The First Split

During the first decade of the 1900s difficulties sprang up over the control of athletic and cycle sport in the country. The Amateur Athletic Association wished to control cycle racing (it should be remembered that at that time there was a considerable amount of cycle grass track racing which took place during athletic meetings - the August Bank Holiday meeting in Kidwells Park being an excellent example) and the National Cyclist's Union felt that it should look after the cyclist interests.

In March 1904 the name of the club was formally changed. The word "Bicycle" was dropped and the new title became the "Maidenhead Wanderers Cycling and Athletic Club".

In April the club held it's AGM but the president, E. Gardner was not present. His telegram of apology said he was "unable to leave the House of Commons"! The Mayor requested the club to continue with the sports, in connection with Empire Day, a public holiday which has disappeared from the British Calendar. The club now boasted 123 members and the Clubroom at the "Grapes" in Market Street was too small and so a move to the "Prince Albert" was agreed. This public house, now demolished, stood in King Street.

Mr. A. Adaway was elected club captain and Vic Burgess joined the Club to begin an association which would be maintained until his death in the 1980's, though he seems to have ridden in the colour of other clubs from time to time. Matters between the AAA and NCU came to a head, as far as Maidenhead was concerned, in May 1910 when, as the Advertiser reports, "by 30 votes to 24, the Maidenhead Wanders C & AC gave their allegiance to the AAA. " " . . . . immediately after the Chairman announced the figures, the cycling members signified their intention of remaining true to the NCU....", ".... and by so doing sever their connections with the club which, as a consequence will be very hard hit,"

It looks as though the Wanderers intended to continue to cater for cyclists despite this setback for the report goes on to say that "Mr. Emberly was appointed Captain of the Cycling section of the Club"

However, about a fortnight later the cyclists all met at the Prince Albert to consider the formation of a new club. About 50 people were present and the meeting was chaired by Mr. Palmer of Slough and Mr. Heelas, Vice Chairman, both of the local NCU Committee.

"On a proposition of Mr. A. Adaway (late Captain of the Maidenhead Wanderers C & AC) and seconded by Mr. G. Hedges, also late Vice- Captain of the Maidenhead C & AC" (note the absence of Wanders in the name!) "it was unanimously agreed to form the Maidenhead Unity Cycling Club."

The Headquarters were at the Prince Albert so perhaps the parting with the Wanders had been in sadness rather than enmity.

It is interesting to note that the name Bradley is connected with the Unity for it was a Bradley who was involved in founding the Wanderers and a Bradley also assisted in forming the impecunious Maidenhead C.C.

On one page of the June 22 edition of the "Advertiser", it is interesting too to see reports of three separate reports of incidents of cyclists being knocked down by motor cars. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

King Edward VII died in June 1910 and the funeral took place at Windsor amidst great national sorry but also great pomp and ceremony.

"J.B. Warren of St. Helens, Lanc, left his shop on Thursday morning by bicycle and arrived at Maidenhead at 8.15 p.m. the same day. He spent the night at the Moor Tavern, the landlord being a friend of his and at 5.30 a.m. on the Friday set out to walk to Windsor with his friend where they stood for 7 hours watching the ceremony and the military manoeuvres before returning to Maidenhead. He set out at 10.50 a.m. on Saturday arriving at St. Helens at 4.10 a.m. Sunday having covered 408 miles in 33 hours at an average speed of 12 1/3 mph"

They were hard men in those days.