The club was formed in 1935 during a boom time in cycling in Britain. Its first ever clubrun was from The Grove, on the corner of Dulwich Common and Lordship Lane. The club’s original name was the Dulwich Paragon Cycling and Social Club reflecting the fact that runs out into the countryside, club evenings and social events were as important to club members of that time as training and racing.
To a great degree, that original ethos has been passed down through the generations and apparent in the welcoming atmosphere the club presents today.
Within a few years war loomed making it difficult to maintain much in the way of club activities, with so many members involved in the conflict. But soon things picked up, with heavyweights of the track such as Wally Gimber (pictured top left) giving Reg Harris a run for his money often enough at Herne Hill and at other tracks.
Before long, riders were also enthusiastically trying their luck at bunched racing on the open road. Circuits such as Crystal Palace had allowed the club’s riders a taste of this discipline even while it was still banned on the open road but with the work of Stallard bearing fruit, soon a new generation found that they wished to aspire to races like those they read about and saw in Le Mirroir, riders like John Greatwood, pictured here winning the SE Region championship and going on to race with Tom Simpson in Gent.
These were also the times of huge club dinners, cross-toasting and formal prize presenations. One of our earliest members, Fred Robinson, is pictured with his wife Emmy (top right).
David Joss Buckley has written a fascinating history of the club’s early years.
And now you can read Part 2 – The War Years 1939-45.