History of Otley Cycle Club – founded 27th January 1927
Otley Cycle Club has a very proud tradition and is celebrated as being one of Yorkshire’s biggest and oldest cycle clubs.
Cycling, as a pastime and sport, begin to really evolve in the late 1800’s. Otley has always had a very close association with the bicycle. With Otley’s geographical location being 10 – 12 miles from the large conurbations of Leeds and Bradford and on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales it is naturally located to be a cycling town. The first cycle club in Otley dates back to 1890 with the formation of Otley Road Club.
Like all early cycling clubs the basis of this first Otley cycling club was the social side. At this time organised sport was very limited. However Otley Road Club staged the first ever running of Otley Cycle Club’s now summer weekly time trial (known as the Triangle) way back in 1892. The 12.5 miles was won by Harry Fieldhouse riding the first pneumatic tyred machine.
Perhaps due to the lack of competition or even the development of other clubs by 1909 Otley Road Club had evolved into a purely social institution and disbanded as a cycle club.
In 1924 another cycle club evolved in Otley called Otley Cycling Club with Mr Tom Edmunson elected as president. This club lasted only a few years and due to a financial setback it had to disbanded. From this club the current club evolved and was renamed Otley Cycle Club.
Otley Cycle Club has always had a dual focus with competitive cycling and social cycling developing at the same rate.
Otley Cycle Club timeline
In 1928 Sept First time trial a 12 hour won by T Mawson 191.5 miles.
1929 November Hill Climb on Norwood Hill won by H Stokes 5.26, 2nd H. Austin 7.52, 3rd N Webb 7.55 First club dinner.
1930 First 25 TT on the Triangle (twice around the 12.5 mile circuit) won by K. Hudson 1h 14mins 16s.
1933 – G Spencer of Hemsworth Wheelers wins the Open 25 mile handicap event.
1934 – 6 Norman Webb of OCC won Barras Scratch 50 mile trophy promoted for the 12 best riders in Northen England.
1945 Otley’s top roadmen pictured on 8 April 1945 – Dennis Wilson, Philip Whitehurst & Stanley Thorpe
1950 The club rented it’s first clubroom on the top floor of the Old Model Lodging House on Bondgate.
1952 Silver Jubilee of club. Club dinner at Red Lion on Kirkgate
Post war Philip Whitehead broke most of club records including in 1956 12 hour 251.495 miles.
1960 Clubroom subjected to demolition order.
1962 Club purchased plot of land on Leacroft, off Station Road. Erected the old Baildon cricket pavilion with a later extension with the former kitchen & café of Bingley Cattle market.
1963 Club members pictured outside Otley Station in November 1963.
In 1960’s Colin Nelson and Danny Horton dominated the racing scene. Nelson was the first Otley Cycle Club rider to break the hour for a 25 mile time trial.
1971 Former Otley Cycle Club member Danny Horton won the British National Professional Road Race Championship.
1973 Otley Cycle Club promoted the first professional Road Race in & around the town. John Churchman won the British Cycle Touring competition.
1977 50th year club dinner at the Parkway hotel.
1980 Club presented C A Rhodes trophy for contribution to Yorkshire cycling.
1983 Club purchased the former British Legion premises on Wellcroft with help of Sports Council grant. With the dedication of its members these clubrooms were completely refurbished into the building we currently know and love as “Wellcroft House”.
1985 Otley Cycle Club staged the very first Otley Town Centre Cycle race on a testing 1.5 mile circuit won by Dave Mann. This is now an annual event and has twice been the National Circuit Championships http://www.otleycycleraces.co.uk/.
1987 60 years Diamond Jubilee dinner dance at Craiglands Hotel Ilkley, with guest speaker Phil Liggett.
1993 Otley Cycle Club Racing Section pictured (spot how many current members you can see…..)
Women & Otley Cycle Club
In 1896 Susan B. Anthony said that “the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.” Otley Cycle Club has always promoted female cycling;
1930 Club promotes first 12 hour in country that was open to women – Miss E Paley 156.25 miles won, in 2nd Mrs M Austin 152 miles.
1935 Club promoted first open 25 mile for women in Northern England.
1967 Sept Otley Cycle Club staged the now infamous 12 hour competition where Beryl Burton broke the 12 hour men’s record setting 277.25 miles. Reportedly Beryl caught and passed the then male record holder Mike McNamara and offered him a liquorice allsort. In her book, Burton recalled the sympathy she felt as she approached him: “Poor Mac… his glory, richly deserved, was going to be overshadowed by a woman.”
The Otley CC B Section in the Early 1980s