Cycling club marks 25th anniversary

Berwick Wheelers
Berwick Wheelers

Berwick Wheelers Cycling Club is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The club originated due to the efforts of one man, Ian Wilson, the owner of Wilson Cycles in Bridge Street. In the spring of 1988, Ian placed an advert in the Berwick Advertiser asking anyone interested in starting up a cycling club in the town to a meeting at the Turret Villa Hotel in Tweedmouth.

Around a dozen people turned up, and it was from this gathering that the Berwick Wheelers Cycling Club was formed.

During its first year the riders either toured or participated in club runs. However, after several members expressed an interest in racing it was decided to affiliate to the Road Time Trials Council (RTTC) in 1989, and the following year to the British Cycling Federation.

The first ever Berwick Wheelers Club event, a 10mile time trial on the A697 using Cornhill roundabout as the half way turn, was held on the 2nd of April 1989. On a cold Sunday morning with a strong wind blowing, 10 riders turned up and Jock McCraw from Morebattle was the winner.

For the next couple of years the Club was affiliated to the RTTC, but by the end of the 1991 season, a move to the Scottish Cyclists Union was suggested by members, as nearly all the events that club members were competing in were North of the Border. Negotiations took place with the three governing bodies. In the event there were no objections from either side of the Border and Berwick

Wheelers became a Scottish sports club in 1992 via the East of Scotland Cycling Association (ESCA). Today many of the Club’s members still reside in Scotland and riders are attracted from as far north as Dunbar and south as Alnwick.

Club membership peaked at 52 in the early years, the emergence of new cycling clubs at Auchencraw and Kelso reduced this number significantly. During the past few years the club has seen a resurgence in membership to 30 last year and new riders are joining all the time. The composition of the club has altered dramatically over the years, with veteran riders (over 40) now the main category. The increasing profile of cycling in the UK has recently seen new junior and ladies members joining for the first time in a number of years. Several members compete in triathlons, with the most successful being Eyemouth’s Joyce Mark, who was world age group champion in 1999 and European age group champion just last year.

As well as time trials, road racing and cyclocross, Club members take part in many sportives around the UK. A few, including two ladies, have recently completed the Lands End to John o’Groats challenge.

Club time trials are held on a Thursday evening from mid-April to early-September. Riders complete mainly over 10, 15 and 25 miles with a couple of 16 mile hilly races thrown in for good measure. The season ends with the hill climb championship.

In its anniversary year, the Wheelers will be promoting the ESCA 10mile time trial championship on Sunday 16th June.

For further information and club contacts, please go to www.berwick-wheelers.com.