South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Pete Barnard

Profile: Pete Barnard - (Nov/Dec 2005)

This time last year after some gentle arm twisting by Brian Starey, Pete took over as our DA Secretary.

He was born soon after the war, the son of lifelong cyclists Ernie and Bobbie Barnard. Naturally cycling came early, comfortably wrapped in warm clothes and installed in the sidecar attached to Ernie's bike. One of his earliest memories is of riding into Richmond Park and picnicking next to Ham Pond followed by fishing for tiddlers in the stream nearby.

As the family expanded, so did the family transport; double sidecar and double trailer before Pete graduated to back of the tandem through a procession of Lipscombe devices and crank shorteners. Early family holidays were on the Isle of Sheppey in a chalet next to the sea. Days on the beach were interspersed with rides around the island and scrambles over the mud-flats. Weekend cycling was now with the flourishing Family Section. Fond memories remain of those long lost tea places such as Martyrs Green, Curds, Sunnybanks, Effingham Junction and the Big Tea Pot, as well as riding on roads that were then largely free of cars.

In time Pete mastered the art of riding a single and was duly presented a blue Vindec with Sturmey gears. This gave the family the chance of undertaking more adventurous holidays and Youth Hostelling was discovered. Trips to the Peaks, Lakes and Dales as well as North and South Wales helped develop the love of the countryside that has stayed with him ever since. His first solo trip was when he was about 15, a ride up to Yorkshire to join a Peter Knottley organised week at Malham.

By now the baby boomers of the Family Section were needing to stretch their wings and the Youth Section was formed. Pete joined and there followed a joyous couple of years of care free cycling. Long rides with bunch sprints at the end, riding on previously unknown lanes and youth hostel weekends.

The desire to race came along and Pete joined the Belle Vue CC and later, with a few friends, formed the Portobello. Racing was mainly time trials with distances from 10 miles to 12 hours. In due course the Portobello merged with the Sorian to form the Wandsworth. However work, coupled with a new family, limited Pete's time and cycling was reduced to leading the Sunday morning club runs and riding the odd club event. At the same time he regularly promoted events for the South West London Combine.

Pete always shared father Ernie's enthusiasm for roughstuff. When Ernie indicated his ambition to tackle the Lairig Ghru, bikes were loaded in the car and it was off to Aviemore. Next morning they set off into the Cairngorms and up towards MacDui. The path was initially quite rideable but soon deteriorated and the top was a snow covered boulder field necessitating bikes to be shouldered some way before starting the equally difficult descent of Glen Dee, arriving at Braemar Youth Hostel after some 12 exhausting but enjoyable hours. Of course, you can't go all that way and just do one bit of roughstuff, so next day it was back up by the Linn of Dee and down Glen Tilt to Blair Atholl. Then through Glen Garry and over the Pass of Drumochter to collect the car for the long drive home.

In 2001, with children grown and flown, after 30+ years working in IT, Pete had the opportunity to take early retirement. He now rides regularly with the Wayfarers and occasionally with the Cheam and Morden Section. Earlier this year he was also able to get in a week in the French Alps fulfilling a long term ambition of riding a few of the roads you see in the Tour de France. This included a never to be forgotten ascent of L'Alpe D'Huez, even though he thinks it unlikely he would be a threat to Lance Armstrong.