One of our longest standing members Cis George died on the 13th October at the age of 87. Together with her husband Bert they joined the RSF in 1956. If ever it could be said of a couple cycling was their life this was true
of Bert and Cis. Not just touring ( cycle camping in Scotland being a particular favourite as was Sardinia) but also racing mostly for Kingston Phoenix at all distances from 10 miles to 24 hour races. Throughout a lifetime of cycling she certainly cycled over 300 000 miles. She once showed me a newspaper cutting from 1967 headed ' Housewife Champion' recording her victory in a 24 hour race. Cis lived most of her working life in Surrey however for the past 20 years she lived in Evenjobb near New Radnor . Not surprisingly she had extensive knowledge of tracks in the Welsh borders . Although unable to cycle for the pat few years she continued to welcome cyclist to her home to chat and share her memories of days awheel . She attended this years Easter meet at Rhayader after a gap of many years.
A DEDICATED CYCLING COUPLE: A TRIBUTE TO BERT AND CIS GEORGE by Steve Griffith
It is sometimes said of a dedicated cyclist “cycling was their life” or “they lived for cycling”. This was certainly true for Bert and Cis George who took part in practically all aspects of cycling for nearly 70 years.
Bert (AW), born in 1908 was originally from Liverpool. He rode for various Liverpool clubs until his work as a sheet metal worker brought him south and then he rode for Kingston Phoenix. His name regularly features in race results in the first 10 with better performances over longer events. Bert’s other main interest was photography at which he clearly excelled. A number of Rough Stuff Journals feature his picture including a dramatic cover shot in January 1988 of someone carrying a cycle across Striding Edge (a knife edge of rock on top of Helvellyn in the Lake District). At the time of his death he was a vice President of the RSF...
For Cis born 1921 cycling was originally an escape from a very restrictive upbringing. She was thought of as a sickly child and one would be destinies to go into service. An individual of great strength of character she proved both these wrong. Prior to WW2 she had been a very keen CTC rider. With the outbreak of war many of the club were called up and Cis being underage took on the role of editing the club magazine for the Kingston Phoenix. Cis had extensive correspondence with club members serving in the forces so much so that there were cases when she was aware of a death in service before the family. As her box of cups and medals show she was very successful in women’s time trials.
The rapid growth of the Youth Hostelling movement in the 1930’s meant even cyclist on low wages could stay away. The format was half day Saturday (most people still working Sat AM) ride to the hostel with a longer ride home on the Sunday. Being based in South West London Hampshire and Surrey were favoured areas with hostels at Waggoner’s Wells (Hindhead), Flackwell Heath (near High Wycombe) and Four Marks (near Alton) being popular.
Clubs they were members of included Liverpool and District TT, Tudor CC, Kingston Phoenix, CTC, RSF, FCOT, 300 000mile club.
Living in East Moseley and riding for the Kingston Phoenix they rode Carpenters and Rotrax’s . Cis recalls Carpenter as very supportive of the club and always welcoming to club members. This was in contract to the other lightweight dealer in Kingston Cyril Wren who was regarded as most unfriendly.
The cycling year: for many years there was a fairly fixed framework:
Jan: Club dinners, early seasons training rides usually on fixed
Feb: Early season restricted gear time trials. Bert was a frequent participant in the Balham CC Rough Riders 25 which was partly on unmade up roads
March/April: Easter Tour, pre- war a favourite was the Towy valley in Mid Wales. Leaving early on Good Friday it was possible to cycle there and back (400 miles|) over the weekend with time spend on pass storming.
After 1955 Bert and Cis attended the RSF Easter meet which was held at a different venue most years. This combined an AGM, slide show and rides
May to July: Longer time trials 12 and 24 hour eg Bath Road
Marshalling at events
August: Annual holiday cycle camping. Highlands of Scotland being a favourite although in later years they graduated to continental touring with Corsica and the Alps being favourites. York Rally camping
September/Oct: Hill climbs
Start of social season with slide shows
November and December: Social season in full swing Photo competitions. Prize giving at annual dinners. Mince pie runs pre Xmas.
With retirement they moved to Evenjobb near Kington in the Welsh borders. Sadly Bert’s cycling was curtailed in the early 1990’s due to being hit twice by careless motorists. He died in 1994, Cis for health reasons did not ride beyond the mid 1990’s but she continued to provide an open house to cyclists, she died in 2008. Many of Bert’s medals are now in the National Cycling Museum in Llandrindod Wells.
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