Classic cycling photos

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’

Beryl Burton start with crowds
Beryl Burton at the start with large crowd.

 

timekeeper-start

A familiar scene for early morning Sunday time trials. Time keeper and pusher-off.

start-open-rd

A road with no markings, must have been relatively quiet.

catford-cc-hill-climb-start

A classic shot from the Catford CC hill climb – the oldest cycle race in the world.

gary-woodward-start-100

At the start of the national 100.

start-2-short

Looks like this rider got a good push from the pusher off. Many people checking watches and looking on.

Time Trial Legends

1967-bbar

The 1960s was the peak of the BAR competition with the best timetriallist competing with the best road men.

alf-engers
Alf Engers – the King of the short distance time trial

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.

beryl-burton
Beryl Burton

The achievements of Beryl Burton are so impressive it is hard to know where to start. 25 times consecutive BBAR holder. Once held both men and women’s 12 hour time trial record with 276 miles.

ian-cammish
Ian Cammish

Ian Cammish was a supreme 50 and 100 mile time triallist. Dominating the BBAR in the 1980s. Ian Cammish won national 100 mile title 1980 – 83 and 1985-89.

glen-longland
Glen Longland one of the few who could compete with Ian Cammish. National 50 and national 100 champion.
arthur-metcalfe-1966-12-bbar
arthur-metcalfe during 1966 12 hour BBAR
martyn-roach
martyn-roach won BBAR in 1968, Also national 50 and national 100 mile Champion
john-wood-burn
john-woodburn

John Woodburn won the national 25 mile championship in 1961. He went on to be the first Veteran to win the BBAR in 1978. He also set a new Land’s End to John ‘O Groats record

sean-yates
sean-yates

Sean Yates began his cycling career doing domestic time trials, winning the National 25 mile TT in 1980. He went onto be a Tour de France star, becoming first British rider to win a time trial in the Tour de France and wearing the yellow jersey.

eddie-adkins-phil-griffths
eddie-adkins-phil-griffths

Despite being a top roadman, Phil Griffiths won the BBAR 5 times in the 1970s.

Interesting shots

changing-room

Who needs a fancy HQ. A ‘made do and mend’ changing room.

wooded-road

The loneliness of a long distance time triallist.

dog-on-back

A companion for the ride.

cyclist-chef

It’s hungry work this time trialling.

turn

The ‘dead’ U-turn in the middle of the road. Presumably before the days of traffic counts. upturned-bars

No points for style, but plenty for effort.

ian-dow-dead-turn

Ian Dow (national 24 hour competition record holder), doing a turn.

falling-off

Oops! A turn which went wrong.

jon-baylis-spectators-cups-of-tea

Jon Baylis passing the chaps having a nice cup of tea. The sedate world of time trialling.

spectator-child-seat

Wake me up when it’s time to race.

graham-mann

The strength of a lion. marshall

Marshalls showing the way to go. Before ‘health and safety’ dished out the high vis vests.

3-on-bike

Have they escaped from a Monty Python Sketch?

socks-massage

Notice the excellent socks and the massage by the side of the road. Sometimes things don’t  always change for the better.

kevin-fairhead-s-bridge

Shillingford Bridge. This may well have been during the famous Bath Road 100 mile TT.

shillingford-bridge

More cyclists pass Shillingford Bridge.

hour-glass

Time stops for no man, esepcially the cyclists who is riding ‘contra la monde’

bike-symmetry

A symmetry of triangles.

24 Hour Time trials

john-woodburn-in-24

John Woodburn riding at night.

norman-mags-pipe-mersey-24

The famous Norman Maggs smoking a pipe as he begins the Mersey 24 hour time trial.

eric-matthews

Night time in the 24 hour. Nice jumper, more style than the marginal gains of Team Sky’s see-through skinsuit. (Rider is Eric Mathews.)

arthur-metcalfe-1966-12-bbar
Arthur Metcalfe. BBAR Champion 1966

24-hour-drinking-night

Taking a bottle at night.

The Hill Climbers

granville-sydney

Granville Sydney (Huddersfield Star Wheelers) 6 times national hill climb champion. Note he never shaved his legs.

hill-climb-agony

The hill climb agony.

hill-climber-rockingham

The long drag. horseshoe-pass

The horseshoe pass in Wales

come-on-mister-hill

Come on, Mister!

nick-o-pendle

Nick ‘o Pendle

ralph-wilson-hill-climb
Ralph Wilson

wilson-hc-csatchers

How to finish a hill climb.

tony-gonall-hc
tony-gonall

More shots

trike-behind

A tricycle on the way to Barrow.

alf-engers-finish

Who says time trialling isn’t a spectator sport?

newspaper-seller

Morning papers?

simpson-cp

Tom Simpson on the right at Crystal Palace.

holyhead

London to Holyhead was an important one day race.

mixed-tandem

Tandem. all-over-in-black

All over black was once the regulations for time triallist. mw-one-piece

Early marginal gains.

john-tooby

dig in. drink-chris-munford

Looks like a bell on his bike. peter-smith-finish-pangbourne-lane

Finish in Pangbourne Lane, a popular road for the flatish A4 courses.

feed-dick-poole

Taking a drink on the move.

snow

Early season snow.

cyc-thr-trees

Through the trees. finish-tk

Old fashioned time keeping.

webster-horseshoe-pass

Daryl Webster on Horseshoe pass.

les-wilmot
The celebrated author Les Wilmot

winter-grit

Winter grit rolling-lanes

A rolling course tricycle-puddle

Tricycle through water.

morning-race

Early morning

Photographs by Bernard Thompson. Thompson was born in Southfields, West London in 1924 he was a freelance photographer, particularly interested in time trials.

 

You can buy a CD (there are over 280 pictures) from:

Peter Whitfield
Wychwood Publishing
Tachbrook House
Charlbury
Oxfordshire OX7 3PS

for £10.

If you like this, post, you will like Peter Whitfields books

  • The History of Time trialling – Time, Speed and Truth
  • 12 Champions – featuring B.Burton, I.Cammish, R.Booty, M.Roach

Note on CD: In commemoration of Bernard Thompson’s lifetime’s work as a cycling photographer, these images are presented copyright free for the use of any individuals or institutions furthering the interests of cycling.

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24 thoughts on “Classic cycling photos”

      • John Ormrod – he would have been in Nelson Star Cycling Club in Pendle in the 50s & 60s. Alas by the time I was here, his cycling days were long behind him & I didnt start cycling as an adult until after he passed away.
        My uncle says he has unearthed some of his time trial certificates, so I need to pick them up 🙂 Wish we had more photos like these kicking about.

        Reply
  1. Cliff Smith – winner of 18 ’24’ hour time trials and past holder of the Edinburgh to London place to place record. What a lovely surprise to see my dad in your classic photos of Bernard Thompson. I do hope that he is still remembered by some of your readers – he would have been 93 next month. Such a tragic shame that he died aged 71 after an accident whilst out training. He was still very fit and rode his bicycle daily and still rode in time trials.

    Reply
    • Cliff is the guy riding the hub geared bike in the “Old fashioned timekeeping” photo.
      This would probably have been taken on the finishing circuit of the North Road 24.

      Reply
    • Dear Jean,
      I saw your comments about your father, Cliff Smith, and Mr Wilcox’s request for information about his grandfather, by sheer chance whilst attempting to research information about Cliff for a short article I am trying to write about your father for the Veteran Cyclists Club magazine , The Boneshaker. If there is some way I could get in touch with you, or you with me I’m sure I could present some new info about him other than that I have gleaned from the Internet.
      Harry Colledge Veteran Cycling Club, Cleveleys Road Club

      Reply
      • Dear Harry,

        First of all my sincere apologies for not replying to you soon but I have only just read your comments. Yes, I would love to help you with your research (that is if its not too late by now) and would be more than willing for you to contact me.

        I was approached a while ago by a gentleman who was making a documentary for TV to be shown on BBC4 about the history of Raleigh, and of course anyone who had connections either by working at Raleigh or riding a Raleigh bicycle or had memories connected to Raleigh – I think it is due to be shown sometime in the New Year so keep a look out!

        Have you been on the website ‘I worked at Raleigh.com’ – I had some input for that, and they used a lot of photos of Cliff and other racing cyclists that I have.

        Anyway, look forward to hearing from you and once again apologies for the delay.

        Best wishes,

        Jean Ramsdale

        Reply
  2. Les Wilmott is still around but not riding anymore due to health reasons. I was a good mate of his in the late 40s early 50s. Did some pretty good time myself also. Still a member of the Midland C&AC

    Reply
  3. The rider in the photo immediately above the comic triplet shot is Eric Tremaine of the Leicestershire Road Club.
    Eric was a terrific long distance rider, particularly on a trike. He broke the 24hrs trike record, for which he was awarded the Bidlake Plaque for that year. He later went on to break the Land’s End to John o’Groats trike record.
    Eric now lives in Canada.

    The tandem shot is myself Dave Binks, and my ex, Barbara, both members of the Leicestershire Road Club, in a tandem 30 near Cambridge in the late 1970s.

    The triangles camping shot is of Ethel Thompson, Bernard’s wife.

    Reply
  4. I always convince myself I’ll never be a good trials rider because of my broad shoulders and chest but looking at Sean Yates, he was as aerodynamic as a breeze block! Just pure power!

    Reply
  5. Looking at these photos leads me to recall a quote by Enzo Ferrari

    “Aerodynamics are for car manufacturers who can’t build engines”

    Reply
  6. Fantastic action photos of some real class riders.
    The bikes, many so streamlined and you can almost hear the tubs.
    Compared with some silly compact and triple chain wheels, early STI shifters and over sized head tube carbon frames and mini tool kits, what happened! All down to marketing?

    Interestingly the 62 ? Catford Hill Climb team event was won by Featherstone Road Club with Baz Lycett, now in Canada – Len Crayson and the Late Mike O’rourke who moved south in the early 80’s. Not bad day for a small mining village team coming 200 miles from Yorkshire to Catford.

    Reply
  7. Good afternoon, I have just heard of the passing of Norman Maggs. You have a photo of him starting the Mersey 24 under full steam. Please could I have permission to copy for the Tricycle association website announcement. Sadly I do not yet have more details than that he had recently been admitted to Hindley Hospice after a long illness.
    Thanking you in anticipation,
    Martin Badham

    Reply
  8. Great photos, thanks for putting them up.

    If you are inclined to name him, the 24 Hour rider with the jumper is Eric Mathews.

    I was part of his feeding team under Harold (H) Nelson. BEM

    Wonderful battles with Nim Carline at 12 and 24 hour.

    From memory Nim always started fast, Eric rode like a metronome, (with or without the jumper!).

    Reply
    • lovely to see my Dad, Eric Matthews, included on here. I love flicking through old photos of his racing days with newspaper articles including Carline, Cromack and Beryl Burton

      Reply
  9. Wonderful images-Much appreciated even though I could never afford to race myself. Looked for one of my old clubmate George Bettis but without success. Thompson was a very fine photographer Sincerely Dave Twitchett

    Reply
    • Hi Dave

      I am sorry to tell you that George Betti’s passed away on the 5th December 2016. He was a great friend of mine.
      He was diagnosed with cancer 4 months ago

      He moved to Ashbourne in Derbyshire in 2000.
      Your name is familiar to me may be YHa days

      Regards Keith Smith

      Reply
  10. Seeking Chris Munford..My Father John Harvey, British Champion in ’62 pal with Alf Engers, John Woodburn etall is seeking a way of contacting Chris, they were at school together, rode together in the same Team and Club.Please contact me at [email protected] thanks…

    Reply
  11. Great photos, the third one in the series is the start of the East Surrey Hardriders junior 15, I did it once in ’67 aged 15 I remember it was a very cold morning, indeed the photo above may have been taken on the day. My last rides were in 99 and was often thrashed by Alf Engers.

    Reply

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