Medium gear history.


First sub hour medium gear 25.

Up to now I have been unable to find out for sure who was the first to beat the hour in a medium gear 25. I have been told it was probably Dave Keeler but nobody has been able to confirm this.

Below is the report on the Calleva RC event held on Sunday 23-3-1952 in which 3 riders beat the hour, Thanks to Steve Oxbrow (Vegetarian C+AC) for sending me this and thanks to Cycling who first published the report.

Higginson twins beat Keeler and all beat the hour in medium gear "25"!
118.22 Pedal Revolutions a Minute in Classic Calleva Event

Fast-pedalling records fell with the heftiest of bumps and the Higginson twins from Halesowen threw out the first real challenge for 25 supremacy, on the famous West of London roadson Sunday, a perfect March morning producing staggering new standards, inside-the-hour, for 72-inch events.
It was appropriate that the occasion should be the completion of a rapid cycle (no pun) in the medium-gear story, for until Stanley Higginson took this unofficial record with a time of 1-1-18 in Staffordshire early this month, it was the most famous of all such events, that promoted by the Calleva R.C.,that had always held the speed honours. Now Stanley has most equably and promptly brought back the honour, for this was the Calleva "25", favoured with one of the finest mornings ever, with but the mildest of rising winds towards the end. A full card of really fit riders and the annual London-v-Midlands battle had caused it in advance to be of more than usual interest; the result with the mighty Dave Keeler knocked down into third place with 59-58, surely emphasises this. Yes, despite the strength of the opposition, the twins, as they have done so often and, in both previous events this year, filled adjoining placings, at the top.
Almost in obscurity was Les Ingman of the Apollo C.C. with 1-0-52; yet it made its mark because he was the first home of the fast men, the first-ever to be inside 61 minutes. The time of day was almost 8.41 am and at the other end of the course the turn timekeepers had just calculated that Ingman was fourth (and not too close at that) at half way, Bernard Higginson having just reached there. Yet they had little inkling of the final placings because 15 seconds covered the first three riders and Stanley Higginson , five seconds up on Keeler , was seen to be adjusting his toe-straps as he set off on the return run, which could have upset his slender lead. He had done the same thing upon starting but it mattered nothing; out in 30 minutes, he came back even faster to record 59 mins 20 secs, only two seconds off the course record for unrestricted gearing!
In the face of such phenominal pedalling brother Bernard's achievement in getting within 28 seconds of this time to reverse a 10 second deficit on Keeler cannot be praised too highly. It onle remained for K .J. Sparkes, third man in the team to complete the Halesowen triumph and although his time of 1-3-10 was bettered by 15 others the aggregate of 3-2-18 will surely be talked about whenever performances are under review.
There can only be commiserations for the Uxbridge Wh, led by J.G. McMeekin in 1-1-32 and showing an aggregate of 3-7-30 so far behind yet ahead of the prominent Harp RC team! And for past winner Charles Whitbourn, whose 1-1-43 gave him an early lead but a finishing place of seventh, because after the many sensations J.B Smith, Addiscombe, came in in 1-1-16 beating the event record that existed when he started his ride. In all, a memorable Calleva "25", over subscribed for the first time in many years, few non starters and only puncture-victim Basil Francis, of Solihull, a non finisher.

S.F.Higginson, Halesowen A and CC......................30-00..........59-20t
B.J.Higginson, Halesowen A and CC......................30-15..........59-48t
D.J.Keeler, Vegetarian C and AC............................30-05..........59-58
W.L.Ingman, Apollo CC.............................................31-05..........1-0-52
J.B.Smith, Addiscombe Wh.......................................31-22..........1-1-16
J.G.McMeekin, Uxbridge Wh....................................31-11..........1-1-32
W.C.Whitbourn, Kingston RCC...............................31-25..........1-1-43
M.J.Randle, Uxbridge Wh..........................................31-17..........1-1-53
A.H.Davis, Clarencourt CC........................................31-40..........1-2-21
J.F.Vigor, Harp RC......................................................32-01..........1-2-33
R.J.Hawkins, Dragon RC...........................................31-10..........1-2-33
R.F.White, Clarence Wh............................................31-46..........1-2-37
B.M.Thornton, Oxonian CC.......................................31-50..........1-2-40
V.H.Rudd, Solihull CC................................................31-53..........1-2-53
B.S.Childs, Harp RC........................................................................1-3-07
K.J.Sparkes, Halesowen A and CC...............................................1-3-10t
R.J.Powney, Kingston Phoenix RC...............................................1-3-16
Team.. Halesowen A and CC...........................................................3-2-18
Acceptances 120; Starters 114; Finishers 113. Time-Keeper, L.A.Buttrey.

Original report written by George Pearson.

How did he do that ?

During my search for the first man to beat the hour in a medium gear 25 one ride really stands out. Dave Bonner of The Old Portlions CC won the 1961 Ealing Manor Christmas morning MG 25 with a 59-32. How many people could ride a 25 on Christmas day, let alone do it at 118 rpm, he must have left the party early.

Tony Doyle's first sub hour medium gear 25.

On 27-2-1977 18 year old Tony Doyle of the Clarence Wheelers won the Crabwood CC medium gear 25 in a time of 59-19, beating the hour for the first time in a medium gear event. His time was only 3 seconds slower than the national record of that time held by Ken Craven, Crescent CC. Glen Longland Antelope RT took second with a time of 1-1-07 and C Brooks was third with a 1-4-47. Thanks to Cycling Weekly for this information.

Tony Doyle's long standing record.

On 23-2-80 Tony Doyle set a record which would stand for 19 years, again it was the Crabwood CC medium gear 25. The conditions were described as cold and bleak, but this didn't stop Tony flying round in an incredible 56-30 to win the event with no less than five and a half minutes to spare. Bournmouth Jubilee's Nick Frewin was 2nd with a 1-2-00 and Tony's Clarence Wh clubmate Bob Corcoran was 3rd with a 1-3-20. I noticed in the results Shaun Wallace was 10th with a 1-5-04, now theres a lad who shows a bit of promise. Thanks again to Cycling Weekly for the info.

Sub hour medium gear 25 mile time trial rides.

Below is a list of all sub hour rides done in medium gear 25s. I have used a list first compiled by Bernard Thompson a few years ago, and with the help of Richard Hutt of Team Chiltern I have updated the list to include all sub hour rides.

Date Name and Club Event Time
12.5.02 Zak Carr ( Harp RC 53-23
4.4.99 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Mid Oxon CRT 55-03
11.3.01 Zak Carr ( Diss and District CC 55-59
9.4.16 Gray Turnock (Finsbury Park CC) Lea Valley CC 56.04
12.5.02 Glen Taylor ( Harp RC 56-21
23.2.80 Tony Doyle (Clarence Wheelers) Crabwood CC 56-30
23.4.96 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Bedfordshire Road CC 56-38
8.3.98 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Diss and District CC 56-45
13.4.13 N Frewin (Bournemouth Jubilee Wh) Lea Valley CC) 56-59
11.3.01 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Diss and District CC 57-03
4.4.99 Rick Laws (Birkenhead Victoria CC) Mid Oxon CRT 57-08
16.3.97 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) A5 Rangers CC 57-30
9.3.97 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Diss and District CC 57-31
17.4.05 Glen Taylor (API Metrow) Bedfordshire Road CC 57.32
6.3.93 Gethin Butler (RT Italia) Altrincham Ravens CC 57-32
29.3.98 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Harp RC 57-35
27.4.97 Tony Parks (North Bucks RC) Bedfordshire Road CC 57-46
5.4.98 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Mid Oxon CRT 57-47
11.4.09 Glen Taylor (API Metrow) Lea Valley CC 57-57
31.3.97 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Harp RC 57-55
9.4.2011 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Lea Valley CC 58-00
28.3.99 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Harp RC 58-04
26.4.98 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Bedfordshire Road CC 58-08
16.3.03 Glen Taylor ( Diss and District CC 58-10
4.4.99 Jim Henderson (Terry Wright Cycles RRT) Mid Oxon CRT 58-11
9.4.16 Richard Hutt (Harp RC) Lea Valley CC 58.11
12.4.97 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Lea Valley RC 58-12
10.4.05 Glen Taylor (A.P.I / Metrow) Lea Valley CC 58-17
13.4.96 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Lea Valley RC 58-19
28.4.02 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Vegetarian C+AC 58-20
24.2.85 Andy Smith (Clarence Wheelers) Crabwood CC 58-32
17.3.01 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) North Bucks RC 58-33
23.4.96 Geoff Frost (Loughborough Students CC) Bedfordshire Road CC 58-35
22.4.01 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Harp RC 58-38
15.2.79 Tony Doyle (Clarence Wheelers) Crabwood CC 58-44
12.5.96 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Harp RC 58-45
13.4.13 G Hinxman (Kettering CC) Lea Valley CC 58.45
26.3.06 Glen Taylor (API Metrow) Diss & District CC 58-46
30.3.96 Steve Hulme (Tunstall Wheelers) Altrincham Ravens CC 58-49
10.8.13 Jonathan Hobson (Hope Factory Racing) Altrincham Ravens CC 58-50
27.4.97 Dave Gill (Diss and District CC) Bedfordshire Road CC 58-50
4.4.99 Steve Morris (Team Spirit) Mid Oxon CRT 58-51
27.7.03 George Coghlan (Janus RC) Crewe Clarion Wh 58-51
8.3.98 Rick Laws (Birkenhead Victoria CC) Diss and District CC 58-52
23.4.96 Rick Laws (Birkenhead Victoria CC) Bedfordshire Road CC 58-52
5.4.03 Glen Taylor ( Lea Valley CC 58-54
14.4.12 Rick Laws (Colchester Rovers CC) Lea Valley CC 58-54
31.3.01 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Altrincham Ravens CC 58-56
23.4.96 Tony Parks (North Bucks RC) Bedfordshire Road CC 58-57
11.3.89 Ian Butcher (Bedfordshire Road CC) A5 Rangers CC 59-03
29.3.97 Ray Hughes (Clarence Wheelers) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-12
21.3.10 PNuT aka Mark Arnold (TT Diss&District CC 59-16
5.3.60 Ken Craven (Crescent CC) Dartford Wheelers 59-16
28.3.98 Richard Hutt (Team Chiltern) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-17
15.2.79 Nick Frewin (Bournmouth Jubilee) Crabwood CC 59-18
27.2.77 Tony Doyle (Clarence Wheelers) Crabwood CC 59-19
23.3.52 Stan Higginson (Halesowen C+AC) Calleva RC 59-20
13.3.60 Ken Craven (Crescent CC) Hounslow and District Wheelers 59-20
26.6.10 Rob Gray (Pedal Power Loughborough Matlock CC 59-21
30.3.96 Dave Watts (Halifax RC) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-23
26.2.83 Mike Twelves (Tunstall Wheelers) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-25
26.2.83 Phil Raynor (Manchester Wheelers) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-25
18.4.04 Glen Taylor (API Bedfordshire Road CC 59.26
8.4.2000 Duncan Mackenzie ( Crewe Clarion Wh ) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-28
11.3.89 John Tomlinson (Sheffield Phoenix CC) A5 Rangers CC 59-29
13.3.60 Mick Bowen (Oxonion CC) Hounslow and District Wheelers 59-31
25.12.61 Dave Bonner (Old PortlionsCC) Ealing Manor RC 59-32
21.3.54 Stan Higginson (Halesowen C+AC) Calleva RC 59-33
28.3.98 Rick Laws (Birkenhead Victoria CC) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-34
29.3.97 Tony Parks (North Bucks RC) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-35
9.5.04 Simon Roberts (Huddersfield Star Wh) Kent Valley RC 59-35
27.3.99 Dave Watts (Halifax RC) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-36
27.3.99 Rick Clough (ABC Centreville) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-38
28.6.09 Jon Hobson (Team Chevin Cycles) Matlock CC 59-39
17.3.96 Rick Laws (Birkenhead Victoria CC) A5 Rangers CC 59-42
23.4.95 Tony Parks (North Bucks RC) Bedfordshire Road CC 59-42
21.3.54 Bernard Higginson (Halesowen C+AC) Calleva RC 59-43
24.3.07 M Blagden (Sheffield Phoenic CC) Altrincham Ravens CC 59.43
23.2.83 Jim Timmons (Omega CC) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-44
19.4.03 George Coghlan (Janus RC) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-44
23.3.52 Bernard Higginson (Halesowen C+AC) Calleva RC 59-45
1.3.59 Ken Craven (Crescent CC) Reading CC 59-45
21.3.54 Paul Baulch (Willesden CC) Calleva RC 59-47
16.3.97 Tony Parks (North Bucks RC) A5 Rangers CC 59-48
17.3.96 Tony Parks (North Bucks RC) A5 Rangers CC 59-50
2.7.06 Mark Blagden (Sheffield Phoenix) Matlock CC 59-50
8.3.98 Dave Gill (Diss and District CC) Diss and District CC 59-52
25.2.89 Mike Twelves (Tunstall Wheelers) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-52
10.4.04 George Coghlan (Janus RC) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-52
9.3.97 Geoff Frost (Loughborough Students CC) Diss and District CC 59-53
23.3.52 Dave Keeler (Vegetarian C+AC) Calleva RC 59-53
8.3.59 Ken Craven (Crescent CC) Viking CC 59-53
23.3.03 Adrian Thorpe (Dukinfield CC) Bedfordshire Road CC 59-54
21.3.10 Glen Taylor (Shorter Rochford) Diss and District CC 59-56
23.3.03 George Coghlan (Janus RC) Bedfordshire Road CC 59-56
28.3.98 William Sanderson (Stockport Clarion) Altrincham Ravens CC 59-57
21.4.02 Duncan Mackenzie (Crewe Clarion Wh) Bedfordshire Road CC 59-58
12.5.02 Tim Bayley ( Harp RC 59-58
Tomorrow Your name could be here, so get riding.    

Michael Marchant (Bognor Regis CC) did a 58.28 on 72" fixed in the Addiscombe Wh 25 on the G25/18 (13.5.2001) 2 days after his 44th birthday. He rode a standard 531 track bike with bolt on aero bars and 36 spoke wheels, is this an age record ?

The near misses.

Andy Stuart Mildenhall CC.

As if doing a 1.00.35 in the Diss and District CC wasn't bad enough, Andy did a 1.00.00 in the North Bucks RC medium gear 25, you can't get closer than that. Although this ride was done on the fast F1 course, the bitterly cold and windy conditions mean Andy will surely join the list of sub hour rides soon.

Well done.


Nick Sharpe Buxton CC.

On two occasions now, Nick has breathed down the neck of that magic hour barrier in the medium gear 25, but both times it was just out of reach. In the 1999 Altrincham ravens event he did a 1.00.29 to take 3rd place, then again in the 2000 Ravens he took 3rd with a 1.00.40. Next year he will be a vet, so that should make him quicker.

Good luck Nick and keep at it.


The death of the medium gear

After being so popular the medium gear 25 gave way to the early season team time trial. Between the years of 1966 and 1973 there were no medium gear 25s listed in the handbook.

The revival

In 1974 two clubs decided there was a need for the medium gear 25, so North Notts Olympic and the West Wales CL revived the MG, Well done and thankyou very much.

A world champion in the making.

Waiting in the background.

Mandy Jones nervously waiting to start her first ever open event.

But she soon left the background and went on to greater things.

In 1977, 14 year old Mandy Jones ( West Pennine RC ) rode her first open time trial, the Altrincham Ravens medium gear 25. She did a 1-27-00, all this fast pedalling did her no harm at all, she later became a world champion.

Early racing days by John McMeekin

I was priveleged to be a member late 1948 to late 1952 of Uxbridge Wheelers. The club was well re-established after the War - and its most enthusiastic member was Bert Rayner, who was club captain when I joined - a lovely chap. I bought my first bike - a Claud Butler - from their Bond Street, Ealing shop, (where Eric (?) and I think Ray Haynes managed it) - and the club met each Thursday in the old ARP Hut on Swakeleys Road, in Ickenham. The club runs were a half day and an all-day, and both met at the transport cafe at the Uxbridge Station Approach road. Bert Rayner was always on one or the other, and it was he who made the routes out, and lunch and tea stops.
Bert's shop - The Triangle Cycle Stores - was alongside his parents' paper shop on the Swakeleys Road, with his workshop at the back, interlinked to his parents' living accomodation. We used to congregate there each Saturday, and often drove him to despair ! He was always so patient with us youngsters - he really was a great fellow - with his wife Molly. One Saturday there, we got hold of a condom, and strapped it on to Bert's pneumatic electric tyre pump, switched it on with this contraption laying on his bench, having got Bert engrossed in the front shop. Well....this thing grew and grew with the pump on full song - it got to 6 feet long and a foot in diameter, when Bert suddenly spotted it....... Someone then threw a screwdriver at it - there was a bloody great bang - and all of Bert's tools were cleared , and two window panes were blown out. Bert was not very pleased, but soon forgave us - but his parents were less than amused and took a long time to forgive (they both knew me, as I was an ex-employee paper-boy !)
The account of the Calleva 25 brought to mind a funny (to us) episode on that stretch of the Bath Road. On the night prior to the race, many competitors slept the night at the Transport Cafe at Theale (Mac's?) - where several old railway carriages had been arranged around the turning area of the yard - an awful quagmire of mud, and very basic ! A fight developed between clubs in the various carriages - mud being thrown everywhere - including some being tossed through the carriage windows - which landed on the mattresses of the poor souls within - a mattress then being dragged out into the slosh.....Then the following morning at the start, we heard that this mattress had been the bed of the timekeeper ! - and he was out looking for those #-!]+ !! sods.....
We were looking forward to this event; our team was Mike Foster, 'Libbo' Randall and myself. We were all Juniors, and we were pretty fast - we knew that - and we thought that we could give the Halesowen lot a hard fight - a couple of us having done 1 hour 1 minute times on medium gear 25-mile events - but the competition turned out to be stronger than we thought !
I came under the wing of Dr. C.R Woodard, the 1948 Olympic Medical Advisor, who had his practice at 40 Harley Street, London. He encouraged many youngsters of different disciplines, to attend there every Saturday morning - to meet the likes of Reg Harris, Wilf Waters and Gordon Pirie, etc who were frequent visitors. He was, I believe one of the first to push the importance of of the mental fitness/commitment aspects of competition - us youngsters being encouraged by meeting these champions lifted our sights like nothing else.
John Cranston was another Junior in our team - he won the Bagshot Scramble some years after I had given up the sport.. Mike Foster is my brother-in-law, marrying my sister; John Cranston is still in touch, and rides regularly with Lou Pond (Polytechnic CC, and ex-Uxbridge Wheelers). Lou partnered Wilf Waters on tandem track (1948 Olympics?). Our local track was Slough - concrete - where some very competitive meetings were held. Many West London clubs, and some from further afield - the likes of Lou Pond, Les Robins (Polytechnic CC) and Jack and Don McKellow raced there.
I was an apprentice engineer at AEC Southall at this time, and Don McKellow - a super chap - was a toolmaker there, Bill Wigmore was secretary of the AEC Athletic and Cycle Club - and the company had an excellent grass track - plus a full-blown cycle championship. They held an annual 25 road race against the Eclipse RC - I won this event in 1951, and we (AEC) won the team prize. I think it was this race I did 1.1.50.
Other Tallys ? I won the Juniou BAR West London Combine competition over 10, 25 and 30 miles at an average of 23.646 mph (goodness knows what the Juniors do now!) in 1950
Christmas Day 1951 - a 25-miler on the Amersham Road, held by the Ealing Manor CC - I won it in an event record of 1.4.32 ( a crazy day to race !) - and we won the team prize, too.
After winning the Uxbridge Wheelers Junior Championship on road and track, I joined the Yiewsley RC. They had a very strong senior team - Cecil Hewett(who is now a brother-in-law), Jack Cheeswright, Eric Smith and a fast Kennedy(can't remember his Christian name) but he was regularly under the hour, and down to 58's. I was knocked out of the National Pursuit Championships eighth finals by Dave Keeler - he well-and-truly thrashed me on the day - and I shortly afterwards sold my bikes (Harrisons), and bought a Morgan three-wheeler...
In talking to Cecil Hewett last night, he asked for any info on the Watford CC - as he has a turn-of-the-century Handbook of that club, where his great-grandfather was President; and in it are the names of his grandfather and his father's names - three generations ! Cecil was three times Middlesex and Herts Grass Track Champion in the 1950s, run by the London centre of the NSU - and he was fast. The tracks of that period were, he says, Kodak,, AEC, Uxbridge, Watford, Slough and The Fairey Aviation track at Hayes. Cecil mentioned Ian Scott, the two Waters brothers, Les Robins, Jack Cheeswright and Harry Hacker (108-inch gear, swooping down off the top of the banking....nobody got in his way - a lovely, genial chap (except on the track!), and Jack McKellow (Yiewsley RC) The bikes I had at various times, were Hobbs of Barbican, Ferris, Claud Butler and Harrison. Gillot was another of that period. Cecil always rode Granbys, and Bert Rayner always had Bates - and my son had a Hetchins for a while. Another couple of names cropped up - 'Digger' Downs and Maitland - both motor-paced riders? - but Cecil was/is 5 years older than me, and was therefore a Senior when I was still a Junior. Jimmy Bulgin I knew years ago in Chalfont St.Giles - he was a good heating engineer.... and Brian Major - goodness me - great to hear he is still around ! - often to be seen, when I had long given up the sport - training along the Amersham Road.
My wife Maureen and I had the brief pleasure of meeting Harry Hambleton (Ealing Paragon & Hillingdon CC) and his wife at a hotel in St.Ives, Cornwall a couple of years ago, at the next table - small world! Is he the 'Del H'? I didn't know that Hayes have a cyle racing circuit; I must look it up. I still have an office in Chalfont St.Giles... Where does David Williams live in Sussex?

I could go on for and on..!