A Bicycle Club for Maidenhead

So went the headline in the Maidenhead Advertiser of June 1st 1881 when a full report of the inaugural meeting appeared.

"A Meeting of bicyclists was held on Thursday last, at Edwards Rooms, Queen Street, to consider the desirability of forming a club for the town. Mr. Timberlake took the chair and it was unanimously decided to form a Club to be called The Maidenhead Wanderers Bicycle Club. Mr. Timberlake was elected Captain, Mr. Mackie Sub-Captain, Mr. Simpson, Secretary and Mr. E. Pettman, Treasurer. Messrs. Underhill and Bradley were chosen as buglers and Messrs. Smith, Edmunds, Norman, Locking, Beal, Horsnail and Fitzgerald as the Committee. The entrance fee is to be 1/- and the annual subscription 2s. 6d. Sixteen riders gave their names for membership."

The "Cyclist's & Wheel World Annual 1883" however, tells us that the club was formed on 31st May. In any event by 1883 the club had grown to 40 members, the H.Q. being the Cliveden Hotel, Queen Street. The Secretary was now W. Seekins of the East Berks Brewery and the entry fee had risen to 2s.6d. although the subscription stayed at 2s.6d.

Clubs in those days took things very seriously and it was thought necessary to have a uniform, in this case navy/dark blue with a polo(?) & white straw boater hat.

In April 1884 "J.P. Grigg of Maidenhead Wanderers Bicycle Club won the 1 mile Tricycle Championship (Handicap) at Maidstone on Easter Monday. Given 150 yds. start he won in 3 min.40 sees. He rode a Timberlake racing tricycle of 4 3/4 lbs. (sic).

By 1885 Timberlake was producing his Antelope safety bicycle whilst Hickling (late of Timberlake's) was producing machines from the Hambleton Hall in Market Street.

The "Advertiser" of January 14th of that year said:

"The Cricket and Lawn Tennis Clubs had a successful year as had the Bicycle Clubs a second, The Maidenhead Cycling Club, having been - formed during the year.",

but in the issue of March 18th we are told that this club's AGM had been held and there had been a deficit of 2s.6d!

On February 4th the Maidenhead Wanderers Bicycle Club felt able to organise a smoking concert at the Cliveden Hall and on February 16th the Maidenhead Excelsior Football Club held it's Annual Ball. Not much connection here with cycling but in future years the date on which the football club held it's annual sports would be taken over by the Wanderers, attracting thousands to Kidwells Park for the August Bank Holiday meeting (actually the first run of the newly- formed cycling club on June 18th had to be postponed because of a clash with the Excelsior sports).

About this time, too, Timberlake opened the larger premises at Queen Street already referred to for production of his Royal Windsor Side Gear and Central Gear Cycles.

Hickling exhibited a new invention for steering a tricycle at the International Inventors Exhibition in August so continuing the flow of ideas which Timberlake had started with his first-ever rim brake, a freewheel system for Ordinaries, (the Kangaroo) and the other innovations already mentioned.

At the AGM that year, the Wanderer's bank balance stood at £17 6s. 3d. and membership stood at 56.