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Rosslyn Ladies CC

         I dont know if anyone noticed the article in Cycling Weekly on 12th
November where they reviewed the emergence of the Rosslyn Ladies CC which
was formed in 1922. They were described as the 'suffregettes' of the cycling
world. At that time in cycling history women were not welcomed in many
clubs – they were frowned upon as daring to encroach into a 'mans' world –
even donning trousers and displaying their legs in the summer months with
the use of shorts was felt unbecoming. The article spoke of their clubruns
in Essex encountering jeering groups of male riders shouting abuse at them.

         Undaunted they continued to ride and, in fact promoted events
purely for ladies. Even into the 1950's ladies could not ride in the same
events as male riders, hence purely ladies events would be on offer. One of
their events was the famous Rosslyn Ladies 12 hour, an event that I
embarked upon on 10th September 1961 at the age of 18. The event was run
alongside the Eastern Counties 12 and attracted 17 lady riders. I only
decided to enter a couple of months before – my only training was open and
evening 10's, a few 25's and one 50, plus weekly clubruns with the 34th Nomads
or De Laune. On reflection not the best preparation, but I was keen. Tony
agreed to help me along with Fred and Di (Tony's parents) on their BSA
Bantum 125cc motorbike and Reg & Min Dawkins in their 'Baby' Austin car,
my Dad Sam Lawrence also came out on his bike to shout encouragement.

         The day before the event Tony and I rode 40 miles to Stanstead
where we stayed overnight with an ex-club member and his family, leaving us
just a few miles to ride on the day to the start. At that time you could ride
through Blackwall Tunnel on the pavement in the one tunnel with two way
traffic. I remember the course was based around Stumps Cross complex
and used various out and back legs all day, before travelling to the nearby
finishing circuit. Tony had created a schedule for me based on my
aspirations of 200 miles, the amount of 'training' I had done and the course.
The day was, as far as I can remember, a dream of a 12 hour day, dry, warm
and windfree. At times it seemed endless on some of the legs which, in some
instances were 20 miles in and 20 miles out. All the boys kept me going all

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