The North Road Cycling Club was founded in 1885 to 'Promote fast and long distance cycling on the Great North and other Roads'.
Most of the founding members were already members of other clubs and the intention was to establish a club primarily for racing and record breaking. However from the very beginning the all male membership enjoyed a very varied and full social life during the non racing season.
From its earliest days the Club, which recruited its members from the comfortably off even wealthy middle classes was in the forefront of the development of cycle sport, particularly road racing.
Four North Roaders were in the van of continental road racing when in May 1891 M.A.Holbein, G.P.Mills, T.A.Edge and P.C.Twentyman travelled to France to compete in the first Bordeaux-Paris to "show the Frenchmen how to ride". They were brilliantly successful. Mills was first followed at 1 hr 14 mins by Holbein who was in turn 2 hrs 33 mins in front of Edge in third place. Mills time was 26 hrs 34 mins and 57 secs.
The Club was a founding member of the Road Records Association and the Road Time Trials Council (now the C.T.T). When the "Authorities" began to look with a lack of favour on bunched racing on the open roads, "it frightened the horses", it was a member of the NRCC who devised the Time Trial which was the backbone of cycle sport in the UK for more than 50 years.
The Club was responsible for the very first 24 hour race in and, war years excepted, continued to promote what became almost a legendary event until the years when road traffic conditions made its continuance untenable.
After the First World War the Club established the Memorial '50', exactly that and the event is still extant today, albeit a 50 kilometre Time Trial on a circuit in North Hertfordshire.
In 1960 the Club made a further foray into the field of International Cycling following the 1891 Bordeaux-Paris adventure.
To celebrate the Club's 75th anniversary year it was decided that the Memorial 50 should be an International race and teams representing England, Scotland, Wales, Belgium, Holland and France were invited to compete. The highly successful promotion, the first of its kind, was won by an English rider Jowers; the English also took first team. The first Continental riders were 5th and 6th, but it should be noted that just three days earlier they had competed in the Manx International.
In 1960 the Club took over the 'Hardriders', a 25 mile Time Trial run off on the last Sunday in February since 1939 over a hilly circuit on minor roads and lanes in South Herts and the race still takes place each year and is now accepted as the opening 'classic' of the time trial season.
Additional to these two time trials the Club promotes a Grass Track Race meeting in Hertford in May each year and a Road Race usually in July. The Club's premier promotion was the Tour of Herts, a road race over 100 miles around a large piece of North Herts which attracted a top class field, but this event has lapsed because the Hertfordshire Constabulary are unable to provide the resources to escort it.
Despite many ups and downs the Club is still very much a live organisation when so many have gone down. Membership averages 150 and has a very full programme of social and competitive events. The North Road Gazette founded in 1903 has been published monthly without a break ever since and chronicles the Clubs life and members exploits. The Club has produced two histories of itself. 'The First 50 year of Road Riding' in 1935 and 'The Second 50 years of Road Riding' in 1985.
Taking up or returning to cycling?
Join us on a Sunday club run.
We meet from 9:20am on Sunday mornings at Highway Cycles, Hartham Lane, Hertford SG14 1QN, by the coffee kiosk. Rides get underway from 9.40am, and are usually between 20 and 40 miles to a cafe and back.
There's more info in our Club Runs page,