northwood, but ROSPA has some data.

Every year in this country around 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported road accidents, including around 3,000 who are killed or seriously injured.

Cyclist Casualties, 2012

 

Child

Adult

All

Killed

13

105

118

Seriously Injured

311

2,911

3,222

Slightly Injured

1,874

13,877

15,751

Total                         

2,198

16,893

19,091

 

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Three more members of the club are welcomed.

Page 2

When I saw ‘Food for a Club Run’ by Roger Bingham, I wondered what to expect. I was not disappointed, what with the ’B17 fried in graphite grease’. Nice!

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Ivor Storey’s back with a quartet of humorous asides!

Page 3

Racing Results

I see Colin Turner won the Club ’25’ 72”  event, with a decent margin from Roger Bingham. Alan Stratman and Brian Major feature further down the results table.

Colin came fourth in the Club ’25’ using unrestricted gears, with Alan Stratman back to winning ways. David Saunders won the handicap. I can well imagine the rivalry between these guys!

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Ivor Storey wonders whether the club committee members who attended a local children’s cycle training event did so because they thought they might learn something!

Page 4

Racing Results 

Club ’30’ - Colin back to winning! There’s also mention of a 10 miles event which had three riders, plus a ladies 10 mile event. I’m not sure why these are described as ‘events’ rather than being presented as time trials!

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Murder at Christmas - a fowl story of death over the Christmas period. Concludes on page 5.

Page 5

Letters to the Editor. David Saunders complains about ‘terminological inexactitudes’ in the February magazine’s rendition of the Wantage Story. The editor comes right back at him!

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Club’s Easter Tour to Cheddar, by Dave Saunders (Touring Secretary). Two tandems and four solos. There was a lady participating, who’s recorded as having been called upon for darning and stitching!

Page 6

Club’s Easter Tour to Cheddar, continued.

Page 7

Club’s Easter Tour to Cheddar, concluded

Page 8

Colin’s copy of the magazine has some handwritten notes on the back cover (presumably by Colin), labelled ‘Stop Press’, being notes about entry forms for open events and an event announcement.

Northwood Wheelers History

An update on the history of the Northwood Wheelers, and some personal reminiscences, by Colin Turner via email 22/12/13.

In late 1947 Tom Simpson, Gordon (Boff - short for boffin) Empson, my brother Roy & myself were asked to assist with running the cycling section of The Northwood Boy’s Club. I can’t remember if any others were involved at this time. None of us had any experience of running a club, as none of us had ever been a member of a cycling club before. There were so many restrictions placed on what we could do that it soon became impossible to operate within the Boy’s Club. A rather acrimonious break from the Boy’s Club ensued, and in 1948 we formed the Northwood Wheelers.

We soon came to the notice of a local resident, Mr. Fred Reynolds. Fred was a council member of the Road Time Trials Council, the then governing body of time trials in the UK. He helped us get the club on a proper footing. Jack Sharp was another who helped us in the early days - he later became president.

My memories of the early days are rather vague as unlike David I did not keep a diary. Tom Simpson worked with Stan Boyes, a cyclist/tricyclist of long standing. In my memories of the club he was always there, so I am sure got involved at an early stage.

I have my Youth Hostel Association membership card for 1948 and it records eight overnight away rides in that year. Most of those would have been club runs. The one that stands out is Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham, in November - this run subsequently became a regular on the weekend nearest the 5th November.

My first record of racing activity is in June 1949 when I entered the Uxbridge Wheelers 25 on 19th June, I recorded a time of 1.7.55. My first record of a club event is a 25 on the Amersham course on 26.3.50, qhich was won by Alan Browne in 1.6.42. Northwood Wheelers club events that I entered in 1950 were 4 x 25 miles, 2 x 50 miles. 1x 100 miles. We also took part in 4 x 25 mile interclub events against other local clubs. My racing records stop in 1954, by this time I was married with 1 child and finding it difficult to find the time to get fit.

Another early event that we took part in was the Brentwood Road Club’s 100 mile utility event on 6.2.49. There were a multitude of classes from which one could chose, from a Ladies 100 in 9 hours to a double gents tandem in 6hr. 30min. Tom & I entered double gents tandem. A few other club members entered solo in eight hours. It was a hard ride, cold, foggy near the sea at Malden and a niggling cold breeze all day. Tom and I were ahead of schedule so we waited near the finish. Cold and shivering, we had a 3 minute window 6.30 to 6.33 to be classified, we went in and recorded a time of 6. 27 so no certificate!  

Colin noted he had copies of the club magazine from No.2 to No.14 - these form part of the collection of scans listed above.