706 miles

Fri July 3rd 47 miles Went out training in the evening along the Oxford road to Beaconsfield and High Wycombe, then left up the hill to Marlow, across the river and up a terrific hill to Pinkney’s Green and then down into Maidenhead and home via Slough and Iver Heath. A very nice night and quite warm, but a lot of flies about.

Sat July 4th 10 miles Bought a new pair of toe straps at Gordon’s and paid Bob Harvey 2/- for the photos. Tom was out so I paid Dick Houston 2/6d for the ‘25’ tomorrow. I am off number 3 at 6.03 and have only a two minute handicap! I cleaned my shed out in the afternoon and got my bike ready. I have been accepted for the South Ruislip open ‘100’ but three of our riders have not. We are the third slowest team in the event! The fastest man does a 4.18 and Dave Keeler is also riding.

Sun July 5th 64 miles I got up at 4.15 a.m., out of the house by 5.00 and off number 3 at 6.03 in the annual inter-club ‘25’ with the Herige Wheelers. I nearly caught Tom Simpson to the turn (I was more than 30 seconds up) but then he had to get off to do the marshalling at the turn! So I had a completely lone ride back again, and slowed to do a 1.05.44. Colin Turner won the event breaking club record with 1.02.4 and Len Chapman ‘did battle’ with him to record a fine 1.04.32. Ernie Jeffs did a 1.06.50 on his first ever ride and even Roy Turner did a 1.6. A near perfect morning with no wind. I came 8th out of 25 starters. We went swimming at Black Park lake in the afternoon.

Mon July 6th 10 miles Club night.

Tues July 7th Held a committee meeting at my house; hence no mileage. We discussed track meetings, the touring section and club dinner.

Wed July 8th 28 miles Out for a short training ride through Watford and home via the Denham by-pass and Stanmore. A cool and windy night.

Sat July 11th 63 miles In the afternoon 17 of us pushed off, heavily laden, to camp at Pangbourne. We reached the site [probably the roadside!] at about 7.00 p,m.. It rained – or rather teamed – all night, but we did not get too wet and slept quite well.

Sun July 12th 153 miles Up at 4.00 a.m. and off number 11 in the South Ruislip ‘100’ just behind Dave Marsh. I did a 1.12 to the first turn at 23 miles and then 2.23 to the ‘50’ turn. I then sagged a bit to finish in 4.57.14. The reason for this was the incessant rain throughout the whole event. I have never been so wet in all my life, and the tiring cross wind all down the Bath road stretch which made the second leg hard. The rain made my legs cramp. Only 56 of the 100 entries finished, and I was the only one to do so from the Northwood Wheelers. Dave Keeler passed me at Hungerford – he’s terrific. Saw and met many of the top-line time triallists. The event was won by M. Macdermott of the Century R.C. in 4.22.41.

Dave Keeler of the Vegetarian C & AC was another of my boyhood heroes. In the 1950s he was a consummate time triallist, from 25 miles (competition record) to the ‘End to End’. In 1958 he rode from Lands End to John o’Groats in 2 days 3 hours and 9 minutes, thus beating the pre-war record (1937) of 2.06.33 by Sid Ferris. The present day record (2001), for comparison, is 1 day, 20 hours, 4 minutes and 20 seconds by Gethin Butler; the woman’s record (2001) is 2.05.48.21 by Lynne Taylor.

We got back to the camping site, got packed up and then rode home. I had a blow out and finished by riding one of Ton Simpson’s sprints. The club had about eight punctures between Reading and home, probably from flints on the wet roads. A disastrous day and very wet; in fact, we had a super ‘swim’! We got home at about 5.30 p.m. very tired. It was, however, a very well-run event.

Mon July 13th 10 miles Club night. I am marshalling in the 12 hour championships on Sunday – getting up at 3.00 a.m. There is also a ‘10’ on Wednesday night and I am determined to do a good ride. Saw the new Crooke’s trophy – it is very nice.

Wed July 15th 30 miles Roger called for me at 7.00 p.m. and we poodled out to the ‘10’ start. I started number 4 and caught Michael Bailey at the top of Stanley hill but could not drop him until the top of the same hill on the way back. I finished with a 26.28 beating Doug by 7 seconds for 1st place. Roger did not ride because he has developed a creaky knee! I cannot seem to improve, but at least I am consistent.

Thurs July 16th 7 miles Over to my sister’s new flat at Wembley. It rained heavily again on the way home.

Fri July 17th 15 miles I called for Alan Stratman and gave him the gen about our weekend at Selsey. We then rode over to Colin Turner’s to see about the ‘12’. Ada made some ‘pooftas’ [scotch pancakes] and I have now got the recipe. Came home after dark with Colin’s borrowed lights. A nice evening.

Sat July 18th 13 miles Did usual things in the morning. I am meeting Doug tomorrow in Eastcote at 4.00 a.m. to marshal in the 12 hour championships, first at Wheatley Bridge and then (by 12.30) at Aston Clinton. Made some pooftas when I got in and got the Thanet ready for tomorrow.

Sun July 19th 89 miles Up at 3.00 a.m. and off with Doug at 4.00 along the A 40 via Beaconsfield, High Wycombe and Stokenchurch to the first marshalling point at Wheatley. After we had seen the riders through we rode on through Thame to Princes Risborough, where we had some grub, and thence to Aston Clinton via Weston Turville. Here we fed and sponged the riders on their last leg. Came home via Tring, Berkampstead and Watford. A nice warm day.

Mon July 20th 10 miles Club night. Gave out the runs lists and made arrangements for the annual night ride to Stonehenge at the weekend. Stan Boyes and Jim Farrell were both up at the club room tonight. Rodney Bridge became the club 12 hour champion yesterday with 209 miles. Alan was second with 207 miles and Roy Turner third, but just failing to top 200 miles. Colin Turner punctured twice and packed it in, and Ken Dopson and Ken Lane did not start. 209 miles is not a great total, but Rodney is a worthy champion because he beat Alan who has done 222 miles when fit.

Wed July 22nd 12 miles Cycled to school and then over to the Orchard with Gerry – still no definite news of a [temporary] job. It rained for most of the day, but went for a short potter.

Thurs July 23rd 5 miles Over to the school in the evening with some ice, and then to Maddison’s for 4 quarts of cider for our last school dinner tomorrow.

Fri July 24th Last day at Pinner County School. Had a celebratory dinner in the school canteen and then the Leavers’ Dance in the evening. A super day and quite warm.

Sat – Sun July 25th - 26th Annual Night Ride to Stonehenge 204 miles

Sat July 25th 20 miles Went to Pinner and Eastcote early and then to Northwood, Over to Headstone Park in the afternoon to watch the cycle [grass track] racing – quite good.

We then left Nell’s café on the night ride soon after 9.00 p.m. down through Slough, Windsor, Ascot, and Bagshot to Basingstoke. We then continued into a head wind through Andover to Amesbury and on to Stonehenge. We stopped for grub at Camberley and for some sandwiches at Hurstbourne Priors. Reached Stonehenge at about 4.00 a.m. after a very good night’s riding. At 6.00 a.m. we left up the road through Netheravon, Ensford, Upavon and Pewsey to Oare Hill (which we walked!) and then continued to Marlborough. We then climbed the hill to Savernake and continued through Hungerford and Newbury to Mac’s café near Theale for breakfast. We rested near here in a lane and then proceeded to Reading for lunch and thence via Henley to Marlow for tea. Home at about 7.30 p.m. Completed over 200 miles in a day (24 hours) for the first time – a very nice day (and night) indeed. I did not feel at all bonked and far less tired than usual on a ride of this magnitude.

Mon July 27th 80 miles A week’s holiday (mainly non-cycling) at Selsey BillCamping at Selsey. Alan Stratman and Brian Major with their favourite tipple

Alan Stratman, Brian Major and I left Alan’s house at about 2.45 p.m., just after a violent thunderstorm. Heavily loaded up for camping, we went the direct route to Selsey via Staines, Woking, Guildford, Godalming, Milford, Hindhead, Midhurst and Chichester. We stopped for food at Staines and Hindhead. We stayed for the week at my ‘Auntie’ Norah’s, camping on her lawn.