The Solihull Cycling Club is one of the most successful cycling clubs in Great Britain with a long and prestigious history going back to when the club was founded in 1929. Two friends, Tommy Hawkes and Eric Walker, discussed forming a cycling club together when they met by chance whilst out riding their bikes on Hampton Lane in Solihull. With two other friends, Arthur Holden and Ivor Goodman, their idea became a reality and who could have imagined how successful our founding members’ plan would be?
Throughout the 1930’s and the war years the club went from strength to strength. One of the club’s guiding principles, still maintained today, was that members embrace all aspects of cycling, from just enjoying being out on the bike through to organizing high quality events and even riding at international level. Right from the earliest days the club welcomed riders of all abilities and especially female riders even though some years ago this was viewed as rather “Avant Garde”!
The club went through a golden period in the decades after the war. We had numerous riders competing at the most senior level with many club members regularly winning honours at senior national, international, world championship and Olympic level. In almost every Olympics since the war there was at least one Solihull CC rider in the GB team and our club culture is epitomized by the fact that Tour de France rider Harry Reynolds who won a silver medal in the 1956 Olympics is still out with the club three or four times a week and that his son Keith also went on to international success including being an Olympian at the Los Angeles Olympics.
We have had so much racing success it is hard to comprehend – Olympic medals, Paralympic success, Tour de France participation, Commonwealth Gold medals, Lands End to John O’Groats record holders, numerous national champions in just about every discipline and of course the World Amateur Road Race Champion Graham Webb in 1967. But backing all of this up was the large amount of members riding our club runs several days a week and just having fun on a bike – and that is how we have remained until this day.
We are proud that we are a traditional club, and we have consciously chosen not to be sponsored, but that does not mean Solihull Cycling Club is not active or progressive. As the cycling scene has moved to an environment of sponsored teams for riders even at a regional level, seemingly changing their set-up and membership by the week, we have focused on several areas. We run high quality events of all kinds and contribute to organizing many British Cycling and League of Veteran Racing Cyclists events. But we now focus heavily on youth development and have a purpose-built cycling circuit in Tudor Grange Park Solihull, which forms the hub of our development activities.
Under the leadership of Life Member and Head Coach Robin Fox, this has proven to be an unprecedented success in developing future international talent. Dannielle Khan is a double Junior World Champion and along with many other young riders her success means that the Solihull Cycling Club is now viewed by British Cycling as the top development club for young riders in Great Britain with many now riding for Team GB at international level. But this success is balanced by every member, regardless of ability, sex, age or ethnic background being equally important to us.
Our founding members back in 1929 would have been proud of how successful the club has been. We have maintained their principles of welcoming riders of all abilities who just enjoy riding their bikes but we have continued to thrive in all areas of cycling and played our part in the success of British Cycling in its widest context. So whatever interests you about cycling, whether it is riding your bike, organizing events, coaching, or encouraging your children to cycle – the Solihull Cycling Club is the club for you!