South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
CTC 125 year Celebration Rides

CTC 125 year Celebration Rides - (Jul/Aug 2003)


CTC London's 125 years Celebration Rides over the May Bank Holiday weekend have brought in a record number of contributions to this edition of the Sou'Wester. A selection follows:

Sixty cyclists met beside the gleaming gold of the renovated Albert Memorial for the Saturday route of 30 miles. CTC Director, Kevin Mayne, with son Ben, had an enormously enjoyable day, congratulated CTC London and thanked Clive Oxx for the entertaining snippets of history along the way. CTC Councillor, Jill Kieran, was impressed by the route sheet prepared by Philip Benstead.

Bob Starey commented this very different ride was enhanced by Philip's informed commentary. Tom Fish referred to memories of his early years and seeing the site in Long Acre where the first Hobby Horse was made. Fuzz Edwards thanked Bill Stead for elevenses at Earldom Road on the old Putney Velodrome site, Mike Morley and friend enjoyed trying to imagine the splendour of old days at sites which have now disappeared, those old bicycles replaced by today's traffic, Phil Lintott imagined the reception of the Round England Relay by the Lord Mayor of London at the Mansion House in 1923, Vijay Sodhi (Mark Roy)'s longest cycle ride in London because he had thought it would be very dangerous but found it quite safe and the leader, Simon Merrett, was a delight.

Mark salutes those gallant cycling pioneers. Other contributors comment on the slow ride (but 125 years is a long time to celebrate!), CTC's impressive offices in Craven Hill from 1927, the spectacular view over London from Primrose Hill, the reading of Ernie Barnard's poem 'Our Bill', the great fun of this unique ride which was full of nostalgia. (Lynda Barrow, Andy Coxhill, Margaret Croad, Frank Cubis, Jack Dowson, Beryl Granger, Steve and Annie Gregson, Les Johnston, Judy Margery, Charles Shand).

The three children set off first and led, with Clive the twenty-four cyclists who gathered at the Albert Memorial on the Sunday morning. Fenner (7) enjoyed riding at the front of all the adults on his new bike but some people were cycling on bikes that were over 100 years old. Jemma (7) loved the shiny new gate at Hyde Park, with flowers in silver metal, then cycled through the skaters dancing and doing tricks by the Serpentine. Sophie (9) later went pedalling on the Serpentine Lake - on a Pedalo not her bicycle - and afterwards cycled up the Mall (which had no traffic) to Buckingham Palace feeling like the Queen.

It was John and Stella MacGregor from West London DA who described their historic machines so helping understanding of being a bicyclist in the early days. Jonathan Spearman-Oxx found London at its best and specially enjoyed the companionable chat whilst riding through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Experiencing Londoners at leisure in sun drenched Hyde Park was both relaxing and fascinating for Shirley Quemby.

The Bank Holiday Monday ride, led by Clive Oxx and Tom Fiddimore, started at the Eye. Ray Dare reported 23 riders on this memorable occasion, some of whom were vintage and that includes the bikes! Sonia Broome found it exhilarating to ride over Westminster Bridge then look up at Big Ben then, amazingly, to ride round Trafalgar Square. For David Aylett it was a pleasure to see again the streets (almost free of traffic), the Penny Farthing pub in Islington and historic sites of London.

All contributors praised the organisers and their research, routes and leadership. Bibi Bugg of the Veteran-Cycle Club is thanked for the loan of books.