The Glasgow Wheelers club is one hundred this year and there’s a new book telling the story of the club, its characters and their role in the development of Scottish cycling
The Glasgow Wheelers cycling club – to give it its full name – is one hundred years old this year which, claim the Wheelers (to give it its preferred name), makes it the longest continuously-run club in Scotland. We suspect there might be a few clubs ready to contest that claim…
Nevertheless, the Glasgow Wheelers does have a long and illustrious history. A history which takes in everything from having a rider in the first Olympic road race in 1936, providing the winner of the first-ever televised road race and being the home club for some of Britain’s best professional riders in the shape of Billy Bilsland and Robert Millar (now Philippa York).
Former Wheeler Neah Evans has been doing rather well in a Great Britain skinsuit too and will be competiting in August’s 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
‘The Glasgow Wheelers: a Scottish cycling history’ is a new book written to celebrate the club’s history and the international exploits of its members. In it, author and journalist Kenny Pryde has uncovered how involved the Wheelers were in the development of Scottish and British road racing.
Whether it was the promotion of the rebel British League of Racing Cyclists and running the British road championship in Pollokshaws in 1946 or member Ian Steel winning the Peace Race (the Eastern Bloc’s Grand Tour for Amateur riders), the Wheelers were there.
Additionally there was a strong Wheelers contingent at the formation of the Scottish Cyclists’ Union and the British Cycling Federation. There’s even a story that the building of Meadowbank velodrome back in 1970 was, in large part, down to Wheeler Arthur Campbell. If there was a big event, the Glasgow Wheelers were often ‘in the room.’
There will be a free centenary celebration event, launching an e-book from Kenny Pryde on the history of this famous cycling club on Saturday 29th July at Hillhead Library in Glasgow, where there will also be a social gathering with discussions and Q&A between Kenny and Billy Bilsland.
You can find out more by clicking below:
Words: Kenny Pryde
Images: Phil O’Connor