1214 miles

Wed Sept 1st 153 miles The first real day of summer! Got up at 4.00 a.m. off to Brighton with Paul Stratman [to do some mile-eating in preparation for Sunday’s 12 hour event]. We went down to Brighton via Kingston, Reigate and Crawley. Spent much of the day on the beach before returning; 4½ hours each way, and home soon after 9.00 p.m. I had two punctures, but otherwise it was a glorious day.

Thurs Sept 2nd 12 miles Much cooler today, and cloudy. Overhauled bikes in the morning and then went up to Boffin’s to produce a start sheet for Sunday’s ‘25’ which the club is holding whilst some of us go down to the Bath road to ride in the WLCA 12 hour. I received my start sheet for this event – I am off number 78 at 6.18 a.m.

Fri Sept 3rd 18 miles Rode over to Wembley to see my sister. Cool and very windy – I hope that it settles down before Sunday!

Sat Sept 4th 10 miles It rained nearly all the morning but then cleared up for me to go to Pinner and then to Northwood. We made final arrangements for the weekend. Bob Harvey and Roy Turner came round in the van later in the afternoon to pick up my bike.

Sun Sept 5th 227 miles The WLCA 12 hour event on the Bath road

Got out of bed at 2.00 a.m. and left in the van at 2.45 on our way to Theale. [Bob Harvey, who worked for the Post Office, had borrowed a GPO van for the weekend to carry our bikes, and ourselves, to the event. In the wee small hours of the morning, as we drove through Reading, a policeman stopped us – presumably to check – and asked Bob for the van’s registration number. Bob calmly got out and went round to the front of the van to find out …………very suspicious, but we were allowed to continue!].

We got down to the start in safety, and I was off in a damp mist which persisted for the first three hours. It then cleared up and the rest of the day was quite warm and sunny. I averaged ‘evens’ [20 mph] for the first 80 miles and covered the first 100 in about 5 hours 6 minutes. I reached the finishing circuit with about 2¼ hours remaining, and covered another two laps and 4 miles before finally ‘running out’. My total mileage for the 12 hours was about 225 miles 1000 yards, and I think that I just beat Rodney Bridge. If I did, I won the club championship and broke Alan Stratman’s club record! I can’t be sure until the final result. [The official result showed that I covered 225 miles 1661 yards, a new club record].

We came home in the van without further incident – very uncomfortable. A successful day. Roger Bingham won the club ‘25’ this morning in 1.03.53, beating Brian Major by one second!

Mon Sept 6th 10 miles I stayed in bed for a bit in the morning, after yesterday’s effort. Cycled to the club in the evening; felt no ill effects at all! I took entries for the club ‘50’ on September 19th and the “Last chance” ‘25’ on the 26th.

Tues Sept 7th 11 miles Up to Pinner in the morning and then got my bike ready in the afternoon for my trip to South Wales on a college camping trip.

Wed Sept 8th 115 miles A very hard ride to the Gower peninsula!

I left home in my cape at about 8.30 a.m. up the A 40. I did not take my cape off until Wheatley. Then the sun came out but a strong headwind developed and I suffered out through Oxford, Witney (sandwich lunch), Burford and Northleach to Cheltenham and Gloucester. I then entered the Forest of Dean and turned off the A 40 at Hartley to Mitcheldean and the hostel. A really hard day.

Thurs Sept 9th 58 miles I left the hostel at Mitcheldean at about 9.00 a.m. – still in my cape – and made my way into a strong headwind through the Forest of Dean to Monmouth. The wind was so strong that I had difficulty controlling my bike and large pieces of twig and leaves were blowing off the trees into my cape. I struggled out through Raglan to Abergavenny where the sun came out but the wind got even stronger! It was so strong at times that I could only average about 7 mph from there to Merthyr. Despite the hills this route is usually reasonable along the top through Tredegar, but it could have been as fast walking. Down the usually exhilarating descent into Merthyr I had to pedal hard in my bottom gear. Reached Cefn Coed after a really hard day.

Fri Sept 10th 57 miles Out of Cefn by 1.15 p.m. down into Merthyr and then up and over to Hirwaun into the teeth of the wind and pouring rain to Glyn Neath. Then on through Neath to Swansea by a tortuous route and then out on to the Gower peninsula through Sketty, Bishopston and Penmaen to Rhossili and the camp site. Another really hard day – quite the hardest ride I have had for a long time.

[I stayed a week camping with a group from King’s College; no cycling when we were there].

Fri Sept 17th 32 miles left the camp after a week’s bliss and rode into Swansea with a seized-up freewheel block (all the rain). Here I caught the train to London and cycled home from Paddington to Pinner. [In those days all trains had a guards van and took bicycles – not like the sorry state of affairs today!].

Sat Sept 18th 21 miles Up to Gordon’s early to meet the boys. We made arrangements for tomorrow’s ‘50’. Alan Stratman did a 4.38.34 (club record) in the Bournmouth Jubilee ‘100’ last Sunday, and Brian Major did a 4.42! This makes me now a poor third in the club B.A.R. contest.

In the afternoon we went over to see Alan and Paul Stratman in their new abode in South Harrow, and then went to Northwood again.

Sun Sept 19th 108 miles Up at 6.15 a.m. on a very wet and misty morning. I was off number 1 at 8.01. I was caught by Pete Bennett of the South Ruislip (a private time trial) who eventually did a 2.14. I was going extremely well at first: 54 minutes to Walton Corner, and 1.17 to that point (29 miles) on the way back. I then sagged badly to finish second (and with second handicap) with 2.18.50. Brian Major won the event with 2.16.40 and Derek Speakman was third. Alan Stratman and Ken Dopson did not ride. This result means that Brian has only to do a 1.03.27 to beat Alan in the club B.A.R. if the latter does not improve. (I have to do a 1.01.15!).

We met again in the afternoon and rode out to Chesham for tea via the lanes. A nice warm day after a cold and damp start.

Mon Sept 20th 22 miles I gave my bike an overhaul in the morning, and then rode up to the club rooms in the evening via Ruislip, Harefield and Colin’s house to pick up the canteen. A nice night, although quite frosty now.

Tues Sept 21st 36 miles Stayed in for the morning studying and then went up to Bob Harvey’s to help duplicate Sunday’s start sheets [for the annual “Last chance” ‘25’]. Went out training in the evening with Tony Standing through Rickmansworth and Watford. Met Alan Beere at Nell’s café and then went ‘untraining’ at the Northwood Hills Hotel.

Wed Sept 22nd 18 miles Went to Pinner in the morning and then over to my sister’s in Wembley to take some stuff, and to collect some, for her visit this weekend. I went to Watford (by train) in the afternoon. Pat came round in the evening.

Thurs Sept 23rd 10 miles Did some ‘odd jobs’ during the day and then went to an unofficial committee meeting at Brian Major’s house, but due to lack of notification it was postponed until next week.

Sat Sept 25th 27 miles Up to Gordon’s to meet the club and then over to Harrow with Roger Bingham to see about the clock [what clock?] but no luck. Went over to Wealdstone after lunch and got one. A cold and windy day.

Sun Sept 26th 45 miles The “Last Chance” ‘25’

The Start Sheet (composed by me!)

Thy Last Chance, or “As You Like it on Asphalt”, a farce by Willie Wobblejavelin.

Act 1: Scene: A dusty highway, near Amersham, in late summer. Curtain rises at 7.30 a.m.

Enter Brutus Boffin (an honourable man – I hope!), sits on cape, watch in hand.

Union, League and Councilmen, lend me your ears;

I come to time this race, not to ride it.

The speed men do lives after them;

So let it be with Boris. The noble Boffin

Hath told you Boris was ambitious:

If it were so, it was a grievous fault;

And grievously hath Boris answer’d it.

Here, under leave of Boffin and the rest,

For Boffin is an honourable man;

So are they all, all honourable men,

Come you to ride in your funeral”

Instructions to Players

Players mount their irons and enter from the wings dressed in short shorts and multicoloured track vests. At the command “5-4-3-2-1 –Get thee gone” proceed rapidly through the course as detailed hereunder:

Course: Start from the usual start, proceed rapidly down the hill through the golf course, along the bed of the Misbourne for half a mile to Chalfont St Peter. Here turn right up to Gravel Hill to Stacey’s for breakfast. After this continue through Amersham (more breakfast at Fred’s), via the bus garage and the library, on through the grounds of Shardeloes House for a fill at the Deep Mill filling station, and to Great Missenden. Keep right at the top of Missenden and keep going into the Black Horse, where drinks will be handed up from the bar. Turn in the back parlour, out by the tap room and then take a similar course back to the start, but with a short detour through Chesham in order to avoid the terrors of Stanley Hill. All competitors not finished by opening time will be left to the mercy of the elements. (Drinks at the Black Horse will be served by Roberta Harvey- prompter).

Number Name Time on Time


1. Yum Yum Jacobs 07.31 1.09.43

2. Hamish McHamer 07.32 DNS

3. Major Major (the elder) 07.33 1.04.13

4. Young William (Gurney) 07.34 DNF

5. Brighteyes Bingham (Queen of the

Fairies) 07.35 1.06.00

6. Justice Jeffs 07.36 DNS

seven F/O Speakman (retired) 07.37 1.08.41

8. Ricochet Roy (Turner) 07.38 DNS

one over the eight Giles Proctor 07.39 1.12.09

10. Uncle David 07.40 1.07.27

11. Major Minor (the younger) 07.41 1.06.56

12. Burton Beere 07.42 DNS

Baker’s dozen Hobo Dobo 07.43 1.11.29

14. Whitewash Kennedy 07.44 DNS

15. Amorous Alan 07.45 1.04.21

Cell No. 16 Forth Bridge (sound construction) 07.46 1.09.44

17. Standing Room only 07.47 DNS

18. Pretty Poll (sorry, Paul) 07.48 DNF

Extras. 10 Horse Power 07.49 1.11.14

Daddy Meredith 07.50 DNS

19. P. Parkinson (just call me Shorty) 07.52 DNS

score MacDoodle MAC 07.53 DNS

Hamish McHamer (from Aberdeen) – couldn’t afford the time.

Young William Gurney – developed a large split at 16 miles and exploded.

Justice Jeffs – six months.

Ricochet Roy (Turner) – hit the pillow but didn’t ricochet.

Burton Beere – had the morning after the night before feeling.

Standing Room Only – preferred lying down (in bed).

Pretty Poll (sorry Paul) – someone put a cover over his cage and he went to sleep.

He gallantly recovered, however, and finished to break competition record for 50 miles by over 8 minutes – shame it was a ‘25’!

Daddy Meredith – well you know what married life does for you!

Apologies from the management re the fact that both the Black Horse and Fred’s were closed. Any resemblance to racing men in the above result is merely a coincidence.

From my Diary. Got up at 5.45 a.m. to ride in the “Last Chance” ‘25’. Off number 10 at 7.40 and did a 1.07.29. It was really grim on the way to the turn, cold and windy. Brian Major won the event with 1.04.13 and also won the handicap and hence the “Last Chance” trophy. Alan Stratman was second with 1.04.21. Messed about in the afternoon and evening: a lousy day!

Mon Sept 27th 15 miles Club night. Started collecting the outstanding money for club events.

Tues Sept 28th 38 miles Went to Pinner, Eastcote during the day and then met Brian and rode over to Len Thorpe’s house at Finchley. A cold night.

Thurs Sept 30th 30 miles Went to Wembley in the afternoon and back through Pinner. Held a committee meeting in the evening at Colin Turner’s house at West Hyde – very good. We have a sub-committee meeting on Tuesday.