[CR]The Way We Were

From: "Joe King" <joeking@fastmail.fm>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 17:37:49 +0100
Subject: [CR]The Way We Were

Doug, Sorry for the eternity in replying, it’s been hectic. I find the CR archives invaluable but the postings lately leave me cold. Endless natter about VBQ I honestly thought like posting does this stand for Very Boring Question. Like you I mourn the demise of the traditional British club scene. What ever happened to the social side of the sport which was still just about hanging on in the early 1970’s? I’m lucky I can remember as it was. Every club events secretary had to find accommodation for most of the competitors in digs and local pubs. This must have been a huge problem with the full start sheets we had back then. In our club the evening prior to the event was usually spent in the company of fellow riders in a pub or cafe. The Langley, Harmer Green , Apple Pie and the Lorne in Old Town. Don’t they just bring back happy memories? One best forgotten was our club 50 and the evening in the Farmers Boy at Langley, as a result of a very heavy session on the Rayment’s with the locals, no club member was in a fit condition to start. We managed one starter who was a teetotal but he managed to break his left Chater crank and DNF. Those broom handle Chater cranks were forever breaking. Even in the 60’s few of us had cars as you no and riders staying near the start was the norm. Did you ever ride against any North Roaders? Some of them use to get driven by their chauffeurs to the event in their Rollers. How our club got around the accommodation problem was to purchase some ex WD tents. The local lightweight shop near to us took the tents and our gear up to where we were camping for the TT. This included all the camping paraphernalia, luggage, clothing and our sprints. Then we all use to meet at the shop this enabled us to travel light which resulted in a glorified massed start scorch to some cycling café near the event, where an impromptu club tea followed. After this there was inevitably a tear up to the tents. None of us campers got any sleep with all the larking about and Mickey taking but we still managed some fast times despite all of this. After the event all the stuff was packed up on the lorry to take it back to the shop and the whole club moved off to an organised cricket match to be followed by a club tea. Did your club run an Errand Boys Derby? Ours did like many other clubs. It was one way of holding a massed start to get around the strict regulations back then. Ours was held during our town’s carnival and it was for all the boys who rode trade bikes as part of their jobs, newspaper, butchers, telegraph and grocer lads etc. The mayor even started our event; this was the same person who objected to us testing down the High Street. The first event was the last that could be described as sporting. The next year saw race ready bikes by those in the know. The normal gearing on a tradesman’s bike was 44T x 19T but now we were fitting a 17 cog and the normal errand boys didn’t stand a chance against us club juniors. ATB Joe.

Croeso Cymru Joe King Nr. Maenaddwyn Ynys Mon Wales