London Bicycle Club (1875)

London Bicycle Club

The opening meeting of this newly-formed club was held on Monday at the Lillie- Bridge Grounds. The events for dicision was a twenty-five- mile match, between the two best amateur riders of the day, for a silver cup, value £20. Mr G P Whitting, of the London Bicycle Club, has long been known as the amateur champion. He is twenty-two years of age, 5ft. 10 ½ in. high and weighs 10st 10lb. His apponent was the Hon. Ion G. N Keith-Falconer, of the Cambridge University Bicycle Club, who has been credited with riding ten miles in thirty-four minutes on a turnpike road. He is 6ft. 3in. high, weighing 12st. 10lb. and is just under twenty years of age. There was a large muster of spectators, including many ladies, admission being by ticket. A row of carriages skirted the front of the track. The band of the F division of police helped to enliven the scene. Mr J Inwards, president of the London Bicycle Club, was appointed referee and Messrs. J Vandy and T Griffith acted as timekeepers. On the signal being given, Keith-Falconer at once took the lead and was three yards to the good at the end of the first mile. Whiting went in front coming down the straight for the seventh time (2 ½ miles), but soon dropped back again, and thus they rode over the first five miles, covered by Keith-Falconer in 20 min. 52 sec. During the sixth mile Whiting fell a trifle further behind, but just before the seventh mile was finished he spurted repeatedly and at 7 ½ miles took a feeler at his man by going some ten yards in advance. At the finish of the lap, however, 7 2/3 miles, Keith-Falconer resumed his old position. Ten miles were run in 41 mins. 45 sec. by Keith-Falconer, Whiting then being six seconds behind and half the distance in 52 min. 15 sec., by the Cambridge man, with Whiting close up. At 13 ½ miles Whiting drew level and at 13 2/3 miles, when passing the pavilion, took the lead by sheer hard riding, but faltered in the back stretch, so Keith-Falconer again led the way and ran fifteen miles in 1 hour 2 min. 15 sec., being then 5 sec. to the good. During the eighteenth mile there was a deal of in and out running, but in the end Whiting still contented himself with second position. Twenty miles were run by the leader in 1 hour 22 min. 7 sec., with Whiting close on his shoulder. Now came some of the best riding ever witnessed, the last five miles being the quickest of the match. Keith-Falconer tried all he could to take a decided lead; but the long journey had told a tale and do what he would Whiting stuck doggedly to his outside shoulder. A mile from home they were three yards apart, and going along the top Whiting reduced the gap to a yard. Keith-Falconer, however, spurted in the straight and led by six yards at half a mile from the tape. Entering the last lap Whiting made his final effort, led by ten yards at the quarter-mile and won a race as creditable to the loser as the victor by 11 ½ sec., his full twenty-five miles occupying 1 h. 41 min. 16 ½ sec. Keith-Falconer eased up at the finish. The winner rode a 54-inch machine by Keen, of Surbiton, who waited on him in the contest and the loser a 60-inch machine by Humber, of Nottingham.

London Bicycle Club,.Illustrated London News, January 30, 1875; pg. 110

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