A month or so ago I stumbled upon a genuine pot of gold!
I didn’t follow a rainbow, nor did I have to journey (Indiana Jones style) to any far flung exotic location.
Charlie Chadwick is a name I was already vaguely familiar with. As a member of the ‘Rough Stuff Fellowship’ I was aware that Charlie was a founding father, perhaps THE founding father?
Digging around online one evening I stumbled upon the Veteran Cycle Club website, a treasure trove of information and a true ‘rabbit hole’ of which to get lost within.
Of most interest to me was the JPMPF section of the site, a publishing trust fund set up in memory of John Pinkerton who died in 2002 (The objective of the Fund is to continue the publishing activities initiated by John) – to publish historical material on the development of the cycle and all types of related activities. Items published include reprints of cycling journal articles, manufacturer’s information e.g. catalogues etc…
The books that instantly caught my eye were the ‘Pre-War Cycling Diaries of Charlie Chadwick’ edited by a chap called David Warner. I immediately googled David’s name in relation to Charlie and struck gold!
David has a website devoted to Charlie’s life, writings and drawings that can be found here… Charlie Chadwick
I won’t spoil it by writing anymore about David or Charlie as, if you’re interested enough, you’ll undoubtedly leave this page and do your own immediate research. I also feel I would be doing a disservice to David. A labour of love and then some, his site and the books he has helped bring to life have everything you need to know.
What I will say is this…
Charlie was and is an inspiration, as close to a cycling hero as you’re ever likely to find. An added personal bonus for me is the fact that Charlie was a Northerner and rode many of the lanes and trails that I too now ride and enjoy.
David is also, just as much of a hero in my eyes. For preserving and sharing such a wonderful piece of cycling history he should be applauded. Thank you David.
There are currently 4 volumes of Charlie’s diaries. I’m halfway through volume 2 and delightedly received volumes 3 & 4 in the post this morning. I’ve read an enormous amount of cycling related books and text over the years, but these wonderful little books beat them all by a country mile. The writing is effortless, romantic, funny and honest.
Charlie is my hero, and these little books my new treasures.
Words and pictures – Paul Rance.