467 miles

Wed Oct 1st 18 miles Out for a short ride in the evening round through Rayners Lane, South Harrow, Harrow, Hatch End and Pinner. A much warmer night, but damp.

Sat 4th to Sun 5th Oct 125 miles Racing weekend on the Bath Road

Left at 9.30 a.m. with the boys down through Slough, Maidenhead to Reading and Theale. We managed to get 'digs' easily. Jim and I stayed at Mrs Penney's (red hot!) and Roger and Brian Major stayed next door at Mrs Holloway's. We sewed coloured 'flashes' on our black racing vests in the afternoon [new RTTC regulations allowed minor changes to the 'all black' rule].

Theale, some 5 miles west of Reading on the Bath Road, was a remarkable place on racing week-ends. Not only were there (if my memory plays no tricks) 17 pubs down the main

Off to the races! Bike carrying sprints and tubs on front wheel carriers.

street, but on racing week-ends probably more than a hundred cyclists descended on the village and stayed in overnight bed and breakfast accommodation like the redoubtable Mrs Penney's. None of the wimpish behaviour to be seen today where riders turn up at an event by car, often a few minutes before their ride, only to disappear shortly afterwards. In the 1950s we always rode down the night before carrying our racing wheels on special carriers (see photograph) and made a real week-end of it. Racing on the Sunday morning was usually on a diet of several pints of beer the night before in at least one of Theale's 17 pubs. After the event, large 'peletons' of riders returned along the A 4 to West London at high speed.

We stayed with the Powney brothers! Ron Powney pumped my tyres up in the morning and [he] then went on to win the event with 1.0.11! I seemed to speed round the course - it was a lovely autumnal morning and I did 1.6.24, a 1minute 28 seconds improvement on my personal best, and for 22 minutes I was faster than Roger Bingham - until he came in with 1.6.12. I was caught by Jackson of the De Laune CC (1.0.40) and I caught my three-minute man just before the finish in Pangbourne Lane. Among our club members, Brian Major did 1.5.07 and Jim 1.7.03. A lovely morning. Had dinner, bed and two breakfasts [one small breakfast before the race, and a full fry-up afterwards] at Mrs Penney's - all for 11/6d! We met Tom Simpson and Geoff Madgewick at lunch and then came home down the A 4. A very nice week-end.

Mon Oct 6th 10 miles Club night; took bookings for Sunday's run to watch the hill climb.

Sat Oct 11th 12 miles Went to Pinner, Gordon's and over to Roger's; then for a short ride.

Sun Oct 12th 73 miles Out to watch the hill climb championship on White Hill near Berkhamsted. Don Shaul won with a '57' [seconds]; Jim Farrell was the fastest from our club with 1 min 6sec to take 7th place. We had dinner at the Shanty, Bourne End and then a beer in a nearby pub. Over to the Marshmoor via St Albans and then came home through the lanes on one of Stan's famous 'short cuts'. A nice sunny day, but cold.

Mon Oct 13th 10 miles Club night; took bookings for Sunday's run to Bramley and Twyford. I collected money for the club's annual 'hard-rider's' run to Cleeve Hill. I hope that I get there and back without a disaster like last year! Played darts.

Sat Oct 18th 14 miles As usual, I went up to Pinner and then over to Gordon Prangley's in the morning. I bought a postal order and sent it off to Cleeve Hill Youth Hostel.

Sun Oct 19th 85 miles Got away at about 9.30 a.m. in the rain. Did not take our capes off all day. Six dinners at Bramley had been booked, but only two (me and Jim) were claimed. I got very wet - I think I will have to buy a new cape before the Cleeve Hill week-end.

Mon Oct 2oth 10 miles Club night.

Tues Oct 21st 6 miles Committee meeting at Len Chapman's. The main items of business were the club dinner and the awards, etc.

Sat Oct 25th 12 miles Bought some new mudguard stays at Gordon's this morning. Then went over to Clarke's [bicycle shop] but the Cinelli [handlebar extension?] was not in. Up to London later in the morning and afternoon.

Sun Oct 26th 75 miles Ten riders out today; warm and sunny for a change. We held the annual free-wheeling contest on Longdown Hill. Brian Huggins won by about a mile! [The sly devil found that by lowering the pressure in his front tyre, he could 'walk' his bike slowly forward for a very long way. Mere mortals relying on gravity alone soon ran out of steam]. We met the South Ruislip at the Silver Wings cafe (dinner) and then came home along Bledlow Ridge to West Wycombe and the Ball Tower on the church. A very nice day.

Mon Oct 27th 10 miles Club night.