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  1. #1
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Terry Wassall, ex Tooting Bicycle Club 1964-1974 or there abouts

    Hi Everyone. I've recently started riding again after 20 year break at the age of 66 and am trying to piece together some of my experiences of the club culture and racing in the 60s and 70s with the Tooting Bicycle Club, London. During that time I took part in time trials and road races including the so-called Tuesday night bloodbaths on the Crystal Palace circuit. I also road in the Monday night Herne Hill track league and the Thursday night Paddington track league. I want to write a sort of memoire of that time. After moving to Leeds in 1974 (at the age 28 of I gave up racing apart from a few time trials including 12 1/2s around the Wharfedale Poole circuit (as a member of the short lived Pudsey Velo) after which I became more of a very occasional cycle tourist. My last race was at the age of 40. I will be trying to find people I raced with while in Tooting BC. I understand from John Cole, the current secretary, that Tooting BC is down to about 12 members now. I'm thinking of writing the memoire on-line in a form that is publically viewable and editable - a bit dangerous perhaps! - so hopefully it might become a collaborative effort. I understand this thread is just for introductions so I'll start another thread to expand on this. In the meantime - hello everyone!

  2. #2
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums, sounds like you have had an eventful experience with cycling. The touring forum here and the regional forums. Looking forward to reading what you have to say.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member jimhagan's Avatar
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    Terry I was a member of Tooting BC at about the time that you were also a member. I worked for Clive Stuart Cycles in Catford with Ken Bird as shop manager, then when they went bust worked for The Holdsworthy Co. in Penge, but remained a member of TBC and also raced at Crystal Palace a few times on Tuesday evenings but mainly did time trials. I remember going to club nights at the Green (I think it was called) and the help given to me by Bill Shillibeer in treating various cycling ailments. It would be nice to hear more memories of TBC as it's all a bit vague. Now 61 and a member of Bicester Millennium Cycling Club with over 120 members, sorry to hear that Tooting BC only has a tenth of that now.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Thanks for the welcome. It looks like a great forum.I'll have a good look round!

  5. #5
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Hi Jim. I do remember you. I think I was about 17 or 18 when I joined the Tooting and a member for about 9 or 10 years so you must have been between 12 and 20 when I new you! Now you remind me I do remember you as working with Ken Bird. Didn't his brother, Alec, have a shop of his won too at one time, somewhere like Streatham perhaps? The old bike I have on my turbo rollers is a Holdsworth! John Cole has been in touch with me again and among the existing few members left that I recognise are Tommy Dimmock (quite a bit older than us), Ken Baker, David Jennings, Steve Avely and Chas Bloor, I'm off to France for a couple of weeks soon but I hope to contact them when I get back. I remember Bill Shillibeer very well and his tragic death when he was knocked off his bike going to his practice in Balham. Sadly, having just read Frank Clement's autobiography, A Ride Through My Lif, (which incidently has quite a of of info about the Bird brothers) it seems Bill's 'help' was not just advice and massage. I hope this isn't true and in any case he is no longer around to defend himself. If you know of any other older ex-tooting members perhaps you could let me know or perhaps see if they are interested in getting in touch with me. If so I can let you have my contact details. I don't suppose any of them will be menbers of this forum but you never know. We are!

  6. #6
    Junior Member jimhagan's Avatar
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    Hello Terry. My first Cycling Club was The Castelnau CC which moved from it's original meeting place to Lower Richmond Road very near to the WF Holdsworth shop in the same road. Once I started working at Clive Stuarts, Ken Bird suggested I join his club instead which was Tooting BC. I would have been about 17 or 18 at the time, and remember there was a lot going on in the club at the time, not everybody liked the Bird Brothers involvement in the club especially with helping Alf Engers who Bill Shillibeer was involved with as well so peoples suspicions were probably correct. Mick Ansell is a name that seems to come to mind, but I do remember Tommy Dimmock, Ken Baker and Chas Bloor but just the names who not recognise them now. I used to ride to the Catford shop from Clapham with time-triallist Derek Cottington round the South Circular often getting behind a slow moving lorry for pacing, no wonder I now have asthma! Ken tried to get Derek to join TBC but he was not interested but I think he may have ridden a CS bike for a while although he preferred his Holdsworth. Alec did have a shop which was in Streatham, but then went to run the Clive Stuart shop in Welling. I believe Alec is still around but Ken died some years ago, I spoke to him about 7 or 8 years ago on the phone. I knew Alec Taylor when at Holdsworthy who also knew Ken Bird as they were both part of the ill-faited Tom Simpson TDF story, although I don't think Ken was officially part of the GB team. It would be nice to hear more from ex TBC members my current club is at www.bmcc2000.com


    Hope you have a good trip to France.


    Jim

  7. #7
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Hi Jim. We clearly overlapped by 4 or 5 years by the sound of it. I think Alf Engers was a member for only one year and didn't really get involved in club life. One thing I remember was him racing for us in the Paddington track league that year and staying on the front of our pusuit team for the whole race and winning it! I've just come back from 2 weeks in France where I borrowed a bike and did a couple of short rides. Nearly killed me! I intend to cary on now and will be going out on the Leeds Cycle Action Group social rides as soon as I have lost a little weight and got a bit fitter. The Saturday rides are only 15 miles so you can imagine what a state I'm in at the moment! A quick question. One year, I think about 1964, I nearly won the Totting BC Brighton Bash. This, as you may remember was really just a club run but it was run as an unofficial race to mark the end of the social season. We started at Mitcham Clock and finished at the twin towers, the Pylons, just before Brighton. I broke away from the start and they let me go. I was eventually caught over the top of Pycombe by Dave Morris - then the club champion and captain - and some one who was apparently a retired pro or independent. Dave went on to win by about 50 feet but I sat on the other chap and sprinted past him for second. I had to be pushed almost the whole way home. The other chap was introduced to me as Vin Denson but I think it might have been a wind up. He was a top English pro and rode with Simpson in the fateful 1967 Tour. So not retired. Can you remeber any 'old' pros that used to ride with the club at all in your time? I'll contact the other members form that time I have got emails for and let you know how I get on. Terry.

  8. #8
    Junior Member jimhagan's Avatar
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    Hi Terry, I remember the Brighton Bash very well as well as Dave Morris. I often tell people in my present club (Bicester Millennium Cycling Club) about the Brighton Bash which to me was the forerunner of today's London-Brighton charity rides (I did the BHF one last year and also London-Paris twice). I do not remember Vin Denson being on the Brighton Bash but it is more than possible he was, the only other pros that may have been on it were members of the Clive Stuart team and Reg Barnett would be a strong possibilty along with Geoff Wiles maybe. Alf Engers was only in the club for a short time, it was really Ken Bird who wanted him to be associated with club and get him on a Clive Stuart TT bike, neither of which Alf Engers was that interest in but he wanted Ken Bird wheels and a free bike so went along with it! You will have to get back into action again, I started again after a long time of no cycling whatsoever and have been riding again for the last 13 years did a 70 mile sportive last Sunday and another one this coming Sunday, a lot older than the other people I ride with these days but still manage to put in a reasonable performance, does not get any easier though! Jim

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    Hi Terry, I remember you very well which is amazing these days lol You may remember me from the Tooting BC, although I am quite a bit younger than you. (Gary Adkins) I contacted Jim Hagan last year and exchanged a few memories. I also worked as a Saturday boy for Ken Bird. I was 13 at the time. They let me join the Tooting although I was not actually old enough. I am still in touch with a lot of the 'boys'. I saw Pat Jennings at the funeral for Jack Taylor who unfortunately passed away last year. He was always a big part of the scene and supported everyone no matter which club they rode for. I am still in touch with his son Kevin (ex Clarencourt). Too much to talk about on here but if you fancy a chat please get in touch Best, G

  10. #10
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard! You sure seem like a chap who has been cycling block many times.

    Make yourself at home and please do not hesitate to contribute your say to the discussions around here!

  11. #11
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Hi Jim. Since I returned from my holiday in France where I managed to borrow a bike for a few days I have taken it a bit more seriously and have managed to lose 2 stone with a combination of short local rides, my old turbo trainer and a modest change of diet. I have a way to go yet but I have set myself a target at which I will buy a new bike and begin to plan a few not too demanding sportives for later in the year. I have this stupid idea I will do La Marmotte in 2016 when I'm seventy! I think I am going to try and set up some sort of informal get-together or reunion for the old TBC members still alive and kicking. I'll let you know if I make any progress with this. As a matter of interest I started a bike blog last October as part of a strategy to keep me motivated - http://terrywassall.org/blogs/rouleur/.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Hi Gary. Great to hear from you. I do remember you. You were quite small at the time! I'd love to have a chat at some time in the not too distant future. Where are you living? Still in London. I'm in Leeds but I come down 3 or 4 times a year. As I said in my reply to Jim Hagan, I think I am going to try and set up some sort of informal get-together or reunion for the old TBC members still alive and kicking. If it happens I guess it is likely to be in London. I'll let you know if I manage to make any progress with this. I'm going to try and find Mick Ansell and a few others. Are you still intouch with anyone else? I will be fully retired by the end of June and will have a fair bit of spare time from then on.

  13. #13
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Thanks Leukybear. I will have a look around the forums and see what's going on. I've just noticed I am now a 'Junior Member'!

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    Hi Terry

    Quote Originally Posted by Terrywassall View Post
    Hi Gary. Great to hear from you. I do remember you. You were quite small at the time! I'd love to have a chat at some time in the not too distant future. Where are you living? Still in London. I'm in Leeds but I come down 3 or 4 times a year. As I said in my reply to Jim Hagan, I think I am going to try and set up some sort of informal get-together or reunion for the old TBC members still alive and kicking. If it happens I guess it is likely to be in London. I'll let you know if I manage to make any progress with this. I'm going to try and find Mick Ansell and a few others. Are you still intouch with anyone else? I will be fully retired by the end of June and will have a fair bit of spare time from then on.
    Hi Terry, I have a few of the 'survivors' numbers and email addresses including Mick Ansell but it wouldn't be fair to post them on the forum. If you contact me directly I will be happy to let you have them.. Gary

  15. #15
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Hi Gary. Thanks for the offer. Coincidently I have just got an email from Ken Baker (rember Ken?) who has passed Mick Ansell's email onto me. He has also copied my emails to him to Allen Brain and Mick Whibley so I'm hoping to hear from them. Generally I think it is better to pass on the enquirer's email address rather than just give them email addesses of people who may not want to make contact. I've tried to send you a direct message through this system but it doesn't allow it until you have posted 50 messages, I think, and established yourself as a regular contributor. Rather than post my email address here where it might be scraped, go to my staff page at Leeds University and pick it up from there. If you email me I'll get yours automatically of course. If yu send me the names of the peopl you are in contact with I can send you an email to forward onto them if that's OK and they can make up their own minds if they want to contact me or not. Cheers. Terry

    My email address can be found at http://www.sociology.leeds.ac.uk/abo...ff/wassall.php or, if you are on twitter, you can send me a direct message there. My twitter account is terrywassall

    Cheers. Terry
    Last edited by Terrywassall; 01-23-13 at 06:34 AM. Reason: Left out some details
    My occasional cycling blog http://terrywassall.org/blogs/rouleur/

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    Hi Terry,
    A little before your time perhaps but I too was a member of Tooting BC in the fifties. My mentor was Cyril Peacock, he was National sprint champion and World Champion whilst I was London Junior champion and runner up in the national, also holder of the Merkens Bowl for a year. The club captain at that time was Peter Rogers and Geoff Dean was club Secretary. I rode a Dan Genner bike from Colliers Wood. Peter Reid was my best mate at that time. How many more old timers can you find? For your info I am now living in Lancaster. Not so far from Leeds.

  17. #17
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Hi Alan. I joined TBC about 1962-63 so we may not have crossed paths. However, I'm sure I heard you being spoken of in hushed tones! Geoff Dean (Dixie?) was there in my day, still secretary I think, and so was was Peter Reid if I remember correctly. Club captain was Dave Morris then. I guess the oldest I have contacted you may remember are Ken Baker (a few years older than me only so maybe not there in the 50s) and the current secretary John Cole. Since I've got a bit more involved in cycling again I find the clubscene has changed a lot since our day. I suppose that was inevitable. However, I went out to a small club TT last September to spectate for old times sake and most of the riders were between 50 and 78! It wasn't a Vet event either.
    My occasional cycling blog http://terrywassall.org/blogs/rouleur/

  18. #18
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    Hello Terry, I was a member of Tooting BC 1959-1963, during the time I was a student in London. I had the good fortune to set Club Records at 25 & 30 miles. No contact with the club since then though I did try on one occasion. Names I remember are ...Ron Vaisey, Eric Voice, Gordon Bryan and Peter Day. Also Dixie Deane of course and Bob Wakefield ( and Phil). In 1961 I lived over the shop at Bob's at 59 London Road. Do you know if any of these folk are still around? Although a member, my links and activity with the club were limited to term time . I originate from Cheshire. Now a long while retired. I did have moderate success in TT's and on Track. With the TBC and afterwards.
    Last edited by NavyD; 07-30-13 at 02:13 AM. Reason: spelling

  19. #19
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Hi NavyD. Thanks for getting in touch. Sounds like you may have left just as I was joining. Tried to work out your real name but no success yet. I'll get Ken Baker and other old members I've been in touch with to work it out! I remember Ron Vaisey. He predicted I would go on to great things. No doubt one of many things he got wrong! I think he had a younger brother, John. I remember Bob and Phil Wakefield I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by NavyD View Post
    Hello Terry, I was a member of Tooting BC 1959-1963, during the time I was a student in London. I had the good fortune to set Club Records at 25 & 30 miles. No contact with the club since then though I did try on one occasion. Names I remember are ...Ron Vaisey, Eric Voice, Gordon Bryan and Peter Day. Also Dixie Deane of course and Bob Wakefield ( and Phil). In 1961 I lived over the shop at Bob's at 59 London Road. Do you know if any of these folk are still around? Although a member, my links and activity with the club were limited to term time . I originate from Cheshire. Now a long while retired. I did have moderate success in TT's and on Track. With the TBC and afterwards.
    My occasional cycling blog http://terrywassall.org/blogs/rouleur/

  20. #20
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    Hi terry,
    Back to this "stream" although I have replied to your direct email. Different messages bring back different memories. Yes Ron Vaisey did have a younger brother John. Did you ever meet Fred Caplan? He had been injured and given up competitive cycling. He gave me his Tooting racing Jersey (I was apoor student at the time so it was a very welcome gift) - Yes students WERE poor in those days. I still have the jersey in was wearing it when I did most of my fastest rides - including the TBC records. I think Alf Engers only joined the club to "pinch" my records ( and probably to hold some of the Tooting's nice TROPHIES)

  21. #21
    Junior Member Terrywassall's Avatar
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    Hi Dave. I don't think I remember Fred Caplan. The name rings a bell but I can't picture him. As I said in my email Engers also gave us our best ever year in the Paddington Track League and put various track records out of reach too! I've no idea what the current club records are but I assume they must be faster by now. I've just heard from Ken Baker about the club dinner this year, 3rd November at Purley, near Croydon. Apparently, although there are few if any active riders now, there is usually a good turnout of old members, 30 or 40 perhaps, and a good assortment of memorabilia. I'm thinking of trying to get down there but it will probably depend on finding some accommodation.
    My occasional cycling blog http://terrywassall.org/blogs/rouleur/

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    Bob Phipps, mid-1970's Member

    Hi Terry,

    This thread is a bit old I see, but came across it when Googling "Tooting BC" out of curiosity. The club itself (still exists?) does not seem to have a website.

    I'm Bob Phipps, member around 1972-6, and remember several names mentioned here, although to some I cannot put faces (including yours I'm afraid). I did mainly Road Racing, and rode many races teamed with Mick Ansell, Austin Heath, Bill Beagly, Mick Wibley and others.

    About a dozen of us did a regular mid-week evening training ride, virtually a RR, starting near 'The Angel', Sutton (or Hampton Wick later on) and doing a route similar to that of the 2012 Olympic TT, via the 'Col de Fetcham', with the final sprint in North Cheam (or later on, on the Kingston By-Pass near New Malden). We had no qualms about hogging all of the Kingston By-Pass inner lane. I also rode the Crystal Palace mid-week circuit races for fun, and Sundays were the serious RR days.

    Unlike most of the RR guys, I also rode the winter club runs, led by Ivor (?) or Dave Morris, with a group of mostly older guys including Tom, Dick and Harry (yes! - but I forget their surnames), and Tommy Dimmock sometimes; we met by the clock at Mitcham Fair Green. Dixie Deane was the Godfather of the club, nice guy but a bit anti Road Racing. Club evenings were in a church hall by Mitcham Cricket Green. Most members came from Mitcham or points south-west of it, I don't think any from Tooting. There were quite a few junior members too, who some of the older guys called the "Jelly Babies"! I remember Gary Adkins starting at the club.

    I'm 67 now and in good health - I think the cycling helped although I have not ridden a bike for years. Now living in the sticks in Monmouthshire, I turned out last week to watch the British RR championships go past, only a couple of miles from me near Tintern.

    Hoping this thread is still active.

    Bob
    Last edited by DrZhivago; 07-07-14 at 02:52 AM. Reason: Grammar, clarification.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Lacumo's Avatar
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    Welcome to BF!

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