Cycling in the south of England lost one of its leading lights earlier this year with the death of Ken Hargrave. The local racing stalwart, who was 84, died in June after a lengthy and valiant battle with ill health.
Having started racing as a boy with the South Eastern Road Club after the war, Ken quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the region’s best roadmen.
Ken competed in top events and ultimately gaining selection to ride for Great Britain in the 1956 Circuit of Britain.
But it wasn’t to be: a head-on collision with a wayward car on a resurfaced Crockham Hill whilst racing in a BLRC event shortly beforehand shattered his dream of stepping up to the highest level.
He was hospitalised for six weeks with damage to his legs, a missing right elbow and a left arm requiring a permanent plate. His road-racing was career effectively over.
Running beckoned as an outlet for his competitive urge – and he again reached a high standard with the Tooting Bec Athletics Club – but it was really the bike that was his first love.
Riding socially with the SERC wasn’t enough, so when he was asked to join the VC Elan / Harry Perry to lead their cyclo-cross team, and Ken couldn’t resist.
He found himself in the traditional clubman role, selflessly passing on his knowledge and acting as mentor to aspiring young riders such as Steve and Graham Douce, Arthur Ellis, Peter Green and Spencer Jowett, as well as riding prestigious events such as the Three Peaks himself.
Joining the Old Portlians in 1983, Ken immediately inspired a new generation of riders into road racing and cyclo-cross. He supported them at Crystal Palace, Brands Hatch, Surrey and Kent League events, and his green Ford Granada a familiar sight every week.
His favourite circuits were always the hardest ones – which chimed well with Keith Butler’s attitude – and those taking on the Ashdown Forest in particular.
His role as a Tour de France marshal in 1994 was one of his proudest moments, as the Grand Boucle visited his favourite roads.
His wife of 60 years, Doreen, stated “Cycling was his life when I met him”, and his competitive spirit and love of the bike live on through the many people he encouraged along the way.
He’d have been delighted at how many cycling people turned up to the funeral, and as Keith Butler put it, “it felt like a Surrey League get-together.”
Why women’s cycling is on the rise
There’s no denying it: women remain underrepresented on two wheels in the UK, where just one in four cyclists is female.
Things are changing slowly, though. British Cycling recently shouted from the rooftops that 106,000 women had taken part in its sports programmes so far this year, and tenacious moves are afoot to bring long awaited parity to racing
For more on this story, look in the November 7 edition of Cycling Weekly magazine
Raleigh launches 2014 Rider Support programme
Young UK cycling prospects are being offered the opportunity to be sponsored next year through Raleigh’s 2014 Rider Support programme.
The manufacturer is looking for aspiring cyclists across road, time-trial, triathlon and track to kit up with bikes and equipment from themselves and their partners.
As well as equipment, the chosen riders will boost their cycling profile from being associated with one of the highest renowned names in the sport.
The opportunity sees the chance to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Harry Yates and Nick Barnes, who were both part of the 2013 scheme.
“You don’t need to be number one in your field, although that certainly helps,” said Geoff Giddings, Raleigh Marketing Director.
“But you do need to have the passion, drive, and above all, the right personality to make it onto our Rider Support programme.”
Riders must be 16 or over, associated with a cycling club, and have a track record in racing.
Closing date for applicants is December 22 and for more information visit the Raleigh website.
Top British events under threat
The Tour of Britain (above) and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic could be weakened if changes to the structure of professional cycling, that were leaked on Italian website Ciclo Web, go ahead. Read more in this week’s Cycling Weekly magazine
Events this week
The Reservoir of Ale Night Ride – Stockton-on-Tees, November 8
South Somerset Screamer Sportive, South Petherton, November 10
Wiggle Hellfire Corner Sportive – Maidstone, Kent, November 10
London to Paris bike ride – starts at 8am in Central London, November 15
To find social rides near you, visit the British Cycling webiste
The City of London joins the battle to raise money for HOPEHIV
Cyclebeat, London’s unique indoor cycling studio, is holding the first ever City Bike Battle on November 14.
Duting each 35-minute ride session, up to ten teams of five from all over the City of London will battle it our on stationary bikes to find out who has the strongest cyclists.
The Beatboard will display each team’s power and overall energy. The harder the team works, the higher their ranking.
The £150 entrance fee for each team goes directly to HOPEHIV, who support children and young people in Africa who have been orphaned or affected by HIV/AIDS,
For more details on the event, which takes place on Lombard Street between midday and 2.30pm, visit the event’s website.
Paramount Performance Racing Team announce new riders
The Shropshire based Paramount Performance Racing Team welcomed three new members to build on their successful 2013 season.
Victoria Grimmer from Shrewsbury is the first woman to make it onto the team, and is joined by Graham South and 14-year-old Tomos Owens, who was the Welsh U14 criterium champion last year.
The trio join current members Elliot Jones, Chris Wilkinson and Dave Griffiths in training over the winter with the aim to start racing next spring.
For more information on the team, visit their Facebook page.
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