Newsletter of the Auckland Cycle Touring Association. (Inc).
President: Arthur Sharp Secretary: John Gregory Ph: 07 823 1938
Ph: 625 6508 Editor: John McKillop Ph: 534 7908
Treasurer: Ken Blount
Ph: 836 4090
Number 37 July – August 1997
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE AUCKLAND CYCLING TOURING ASSOCIATION
The club came into being as the result of an advertisement by the Physical Welfare Division of the Department of Internal Affairs for cyclists to form a touring group.[1949). At this time they were supportive of various sporting activities. Many sporting groups blossomed as a result of the Empire Games in New Zealand in 1950. The club expanded, as did others in various towns, leading to the formation of the New Zealand Cycle Touring Association based in Wellington. An annual Easter Rally was established, hosted at various centres. Both groups had the Governor General of the time as Patron.
Auckland reached a maximum membership of about 120, and had a programme of weekly runs, long weekend and annual tours, and a series of fun events such as the Hill Climb, Rough Stuff ride, 50 miles in 4 hours, 100 miles in 8 hours, 150 miles in 12 hours and 240 miles in 24 hours, and a Map Reading Contest. A weekly clubroom meeting was held to discuss rides, play table tennis and darts, and enjoy a cup of tea.
With the growing affluence of the fifties, realising the dream of a car for the average man, membership and participation declined, and by 1960 official runs finished. The club held together by social evenings at each other’s homes, and a few members were still riding actively. The N.Z.C.T.A. came to an end, although Wellington still had a good riding nucleus.
With the start of the energy crisis about 10 years ago, and the bicycle boom in the U.S., and the Japanese entry into the market with cheap and reliable quality products, cycling again took off here. The club decided to re-activate it’s riding programme, initially with a monthly run, then fortnightly and eventually weekly. In addition, we have had the weekend and longer tours assisted various overseas visitors with itinerary planning.
Whilst we feel sure there is a large field of enthusiasm to tap and build up a strong group, growth demands time and involvement, which done in free time means less time for riding, so we have not gone out to recruit. At present we have an enthusiastic core with a minimum of committee meetings, a large store of information on international travel, which could be useful for many riders and increased with our meeting of overseas riders. The feeling is that provincial town groups could be built up again, but such would involve paid secretarial remuneration and stationery expenses. Success breeds success we are told. We hope the New Zealand Council can start the tourist wheel rolling to greater numbers.
The above report was written by Arthur Sharp back around 1983. I am sure that newer members will be interested in the beginnings of the club.
10 February, 1914 – 24 June, 1997
How does one compress forty years of cycling friendship into a few brief lines?
It started while I was flatting with Norman Chilcott, like George a Life Member of the C. T. C., when a note arrived to make contact.
At that time Norman and I were about the only two active riders, but the Club held together with socials at various homes. The turn round in activity occurred when George saw a photo and article of Chas King cycling home to new Lynn from Tech. He got in touch with Chas, we had a meeting and restarted Club runs with a ride along the Scenic Drive.
With the new enthusiasm the monthly run gave way to fortnightly, then weekly, runs and all the various long weekends we have since enjoyed. So George was a leading light in that resurgence.
You could always tell when George was around there would be laughter and chatter as he cracked a joke, or recounted some of the funny incidents in his much-travelled life. And did he travel!!
Trips to U.K to visit family and friends, cycling with Mabel to Greece en route to his job in Calcutta; using the rickety local buses across Mexico with various “scroggin” feeds in their packsacks in case the wayside offerings seemed dubious: the safari trip in Africa; getting mugged while walking in Nairobi.
So many journeys which he recounted to us and illustrated with his slides.
When he was not cycling or travelling he was constantly helping fellow wanderers, picking up or taking people to the airport providing a bed, helping them on their way.
He had a Bedford Campervan which took Mabel and him all over NZ Like all vets, it got a bit dodgy in its old age, but George kept it tuned ready for some and the visitor to take off in, and the pleasure they expressed of their trip was a happy reward for George.
The kindness and joviality that was the embodiment of George reflect for me and, I know, the whole Club the memories of all those years.
The club was enriched by his personality and he leaves me with a sound foundation to build on.
One of the features that one could not help noticing about George and Mabel was that they always spoke about “We”, and that was a very important principle in their lives together. So when I first made contact with George, as he would say. “by telephonic communication”, he invited me around to 15 Wintere.
One of my team at A.T.I had a daughter who wished to become a journalist with the Herald and she was advised to do a feature on someone, As a result, she arranged to visit me with a photographer and George saw the photo. One of the ATL staff called at Lucas for some parts and George handed him his card, suggesting that I phone him I learned that ACTA had been running for some time but that lately.due to marriage and other claims on members time, little cycling took place. I was in a similar situation with a new house and section taking up all my spare time.
I later met up with Arthur Sharp and Norman Chilcott. After being without a bike for about 17 years I bought a second-hand road racing bike, tried modifying the gears and then came George’s invitation.
George and Mabel gave me a warm welcome and I settled back to enjoy the conversation of this group with a variety of English accents talking about the bike rides they used to have I enjoyed this talk for a while and then butted in to explain that having recently returned to cycling. I was looking for some company A meeting was arranged at my home and once again, the wheels were set in motion enabling me to enjoy many hours and miles of cycling with the АСТА.
I have to admit that, in recent times the pattern of my cycling has been similar to George’s when we come to hills a gap opens up in front of us But, as George has remarried on more than one occasion. “We are most fortunate at 50+ to be able still to get out on a bike”.
So I have to say a very sincere “Thank You” to George for introducing me to the company of ACTA. You remained cheerful in spite of problems. We will miss you, George, not least your stories of Albert.