1022 miles

Sat August 1st 85 miles Alan came home from Selsey in his father’s car as he has developed an abscess [in a most awkward place!]. His father drove down to Selsey with Paul and Paul then rode Alan’s bike home. We came back through Chichester, Petworth, Chiddingfold and Guildford, going wrong after Staines, through Datchet. A nice warm day and a good week, although not so good for Alan [that should keep our club champion off his bike for a week or so!]. I shall not be going out with the club tomorrow as we are going to Hailsham to see relatives.

Mon Aug 3rd 54 miles Cycled down to Crystal Palace with Roger via Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Vauxhall Bridge and Lambeth. We saw the De Laune CC mass start meeting. There was a bit of a mix-up in the Junior event and the ‘real’ winner did not win because he did not see the finishing line! Ian Scott was beaten into second place in the Senior 40 mile event which was cut short to allow for the finish of the International Folkestone to London race which was won by Les Gill (BLRC) by about 2 minutes from a Belgian rider. A very good circuit and an excellent meeting. Another very hot day.

In the Bath Road ‘100’ yesterday Vic Gibbons did a 4.6 (competition record) beating Keith Bentley with a 4.14. Roger Bingham did a 2.16.53 in the Norlond ‘50’ – I shall have to get moving! I start temporary work at the Orchard hotel tomorrow.

Tues Aug 4th 21 miles My first day at temporary work. Held a committee meeting in the evening at Colin’s house. Another nice day, but more windy. Came home over the hill to Harefield, and sent off insurance for the Thanet.

Fri Aug 7th 35 miles Cycled to Pinner early in the morning and then covered the usual miles (about 5 per day) to the Orchard. In the evening I went out training on the Holdsworth and finished up at Nell’s café to meet the club. Another very hot day.

Sat Aug 8th 15 miles Went round to Tom Simpson’s in the evening to find out about tomorrow’s ‘30’. We went down to our favourite watering hole, the ‘Case is Altered’ later on.

Sun Aug 9th 79 miles Got up at 5.15 a.m., out of the house by 6.00 and off number 9 at 7.09. There was a thick mist everywhere and it was very cold. Hence everyone was at least two minutes outside their expected times (calculated from their ‘25’s). Colin Turner won with only a 1.17.45 and I only managed a 1.21.12. This is an improvement but I could not get moving at all and got very wet.

We held the club track championships at Slough in the afternoon – in blazing heat! Tony Standing eventually won with 11 points out of a possible 12. He won the 880 yards time trial in 1 min 3.2 sec and the 5 miles. He also came second to Brian Major in the sprint. Overall, Brian was second and Colin third. I did not get any points but did 1 min 7.8 sec in the T.T. and lost a shoe-plate in the sprint!

Mon Aug 10th 29 miles Went up to the Orchard hotel early to collect my wages, and then up to Gordon’s to spend practically all of them on new bars, stem and brakes. I went up to Gordon’s three times in all, and over to Bray’s twice. Club night in the evening. Paid 5/- for the next ‘100’ and took tea bookings for Sunday.

Tues Aug 11th 52 miles I met Roger Bingham at 9.00 a.m. and we went over to Ephgrave’s at Clapton, riding down Holloway road and across North London. We then came back via Bethnal Green, the City, Elephant and Castle, Westminster and home up the Harrow road. In the afternoon we went swimming at the Aquadrome at Rickmansworth. A nice day. [We both ordered new frames at Ephgrave’s. I had come into a £25 legacy on the death of my grandfather and, like a true Wheeler, promptly ordered a new frame! Frames made by Les Ephgrave were among the finest lightweight machines of the 1950s, and still prized by collectors of ‘classic’ machines today].

Wed Aug 12th 41 miles Did the usual things in the morning. Went up to Gordon’s and to Len Chapman’s before lunch and spent the afternoon at Alan Stratman’s.

In the evening I rode in the club ‘10’ in which I did the fastest time of 26.16. Bob Hatton did 27.16; I caught him at Chalfont St Giles and gave him a sprint finish. Michael Bailey came third with 27.55. A very hot and sultry evening and I used my Thanet.

Thurs Aug 13th 9 miles Spent nearly all of the afternoon and evening at Alan’s (he is still suffering from his abscess!). Rode around the shops in the morning.

Fri Aug 14th 10 miles Went to Eastcote and for a short ride in the morning.

Sat Aug 15th 11 miles Did usual things for a Saturday morning. Took my negatives round to Bob Harvey – he is going to print them for me. Met Brian and Alan at 3.00 p.m. and spent an interesting evening with them in London [the diary does not reveal quite what we got up to!].

Sun Aug 16th 73 miles Left Northwood at about 9.00 a.m. with the club out through the Sarratt lanes to Chesham for elevenses. We then pushed on up to Great Missenden where I had 3½ pints of beer; we then wobbled into Amersham. Tom Simpson broke four spokes in his back wheel. We were supposed to meet a chap at Prangley’s by 3.00 p.m., so Ken Dopson and I burned home at a fantastic rate, covering the distance in 33 minutes to get there soon after 3.00. However, the chap did not turn up so, after having a 4.00 o’clock ‘dinner’ at Ken’s, we continued out to Stacey’s café for tea. Came home via Ruislip. A super day.

Mon Aug 17th 17 miles Did several small journeys to Pinner and Eastcote in the morning and then spent the afternoon at Alan’s. Club night: took bookings for Sunday’s run.

Tues Aug 18th 10 miles Watched television at Alan’s again and saw the final test match. Went for a short ride in the afternoon and ended up at Nell’s café with the club.

Wed Aug 19th 39 miles Out in the morning through Rickmansworth, Sarratt, Flaunden, Latimer and Chalfont; home via Denham and Ickenham. A super morning. In the afternoon saw England on television win the final test by 8 wickets and so regain the Ashes. Went to the pictures with Alan in the evening and again ended up at Nell’s.

Thurs Aug 20th 7 miles Spent a lot of the day round at Alan’s who has now got another week off because of his abscess. Went to Northwood in the evening.

Fri Aug 21st 39 miles Went over to Alan’s in the morning and again in the afternoon. At about 4 o’clock I left on my bike, between showers, to New Malden near Kingston. The journey down was wet and with a headwind. Spent a nice evening with Christine [who?] and left to come home at 10.45. I came home in 1 hour 5 minutes so that I was home 10 minutes before midnight!

Sat Aug 22nd 10 miles Up to Prangley’s in the morning and finished off my ‘card’. I then went round to Alan’s and then messed about. We went to the pictures in the evening.

Sun Aug 23rd 83 miles Left Prangley’s at Northwood Hills with the club at about 9.15 a.m. up the Oxford road to Beaconsfield, down Glory hill to Marlow for elevenses. We pushed on in pouring rain (it rained for most of the day!) and a strong headwind through Henley and Caversham to Reading, and thence through Theale to Mac’s café for dinner.

In the afternoon we split up and assisted in the ‘running out’ in the Middlesex R.C. 12 hour. Saw Beardsmore [second counter of the victorious Medway R.C. B.A.R. team, after the champion, Ken Joy], C.T. Horton and many of the fast blokes. Terry Howard did a good ride but our riders did not start as they were apparently not called in time. After we had finished we met for tea at Burghfield, still in pouring rain, and then came home via Reading and the Bath road. A very wet and windy day – Paul Stratman had three punctures.

Mon Aug 24th 15 miles Club night. Alan came up to the club rooms by car [his abscess is still bad!] and we all went round to Nell’s café afterwards.

Tues Aug 25th 45 miles Went to the shops several times in the morning, and Roger and I called on Alan. In the afternoon and evening I went out for a ride through Isleworth, Kingston, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Putney, Westminster and then home via Piccadilly, Hyde Park and Wembley. A very nice evening.

Wed Aug 26th 38 miles Up to Prangley’s and over to Hatch End in the morning. I got my bike ready for this evening’s ‘10’ in the afternoon and then Roger called for me at 7.00 p.m. I found it hard on my 86" fixed wheel and did a 26.22. Roger won the event with 25.50 and Len Chapman was third with 26.27. Paul Stratman did a first ride of 26.40! We came home down the main road after having a few beers in Chalfont. A cold but calm night.

Thurs Aug 27th 8 miles Finished doing a job at home in the morning, and then over to Alan’s. We then went over to Hillingdon hospital [by car] – Alan has got another week off! In the afternoon Alan came round and we went to Nell’s café in the evening.

Fri Aug 28th 55 miles I left at about 9.00 a.m. through Pinner and Hatch End to Watford, and thence on to Tring via King’s Langley and Berkhampstead into a headwind. I turned left halfway down Aston Clinton hill, past Halton RAF camp, to Wendover and then home via the Missendons, Amersham, and the viaduct. A very nice morning but a persistent wind. Went to the pictures with the club in the evening after having spent the afternoon at Bob Harvey’s.

Sat Aug 29th 7 miles Spent the morning going round the shops and over to Prangley’s. Saw “Genivieve” in the afternoon with Brian.

Sun Aug 30th 117 miles Got up at 4.00 a.m. to find it pouring (again!). It had stopped by the time I left the house at 4.45 but we then started the club ‘100’ in more rain at 6.00. I was off number 19 and reached Walton corner inside schedule. The wind then caught me and I slowed. Brian Major made early ground and caught all of the Northwood riders. I caught three Feltham or Paddington riders between Princes Risborough and Thame and then caught Roy Turner, Brian Major and Tom Simpson on the way back from the far turn. I caught one other fellow and then struggled back to the finish soon after Colin Turner to record the fastest time of 4.50.29. I think that I won the handicap as well. It was very hard at times and they did not have an official feed until about 70 miles. This proved to be the downfall of most of the riders but I had some of my own! Came home for dinner.

Mon Aug 31st 8 miles Rode around to visit Alan in the morning. Club night; took bookings and entered for the club ‘50’ on Sunday.