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History of the Northwood Wheelers

For this section I invite contributions from former members -after all, the club was pretty much defunct by the time I was born!

Contributions may be emailed to Robert at the contact email address


The origins and formation of the club

In late 1947 Tom Simpson, Gordon (Boff. short for boffin) Empson and brothers Roy and Colin Turner, were asked to assist with running the cycling section of The Northwood Boy’s Club.  

The early meetings were in an air raid shelter.

None of them had any experience of running a club as none of us had ever been a member of a cycling club! It turned out that there were so many restrictions placed on what the cycling group could do that it soon became impossible to operate within the boy’s club. A rather acrimonious break from the Boy’s Club ensued and in 1948 the Northwood Wheelers was formed.

The new cycling club soon came to the notice of a local resident, Mr. Fred Reynolds. Fred was a council member of the Road Time Trials Council, the then governing body of time trials in the UK. He helped get the club on a proper footing. Jack Sharp was another who helped us in the early days. He later became president.

Tom Simpson worked with Stan Boyes, who was a cyclist/tricyclist of long standing, and who seemed to be involved at an early stage.

Break from the Northwood Boy's Club

By the first club AGM, held in Rickmansworth, both Stan Boyes and Fred Reynolds were firmly involved in the new club, and Jack Sharp became Chairman.

The first Northwood Wheelers time trial was held in Autumn 1948, on a course drawn up by Jack Sharp - 14 riders took part with the event won by Bert Mills in 29:54 (Newsletter #6).

Jack Sharp suggests the reasons for the break from the Northwood Boy’s club related to the bikes and the noise of rollers and the generally boisterous members. One other factor was the presence of adults in the group which was possibly seen as out of kilter with the Boy’s Club.

After the separation from the Boy’s Club, a variety of venues for club meetings were used, but most frequently the Catholic Hall in Hallowell Road. Raising funds was essential for the developing club, and assiduous collection of membership fees and sale of cakes and refreshments in the club canteen (organised by  Roy Turner, Ada (later Colin Turner’s wife) and Jack’s wife. Apparently Tom Simpson was key in supply (?), while many of the young members’ parents were very supportive.

Jack was Chairman through the early years, steering the club through the usual teething troubles, and was elected President at the first AGM.

The first AGM I have a reasonably detailed record of was held on 25th January 1953. 20 members were present. Fred Reynolds stood down as Chairman as his work with the RTTC was taking to much of his time. At that AGM, the committee was elected as follows:

Chairman - R. Houston

General Secretary - Miss S. Johns

Treasurer - A. Stratman

Racing Secretary - T. Simpson

Open Events Secretary - C. Turner

Track and Massed Start Secretary - B. Major

Social Secretary - G. Empson

Touring Secretary - D. Saunders

Editor and Press Secretary - B. Harvey

Juniors' Representative - R. Bingham

Under discussion at that AGM were amendments to the club rules, and the committe was charged with bringing the agreed amendments, as well as those discussed the the previous AGM (1951) into the current rules, for circulation.

By late 1953, the club had begun to acquire several trophies 

The History of the Club Trophies

The Best All-rounder Trophy - presented to the club in 1950 by the President, Jack Sharpe and awarded annually to the rider with highest average speed over 25, 50 and 100 miles in the season. Won this year by Colin Turner with an average of 22.273 mph (1950: Tom Simpson; 1951: Terry Howard; 1952: Alan Stratman).

The Junior Championship Trophy (the “Malayan Trophy”) donated by Mr R. J. Moreton, a rubber planter on leave from Malaya, and awarded to the Junior with the best average speed over 10 and 25 miles. See issue 6 for more on this. Won this year by Len Chapman with an average of 23.243mph. (1951: Alan Stratman; 1952: Ken Dopson).

The Crookes Trophy - presented to the club in 1953 by Crookes Laboratories, and awarded to the rider recording the fastest ’25’ of the year. Won by Colin Turner for his 1:02:04.


The Northwood Wheelers post-1955

The website doesn't have much information on the Northwood Wheelers after 1955, other than a club dinner ticket from 1958!

1958 ClubDinnerTicket 39

However, in Brian Major's letter, Brian says

The club continued with moderate success after 1955 as David may recall better than I. From memory my own contributions resulted in me being Club Champion in 1956, 1957, 1961, 1962 and having broken club records at ’25’, ’50’, ’30’, ‘100’ and 12hr with modest performances by today’s results.

After 1961/2 it became apparent that general interest was dwindling. Competitive and social activity was in serious decline and so in 1963 I joined South Ruislip CC and became their Club Champion (my last real claim to fame!).

In 1967 South Ruislip CC and Uxbridge Wheelers amalgamated to form Hillingdon CC which is my present club but my time trialling days ended in 2004 when poor health overtook ambition.

So it would seem that by Brian's account in 1963, the Northwood Wheelers was in decline.

I've found a newspaper article from 1989 which stated that the Northwood Wheelers closed down in 1962.