Cardigan Cycling Club, Velo Teifi, the Criterium and Barley Saturday

Recently I found myself undertaking some light reseach in Cardigan town library. It was prompted by a conversation with Carl Davies Chair of Velo Teifi Cycling Club, ‘West Wales’ best cycling club. The club is based in and around Aberteifi and Carl is planning a Criterium event for the town. He had made approaches informally to the Barley Saturday Committee hoping put his event on while Cardigan’s streets were closed in readiness for the running of the horses.

The outcome of his overture was not positive, it seems because the Barley Saturday event is seen as a ‘traditional’ event, implying that a cycling event was not. Now, Barley Satruday is a long-established and well-seasoned Cardigan event; started in the 1870’s it has had a chequered history but is now nearly 40 years into its post-war revival. In its present form it could be argued that it has little in common with its hiring fair roots. However it is obviously an important part of Cardigan’s social calendar particularly if you ride and your business is horses; it is also an exciting and well supported spectacle.

Anyway that is why I fould myself in the library gleaning what I could from photocopies of Donald Davies’ invaluable ‘Those Were the Days’ columns which he wrote for the esteemed Cardigan and Tivyside Advertiser. Cycling it seems is no less a tradition in Cardigan municiple life than Barley Saturday. Formed in 1893 Cardigan Cycling Club flourished into the early years of the 20th century. Indeed in 1894 it could boast 100 members. It’s Wednesday afternoon (then and now early closing day in Cardigan) club events took riders to many places of local interest and in 1895 there were inaugurated Cycling Races in (if not around) Cardigan town.

These Cycling meets were incredible popular pulling in riders from across South and West Wales and inspiring fierce competiton between local Teifi Teams. Declining in the years before the First World War but revived between the wars, the club and the cycle meets faded out.

And a little bird (the Velo Teifi web site) tells me that there will be news of an event for this year. I’m guessing it wont be in ‘tandem’ with the Barley Saturday event (which is this Saturday anyway) but will probably be some time in the autumn. No tweedy sit-up-and-beg  Edwardian velocipedes but modern lightweight bikes with riders in primary racing colours.

The horse is dead! Long live the bicycle!

Cardigan Cycling Club Copyright Donald Davies

Due acknowledgement given to Donald Davies, and the Cardigan and Tivyside Advertiser for the material used here.

An addendum! It’s the time of year when birds are a-twitter and another little bird tells me that Velo Teifi will be tagging along behind the Barley Saturday Parade this Saturday after all; mind the poo!

Gateway to Wales: History of Cardigan

Paul Williams

This is the blog of Paul Williams, Ceredigion resident since 1970. I am an English and Philosphy graduate of what was once known as St David's University College, at Lampeter. I played bass in Dyfed's first punk band, and living in Llandewi Brefi, had a grandstand view of Operation Julie. Eventually, after 2 years playing bass in Brighton's 256th punk band, I returned to Wales to deal in books and then antiques. I've trained and worked as a counsellor, I am a photographer, blog and web designer and I publish the annual Wales Antiques Guide. I am married and a father of one. Apart from my family, my interests include books, maps, Nikon, Yashica and Mamiya film cameras, British Culture 1935 - 1965, Poole pottery, Welsh textiles, and Poster art. My favourite movies include anything by Pressburger and Powell favourite music includes Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, and anything form San Francisco 1965-1970. I am a late convert to 'Kraut Rock'.

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1 Response

  1. ian willson says:

    Excellent… where’s my flat cap.

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