February 1951 382 miles

Thurs Feb 1st 5 miles Went round to Brian’s with my maps and made arrangements for our summer tour to Scotland. We are staying two days in Whitby, two days in Edinburgh and two in the Lakes.

Sat-Sun Feb 3-4th 80 miles Raining this morning – doesn’t look too hopeful for tomorrow’s Brentwood ‘100’. However, we left about 2.15 p.m. with Brian and Tom and picked up Alan Tunaley at Stanmore round-about. Went on through Friern Barnet, Whetstone to Woodford and then to Romford. Very wet – wore shorts. Reached our ‘digs’ at Mrs Mack’s; jolly good place with good food! Stan, Alan Browne and Alan Grive turned up at Mrs Mack’s. After drying out our shoes and socks we went to have dinner (ham and chips) in a café and then to the pictures; saw a super film. Went to bed about midnight. The ‘old boy’ [was he Mrs Mack’s father?] slept in our room. He kept a truncheon by his bed and called everyone “Captain”! Woke up about 7.00 a.m. after not a particularly good night’s sleep and found a gale blowing, so decided to scrub the ‘100’ and push off home. ‘Push’ was the word as it was very hard although we did have a following wind at times. Had two poached eggs for breakfast and felt so ‘egg-bound’ that we did not leave until 10.30. We have not taken our capes off at all this week end and have not enjoyed the actual cycling. We will have to wait until next year for the ‘100’!

[Brian Huggins dried his shoes all night in front of the stove. They were so tight the next morning he was in agony all the way home. He still talks about this!].

Tues Feb 6th 0 miles Saw the finals of the Sunday Dispatch roller contest on television, held at the Locarno, Streatham. Eddie Lane of the R.A.F won. Reg Harris had a shot at his world record of 96 mph, but only did 93!

Wed Feb 7th 35 miles Went training up the Oxford road through Gerrard’s Cross and Beaconsfield. I had intended to go as far as High Wycombe but my rear light conked out so I turned back at Loudwater after trying four garages, and burned back the way I had come. I managed to buy a battery at a garage at the turning of the Amersham road near Red Hill. Felt very fit tonight – hope I will feel the same on Sunday! Put 20 tooth sprocket on my bike when I got in and got rid of the multitude of squeaks and groans (well some of them, anyway!).

[The middle part of the month was marked by a prolonged period of rain and a heavy cold. Just a few short rides were taken].

Wed Feb 21st 10 miles Had afternoon off [from school] and cleaned my bike, including spokes with wire wool, a tip I got from Alan Stratman and Tony Standing, the ‘clean bike’ specialists! Had a club committee meeting in the evening. Stan [Boyes] was absent (probably a good thing although it made it a bit dull without his heated arguments). We are ordering 250 booking cards for my [touring section] use and Colin Turner has ordered the club badges. We debated and decided the design and cost of the medals from the Birmingham Medal and Badge Co., decided on one which I think is super. We are going to have the club badge brazed to the centre.

Sat Feb 24th 7 miles The runs list arrived this morning. Put new wheel on my roadster [paper round bike]; had to buy a new 18 T freewheel for it (5/-). Tony Tucker came round and borrowed my wheels. He took his to bits because he is going to buy some new hubs. Going out with the club tomorrow to Harlow. Weather doesn’t look to good – not that it ever does!

Sun Feb 25th 85 miles Trying hard to rain in the morning but didn’t succeed. Went round to Jerry’s and thence to Northwood Hills. Six blokes turned out and we picked up Stan and Alan Grive at Watford. Stan and Roy Meredith went home later and we picked up Alan Stratman, Tony Standing and Tony Tucker at tea.

Went to Harlow from Wheathampstead through Welwyn Garden City and Hertford, and then back through Broxbourne, Little Berkhampsted to the ‘Rookery’ at Hatfield for tea. I didn’t feel too good before elevenses (at Wheathampsted) probably because I have not been out much for 3 or 4 weeks, but I felt fine afterwards. Tom [Simpson] showed us some of his army training by climbing along the girders of a bridge crossing the River Lea – very funny!

Mon Feb 26th 10 miles Club night. Gave out runs list and took 11 dinner bookings and 9 tea bookings for Sunday’s Winslow “bash”. Boffin [Gordon Empson] gave me my NCU card back and I got another racing programme from Tom. Probably going out with Brian and Tony Tucker on Wednesday night.

Wed Feb 28th 34 miles Went out with Jerry at about 6.15 p.m. through Northwood, up the hill and down to Watford and then up Sunday’s hard-ride course, through Hunton Bridge, Kings Langley and Apsley Mills to Hemel Hempsted. Came back through Watford again and down Oxhey Lane and Hatch End. Every bump I went over caused my front lamp to go out, but with a hard smack it came on again! The back lamp is gradually splitting away from the clip – I expect that it will fall off soon!

Very nice ride apart from the fog and cold coming home. We have not had any rain now for about 3 days, which may give me a chance to get back to the old 150-a-week standard – I hope so.