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Cycle racing in the 50s and 60s

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#1 davidthebike



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Posted 01 December 2011 - 11:37 AM

We have have been contacted by Eddie Mitchell who was originally from Crystal Palace and now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is writing a book about sport in the Crystal Palace - including cycle racing. He raced bikes in the Palace during the 1950's and 60's is interested to any stories about cycle racing in the Palace. Does anyone have any such stories or know someone who does? I know that the previous owners of our bike shop were active cyclists in that period, but don't think our shop was particularly racing orientated - unless someone can advise otherwise!David at Blue Door Bicycles

#2 Rikaitch



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Posted 06 January 2012 - 06:44 PM

A lot later then you requested, I can advise on how things worked in the 80s. I happened to be in CP park in about 1985, and tried out a time trial for what was Team ANC Halfords in Catford. Until I left the area in 1989, I participated in the team, and quite often it would incorporate a day of racing around the park. The circuit start finish line would be by the car parks at the top of the park, in front of the terraces, and would head up towards the back of the concert bowl, down towards the old ski slope before a sharp right (many a mishap was had there) and then up towards the maze before back to the loop by the car parks. Some days we could do 100+ laps, and it would be great fun. Hope this gives you a bit more information.
Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Fart, and you're on your own.

#3 Chris Doran

Chris Doran


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 02:45 PM

A couple of entries from my database (woefully incomplete as ever):


And many novelties for Bank holiday crowds

Bank holiday crowds paying to see the cycling at the Crystal Palace on Monday were well below the Whitsun figures: 43,000 people turned up for the car racing, whereas only 7,000 were there on Monday.

LCC officials, however, are still hoping for a pre-war Palace attendance figure in the near future.

The international Folkestone to Crystal Palace bicycle road race, held over the hundred-mile course, was won by J Gill of Great Britain in 4 hrs 16 mins 31.8 secs, a clear half-minute in front of the rest of the field.

A commentary was given on an average every twenty minutes, stating the progress that the 58 competitors from five countries were making.

When it was announced that the riders had reached West Wickham the spectators began to crowd the track so that they had to be continually warned for their own safety.

Second and third places in the race were taken by two Belgiang W Van-nitsen and A De-Bluere respectively.

There was a great deal of anxiety on the part of the officials in this first post-war cycle racing to be held at the Palace, when it was found that the 40 miles (20 laps) senior massed start handicap race would clash with the Folkestone to Crystal palace race, both finishing at 5 pm. The track event was therefore cut by ten miles (5 laps) and then reduced by two more laps. It eventually finished at approximately 4.35 pm.

Throughout the afternoon music was provided by the Metropolitan Police Central band, under its conductor Mr Roger Barsotti.

Of the many events of the afternoon, the one that drew the biggest crowd was the "most attractive outdoor girl" competition. this was won by Miss June Campbell of South Woodford and was judged by the mayor and mayoress of Croydon, Ald and Mrs S Maycock.

The older people were impressed by the old cycle race included in the events. Huge three-wheeled cycles, and cycles without pedals, were used for this event, with the riders dressed in period costume.

An inner tube bursting competition gave rise to some amusement, and some of the competitiors could hardly keep from laughing themselves. Amongst other competitions were a treasure hunt, a decorated cycle competition, a roller ride, a blindfold cycle race, and a slow cycle race.

The first event of the whole day, a junior ten-lap circuit scratch race, was won by A Bladen of Birmingham. he beat two London riders, J McLaughlin (Dartford Wheelers) and D Lee (North London R.C.) in the final sprint for the line after covering the ten laps of the two-mile circuit in 50 mins 24.4 secs.

H Reynolds, the national junior massed start champion of Birmingham, after an intelligent race misjudged the finishing line. He raised his arm to proclaim himself winner when there were still a few yards to go.

Several riders throughout the day had made this mistake and on occasions it had cost them the race, the commentator even admitting that ot was a little deceiving. However, it did not affect the 100-mile event.

Includes photographs of (a) the start of the 40-miles senior massed start handicap race and (b) two competitors in Victorian dress on an Olympic Tandem Trike of 1888 in the "Bikes and Trikes of Yesteryear" contest.


The triumph of the disabled over their afflictions was the keynote at Crystal Palace on Sunday when the Invalid tricycle Association held its twelfth annual rally there.

More than 3000 people attended the rally and 1200 invalid carriages and tricycles crowded the rally area. This was the first of the Association's rallies to have been held at the Crystal Palace and one of the most successful. The last two were held at Harwell in 1957 and Silverstone last year.

Events included races for hand and electrically propelled vehicles, obstacle races, driving and reliability tests, and relay races. Representative groups from all over the country took part in a Local Groups Parade and later, led by the Bromley Group, in a local group display.

The Bromley group took as their theme "Tricycles for Two", illustrating by means of bowlderised song titles the association's demand for invalid tricycles capable of carrying two people.

Winners in the Group Display were the Bromley Group, followed by the Middlesex and North Wilts groups.

#4 davidthebike



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Posted 12 January 2012 - 07:03 PM

Thanks for both of these contributions. David