TA EAST E-NEWS JUNE 28TH 2018
To TA East members & friends
From Ferg Muir
** A few words about F T Bidlake.
** A reminder that we meet in Bedfordshire for our F T Bidlake ride this
** A second attempt to attach the TA East late summer programme
F T BIDLAKE was a tricyclist, a record breaker, a journalist, a
timekeeper, an official and in particular a thinker about cycle sport, much
concerned with the birth of time trialing and with the standardisation of
this sport’s rules.
He was Frederick Thomas Bidlake, born in 1867 and came to tricycling through
a hired machine in 1883. His own first tricycle was a Cheylesmore in 1884.
His tricycle records belong in the era when such were set with relays of
pacers. They include the RRA London-York in 1889 18 hours 28 minutes on
solid tyres. He updated this – on pneumatics – to first 15 hours and finally
to 13 hrs 19 mins in 1892. There were paced fixed distance/time records on
trike at 50 mls, 100 mls, 12 hrs and 24 hrs. There were also track records,
also on tricycle – somehow “trike” does not seem appropriate for Bidlake –
most famously a paced 410 miles in a 24 hour Cuca Cup race in south London.
As a journalist he was writing cycling columns in Harmsworth penny magazines
in the 189Os. His column “The Rolling Wheel” was a feature of “Cycling”
magazine for over 20 years.
Perhaps most of all Bidlake became established the THE timekeeper of choice
– not just of cycling events , but in motorsport and even the Schneider
Trophy air races
As an administrator – within two years of joining the North Road CC he was
their secretary. This was a crunch period when the then governing body of
cycle racing, the National Cyclists Union, decided that racing on the public
road was unsustainable, and they themselves banned all racing on the road.
The North Road CC may seem to us unlikely rebels, but this club, and Bidlake
with them, were at the forefront of the move to continue racing on the road,
in the form of time trials.
But the rebel became the representative of cycling on government committees.
When F T Bidlake died, in September 1933, three weeks after being taken out
by a car that turned left in front of him descending Barnet Hill, no lesser
person than Sir Henry Maybury, Director General of the Roads Department of
the Ministry of Transport referred to his
“happiest recollections of (Bidlake’s) sound common sense and his
well-balanced judicial mind that enabled him to see all sides of a problem.
This is the man to whose memorials, new and old, we visit in Bedfordshire
Details for Saturday (30th June 2018)
Meet at recently unveiled mosaic to F T Bidlake at
Sandy Library, Market Square SG 19 1EH 10.30am, followed a…
Late morning visit to the Bidlake Memorial Garden, Girtford Bridge, once on
the Great North Road – but fortunately now bypassed Grid Ref TL164487
Lunch at Jordan’s Mill the splendid mill and riverside tea-rooms on the
River Ivel, just off B659 SG18 9JX TL 184430.
Needless to say, I hope, we extend an invitation to members of all Regions
to join with us on this ride.
Best Wishes to you All