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To TA East Members & Friends

If you are in reach of mid-Suffolk, let me first mention that our Lunchtime Meet at BILDESTON KING’S HEAD is coming up – it is on SUNDAY 15TH NOVEMBER.

There will be meals and beer, brewed on the premises, and the relatively unrestored 15th Century building to enjoy. This is often the most popular East Pub Meet of the year, and justifiably so for the young and enthusiastic landlords have always welcomed us.. Hope to see many members and friends there.

Bildeston is on the B1115 Stowmarket to Hadleigh road. The Kings Head is in the middle of the village at 132 High St, IP7 7ED, grid reference: TL 992 495.

Robert Morse’s bike shop, LifecycleUK, is just along the street (108 High Street) ,and is open on Sundays. I expect that several of us will be will be there before going to the Kings Head.


THORNHAM & BILLINGFORD –our meet in October

We had a jolly crowd at this meet – Some left us after Thornham, but others joined in at Billingford “Horseshoes” and I think we ended up with 14 at each place.

We spent a long time under the spreading trees outside the Forge Tea Room looking at machines making their first appearance at a TA East meet – see photos in the East Gallery of the TA website. One star was a 1920’s James, recently bought at auction by Andrew Pattle – a stately upright with a double freewheel. I had not realized that such a way of achieving two-wheel drive had been used pre-Longstaff.

We trundled across North Suffolk to Billingford, stopping for a quick look at the tomb of architect Sir Basil Spence, designer of the new Coventry cathedral. His tombstone displays the geometry of the unique proportions which enable, for instance, a sheet of A4 paper to retain the same shape when folded in half, or in four or……

Finally we arrived at The Horseshoes, where the welcome is outstanding and every pint of beer is fetched separately from a cool tap-room.


The passing of Johnny Helms is sad news indeed. The cycling – and Cycling – cartoonist died on Thursday (5th Nov) at the age of 85. His first cartoon was published in Cycling magazine in February 1946. Most issues of what is now Cycling Weekly have contained an example of his gentle humour ever since – that’s 63 years. The one published on the day he died featured a bike with tri-spokes – he was never afraid of a bit of keeping up with the times – but with characters and bike shop, and indeed the bike’s frame design – all more reminiscent of the ‘60s. The fact that you can notice that much about the background says something about his approach to cartoons.

In particular he captured the club cycling world of the 50’s and 60’s, a world which tends to live on in the TA.

Once Helms did a page of cartoons of odd place names. One was Three Holes – which is in the Fens near Upwell . The drawing was of a tricyclist with a mournful expression and air blowing out of all three tyres. Corny, yes, but sticks in the memory.

He has quietly uplifted many moments of club cyclist’s lives. No doubt we can look forward to learning more about him in the coming weeks. For instance, did he ever own a trike?. Your memories, of Helms cartoons or reminiscences of Helms the person, will be especially welcome.

We already have, of course, the compendium of some of Helms’ tricycling cartoons, entitled “Tricycling Treats” which , I think, can still be purchased from Martin and Alison Purser.


Speaking of Cycling Weekly the edition of 22nd Oct featured on the Letters page quite a large picture of East Chairman Martin Badham on his trike in front of a house. Not his own, but Blenheim Palace, where the international tricycle meet is to be held next October. Martin rode in the time trial there last month – one of the letters was saying how good it was.

I have an online subscription to CW these days – good value at 80p a week – so I peered at my computer screen to read the caption. Was he identified by name. I wondered.

Er….. no…..the caption just said, very small “Blenheim – all human life was there”. Hmm….


Finally, while you may still be able to remember where you have put the Membership List that came with the TA Gazette in October, can I ask you to correct my (Fergus Muir’s) phone number therein. My number is 615000. The round figure with three noughts.

And Martin Badham’s postcode – which should be NR10 3HG.

Best wishes to you all , and hope to see many of you at Bildeston

Ferg Muir 01603 615000

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