Seacroft Wheelers was registered as a club in 1975 by Barbara Penrice, especially to help develop younger cyclists. Racing and time-trialling were later introduced as membership levels increased.
From inception, the club adopted as its emblem, a windmill – a long-standing local landmark located at the A64/A6120 ring-road roundabout. The windmill was originally used for grinding corn and dates back to the 1700s. It is still standing today and forms part of the Britannia Hotel (originally called The Windmill Hotel). No images of the mill with blades exist, other than from artists’ interpretations. The stylised version of the mill with blades was chosen because it signifies a more recognisable feature. The windmill still features on the club’s kit today, as recognition of the heritage and history of Seacroft Wheelers.
Over the years, the club evolved to encompass all riders interested in improving their fitness and cycling skills. As well as social rides most Sundays, the club organises several racing and time-trialling events in different disciplines, and works with other local clubs to support events that promote cycling in West Yorkshire.
Several members have won regional, national and even international awards and recognition in various disciplines, including track, road, time-trial and cyclo-cross.
Why join a cycling club?
“Joining Seacroft Wheelers is the best thing I have ever done”
Steve Kirk, 10 September 2017 (Hope Steve’s wife doesn’t read this 🙂 )
Whether you’re a complete beginner or already an experienced cyclist, there are lots to be gained by joining a club. Cycling clubs form the basis of cycling and cycle sport in Britain.
- Cycling with others is fun; group-riding provides energy-saving protection from the wind, and the camaraderie will motivate you to get out of bed on a Sunday morning in winter 😉
- Riding with others improves your skills and fitness quicker
- You discover new roads and routes that you never knew existed
- You learn more about about the mechanical workings of a bike (or at least have help at hand if you have a roadside puncture!), and how to ride more efficiently and effectively
- You have the opportunity to time-trial and compete against yourself, or against others if you choose to race.
Seacroft Wheelers is affiliated to the sport’s main organisations/associations, allowing you to participate in time trials and racing if you wish. (you will need a race license for the latter).
Origins and History
….the back story
Sometime late in 1973, John Baxter (then of Yorkshire Clarion) and his friend came across some kids (including Steve Barnes who later became a 3 times national trophy series CX champion) that were struggling whilst on a bike ride and assisted them home. The parents of those children were so impressed by the act, that they asked John if he could help to encourage the children to continue their interest in cycling.
By the spring of 1974, what was once just John and friends helping a couple of kids with their cycling had become the beginnings of Seacroft wheelers. The group of riders were made up of mostly youths and teenagers and they would meet up and do some regular training rides out towards Aberford and Lotherton way.
The club was growing and gained the attention of local cyclists Barbara and Mike Penrice. Barbara had been keen on starting her own club and she got in touch with John about taking the club to the next level. They registered it as an official club early in 1975, with a group of parents as support.
Barbara was member number 1, Mike was number 2 (although only second claim until marrying and moving to Leeds in late 1976).
Mike was in Huddersfield Star Wheelers at the time but was going out with Barbara. She had been in various Leeds clubs (Airedale Olympic, Leeds Westfield, Morley CC, Yorkshire Clarion) and was dissatisfied that none of them welcomed newbies. She saw how Huddersfield did things differently with beginners runs and a more welcoming approach and was keen to adopt this for Seacroft.
Barbara wanted to call the club East Leeds Wheelers but a democratic decision (by a majority of 10/11 year olds) was for Seacroft Wheelers. Two months in, the membership had risen to 49 (see newsletter number 1) and the club continued to build from there.
There were initial discussions for the club colours to be plain gold with blue edging, but BCF West Yorkshire refused to sanction that to avoid confusion with a stage race leaders jersey so orange and blue was settled on and they remain today.
The first Seacroft jerseys were knitted by hand (woollen) by a lovely lady called Sylvia (Johns wife) and friends (Linda and Mark).The second versions of the club jerseys were made with fabric and were printed with the logo and name on them. The logo was chosen because at Seacroft, there is a hotel called the Britannia hotel (originally called The Windmill Hotel) and it’s built around a windmill. They were looking for something to tie it to the locality and it was a choice of a windmill or a fish and chip shop!