I’ve had an interest in cycling all my life, but it’s only recently that I have developed the same sort of passion for it that I had as a boy. When I was younger I used to be bike mad. My parents used to call me Bicycle Repair Man, a reference to a Monty Python sketch, because I was always making up bikes out of old bits that I had found.

I used to love planning rides into the unknown using 1″ ordnance survey maps and then riding them. Nowadays I plan my routes on-line, download the data to my Garmin and then ride them! The planning still holds a great fascination for me – looking at an unexplored section of the map and thinking “I wonder what’s there?”.

Some of the rides I can remember from back then included riding to Harlow, Essex (from Bermondsey) with a friend. I remember that it was really foggy and freezing cold going through Epping Forest, and when we got to Harlow we had to wait outside a café until it opened, it was so early in the morning. God knows what time we had set out, must have been 5 or 6 AM! Another time I remember cycling to Southend and back, and then somewhere in Kent the next day, totalling 110 miles for the weekend. I also remember cycling to Virginia Water and back on my own; that must have been 60 + miles. All this was before I was 13 years old!

I used to belong to the Rodney Cycling Club based in Kitto Road, Nunhead. That club doesn’t appear to exist any more. I wasn’t with them that long but I can recall cycling up Leith Hill with them. I also remember a 10-mile time trial that half killed me and a hill climb in Ranmore that I still have the results sheet for.

On that sheet it looks like someone (maybe me at the time) has gone over the letters in pen, but I see that David Bowin looks like it says David Bowie underneath!

I used to go to Herne Hill cycle track every Wednesday (?) evening. I also remember going to the Skol 6-day Track race at the Wembley Empire Pool indoor arena on my own. I still have the program for that somewhere.

Between the ages of 15-17 my bike became merely a mode of transport. I used to cycle from Lewisham back to Bermondsey where my friends were. Then from 16 I would cycle to my girlfriend’s house in New Cross. When I was 17 I got a car and the bike became used much less. I used to use it for travelling to work. Throughout the 80’s and early 90’s I commuted to London off and on, but the bike was never used purely for recreation during that period.


16 thoughts on “About

  1. Vince, I’m sure I was out with you on the SFA run to Burwash, you had the Giant Composite Defy 2 2012 that I so admired. I managed to track one down, grew a pair and eventually bought it. Only been out in it twice, yesterday with Saturday 9 o’ clock inters and week before, couple of 56 milers. What a cracking bike. Glad I took it yesterday (even though my precious got dirty) I needed that 32 on the back. We did Church Hill at Boughton Monchelsea as a warm up, then a circuit round Hunton, trying to miss flooded roads, that was hard. Then more long testing climbs that had some brutal gradients un announced round tight bends ( think I lost a couple of teeth on the big front cog in a panicky gear change!). Dunloran Park for a coffee and brekkie and back off straight into another hill. Quite a fast ride home with some sneaky tac tics being employed on the sprint; 2 of them kicked down a gear before a junction and leapt off leaving everyone else stranded. I took advantage of their bemusement and carried on too. Didn’t know that you were a South East London boy? I went to school at Aske’s. Looking forward to catching up with you out there, but this is a great blog. Only found it by googling Church Hill gradient and found you ( if it is Vince with the Giant?)

    All the best


    • Hi Danny,

      Thanks for the comments. Yes, I am he of whom ye speak! I’m glad you got that Giant DC2 in the end. They are great bikes. There’s another young rider in the club who rode with us a couple of weeks ago who has one too. I was out a bit later in the day than you yesterday, but I was riding in roughly the same area, taking in the delights of East Hall Hill and Hunton Hill. Unfortunately the weather got in the way today – I was due to see the Catford Hill Climb at York’s Hill with the Sunday Inters, but the weather put me off! Hope to catch up with you soon.

  2. Hiya Vince
    I was interested to read you were in the Rodney club. An old colleague called Pete Howe was too, and gave me a Rodney CC wooly jersey. Yellow and blue.
    I’m currently restoring a 1950 Allin. The best of Croydon!
    Kind regards

    • Many thanks for your comment Neil. At last, someone who has heard of the Rodney CC! I was beginning to think I had imagined it, although I knew it was real because I still have a results sheet from a hill climb back then. I was only 13 at the time and I was only in the club a short while. I assume they disbanded at some point since. Nobody I have spoken to has ever heard of it! Good luck with your restoration. I wish I had kept all my old steel frames – they’d be worth a bomb now.


  3. Hiya Vince
    more on the Rodney CC that my old mate Peter told me about.
    It started, possibly in the 1880s calling itself the Salisbury CC, having been formed by someone in Salisbury Close SE17. Not long after, the city of Salisbury formed a club and the Salisbury CC were asked to give up their name, which they did. Their new name came from the road around the corner, Rodney Road. I believe they used a hall there as their meeting place.
    I don’t know when they moved to Kitto Road.
    Peter remembered doing a few summer midweek TTs. He said that when the club was wound up, there were only three old boys left. I guess anything in the subs account was split three ways!
    I rode the 1997 London to Brighton with him and he emigrated to Oz not long after. I last heard of him about ten years ago, riding the Ho Chi Minh trail in Vietnam. A true gent!
    May your saddles be soft


  4. Hello to fellow Rodney CC ex members. I used to be a member from 1975 to 1980 . I guess I still hold most of the club TT records, I have recently found records of club events including the hill climb of which you speak (I remember doing it myself) some of the times done on heavy steel bikes would be hard to match now.
    For more info if you like is available,
    All the best
    Keep pedaling,
    Marc Cunnington

  5. I was in the Rodney when the clubroom was in St James Rd Bermondsey, the road I lived in. I joined in Sept 1951 and left when I joined the Sydenham Wheelers in Sep 1952.

    • Blimey John, you must have an excellent memory to know those dates! That’s about 20 years before I was there! Interestingly I lived quite close to St. James Road so that would have been nearer to me. I didn’t know that it had once been there.

      Thanks very much for your comment.

  6. My Grandad (Bill Lanigan) was a member of The Rodney and I think at some point he would have been club president. I rode for them as a 10 year old and won my only race at Crystal Palace, however the result was in doubt for a bit as the infamous Eddie Wingrave was not happy with me taking my hands of the bars to celebrate!

    I remember attending Grier 100th anniversary do back in 1994 I think. I can’t remember many names but do remember a Dave? Barker and his wife Mavis.

    I recently managed to get a a Rodney CC jersey of eBay however I am far too overweight to wear it.

    I used to spend many a summer up at Herne Hill and still remember some of the names, especially that of Jim Robertson, who recently turned up on the Sky thing about Bradley Wiggins.

    Great to hear that there are some other Rodney CC members out there as it was a big part of my Grandad’s life.

    • Chris, that’s excellent info – thanks for taking the time. I can’t believe you got a Rodney CC jersey! At this rate we’ll soon be able to relaunch the club!

  7. Hi, I love hearing about the great stories of the Rodney, I have recently been given the task of emptying my great uncle harry’s old house in south London (he’s now in a care home)
    And upon starting the task soon realised he was a member of the Rodney Cycle Club,
    I found paintings, drawings, photos, trip notes etc, and even 3 bike’s, one black and red R.O.HARRISON, one yellow and chrome A.S.GILLOTT, and a never ridden early Charlie Roberts, which I am in the process of restoring the paintwork, and am going to build as a fixie to ride and enjoy like it was meant to.
    I am currently compiling a blog site of his memories, sketches, paintings, and anything else I come across Rodney related.

    Some of the original members might remember him, his name was Harry Russell.
    Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any (rodneycyclingclub related) items that you want displayed.

    There’s not much about the Rodney on the interweb, let’s hope we can publish some great memories of the club.

  8. Hi all,
    I joined the Rodney CC in circa 1982. I remember Marc Cunningtons name, I believe he was friend of Martin Luff. Also remember Bill Lanigan, he was president at the time and was instramental in getting my first racing bike, a Ron Cooper. I still keep in touch with Betty, by Christmas card. I was secretary for a couple of years. The club had many trophies (some with my name on!). Wonder where they are now? Was friends with the Barkers, used to drive us out to races in a Cortina Estate. Have a few club medals , but nothing else.

    • Hi Ian, thanks for your comment. You were a bit after my time. I have found an old score card from a hill climb I did in 1973 (see above). I was only 14½ at the time! I don’t know if any of you will recognise any of the names on it



    • A few more members seem to be turning up. Just been up in the loft to get some football figures for my daughter (have got her into football but not cycling yet) and found the centenary handbook from 1994. Its a great read and i see some of the names on here mentioned in it. I will see if i can get it scanned and posted up on the web somehow.

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