Apart from cycling my other hobby is visiting towns by trains to take photos of cyclists and the cycling infrastructure in that town.
Recently, I went to Huddersfield by train. It’s quite an impressive train station, and in recent years it has seen a big increase in passengers using rail services across the Pennines. Huddersfield train station was also worth visiting for a bit of rugby league history. It was at the nearby George Hotel, where several northern rugby clubs, back in 1895, broke away from the ‘toffs’ who dominated the amateur rugby game. They formed the Rugby League, allowing professionalism and introducing new rules. For many years, I followed Leeds RLFC. Unfortunately, the George Hotel went into receivership in 2013 and is now covered in scaffolding, but ‘Welcome to Hudddersfield‘ I guess.
Anyway, I’m digressing from the main theme of this blog, which is usually cycling.
The problem is that during my two hours in Huddersfield, I didn’t actually see anyone cycling. This is a bit of a stark contrast to a ‘cycling city’ like Oxford, where a cyclist is always visible whatever the time of the day.
I walked around the town centre, camera at the ready, but I didn’t even see so much as a parked bicycle to take a photo of Admittedly, I didn’t wait forever – somehow standing outside the ranks of betting shops and pawnbrokers, waiting for an elusive Huddersfield cyclist to pass by wasn’t the most enticing way to spend a cold January morning.
This is another collection of classic time trial photos from the Bernard Thompson collection. I have already published some of these on my last cycling blog, but this is a new collection from the 280 images, and bigger sized (640px) than last blog. I hope you enjoy these insights into the ‘golden era’ of domestic British cycling and time trialling.
Thanks to Peter Whitfield for including this CD of copyright free images in his excellent cycling books – ’12 Champions’ and ‘History of Time trialling’
A familiar scene for early morning Sunday time trials. Time keeper and pusher-off.
A road with no markings, must have been relatively quiet.
A classic shot from the Catford CC hill climb – the oldest cycle race in the world.
At the start of the national 100.
Looks like this rider got a good push from the pusher off. Many people checking watches and looking on.
Time Trial Legends
The 1960s was the peak of the BAR competition with the best timetriallist competing with the best road men.
Alf Engers set a new competition record of 49.24 for 25 mile TT in 1978, before the advent of tri bars and disc wheels. It was the first sub 50 25 mile TT. He had a habit of annoying the establishment, but he was a class act on the bike. Engers was national 25 mile TT champion in 1969 and 1972-1976.
In the perennially popular lists like: ‘Top 10 reasons to take up cycling’ – you don’t usually see –
Learn how to deal with blood and treat your own wounds.
But, unfortunately it does seem to be a bit of a compulsory extra in the cycling curriculum. Cycling is undoubtedly a marvellous thing – good for health, weight, fitness, congestion, carbon neutral e.t.c. but if you do any amount of cycling you will, at some stage, be picking yourself up from the side of the road, with less skin than when you set out. On the positive side, you do learn some elementary elements of first aid.
This would be funny if it happened to anyone else, but yesterday, I fell over for a second time – and I wasn’t even on the bike, just going out of the front door. I managed to hobble around Faro and Gatwick with my suitcases and get home to Oxford. The next morning I was feeling pretty pleased with the progress of my leg so started to clear up the house. Going out to the bins, my trailing left leg, tripped over the lip of the front door and I went tumbling over on to the old injuries and picked up some new ones on my right hand side just for good measure. I now have a symmetry of road rash. I cried out, but the street remained as deserted as a Portuguese mountain. Eventually, after lying on the drive for a while, I realised no one was going to come and help, so I had to pick myself up and go through the tedious process of dressing wounds again. The fall didn’t do my leg any favours – though I still hope it will get better sooner, rather than later.
Check for signs of breakage and more serious issues. A doctor will check for more serious things and leave skin to the last. Also make sure it is not a deep gash rather than superficial cuts.
Be careful you may be in shock.
Wash out any dirt
Betadine is a good cleanser which doesn’t sting that much. (much better than traditional iodine) (see: Betadine at amazon) Anti bacterial soap is another option.
Have big patches ready. The best are duoderm hydrocolloid types Road rash tends to be quite big, get some good big strips ready. You can also use non-sticking gauze pads they are cheaper than duoderm. I have a range of sizes in my cupboard.
Change once a day and wash wounds. (duoderm can be left on for longer. (3-7 days – see: link) A warm bath is a good way of loosening bandages before changing and giving wound a good clean.
If you ever fall off, you will really understand why cyclists shave their legs. It’s easier to keep clean and it’s easier to put on and take off bandages. Though, I seem to always fall off in winter, when I can’t be bothered to shave my legs.
It’s an uncomfortable feeling riding with road rash, though it is possible to keep cycling. Often it looks worse than it is. But, the pain of road rash maybe hiding other more serious injuries.
If you do crash, especially with deep cut, be careful about getting a long haul flight. the risk of blood clot is high.
After a few days, try leaving open at night and dress during the day. When it has scabbed over it can be left open.
look out for infection. Signs ill include: increased pain, pus or spreading redness.
Self treating road rash
Often for minor cases, you can treat yourself. It’s easier than finding a nurse. When I fell off in Portugal, it was too extensive and I couldn’t do. When treating yourself, the important thing is not to skimp on the cleaning and applying anti-septic which can be a little painful..
I came across these wonderful collection of black and white cycling photos, uploaded by Peter Morris, Flickr. The photos are of family members, primarily H.R.Dick Morris and Jack Rossiter.
In this newspaper extract, it states Jack Rossiter, broke the Land’s End to John o Groats record, with a time of two days 13 hours 22 minutes. The newspaper goes on to say he is regarded as the greatest cyclist England has ever produced. (See: Opperman’s record attempt)
Jack Rossiter broke the record which had stood for 30 years, set by Harry Green in 1907. He rode on a Raleigh bicycle, with a three speed Sturmey Archer. He used a “K” hub, giving variations of 2? per cent. below and 33 1/3 per cent. above normal.
A year later he broke the 1,000 miles record, which had also been standing for 21 years, by nearly 4 hours. (See: Sheldon Brown)
According to this, Jack Rossiter finished 13th in the 1921 World Championship in Denmark (link)
Congleton Cycling Club have the Jack Rossiter Memorial trophy for the most improved rider.
Jack Rossiter in the North Road 24, 1928. The caption under the image stated 408 miles, second!
It’s not often a time triallist gets on the front cover of Cycling Weekly, so I went out and bought a copy from WH Smith. I share the front page with the rather bizarre sight of Chris Froome taking part in Sumo wrestling – I think the correct term is ‘quiet news week’
Perhaps next year, Chris Froome should be invited to enter the British hill climb season and I can use my natural muscular build to take Japanese sumo wrestling by storm.
Looking at the photo in Cycling Weekly, I think top of my Christmas list is a new pair of lightweigh aerodynamic racing socks, and a packet of safety pins to be kept in my car at all times.
Sean Yates was a hard man of old school pro-cycling. Coming from the British based scene, Yates made that very difficult route from domestic amateur to full time continental pro. In a long and distinguished career, he became the third British person to wear the yellow jersey and a time trial stage in the Tour de France and Vuelta Espagne. After retiring as a pro, Sean continued to race on the domestic scene and also moved into management – from the chaotic McCartney team to the brave new world of Team Sky.
Some points from reading the book.
It is revealing into the mindset and attitude that Yates’ had to life and cycling. You get an overwhelming impression that this is a guy willing and able to repeatedly drive himself into the ground. Although there’s no firm link, you do wonder the extent to which his health problems are related to the intensity he was willing to put into riding the bike.
As you might expect, Yates just avoids the whole issue of doping. I don’t think it’s mentioned even once. He’s loyal to Lance Armstrong and in the best traditions of the old school omerta leaves the drug issue well alone. Personally, I feel rather detached from this. I’m so full of doping confessions, doping reports, doping books e.t.c. I didn’t expect Yates to have anything revelatory to say. It is kind of the elephant in the room, but that’s Yates and the era of pro cycling.
It does come across as part confessional. For example, on one page, you are reading how Yates went for a ramp test and produced the best wattage figures since Eddy Merckx, and on the next page he confesses to turning his grass brown because he would urinate out his window. Confessions may have their place, but perhaps the confession box is a better place than you’re autobiography. A couple of times I felt like saying ‘just a bit too much information, Yatesy’
On the plus side you feel you are reading quite an open and honest account. There isn’t really a side to Yates, he does tell it like he is.
Another good feature of the book is simply the fact that Yates has been at the heart of procycling for the past 30 years. He may have been mostly a domestique, but he was racing alongside the greats of the era from Stephen Roche, Sean Kelly and Robert Millar. I particularly liked the insights into Robert Millar.