The King’s Jester and the Balham Motor and Cycle Works


We’ve just got our hands on an old photograph of Balham High Road showing the The Dan Leno Motor and Cycle Works. With Dan Leno featuring in The Limehouse Golem, one of the major films of the year, we thought it timely to investigate the connection between Balham, Leno and Cycling and the story behind the shop that carried his name. Continue reading The King’s Jester and the Balham Motor and Cycle Works

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Arab Springs and Rational Jackets: South London cycling in 1884 (Part 1)


This month, we explore the South London Diaries series for the first time since the blog on June 2016.

What are they all about? Well, a 19th century South London cyclist has set a 21st century Strava challenge. He didn’t know it at the time, but when our Victorian trailblazer was writing about rides and times in his diaries for 1884 and 1885, he was chronicling some of the earliest ‘personal bests’ in London on record. Continue reading Arab Springs and Rational Jackets: South London cycling in 1884 (Part 1)

‘The Balham’ rides again on 120th anniversary


The reformed club heads out on its first club ride. 16 hardy South London cycling enthusiasts left the glamorous surroundings of Balham’s Sainsbury’s Car Park for Richmond Park trying to ascertain which pillock decided to launch a club in a January cold snap. Read about this historic moment here Continue reading ‘The Balham’ rides again on 120th anniversary

21 years of momentoes, photos and memoirs presented to Club by family of former secretary


Cheryl Button, the daughter of former Balham Cycling Club (BCC) secretary Ken Smith, was in London in November and she had a surprise gift for the soon to be relaunched club. Ken was a member of the BCC between 1936 and 1957 and before his death in 2013, compiled a scrapbook of his most treasured club mementoes and photos. It also included his memoirs spanning 21 years of life as a South London cyclist. Continue reading 21 years of momentoes, photos and memoirs presented to Club by family of former secretary

Wills on Fire: South Londoner smashes coveted 60-in-60 motor-paced world record


In 1908 former Balham CC club amateur turned professional AE Wills broke the coveted motor-paced distance record of 60miles in an hour.
“I almost shudder when I think of my experience in that hour. I was like a man mesmerized, my actions being automatic. The vibration and rapid pedaling seemed to take all the life out of me”.
Here’s his story. Continue reading Wills on Fire: South Londoner smashes coveted 60-in-60 motor-paced world record

The greatest cycling venue London never had: The rise and fall of Balham Hyde Farm


In the early 1890s Hyde Farm, Balham was set to become the premier cycling track in London. By 1896 it had closed with the land to be used for housing, a victim of construction to saturation point of cycling tracks in the good times, cycling’s sudden decline in popularity, and a champion cyclist’s determination to make Herne Hill the capital’s number one venue. Here’s the story of the greatest cycling venue London never had. Continue reading The greatest cycling venue London never had: The rise and fall of Balham Hyde Farm

Cycle in South London like it’s 1885: the rides and times of a Victorian trailblazer (Part 1)


A 19th century South London cyclist has set a 21st century Strava challenge. He didn’t know it at the time, but when our Victorian trailblazer was writing about rides and times in his diary, he was chronicling some of the earliest ‘personal bests’ in London on record. 131 years on that means times to beat! Continue reading Cycle in South London like it’s 1885: the rides and times of a Victorian trailblazer (Part 1)