1945 to 1990


By Peter Roscoe

Our memberships had increased to 83 in 1953.

We got rid of our football shirts but bought a new bladder for the football.  

Arthur Martin became the first winner of the club’s best all rounder Championship.  The following year our membership including six associates rose to 100. This was not maintained but it did remain around the 80/90 mark for a number of years.  For many years our runs list comprised of both an ‘A’ section (ordinary club riding) and a ‘B’ section (hard riders).  Charlie Westlake will be long remembered as the driving force behind the latter.  The hardy few will remember rides to Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales, Manifold Valley in Staffordshire, the seven mile trek over Salter Fell in North Lancashire and West Riding of Yorkshire and the rides to Pately Bridge in mid winter.

It is known that Charlie would have wanted a reference to one of his epic rides in particular. This involved riding from Bury up to the Yorkshire Dales to complete the ascents of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-Y-Ghent before returning to Bury in one day.  This ride had been talked about for some time before it was tried but only Bill Jobson took up Charlie’s challenge. By the time they reached Pen-Y-Ghent Bill had had enough and left his bike in Stainforth to take the easier option of walking up the mountain. Charlie, of course, had his bike with him throughout. 

Weekends away were very popular including Blackpool in digs, Youth Hostels and annual Easter Meets of the National Clarion at various towns throughout England and Wales.  Evelyn Derby deserves a mention at this point for the years she did so much to publicise our club with her weekly cycling notes in the Bury Times.

The club, then, was at the height of its activities, Sunday runs, social activities and racing (see Racing).

In 1961 we made a special effort to celebrate 60 years of our existence and marked the occasion every ten years thereafter. The late 1960s though were the start of a decline with membership falling to 23 in 1969.  This would have fallen even further but for an initiative that saw five members from the CTC join us for racing purposes.


More CTC members joined us in the 1970s but for a number of reasons we were unable to sustain the interest and by 1975 our membership had fallen to six.  In the first half of the seventies though we did have some successful annual reunions and our club competitions continued – Geoff MacGann in particular did exceptionally well as a racing cyclist (see Racing).

Only Joe Baldwin and Charlie Westlake were regularly out on club runs.  In 1985 Joe Baldwin was tragically killed whilst riding his bike. Joe by this time was in his eighties.  For several years in the 1970s he had been club secretary.  No new members were coming forward to ride club runs and in 1986 Charlie reverted to CTC for his cycling activities.

However Frank Jefferson and Donald Lever started a long association of going out on Sunday rides and this lasted to the middle of the 2000s, although Donald was out of action for a while in 1999 due to a cycling accident on the return leg of a joint club run with Bolton Clarion.  From time to time others would join this duo but we did not re-establish the club as one with regular Sunday runs that would attract potential cyclists.

Donald Lever took on the secretary’s job in 1981 and held the position for 16 years.  At the end of this long period he was duly presented with an illuminated address for ensuring the continued existence of the club for such a long period.

Geoff was one of those members who demonstrated extraordinary loyalty to our club. The decline of our club saw some young members losing interest and others going to Lancashire Road Club. Geoff also in his mid teens was one who stopped racing as did members in their 30’s. In 1968 as a 20 year old he still had the urge to race. Peter Roscoe, secretary at the time, recalls Geoff visiting to talk about his ambitious plans – such as beating the hour. A milestone in any racing mans career in those days.

In his comeback years he completely outclassed all those racing, Between 1968 and 1972 he was a club champion on 12 occasions – including 10, 25, 50 miles as well as Best All Rounder 5 times and hill climb once. He also broke club records seven times and these are listed with all records over the last 70 years or so. A milestone achievement for our club was that in 1969 Geoff became the first Bury Clarion member to beat 2 hours for a 50-mile time trial when he posted 1 hour 58 minutes 42 seconds in the Clifton CC event.

Other of his outstanding records are:

1969 12-hour Lancashire Road Club 253miles 251 yards. (Remains unbeaten)
1969 100 miles York Cycling Club 4hrs 13min 26 secs
1970 10 miles Stone CC 22min 45 secs
1970 25 miles Spartan CC 55min 36secs
1972 100 miles Goodmayes CC 4hrs 4min 20sec

In 1971 he was pleased to win the National Clarion/Kenneth Humphries Memorial 25 with a time of 1hr 2min 31 secs on a very hard day.

Peter Roscoe recalls in 1971 talking to Geoff on a training ride with an influx of young members and saying that the racing activity in Bury Clarion was not matched to his ability and he should think about joining a club that would better fit his talent. He went on to choose the West Pennine Road Club and enjoyed a number of years racing successfully with his new club. At this point it is notable that other former members have started cycling again but have joined other clubs. At least Geoff came back to Bury Clarion as a first choice – alas no other members could match his class.

It was much better for Geoff in the West Pennine RC as he was able to enjoy having fellow members racing the events he rode. His best performances were as follows:

In those days the BBAR or British Best All-rounder championship was more popular than these days when longer distance events are shunned. To be it the top 12 was recognised as being amongst the elite time triallists in the country. Geoff achieved this in 1974 with the following times:

50 miles – TT Pennine CC – 1hr 55min 03secs
100 miles – Yorkshire Road Club – 4hrs 5min 26secs
12 hour – Otley Cycling Club – 266.832 miles.