BCC On-road and off-road: 2019 Year In Review

So that was 2019. Some lovely rides, some hugely enjoyable nights out and lots more in-between.

There was plenty of opportunity to get out on the bike and soak up some stunning views. We headed out on 11 social rides with rider numbers hitting 40 for the first time. We also held six club rides including favourites, The Full Set – that took in four counties – and the BBB Balham-Brighton-Balham. Two new rides were introduced, Plane Spotting that flirted with Gatwick and Redhill airports and the Pulborough 100, held almost 120 years to the day when BCC ventured to the same Sussex Village for a cycling camp.


In October we joined forces with Bella Velo Cycling Club for a 100km ride as part of breast cancer awareness month. 90 of us hit the road, raising money for One More City. Bikes were ridden, new friends made and fiscal targets hit, with our efforts playing a small part in ensuring a PhD student will start at the Imperial College Lab to research secondary breast cancer.

In November we held our third Balham Rough Stuff. Wet and windy the day before, the resulting surface debris had left the riding difficult – even uphill. A proper challenge!

Throughout the year members took on our Box Hill Strava climbing challenge. Podium places changed hands regularly but strong early rides from Ed (in May) and Rachel (in July) were good enough to claim KoM and QoM glory. Congrats to both. It also marked the first time we gave out some medals.


We built on our 2018 group ride practice sessions and launched the Richmond Park Midweeker. It provided an opportunity for members to inject some high intensity training into their year while practicing those group-riding skills. We then usually undid all this good work by heading to the Belleville Tap room.

 Off Road

2019 kicked off with the AGM and Social in January with a fantastic turnout at the Grove. We also had a great session at Njinga Cycle Training & Performance where Pedal technique was the focus. Verdict – ‘highly recommended for all levels’.

With the Grand Tour season kicking off in May we thought we’d get in the mood with a Grand Tour of our own. We headed to Balham’s Wine Tasting Shop for the BCC Grand-Tour Wine-Tour to sample the best wines from the French, Spanish and Italian regions that are as famous for the big stage races as they are for the best grapes in Europe.

If you thought the Tours were exciting this year you should have seen the BCC Fantasy League. Nick ‘The Pick’ Screen scooped the BCC Virtual Tour de France and Vuelta double. The lead changed hands in the TdF several times before Nick beat Joe to top honours on the final day.

A rule of being a cycling club – probably – is that you’re not officially a sports club until you have your first quiz night. So, we had one! The night in the Dynamo included a round of questions on Balham. Think you know your neighbourhood? Well test yourself here.

Pubs and food were never far away from our thoughts. We took our new found love of the Belleville Brewing Co. London Tap and embraced their posh hot dog night.

The Devonshire September Social has established itself as ‘a thing’ to share some laughs and memories from the summer season.

Our Photo of the Year competition provided an ideal vehicle for members to highlight some spectacular pics of them in action.

Club matters

To help the running of the club we introduced a number of initiatives. The BCC Domestique role was launched to assist ride leads in setting the tempo and assisting in guiding.

We ran a first aid course delivered by First Aid For Life. “Barry” the mannequin and his mates were put through some rigorous CPR. Some bespoke cycling emergency hints and tips included in the day. Everyone passed!

Elisabeth joined the ranks of BCC British Cycling qualified ride leads after completing the British Cycling Ride Leadership Combined Level 1 and Level 2 award.

We’ve made lots of small changes ‘under the hood’ to help the club run as smooth as possible. One included splitting the Cortado group using the club Cortado-meter!


In February we headed to Wandsworth Town Hall for nibbles with the Mayor as the club was shortlisted for Club/Organisation of the Year at the Wandsworth Active Awards.

Balham CC entered and then won its first competitive race in a space of five weeks! After a BCC trio raced in a Lea Valley CC Criterium in September, James Buchanan made a little bit of history winning a Cat 4 race at the Full Gas Cycling series.

We had a record number of us at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive with 25 of us making it to the Queen Elizabeth Park start line through a mix of ballot, club and charity places. We’re also all booked up for our first ever Balham Tour with a large contingent heading off to Dartmoor in May!

In 2019 we broke the 100-membership mark (currently standing at 117).

Cool stuff

Two years after launching the BCC black and red jersey based on a design from the 1940s, we launched the #bccontour jersey for sunny days in foreign climes and the (occasional) hot British summer’s day.

The website was completely rebuilt and went live in 2019 with a clubhouse section for members.


We’ve continued to unearth more about Balham CC’s history and celebrate our heritage. The families of famous BCC riders Bill Bragg and AW Hunt got in touch with some new stories and photos. We also got our hands on a new standard medal from 1957, a 92-year-old club medal impression die a 1947 Balham Rough Stuff entry form and a London Centre 25 Mile Tandem race programme that offered a revealing insight into the BCC promoted track race.

We pieced together the story of the Epsom Running Race for Cyclists using the club newsletter and some fantastic photos from a relative of FC Bartholomew, we were also able to share the photos of S Howells and purchase a postcard of BCC members at the 1922 World Trials.

The BCC Chairman teamed up with the Balham Society at the 2019 Lambeth Heritage Festival to share the story of cycling in Balham and we also got together with The Cyclist pub to put some of our treasures on public show.

And that was 2019. Roll on 2020!



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