CYCLISTS in Drighlington have paid tribute to their club secretary who is retiring after 55 years.
John Bryan Peel, known as Bryan to all his friends, joined Drighlington Bicycle Club in 1947, aged 12.
On Friday he was handed a lifetime achievement award by members of the club he has served for so long.
The club’s president and chairman Mike Phillips said: “Bryan richly deserves this lifetime achievement award given by the trustees.
“A quiet, modest and unassuming man, few cyclists will know all of Bryan’s immense amount of work and achievements which have enabled Yorkshire to remain at the forefront of all facets of cycling.”
Bryan, 76, said: “Cycling has been my life, if I went to the shops 100 yards away I had to go on my bike and wherever I went the bike went too.
“I used to average 7,000 miles a year but I don’t do so much nowadays, I am content to go down to Cleckheaton on the Greenway.
“I just felt that I have done the secretary’s role for long enough and I thought I would let somebody younger have a go.”
Bryan joined the club with the encouragement of his parents, both keen cyclists.
“The club used to have a notice board on the wall of a pub in Drighlington and I remember looking at that, to see where their runs were, long before I joined,” he said.
“Then on my 12th birthday I got my first bicycle, a Saxon cycle, I still have it in my garage though of course I don’t ride it any more.”
He never looked back.
He became the club’s secretary in 1956 and in the 50s and 60s he rode time trials as well as helping local children pass their cycle proficiency tests.
Since then he been on the organising committees of many races and served on the committees of several cycling organisations, both regional and national.
The lifetime achievement award is just one of many awards he has been given over the years for his contribution to the sport.
Inevitably he has seen many changes.
“Cyclists these days have three or four bikes, different bikes for different things but when I started you had just one bike for everything, you went to the shops on it went to work, toured and even raced on it,” he explained.
“If you wanted to race you would just take off the mud guards, lights, saddlebags and off you went.
“I often think I could have gone faster if I had had a better bicycle but that was just the way they were, steel, and much heavier than they are today.”
“Now its carbon fibre and it doesn’t last as long and they are always complaining there are cracks in it.”
But whatever the changes, he still gets immense satisfaction from cycling and from seeing his club thrive.
Thanks largely to its website www.drigbc.org.uk Drighlington Bicycle Club is going strong and has more than doubled its membership in the last couple of years, ensuring it will continue to encourage people into the sport for years to come. AN accident is causing severe congestion on the eastbound M62 close to Tingley.
Several vehicles were reported to be involved in the crash between junctions 28 (Tingley) and 29 (Lofthouse) and the motorway was closed for a short time while emergency services arrived on the scene.
All lanes have now re-opened but there are long tailbacks reported.