West Watford History Group

History of West Watford and environs


A History of Cycling

Posted by Watford on September 15, 2016 at 3:50 PM

Interested parties gathered at the West Watford Community Centre on Thursday 8th September for a talk by Peter Stray on the History of Cycling.

Peter brought along a lovely old racing bicyle and displayed it in all its shining glory on a stand in the corner - everyone had a chance at the end of the talk to check it over. There was a cigarette card book of very old models through to up-to-date ones, two or three guides to cycling and the maintenance of bicycles and a leather racing helmet about 30 - 40 years old that belonged to a friend of Peter and which was passed around for the group's interest. 

Peter spoke for just over an hour, first explaining that his area of expertise covered the activity in the 1920s and 1930s. However, he began by giving a brief description of how cycling evolved from the 1870s and how popular it became towards the end of the 19th century, "the golden age of cycling". 

This was followed by a look at how cycles changed over the years and how styles of dress are still influenced by what is best to wear whilst riding a bicycle. For instance, ladies in later Victorian times started to wear "rational dress, Plus 2s in tweed and a tweed jacket". 

The audience were asked to join in and much discussion took place about local bike shops and manufacturers.  The future of the cycle was also a keen topic.

With thanks to Peter Stray for the talk and Sue Ettridge for the write-up.

Categories: History Group Talks