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Some Armchair Cycling With A Good Book.

 The Anerley Bicycle Club has a very long tradition of long distance cycling.  In its illustrious past our club set many long distance race records.  For example when in 1893 S.F Edge set a world record over 100 miles.  Or G.A Olley who broke the record for London to Edinburgh in 1904, and followed that by setting the record for Lands End/John O’Groats in 1905.

Our club also has a long tradition for touring in the UK and abroad.  Perhaps the most prolific “tourer” was G.H Smith.  In 1898 he set off with his bike on a 6 year sales venture as a rep for Dunlop tyres.  During his world travels he cycled in many countries including,  Egypt,  India, the Cape Colony, and much of  Australia. Then it was off for more cycling in Hong Kong, China and Japan.  A Victorian tour of the British Empire and beyond, and being as he says, “in many places the first cyclist ever seen”.
In more recent times G.H’s cycling adventures around Japan and the East, have been reciprocated by Joshi’s cycle travels, here in the West.

It is now great to see that this tradition of long distance cycling is no longer male dominated.  Gina set the wheels rolling with her Lands End/John O’Groats last year, and this year Louise was our first female to complete the infamous P.B.P. 
The ladies even got some of us more unfit men to get out and ride an Audax. It took me several hours in an armchair to recover from that!

In 2012 I hope, and expect, that there will to be an upsurge in interest for Audax events by Anerley’s riders.  If not Audaxing, then many of you will want to get fit and prepare for multi day cycling holidays.  It is with this in mind that I thought some of you might be interested in one of these two books as a Christmas stocking filler.  I have  read both of these books, so I can speak from experience when I say that either will guarantee you a good read and keep you enthused during the long winter nights.  So put your feet up and get a bit of armchair cycling in, you won’t regret it!
Both books are available via Amazon for around £10 (each) or less, so are well worth the very small investment.    

Simon Doughty, the author of The Long Distance Cyclists’ Handbook, is a member of Audax UK so has a good pedigree.  This book was a recommended read in the Audax magazine, Arrivee, in the build up to last year’s P.B.P.  The promotional blurb runs as follows:

“With the success of charity bike rides, the popularity of sportifs, and the proliferation of organized bike tours through Europe, thousands of new cyclists are taking to the roads each year for a new long-distance challenge. Packed with useful information The Long Distance Cyclists’ Handbook details all of the preparation and equipment needed to successfully complete a 30-mile charity ride or the 3,000-mile Race Across America. Written for the novice and veteran cyclist alike, it covers all aspects on long-distance cycling including: Choosing a bike for your event.  Bike accessories, clothing, and gear.  Bike maintenance and troubleshooting.  What and how to pack for every possible situation.  Logistics and navigation.  Safety on and off the road.  And more.  It also offers the most up-to-date information on nutrition, training techniques for various distances, and the latest in sports science research, as well as an index of useful contacts for gear manufacturers, clubs, and associations. The Long Distance Cyclists’ Handbook is essential reading for anyone contemplating a cycling vacation or any adventure that takes one out of the comfort zone and onto the open road”.

Of the two books, this was my favourite.  It was written by two Americans of whom your might not be aware.  I can assure you that they are experts in the field of endurance training/riding.  So here is a bit of background:
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D. worked with the U.S. national cycling team at the Olympic Training Center for more than 20 years. An endurance rider, he is currently professor and director of the exercise science program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Ed Pavelka holds two world records in ultra-marathon cycling and was editor of “Bicycling” magazine for 10 years and of “Velo News” for 8 years.

ABOUT THE BOOK: “The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling”- How to Ride Strong, and Ride Long … Whether your goal Is 30 miles or 3,000 miles. From two top cycling experts, the most comprehensive guide ever about how to achieve the strength, skills, and strategies you need for long-distance riding. Whether you’re training for day rides, centuries, or long bike tours, “The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling” helps you choose the right equipment, train step-by-step, and map out your riding strategy so that you can go the distance. Discover how to: * Make the most of every hour on your bike *Build your mileage base efficiently * Customize your training to suit your personality and physical capabilities * Build extra training time into your hectic schedule * Avoid injuries and the dangers of overtraining * Achieve the mental edge you need to ride farther and faster  *Train for both road and off-road touring * Choose cycling gear that goes and goes * Eat for the long haul– nutrition before, during, and after your rides To help you achieve your riding goals, “The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling” gives you complete, step-by-step training programs for riding a half-century, century, double century, and beyond. You’ll also find strategies and techniques for special situations, such as riding in bad weather and riding at night. Published by the world’s leading authority on bicycling, this informative guide is a must-have for all cycling enthusiasts.

5 thoughts on “Some Armchair Cycling With A Good Book.

  • H.j. Deakin

    I am a watchmaker and recently bought a box of broken pocket watches at auction. Amoungst them was a silver watch with the inscription “Anerly B.C. 50 miles road handicap Won by G,H. Smith Time 3 Hrs 10 Min July 16 1892” What I find exciting is the thought that he probably had it with him when he started his globetrotting marathon in 1896. It is a quality piece anyway, but just think of where it hs been on its way into that box at the auction! When I
    have fixed it, It will be up for sale. I didnt know anything about him until I visited this page and thought that with a name so common as Smith there would be little point in researching it,I thought it might have been a horse race, albeit a bloody long one, so thanks to you two for putting this interesting page together and if you think the club administrators might be interested in aquiring the watch I would be happy to foreward pictures of it if they email me.
    Kind regards, Harold Deakin.

    • Hello Mr Deakin,
      Your e-mail is most interesting! The Anerley B.C was 50 years old in 1931. G.H Smith wrote a booklet about his memories of the club from its very earliest days. This memoire is now the first part of the history of the club. In 2006 the club celebrated 125 years of continuous cyclig. By coincidence, a few weeks before we were contacted by the great grand-daughter of G.H. She is Australian but was at that time visiting the U.K. She was invited as guest of honour to our 125th Dinner. She regailed us with lots of stories about G.H, during an amusing and very interesting speech. I have an e-mail address for her, which I hope is still valid, and will contact her. I think that she should have first offer on this watch. I am sure that she will be most interested in this item of her family history.
      Des Donohoe, Anerley B.C

    • Penelope Morris

      Hi Harold,
      What an amazing find and thank you for letting Des know. I am the great great grand-daughter of G.H. Smith, the one who gave the speech at the 125th Anniversary Dinner and would be very interested in seeing a picture of the watch. I am sure my Uncle George would be very interested as well, as he is a direct descendant of G.H. Smith. I would be more than pleased to view the photos and will forward them on to my Uncle. I would also be interested in finding out what sort of reserve might be set for an item such as this.
      Again, thank you Harold, this is truly wonderful.

  • This watch of G.H. Smith has re-ignited contact with his grand daughter and revived old memories, as can be seen below.

    Hi Des,
    Great to hear from you. Things are going well in Australia, but I certainly still miss England and especially this time of year. There is nothing quite like an English Christmas. Seems strange sitting on a beach eating seafood in sweltering humid heat. Just isn’t the same somehow!
    I am forwarding a copy of your email to my Uncle George Smith, who is in fact a direct descendant of G.H. Smith and he may well be interested in making an offer and very interested to even find that the watch exists!
    Hope all is well with the Anerley Bicycle Club, you are all such lovely, genuine people and I will never forget you and your lot cycling all that way, just to have a tea party in our garden. A special moment that was, as well as the speech I made at your 125th Anniversary Dinner. Fond memories, thank you.
    Say hello to all those that remember me at the Anerley and tell them that the medal they gave me is such a special memory of that evening and I will treasure it always. One day I will find the time to do something with all the information you gave me on G.H. Smith, but I am busy studying for a Psychology/Sociology Degree at present and have little time to spare, as you can well imagine.
    Take care Des and Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2012 for you and your family and thank you so much for letting me know of this find. Much appreciated.

    Me again!
    Just had a look at your site and my you have been working hard and it looks superb and a very interesting read. However, I was very saddened to hear about John Jackson as I remember his smiling face very well and was quite shocked to hear of his death. What an awful loss for you all.
    Would it be possible for you to email me a copy of your gazette, as I still feel a strong connection to all of you at the Anerley and would like to keep up with all the news, even if I am 12,000 miles away!

    Hi Des,
    Me again! Have attached a photo of your visit to our place for the 2007 Tour de France at Tudeley, Kent. It has John Jackson in the photo so I thought you might like it.
    (I had advised her about John Turnbull’s illness and progress in recovering)
    Oh Des, that is so awful for John, just doesn’t seem right for it to happen to someone who obviously enjoys being up and mobile. Please send my best wishes to him and Meike.

    We have now received photos of the watch from Harold Deakin, and a magnificent piece it is! Hopefully we can get an item put up on this web site about G.H, the watch etc.

    Hello again Penny,
    I expect that you have now received the photos of the pocket watch. What a wonderful piece it is too!
    So G.H, amongst all his other talents, was also a race winner!
    I did check out the British Library News Paper Archive yesterday, but unfortunately the Anerley 50 Mile Handicap did not make the major papers.
    That is a shame because cycling was very popular in the 1890s, just like football is today, and lots of bike races did make it into the national press.
    By chance we got a copy of an Anerley Gazette from 1905 which provided details of the first Old Boys Run, for which your great grand father wrote the Gazette item and provided the cup.
    Some background follows, below.
    So for now, A very Happy Christmas to you and all the Family and hope that 2012 will be an exciting and eventful year for you all.
    From Des and all of Anerley B.C.

    Hi Harold
    Thank you very much for the photos of the watch.
    It would appear that the Anerley must have awarded these watches as prizes/mementoes to riders in their cycling events.
    We do know that the club had (and still has) some wonderful old cups and trophies dating back to the late 1800s/early 1900s.
    In fact G.H Smith, together with donations from other club members,
    awarded what is known as the “Old Boys Cup” back in 1905 to instigate
    the first Old Boys Run to The Clayton Arms at Godstone.
    It was this same cup that Penny Morris (his great grand daughter) was
    able to award at our 125th anniversary at the same pub! The pub has
    since 1905 changed it’s name to the White Hart Inn, but it is the same
    I did an item for a local history society about some other members of
    the Anerley who attended this first Old Boys Run, which to bore you, I
    have sent in the attachment!
    My next job is to research the event at which this watch was presented
    to G.H. Now with a date and some detail I will try the British Library
    newspaper Archive.
    And thanks again for providing us with a little more of the history of
    our club and it’s members.


    Hi Des,
    Belated thanks for your email, the article was far from boring, a fascinating window into days of yore. You may be pleased to know that Pennys uncle, G.H.Smiths grandson, is buying the watch. Apparently G.H.Smiths eldest son lived in Herne Bay until he died in 1980, this explains why it turned up in Kent.
    Best wishes,
    Harold Deakin.


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