Veteran Voices Collection

This Veteran Voices Collection is made up of written Recollections, old Photographs and audio recording from the past times of our members and former members.

The collection has contributions from or about

      1. Gordon Mead
      2. John Crighton
      3. Kath Shipley
      4. Margaret Hearn
      5. Sharon Clifford
      6. Mel Cox
      7. Eadie Atkins
      8. Bertram Upward
      9. Mike Thomas
      10. Tony Cooper
      11. Ray Hudson
      12. Eileen Sheridan


Gordon Mead in 2016

Gordon has made two contributions. In the first, Gordons Story , he covers almost 90 years of cycling memories strting from his childhood, through to ‘discovering’ the CTC  just after the War, his cycling adventures both in the UK and abroad, and the changes that have occured over the years in the equipment, the cyclists he rode with, and the up and downs of riding with CTC Coventry.

The second, It’s been a Long Journey , Gordon gives more details of his impressions and in particular the characters that made such an impression on him





John Crighton in 2018. I was taking part in the Velo Retro ( 30miles Le Loafeur) in the Lake District with daughters Hilary ( in pic) and Elaine as part of my 80th birthday celebrations. We were all on 1982 bikes. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. My jersey was a present I got the day before! It’s a replica of a Charlie Gaul jersey . He wasn’t the most popular person, but he did win the TdF in 1958 so don’t get his pic mixed up with mine!

Having been introduced by Gordon in 1960 to cycling with CTC Coventry John had just over two years cycling with us but in that short but intensive time he made many good friends and built up indelible and very fond memories. In this, Your Road to Happiness , his recollections paint a happy and fulfilling impression of cycling with our Club.


Plus some images from John



Kath Shipley looks all the way back to cycling with the Club as a youngster in 1948 when organised cycling was perhaps more of a family aligned activity, and a key part of members non-working life. Memories of the Family Section, shows how she had different experiences and how she grew ‘through the ranks’, to cycling with the adults.




In Recollections of the BCTC , Margaret Hearn looks back in time to when her family all competed in the British Cyclist Touring Competition – a challenging event to plan a route using many exotic route plotting skills, and ride routes using advanced route following skills. (Ah, those pre-GPS and pre-Garmin days when Ride Leaders needed proper skills !) 

Judging from the photos the whole occasion seems to be a very happy experience.



These are some initial ‘braindump’ recollections from Sharon of Birthday Rides back in the late 80’s to early 90’s, Sharon Clifford stories.  We will be doing some more work with her to gather the photos and polish the text.



Mel has send in a bit of a ‘mixed-bag’ of old photographs which we will be working our way through, sorting out and properly captioning.


This audio recording is from an interview that Pete Seamen did back in 1997 with Eadie Atkins of her extraordinary Lands End to John o’ Groats ride and on to 1000 miles.

Pete Seamen interviewing Eadie Atkins



I saw your spread in the CTC magazine and it reminded me of my father’s cycling exploits. Bertram Upward. He loved touring in the Cotswolds and Derbyshire in the 1930’s on his Claude Butler. He was President for a couple of years in the 1950’s  and committee meeting were held at our house in Rugby.

Not sure when it was taken but it must be 1930ish. I like what appears to be a fag in the hand and probably a carbide front lamp. There was an old lamp in in our shed and as I’m sure you know the carbide mixed with water and gave off acetylene which was ignited (I used to put it in inkwells at school).

Sometimes he took me out time keeping or to watch racing at The Butts. When he died in 1983 I came back from Bristol to help clear the house and popped into a bike shop – I think in St Mathews Street – to buy a few bits and when I handed in my credit card they recognised the surname and asked after him.

I’m very glad to see Coventry Cycling Club thriving. I am now 78 but still doing a few miles each week with Bristol Thursday Old Timers,

John Upward


I shall always remember getting my first bike. I came home from school and my Mum said I have a surprise for you, and proceeded to put a blindfold on me and lead me into the front room where I discovered a gleaming new bike. My second bike was passed downto me by a friend of my Dad’s; a classic 531 Sun which became my main mode of transport as a teenager. As well as getting me to school it allowed me to explore Warwickshire with scouting friends. This bike also served me well lugging Sunday newspapers around Kenilworth that helped save enough money to buy fourwheels, which became the start of 20 years of my ‘dark ages’ hardly ever getting on a bike.Exercise in the ‘dark ages’ consisted mainly of climbing and walking the mountainsand, in order to keep fit for this, I used to run with friends. Eventually we all suffered with knee problems and one by one started cycling as an alternativethat was kinder on the knees. At this stage the cycling with the same friends was just a means of keeping fit, but after a while, some of us joined the Coventry Road Club and enjoyed their company on their Sunday morning rides, plus occasional weekends away. However,not really being competitive, I had no interest in their time trials, so didn’t feel part of their core activity. Having been on their 75 year celebration ride to Napton, I was aware of the Coventry CTC, so I decided to join them for their Sunday rides, and soon realised that although the pace was slower, the CTC offered far more varied and interesting rides. I was soon joining them on UK tours and became inspired by the winter clubroom talks and recognisedthat touring waswhat I really wanted to do on two wheels.The first tour I did with the CTC group was from Coventry to the East Coast, and I really enjoyed seeing the varied countryside go by, and revisiting the lovely coastal places such as Wells Next the Sea which my Dad took us to many times as kids. Cycling with the group soon became a case of riding with like minded friends, and we have enjoyed some super tours in Wales, Plymouth to Coventry, to the Yorkshire Dales from Coventry and Bob Tinley’s imaginative tour following the River Severn almost to its source, and then the Wye back down to the Severn Estuary. However the overseas tours have really been my favourite: joining the group for part of their tour from home to Nice, and the tours in Provence, Normandy, and Sardinia were all great experiences.Cycle touring has not only been with our CTC group; I’ve enjoyed some great tours with a group of friends from the Midland Ski Club. Initially these were in the UK mainly following sections of the Sustrans National Cycle Network; the Lon Las Welsh route from Cardiff to Holyhead, Lands End to home, York to Edinburgh on the NCN Coast and Castles route, then Carlisle Glasgow Inverness. This group also ventured overseas to Sardinia, Provence, Tuscany, and Normandy.However,some of the most memorable cycle tours have been abroad with my wife Ann. Our first was camping in Tuscany. We left home at 5:30amand cycled to Birmingham Airport for a flight to Pisa, and by 10:30 we were standing by the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Another happy memory was cycling from Geneva to Nice. Initially this was to visit our friends in Annecy then on to join the Route des Grandes Alpes going over the wonderful passes including the Galibier in amazing weather. We deviated from this famous route to visit the Gorge de Verdon and on to Nice. We have fond memories of cycling the East Cape route on the North Island of New Zealand. This followed the very scenic Pacific Coast Road. Lands End to John O’Groats was something we wanted to do inspired by friendsphotos. Seeing the varied counties roll by was superb. However,our most enjoyable cycle tour was in Canada based on a fourweek tour from Vancouver to the Rockies. This culminated in a threeday ride from Jasper to Banff with the most spectacular views imaginable.


Congratulations on your Centenary!

I am a life member of the CTC currently living in California. As a teenager I rode regularly with the Leamington and Warwick Section in the 1950’s. “Mac” Webster and his wife were the backbone of the Section. Looking through the list Certificate of Merit the names Bob Kemp, Geoff Collins, Jim and Janet Willis are familiar. I participated in many CTC Tours led by Ken and Jane Wilkie in 1990’s and 2000’s in UK, Europe, Colorado and Utah.

My parents Frank and Edith Cooper were for many years active in the Coventry CTC Section. I do not know the years exactly but it was probably started in the early 30’s. They would have been aged 13 when the Section formed. They rode with Bob Kemp and I recall watching with fascination Bob’s annual slide show of his trips to Europe. For my parents cycle camping with Coventry CTC was always their annual holiday mostly in Wales or Devon. They attended the Meriden Service every year.

My mother lived with us in California for many years and passed away at 106. She was an avid reader of the CTC magazine to the end and would have been thrilled to know of the Centenary. She loved to pedal her exercise bike well past her 100th year.


Leamington and Warwick Section leaving the Pump Rooms for Sunday Ride (Late 1950’s)

 My mother shocked the neighbourhood by riding in shorts! They were avid Sturmey Archer fans and never thought derailleurs would catch on. Here are some cycles and fashions from those bygone days    

Frank and Edith Cooper (1930’s)


Always time for Ice Cream …
…and time for cooling off !




Ray Hudson Valedictory by Sheila


As recalled by Dave Hearn

Constance Eileen Sheridan (new Shaw) was born in Coventry on October 18th 1923. She passed away on February 12th 2023, aged 99 years.She married Ken Sheridan in 1942. In 1944 she joined Coventry Cycling Club. She enjoyed touring at first without any racing interest or ambitions, saying club camaraderie was the greatest thing she got from riding her bike. However after riding a club time trial (and breaking the club record in the process) she got the racing bug.

Britain's record-breaking cyclist Eileen Sheridan dies aged 99 | More sports News - Times of India

At 4 feet 11 inches she became known as the Mighty Atom and went on the break each and every women’s cycling record in the 1940’s and 1950’s. This included 12 hour and 24 hour time trial records plus Land’s End to John O ‘Groats.In 1951 she turned professional and signed a contract to ride for Hercules Cycles, continuing to re-write the record books.

One of her Hercules cycles is on display in Coventry Transport Museum.

Another English record-breaker, Eileen Sheridan and her Hercules Maestro bicycle. The original specifications are on the next slide. : r/Vintage_bicycles

After retirement she remained in cycling to some degree.

CTC Coventry we’re delighted to have her as guest of honour at their 75 anniversary dinner 1996. (See page 13 of our 75th Anniversary Booklet.)


A lovely lady who will be remembered alongside Beryl Burton as possibly the greatest British female cyclist ever. She will be greatly missed.