The Bugle | Blast 443

Friday 26th June 2020
Illegal Edition




"Events organised by [cycling] clubs in the 1880s, although taking place on quiet country roads, were constantly interrupted by the police. Often horse-mounted policemen charged at racers and threw sticks into their wheels" - Bernard Thompson (historian)


On 21 July 1894 during a timed race on the North Road, then the main road north out of London, in which 50 riders competed with the help of other riders to pace them. A group of riders passed a woman and her horse and carriage at a point about 57 miles from the capital. The horse panicked, the riders fell off and the woman complained to the local police. They in turn banned cycle-racing on their roads."

There was a threat to ban all cycling on public with legislation put before parliament. In responce the National Cyclist's Union banned all road racing on roads. Racing mostly moved to a rig of newly built velodromes.

But hardened races defied both the NCU and the police by contnuing to race on roads. Foremost among these was Albert Chase who held every safety bike record from 51 Miles to 134 miles. In June 1896 Albert set a world record for 50 miles in 1 hour 45 minutes & 38 seconds.

He also had an impressive range of fines from police courts around the country. The going rate was around 5 shillings. Only 25p now but a tidy sum in Victorian times.

He also dominated off road. Amongst his many victories he had these notable ones at the Anerley's local venue:

  • June 1899 – England 'world record' for standing half mile of 54 seconds.
  • July 1899 – World Record at Crystal Palace for 2 miles, in 3 minutes 25.2 seconds.
  • August 1900 – World Record at Crystal Palace.
In 1902 Albert retired from unpowered cycling to join FW Chase to form Chase Brothers Motorcycles Ltd in Anerley. He went on to patent an exhaust silencer. The company folded in 1906 with no known examples in existence today. See:



FW Chase was the works racing rider for BAT motorbikes. BAT was formed within a stones throw of Anerley at Kingswood Road, Penge. BAT referred to its founder Samuel Batson. Let's hope there is no statue of this man as surely it would be torn down these days because of the shocking casual racism exhibited in this advert of the period:
More info:



The centre of Croydon is turning into some sort of cone heaven. Is it because no students means they aren't being culled for head wear and other purposes?

The town centre is bristling with both cones and festooned with mutual contradictory road signage from South End flyover, past the Town Hall to Dingwall Road (above)..

As a cyclist if you attempt to follow the NCN it you are likely to end up on the fast dual cariageways heading in the wrong direction. At least cyclists can dive between them and make the necessary illegal turns to get out of the shambles in one piece.

Cars are not so lucky. They can end up stuck with no way out. Returning from our Tuesday ride I encountered a group of police constables trying to establish order alongside East Croydon Station.

"Do you know what's happening with all these roadworks and redirections" I innocently asked.

"Not a clue - but there's a Council Road Engineer over there who should know" 

"Excuse me sir but what is the purpose of all this work".

"No idea. I was just sent to take some photos"
- was the unhelpful reply

Can't find anything meaningful on Croydon's Road Works webpage. Does anyone know what's happening?



Saturday 20th June: Two rides to Otford & Shoreham Air Museum. At least three punctures:
Tuesday 23rd June: Lots of rides mostly to Tanhouse. But this one climbed Ide Hill for this magnificent view of Bough Beech Reservoir:



NB COVID-19 restrictions apply. Maximum 6 riders per ride. Rides may be added, cancelled or amalgamated depending on demand so check again before starting.

You must register for each ride. If you don't and the ride is full - you wil be turned away. It's the law!

Saturday 27th: RogerF meet Shurguard 9:30.
To Polesden Lacey about 45 miles 13mph 
Saturday 27th: JohnDi meet  Shurgard 9:30
To Polesden Lacey about 45 miles 13mph

Sunday 28th: MarkH's Scorcher meet Shurguard 10am
Farthing Downs circuit 50 miles 15mph
Sunday 28th: Stuart's Relaxed Ride meet Shurguard 10am.
To Capel/Rusper 50 miles
Sunday 28th: Des's Easy meet  GB Bike Shop. 10am
To Lingfield/Holyte 45 miles

Tuesday 30th: TomV's Early meet Shurguard 9:30
Destination Balcombe 45 miles
Tuesday 30th: MarkH's Fast meet Farthing Down 9:30
Destination Brighton'n'Back
Tuesday 30th: Vince & Jim's Steady Shurguard 9am
Destination: Brighton'n'Back
Tuesday 30th: PeterR's Steady meet Shurguard 9am
To Brighton (train back)
Tuesday 30th: Des's Relaxed meet  GB's Shop 10am
To Kippington 40 miles
Tuesday 23rd: John D's Relaxed meet Meike's 10am
To Eynsford

Thursday 25th: MarkH Fast Shurguard 10am
To Knockholt circuit 50 miles @ 14.5mph



Not much has changed since 1890 in policing new modes of travel. Ride an environmentally friendly e-scooter rather than a polluting car and you will get a fine if our boys in blue enforce the law.

Oh, but you say - Grant Shapps is reviewing that and accelerating plans to make 'em legal. Yes - but that is no use to anyone who has one - or wants to buy one.

You will only be allowed to ride one if you rent it from one of the governments designated companies. No freedom at all except to fill the coffers of these favoured few. Not that I'm suggesting that donations to any political party could possibly influence any ministerial decision.

More privatisation of the public realm?

Happy Cycling!