BENSON VETERAN CYCLE CLUB
51st ANNUAL RALLY
3rd July 2011
The ‘Benson’ is Great Britain’s top veteran cycle run. This year 200 entrants cruised around the lanes of Oxfordshire, taking in the villages of Roke, Berrick Salome, Chalgrove and Ewelme. The route was the reverse of last year’s event, which meant (thankfully) that we tackled more hills at the beginning than the end. The first long hill pictured below eventually defeated many of us on older bikes without gears.
Though you can see Ian in the background steaming up the hill on his penny.
The gearing on ordinaries is better-suited to hills than on early diamond-framed road bikes. Nevertheless, negotiating hills at this speed requires stamina.
Steve is not far behind Ian. You can see him below, just about to overtake a pair of riders who made it up the hill without dismounting.
Watching an ordinary being ridden at speed must have been an amazing experience in the 1880s – because the machine is so silent. The other fast options in Victorian times were noisy …panting horses, rattling coaches or clattering boneshakers.
Pulling in to the first pub involved a steep hill with a sudden stop.
There were many beautiful bikes on the run. Great Britain manufactured the greatest volume of quality bicycles, and at the Benson you see the cream of the survivors.
One of my favourites was Rod’s Ariel, above and below.
Phil’s turn-of-the-century Centaur Featherweight, below, is another superb machine.
LOSING THE HAT
Losing your hat while on the Benson Veteran Cycle Run is a long-standing tradition. It happened to me last year. This year, I was lucky enough to catch it on film.
SECOND PUB STOP
After orange squash and beer at our first stop, we pulled into The Lamb for lunch …and more beer.
I usually forget to ask someone to photograph me. Luckily Barry reminded me and took a pic, with my trusty 1903 Sunbeam, below. What with riding, socializing, drinking beer, photographing and videoing, I’m glad I used a ‘modern’ bike for this Run. On the IVCA Run last month, I realized that riding a solid-tyred safety took too much effort to fit in all the above tasks.
Many thanks again to the amazing Ned Passey (below, left) organizer of the Benson Run. And, of course, let’s not forget everybody’s favourite social commentator Colin Slater, below right, who clattered along with aplomb on his boneshaker.
MORE BENSON RUN VIDEOS
BENSON CYCLE JUMBLE
Before and after the Run, there’s a small cycle jumble. In this video – filmed 15 minutes before the start – you can see folks getting their bikes ready.
THE SUSSEX CREW
These are some of the rum fellows I ride with locally.
Left to Right: Yours Truly; Corin and Barry; Fabian; Julian; Ian.
2010 BENSON 50th ANNIVERSARY RUN