769 miles

Sun Mar 1st 85 miles The Annual Hard Ride to Winslow. Left at about 9.30 out to Watford where the club assembled for the annual Winslow ‘bash’. We started soon after 10.00 a.m. with about 19 riders. We rode out the usual way; it was very cold with a slight head wind. The tandem and several others dropped off at Tring and the final bunch consisted of eight riders, Stan Boyes dropping off later. There were no successful break-aways and there was a final sprint finish at Winslow which I had not enough strength left to contest. Nobody seems to know who won – either Alan Stratman or Roy Turner. Geoff Madgewick was third and I was 6th or 7th. A very enjoyable ride but harder than last year – and faster (1 hour 35 minutes). We had a beer in Winslow and, after failing to get a meal in Winslow, went back to Aylesbury for dinner.

In the afternoon the sun came out and we continued up the Leighton Buzzard road, through Bierton and then a little diversion down a lane to Hulcott and then right through Wingrave, Long Marston to tea at Tring. After tea we came straight home without incident.

Mon Mar 2nd 10 miles Up to the club. Mr Thorne gave a lecture on ‘Fitness and Training’. Very good; he is probably coming again. Another foggy night.

Tues Mar 3rd 5 miles Held a committee meeting at Dick Houston’s house; interesting but very long, not getting home until nearly midnight. Cold and still foggy.

Thurs Mar 5th 35 miles Out training through Rickmansworth and Chorleywood to Amersham and then home via Chalfont St Peter and Ickenham. A nice night but still cold with a slight head wind on the return journey.

Fri Mar 6th 6 miles Up to Nell’s café in Northwood and into the back room to discuss plans for our Easter trip to stay with Tom’s old army friend, Yorkie. We plan to leave on the Thursday night to ride as far as Bedford, continuing to Doncaster on Friday. Back on Sunday via Stamford, reaching home on the evening of Easter Monday.

Alan Browne was home [from the Army] so we went down to the Clifton for a couple of pints. I am off number 19 in Sunday’s 72" gear ‘25’ with Jim Farrell off just behind me.

Sat Mar 7th 15 miles Did usual things for a Saturday morning, and then went over to Knight’s [cycle shop] with Roger Bingham and Brian Hamer to buy Roger some track shorts. In the afternoon I went round to Alan Stratman’s and Brian Huggins’s house. Alan has bought Brian Major’s track iron.

Sun Mar 8th 86 miles Up at 6.15 a.m. and out by 7.00. I was off at 8.19 in the club’s medium gear ‘25’ and managed to do 1.10.30. It was very cold (hoar frost on the grass verge) and I couldn’t get my legs really moving until after the turn. However, I think everyone was affected because Colin Turner won with 1.9.05. I was 6th out of 20 riders.

Later in the day it was nice and sunny. We went out through Harefield, Chalfont St Peter, Gerrards Cross, Hedgerley and Burnham to the ‘Southdown’ café at Taplow. Met Alan, Brian, Tony here. Came home via Slough and Ickenham.

Mon Mar 9th 10 miles Up to the club rooms. Played darts and table tennis – and lost both! Got my RTTC handbook for 1953. The Uxbridge Wheelers Junior ‘25’ is on May 3rd but I will be away. However, there is a ‘middle-markers’ ‘25’ on April 26th and several WLCA events I would like to ride.

Wed Mar 11th 42 miles Went training up the A 40 to Beaconsfield, then left down to Slough and home down the A 4 through Colnbrook, West Drayton and Uxbridge. A warm night.

Fri Mar 13th 30 miles Out for a ride through the Chalfonts and home via Rickmansworth. Cold. I climbed Rickmansworth hill quite easily on the 72" gear, so I must be getting a bit fitter.

Sat Mar 14th 14 miles Completely paid off my account at Prangley’s this morning. Met Brian Huggins in Eastcote. We went over to Alan’s and then to Brian Major’s but could not find Alan anywhere. I wanted to pay for my RTTC handbook. Alan, Tony, the two Brians and I went to the pictures in the evening. I have paid Tom for the club ‘25’ next Sunday and also 11/- for multiple ‘standards’ at 10 and 25 miles – birthday money from last Thursday [my 18th birthday].

Sun Mar 15th 75 miles Twelve club members out today. We left Northwood at about 9.15 through Harefield, up Red hill and the A 413 to Fred’s café at Amersham. After elevenses we went up the road to Little Missenden where we turned off into the lanes through Kingshill to White Leaf Cross to the Pink and Lily (for a pint); thence to the ‘Silver Wings’ at Chinnor for dinner. We then continued over Bledlow ridge to tea at Stacey’s at Chalfont St Giles via the Wycombes, Hazlemere and Amersham. Home via Swillett and Rickmansworth. A very nice warm day. I climbed the hill from High Wycombe to the top on the Amersham road in a 69" gear, sitting down.

Mon Mar 16th 10 miles Club night. Took bookings for Sunday and played darts and table tennis. We are not now going to Doncaster over Easter because Yorky’s wife is expecting, so we are going to Cheddar instead. I hope nothing falls on us!

Tues Mar 17th 31 miles Out training through Hatch End and Stanmore to Mill Hill and then along the Watford by-pass to Watford and home through Rickmansworth and Northwood. A cold night.

Fri Mar 20th 18 miles Went out for a short training ride through Eastcote to Northolt, left to Roxeth, down Alexandria Avenue via Rayner’s Lane to North Harrow and then home via Hatch End, Northwood and Eastcote. I went quite fast and sweated in my jacket; I think I’ll train in jerseys now. I am not yet fit – in fact I am less fit now than a week ago as I have caught a cold and have had troublesome catarrh for about a month. I went up to University College yesterday for an interview and 6 hours of entrance exams. Also started mock Highers at school – Chemistry I.

Sat Mar 21st 16 miles Went up to King’s College in the morning by train. In the afternoon I went round to Gordon’s and then to Tom’s. Spent the afternoon messing around his place, and then got my bike ready for tomorrow’s ‘25’ – tubs and a 76.2" fixed.

Sun Mar 22nd 82 miles Got up at 5.15 a.m., out at 6.00 and off number 12 at 7.12. It was very cold; wore my new track vest with short sleeves. It was, however, quite fast to the turn and I caught one bloke and was apparently about 30 seconds up on Jim Farrell. There was a head wind on the way back and I slowed to a 1.8.13. Jim finished in 1.7.23. I passed Len Chapman at Chalfont on the return leg. Alan Stratman won the event with 1.7.17 and I was 6th (out of 22 riders). I also won the handicap section again! A hard morning because of the extreme cold.

In the afternoon it was much warmer and we went out to tea at the ‘Shanty’, Bourne End, via Watford and Kings Langley. Came back the same way and suffered from ‘hunger knock’.

Mon Mar 23rd 10 miles Club night. Paid Colin Turner 1/9 for the forthcoming Norlond ‘25’ on April 12th. That will be my next event and means that I will not be racing again for three weeks. We are thinking of bringing the July 19th annual inter-club ‘25’ with the South Ruislip forward to Coronation Day (June 2nd) because it clashes with the Norlond ‘12’ which is the proposed club championship. We are leaving for Cheddar on the Friday morning before Easter and staying the first night at Devizes.

Wed Mar 25th 30 miles Out training up the A 40 to Beaconsfield. A very warm night – wore only shirt, pullover and one jersey. Returned down ‘Vengeance Valley’ [the A 413] at great speed. I started early tonight and reached Beaconsfield in the light and completed the whole trip in just over 1 hour 35 minutes. I have developed a buckle in the back wheel! I am also considering repainting my Thanet [from its original orange], so wrote to Thanet’s in the evening for some transfers.

Fri Mar 27th 13 miles Went for a short ride in the evening around Ruislip, Northwood, Pinner and Eastcote. It rained for the first time since about the second week in February – the longest spring drought (43 days) for 60 years! Cold tonight after the rain.

Sat Mar 28th 11 miles It was pouring when I woke up but it stopped later, so I got out. Went up to Gordon’s, gave him my wheel to be trued and also bought the down-tube bottle carrier that I am going to use on the Holdsworth for ‘50s’. I then took 1/- ( a debt) round to Tom’s and then home for lunch, after buying some food for tomorrow in Eastcote. After lunch I went over to Alan’s house and we went up to Gordon’s again in his father’s car. I took my B 57 saddle in as it has a broken rail, and Alan collected his brother Paul’s wheels. We met Brian Major and Tony Standing at Gordon’s and went to the Rendezvous at Eastcote on the way back. I paid Alan 2/- (another debt!) and then went home for tea. We four went to the pictures in the evening so ending a very pleasant day.

Sun Mar 29th 77 miles Very windy in the morning, but met the club in Northwood at about 9.30 a.m. for a ride out through Rickmansworth and then through the lanes to Sarratt, Chipperfield and Bovingdon to the ‘Shanty’ at Bourne End for elevenses. We then continued up the Tring road for a while before turning off into the lanes through Long Marston and Linslade to Leighton Buzzard where we had a sandwich lunch in a pub. After this we struggled off into a head wind through Easton Bray, Ellesborough and Little Gaddesdon, finally going down a terrific hill into Redbourne for tea. After this snack we came home via St Albans and Watford. This final stretch was the hardest of the day. Very blustery ride, but warm at times.

Mon Mar 30th 13 miles Club night. Paid Colin Turner 2/9 and entered for the Eclipse R.C. (1.5.00 Middle-markers) ‘25’ on April 26th. Called at Roger’s on the way home, but he is at Bournemouth. I gave his mother the Eclipse form, directions and also Roger’s scarf. There was less wind today but rain at times. We are leaving for Cheddar on Friday at 9.00 a.m.

Tues Mar 31st 35 miles Went out for a ride through Slough, down the Bath road almost to Maidenhead. I then turned right through the lanes to Burnham, Farnham Royal and Fulmer, then home via Red Hill and Ickenham. I met a bloke from the South Ruislip on the Oxfrod road but ‘screwed’ him to the top of the viaduct. Saw Brian Major and some other South Ruislip riders at the top. Got home at nine o’clock; a cooler night.