I returned to the weekly “Club Room” meets throughout the Autumn & winter of 1961/2, with The Cyclists Touring Club. Their Southampton Section, as it was titled, organised weekly Sunday club-runs (rides), to a variety of destinations, always with afternoon tea booked at a venue.
These venues varied in type, from pubs that provided simple bread, cake and tea, meals, to the few cafes, or even a couple of farmhouses!
It was in about January, 1962 that I first embarked on an all-day ride.
The ride was planned to stop for lunch at the small village of Axford, between Basingstoke and The Candover villages. There was a plan to stop for tea/coffee in Winchester, so I rode to Winchester, & met the riders there at the prescribed spot.
It had been snowy in the days preceding that weekend, & unlike now, sharp grit was spread on the roads, rather than salt. This resulted in a spectacular number of punctures that day, mostly to one rider who had very thin and worn tyres. Luckily I did not fall victim to the puncture demon!
The pub at Axford (The Crown), was reached, but being only 14, I was not allowed inside by the landlord! I therefore was provided with a glass of orange juice, and left in an open hut to eat my sandwiches!
In those days pubs rarely provided any food, unlike nowadays. A packet of crisps was the most you could expect, along with, of course, plentiful supplies of drink!
We rode to Kingsclere, before heading south towards Overton, where tea had been booked, all the time with progress being interrupted by punctures!
Tea was taken in the upstairs room of a fish and chip shop (open on Sundays), and the ride back was in thickening fog, I remember!
It was on this ride that I was asked if I wanted to take part in the Easter tour (referred to earlier), & so from then I became a regular rider with the club each Sunday.
As that year progressed, I also continued my interest in following powerboat activities, as much as I could. This was mainly through buying the fortnightly “Motor Boat & Yachting” magazine, from the proceeds of my pay as a paper-boy.
There was to be another race that year from Cowes to Torquay, but, it clashed with bank holiday, and the cycling club’s weekend tour. I decided to go on the tour, and find out about the boat race from the media (Newspapers & magazine reports).
There was another reason to take part in the cycle tour though – the club had an attendance points trophy, and points were awarded for each days riding, so I was keen to keep my points count up!
I started to learn, through avid and detailed reading of the MB&Y, about some of the more technical details of the powerboats. The racing boats were, in the main, of “Hard Chine” design, whereas slower craft were “Round Bilge” in type. I read-up on these differences, and bought a book, which I still have, titled “Fast Boats”, by John Teale.
I was still interested in art, so spent many evenings at the dining table with paper and pencils, drawing lines of hard chine boats, which I thought were ideal for entry into powerboat races!
It must be mentioned here, that the rules as in use in the early 1960s, were mainly for boats with cabins and accommodation to be raced in the truly offshore events.
During 1962 however, smaller, open boats without accommodation were organised into classes for races as well.
All this time, of course, I was aged just 15, from March 1962, and being taught in readiness for our school examinations in early 1963. I had decided to stay on at school beyond my 15th birthday, when one could legally leave school in those days, and duly entered the 5th Form in September 1962.
I persuaded my father to take me to The Earls Court London Boat Show in January, 1963, where the winning boat from the 1962 Cowes-Torquay Race was displayed, afloat in the pool.
I think I paid my share of the expenses of this day out from my Christmas tips from the ‘Paper Round’.
I will continue my reminisces soon.
- Hazel Bateman: An Interactive Local History Talk by Martin Napier
Article Series by Martin Napier
- Part 1: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s-Ford: 1950s – 1960s
- Part 2: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: Paper Boy; North End School
- Part 3: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s Bonfire Night
- Part 4: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: North End School
- Part 5: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: Bicycle, Bicycle!
- Part 6: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: A Summer of Hope and Sorrow
- Part 7: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: The Big Freeze in 1963
- Part 8: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: Breaking Free from North End School
- Part 9: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s: My Passions with Bikes and Boats
- Part 10: Martin Napier: Growing up in Chandler’s Ford: 1950s – 1960s : Bikes, Boats, and Adventures
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