This picture of Doncaster resident Ron riding an Uppadine bicycle was taken during the Catford 24-hour National Championships in 1959. The picture was taken at the start, which was at the Black Swan at Pease Pottage, Crawley. The distance Ron covered was 448 miles 1312 yards. He did not stop or dismount during the ride and this distance, a club record for the Doncaster Wheelers C.C., was only recently beaten.
Ted Potter and Billy Walsh, who have now sadly passed away, made up the team. Ron says:
None of the team had ridden the course previously and relied on the marshalling, which was first class. Unfortunately, the club support team fell asleep at circa 11pm on Saturday and re-appeared at 6am on Sunday morning! Not particularly helpful.
Reflecting on their ride now, Ron wonders how many more miles the team would have been able to cover had they had access to the modern bikes, clothing, energy drinks and a support vehicle for each rider that some riders enjoy now. He explains:
Something that I did not appreciate at the time was that Billy Walsh drove down to Crawley, South London via the A1 and North Circular road on the Friday in an old banger with me as a passenger, rode around 435 miles in the race, collected me after I had finished, returning to the digs, and then drove all the way back to Doncaster on the Monday. At this time, the A1 passed through the centres of all the towns on route, i.e. Retford, Newark, Grantham and Stamford etc. so not an easy drive for Billy and the drive down must have affected the distance that he covered. A seriously hard man! Ted Potter rode down to the event a couple of days beforehand and started back to Doncaster on the Monday following the event. What modern competitors would make of all this I really don’t know!
Has Ron’s cycling story sparked any memories for you? If so, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.