St Johns Cycling Club
Worcester St Johns Cycling Club.
My uncle Joe Aston was an early “Ordinary” rider, racing and winning with the Birmingham, Aston Cycling Club. All very smart. Max
AS part of the National Festivities the Dunlop Rubber CO arranged a Festival of Cycling at their Erdington, Birmingham sports ground.
The Manager of the Worcester Gaumont Cinema had a Penny-Farthing or Ordinary made by Mr Bladder and offered Â£5 for any cyclist who rode it to Fort Dunlop. Up jumped Bill Hencher, Club Secretary, a Worcester Postman, and accepted the challenge.
On the 23rd June Bill, with Max Sinclair waving a red flag set off from the Gaumont Car Park in company with Club members.
After a very tiring ride over the Lickey Hills we reached the Tyburn Road where Bill said he was busting. We found a Public Convenience and he shot inside. When he emerged he said it was a strange Brummie toilet as it didn’t have any stalls, we laughingly pointed out he had gone into the Ladies.
Bill was given a marvellous reception by thousands of cyclists as he entered the ground. He delivered a message to the Lord Mayor from Worcester’s Mayor and on the folloriday collected his Â£5 at the Gaumont. Max
In the early days of cycling a few Clubs were formed to give help to the intrepid pioneers and gradually encouraged a sporting attitude. Track races were held on Pitchcroft and eventually time trials were organised on the public roads, although frowned on by the police when they timed cyclists travelling faster than the new fangled motor cars.
In 1885 a Mr Bill Badgery from The Tannery in Hylton Road bought a bicycle and by 1887 six of the ‘new’ athletes joined together to form The Worcester St. Johns Cycling Club one of the oldest in the world.He was fined 25 shillings in the early days when stopped by a policeman in Witley for furious riding. Many of these early cycles had solid tyres and the Club rode a mixture of ‘Penny Farthings’called ‘Ordinaries’ and more conventional ‘Pneumatic’ Ordinaries using John Boyd Dunlop’s patent inflatable tyre.. On early club rides one of the members was a bugler who gave warning of approach and signalled when to dismount, at the cafe. Even in the 1950′s the Captain had a whistle and would blow it to discipline any rider not keeping to two abreast.This came to an end in 1951 when we were approaching Ludlow down Clee Hill and somebody called out “First to the 30 sign” an orderly ride descended into a mass sprint with Joe Hencher racing at the back blowing his whistle to no effect. The club continued to grow from strength to strength and is still very active today, a proud record.
The most successful rider was Ernie Payne who in the early 1900′s became world champion. He still attended Club dinners in the 1950′s when I was Club Captain, and was a most amusing character.
The club holds regular Time Trials and promotes a National road race annually, in which members have been successful.
Worcester WR2 6QU
1951 The Southern Ireland Club tour.
In 1951 the club tour was all around Southern Ireland.
On the top of the Tim Healey Pass above Dingle. The road surface in the country was often very rough. There was no rationing and we all came out in spots from over indulging on chocolate and bacon. Max
1952 Club Dinner.
Prize winners Mike Hope, Bob Lloyd Jones, Derek Farmer, Max Sinclair and Charlie Harber. Max
Max, after 100 miles, at Worcester.
Max Sinclair at London Road Worcester, setting a new club record in August 1952.