540 miles

Fri Jan 1st 5 miles I went out training last night – either I have started early, or late! I got an ear ache in the process as it was so cold. Stayed in most of the day, but went to the Rex in the evening with Alan Stratman. We met some of the club there and finished up at Nell’s café in Northwood and then by walking home. Another very cold and frosty night.

Sat Jan 2nd 21 miles I went to the library early and then up to Northwood. Met the boys and made arrangements for tomorrow’s map-reading contest. I met Tom Simpson on his way home from work and saw him about the double fixed sprint wheel – he wants £2 for it. He told me that he had booked passages to Canada for Sheila and himself for March 27th.

In the afternoon Roger Bingham came round and we ran a runs list up to Bob Harvey. We then rode round to his house the long way round and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening there. Another cold night; my cold is lingering.

Sun Jan 3rd 53 miles The Map-reading Contest Met the club at Northwood Hills at about 9.00 a.m. and finally gathered at Colin Turner’s house at West Hyde just before 10.00 for another map-reading contest. We had about 15 places to visit, each rider starting at a different point. Each place was worth 10 points and points were lost for time late in reporting. I visited and signed in at the first 13 places but could not find the card at ‘Denham airport’ station. Apparently it has blown down in the gale force wind and was lying brown side up in some dead leaves. Time was so short now that I went straight back to the finish, staggering into the wind, not being able to afford much time in looking for the last point. Hence I got 130 points. Alan Stratman visited one more place than me even though he could not find one of the cards (which had completely disappeared), but was also 8 minutes late. Consequently he beat me by only two points with a score of 132! We then came straight home. A windy but very pleasant day.

Mon Jan 4th 12 miles Another very cold day. Went up to the club rooms in the evening, taking bookings for next weekend. We have a committee meeting at Sheila’s on Thursday, and Alan, Brian and I are going over to my sister’s flat in Wembley on Wednesday. It tried to snow on the way home, but left only a sprinkle.

Tues Jan 5th 9 miles Out for a short ride in the morning through Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote. Very cold but enjoyable.

Wed Jan 6th 15 miles Went over to Wembley in the evening with Brian Major (Alan has a cold) to have chips, biscuits and brandy. It was snowing hard and very cold but the snow did not settle properly thank goodness. We got very wet going over there but wore our capes on the way back into a powerful head wind and sleet that is hanging around – and nearly killed ourselves.

Thurs Jan 7th 12 miles Brian Huggins was home from the RAF and came round to see me in the afternoon. We cycled into Eastcote over the icy roads to have coffee at the Rendezvous. Had a long chat. Held a committee meeting at Sheila’s in the evening.

Fri Jan 8th 5 miles Out for a short ride in the afternoon to call for Brian. He was not in, however, so I came straight home again as it was cold. Went to the pictures in the evening with Paul Stratman and some wenches. We saw Brian Major in the cinema with a woman – I wonder what he’s up to?

Sat Jan 9th 11 miles Went to Alan’s and then up to Prangley’s to meet the club.

Sun Jan 10th 65 miles Left at about 9.30 a.m. through Stanmore to Apex corner, up the Barnet by-pass and Welham Green to the Marshmoor café at Hatfield for some elevenses. After this we continued along to St Albans, past the roman theatre up to Leverstock Green where we had a pint; then back through Hemel Hempstead and the Shanty (Bourne End). We had dinner at the Shanty – and also about four punctures! Roger Bingham had three and Brian Huggins one. Brian climbed a lamp post which bent over and broke in two – he certainly livens up the club runs! We then returned to Northwood through the lanes via Chipperfield, Chorleywood and Rickmansworth, having a monster ‘blind’ most of the way home. We stopped at Nell’s for a cuppa. We had 17 people out today!

My new Ephgrave

Mon Jan 11th 24 miles A much warmer day, sunny at times. I cleaned my bike in the morning and then called for Brian Huggins. We went up to Northwood to look for his gloves and met Brian Major. After lunch I stayed in.

Up to the club in the evening. I beat Ken Dopson at snooker and had a jolly good evening. I gave Brian his ‘bars but forgot to pick up the wheel from Tom. We had a cup of coffee at Nell’s before coming home.

Tues Jan 12th 41 miles Cycled up to King’s College (on the Strand) with Brian in the morning via Wembley, Paddington and Trafalgar Square. We came back up the Edgware road and across the Welsh Harp. Brian came round again in the afternoon and I visited the dentist and went to the pictures in the evening.

Wed Jan 13th 8 miles Started to cycle to College this morning for the first time but only got as far as Wembley before my back tyre went down! Not having enough time to mend it, even though I had taken off the back wheel and taken the tube out, I just dumped the bike in a local cycle shop and continued by train. I will have to collect it tomorrow night. This incident has dampened my enthusiasm for riding up to London, at least during January. It poured later in the day, so perhaps it was a good thing!

Thurs Jan 14th 8 miles I collected my bike from Wembley on my way back from London.

Fri Jan 15th 33 miles I started to go out training into a head wind but met the club and we went over to the Feltham R.C. club rooms instead. Had a jolly good evening and some good training too. A very powerful wind.

Sat Jan 16th 12 miles I collected the vegetables from Pinner, took my library book back, and then took my wheel into Gordon Prangley’s. I paid him 10/-, got 15/- from Brian, paid my club subscription and collected the rear sprint wheel from Tom Simpson. Met the boys in Northwood Hills and had coffee. Cleaned my bike when I got in.

Sun Jan 17th 75 miles The club assembled at about 9.30 a.m. and we rode through Hillingdon, Cranford and Feltham to Walton on Thames for some elevenses. We then cycled through the lanes, across a golf course and out onto the A 3 near Ripley. We then turned right to Guildford. Here we had lunch, a pint and visited the priory. Came home through Woking and Chertsey, stopping for tea at Staines. A very nice sunny day and very cold in the early morning and again after dark. We had 16 club members out today.

Mon Jan 18th 10 miles Club night. Played snooker and lost. Made arrangements for the weekend and the club’s A.G.M.

Wed Jan 20th 20 miles I went out training in the evening. It was drizzling when I started and I had to cut it short when it started to really rain – and I got soaked. A miserable night!

Brian at Guildford Priory

Fri Jan 22nd 5 miles Went up to Len Chapman’s for a party – with about 10 of the Wheelers, a barrel of beer, 32 pints of Mackeson’s stout [our favourite tipple at the time] and some ‘shorts’. We had a good time and more than half of us, me included, remained sober enough to ride home.

Sat Jan 23rd 11 miles Cleaned my bike in the afternoon. We are only going out for elevenses tomorrow morning as it is the club’s A.G.M. in the afternoon. We think that our committee is ‘complete’. A very cold day with an east wind.

Sun Jan 24th 50 miles In the morning we went out to Fred’s café in Amersham for elevenses. About 12 club members were out and we met 5 of the Chesham boys there. Came home for dinner.

In the afternoon we assembled at 3.15 for the 6th Annual General Meeting of the Northwood Wheelers. It went very well – and was even enjoyable. The new committee is as follows:

Chairman Gordon (Boff) Empson

General Secretary Pat Norman

Treasurer Alan Stratman

Time Trials Secretary Myself

Open Events Secretary Colin Turner

Track/Mass Start Secretary Tony Standing

Social Secretary Pat Barnes

Touring Secretary Brian Proctor

Editor and Road

Safety Representative Bob Harvey

Ladies Representative Hilary

Junior Representative Brian Hamer


It was reputed to be -10º in an exposed potting shed at Basingstoke - 42º of frost, colder than Siberia!

Mon Jan 25th 10 miles Up to the club rooms. Took bookings for the last time as Touring Secretary before I hand over to Brian Proctor. I played snooker – and lost again!

Wed Jan 27th 6 miles It has been bitterly cold lately, so cold that even cycling is not so enjoyable. Nevertheless I went out for a short ride in the evening the keep up appearances! We have entered for the Harp R.C. hilly ‘100’ reliability trial on February 14th – I hope that it is a bit warmer by then!

Fri Jan 29th 26 miles Yesterday it was 25ºF at 12 noon and down to 19ºF by 4.00 p.m. It was 10ºF at Hazlemere (22º of frost) and the sea froze at many points along the south coast. Much of the country is blocked with snow and ice, but so far we have escaped with only a few snow showers.

Despite the cold I went training in the evening up the A 40 to just beyond Gerrards Cross and then home into the powerful head wind. It was very cold, but not nearly as cold as yesterday.

The club roller contest. Roy Turner (left) and myself. Brian Major is supporting me.

Sat Jan 30th 15 miles Some more snow this morning but not too much. Warmer and sunny later. Went up to Pinner and then to Gordon’s. Got my Holdsworth ready for the club roller contest in the afternoon.

In the evening I took my bike up to Potter Street school by train arriving there at about 6.30 p.m. I nearly fell off in the 880, did a 16.8 sec to Alan’s winning 15.2 sec in the flying 440, and failed to do anything in the 1½ mile pursuit. It was just about what I expected, but very enjoyable. I left my bike at the school after the roller contest; Alan is going to collect it tomorrow morning.

Sun Jan 31st 68 miles We left Northwood at about 9.30 a.m. over the hill to Rickmansworth and then to Amersham via Chorleywood; elevenses were taken at Fred’s café. We then continued through High Wycombe to the Westreet café at Marlow for dinner and a pint in one of the local taverns. It was very cold and we had a slight snow shower in Marlow. After dinner we climbed Winter hill in a violent snow storm, Albert hitting and buckling Hilary’s back wheel. After mending this we continued on through Cookham, Maidenhead, Windsor and Runnymede to the Cosy Nook café at Egham. After that we came straight home via Staines, Iver and Ickenham. A very cold day again; feet and ears suffered badly, but an enjoyable run nevertheless.