ABOUT STRETFORD WHEELERS
It all started happening way back in 1920, when a few enthusiastic cyclists tried to form a Stretford section of the National Clarion Cycling Club but got ignored by the Clarion, so on 1st September 1920, they broke away and formed Stretford Wheelers Cycling Club. They were based at Stretford Trade & Labour Club.
The National Clarion still exists, having local sections in Bolton, Bury, North Cheshire, Saddleworth and Stockport. It was formed in 1895 as “the association of the various Clarion Cycling Clubs for the purpose of Socialist propaganda and for promoting inter-club runs between the clubs of different towns.”
Since 1920, our Club’s membership has fluctuated, having only 23 in that initial year but reaching a peak of 130 in 1949. After a run down period up to the early seventies a revival took place and we are now approaching the 60 mark.
The remarkable figure is that of 23 life members who all have anything between 21 years and over 60 years unbroken membership. We are extremely proud of this wonderful record, and also proud of the elite few who have been awarded the Club’s Gold Medal for lengthy services to the Club.
Why not join us on our club run, see the runs list or news pages for further details and we look forward to seeing you.
A few highlights and notable members from our past:
From the club’s formation through to the 1950’s, our pre-eminent rider was Bill Ward, demon time-triallist. In 1928, he was reported to be riding an early version of a low-profile machine, with purpose-made dropped bar extensions and riding a fixed gear as high as 96”.
In 1950, Bill was competition record holder for the trike, at 12 hours, covering 225.88 miles.
Jeremy Hunt rode briefly in the club team, to win the Europa 2-day Road Race. Jeremy went on to become British National RR Champion in 1997 and 2001, having turned professional in 1996 for Banesto. He finished his pro riding career with Team Sky, helping Mark Cavendish to win the 2011 UCI World Road Race Championship.
In 1991, the club set the Land’s End to John O’Groats cycling relay team record, completing the 850 miles in 43 hours 35 minutes and 36 seconds.
Carwyn Nott, the 1992 National Junior Road Race Champion.
In the late 1990’s, the club ceased sponsored status and adopted a destinctive flame red and royal blue kit, hard-wearing clothing still in use by several members to this day.
2007: the club promoted the joint CTT-BC British Circuit TT Championship event on a circuit between Holmes Chapel and Congleton, won by David Millar. 2007 also saw the club’s first endeavours with websites, one for the TT Championship and one for ourselves, to promote the club’s local endeavours.
~2010: We refreshed our kit design to drop “the flames” and adopt a lighter, more visible style with white, navy blue and dashes of red.
Below are some recent rides on Strava.
We have always been known as a family club and because of this, continuity has been guaranteed, and there is always someone who knows, or remembers, someone else, who rode with or served the Club as an official for lengthy periods. Quite a number of long serving members are still active today and their knowledge and wisdom of the past has helped to run the Club efficiently when making important decisions.
The membership has always covered all age groups and caters for everything connected with cycling. We have always provided local and national officials to the various cycling organisations and this is still the case today.
In 2001, our Treasurer, Trevor Bracegirdle, following his recent retirement from his full time position as Assistant National RTTC Secretary, received their highest award for services to the RTTC- their National Badge of Honour. This is the first time that such a prestigious award has been conferred on a Wheelers member. It recognises not only Trevor’s work at National Level (both in a professional and volunteer capacity), but also acknowledges all that he has done within the Manchester Area over many years.
The late Gordon Pickering was a long standing Secretary for the VTTA and was Time Trial Courses Secretary for the M&DTTA. Gordon had not cycled competitively since the 1960s, due to a hip injury, but retained an ever keen involvement in the running of the sport and providing time-keeping services to the local time trialling scene.
As we look towards our Centenary the successful reputation built up over the years is still in being and we hope that this trend will continue particularly on club runs which are the usual starting point for new club cyclists.