139 years ago today, August 5th 1878, Stanley Cotterell (a medical student) drew together a small group of cycling enthusiasts in Harrogate and formally launched the Bicycle Touring Club, which soon turned into the Cyclists’ Touring Club, so as to allow membership to tricyclists. His first task was to set up a network of hotels that would cater specifically for the needs of cyclists and, by 1881 (just 3 years after its foundation) he had established a network of 785 hotels that offered cyclists fixed tariffs and exclusive facilities.
Today, the club is known as Cycling UK, boasts a membership of over 60,000, and for the last 47 years, has celebrated the birthday of the club in August with the annual Birthday Rides. So tomorrow, I will pack my saddlebag once again, strap on my tent, and head over to the Cotswolds, where some 460 fellow cyclists will gather for a week of………well, you’ve guessed it……..bike riding……..along with evening entertainment and presentations, photo competitions, live music, and the inevitable fellowship and camaraderie that exists among many groups of shared interests.
We will lodge and camp in the grounds of the Fire Training College in Moreton-in-Marsh, take advantage of their superb facilities, and witness some of the Fire Service trainees at training, while we go about our much more serious business of discovering this beautiful part of the country while enjoying our favourite pastime. It’s a tough life…….