John Keavey, Audio Clip

John Keavey talks about cycling
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John Keavey (JK) talks to W.R. Mitchell (WRM) about his first bike ride with the Cyclists’ Touring Club.


JK: On a summer’s night from possibly say five o’clock until about eight or nine up Dewsbury Road there was a constant, steady stream of twos and threes or complete clubs all making their way back to the heavy woollen district. They’d been out, possibly to Boston Spa or York, further afield, or up the Dales, and from that part of the world the obvious way back was of course through Leeds. And it was seeing these scores of people that sort of fired my ambition. I felt at least they were doing something with their Sunday.

WRM: What period was that?

JK: This would be 1936-1937-1938. I started to explore with my bike about 1936 and 1937 with a few others from school. We used to go out on Sunday afternoons as far as Sherburn-in-Elmet to watch the light aircraft, or Boston Spa. And then it comes to that stage I suppose in any teenage boy, is he going to take up some compelling interest, sport or activity or is he as I put it going to follow the crowd and possibly just start chasing the girls. Anyhow I opted for the Sunday pursuit and joined the Cyclists’ Touring Club. The first run was ninety miles, Leeds to Bedale and back, and I’ve cycled a few hundred thousand miles since then but I’ll never forget that first club run.