Bristol Road Club was founded in 1927 with the intention of forming a road racing club in Bristol. A group of young enthusiasts had infiltrated the committee of the Bristol District Association of The Bicycle Touring Club and started to organise all-day rides. In a tea shop at the Hare & Hounds, Westonbirt, some members put forward a suggestion that invitations be sent to C.T.C members who had shown interest in competitive cycling. 17 members including Dorothy Morrell and Iris James attended a meeting at the Bird in Hand, Saltford on January 4th 1928. Harry James, secretary of South Wales District Association was elected Chairman. It was proposed by Fred Baker (of Fred Baker Cycles) and seconded by Sid Gearing and Percy Stocker (secretary of the Western Section of the B.L.R.C.) that it should be called the “BRISTOL ROAD CLUB”.
The club had two sections, “hard riders” and “touring” members. Needless to say, “hard riders” were the racing section!
In the early days B.L.R.C held road races around Bristol, often using the nearby Mendip Hills for challenging courses.
During the 1950s, Bristol Road Club became Bristol’s leading racing and touring cycling club. Johnny Burrows, one of the founding members, married Iris James, who was also a founding member. For the first six decades, they were the backbone of the club, contributing to its continuity and growth. During this time the clubroom was in Hengrove Lane, Knowle, adjacent to the old Bristol Speedway track, later at 149 Bath Road and later still in the Holy Nativity Church Hall on the Wells Road in Totterdown.
Competitive cycling was mostly confined to time trialling on fixed gear single speed cycles with the size of gear subject to certain regulations. Time trials were run as semi-secret events with coded locations, riders dressed in black and starting soon after dawn. Roy Williams was well established in this scene and competed with many successes becoming club champion of Bristol Road Club for several years. Roy was always a ‘single-fixed’ man, and put up some incredible times on very low gears and still holds several records, including a local low gear 25 for which he used a 59″ gear. At times his feet were spinning at 2.015 revs per second. The well known cycling journalist of the 1950’s “Cotter Pin” (A.J. Widman), reported Roy as attaining an average speed, over 4 rides, of 21.953 mph in 1952 – and this was to be his regular form until his eventual marriage to Mary Peacock (herself a cycling record holder). From his earliest days with the Bristol Road Club he was a Committee man and served as its Treasurer.
During the 1970s the club published a monthly magazine edited and produced by John Pierce to keep members abreast of its happenings. This tied in with the the start of the Severn Bridge Road Race in 1972.
Bristol Road Club also held a Juniors race called Henry Devauden Road Race, went over the Severn bridge twice, and climbing Star Hill, which organiser and Jack Turner considered a classic climb. Jack was a mentor and guru for young riders such as Graham Moore. Others to mention are: Pete Deamer, Steve Dunphy.
Graham Moore was 19th in the 1971 Milk Race (Tour of Britain), and later rode for the Bantel Team.
Simon Hawkes won the National Junior Cyclocross title in 1975.
Graham Moore was a 3 times winner of Perfs Pedal, who became professional in 1972 for Ron Kitchin, then Raleigh and then Bantel. Also riders such as Stan Cesarz and Victor Nayduch and Clive Crossey (won Perfs Pedal after Graham).
In 2012, Nick Noble, 46, a former top amateur and Tour of Britain rider, won eight races and achieved 559 BC points in a season to go from fourth-cat to elite in one season.
In 2013, Ben Davis, 22, a former runner just getting into cycling, achieved 217 BC Points and went from fourth to first cat in one season.
If you have any further information, recollections, photos, or memorabilia about the history of Bristol Road Club please contact us as we would very much like to hear from you!