South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Frank Cubis

Profile: Frank Cubis - (Jul/Aug 2002)

The name Frank Cubis which appeared at the top of the List of Mileages for 2001 may be a new name for some of our readers. Frank is an occasional rider with the C&M and only recently has started to ride with the Midweek Wayfarers. It may not be known however that Frank has a long association with this DA and the CTC. He joined the CTC in 1958 as an 18 year old and rode with the Kingston Section which was flourishing at that time. The Sunday meet was at the Jolly Boatman, Hampton Court Station and a Club Room was held every Tuesday at the Union Hotel in Surbiton Park Terrace. As a result Frank claims he did not have a Sunday meal at home for two years.

Those of us who have long experience of racing will know of Frank and his career in time trialling as a competitor, a race organiser and a timekeeper. This 'first love' started in 1962 after a short break for courting and a brief involvement with motor cycles which he found boring. The less boring courting led to marriage at 24 years of age and a move to a new home one mile from the Hanger Lane gyratory. "You really have to love traffic to live there", says Frank who still lives there today, in Rydal Crescent, Greenford!

His long career of time trialling on solos and trikes has included some notable record breaking rides. He has held the national tricycle records for Cardiff to London and Lands End to London. Amongst the medals he collected, he treasures that which he won in 1974 for the Higgins Trophy for the fastest 25 miles on a tricycle. "I have now ceased the competitive side of riding", says Frank, although those who ride with him today on club or training rides may not agree with that!

What were the early days following his birth in 1940 which led to the start of this life so fully devoted to competition cycling?

"I was introduced to cycling at the age of 14 when my father bought me a Raleigh Lenton Sports with 4-speed Sturmey Archer hub gear. I immediately went on a 9 day tour of the Cotswolds and into Warwickshire. On my return I was totally hooked on cycling. I would leave home in Camden Town where the family lived at that time to cycle on my own on day trips. My father was a keen cyclist and rode with a Highgate club."

A story told by the family was that when Dad left Southend on his cycle, waving to his parents at the railway station, he would meet them 43 miles later, just as they arrived back at their front door in London. Quite an achievement for an 18-year-old! Frank was born in Feltham, Middlesex and when he was 18, the family moved to Tolworth to live on the Sunray estate. His first employment was as an apprentice and later as a toolmaker with various companies. He finally worked for British Aerospace at Dunsfold. "Like many club folk I never drove to work. From 15 to 52 years old, commuting was always on a bike. For 23 of those years I commuted on a round trip of 26 miles each working day. Commuting to Dunsfold required a car sharing arrangement for the 95 mile journeys. These journeys stopped when Dunsfold closed and I took early retirement two years ago at the age of 59."

Frank says he does not class himself as a cycle tourist (will his rides with his Midweek friends change this?) but the list of countries in which he has cycled over 12,000 miles suggests he is a true tourist: Spain, Italy, Morocco, Greece, Yugoslavia, Corfu, Tenerife, Cyprus, Portugal and of course Majorca. But his most enjoyable ride was in 1977 cycling 1,474 miles from home to John O'Groats and back in 11 days. Since starting to record annual mileages in 1966, he has logged 310,968 miles. His DA award for the Highest Mileage in a year was for a total of 13,334 miles last year.

All this cycling activity is on three bikes, one trike and the front end of a tandem which he owns (the back end is owned by his cycling colleague and long time friend, Iain Margery).This tandem partnership rode a very fast 10 mile TT in 19 mins 11 secs a few years back.

His favourite machine is his Roy Thame semi-track bike fitted with a 66 inch fixed gear. This elegant distinctive red and gold frame (enhanced by a black pump) has made quite an impact on the Midweek Wayfarers' 'A team'.

Your Editor has received reports that "Now Frank has been seen on at least four all-day rides in a row, he is causing some concern on a Wednesday as he floats up and down hills on his fixed wheel lightweight machine". This is definitely not a bike made for off-road riding as confirmed by a 'Heard on our Rides' report that Frank had been heard to say "If it hasn't a white line, I haven't been down it!"