In 1974, cycling in Reading was at a low ebb. Few
bikes were to be seen around the town, there was no council cycling
policy, no cycle lanes or facilities, and few cycle shops. For keen
cyclists there were two clubs: the Reading Wheelers, and the Bon
Amis CC. There was no local Cyclists Touring Club (CTC). Reading
Wheelers was a long-established club which had some gaps in its
lifetime. Membership was small. The Bon Amis was formed early in
the war by those members of Reading clubs who remained in Reading.
Those pre-war clubs never reformed after 1945.
As an ex-Bon Amis member I saw the 1974 situation
from that club's perspective. We were down to six or seven at the
clubroom and riding in the inter-club time trials with the Reading
Wheelers. Generally they had even fewer competitors. It was becoming
depressing. In the Bon Amis we had already introduced "coffee runs"
in addition to the all-day clubruns in a sucessful attempt to boost
the number of members taking an active part in the club's activities.
Eventually the idea of combining the two clubs emerged.
On 14 August 1974 the first joint meeting of the clubs
took place with Stan Higson, Dave Steel and Robin Jenkins representing
the Wheelers, and Ralph Raw, Mike O'Rourke and I from the Bon Amis.
Some of us are still club members! There was a second meeting on
4th September at which agreement was reached: the clubs would amalgamate.
The racing vests would be the Wheelers' colours of light blue, dark
blue, and yellow. They had just received a substantial amount of
clothing! Since then the design rotated through 90°, and reverted
to the original with a little modification. Now we have a complete
change - a look for the twenty first century.
The new club, Reading Cycling Club continued to promote
two long standing events: the Bon Amis Open 50, and the Reading
Wheelers cyclo-cross. This was ratified by the Bon Amis AGM on 30th
September and by the Wheelers at their AGM. There was a joint dinner
and prize presentation at the Old Mill, Aldermaston, on 14th November.
The inaugural meeting of the Reading Cycling Club took place on
9th December. The club existed! The first clubrun was to Henley
on Sunday 15th December and many of us still have the group photograph.