1134 miles

Sun May 3rd 35 miles Left Flatford Mill at about 9.30 a.m. and had a nice day touring the Suffolk countryside. I visited Holbrook, Pinmill and Ipswich. Took several photos. Came back to Flatford via Dedham.

Willie Lott’s cottage at Flatford Mill

Wed May 6th 90 miles Came home from Flatford through Stratford St Mary, Colchester, Tiptree, Maldon, Chelmsford, then on to Ongar, Epping and home across London through Tottenham, Finsbury Park, Marylebone, Baker Street and Paddington. A cool day but a nice run and a very nice week.

Fri May 8th 22 miles I went out for a short training ride on the Holdsworth, down through Ickenham to the Western Avenue, then left along to the South Ruislip roundabout, and then back to the Oxford road along the same route. I was twiddling so fast and seemed to be travelling so slowly that I had to get off to check my gear! When I reached the A 40 I turned off into Denham eventually coming out on the Denham by-pass and the home through Harefield, Northwood and Eastcote. A very nice evening.

Sat May 9th 22 miles Knocked about as usual for a Saturday morning. Got all the news from the club: Jim Farrell won the club ‘50’ at the weekend with a 2.22 but Alan Stratman, Tom Simpson and Colin Turner all packed!

In the afternoon I went over to Tom’s and Bob’s with Roger, and then up Mount Vernon hill to Harefield and on to Colin’s at West Hyde. Got the entry forms for the Farnham R.C. ‘25’ on May 24th. Spent the evening at Roger’s developing films.

Sun May 10th 106 miles Up at 5.30 a.m., out at 6.15 to do a ‘private’ in the Westerley R.C. ‘50’. I was a very fast ride out to the turn which I reached in about 1 hour 6 minutes. Had a drink of hot Ribena at the turn and then staggered back into a rising wind to the finish. Had hot coffee and a sponge at Shardeloes. I improved my ‘50’ time to 2.20.11 so beating Roger’s best. If I had done this time last weekend I would have won the club ‘50’! It was a very hard finish but a good event, won by Mortimer with about a 2.05. We had elevenses at the Havelock café and then rode home for a bath and dinner.

Roger and his new friend Doug and I then went out to Tring to meet the club for tea. We went the usual way, meeting Harry Ford at Berkampstead. Met Tom, Shiela, Bob, Roy and Ken. Brian Major did a 1.05.22 this morning. Colin Turner did 1.06.24 and Jim (?) a 1.08. Jim Farrell did not finish and everyone agreed that it was hard.

After tea we came home through the lanes via Hawridge Common, Cholesbury, Chesham and Rickmansworth. I bought a photograph of myself taken by Harry Ford at the ‘30’ turn; it is very good. A very nice day.

Mon May 11th 10 miles Club night. Paid Roger 6d for Wednesday night’s ‘10’. Made arrangements for next weekends trip to the Bath Road (WLCA ‘25’) and for Thursday evening’s training on Slough track. I hope to do a 1.06 on Sunday!

Wed May 13th 30 miles Met Roger and went out to the ‘10’start. My rear tub blew out at West Hyde – I shall have to buy a new one on Saturday. It was very windy and I felt sick all the way round, probably because I had done a ‘50’ on Sunday – hence only did 26.30 and came fourth behind Roger (25.47), Bill Honour (26.03) and Len Chapman (26.17). There were 12 riders in all. We came home down Red hill and up the viaduct. A disappointing night.

Fri May 15th 3 miles Out for short ride between showers. It has been very wet and windy these last few days – I hope that it clears up for Sunday. Had my first exam (A levels) today at South Kensington.

Sat May 16th 55 miles It was very wet early in the morning but cleared up later, although it remained very windy. Went up to Pinner and then over to Gordon’s where I bought a new tub (39/6d). Had some elevenses in Eastcote. Fitted new tub when I got home, packed bike and fitted mudguards as it has been so wet lately. Perhaps it will clear up now!

We met in Ruislip at 3.00 p.m. and struggled off into a headwind through Slough to Maidenhead where we had a cuppa. Then on to Reading where we had a cooked meal before continuing on to Theale and our ‘digs’ at the “Three Kings”. We arrived at about 8.00 p.m. Got our bikes ready, then had supper and a beer in the pub, and retired for the night. Super ‘digs’ – and a nice day.

WLCA ‘25’ on the Bath Road: 1.06.48

Sun May 17th 80 miles Alan Stratman was up at 5.00 a.m., waking Jim and me at 5.45. I got up at 6.00. Alan was off number 23 at 6.23 and did a 1.05.14. Brian Major was off number 75 at 7.15 and improved to do a fine ride of 1.03.27. I was off number 88 at 7.28 and did a pleasing ride of 1.06.48. It was very hard to the turn but very fast on the way back. It also rained during the event. Eric Smith caught me. Jim did 1.06.47 – screwing me by 1 second, the rogue. It was not an easy morning but many riders improved. The event was won by J. Finnegan of the Redmon C.C. with a 1.01.01.

After we had some breakfast and packed Brian and Alan with their bikes into the van that Bob Harvey had driven down, Jim and I cycled back to Slough stopping for a beer and some grub on the way. We stayed all afternoon at the track, but I did not race as I had had enough for one day. It became quite warm. Home at 5.15.

Mon May 18th 10 miles Club night. Gave out runs lists and took bookings. Another wet night.

Tues May 19th 4 miles Sent off the runs lists and then took one to Gordon and one to Roger. Also took a notice for the club magazine round to Bob Harvey. Had a short ride around Pinner.

Wed May 20th 30 miles Warm and sunny at last. I received the photograph from Clook [photographer] of my ride in the WLCA ‘25’ last Sunday; it is very good. Went for a ride in the evening down through South Harrow, over Harrow hill where I met Stan Boyes, then through Wembley, Wealdstone, Hatch End, Watford and thence to Hunton Bridge and home via Chandlers Cross, Chipperfield, Sarratt, Croxley Green and Rickmansworth. A warm night and a nice easy ride.

Sat May 23rd 33 miles Went up to Pinner and Eastcote early and then up to Gordon’s. Paid 10/- towards the new tub and saw the boys. Roger came round in the afternoon to make arrangements for our forthcoming Whitsun tour to South Wales. He stayed for tea and then we went for a ride in the evening around the local hills.

Sun May 24th 86 miles The hottest day yet - 85º! The club left Northwood at about 9.30 a.m. through Harefield to the Oxford road and then on to elevenses at Taplow via Fulmer and Burnham Beeches. We then continued on through Maidenhead and Reading to Burghfield for lunch at the Hatchgate Bakery, and a pint in a local hostelry. After lunch (and playing about with Bob Harvey’s gear) we returned through Reading to Caversham and Henley to Marlow, for tea at the Westreet café. We stopped by the river at Hurley. Met Harry Ford at tea; he had his ciné camera with him and he took several films. We then poodled home via Glory hill, Beaconsfield and the White Horse at Harefield. A very nice (and hot) day. Packed for tomorrow’s tour to South Wales when I got in.

Mon May 25th to Fri May 29th Whitsun Tour to South Wales 380 miles

Mon May 25th 122 miles Even hotter today - 89º! Left with Roger at 6.00 a.m. in shirtsleeves through Ickenham to Marlow, Henley and Nettlebed to Wallingford and some refreshment at Sotwell. We then rode on through Hartwell, Wantage and along the White Horse hills to Swindon where we had elevenses. Continuing on through Wooton Basset we stopped again at Brinkworth (sandwich lunch) and then to Malmesbury.Looking cool in Malmesbury. [Photo: Roger Bingham]

Here we visited the Abbey. We then continued to Chipping Sodbury and Alveston to the ferry at Aust. Crossed the river Severn to Beachley and continued on through Chepstow to the hostel. After cooking our supper we went out for a walk and a beer. A very hot day.

Tues May 26th 65 miles We left the hostel at about 9.00 a.m. and turned up the Avon valley past Tintern Abbey to Monmouth for elevenses. This was a very beautiful ride. We than pushed along the A 40 past Raglan castle to Abergavenny (for dinner) and then through Govilon and up the monstrous hill (which we climbed – 4 miles of 1 in 6 to 1 in 10) to Brynmawr. We then passed Ebbw Vale before dropping down into Merthyr Tydfil and on to Cefn Coed to stay with my ‘Aunt’ Doris (actually an old friend of my mother’s). We went for a ride in their car in the evening.

Thurs May 28th 83 miles We left Cefn at about 9.00 a.m. riding up the lovely road to Brecon; took several photographs along this stretch. We had some elevenses at Glasbury and then pushed on through Hay-on-Wye to Hereford for dinner. We continued on through Ledbury and then up to Malvern and the hostel at Malvern Wells. There was a beautiful view from the top. From one side you could see 35 miles to the Brecon Beacons, and on the other, about 35 miles to the Cotswolds. We cooked our dinner and then went out for a short evening ride to Great Malvern.

Fri May 29th 110 miles Leaving the hostel at about 9.00 a.m. we descended the hill to Upton-on-Severn, then to Pershore and Evesham to Broadway where we climbed the monstrous Fish Hill to Bourton for elevenses. We then continued with a rising tail wind through Moreton, Chipping Norton and Enstone to Bicester for dinner, then home via Aylesbury, Great Missenden, Amersham and Rickmansworth. We got home at 4.15 p.m. having ridden some 380 miles through 14 counties. It was not so hot today, but very easy with the tail wind.

Sat May 30th 18 miles Went up to Pinner early to do some shopping and to have a haircut, and then up to Gordon’s. I bought a new Imperial tubular and paid Tom Simpson 5/- for the club ‘100’ tomorrow and 2/6d for the inter-club ‘25’ against the South Ruislip next Tuesday (Coronation Day). There are 50 entries for the latter; I am off number 27. When I got home I got my bike ready for tomorrow’s ‘100’. Messed around for the rest of the day, but went for a short ride ‘around the block’.

Sun May 31st 120 miles Up at 4.15 a.m. to ride in my first 100 mile time trial. I was off number 7 at 6.07. Ken Lane caught me at Amersham but I stayed with him until Great Kimble. We caught Colin Turner and Geoff Madgewick near Wendover. I stayed with Geoff until about the 65 mile turn and then dropped him to finish in 4.55.54, to come second in place and handicap behind Ken Lane. I felt fine all the way round but went off course at Stoke Mandeville adding about half a mile to my ride. They handed up date and apple sandwiches, rice pudding, apricots, Ribena and hot tea, and I took some date sandwiches and some lemonade [sounds more like a picnic than a race!]. Ken won the event with 4.53.38 and pipped me to first handicap by 16 seconds. Came home via Harefield and Northwood. Many riders packed today in the stiff wind.