By the 1890s cycling clubs were providing not just companionship for touring but also competition. Turn of the century Dorking could boast a number of clubs, amongst them: the Dorking Cycling Club, the Dorking Temperance CC, the Betchworth CC, the Dorking Working Mans CC, the Old Paulonians CC, and the Junior Conservative CC.
The Dorking Cycling Club, formed in May 1887 by a group of tradesmen, had over 100 members by 1900. Club runs were held twice weekly throughout the summer and members took part in early track and road races. The highlight of the sporting year was the athletic sports held from 1889 at Pixham Lane on August Bank Holiday Monday. Cycle races featured prominently with 1 mile and 3 mile events for bicycles and tricycles of different types.
The Old Paulonians’ Cycling Club was formed in 1900 by former pupils of St. Paul’s School. Unlike the Dorking CC it survived the First World War and became a very active competitive club. Summer time trials over 25, 30 and 50 miles were held on a Sunday morning with competitors setting off at 5am from the bandstand in South Street at 1 minute intervals. The early start enabled competitors to avoid both congestion on the roads and the local police: racing on the road was strictly illegal so the cyclists wore black to evade detection by watching officers. The club also took part in stop watch competitions and hill climbs up Box Hill, reaching the peak of its popularity in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Dorking and the Olympics: The Second World War may have brought an end to the Old Paulonians’ activities, but Dorking and the surrounding hills have remained a popular cycling destination. The town boasts several cycling shops, including S C Fullers, which has traded for 115 years. So it is fitting that in 2012 the Olympic cycle route will bring cyclists to Dorking to complete a 15.5km (9.6 mile) circuit up the Zig Zag hill to the top of Box Hill. The Box Hill loop will be repeated several times, contributing significantly to the 240km (149 miles) distance for the men’s race and the 130km (80.78 miles) course for the women’s.
|? Dorking||? Dorking Museum|
|? Cycling as a social movement||? Lady Harberton and Women Cyclists|
|? Cycling for all||? Early Cycling in Dorking|
|? 19th Century Surrey||? Cycle Speedway|