THE OGMORE VALLEY WHEELERS
by Harry Radcliffe
(Member from 1936 - 53)
Ogmore Valley Wheelers Hand Made Prototype Badge
The “Ogmore Valley Wheelers” were formed in 1933 by a group of out of work miners. The first meetings took place in Billie Watts’ Ironmongers come Cycle Shop in Llewellyn Street, from where you could hire push bikes for a penny a day.
The boys would meet in the day and then decide where to go, and as the club grew stronger, a few boys would go for twenty five mile time trials, racing from Ewenny roundabout to Tonyrefail and back.
This gradually lead to going further and further afield, as the many occasions we would come home from work, have a quick bath in the house, meet up in Cemetery Road, and ride to Bristol for a twenty-five or thirty mile race with a stay in Patchway followed by the ride home for work the next day.
We would often cycle to Newport and phone ahead to check if the ferry was running from Aust, if not it would be through the tunnel and on to Bristol.
During the Second World War, our members served with the Dispatch Riders, Home Guard, Fire Service, First Aid and the A.R.P. at home whilst many of our members served overseas in the forces, including Billy and Bertie Jones, in North Africa, Bob Sprat “Aber Houses”, Dai Morris and Mike King in the R.A.F.
We would send all serving members ten shillings every month with a special mention to the late Bill Parkhouse, founder member, Secretary and President. The “Wheelers” were host to many cyclists during the war with regular challenges from RAF Saint Athan and the army taking on our local “fast boys” such as Arthur Hopkins, Harvey Alford from Devon, Bevin Boy Ogmore Wheelers, Tom and Walt Pritchard , whose only aim was to beat the twenty five miles in one hour target.
After the war the club went from strength to strength with a turn out every Sunday with a turnout that stretched from Ogmore Workingman’s Club right up to the Railway Station, including many tandems and sidecars attached for the little ones.
An early highlight for the club was when a group of us cycled up to Herne Hill in London to see the 1000 metres scratch at the XIV Olympiad of 1948. “Ghella” from Italy winning the gold with Reg Harris winning silver and Denmark taking bronze.
As I write this today, the club is still going strong with around forty five members racing all over the country, including Mike King still riding at 81.
Radcliffe, Harry. (2002).The Ogmore Valley Wheelers.The Ogmore Valley Local History and Heritage Journal, Volume 3, p 64.
Harry Radcliffe starting the Welsh Road Race in 2011. (In the Club's 80th Year)