The First 25yrs
Abertillery & District Wheelers Cycling Club
The exact date of the inaugural meeting of the club has been lost over the years. None of the former members can remember it, but recall that it was in the week following Whitsun, 1945. The meeting was held at the home of George Wynn's parents, at the Warm Turn, Aberbeeg, Abertillery.
The club records start with the Minutes of the first Annual General Meeting which was held on Sunday 30th 1945 at the Ambulance Hall, Six Bells. there were sixteen members present. The Minutes of the Inaugural Meeting were read by Harry Morgan. The officials elected were: Chairman - H. Morgan, General Secretary - Miss Gwen Parsons, Racing Secretary and Treasurer - George Wynn, Captain - Lionel Holland, Vice Captain - Alan Coles, Social Secretary - Reg Pengilly.
It was decided to affiliate to the National Cyclists Union, Road Time Trials Council and the Monmouthshire Cycling League. Club fees were 8/- for men and 4/- for women. This included individual affiliation to the N.C.U. The club night was Friday, 7 to 10 p.m. at the Six Bells Ambulance Hall. The rent was 2/6d per night, and the members agreed to collect this amongst themselves. The club colours were black and gold.
Jim Wood of the Cwmcarn Paragon R.C. had been killed on the cycle track at Abertillery during the previous Police Sports, and it was agreed to collect for a donation to the fund for his dependents.
Such was the basis on which the club was formed - a group of enthusiasts who had nothing to start with and who asked nothing from people, being prepared to help themselves and be self supporting.
During the first years, officials of the club were much the same. The accent was on touring, although racing was supported and members encouraged to take part. The club promoted open Time Trials, such as Hill Climbs and a Ladies "25", the number of members remaining about the same.
October 1949 saw a change of Secretary to the present holder of the office - Gordon Rowlands. October 1950. the Chairman changed to Alan Painter. He served until October 1954 when Alan Coles took over. He was followed in 1959 by John Richards 1959/64, Malcolm Sobey 1964/65, Dave Prescott 1965/68, and in 1968 Eddie Price took over.
In 1947 the club night was changed to a Thursday and was held at the Six Bells Ambulance Hall until the club was asked to take over the Guildhall, Castle Street, Abertillery. This was at the end of 1960. They remained there until forced to sell the premises to the Abertillery Council in 1965. The use was obtained of the Cricket club House in the New Park, Gelli Crug Park, Abertillery for the next year. Then the meetings were held at the Soffrydd Community Centre until the use was obtained of the present smaller room at the Bryngwyn School, Abertillery, in 1967.
There has been a steady fall in record times since the club was formed and many awards have been won by its members. In 1948, Ron Parsons won the Monmouthshire Best All Rounder, but it was not until 1966 that the title returned, this time with Brian Fry, who fulfilled the hopes of all members when he clocked 59:38 in the Stourbridge 25, to become our first 'under the hour man'
The club provided the Best All Rounder in the now defunct Noth Gwent C.A. for six out of ten years with Brian Ward, John Richards, Dave Lloyd, Mike Miles and Brian Fry, also the B.A.R. team for five years. In the Monmouthshire Cycling League we were champions in 1960 and 1964.
The club was instrumental in bringing about the formation of the North Gwent C.A. and the Monmouthshire Cycling League. Its members have acted as officials and Commitee men in all the South Wales Cycling Associations.
Active members have usually been found around the 15/20 mark. We also have life members, two Vice Presidents and a President, also Associate members who are non-riding members. In 1948, membership was 30 and 1955, 60. We cannot foresee any large increase in membership, but our hopes are for 25 really active members on the roads each year.
The club has promoted a large variety of Open Events over the years. Our current promotions are a 2 up 25 at the Welsh C.A. Whitsun Rally at Builty Wells, and a Road Race sponsored by the Welsh Breweries. This is hald at Abertillery Park. This year we promoted 29 time trials for members.
The officials of the club that form the Committeeare always open to receive suggestions. One of the things we find encouraging in the renewed interest by ex-members. Some hae rejoined and have found that it is not as hard as they thought. They found that after very little riding they were able to last full clubruns, and their health has benefited. All it took was the willpower to leave the motor at home, get used to 12 miles per hour instead of 40. They are very welcome, and we hope that more will follow their example, but if anyone would like to appear at events by car, as many do, we will only be too pleased to see them.
We hope that this magazine will reflect the character of the club over the past 25 years, and we believe that if it can be maintained, then we will certainly be here in 25 years time.
**Re-produced from Abertillery & District Wheelers 50th Anniversary Magazine in 1995