The formation and the first year
wrote to the magazine "Cycling" to sound out whether there would be support for a social cycling club in London and the home counties catering for riders over 40 of either sex.
A preliminary meeting was held on March 8th at the offices of the
National Cyclists' Union (one of the two cycle racing associations at
the time). The twelve people attending decided to set up a club for
cyclists over 40 (8 in favour, 3 abstentions, presumably the chairman
was excluded from voting). On 5 April, the first general meeting was
held at which 20
The Forty Plus CC was founded by Cecil Cooke. Cecil Cooke was an enthusiastic club cyclist who who was President of the Hertfordshire DA of the CTC, from soon after its inception in 1928 to May 1937. He was also the first secretary of the Veterans Time Trials Assoication (VTTA), established in 1943. Cecil Cooke proposed the VTTA be opened to women but this was turned down. In February 1951, he therefore founder members enrolled and the committee was elected.
Members were issued with a small handbook (about 3 inches by 4) listing
the founder members and the membership rules. The objects of the club
were "to promote cycling fixtures of a sociable character in the London
Home Counties area and to provide for the interests of members in such
other ways as may be decided upon". The annual subscription was five
club was based in London. The original plan was to have north and
south sections in the club, but, by the time the club was established,
there were four "district leaders": NW, NE, SE and SW. Runs were at
weekends – not mid-week. Each week, the starting place rotated (Putney
Bridge, Stanmore, Bromley, Woodford) so members could ride out in a
different direction each week. Runs started at 9.30 for the all day
ride (with lunch and tea stops) or at 3 pm for the afternoon ride to
tea. Members would ride up to 30 miles across London to join the start
and home again after tea. The first recorded ride was on May 6 to
Leatherhead for dinner with tea at Chipstead.
Within a couple of months, membership had nearly doubled to 34 people
(June 19th). By the end of the first year, the club was thriving with
68 members and attendance of over 20 on many rides. Our annual
expenditure was £26 5s 7p and we had the grand sum of £2 4s. 11p in
hand. More details can be found in a brief history of the club, which was written in 1991.
The founder, Cecil Cooke, was the first secretary
of the club. He collapsed while on a Sunday run in 1952 and died in St
Margaret's Hospital, Epping on the same day. His widow was asked to be
president of the club and remained president until her resignation in
1960. Cecil Cooke's name lives on in the cycling world through two "Cecil Cooke" trophies, one competed for by the members of the Hertfordshire CTC; the other contested by members of the VTTA.
A committee of members elected at the annual general meeting runs the Club. The main club officers since the club's inception are
listed here. Handbooks were issued to all members and examples from 1969 and from 1973 give details of the club officers and the rules pertaining at the time. The full committee includes all elected officers and the section secretaries; a smaller executive committee, reporting to the full committee, was introduced in 1997 to deal with day to day management of the club. General rides planning and other local activities are carried out by the sections. Top of page.
addition to the Sunday rides, there was an active programme of social
events on Saturdays in the autumn and winter. Parties of 40 to 50
enjoyed river trips, circus and theatre visits, watching the ceremony of
the keys at the Tower of London and visits to Poplar Power station, Big
Ben and the most modern bakery in the country. Some Sunday rides also
incorporated visits to places of interest including Audley End, the
Cambridge colleges, Beeleigh Abbey (Maldon) and Ingatestone Hall. There
was also an annual Christmas dinner and weekends away. Three couples
met their partners through the club.
The first mid-week rides were Thursday evening rides in 1952 to Epping
Cottage Tea Rooms. Around 1967 day time Tuesday and Thursday rides were
started in Herts.
and Essex respectively to cater for the growing number of retired
members. Later, Wednesday rides were started in Kent. Over the years,
mid-week rides gradually replaced Sunday rides as the mainstay of the
club. Top of page.
After a few years of rides from the four quarters of London, new
sections were formed. Some of these, with their founders, are listed
|| Freddie Folds (section ended 1964)
| St Albans
|| Albert Jankin
| Jack Jefford
| Stuart Tackley
| Stevenage/N Herts
|| Bill Collins
| N. Ireland
| Cyril Henry (section ended due to political unrest)
|| Vic Stewart/Harry Peck
The Thursday evening rides led to a N.E. Section news sheet being
produced by Mae Lang, which caused concern among a few club members. In
1954 a news sheet, edited by Les Seymour, was introduced. In 1956
Stuart Tackley took this over and developed it into the current club
magazine Signpost, which is now published quarterly and posted or
emailed to all members. Top of page.