The Bugle | Blast 386

Friday 10th May 2019


John Turnbull [1934-2019]


Des contributed this tribute:

It is with great sadness that we all say our fond farewells to John and offer our condolences to Meike. It was heartening to me, and I know also for Meike, to read all the wonderful and much deserved tributes to John from Anerley’s membership. One thing commonly said, was that John was an inspiration to us all.

I can still clearly remember my first ride with the Anerley Bicycle Club, some 20 years ago, to Chiddingstone.  John was the Club Captain in those far off days, and of course always led the rides. From that first day with Anerley B.C, John became my inspiration, and after all those passing years he still is. But he became much more than just my inspiration; he became a very close friend. Not just John, but equally Meike, an inseparable couple.

John’s introduction to the Anerley Bicycle Club was as a teenager, some 65 years ago. He was invited by a club member and friend from his school days, to ride in his very first time trial, a 25 miler. Needless to say, John bettered his friend’s finishing time! 

But this was just the start of John’s racing career. By the time of the Anerley B.C Centenary in 1981, John held the club records over 10, 25, 30, 50 and 100 miles, plus 234.79 miles in 12 hours. But perhaps John’s greatest ride and record, was the epic race against Norman Greig in 1977. They both set off on a July morning, to race from Coulsdon to Brighton and back. After a hard fought battle John’s winning margin over Norman Greig was 10 minutes and 48 seconds. Now 40 years later, John’s record time of just over 3 1/2 hrs, remains unbroken. 

But all this was long before I joined Anerley B.C. I was fortunate that John’s interest in time trialling had by then been replaced by cycle touring with Meike, and of course club rides. 

There was always a welcome at their house, and when passing by after a bike ride, I was always invited in for a cuppa and to sample Meike’s homemade cakes. And so developed a firm friendship with John and Meike, over many miles, many hills, many cups of tea, and especially many of Meike’s delicious homemade cakes! 

Stuart writes:

The picture above was taken in 2010 when Meike & John led the way. 

John (and his bike) were always immaculately presented and as a rookie I received both admonition and encouragement. But the latter always dominated and I owe my rediscovery of the delights of cycling almost entirely to John.

Diagnosed in May 2011 with shingles (herpes zoster), which paralysed both legs, he lay in hospital beds at Mayday and St. George’s for five months. That would have finished most cyclists. But not 'Bounce-Back' John.

Through sheer determination and guts with some help from physiotherapists he graduated to walking with a Zimmer Frame and on to a Wheels for Wellbeing tricycle at Croydon Arena:

But it was his collection of beautful bkes that lured John to lry harder and harder. Wise heads said he was being silly. But wise heads don't always know best.

Coming back down through Marden Park on a Sunday Ride in April 2016 we were met by this fella roaring up towards the girl's school:

Doing the impossible is what John did. From unbroken records in his youth through cycle tours around the globe in his middle years to an ungoing inspiration to all that knew him in his later years.

John will live on as our inspration when things get tough and, hopefully, we will in turn pass on his cycling passion to the next generation.

Thank you John. Do they have bicycles in heaven?

Some links:

Have you got some special memories of John and/or some great pix? Send them to us for next week's Bugle and as a permanent tribute on the website.


The Funeral will take place at the Croydon Crematorium  at 11.15am in the East Chapel.
Refreshments will be at the United Reform Church Hall from 1-3pm

RSVP  if you will be coming to either or both to Meike,


Donations may be made to St. Christophers Hospice care of Ebbuts Funeral Directors, Limpsfield Road, Sanderstead  made payble to St. Christphers Hospice  please state for John Turnbull's funeral or put into box by door of chapel.  Many thanks, I cannot praise the hospice more highly for the treatment they gave John and myself. 

Many thanks,  Meike



Saturday 4th May: Full winter gear on a blowy ride to Rykers:

Tuesday  6th May: Many adventures getting to Denbies via closed roads. More to come.  Meanwhile  Peter R writes this about the splitting Tuesdays into 'steady' & 'relaxed':

My view (and that of the limited number of members in my two groups so far) is that splitting the 10 am group into two groups works well.  The two rides I have led have been well matched and steady, averaging about 12 mph overall. I think it is too early to give a conclusive thumbs up but encouraging so far.  When we only had about 10-11 people turn up on Tuesday I did wonder if it was worth splitting into two groups, but I am coming round to the opinion that it is probably always worth splitting, because all the riders get to ride in a group which is best suited to their pace.



Brittany & Normandy: TomTom, Stuart & friends do an easy 400 mile spring tour 26th April/4th May:



Saturday 11th May:
No Ride. Leaders are away.

Sunday 12th May: Meet Shurguard/501 Brighton Road at 09:00. Mark wil be leading to Polesden Lacey.

Tuesday 14th May: 
09:30 Shurguard/501 Brighton Road. Tom V leads tSnow Hill (Haskin's) Garden Centre [early]
10:00 Shurguard/501 Brighton Road. Tim S leads to Snow Hill (Haskin's) Garden Centre [steady]
10:00 Shurguard/501 Brighton Road. Des leads to Snow Hill (Haskin's) Garden Centre [relaxed].

Thursday 16th May: Meet Shurguard at 10:00 am. 
Destination: tba 



The moment a BMW appears to deliberately send a cyclist spinning in the air in Highgate and leaves for dead. The Met police response was 'underwhelming'.

Watch the video here:

For balance the Scottish police are taking the initiative to protect us where plain-clothes police cyclists target 'too close' drivers:


It's cycle week at Aldi. They seem to have gone quite mad so there's a wide range of bargains - especially if you have a dirty bike!

Safe cycling & shopping this week!